“I Swear I Heard a Strange Popping Noise as Her Brain Misfired”

The below, recounting 4th year medical student _Haliax_ witnessing his attending physician’s interaction with a mother who did not want to vaccinate her children because, you know, 9/11, chemtrails, and other conspiracy theories including vaccine conspiracies, has been making the rounds of the Internet (Facebook, etc.) as a screenshot. So of course, before posting it, I wanted to verify the authenticity of that screenshot, and of the source. I have now done so.

The below was originally posted on Reddit, in the AskReddit subReddit (known to the Reddit crowd as simply a “sub”, as in “in the AskReddit sub”), in response to a post titled “Doctors of Reddit, what are some of your anti-vax parent stories?” It was posted by the user who goes by the username of _Haliax_. It was originally posted in May of 2019, however this particular response seems as apt today as then. Here’s the post:

4th year med student reporting in.

Had a rotation with a pediatrician where we ended up in the classic encounter with an anti-vaccination parent.

This lady was a conspiracy theory magnet. She casually mentioned everything from 9/11 to chemtrails. Of course she loved the idea of the vaccine conspiracy as well, opting to not protect her one year old to stick it to big pharma.

I relayed all of this to my attending after my exam (I would see the patient first, gather history and do my exam to present to my attending physician). He got this sort of lazy smirk on his face that screamed “watch this”.

We go back into the exam room and we cover all of the important bits of a well-child encounter. Growth charts, behavioral milestones, nutrition, sleep…

And then we get to vaccines. She lists approximately 15 reasons why vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against (lol) in addition to the various evils of the pharmaceutical industry.

My attending listens quietly until she’s done with her soapbox (about one eternity later), and then interjects with:

“Have you considered the possibility that anti-vaccine propaganda could be an attempt by the Russians or the Chinese to weaken the health of the United States population?”

In a moment of catastrophic cognitive dissonance, I swear I heard a strange popping noise as her brain misfired. It actually broke her. The allure of the increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theory was just too strong.

She ended up agreeing to a modified vaccine schedule. I was flabbergasted. My attending just grinned at me in response. To this day I’m not sure the medical ethics of the situation are totally palatable, but goddamn the result was amazing.

Anne’s Tips for How to Get Along with Just One Hand

These are my tips for temporarily (or permanently) living with just one hand. A few weeks ago I broke my wrist (or, rather, had it broken for me). This has meant that I have had a crash course in how to live and get along with the use of only one arm, and just one hand. In addition to my wrist being broken, I had to have surgery on it, and a metal plate put in it, which means that I will not be able to use my left arm at all for at least a total of two months.

At least I have a good story, as when people ask me how I broke my wrist I am able to truthfully answer “dancing!”

In the few short weeks since that fateful night, I have learned a number of tips and tricks (or “hacks”, in Internet parlance) that have made it much, MUCH easier for me to adapt to only being able to use one hand. So I figured I would share them in case others find themselves in the same situation. In fact, I have been sharing some of them on Facebook and people seem to find them useful, or at least interesting.

I will be adding to this regularly, starting with a few tips and then adding others (because hey, doing this one-handed!)

Where applicable I am including links to items, and pictures if useful.

Please feel free to add you own one hand tips in a comment!

Good luck with your one-handed journey, whether temporary or permanent!

Anne’s Tips for Temporarily Living with Just One Hand

Anne’s Tip for Living with Just One Hand #1:
Get this ingenious one-handed jar opener!

This brilliant device is called the Belliclamp Jar & Bottle Opener (Get it? Belly clamp). This is because it is essentially a vise for jars and bottles, and you hold the bottle or jar in place with your belly or hip, freeing up your good hand to twist the top off.

one handed jar opener


one handed bottle opener

You can get the Belliclamp One-handed Jar & Bottle Opener here on Amazon.

Don’t let the anticipated shipping time on the Amazon site scare you, I got mine within a week of ordering it.


