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Why I Have a Podcast

I have to confess something to you: I like blogging more than I like podcasting.  There are a number of reasons for this: my podcast has a deadline, my blog does not; my podcast doesn't have direct feedback from listeners like my blog does; I have more freedom in topic selection for my blog.  But the main reason for this is that I consider my blog an extension of me as a person.  I can express myself in any area of my person, be it humorous, serious, angry, or sad.  Blogging is personal.

So why do I continue to podcast?  One of the main topics I leave off of my blog is medical advice.  I don't tell you what to do if...whatever.  I don't explain medical things, instead focusing on the process of seeing a doctor.  My podcast is the vehicle that fills that gap.  I am able to tell listeners (and readers on the website) what I tell my patients in the exam room.  I value having educated patients, finding them much easier to treat than those who just "take my word for it."  They catch me when I make a mistake.  They ask better questions.  They are more motivated to follow my recommendations because they understand why I am giving them.

The podcast has been a learning experience for me.  On one side I am disappointed that it hasn't become wildly popular or highly acclaimed.  My blog has surprised me with its popularity, while my podcast has done the opposite, to be honest.  On the other side, however, I feel like I am directly able to help more people through the podcast.  I have a decent following, with a growing base of listeners and an active Facebook fan page (where I get the desired interaction with listeners).  I actually wish it would be used more by docs as a means of quickly educating patients.  I wish more of my own patients would go to the podcast to find out what their doctor thinks about disease X.  But it is also good for me to have to organize my thoughts on each of these problems, think through ways to present them in a manner that is not confusing, and speak them out in a way that doesn't bore the listeners.

In short, it is good practice for the exam room.  If you haven't done so, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or read it on the Quick and Dirty Tips website.  (To put it bluntly: I am paid based on the number of downloads, so you help me out by doing so.)

Since this is a podcast organized and promoted by Macmillan publishing, the obvious question is about writing a book.  They are quite interested in me doing so, but the process of getting there is slow.  I am OK with that, as I am honestly not chomping at the bit to write a book.  Any book from the QDT side of things would be more along the lines of the podcast than the blog.  It will likely happen within the next year, but I also hope that I can eventually write something that reflects the blog's perspective.

Either way, I encourage you to get the full picture of things by keeping up with both sides of things.  Tell your friends about the podcast (or your patients, if you are a doc...or your doc, if you are a patient).

Thanks.  I really appreciate you, my readers.

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Casting Pods

I haven't been blogging as much lately.  You may have noticed.  I hear there was great celebration in Switzerland.  The main reason for this is a lack of time.  To sit and write something (especially longer posts, such as the physical exam posts) takes a good amount of time and mental energy, and much of the time I would normally devote to blogging, I am spending writing podcast episodes.

This is not all bad, because I really like doing the podcast.  I like it for entirely different reasons than those that make blogging so fun; the focus of the podcast is education.  The audience is the non-medical population.  Blogging, on the other hand, I do predominantly for myself.  I enjoy voicing my opinion, making people laugh, and having people laugh at my opinion.  Blogging is more play than it is work, while podcasting is somewhere in between.

All this is to say that if you are not listening to the podcast yet, please do (subscribing on iTunes is best for me).  It may even be worth listening if you are a physician or other medical professional, as I write these to address common questions patients have.  I want this to be a tool for docs to be able to get questions answered accurately and easily without necessitating a phone call or office visit.  I want to make things easier for myself, and so would as a consequence make things easier for other docs in my position.

I am also working on a possible book through Macmillan that would be somewhere between the podcast and the blog.  The humor I use in the blog is much more natural for me than spoken humor in a podcast - I had to really refine that humor over time.  Writing a book is back to the blog humor I am very familiar with.  We'll see.

Another thing: March is our social media push.  I am competing against the other QDT podcasters to see if we can get the most new Twitter and Facebook followers.  If you are not following me on twitter, go to http://twitter.com/housecalldoc, and if you are not following on Facebook, please join my fan page.  I want to show the other QD hosts who rules the roost.  Besides, they are giving out a TV set as a prize.

Don't worry about the blog.  It's too much a part of me now to ever give up.  I have about 5 or 6 half-written posts (as opposed to my usual half-witted posts).  I like my readers a lot and enjoy the whole process of blogging.  I just need to hit a new rhythm with my writing.

Just thought you needed to know.

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New Podcast Up: Attention Deficit Part 2

The ongoing saga of ADD (and sometimes H) continues on today's podcast.  I go into more details about how to diagnose it, and the why, what, and when about treatment.  (Go HERE for the podcast, or download it on iTunes.)

One point I make in the podcast is that I do think that stimulant medications are over-prescribed.  They are often used in cases so a person can "do better."  Nearly everyone can increase focus and do better when taking stimulant drugs.  The real question when considering treatment is whether the ADD is really causing problems.

I am sad that our society seems to want to minimize all struggle.  Struggle is not only inherent in life, it is what makes us better and stronger people.  Somehow our society has changed from a mindset of facing struggle to that of avoiding it.  We do ourselves and our children no favors by removing all obstacles.

This doesn't mean ADD should not be treated with medication; it just means that the criteria to treat it should be more than just "it's hard."

