Meet Dr. Skype

drTwenty-five years ago we may have been one of the last families to experience a medical house call when Dr. Bobby stopped by the house to check on Emily on his way from the hospital to his office. I remember being stunned when our pediatrician offered to see Emily for a recheck at home so I wouldn’t have to drag a sick child to his office.

Now it appears there’s a new type of medical house call…Telemedicine. Since December, Doctor on Demand has been available in Florida as well as more than a dozen additional states providing medical services via a home computer, tablet, or even cell phone.

Voice or video calls to physicians enable patients to receive 15 minute consultations for a $40 fee. The Doctor on Demand app requires users to register for the service and then move through a four step process:

  1. Tell what’s wrong – typing in symptoms, allergies, and medications
  2. Confirm payment – entering credit card information
  3. Chat with a doctor – by video or voice (patient’s choice) and even share photos of a rash or insect bite; then get advice, a prescription, or a referral
  4. Provide feedback – rate the doctor and the service

Apparently, the military’s been using a version of telemedicine for over two years in which individuals anonymously discuss problems relating to depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or substance abuse. Video Doctor attempts to reduce the stigma associated with accessing mental health assistance and provides screening and referral services. It looks like virtual medicine is a reality.


I’m not sure how I feel about a virtual doctor, however I did download the app on my phone. We’ve needed basic medical care while on vacation in the past and the $40 fee, although not covered by medical insurance, would have been welcome compared to an emergency room visit or an out-of-network medical care facility. And for those without insurance, it may be a good alternative to the $200 visit to a walk-in clinic.

What do you think? Will you be a Doctor on Demand patient or have you used a virtual medical service?


Weigh In Wednesday: February

IMG_3062The last Wednesday in February means it’s time to weigh in on my progress on meeting my final weight loss goal. I only wish I had better news to share…2014 has not been a good one on the weight loss front.

Although I haven’t gained any weight in February, I’m stuck a couple of pounds heavier than in the final days of 2013. There has been some good news. I’m exercising more consistently. I’m recording on Lose It more often. But obviously not enough to make a difference.

The biggest mistakes I’m making…eating too much sugar! Last year I eliminated all candy from the house, but not so this year. Too many celebrations with cake. I’ve also let soda slip back in too often.

Researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that sugar is harder to resist than any other food and I’d have to agree with their findings. I’m cleaning the cabinets today…getting rid of the sugary foods. In March I want to report that I’m back on the path to weight loss.

Keep Moving!

Sitting Can Kill -Yahoo Health

Are You Sitting Down? Your heart failure rate is higher. -USA Today

Sitting Risks: How harmful is too much sitting? -Mayo Clinic

Women Who Spend Too Much Time Sitting May Die Earlier -Health News

Don’t Just Sit There! It Could Be Harmful -USA Today

Sitting has been in the news lately, and the news isn’t good. Many of the reports actually have included a new term: sitting disease. Research links sitting disease to heart failure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even death from cancer. In fact, excessive sitting also increases the chance a person will become disabled.

It’s easy to collapse on the couch after a hard day at work, but don’t make a habit of sitting. Exercise will re-energize you so walk, bike, stretch, play games. Do anything that requires you to move!

When working at the computer, get up every hour and move.

Avoid parking in the closest space at work or when shopping (unless it’s raining again) to get in a few extra steps. Maybe that’s the point of all those unused handicapped parking spaces at Target…they’re just trying to encourage customers to walk a few extra steps to improve their health.

Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator or deliver a message by walking across the hall instead of sending an email?

Even on those particularly hard days when the couch calls your name get up and walk around the house during commercials.

Maybe you can check out the Monday Mile website which encourages starting each week by walking a mile on Monday or join Coach Kim from inSHAPE Fitness for a 15 minute Move It Monday workout!

Treadmill desk - a great birthday gift!
After starting the day sitting at my desk, it’s time to move to the treadmill desk and start moving!

My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass. ~Terri Guillemets

Avoid sitting disease…keep moving!



Weigh-in Wednesday: January

I’ve been on my own for a month now after faithfully posting my weight loss progress weekly for a year. Since my weight has fluctuated up and then back down two pounds for a month, I decided I better start recording publicly to hold myself accountable.

I earned the 2014 Starting Off on the Right Foot Badge for logging in Lose It, but I haven’t logged consistently and too many excuses have interrupted exercise routines.

The last Wednesday of each month, I’ll be weighing-in and writing about my successes or failures for the month. January should have been much better, but at only a pound heavier than in 2013, I’m sure I’ll get back on track. Back to logging, back to regular exercise, and back to sharing.

After all, it’s nearly time to buy a bathing suit.


Weigh-In Wednesday: Wrap Up

When I proposed writing about my weight loss successes or failures weekly all three of my daughters thought this was not a good idea. Some of their comments:

  • What if you quit?
  • What if you don’t lose weight?
  • If I did that, I’d lie.

I considered the advice, and then ignored it! If I quit, I’ll say, I quit…just like millions of others who try to lose weight every year. If I don’t lose, I’ll just say, this is really tough. I’m not having any success, and maybe use the I quit line. I knew lying was not an option. I don’t live in isolation. If I claim to lose weight and don’t, others will call me out. And besides, my original goal: lose 15 pounds. I could do that!