Anne’s Tip for Living with Just One Hand #2:
Have your hair washed and braided at the hairdresser

Unless your hair is very short, go to the hairdresser and have them wash your hair for you and then put it in a couple of French braids. You would be amazed at how long your hair will last in this way (I only need to do it about once a week) and your hair will look much nicer, not to mention it being less of a hassle! As a side benefit, it will be much more comfortable sleeping with a braid on either side of your head!

have the hairdresser wash and braid your hair for you


Anne’s Tip for Living with Just One Hand #3:
Modify a big hoodie!

Buy a really big hoodie with a zipper down the front. Cut the cuff off the arm on the side where your cast or splint or a brace or bandage is. The arm of the hoodie, without the cuff, will slide easily over your injured arm, and you can roll the end of the sleeve up a little bit, and roll the cuff on the other sleeve up, and it will be barely noticeable that the two sleeves are different.

And, as an added benefit, pockets!

modify a big hoodie


Anne’s Tip for Living with Just One Hand #4:
Put your food in big Pyrex measuring cups!

Use big Pyrex measuring cups for your food instead of regular bowls and plates, they come with handles!

In the picture below, I have salad in the 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, and hummus and crackers in the 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup. (Hint: a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup perfectly holds a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, container and all! ;-))

put your food in big Pyrex measuring cups with handles

You can order a set of 4-cup and 8-cup Pyrex measuring cups together here on Amazon.


Upcoming tips: [Update on 3/10/22: I just realized that I never did the rest of the tips, owing to the fact that shortly after my wrist surgery I found myself having a hip replacement, and then I was caught up in that. But I will try to still get to these tips now that I’ve been reminded – I’m sorry about that!]

Tall deodorant
Simply home trashcan
Light dimmer
Rubber discs
Proxy brushes
Front close bra
Cast cover for shower
Have chef cut up food
Lever door knobs
Dictation software
Pyrex measuring cups with handles
Air fryer
Letter opener
Scissors everywhere
Long handled screwdriver
Weighted tape dispenser

Here’s What Moon Juice Means by a Small Spoonful or Heaping Spoonful

Moon Juice, purveyor of incredible plant-sourced edible dusts and powders to enhance beauty, spirit, sleep, brain function, and even sex, ships their powders and dusts with instructions to use either a “small spoonful,” a “spoonful,” or a “heaping spoonful.” But what exactly do they mean by a “spoonful”? Is it a teaspoon? A tablespoon? Something else? Well, I found out directly from MoonJuice.

First, if you’re not familiar with Moon Juice, here’s how they describe their products:

We celebrate the unadulterated, exquisite flavors and healing force of raw vegetables, fruits, petals, herbs, roots, nuts and seaweeds as daily nourishment, beauty tools and high-powered natural remedies. Explore our organic pressed juices, Moon Milks, Cosmic Provisions, the Moon Pantry and our Moon Dust collection.

As Muses and Visionaries (M&V) magazine explains, “Moon Juice doesn’t rely on cheap tricks; it relies on magic. A California holistic food pantry and apothecary created by Amanda Chantal Bacon, the company pro- duces mystical tonics, juices, milks and snacks aimed at enhancing nature’s healing powers.”

Now I don’t know about the “magic” part, but I will say that both their powders and their Moon Dusts are incredible!

However, their powders all come with use directions such as “blend a small spoonful” or “blend a spoonful” or “blend a heaping spoonful” into nut milk, tea, a smoothie, etc., and nowhere does it explain what exactly they mean by ‘spoonful’. Not on the products, not on their site.

So, I went straight the source, and asked them. I sent them a note saying “Can you please help me understand better what sort of measurement do you mean by “spoonful” “small spoonful” “heaping spoonful”? Is a small spoonful a measuring teaspoon? A heaping spoonful a heaping teaspoon or a heaping tablespoon? Inquiring minds want to know!”

And here, straight from Moon Juice, is the answer:

By “a small spoonful” we generally mean 1/4-1/2 tsp. Start with 1/4 tsp and if you feel the need to add more over time go for it!! Every body is different so we really try to make general guidelines.