PS: If you want to know why I included the picture at the top of this post, you have to listen to the podcast.

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I say Distractible, you say Distractable

More people get it wrong than right.  I have more people coming to my blog doing the search "Musings of a Distractable Mind" than by the correctly-spelled version.  I made this same mistake when I started.  English is dumb.  Shouldn't it be "able" because it means "able to be distracted?"  Nobody is "ible to be distracted." Sigh.

Sorry.  Got off track.   My podcast on ADD came out today.  In it I discuss the condition and give a personal narrative of my life with ADD.  I expect to be called by movie producers any day now.  Listen and let me know what you think.

Take the poll as well!

[poll id="31"]

FCC-All-C

Bonus from the Onion:

FCC: All Programming To Be Broadcast In ADHDTV By 2007

WASHINGTON, DC—The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-1 Monday to require electronics manufacturers to make all television sets ADHD-compatible within two years.

To adhere to the guidelines, every program, with the exception of The Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Show, will have to be sped up to meet the new standard frame rate of 120 frames per second.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin characterized the move as "a natural, forward-thinking response to the changing needs of the average American viewer."

"In the media-saturated climate of the modern age, few have the time and energy to sit still for an entire episode of King Of Queens," Martin said. "Although the FCC will leave it up to the television networks to make the necessary programming changes, we are recommending, in accordance with the ADHDTV standard, that all shows be no more than six minutes in length, and that they contain jarring and unpredictable camera cuts to shiny props and detailed background sets."

(continues)

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Are you a Halitonian?

Newest podcast is up on iTunes.  It covers the dreaded problems of halitosis.  As a doctor I can attest that a fair percentage of people saying "ah" should do so with caution.

5 points to the first person who catches the pun.

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Podcast up: Breastfeeding

My latest podcast on breastfeeding is up at http://housecalldoctor.quickanddirtytips.com and in iTunes.  My bottom line is that breastfeeding is the best way for babies to be fed. When I was discussing this with Dr. Gwen, we got into an interesting discussion.  The dilemma pediatricians face is that if we strongly push nursing, we are criticizing anyone who chooses otherwise.  How strongly do we push breastfeeding when a large number of parents in our practice choose to nurse.  Beyond that, the advances in the quality of the formulas available have been great.  We have lots of bottle-fed babies in our practices and very few of them seem to suffer from it.

Doing the research for this podcast has swayed me back toward pushing breast milk more.  The studies I cite are fairly convincing to me that babies who are breastfed are at an advantage over those who are not.  At the very least, breastfeeding early in the baby's life is a very good idea.

This underlines one of the basic things I have learned about being a parent: you can't always do what is best.  There are lots of choices we make when raising kids: whether they should participate in sports or take music lessons, public or private schools, spending more time working to support them or spending more time at home.  It is rarely black and white.  Parenthood is full of second-guessing and can be burdened with lots of "if I had only done x" in retrospect.  Adding more guilt trips to an already self-conscious group may not be constructive.

I just think that telling parents the facts - in this case that breastfeeding is more advantageous than bottle-feeding - is the best I can do.  The choice is not always straightforward, so I won't criticize parents who do otherwise.  I do think, however, that some parents don't really know the facts.  I didn't even know all of the facts before researching this podcast.  As long as we give good information and communicate it clearly, the parents are the one who need to make the decision in the end.  I need to state the case for breastfeeding and then back off.

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New Podcast up: Contact Dermatitis

I wrote this with the desire to address a common summertime condition: poison ivy.  Edited out was the admonition: Never swing on a hairy vine. In the southeastern US, poison ivy grows into huge vines which are easy to identify as they are covered in a hairy coating.  I've seen people come in with a horrible rash on the hands due to a desire to look like Tarzan.  Bad idea. The biggest misconception about contact dermatitis is that you can catch it from someone else's rash.  The rash is allergic and can't be "caught."  The oil causes the problem.

Poison Ivy Vine

Credit

To listen to the podcast, either download it on iTunes (preferred) or go to http://housecalldoctor.quickanddirtytips.com.

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Learning Process

I've now been doing the podcast for a few weeks and am anxious to see what the download numbers show at the end of the month.  Thank you for all my readers and medical blogger friends who have subscribed and promoted the podcast.  I remain the #1 health podcast, and am still in the top 50 overall. I've found that I am still trying to find my style with the podcast.  What works in the blog (humor, especially) doesn't work as well when spoken.  One of the problems is that I am required to turn in a script that gets edited and eventually approved.  I actually don't mind this process, as many of the suggestions are quite helpful and there is a need to make sure the content is good.  The problem is that I then have to make it sound like I am not reading a script.  This is especially hard with humor, as much of humor sounds best when it doesn't sound scripted.  If you sound like you know you are telling a joke, then it isn't as funny as if you slip something in subtly.  Writing is much more forgiving in this.  I think the voice I will take in the podcast will be different from the one I take here in the blog.  The humor will be more covert than overt.  I'll aim for chuckles rather than ROFL.

That being said, I do find it an enjoyable thing overall.  I have gotten very nice feedback and see it as a good opportunity to give useful information to non-medical types as well as to give physicians another tool to explain things to their patients.

Again, I want to thank all of you who have helped me with this.