welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Thursday, June 4, 2020

my story revisited #43-the talk

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when i was in practice i usually didnt evaluate and treat my patients with alzheimers disease
after seeing them in the office i would start the evaluation but usually referred them to a neurologist to complete the evaluation and they would begin treatment
sometimes after their treatment was stabilized i would assume their care if the patient or family requested i do that

comparing what i know now to what i knew then i am sure i would do a much better job now caring for those patients

when i stopped practicing i knew about a month before i quit that i would have to stop practicing
i slowed down my practice and tried to catch patients up on their care so they would have a window of time to find a new physician

i knew that probably when i saw the neurologist that would be the day i had to quit practicing
so i practiced up to that day then stopped

i was asked back the following year to give a talk to our family practice group telling my story
i put them off for a few months until i was ready emotionally to give the talk

i cried twice during the talk
but i recovered ok

i answered a lot of questions that night
in fact
they had to eventually shut off all the questions
next week i will be giving a talk to a large group of family doctors
about my story and what happened to me and will use it as a 
vehicle to talk about alzheimers disease

i realize how little i knew about all this when i was practicing

i hope to talk about those things i should have known 1 year ago 
that would have made me a better doctor caring for the few
alzheimers patients that i had in my practice

if i can connect with just one of those doctors next week so 
that they become better at caring for their patients then i
will have been successful

i recently gave a talk to a group of about 50 family doctors last week
on my story and about alzheimers disease
here is the introduction

i want to thank you for allowing me to come here tonight and tell my
story of what happened to me and to talk to you about alzheimers

how many of you have a family member who had or has alzheimers
disease (2/3 raised their hands) and how many of you treat a patient
with alzheimers disease (1/3 raised their hands)

i am coming you tonight from those two perspectives
i am coming to you as a family member whose parents
had alzheimers disease and whose younger brother a year younger than
me has alzheimers disease
i also am coming to you as a family physician who has actually treated
patients with alzheimers disease although i did not do a very good

i am also though coming to you tonight from another perspective
i am coming to you tonight as a patient
my diagnosis is mild cognitive impairment amnestic type possibly due
to alzheimers disease

alzheimers disease is a devastating progressive neurological disease
which is fatal and for which there is no cure
alzheimers disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the united states
of the top 10 leading causes of death 
it is the only one for which there
is no cure and for which the numbers are rapidly increasing

1 in 4 of the females in this room if you live long enough will get
alzheimers disease
1in 10 of the males in this room if you live long enough will get
alzheimers disease

the congress committee is trying to trim 1.5 trillion dollars out of the
budget over the next 10 years
the new cases of alzheimers disease over the next 10 years will offset
that by costing medicare and medicaid 1.5 trillion dollars

there are going to be so many new cases that there will not be enough
neurologists, psychiatrists, memory clinics, and alzheimers research
centers to handle the numbers
you family physicians will have to be the ones to take care of  these
new patients
you need to learn to know how to evaluate and treat them
i only wish i could go back and practice again and i would take
care of more of these patients and do the evaluations and treatments

my goal tonight is to tell my story of what has happened to me over the
last year and use that as a vehicle to tell you about alzheimers disease
how to evaluate a patient and what treatments are available
and what new things that i have had done to me that are going to be
available soon to your practices

listen to your patients and their families
diagnose early and treat early
the goal of treatment is to change the angle of decline
dont forget the caretakers

tonight i give a talk to the group of family physicians that i use
to work with before i retired
its the first time ive seen most of them since i left almost a
year ago
the talk will be telling my story about what happened to me and
using it as a vehicle to talk about alzheimers disease

those of you who know me well know that i hate to get in front
of a group to talk
when you know the subject well and feel like you know as much
or more than the people you talk to then talking to a group
doesnt bother me any more

my points tonight will be
that alzheimers will be a primary care disease soon as the numbers
of new cases will be too great for specialists to handle them all

that early diagnosis and early treatment is important to change the angle
of decline of this disease

how to evaluate a patient for alzheimers disease

what new biomarkers are/will available to use in these evaluations

what treatments are available and will be available in the future

what can be done to prevent or delay the onset of this terrible

then to remind them to not forget the caretaker

whew thats over with
i gave a talk on telling my story (much of what is in this blog)
and about what is happening in alzheimers
the 40+ family physicians seemed interested and attentive
much better than at most presentations

(if you are a teacher and youve been to presentations to a
teachers group then you know what i mean)

they asked a lot of good questions after the talk
remember everyone is worried about getting the big a
these docs are interested because as i told them the big a
will become a primary care disease in the future as the
numbers will be too large for specialists to care for

these were the points of the talk
put a face on the disease-me and others eg pat summitt my buddy
early diagnosis and treatment is important
dont forget the caretaker
it will be a primary care disease
how to work the patients symptoms up and what treatments
and preventative things are available now
whats happening in research now

hopefully the talk was helpful and hopefully it will end up
helping some patient to get an early diagnosis and
be able to get early treatment

i hope that i reached at least one if not more family physicians that night so that they felt more comfortable in and treating their own alzheimers patients
if i did then i reached my goal that night almost 10 years ago

the organicgreen doctor

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