Dr Ciara Kelly: 'Budget co-living only affordable to the rich'
I have to confess I am fascinated by these new plans afoot for co-living. Have you heard about them? These are plans to provide living accommodation in the style of an old-school...
I have to confess I am fascinated by these new plans afoot for co-living. Have you heard about them? These are plans to provide living accommodation in the style of an old-school...
This week we'll elect a new president. The ninth or 10th - depending on who wins - Irish head of State will be voted in this Friday and take up residence in Aras an Uachtarain for the next seven years.
A survey this week showed a sharp decline in the happiness of girls and young women over the past decade. The study carried out by the UK Girl Guides showed 25pc of girls described...
This week Cosmopolitan magazine put a plus-sized model on its front cover and the world couldn't cope. Tess Holliday, who's beautiful and size...
There's been some very interesting discussions this week about whether 'Catholic hospitals' should be able to opt out from providing abortion services...
The ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland) has upheld a complaint brought by INDI (Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute) and supported by the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) against Patricia Daly, a nutritional therapist who runs a nutrition website and recently co-authored a cookbook with Domini Kemp, the chef, founder of the 'Itsa' restaurant chain and food writer in The Irish Times.
The public outcry over the gifting of the proposed new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to the Sisters of Charity, who own St Vincent's Hospital, has been described by Dr Rhona Mahony - the current Master of Holles Street - as a storm in a teacup.
I met a woman recently - late middle aged, reasonably well off, beautifully turned out - and we got talking. Being a doctor is a funny thing because people will tell you stuff that they won't tell other people. They know you won't gossip about them. They guess you might understand or be someone they could confide in.
It's January. So if, like me, you're feeling knackered, it's easy to put it down to the time of year - but it might just be that like 45pc of the population, you are sleep deprived.
There is often something powerful and moving in how people respond to the death of a loved one. And that was the case this weekend as Anthony "Axel" Foley was laid to rest by his family in Killaloe.
Oh man! I love this time of year. We're all still in happy, festive mode but all the organising, cooking, cleaning, shopping and general hullabaloo is over. Now it becomes totally legit to slob...
Five days to go. How did that happen? Christmas creeps up on me every year. But we are at the countdown stage now, and so a few last-minute...
I wouldn't normally put pen to paper in response to a columnist in another publication, but in the case of Breda O'Brien's article in the Irish Times last week, 'Women tell me their stories about...
One week left to go, in our slimmer for summer programme! Which means, you are totally on the home straight. The last week of any healthy eating regime is always one to really push the boat out.
Three times a year, we're geared up and primed for action - psychologically speaking. Ready and set, to embrace new beginnings - January and September are such times. With the New Year and the...
It's been a difficult few weeks for women. And that's an understatement. Vicky Phelan's court case over her treatment by CervicalCheck, our national cervical cancer screening programme, has caused a great deal of distress for many of us. And hearing words such as 'scandal', 'crisis' and 'cover up' when it is in relation to cancer treatment in a 42-year-old mother is something that was always...
I was, ironically, as you'll read, in a hairdresser's recently and there was a little girl getting her hair done. She was having a lovely time and it was remarked upon how tall she was for her age. Someone said she might grow up to be a model. Or a basketball player I thought - but wasn't sure it was polite to butt into other people's conversations - and it was agreed she could easily be...
I've been reading with perturbed interest, convicted paedophile and former sports journalist with The Irish Times Tom Humphries's articles about the under 14 camogie team he was involved in the training of back in 2005. Humphries wrote in glowing terms about these GAA kids. It was from among the ranks of girls like these in another club that Humphries singled out his victim for grooming and...
I'm not a particularly angry person. Oh, I have my moments - when people cut across me in traffic, if someone is rude to me in shops, when I can't find my keys.
I'm a slow thinker, so I've continued to mull over the issue of gender that I wrote about last week on the foot of the Kevin Myers article suggesting women are paid less than men because they don't really deserve it. And something Myers said subsequently in an interview on Sean O'Rourke stayed with me.
I was once asked on a radio panel what invention had most changed the modern world. I was with three male panellists and they answered in this order: 'The wheel', 'The internet' and 'The plough'. There was general murmurings of agreement at each other's answers and then it was my turn and I said 'The oral contraceptive pill'. There were general looks of confusion. That didn't register as being up there with the other more obvious, dare I say, predictable answers.
And so the unthinkable has happened and Britain has left the EU. The whole notion of the Brexit vote seemed nearly incomprehensible to us Irish with almost 100 pc support here for them staying within the union. In fact, beforehand much of the commentary was along the lines of, "Ah sure, I can't really see them going…" despite the polls telling us the leave side were ahead of the stay side towards the end.
