Summer time in Oklahoma….Ouch!

Ugh!  It’s freaking HOT out here!  I know!  I’ll mow the lawn, edge the driveway, and weed the garden.  Right in the middle of the day.  What could go wrong?

Wait.  What?!  Really?!  This is something I have actually heard in my own house.  You think he’d remember how stupid that is from the last time he did it…..but no.  Let’s break down the many ways this is a bad idea.

First, there is more to heat in Oklahoma than just temperature.  We have the heat index.  I know you’ve heard about it on the news, but what does it mean?  The heat index is what your body actually feels when outside in the direct sun.  It means the air temperature PLUS the humidity PLUS the direct sunlight.  The air may only be 90 degrees but your body could feel like it’s 110.  So we really don’t care so much about what the temperature is outside as much as we care about what it FEELS like the temperature is to our bodies.  And when is it the hottest?  Middle of the day, between around 1 and 3 o’clock.  Those are the scorching hours.  So, strike 1 against this brilliant outdoors man.

I can’t stop right now.  I’m on a roll.  I’ll be done in no time!

Strike 2!  The hotter it is, the more frequently you need to stop!  Being out in that heat saps your energy.  Add the physical work you’re doing and you are really risking heat-related illnesses like HEAT EXHAUSTION and HEAT STROKE.  

Who cares?  Those don’t sound so bad.  I’ll be fine.

Yeah, no.  Heat exhaustion is when your body just can’t get rid of the heat inside because the air outside is too hot.  Your internal temperature rises up as high as 104-105.  Just like having a really bad fever.  You get a headache, light headed, muscle cramps, throwing up, even passing out.  And getting that temp back down is tough.  You need to get their outside and INSIDE temperatures down, or else.  Yikes.  Heat stroke worse.  In fact, it’s down right scary.  That’s when your inside temperature is so high that you get dizzy, confused, acting weird, can’t walk right, collapse, and slip into a coma.  True heat stroke can kill you.  This is not to be taken lightly.  Sadly, these are common causes of death for kids and athletes in the summer.  And pets.  Don’t push your kids too hard when it’s too hot.  And bring in your pets.  So take a break regularly and DRINK!  Ice cold fluids, especially sports drinks with electrolytes.  You know the ones….  Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink!

It’s cloudy today.  I don’t need sunscreen. *grumble*  Fine.  I’ll put some on.  

Strike 3!  We’ve all gotten a nasty sunburn at least once in our lives.  Usually it’s those bright, sunny days.  We forget our sunscreen, or some people won’t wear it at all (I’m looking at you, Steve).  Or, like this brilliant worker, we apply it at the beginning of the day but never reapply it.  Did you know you sweat?  Especially when you’re working hard or you’ve been out a long time.  Guess what.  That sunscreen eventually washes off, or gets wiped off when you wipe away the sweat.  Sooooo, you need to put more on every 2 hours or so.  Ugh.  But what about those clouds?  They help, right?  Wrong again!  I truly hate physics with my whole being, but this is physics.  If it is super cloudy, like you wouldn’t want to do much outside anyway, sure, the sun rays are blocked some.  BUT, on days when it’s just a little cloudy, especially those pretty wispy clouds, the UV rays can be more than doubled!  Yeah, twice as dangerous.  Twice as likely to get a nasty sunburn.  So put on your sunscreen!  I am not going into that SPF mess.  Again, I hate physics.

So, strike 3, he’s out.  But he’s probably out, as in outside.  I’ll watch him, keep iced G**** ready, and 911 on speed dial.

If you have any questions about this, or any other health issue, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.  And of course I’m always here to talk too!

Diabetes Type What?

Ok, so we got through all the science going on in my body explaining what could be going on.  

So what?  That doesn’t tell me what my doctor meant.  What does Type 2 mean?  What about Type 1?  How do I know what I have?

Your provider probably told you which kind you have but you were so stunned by the diagnosis that nothing else registered.  That is super normal and part of the reason I write these blurbs.  When you’ve had time to process the diagnosis, now you have questions.  So, what’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2?

