Feedback is not just for Hi-Fi Systems

Wanna tell me what you think? Email me at and I may just devote an entire entry to your comment.

Why Tuesday?

The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seeing things Differently

Last week I lost my reading glasses.

Don’t feel sorry for me my dear girlfriends… this is not a new occurrence. In fact lately I would argue that I lose my reading glasses as often as I can. This is pair number five in the last three months.

Considering I only started wearing reading glasses less than a year ago, give me time and I would argue, that I could get rather good at this.

I’ve lost all kinds of reading glasses. The really pretty designer ones that cost just enough to make me feel better about getting older to the cheap drugstore 10 dollar ones my mother wears and I swore I never would.

I’ve lost black ones that I bought to make me look smarter and tortoise shell cats’ eye frames to make me look like Tom Ford is my boyfriend. Pick a colour and pick a frame and I have lost it.

On Friday I found myself at the Joe Fresh section of the Great Canadian Superstore. Reading glasses were 50% off. Jackpot. For seven dollars a pair I can now lose my glasses for almost the price of a ginger martini. If I give up cocktails all together, I may just be on to something.

I’ve tried my dear girlfriends. I’ve tried to be more responsible. I’ve bought lovely stylish chains to wear around me neck to link my glasses into. I AM a somewhat responsible person. I AM NOT A LOSER.

But give me a pair of +1.25 magnifying spectacles and I lose perspective, reason and the damn glasses.

Here’s the thing…. I’m actually short sighted. Not in life, but in vision. I am in fact, as they say, myopic.

Four years ago I had laser surgery.

Yes, I paid good hard earned shoe money to have some lovely Ophthalmologist point and shoot a laser to each of my eyes and reshape each of my corneas with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Two milligrams of Ativan and ten minutes later I had 20/20 vision and one hell of a buzz.

Days before the procedure, I remember Dr. V. (my Ophthalmologist) telling me about the healing process and explaining the surgery to me in great detail. I remember him giving me a variety of prescriptions for eye drops and expressly detailing for me the scheduling for the eye drops.

I also remember him telling me that eventually around age 40, I might need reading glasses.

Days after the procedure, my drops were well underway, my eyes healing and I relished my time spent on a couch with fabulous sunglasses watching cooking shows and reruns of Project Runway.

As for the warning for a future need for reading glasses…. POOF. GONE.

Now three years later… drops are long gone and I am losing reading glasses as the new Olympic sport.

According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction. About 64% of them wear eyeglasses, and about 11% wear contact lenses, either exclusively, or with glasses.

Over half of all women and about 42% of men wear glasses. Similarly, more women than men, 18% and 14% respectively, wear contacts. Of those who use both contacts and eyeglasses, 62% wear contact lenses more often.

Approximately 30% of the American and Canadian population is near-sighted or myopic. About 60% of the population is far-sighted; they have trouble reading or seeing things “close up” without glasses, but can focus well at a distance.

As people age, they are more likely to need vision correction for far-sightedness. About 25% of people who wear glasses to see distances will end up needing reading glasses or bifocals, as they get older.

Certain types of visual disturbances affect some races more frequently. Asian Americans, for example, are more likely to be near-sighted than Caucasians. African-Americans have the lowest incidence of near-sightedness, but are more prone to cataracts than Caucasians.

And so having lasered my eyes I thought my days of glasses would be somewhere perhaps in my distant future.


Instead I’m wearing reading glasses… that is when I can find them.

Make no mistake, I love being far sighted. I love NOT wearing contacts. As a swimmer, it is a dream come true to not worry about corrective lenses in an ocean or a pool.

And yes, forty is upon me.  I can handle to wrinkles and the fact that gravity works. I can handle the grey hair and the chin hair and the new need for “age appropriate” wardrobe pieces.

Hell, I don’t mind putting on a pair of reading glasses to see the price tag on the fabulous red soles I deserve to have just so I can cushion the blow of it all.

Why? Because God is a woman with a shitty sense of sisterhood and if that how she is going to play it…. Bring it on.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a pair of $7 glasses in order to edit my post. Bless you my sisters… AMEN.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Measuring my Life in Coffee Cups

Oh, my girlfriends, we al make life choices don’t we? Who we are is merely a compilation of all the things we have decided to do. Some of them are far more calculated, others fleeting.

The Mary Katrantzou skinny jeans I am currently sporting with the fabulous soda can print do in fact make me feel like a rock star despite the fact that my beloved does not agree that they are indeed a life altering piece of clothing (Don’t mind him my girlfriends- sometimes as perfect as he is- the dude lacks vision). This was a life choice that I truly feel self actualized about and one I will defend until the end.

As for my other life choices? There are quite a few. I find many of them do require a variety of defense levels under certain circumstances.