By a heaping spoonful we generally mean a heaping teaspoon. Again, it’s all subjective to you and how you react! Feel free to start with a regular teaspoon at first (like with the Maca as it is energy boosting!) and go up (or down) from there depending on how it works with your body. It’s really a learning process, just listen to your body 🙂

Here’s a simplified chart for Moon Juice spoonfuls:

Small spoonful: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon
Spoonful: 1 teaspoon
Heaping Spoonful: Heaping teaspoon

If you want to check Moon Juice out, you can get 20% off your first order by starting here:

Visit Moon Juice and get 20% off your order

Yay, Atenolol Makes My Cat Thirsty and Pee Everywhere

Is atenolol making your cat urinate everywhere and also very thirsty? Inappropriate urination is not listed as a side effect of atenolol (frequently misspelled as ‘atenelol’), and so your vet may not believe you that your cat started peeing everywhere and became crazy-thirsty while on atenolol (Tenormin), but I believe you.

This all started when our vet detected a heart murmur in our cat, Charlie. He prescribed atenelol, which reduces the beats per minute (BPM), so that the heart isn’t working harder than it ought.

According to 1800PetMeds, “Atenolol is a beta-blocker used to treat certain heart conditions such as arrhythmias. It may also be used to lower blood pressure and treat enlarged hearts in cats.”

It is also used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in cats. The first treatment for feline HCM listed by the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine is controlling heart rate, which atenelol does.

Technically, that is with what Charlie was diagnosed at his most recent checkup.

Anyways, Charlie has always been prone to peeing where he shouldn’t. It started the day that we returned home from a vacation, and he expressed his pleasure at seeing us by peeing on my pillow. (Of course I’m being sarcastic there – he was expressing his displeasure at our having been gone. He’s an articulate little bugger.)

Once he did that, the floodgates opened, as it were, and he started peeing on any soft thing left on the floor. No longer could we have area rugs – but it was great incentive to not leave clothes on the floor.

Eventually, though, he calmed down, and so long as we didn’t leave a tempting t-shirt on the floor, the house stayed mostly dry.

Enter atenolol.

We’ve tried him on it a few time. Each time, the record reflects (by which I mean his medical records) that there was an increase in his peeing anywhere and everywhere (mostly in corners, on the hard floors, because we had all of our carpeted floors gated beyond his reach). My vet recently told me that it was noted in Charlie’s chart that the last time this happened, we added amitriptyline (Elavil) to Charlie’s medications, and that helped with the urination.

So, this most recent time of trying the atenolol again, I noted the appearance of two phenomena almost immediately: Charlie started peeing all over the place again, and Charlie started demanding water, water, everywhere.

My vet advised all of the standard ‘inappropriate urine elimination’ measures, clean litter box, etc..and of course the Feliway or other cat pheromone devices.

Not to be so easily thwarted, he started peeing right next to the pheromone diffusers (Charlie, not my vet).

The cat pheromones are typically used to help calm a cat down – they can help with inappropriate elimination in cases where the cat is doing it to mark his territory, etc.. This clearly wasn’t one of those situations.

Plus, there was the increased water intake piece.

Charlie had at one time had a habit of running to the sink ahead of your walking into the bathroom or the kitchen, jumping onto the sink, and loudly demanding that you turn on the water for him to drink. But he hadn’t done it in ages.

Then, within a day or so of starting up the atenolol again, he started demanding water again – he was clearly very thirsty.

Of course, the increase in water intake most likely has something to do with the increased urine output, but not, mechanically at least, with where that output was occurring. (I should add here that Charlie does use the litter box, for both urinating and number two.)

So, I stopped the atenolol again, about two days ago, and yes, his demanding water has all but stopped; and I’m monitoring to see if the urinating where he shouldn’t stops as well.

Anyways, I am posting this primarily for others who may be noting the same symptoms once their cat has started on atenolol, because there is nothing on the Internet that talks about this.

By the way, this article in Veterinary Practice News on inappropriate feline urinating is, hands down, the best resource I have ever seen on the subject of how to deal with your cat peeing everywhere.

