Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

Drug testing

October 29, 2016 Leave a comment

SOAP BOX ALERT! I am about to climb up and expound on the importance of knowing what you are taking (prescription and over-the-counter) and how they interact. Hyperbole aside, this is life and death information.

Years ago, my father had what appeared to be a seizure whilst in church. He was rushed to the hospital. I flew down and was there in time for the neurologist and his entourage to appear. The doctor proceeded to pontificate on how “the overweight elderly man” had “obviously an epileptic fit”. This was before having ever spoken to my father. The doctor then prescribed a heavy duty anti-seizure drug. I held the bag of drugs my father already took (he had heart issues, COPD, and asthma) and asked if the doctor could look to see if the new drug would be ok to take with the current regime. The doctor glanced in the bag (did not remove anything or look at any label) and said it would be fine.

Being a medical librarian, I knew there were many potential issues with drug interactions. Being a thinking human, I was concerned about a doctor doing no testing, no speaking with the patient, and determining the patient had a severe disease.

I asked my father to hold on taking anything until I could get back to my library and look into it. Thankfully he did not take the medicine. Thankfully because the new drug had a warning that taking X [his heart medicine] ‘may result in death’. I got my father into see another neurologist who tested and reviewed and found that my father had fainted (note the COPD, Asthma). My dad never had another problem with fainting and never had a seizure.

This is an extreme story, I know. Most doctors are not like this one. Most are caring and listening and concerned. But they are still human. So are you. Doctors ask what you are taking before they prescribe anything. Do you tell them of your vitamins? Supplements? Do you mention you are taking ibuprofen almost daily due to arthritis? You should.


Recently I had to go to the emergency room due to extreme back pain. I could not find any position that gave me relief. I dutifully recited the list of medication and supplements I take. I also noted allergies and that one of my prescription drugs prevented me from taking any NSAID (could destroy my kidneys).  The PA (Physician’s Assistant) came in and spoke with me. He very appropriately did many tests and the conclusion was “back spasm of unknown origin”. He prescribed medications. I reminded that I could not take NSAIDs. I left with the prescriptions and went to the pharmacy. After filling the prescriptions and before taking any, I read the pharmacy provided inserts. One of the drugs prescribed was a NSAID.

So SOAP BOX, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to check your medications. Report EVERYTHING you are taking to your doctor and pharmacist. Read the documentation that comes with the medications. Not only do vitamins and supplements as well as other drugs have negative interactions with one another but some foods can interfere. For example, Grapefruit has several negative (up to and including death) reactions with various medications, especially heart medications.

Here are some excellent resources for you:

And my very favorite consumer health information source EVER:

MedlinePlus – information on drugs, supplements, and links to comprehensive information on various diseases, conditions, etc. Geared towards consumer.

Finally, there are resources for you to consult to get a speaker for your group or library.  The National Network of Libraries of Medicine has regional offices that offer training classes and has several outreach programs designed for consumers. I’ve been privileged to attend classes as a librarian as well as listen to a speaker at a disease support group. And they are FREE. Yep. FREE. Find your regional office and contact them to come talk to your group about how to find good medical information on the internet. Or how to find drug information. Or …well, go talk to them!

And please, I beg you, TELL your doctor and pharmacist about all medications and supplements you take. READ the inserts your pharmacy provides. And question. This is your life.


Thirsty for more?

Mike Rowe, I’ve loved you for a very long time. I love how you glory the non-glamorous. Love how you speak out for the unspoken (careers, that is). I could not possibly agree with you more on the beauty of skilled labor*; on the idea that college is NOT for everyone; on the thought that blue collar is not inherently less but is, in fact, much much more.

Now I find that you are rocking my thirst for knowledge. My need for info – bites. My desire for your voice to stream erudite in my ear. I haven’t been so happy since I found Mental Floss!

Check out the new The Way I Heard It for mini-bits of Rowe knowledge. I only presume he is working with a professional to ensure the facts are checked and double checked before each episode is recorded. If not, I know a whole bevy of librarians who’d be happy to help –

Psst, learn more about the trades and options available at Mike Rowe Works by going to your local library. We carry tons of information on every possible trade … and if we don’t have it there, we can get it for you. NO CHARGE!

