Change of Advice on Pneumonia Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that people age 65 and older get two pneumonia vaccines — the traditional shot as well as a newer version that can offer additional protection. An immunization advisory panel to the CDC voted 13-2 in August to recommend that those 65-plus get the newer vaccine, called Prevnar 13, even if they already have had the current version, Pneumovax 23. Those who have not gotten a pneumonia vaccine yet should …

Wake Up and Go to Sleep

I have just returned from an all-night study of my sleep habits that should have been called an all-night study of my awake habits, because all during the study there’s no getting any sleep. You lie there as tense as death, hooked up to 17 electrodes that in turn are hooked up to electronic devices that study exactly how your body and your inner organs are doing while you are struggling to go to sleep, a struggle that keeps you …

Sweet Dreams for Grandma Marty

I began hearing the dog’s squeaky bark after a few days of being transferred from West Hills Hospital to the nearby Topanga Terrace complex for physical therapy. I was to undergo a healing program after a bout with pneumonia and other potentially fatal problems. It was a faint yap that emerged out of the dim shadows down the hall at about 2 in the otherwise muted sounds of a quiet morning.  The slightest noise awakens me, especially unexpected disturbances, and …

The Dawn of a New Morning

I took the first step of my new life today. It was only kind of a baby shuffle, but, by God, to me it was the dawn of a new morning. It had freedom written all over it. I was at last feeling able to dump the walker that had helped me amble around the house and I was ready to walk, really walk, as any reasonably mature Homo sapiens should. That first step was accomplished just a few mornings …

An Old Dog Scratching at the Door

I feel like an old dog who has been wandering aimlessly through the streets of Los Angeles, and finally, worn and hungry, has decided to come home again, scratching at the door to get in. Well, I may be that weary old hound in some ways, but it has not been a joyful, or even relaxing, drift down the avenues and up the alleys. For almost three months I have been hospitalized with pneumonia, internal bleeding, a severe diabetic attack, …

Hospital Infections Kill 200 Patients a Day

Patients go to a hospital to get better, not to get an additional infection that makes them sicker or even kills them. Yet every day more than 200 Americans will die from an infection they developed during their hospital stay, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And although the CDC’s newest data show some improvement in the number of these hospital-acquired infections, they are still a major problem. According to the government’s survey of 183 hospitals in 2011, …