I don’t have children, for example. I am one of those rare birds in the world (heads up- we’re 40% of the female population) that is indeed childless by choice. I never really wanted kids, to be frank. Quite honestly, the only time I feel the need to explain or even defend this position is usually to a couple sporting a baby and asking me with a grin, “would you just love one of these????”

I don’t like driving a car. I hate being confined behind a wheel or in traffic and subject to rules of a road. I never want to own another car again. I want to ensure that the rest of my life is structured such that I never have to drive a car on a regular basis EVER AGAIN. This sometimes offends people’s belief system in that they feel that my life choice is a direct reflection on theirs. It’s not. I just don’t lie to drive.

On the fashion front- I LIKE spending a stupid amount of money on shoes. I know it’s frivolous and unnecessary, but it’s my life choice. I pay for my own shoes and no one gets hurt in the process. And yet, I still somehow (real or not) feel the need to defend my life’s purchases. Insert sad face here.

As for my food choices? Yes, I’m vegetarian, mostly vegan. Vegan, nonjudgement as I call it. It works for me, thus far, to eat a whole foods, plant based diet and that’s the way, aha, aha, I like it, aha, aha.

I think we all live in judgement of one another’s life choices and somehow, I am okay with it. How we perceive one another really is often how we get by in the world and form our own perceptions. Let’s be honest, how we look at one another is often a reflection of how we look at ourselves. I’m not opposed to us looking at a particular situation and asking ourselves how we feel about it. I think it is perfectly fine to have an opinion about something. In fact I would argue that much of our society breaks down when indeed we lack opinions and beliefs about certain issues.

Where I do draw the line, however is when those judgements become so vocalized as to polarize a nation. When your beliefs become the basis of a binomial decision making process (right or wrong), well, then, Houston, we do indeed have a problem.

I make this point because I have found that my consumption of coffee does indeed offend people. I should say that I am indeed a BIG coffee drinker. I can easily consume a dozen cups daily if given the chance. No, I no longer drink coffee by the pot load but let’s just say, I have indeed cut down to the espresso equivalent of 6 shots a day.

I can’t help it. I love coffee. I love all kinds of coffee. Americano, plain drip, and French roast- you name it. I love it a certain way- skinny with legs. I am as particular about my coffee as most people are about their most intimate of things.

In fact I would argue that coffee is indeed a personal expression of the highest order. Ask someone how he or she takes their coffee and they will indeed show you who they are.

I am an Americano with cream and 3 splenda- translation? I’m authentic but with flare. I like a real coffee but I want it with just enough of a high maintenance to have my signature on it.

As a doctor, I am often asked to defend my coffee choices. I had long shrugged off many a judgemental derision to my caffeine consumption as necessary means for staying awake and engaging in the maintenance of another’s well being. That, or I typically just told the inquiring individual who challenged my 3-4 cup a day habit that it was, “none of their fucking business”.

But now, dear girlfriends, I stand vindicated of my caffeinated choices by none other than my good friends at the New England Journal of Medicine.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2012 showed that coffee consumption in fact lowers a person’s risk of mortality.

The study examined the association of coffee drinking with total and cause specific mortality among more than 400,000 Americans ages 50-71 years old. The study, conducted through he National Institute of Health, looked at 229,119 men and 173,141 women and their dietary habits. The study examined coffee consumption at baseline through a self-questionnaire and then followed participants from 1995 to 2008. During this period of time 33,731 men and 18,784 women died.

After adjusting for age and other risk factors including smoking the study showed that women who drank one cup of coffee per day had 5% less mortality than those who did not consume any coffee. Mortality rates further dropped as follows: 13% less for 2 cups a day, 14% less for 3 cups a day and 15% less for 4-5 cups per day. There were similar results among the men in the study as well.

These results were similar among subgroups who had never smoked or who reported having very good health.

Overall the study is definitely interesting. Although not a perfect trial it does not assure people that coffee saves lives. What it does indeed do is suggest that coffee consumption is NOT harmful.  Sure it has its flaws but one thing is for sure- I now longer have to defend my coffee consumption. Yes my girlfriends, another life choice that science can in fact defend along with me.

Here is where I sit back and enjoy my Americano while I wait for the evidence on the benefits of fashion to cure cancer….if only, my sisters… amen.

Monday, May 14, 2012

And on the 7th Day... She Rested

Dear girlfriends... I've struggled with this for a while- well a week, actually. To be clear, I'm taking the week off. No my cybersisters... there will be no blog to get you through the next seven days... go at it alone. I know you can do it. Should you slip and faulter- get yourself to a shoe store immediately. Tune in next week when I will of course make up for the absence.

Thanks in advance for understanding. Afterall, what are girlfriends for?