It’s all about that sciency stuff from the last two blurbs.  You didn’t think I wrote all that for kicks, did you?  Type 1: primarily genetic (but there are always exceptions to the rule).  That is why people have always thought it was a disease of childhood; kids diagnosed with diabetes are usually Type 1.  This is where the cells in your pancreas that actually make insulin die.  Say what?!  Yup.  Often autoimmune, meaning your own body attacked and killed the insulin-producing cells.  The takeaway, though, is that your body cannot make insulin at all.  The problem isn’t the other cells not taking in insulin or not quite enough insulin available.  This is straight up NO insulin being made!  Remember no insulin = no food for cells = cells die = you die.  Ugh.  So what can we do about it?  I mean, give you insulin; there are no other choices.  That’s why Type 1 diabetics will take insulin shots for the rest of their lives.  They can’t use many of the other diabetes drugs you hear about.  

That doesn’t sound like what I have.  I have to take a pill.  Does that mean I have Type 2?  And what is Type 2?

That’s complicated, but I promise to keep it basic.  So basic in fact that people who know a lot about the disease will probably be mad that I’m simplifying it so much.  But here we go.  Type 2 diabetes *usually* means that there is insulin but your body can’t use it.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  Everyone is different and the reason your body decided to stop using it could be any of a ton of reasons.  The most common reasons are your pancreas stopped making enough insulin, you’re taking in so much sugar that the pancreas can’t keep up so it gets worn out, your cells stopped letting the insulin in, or the insulin isn’t really teaming up with the sugar.  Trust me, these are not the only ways you develop Diabetes Type 2, but these are common ways.  Notice a theme: insulin is there but not getting cells the fuel they need.  That’s why people can take medications: they just need to boost their insulin levels or the cells’ use of what you have.  Your insulin needs help working hard enough to keep up with your body’s needs.

Wait.  My buddy had to do the shots first, but takes pills now.  How does that work?

Sounds like your buddy had an insulin emergency.  Sometimes people end up in the hospital because their blood sugar levels got SO high that they were doing damage to major organs.  Remember how many organs are involved in making and using and dumping insulin and sugar?  Well, your buddy’s organs were injured so bad he had scary symptoms and went to the ER.  He probably started peeing and eating like crazy but kept losing a lot of weight, passed out, had belly pain and vomiting, got really dehydrated, turned yellow, or an assortment of other symptoms.  Or maybe he had a heart attack.  Sugar affects so many organs that there are many different possible symptoms.  ANYWAY, it was so bad that they had to get insulin into him stat to bring down that blood sugar.  He didn’t have time for a pill to work.  Now he’s on pills and hopefully that will be enough for a long time.

So there is much more about Diabetes to know.  So much more to learn just about the lifestyle!  It’s so much more than just a disease.  It can be overwhelming, but it is manageable.  Your provider can be your partner in this so make sure you are part of a good team.  And TAKE YOUR MEDICINE! 

If you want more information, give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss it with you.

Yearly Check Up

I’m perfectly healthy.  I never go to the doctor.

Ummmm.  No.  It doesn’t work that way.  The doctor tells you if you’re healthy.  If you don’t go get a check up, not just go when you’re sick, you’ll never know if you’re actually healthy.  Feeling fine and being fine are very different things.

For example, did you know they call high blood pressure The Silent Killer?  Do you know why?  Did you read my blurb about hypertension?  If not, I’m very disappointed in you.  The reason is because most people have no idea they have high blood pressure until it’s too late.  Maybe they’ve had high blood pressure for 20 years but didn’t know it.  Now they have a heart attack out of the blue!  Well, it wouldn’t be out of the blue if they had gone to the doctor for regular check ups.  That hypertension would have been caught a long time ago.  Same goes for high cholesterol.  Did you read that blurb?  No?!  I’m extra disappointed now.  Bad cholesterol numbers put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, clots, diabetes, and on and on and on.  But you had no idea because you didn’t feel bad so never saw the doc.

