Author Archives: Simi K. Rao

Human After All Chap 24: Let’s Spread the News

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Chapter 23

She lay in her bed unable to sleep yet again, but this time for a different reason; Khanak was excited! She was impressed by how Shaan had come through on his word and so quickly and efficiently had got both their families on the same page. He was as he said a man of action, not just words. Things had happened in such rapid succession, she felt as if she needed to pause to catch her breath but then he always had that effect on her. She blushed with embarrassment and hid her head in the pillow, when she recalled the lessons he had planned for her. The funny part was, she knew exactly what he meant thanks to her education but was a novice when it came to the actual experience. It frightened and excited her at the same time. She closed her eyes tightly trying to wish away the images forming in her mind’s eye. It was to no avail.

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Shaking the Family Tree: Rituals and Recovery

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Opening the Toolbox

Rituals, especially for those of us in recovery, can impact the quality of our sobriety.  Established early on, mine has remained basically the same throughout the years.  They require minimal effort on my part and include prayer and reading my daily meditations.  They are my number one priority every morning.  No matter how lackadaisical I might be in other areas of my life; no matter what kind of a mood I wake in, or no matter that I might be running late, I rarely leave the peace and quiet of my home without taking the time to gear up for the day ahead.

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Monsoon (Baarish)

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Poinsettias in rain by Simi K. Rao

Drenched in refreshing moisture, earth bursts into colorful melody-

                                                                                                Simi K. Rao

Monsoon in India is a special time. The overcast black skies, the drumroll of thunder, invoke the thrill of anticipation in the thirsty heart. This is then fulfilled by the downpour. And what a downpour it is!

Extending from June- September, the monsoon brings welcome relief from the stifling heat of the summer. The happiness is visible not just on the faces of the citizens but also on the parched earth– the fragrance of the soil, the blossoming of the vegetation, the songs of the cuckoo, the dance of the peacock.

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Podcast: HealthWise and Author Talk with Simi K. Rao Episode #1

Community

Hi friends!

Announcing my podcast- HealthWise and Author Talk with Simi K. Rao. It’s another way I’d like to connect with my readers, have some in depth discussions about my books and medicine and more!

In the first episode I talk about my journey as a writer and a physician and I share my personal experience taking care of patients with COVID 19. Hope you will like it.

The podcast is available on multiple platforms such as Anchor.fm; Spotify;Breaker; RadioPublic and others.

Please listen, follow and subscribe. You can leave your thoughts here or at any of my social media sites.

Spotify: 

Please read the associated blog posts mentioned in this podcast: An Unprecedented Time and COVID 19- an overview.

Links to all my social media sites can be found here: simikrao.carrd.co

Shaking the Family Tree: Opening the Toolbox

opening the toolbox

Alcoholic

I was handed a toolbox to build a new life

A gift freely given to alleviate strife

It contained all I needed to repair and reclaim

A flickering spirit in search of a flame.

How many tools do you have in your toolbox? Is it time to add a few more?

In the beginning, I depended on just three essentials to lay my foundation: Meetings, sponsorship, and the twelve steps.

The meetings were the brick and mortar that gave me a sure footing in order to navigate the peaks and valleys that stretched ahead. They provided a temporary shelter that housed a support system, where my equilibrium could be restored. Inside the rooms of AA, reconstruction was soon underway. Old ideas and beliefs that tethered me to my distorted view about the disease of alcoholism were swiftly replaced by new concepts, ones that promised hope instead of damnation. I learned that recovery, once I had put the drink down would be a choice available even to me. All I had to do was keep coming back and listen to folks who shared with me, the heartache of their addiction, and more importantly the miracle of their recovery.

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HealthWise: On Call #3 A Young Woman Who Took Too Much Fever Medicine.

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Based on true events:

A young woman in the late teens called 911 after she swallowed a whole bottle (100 pills) of a common fever and pain medicine called Tylenol (generic Acetaminophen). She was depressed and despondent because her family didn’t understand her. She also took another bottle (more than 3/4 full, unknown quantity) of Tylenol PM (acetaminophen + diphenhydramine) a common OTC (over the counter) drug sold as a non-habit forming pain reliever and nighttime sleepaid. She said she wanted to end it all, but then got scared and called for help.

She had ingested these pills about 6 hours ago and had begun to vomit before calling. She admitted to vomiting some pill fragments.

When I talked to her, she admitted she had made a mistake, and wanted to live not die.