As a result of sharing my weight loss journey, John and I are 70 pounds lighter heading into 2014. I hope that also means we’re healthier as well.

For me, Weigh-In Wednesday served as a measure of accountability. I had to write about not only successes but the bumps in the road.

While I know everyone is different, the keys to my success:

  • setting realistic goals (first 15, then 20, then 25, and finally 31 pounds)
  • thinking about (and recording) what I eat every day instead of unconsciously putting food in my mouth
  • making a serious effort to move more daily – just move, walk, ride a bike for pleasure, even do a little work in the yard
  • weighing in, not just on Wednesday, but everyday
  • sharing with others who hold me accountable

I looked for the magic weight loss bullet throughout the year but didn’t find one. What I did find was the willpower to continue working on better health for 365 days. I also know I’m not done. I still want to lose two more pounds and continue making positive changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

Just move!
Just move!

I’ll continue weighing-in, although I won’t be writing about it every week…unless the scale starts moving in the wrong direction.

Merry Christmas! I think I’ll go for a walk…and then eat dessert!

Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 49

IMG_1714I’m making a change to my morning routine now that we have ripe grapefruit again, and best of all, this is a homegrown grapefruit. I’ll be starting the day with one of my favorite foods every morning and according to Lose It, a grapefruit for breakfast will use about 100 calories of my daily calorie budget. This may be just the change needed to start shedding pounds again.

Another week with no change in weight. My body seems quite content with settling in on a maintain mode. I’ve got to convince it, to continue with weight loss. Four more pounds, then maintain.

I hope grapefruit’s the key.

Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 48

pizzaIt’s a good thing I’ve lost over 25 pounds this year…just think how I’d look bundled in four layers of clothing with the extra weight as well.  It’s pretty discouraging to look at pictures from our recent trip to New York because what I see is the heavier me of a year ago.

My goal for the week was not to lose weight but to just avoid gaining weight.

I can’t say that I succeeded since when I returned home I weighed in at 1 pound heavier. This despite the miles and miles of walking throughout the city and stair climbing in the subways.

I wonder if this could have anything to do with the extra pound?

Four more weeks…four more pounds. I’ve got my work cut out!


Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 48

Back on track, one pound lighter, and just in time as I plan the next few days around food. The goal for the upcoming week…don’t go completely crazy overeating.

I’ll concentrate on three things:

  1. No soda! Don’t drink extra calories.
  2. No candy! Dessert – now that’s something else, but I can stop after one slice of pie or cake. Just stay away from the bags of candy and homemade fudge.
  3. Walk, walk, and walk some more! Walking off large meals is the only chance I have to keep from gaining weight this week.

I still need to lose two more pounds before the end of the year. Difficult…but not impossible.

I remember 30 years ago when pregnant with Meghan Dr. Webster scolded me during my December appointment for gaining six pounds since my last appointment the previous month. He reminded me that if I continued at that rate I’d gain an additional 30 pounds in the next five months. Then he admitted that he’d gained five pounds during the same period and that we’d both need to do better.

I’m not worried about gaining six pounds this month, but I’m also not optimistic that I’ll lose weight this week. I’ll be have with maintaining the status quo.  Happy eating and happy walking!

Ready for a walk!
Ready for a walk!

Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 47

I’ve always read that if you do something for 3 weeks it will become a habit, but apparently 21 days is the minimum amount of time needed to develop a new habit – everyone has his or her own timetable. One source says it’s more likely 66 days, another reports 9 1/2 weeks is required, but in a study by University College of London, it was found that 254 days may be required to develop some habits.

It looks like I may set a new record. It’s already been 324 days, and I still resist doing the things I know have brought weight loss success. This may never be a habit, but instead something that requires constant thought and intentional action.

I thought returning to my regular schedule would be the key to losing the final three pounds before the end of the year, but I managed to gain a half pound instead of losing weight this week.

It’s pretty easy to explain where I’ve gone wrong:

  • Drinking too little water.
  • Failure to record food intake and exercise on Lose It!
  • Not enough exercise.
  • Avoiding the scale.
  • Snacking on chips.

You’d think that since I can readily identify the problem it should be easy to solve, and I have taken steps in the right direction the past couple of days. Monday and Tuesday I started the day by stepping on the scale. I logged my food and exercise – that means I exercised!

Now I’ll work on water intake and stock up on some impulse fruits – grapes, apples, bananas, and tangerines – to take the place of the chips. Back on track, but unfortunately not a habit…however, I expect to be a pound lighter next week.

Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 46

Week 46 provided more than a couple of weight loss challenges.

  1. Big Mac on Friday. My favorite stress food for lunch on Friday after working for two days to get the hangar ready for the wedding.
  2. Chili and sandwich bar. During Friday night’s rehearsal party I ate two bowls of chili, a sandwich, sangria, soda, and cookies.
  3. Food trucks. The Treehouse Truck, Fish Out of Water, and The Crepe Company followed by bites of several desserts from the sweets table at Saturday’s wedding.
  4. Too many sodas. Breaks from setting up and breaking down included too many sodas.

Despite all of the obstacles I managed to only gain one pound during the wedding week. Not too bad.

Back at home and on a regular schedule I’ll get on track with weight loss as well.