Just What is Corset Waist Training? Let Me Explain

Today I came across the term “corset waist training”, which of course led me to wonder “What is corset waist training??” If you, like me, are wondering just what is corset waist training (also known as “tightlacing”), well you’re in luck, because I’ve figured (no pun intended) it out for you.

Corset waist training is pretty much exactly how it sounds: you “train” your waist, by wearing a corset.

Now at this point you may be thinking “train my waist to do what, exactly? To roll over? Shake? Speak?” (Actually my waist already does two out of three of those, with no training at all, thank you very much.)

Corset waist training is the practice of lacing (also known as “tightlacing”) yourself into a corset, on a regular basis, to ‘train’ your waist (your waistline) to become, well, smaller. And by ‘a regular basis’ what is meant is anywhere from 8 or more hours a day to 23 hours a day, all in name of trying to acheive an hourglass figure that your body, having been punished into, will retain for increasingly extended periods of time.

There are different methods of corset waist training out there, including the Cycle method of corset waist training (where you wear the corset as tightly as you can stand it for as much of the day as you can, then ‘listen to your body’ and let it out when you must), and the Roller Coaster method of corset waist training (different durations of corset wearing on alternating days).

According to some, one of the most important things in corset waist training is the material from which the corset is made. It turns out, I have learned in my research, that you can’t go for a cheap knock-off waist training corset, oh no. Those cheap knockoffs use plastic bones, and what you need to lace your waist into submission is a corset made with steel bones. (The cheap knockoffs sell for a fraction of the ‘real thing’, the latter of which can run from $400 to $1000, according to this article on corset waist training.)

Also, according to Lucy’s Corsetry there are several other factors, along with corset quality, that go into how effective your waist training will be. These include body type (including your internal organs and whether or not you’ve had a baby), and your lifestyle and exercise habits.

Apparently women are also squishing and reshaping their ribcage, as, for example, Lucy’s Corsetry advises that another factor is “Are your ribs flexible and are you able to accommodate corsets with a conical ribcage easily, or is your ribcage very inflexible and difficult to move? Those who are easily able to train their ribs are likely to see faster waist training results than those whose ribs are very rigid,” and “If you want to train your ribcage, you might need a corset with a conical ribcage, which gradually tapers down and increases the pressure on the lower ribcage.”

Recently Kardashian sisters Kim and Khloe have shared selfies of themselves wearing their waist training corsets.

Kim Kardashian (left) and Khloe Kardashian (right)
show off their waist training corsets


Personally, I don’t think it makes their waists look smaller as much as it makes their hips and backsides look a lot bigger. But seeing as that’s Kim’s signature big body part, I guess that’s not surprising.

If you are thinking that all of this sounds questionable when it comes to health and safety, well, you’re not alone.

Says nutritionist and fitness expert to the stars, J.J. Virgin, in an interview with Fox News, “People should know better. This is so ridiculous. You are blocking oxygen, reducing flow to your lungs, heart and other organs which in turn slows metabolism as your cells become deprived of oxygen.”

“Organ failure can also occur. In a word: don’t,” added Virgin.

Words to live by, quite literally.

How to Get Rid of Static in Your Hair in 3 Easy Steps

During the winter months, especially for those of us with very fine hair, getting rid of static electricity in our hair can be a real problem. Off comes the hat, and out come the flyaways – enough static in your hair to make it look like you’ve got your hand on an invisible Van De Graaff generator. Here’s how to remedy staticy hair in 3 easy steps.

how to get rid of static in hair

Step 1

Use a really decent amount of a good quality conditioner on your hair in the shower. Especially along the length of your hair and on the ends. I keep a wide-toothed comb in the shower and comb it through, to make sure that my hair is evenly coated. I also wash my hair first when in the shower, and pile my conditioner-saturated hair on top of my head with a wide-toothed hair clip, so that it really soaks in while I am in the shower.

Step 2

When you get out of the shower, if at all possible, don’t brush or comb your hair (which you shouldn’t do while it’s wet anyways – except of course when you are running conditioner through it in the shower). Instead, use your fingers as combs to detangle your hair and arrange it as you want it. Then let it air dry!