Here’s another one.  You’re feeling kinda weird then pass out.  You wake up in the hospital.  The doctor tells you that your kidneys are failing, you need to have emergency surgery, and you will be on dialysis.  But you felt totally normal!  You had no idea you had out of control diabetes!  Or you didn’t realize you couldn’t feel your feet because they always feel like that.  But you got a big wound on your heel you didn’t know was there that got really infected and spread to your blah, blah, blah.  You get the idea.

But Raven, that’s crazy.  I would know if all that was going on in me.  Like I said, I never go to the doctor.

What did I just tell you?!  You don’t get to decide if you’re healthy or not!  You get to decide if you want to do anything about it, but you don’t get to decide if you do or don’t have something wrong with you.  Do you think it’s important for your kids or grandkids to go to the doctor once a year?  Then why not you?

So let’s get this year turned around, try to put last year into the rear view, and take care of ourselves.  I don’t mean go to the gym everyday and eat bran flakes every morning (anyone who has talked to me knows my opinions on those subjects).  I mean do a few good things for yourself this year.  And for your friends and family.  Remember that they are the ones who are helped or harmed the most by your decisions.  Love yourself if you love them.

See your practitioner, see me, see someone!  But of course I would love to see your not-so-happy-to-see-me faces!  Give me a call to make an appointment today!  (and read my other blurbs)

Diabetes (part 1)

AHHHHH!!!  My doctor just told me I have diabetes!  What does that mean?  What can I do?

Take a breath.  This is a heavy diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.  There are lots of ways to help you live a long, rewarding life.  The first step is just understanding what diabetes really is, not what your mother-in-law and 4th cousin told you.  Let’s break it down.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the two kinds: Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2.  No, they aren’t the same, they don’t work the same, and they are treated differently. But they have something the same or they wouldn’t both be called diabetes, right?  What they have in common is that they mess with your blood sugar and make it too high.

Wait.  Blood sugar?  I have sugar in my blood?!

Yup.  Just about every cell in your body needs sugar to live.  They use the sugar to turn into energy to keep themselves going.  The organ most dependent on sugar is ……. Your brain.  The brain cannot use anything else to make energy.  That’s important because if you don’t have enough sugar in your blood, your brain starts having trouble working right.  You get woozy and act weird and could even pass out.  The same thing goes if it gets TOO much sugar.  Your brain says “Woah!  Too much!  Get this out of here!”

If the brain and all of my cells need sugar, why don’t I want high blood sugar?

Organs can only use up so much sugar.  If there’s too much sugar floating around in your blood, it can start damaging things.  Especially the kidney.  Your kidneys are responsible for getting that sugar out.  They dump the sugar in your urine (yup, you pee out the sugar; in fact if you tasted your pee it would be really sweet).  Those sugar crystals tear up the kidney on their way out.  So, overall, we have sugar crystals flinging themselves throughout your body, scratching up cells and blood vessels, then tearing up your kidneys on their way out.

Yikes!  But I thought cells wanted sugar.  Why don’t they just suck it up?

That’s where the Diabetes part comes in.  In both types of diabetes, you have a magical chemical your body needs to suck up that blood sugar and actually use it.  For Type 1 diabetes, the person literally doesn’t make the magic chemical at all.  For Type 2, for a variety of reasons, the magic chemical isn’t working.  The magic chemical?  Insulin.

So there’s the first part you need to know about Diabetes.  These are the basics.  What everyone kinda has in common.  In the next few weeks we will cover the 2 types and what it means to have this one or that one.

Oklahoma Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid Expansion

What is Medicaid Expansion?

In June 2020, Oklahoma voted to expand Medicaid (SoonerCare) to eligible adults age 19-64. Previously, SoonerCare was only available to specific populations, but with Medicaid Expansion, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority estimates that there are now more than 200,000 newly eligible residents of Oklahoma.