*Funny! Wikipedia notes ‘skilled labor’ as not just the trades & getting your hands dirty but also notes computer skills, accountants, etc. … skill is skill is skill. And labor is key in every job.


Presenting online

Online training, online demos, online EVERYTHING! It is cheaper and more cost effective, very true. But the success of such an event really comes down to the following:

1. Presenter.

2. Material.

3. Audience.

All three need to work together in a weird sort of synchronicity. The most vibrate presentation can be ruined by a dull speaker. The best speaker can be stymied by bad materials.  The audience can ruin or enhance the whole experience.

Presenters – practice if you have never presented in an online environment (WebEx, Connect, GotoMeeting, etc). Heck, practice if you are using a different program than usual, each one has neato cool stuff with different ways to use them. Gather your friends and have them log in. Record and listen to yourself. Ensure you know the program – how do you import slides, go to live websites, type text for the audience to see, etc.  Become familiar with the tools and tricks of the world you will inhabit.

Material – evaluate both the type of presentation and the audience before developing your materials.  Are you training or giving a sales/marketing pitch? Different approaches and materials will be needed. Also, check your online environment to ensure a smooth use of whatever you wish to use – does the system interact well with Prezi or does it freeze? Is there a preferred browser for websites? Find out before you spent time creating your presentation.

Audience – the key to everything. Who is going to be there? What do they expect? Is it a really big group? Is there a”live audience” with an online audience? Let’s spend some time here, mmkay?

With a mixed audience (live and online), the presenter needs to aware of the invisible audience. That microphone the techies so lovingly setup for you? It is really necessary for the online audience to hear you – even if the live audience can hear you just fine when you walk 20 feet away from the microphone. Be sure to engage the online group as well as the live folk, check the chat, repeat questions given in the live event into the microphone for the online audience.

Do you use a laser pointer? Great! You do realize the online audience has no idea you are pointing to anything, right? They cannot see the fancy cat toy burning a hole into the screen, so use your words to explain what you are doing.

In an online-only environment, the non-reaction and non-feedback can befuddle a presenter used to hearing or seeing reactions.  The presenter is generally alone in front of a computer, speaking into a headset and hoping the audience is hearing and engaging but the only way to know is if the audience types in chat, uses the online environment tools to clap or raise hands – worse is not knowing until the session ends and the evaluations are read (be sure to read these, it will help you present better in the future).

A great way to throw the presenter off-stride and to ensure the wrath of the rest of the audience is to keep the audience microphones live – ensuring all ambient noises echo thru the headsets and computer speakers across the land. It is wonderful to be able to ask questions in an online event. It is great to be able to speak rather than type into chat (although chat is really my fav). However. The dogs barking, the doorbells ringing, the potato chip crunching, and the general static sound of several microphones will distract the audience from whatever the presenter is presenting. The best presenter with an awesome presentation will fail when the audience cannot hear.

Hands up – how many have attended a session online where one of the audience members puts the session on hold and everyone in the room is overcome with hold music? Please tell me that wasn’t you. BTW, Presenters, when someone puts you on hold they cannot hear you ask, repeatedly, “will whoever put us on hold please take us off hold”? But is it pretty funny that you say it so many times… it’s right up there with “If you can’t hear me, please let me know”. Both statements I have heard from multiple online presenters in a variety of sessions. It never gets old. No. Really. Never.

Be the best you can be – learn to mute, practice before, learn your environment as well as your material. Now, go succeed!


January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Colleagues, Customers, Complete Strangers –

Have you noticed the Blackhole of Communication? Have you experienced the wonders and delights of non-response? Have you continued in various forms, trying to communicate in all ways possible (email didn’t work, let’s try the phone, phone didn’t work, let’s try a friend/neighbor/adjacent cube…) to finally hear back from the person who

  • was sick/in the bathroom/”unavailable”
  • was in the midst of a family emergency
  • was too busy to response
  • was [insert reason here]

The next time it happens (and it will happen again, perhaps though not with the same individual), do you wait even longer before sending another message or changing your mode of communication? Is one day long enough? Two days? A week?

When you need An Answer to a Very Important Question but that person is non-responsive, what do you do? How many channels or times do you try before you A. Give up, B. Call Someone Else, or C. Feel like stalker?

sigh. Guess I will go alone 😦

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