It's allergy awareness week. Although I'm sure if you're one of the very many Irish people who suffer from allergies, you're probably more than well aware of them. Allergies tend to kick off at this stage of the year - so allergy awareness week is very well timed. As all around the country people's sinuses are starting to block. Their noses are starting to drip and their eyes are starting to stream, as the allergy season fully takes hold. And that's not even to mention the poor people who end up with the rashes or the wheezes.
There's a lot of talking and indeed worrying currently about the Zika virus and whether or not it's going to be a problem for us here in Ireland. Many Irish people will be travelling over the coming months to Zika-affected areas, so it's likely that Irish people will be infected, and indeed there have already been a small number of confirmed cases here and that number is likely to grow. So what do you actually need to know?
I'm writing this week's column from my sick bed. Yes! The unthinkable has happened and here at Doctor's Orders we are unwell. The dreaded lurgy has finally caught up with me and I - not unlike half the country - am hacking and coughing and aching and paining to beat the band.
There are very occasional times when I don't like being a doctor. When I don't like being involved in the health service or working for the HSE. This is one of those times. That is because it isn't a service that actually seems to care about real people. It seems to care more about bureaucracy and political policy.
Bereavement is a universal experience, so how can it be so isolating? I've only ever been truly bereft once. I'd lost grandparents and aunts and uncles, but not until my father died was I truly grief-stricken.
In a bold move I've decided to become a staunch meninist this week and make this all about the men. The current life expectancy of an Irish man is 78 years, a full five years less than their female counterpart - completely unacceptable and sexist! So here we're going to look at what Irish men can do to narrow that gap.
If any good has come from last week, it's that we're at least discussing, if not truly debating, our national pastime - drinking. This week on Operation Transformation, RTE's health show, I came under sharp criticism for how I reacted to Eilish, one of our leaders, drinking at the races whilst on the programme. "Too harsh" said my critics. "Sure what's wrong with you - it's only a bit of craic." "Everyone's entitled to a drink. If anyone's a disgrace it's you", I was told.
They haven't gone away you know. The anti-vaxx movement may be finally in decline - with protests against anti-vaxx proponents getting visas to campaign in Australia, and vaccination rates climbing globally - but not before many lives have been needlessly lost because of misinformation. Every now and then though, you'll still come across someone who refuses to vaccinate their child on the basis that they don't 'trust' vaccines or 'they don't like putting something into their healthy child.' Which of course doesn't make sense, when what you're putting in, is antibodies to potentially fatal diseases.
'Again?" asked the pharmacist when I rocked into my local chemist and asked for a well-known head- lice treatment. "Yes" I said grimly. "You're not alone," he said, by way of comfort, "it's walking off the shelves."
It's hard not to feel sick at the thoughts of our health service. Since the new year began, we've heard nothing except there's almost 600 sick people on trolleys in A&E waiting for admission - and do bear in mind you no longer get admitted to an Irish hospital unless you are extremely unwell. The INMO have called for all elective procedures to be cancelled for the first half of January, to ease the pressure, and nurses are serving strike notices at Beaumont hospital. Health is a mess.
Ah! That lull between Christmas and the New Year, when most of us have had our fill of food, drink and family. There's nothing to do now except laze about waiting for New Year's Eve parties and for someone to mention the great stretch in the evenings. I like this time of year; the frenetic build up to Christmas is over and we can maybe even sneak in a pyjama day with back-to-back Star Wars...
My abiding memory of my mother at Christmas, was her frazzled in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, trying to simultaneously pluck the turkey, cook the ham and paint the walls.
Yet another case of a pregnant woman in tragic circumstances hit our news last week. This time, a young woman in her 20s is now on life support in hospital following a blood clot. She's being kept alive - against the specific wishes of her parents - because she is pregnant with a second-trimester foetus.
All of us get headaches from time to time, particularly when we're stressed or unwell but migraine is a different kettle of fish.
I need to bring about some changes in my life; need to, more than want to. And despite being a middle-aged adult, it's filling me with fear. My overwhelming desire, currently, is to pull the duvet over my head and not get out of bed.
Breastfeeding. What have we got against it? There must be something - because we consistently have one of the lowest rates in the world. To put that in context; compare us to Norway, not a million miles away, also European. =
I've got to say I'm pretty worried about the sexual lives of our adolescents and young adults. Don't get me wrong - of course young people are going to have sex and going to make mistakes, but I'm concerned about them coming through that period of insecurity and inexperience as relatively unscathed as possible.
This week's column is all about me, me, me. 'Is it ever not?' you may well mutter.
I think it's great we're focusing on men's health this week. Men's health does seem to get overlooked and despite (or could it be because of…) the facts that men don't live as long as women, and up until recently, most doctors were male - it never seems to take centre stage. Men are often apologetic about seeking help with their health.