  • If you have applied for SoonerCare before and were denied, apply again!
  • Income requirements are estimates. Higher incomes may be accepted.
  • There is no work requirement. If you are unemployed and/or not working, you may qualify.
  • For individuals that are self-employed, income is calculated after business deductions.
  • There are no health questions on the applications and pre-existing health conditions are covered.
  • Enrollment begins June 1st, and coverage starts July 1st.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Be a citizen of the US or be in the country legally.
  • Be lawfully present for at least 5 years.
  • Be a resident of Oklahoma.
  • Meet income requirements (see below).
Size of HouseholdAnnual IncomeMonthly IncomeWeekly Income

Income should be at or below the income listed. Higher income may be accepted.

Why should I enroll in SoonerCare?

SoonerCare is HEALTH INSURANCE!  Health insurance is critical for both staying healthy as well as covering costs when you are sick or injured.  There is no monthly premium for SoonerCare and there are very small co-pays (usually $4 or less) for most services.  There are many benefits including:

  • No monthly premiums
  • Full medical coverage
  • Very low co-pays
  • Six prescription medications per month
  • Plan covers:
    • Medical and specialist visits
    • ER and inpatient hospital services
    • X-Ray and Lab services
    • Medical equipment
    • Diabetic supplies
    • Behavioral Health visits
    • Home Health visits
    • And more!

First Priority and Medicaid Expansion

First Priority wants to help you apply for SoonerCare!

Starting Tuesday, June 1st, if you are between 19 and 64 years of age, you can apply for SoonerCare.  Staff at First Priority, 2514 E 15th, Ste A in Tulsa will be assisting individuals to fill out the SoonerCare application starting June 1st.   

First Priority is also a SoonerCare provider; you can get all your healthcare needs met, right here at the First Priority Medical Clinic.

The following are the times we will be available to assist you to apply for SoonerCare:

Monday——–10 am-3 pm

Wednesday—10 am-3 pm

 Friday———-10 am-3 pm

What Do I Need to Bring?

When you fill out the SoonerCare application, you will be providing information about the people in your family and your household income.  In order for the application to go through successfully the first time, this is the information you should bring with you:

  • Legal names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of all people living in your household.
  • Income information including employer name, address, and phone number, and income amount for all household members who are employed.
  • Amount of money received from other types of income, like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), alimony, or child support for all household members.
  • Current health insurance information including policy holder’s name, company name, policy or group number, type of coverage, and date effective for all household members with insurance.
  • Access to an email account (please ensure you can log in to your email account while you are at First Priority). If you do not have an email account, we would be happy to help you set one up.
  • If you or a family member already has SoonerCare, please bring in your account information. If you have a letter with your PIN number on it, please bring that, also.  If you cannot find the information, we will help you call SoonerCare to get it.


That coach has something against my kid. So he’s a little dazed after that last hit. So? He can walk it off. Let him back in, coach!

Ummmm…no. Just, no. He may miss some of the game, but he’s really going to miss his brain later. I’m blowing this all out of proportion, right? Let’s see what a concussion is.

Concussions can happen to anyone, any age, if hit hard enough or just right. And yes, it is considered a form of brain damage. Because it is. The brain is literally damaged. Cells are killed. We know this because we have tons of brain scans from people with all types of head injuries from cracked skulls to seemingly minor bumps on the head. Amazingly, when we look at the scans, most work and look the same. Obviously someone knocked out cold has worse damage than someone just dazed, but the damage is in the same places and often permanent.

So let’s look at how it works. Imagine you are carrying a glass of milk into the other room. While you’re walking, the milk is basically resting flat in the cup even though it’s moving. What happens if you stop suddenly? The milk rushes forward in the cup, often spilling over the top front lip. Then it washes backward and splashes over the back lip. Well, now we have a big mess. What does this have to do with concussions? The cup is your kid’s skull and the milk is his brain. When he’s running or whatever, the brain is relatively stable. When his head stops suddenly, like from a hard hit or even whiplash, the skull stops but the brain keeps moving. It smashes the front against the front of his skull, then slams backward and hits the back of his skull with the back of his brain. I hope you can see why this is bad. Smashing too hard or too many times is going to kill brain cells! So when your kid is “just dazed”, he only killed a few hundred brain cells. If he is knocked out cold or blacks out at all really, he killed a few thousand cells! (Numbers are just for example. I don’t actually know how many brain cells die, but you get the idea.)