Step 3

Get rid of your plastic (usually nylon) bristled brushes and plastic toothed combs, at least for the winter. Instead, use metal (hair metal, it’s not just for glam bands any more!), preferably stainless steel.

But here’s the thing: stainless steel combs made for people are very expensive!

Don’t believe me? Check out this $39.00 stainless steel comb!

Now check out this stainless steel dog comb:

Now, if you want to spend $39.00 on a comb, that’s your business. But I’d rather have the dog comb (and I do!) and take myself to dinner and a movie with the $31.50 I saved. And really, who’s going to know it’s a dog comb?

Hair brushes with metal bristles (technically called “pins”) are more reasonably priced for people:

These three easy steps should help get you all the way there – or at least nearly all the way there (they have certainly helped me). For extra dry staticy days, spray a little leave-in conditioner on your hands (not your hair), or on your (metal!) brush, and then apply it with your hands or brush down the length of your hair. I use ACURE Organic Argan Oil leave-in conditioner, because I love it, and it makes my hair soft but not flat or weighed down, and it does take care of that last little bit of static.

I live in bone-dry, cold Colorado, and these steps have helped me immensely. I hope that they help you as much as they have helped me!

How to Pack Padded, Fitted or Formed Bras for Travel in Your Luggage

Go to any high end department or lingerie store and you will get the same advice: don’t fold your padded, formed, or fitted bras with the cups nesting in each other! By turning one cup inside-out, you will damage and ultimately break down that cup. So just how are you supposed to pack your padded or fitted bras in your luggage?

Well, you could buy one of these molded travel cases made for padded bras, but they are bulky, taking up way too much space in your suitcase, and adding too much weight.

So here’s what I do. For this you will need:

2 quart-size plastic food storage bowls
1 medium packing cube (I like this set)
Your padded bras

how to pack padded bras


Arrange the two bowls in your packing cube like this:

how to pack padded bras


Place your first padded bra cup-down into the bowls (one cup in each bowl):

how to pack padded bras


Nest your other padded bras, one at a time, on top:

how to pack padded bras


One at a time, starting with the top-most bra (the one you put in last) and working your way down to the bottom-most bra (the one you put in first), fold the straps into the cups:

how to pack padded bras


At this point you can either flip the whole thing over and zip up your packing cube, or just zip up your packing cube without flipping the bras and bowls over – whichever works best for you. Be sure that the rims of the bowls aren’t pinching your padding, and if you need to, put a rolled up pair of socks or something else inside the cups (depending on your bra cup size, the straps may not sufficiently fill the cups to give them the support that they need):

how to pack padded bras


how to pack padded bras


As you can see, this is way less bulky than a special case!

How the Government Knows if You Have Health Insurance

How does the government know whether you have health insurance? A lot has been made of the government mandate, under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), or “ObamaCare”, that everybody has to have health insurance, or pay a penalty. This penalty is known as the “shared responsibility penalty”. But how do they know?

I was very curious about this, and so I did some research.

As it turns out, starting next year (2015) there will be a section on your Federal tax return in which you will have to confirm that you have health insurance, or pay the penalty if you don’t.

In otherwords, it will be self-reported.

But before you think “Well, I can just say that I do when I don’t,”, bear in mind that your Social Security Number (“SSN”) is tied not only to your tax return, but also to your health insurance – it’s one of the first things that insurers (and indeed, medical providers) ask for these days. So, while you might get away with it, you might not – and especially if you are audited.

Moreover, employers are now required to report employer-provided health insurance on your W-2. Says the IRS:

The value of the health care coverage will be reported in Box 12 of the Form W-2, with Code DD to identify the amount. There is no reporting on the Form W-3 of the total of these amounts for all the employer’s employees.

In general, the amount reported should include both the portion paid by the employer and the portion paid by the employee. See the chart, below, and the questions and answers for more information.

