#Drinking Latte while black

Intersection of race and health while drinking a latte.

 

I’m going to take my blog in a different direction for a bit to discuss a difficult topic;  there are so many #whileblack posts going through social media.  Thank goodness, my story didn’t involve the police, but I felt its worth discussing.

My mother and I are visiting beautiful Santa fe, New Mexico. We decided to get brunch at a popular spot called the Tea House. While enjoying a lavender honey latte (which was wonderful as it was beautiful) a well dressed caucasian woman approached our table. She had been looking very intently at our table. Here is the best recollection I can give of our conversation:

Well Dressed Caucasian Lady: “Did you notice the picture behind you?”

Me: “No I didn’t” at which point I turn to observe a painting. All I notice is that there is a Black man drinking coffee.

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I did not get the name of the artist that made the painting; photo by Charlyce Davis

Me: “oh…I guess it’s nice”

Well Dressed Caucasian Lady: “its so interesting that your sitting beneath that picture during a time like now”

My mother and I : open mouth stare…

Well Dressed Caucasian Lady: “don’t you agree?”

Me: “I’m not sure what you mean”

But unfortunately I am sure what she means. For some unfortunate reason the well dressed lady felt a need to point out that I was Black drinking out of a coffee mug sitting beneath a painting of a black man drinking out of mug.

Well Dressed Caucasian Lady: “We need democracy now…don’t you think?”

At this point the atmosphere is very awkward. I sip my latte while my mom continues to look at the lady waiting for clarification.

I frequently discuss race issues among my black friends and family but not much with others. Being part of a minority group means very often you are the only black in an establishment. I think most of us don’t consciously think about this moment to moment. But being approached in a coffee shop and having it pointed out to you that you are a minority is taxing. We simply wanted to enjoy brunch, not get into a in depth discussion on race because we were the only blacks in the establishment.

As a physician, I am somewhat removed from many of the race issues going on. Although I have felt the effects of discrimination every step of the way, being a physician is skills driven, and many steps are blinded along the way. I am keenly aware everytime I read the news and see the ever more divisive language used that race relations are becoming more stressful all the time. But once I’m seeing patients, there is a veil of color blindness that comes. All lives matter to the healer, which makes my job easy. Every patient is important so there’s no stratifying who gets what.  The challenges of caring for patients, worrying about tackling  administrative task in a busy practice are so overwhelming, there simply wouldn’t be space for discrimination.

As a black woman on vacation without my white coat, I feel the ever present baseline vibration of racial tension.  I recently shared with friends that I am frequently followed while shopping in stores, a practice that is still very common place.  I have been blessed not to have been called any racial slurs directly to my face, I like all others of any color can sense the “Me”, “them”, “us” and “not us” that is pervasive.

I believe the Well Dressed Caucasian Lady meant no harm.  I believe that she came into the Tea House, noticed a table with two black women and probably caught herself staring.  I think she backfilled a reason with the picture, which wound up going to far and ending on an awkward note.  I certainly wish her no ill will, and honestly, she had on a beautiful turquiose necklace that was probably made locally.

My mother and I weren’t upset.  The brunch was wonderful and we were otherwise treated very well in Santa Fe.  This incident made me curious about race and health and what the current research shows.  In a future post, I will delve deeper into what the consequences racial discrimination, and how this low vibration affects health.

Why I won’t touch your cell phone…it’s basically a bodily fluid

Cell phones can add an amazing dimension to healthcare. Whereas patient used to tell me about a rash that’s now gone, now a savvy patient can snap a picture from their cell phone that I can use to make a diagnosis. Patients can keep track of blood sugars, blood pressures, activity levels, migraine attacks, sleep, etc on their cell phones. They are social tools, their with you at every outing, capturing awesome pictures and updating your social media.

They are filthy. Literally.

In a study, cultures from cell phones were found to grow Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphlococcus aureus, Enterococcus feacalis, and Bacillius¹

 

Just for kicks and giggle:

Escherichia coli and Enterococcus feacalis are coliform bacteria…yep….they’re in your poop.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes serious skin and blood stream infections.

Its for this reason that:

If I’m seeing you as a patient in the clinic, I will do everything possible not to handle your phone.

Before I touch your cell phone, I will wear gloves as if handling any other bodily fluid.

Keeping your phone clean:

Some studies show that a case on your cell phone can reduce the amount of bacteria.

You can reduce the amount of bacterial contamination by wiping the phone down with diluted rubbing alcohol.

I personally use commercially available eyeglass cleaner wipes once or twice a day.

While patients are not suprised to see me put on gloves for a variety of reasons, I’m now gloving up to touch your personal electronics.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate all the readers that stop by an spend a few minutes here.

  1.  Akinyemi, K. O., Atapu, A. D., Adetona, O. O., & Coker, A. O. (2009). The potential role of mobile phones in the spread of bacterial infections. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries,3(08). doi:10.3855/jidc.556

 

Resource for High Deductible/Uninsured Patients

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via MDsave – Feels Better Already

 

I was reminded today of this excellent resource for patients who have high deductibles of don’t have insurance.  MDsave.com is a free service that can assist you if you are needing labs, x-rays or other medical procedures.  Although the procedures are still expensive, you can save a lot of money on necessary medical care.