Fortunately her vitals signs were normal, she was alert and completely with it but her blood work showed an elevated acetaminophen level  and signs of liver injury. Her EKG (electrocardiogram) was normal.

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HealthWise: On Call #2 A Young Man Who Went Blue in the Face

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The following is based on true events:

RM is only 21. “Don’t be surprised doc. He’s tiny!” His nurse informed me before I stepped into the room. So he was. Tiny (barely over 5 ft, under a hundred lbs) and young. His innocent face belied the colorful life he’d led so far. RM had been admitted because he had popped a couple of fentanyl tablets he’d bought on the street  (the same drug that was found in Prince’s and Tom Petty’s system). When I inquired why, he said he’d been taking the drug for the past 6 months or so; 2 to 3 a day “to get high that’s all” he informed me as if talking about the weather. “No, I don’t want to kill myself but I get depressed sometimes;” was his response when I asked if he’d had any intention to cause harm to himself. I tried to maintain a straight professional face but I was flabbergasted. I was shocked he was still alive. The lethal dose of fentanyl is very small– a quarter of a milligram, and this young man had consumed several times that. He was one hell of a lucky boy. 

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Shaking the Family Tree: Alcoholic

ADAPT: sentinel against substance abuse

 

I have encountered alcoholism both in my personal and professional life. The damage done is incalculable and recovery is long and arduous. Who better to tell about it than someone who has made the journey herself?

Here I present a series of guest posts by Dallas Hembra titled Shaking the Family Tree on Alcoholism from a layman’s point of view.

Shaking the Family Tree is a book by Dallas Hembra; a double genre memoir/poetry offering that looks at the genetic predisposition for alcoholism from a layman’s point of view.

The victims include the alcoholic, adult children of alcoholics, and family members and loved ones who suffer the shared consequences.

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HealthWise: On Call #1 A Young Woman with Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

 

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On Call is a series where I present some interesting cases I saw in the course of my practice. 

Case #1: A Young Woman with Fatigue and Shortness of breath

Mrs. S, is a very pleasant 35 yo young woman. She is married with two young children and is a school teacher by profession. She was referred to the hospital by her doctor for evaluation of new onset shortness of breath and concern of a serious heart condition. 

When I interviewed her she told me the shortness of breath has been now ongoing for about a month and steadily getting worse. In the beginning she noticed she was unusually exhausted when she reached home from school and didn’t find the energy to prepare dinner and play with her kids (something she really loved to do). She also notes headaches, irritability of mood, difficulty concentrating which has been affecting her work as well as dizziness. She is also very concerned that she is losing hair. She denies that she is under much stress and says her family has just returned from a two week holiday. Unfortunately, she couldn’t enjoy herself very much because of how exhausted she felt. 

Her symptoms have progressed to the extent that now she is out of breath when she walks up a short flight of stairs; she also notes a feeling of tightness across her chest. She also feels her heart racing and puffiness in her arms and legs. She is worried she has a serious heart condition especially since her father died of a heart attack in his 60s. 

When I examined her I was struck by the pallor of her skin. I also noticed her tongue was swollen and her nails were thin and brittle and there was definite swelling around her ankles.

Her heart rate was regular but fast– 90-100 beats/minute, she had a normal blood pressure and oxygen level. 

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HealthWise: Dementia- An Overview

The Self Portraits of William Utermohlen

The White Room

I lie on the bed

in the white room

They sit around me

These strangers with familiar voices

I think we are waiting for something

or someone.

These strangers, they look at me

They mutter words I don’t understand

A man in a white coat walks in

He stands next to my bed.

He speaks not to me,

but to these strangers

They are talking about me, I know.

About what, I don’t understand.

Irritated, I kick off the covers.

Mother! They chide me and pull them back.

About the poem: This is a poem about dementia, the hallmark of the disease being loss of memory. I write about a scene I came across during my rounds in the hospital—an elderly woman in the advanced stages of dementia is lying on the bed surrounded by her caring relatives. It’s difficult to know what’s going on in the poor woman’s mind because she has lost the ability to speak, even comprehend. Yet it’s apparent she’s unaware of her ailment. She doesn’t even know where she is or who she is with.

Dementia is a syndrome that results in gradual and progressive decline of previously acquired mental abilities that results in a loss of social and occupational functioning and ultimately to loss of independence. It is imperative to distinguish this from normal aging- normal aging never results in loss of independence.

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