As a nurse practitioner, I have to tell you that I’ve seen people with severe brain damage from being hit too hard too often. I’ve seen football players who are far too young to not be able to remember their names or family members. I’ve seen people who were in car accidents whose lives were ruined by “just” whiplash. Brain damage from even minor head injuries is real.

So the next time you see someone get taken out of a game for potential concussion, whether professional players or your player, don’t be obnoxious toward the refs. Their job is to make sure everyone can remember their name in 5 years. If someone loses consciousness, even if only for a few seconds, definitely get them checked out before sending them back to play. Same with whiplash. If someone is in an accident with any kind of neck or back involvement, get them checked out for a concussion.

If you have any questions about anything medical, give us a call. No guarantees I can answer, but I sure will try. And if you just want to put a face to these medical blurbs, come meet me. www.first-priority-mc.com0People Reached0EngagementsSchedule BoostLikeCommentShare

The Truth about Antibiotics

My baby is snotty and coughing and just miserable, but that stupid doctor won’t give her antibiotics!  Did I pick a bad doctor?

Well, I mean, maybe.  But not because of this.  Just because your little one seems really sick doesn’t mean an antibiotic will help.  In fact, it’s more likely to make you feel better than them.  Here’s why.

Most illnesses are caused by either bacteria or viruses.  For example, strep throat is caused by a nasty bacteria.  Colds and flu are caused by viruses.  So what?  This means a lot of differences to providers, but the most important difference to you is treatment.  We can cure most bacterial diseases with antibiotics, but we can’t do much for viruses.  What?!

The word “antibiotic” has 2 parts.  Anti means against.  Biotic means alive.  So antibiotics can only kill living things.  Bacteria are alive.  Viruses are not.  A virus is just a bunch of bundles of either DNA or RNA (DNA’s best buddy).  It’s just this weird thing floating around with the ability to put it’s bundles in you and make more bundles.  That’s it.  It has no walls or organs or “brains”.  Bacteria do.  They have cell walls and stuff in them that lets them “think” and make tons more of themselves.  You’re just a good place for them to reproduce (yup, just like you did when you made that sick little snot machine).  What does this have to do with my super pathetic cutie?

Well, the provider has to look her over and decide if it’s more likely that she has a virus or bacterial illness.  That will let him/her decide how to treat your little.  If they think she has a virus, there’s nothing to do about it.  You just have to watch her, keep her as comfortable as possible, and keep her hydrated.  If the provider thinks she has a disease caused by bacteria, that’s the only time she should get an antibiotic.

Moral of the story: you get antibiotics if you have an illness caused by bacteria, none if it’s a virus.  So if your provider doesn’t give your little an antibiotic, don’t freak and say terrible things about the provider; they just think your little has a virus.  Like I said, if she has a virus, that antibiotic will help you more than your little.

What is Telehealth?

Oh no!  I don’t feel well.  Do I have a cold or allergies?  Or I forgot I need to see the provider this month for my diabetes medication or my blood pressure medication or some other regular medication.  These and so many other conditions can be taken care of with a telehealth visit.

Telehealth visits can be done from anywhere you have access to video capabilities like a computer, tablet, or smartphone.  Most telehealth visits work like this:

  • You get an email or text message with a link
  • When you click the link, you are taken to the program you will use to talk to your provider
  • Your provider will join the call
  • You will have your visit with your provider.  This could include:
    • Talking about your problem
    • Showing the provider something by bringing the camera close to your body
    • Moving, stretching, or walking to show the provider how well you move
  • The provider discusses options for treatment with you
  • Your visit is over and you hang up

That’s it!  It’s easy but a great alternative to going into the provider’s office.  You can do it from your office, a breakroom, even your car!  And it takes as little as 15 minutes.

If this sounds like the perfect type of appointment for you, call your provider’s office to schedule a telehealth appointment today!

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