An employer is not required to issue a Form W-2 solely to report the value of the health care coverage for retirees or other employees or former employees to whom the employer would not otherwise provide a Form W-2.

It’s not too far of a stretch to imagine that for any return that does not have a value in Box 12 of the W-2, those returns will be flagged for closer scrutiny, looking specifically at the section on health insurance.

Vegetarian and Vegan Hemorrhoid Treatment

Conscientious vegetarians and vegans who are having problems with hemorrhoids have for years had nowhere to turn for hemorrhoid relief. Most if not all hemorrhoid ointments and hemorrhoid creams (in fact, generally all hemorrhoid products) contained, among other things, shark oil (technically shark liver oil). The best known hemorrhoid ointment, Preparation H, was infamous for its use of shark’s liver oil. Now, however, we are happy to report, there are several hemorrhoid treatments from Preparation H that not only do not contain shark oil, but are completely vegan, and all of them are vegetarian.

I know this because this week I spoke with Emily, a customer service representative with the Preparation H brand (their parent company is Pfizer). Please note that I do not know about Pfizer’s animal testing policies, and so that is a separate question. What I know is about the ingredients in their hemorrhoid products.

No Preparation H product sold within the United States contains shark liver oil

As of the writing of this article (August 13, 2013) all of their products are vegetarian (meaning that they contain no ingredients for which an animal had to die), and in fact only two of their products contain any animal products at all – and those products are bees wax and lanolin.

The following Preparation H products contain no animal ingredients:

Preparation H Cooling Gel
Preparation H Cream
Preparation H Suppositories

The following Preparation H products contain either lanolin or beeswax:

Preparation H Ointment (beeswax)
Preparation H Wipes (lanolin)

There is also a homeopathic hemorrhoid cream out there, that is vegan, called Nelsons H Plus Care Hemorrhoid Cream. It is available from Amazon here.

Searches that led to this article: https://www mangemerde com/vegetarian-and-vegan-hemorrhoid-treatment/,  http://www mangemerde com/vegetarian-and-vegan-hemorrhoid-treatment/,  

Postpartum Fear of Flying

It’s like the unholy love child of Brooke Shields and Erica Jong: postpartum fear of flying. It turns out that while nobody talks about postpartum fear of flying, and while postpartum fear of flying does not even seem to be a recognized “diagnosis”, lots of people – mothers in particular, but also fathers, experience a new and sudden fear of flying once they become parents. It starts post partum, but it lasts for years.

If you suffer or have suffered from postpartum fear of flying, read on, and share your story!

For myself, I used to be a very frequent flyer. In fact, I was flying on my own from a very young age, and never had a problem with flying – at all.

That all changed when I had my first child, at age 20 (planned, thank you very much!) Suddenly I was gripped by an icy cold fear around my heart at the very thought of getting on an airplane. In fact, the thought of flying filled me not just with dread, but with outright terror.

Interestingly, at around the time that my daughter hit her mid teens, my fear of flying eased up, and I even willingly boarded planes again.

It was then that I started to connect the dots, and theorized that perhaps the sudden onset of my fear of flying was related to the overwhelming responsibility of being responsible for the safety and well-being of my child. And that, as she reached an age where, sure, she might miss me if I perished, she would be ok without me.

I really didn’t think a whole lot more about it until I had my son, several years later. Instantly that fear of flying returned. I would do – and have done – anything to avoid getting on an airplane. Fortunately I adore travelling by train, and so many trips between California and Colorado have been enjoyed on Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

But now, as my son hits his mid-teens, and I have some travelling to do this year, I find myself actually contemplating flying again, and without being seized with terror. In fact, I’m contemplating not just a flight for a conference from state-to-state, but a 15-hour flight to another country.

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “that’s interesting. This is the identical experience I had with my daughter.”

I mentioned this to a friend of mine – a very hands-on single father, and it turns out that he too has had the same experience. No problem flying at all, until he became a parent, and then – boom – fear of flying.

I’ve had other friends mention that they have experienced this as well.

So, to all of you people out there who have experienced postpartum fear of flying – you are not alone. And it does get better.