Doctor, my friend told me I should drink apple cider vinegar to lower my blood pressure

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“Doctor, my friend told me I should drink apple cider vinegar to lower my blood pressure, is that true?”

I get this question about once per week. Here is my confession: I cringe when I get this question. Until doing some research for this post, I had no idea if it’s a good idea to drink apple cider vinegar for health.

I first heard about taking apple cider vinegar from one of my patients when I started practice 10 years ago. I trained in internal medicine. Like most physicians I received no formal training in complementary remedies. We receive very little training in nutrition as well. After learning Reiki, and developing a real sense of holistic care, I have started taking an interest in tying diet into my recommendations.

I have been aware of patients doing this remedy, but if a patient needs treatment for something like high blood pressure or diabetes, I will recommend appropriate medical treatment, which may include some changes in nutrition.

I did a search on two of my favorite sources for information. In a previous post, I discussed consults from Dr. Google. Search engines are amazing, but when it comes to information on health related topics, I want to make sure my source is safe and trusted. If my information source is commercial, I want to understand what they are selling and why.

I rely on PubMed to search journal articles. This website is open to everyone, but the information is coming from research articles and geared towards other researchers so the information is not written for consumers. I was able to find about 6 articles addressing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

One of my other favorite sources is Nutrition Facts which is a great source of information and is non-commercial. I was able to find several relevant video post on this topic there.

Here is a brief summary of what I found.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

“…vinegar ingestion appears to enhance sugar disposal by lowering insulin resistance, which is the cause of type 2 diabetes, and indeed, vinegar ingestion does appear to improve the action of insulin in diabetics.” ¹

Apple Cider Vinegar may help with blood sugar  control in diabetics, but for many of my patients, there will be so many other health interventions we need to address, I’m not likely to make this recommendation.

Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV [apple cider vinegar] exhibited toxicity even at concentrations as low as 0.7%²

This particular study found that apple cider vinegar can kill yeast, but even in a very diluted form, could prove harmful to living cells.

Esophageal burns have been caused by use of vinegar tablets (also see http://www.nutritionfacts.org)

There are likely thousands of online posts concerning the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I’m thankful that I’ve had a chance to decide how I will advise patients. There likely is some benefit to apple cider vinegar, but to be on the safe side, it’s probably best to use it as a condiment, and avoid consuming it by itself. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, it won’t likely replace your current medication.

Thanks for visiting. I am so thankful that this blog is giving me space to dig deeper into these kind of issues.

Also, I welcome comments if there is any topic you would like me to address.

 

  1.  https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vinegar-mechanisms-side-effects/
  2. Gopal J, Anthonydhason V, Muthu M, Gansukh E, Jung S, Chul S, Iyyakkannu S. Authenticating apple cider vinegar’s home remedy claims: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties and cytotoxicity aspect. Nat Prod Res. 2017 Dec 11:1-5.

Coffee Is the Best Drink…

Next to water, Coffee is the best drink, literally.  I came across this excellent study this morning:

 

I love coffee.  I come from a coffee drinking family, so for us, getting out of bed without a cup of coffee means someone must be getting a surgery.  Coffee has been noted recently to have many health benefits, but literally, drinking coffee reduces your chance of dying.  

The study mentions that decaf has a health benefit for those that don’t want caffeine.

I like my coffee with cream or any milk, or black.  Sometimes I add one drop of doTERRA Cinnamon Bark to add flavor and an extra metabolism boost.

Thanks for visiting, got grab yourself of coffee.

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I am a Doterra wellness advocate, and I’m happy to answer any questions about getting started with essential oils.  More information can be found here.

Depletion and your physical body

via Daily Prompt: Deplete

I am still learning the ropes of blogging. As a doctor I discuss depletion most days. Here is my quick thoughts on how a depletions shows up.

Water Depletion:

Signs of Water Depletion:

Headache

Dry mouth

Muscle aches

Fatigue

Bladder spasms (feeling like you have a bladder infection when you don’t)

Remedy:

Sipping on more water throughout the day.

Potassium Depletion:

Signs of potassium depletion

Muscle cramps

Fatigue

Poor sleep quality

Remedy

Consume any citrus, mango, or and vegetable regularly throughout the day

Magnesium Depletion:

Signs of Depletion

Generalized pain

Constipation

Remedy

Eat more beans or legumes

Sleep Depletion (Sleep Deprived)

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Poor memory

Poor focus

Anxiety

Depression

Remedy

A power nap

Start evening routine 15 minutes earlier

Depletion of Stillness

Signs of a depletion of stillness

Insomnia

Feeling rushed

Rapid breathing

Remedy

Starting meditation

Stop and smell the flowers

Say no to one task today

This is a very quick list and by no means all inconclusive.

I have been inspired by so many other bloggers since starting my blog. Thank you so much for reading.