Never one to shirk my responsibilities as a columnist, I'll boldly go where other more easily embarrassed columnists fear to tread. So, this week I am getting stuck into bowels, and irritable bowels specifically. Fifteen to 20pc of us will suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at some point, and for many people, it's a giant pain - literally.
We can't continue to rely on England to show compassion to the Irish women in crisis whom we're failing.
Two interrelated things happened today. First, I was in a supermarket beside three secondary school girls, each of whom weighed about 15 stone. And second, as I left the shop, I ran the gauntlet of colourful adverts on the way out for fizzy drinks with your name on the side, oven chips that make you happy, frozen pizza as good as a takeaway and chocolate breakfast cereal with a happy jungle theme. None of the ads appealed much to me, but my five- and eight-year-olds who were with me, were in the words of another popular ad - 'Lovin' it.'
'Oh I wish I'd looked after me feet," said Mrs Figgis to me the other day, unwittingly paraphrasing the late, great Pam Ayers. Mrs Figgis's insights never cease to amaze, so I asked "Why?" with some interest. "Well," says she, "You can't go anywhere without them." Never was a truer word spoken. Foot problems, at a remove, may seem like a relatively minor issue but they can have quite a severe impact on your life.
September, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness on the one hand, and season of frenetic, expensive, back-to-schoolness on the other. All over the country, children have returned to school in oversized uniforms and briefly smart shoes, to prepare for a new year. Parents have sworn to themselves that this year, the school lunches will be imaginative, and they will put to good use the start of the school year to begin an evening class, get fit, or initiate some other plan they've been long fingering - because they're really not that into it. September, as much as January,...
The heart is probably written about more than any other organ, both in medicine and - as the organ of love - in literature. Interestingly, the heart wasn't always the organ we ascribed love to - in ancient times that was the liver.
I've been thinking a lot about Robin Williams, who died almost two weeks ago now, after taking his own life. It's incredibly sad that such a talented, funny man - who brought so much joy to so many, felt that there was no other option.
Shingles, really is the virus that keeps on giving. Three quarters of us have had the chicken pox and most of us barely remember it - not me, I got it at 16 and was covered with huge blisters like a thousand golden fish eyes, I put a tea towel over my head, went to bed for three weeks, but I digress.
Isn't it time we had a grown up debate about alcohol? Recently, yet another study has shown that we Irish drink far in excess of other countries. It says that 1.3m of us have a harmful drinking pattern and that 75pc of our episodes of drinking constitute a binge. In other words, we don't drink to add pleasure to a meal, or oil the social machinery. Ireland drinks to get drunk.
It's a cliché worth reiterating that youth is wasted on the young. Nowhere is that more obvious than in terms of their self-confidence. I was thinking this last week, when I saw an 18-year-old girl who was upset about her inverted nipple and was wondering would it 'right itself' anytime soon, as she was very embarrassed about it.
Is there anything worse than a tick? I'm not sure there is. Parasitic arachnids that lurk in the long grass, watching and waiting to drop from their perch, onto unsuspecting passing mammals and lock onto us with their vicious jaws and engorge themselves with our blood. I feel pretty strongly about ticks.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about a family I know from my town but they could just as easily be from your town, indeed they could just as easily be your family. The Glynns and their son Gavin are currently in Texas, where Gavin is undergoing radical treatment for a rare form of cancer - Rhabdomyoscarcoma - that he developed when he was just 17 months old. This cancer affects his little muscles. The family is in Texas because there's no further treatment available for him in Ireland, and his parents have been told that this major surgery and intense chemotherapy is his...
As I while away the hours, looking at garden furniture online, I dream of idyllic summer days, where I always wear floaty, white dresses, live on rustic bread and cheese, drink only chilled white wine and my children never fight. (Do not rain on my parade with a reality check here. My wrecked garden, rusty BBQ and dubious children, do not need to be mentioned.)
This week, I want to discuss something more sobering than my usual offerings. It’s a sad fact of life that up to 50pc of us will suffer from depression at some point. That sickening black fog descending. Destroying your ability to interact with other people. Tainting your every waking moment with sadness and affecting your ability to function — or even care about functioning. You feel cut off from the world around you. Isolated in a dark and lonely place. Ten pc of us feel that way, at any given time. That’s 450,000 Irish people right now and about 100,000 people reading this article.
Today is Father’s Day — didn’t forget this year and bought the socks ahead of the rush — and it’s Men’s Health Awareness week too, so it seems fitting that this week’s column is devoted to all things male and the health of our lovely men. Irish men have a life expectancy of 78, a full five years less than Irish women at 83. They’ve a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. They’re more likely to take their own lives. And they have a greater risk of getting and dying from cancer. Yet they attend the doctor far less frequently than women and in the main don’t engage with health...
'Procrastination is the enemy of achievement, Doctor," said Mrs Figgis to me the other day. (You ignore the wisdom of Mrs Figgis at your peril.)
This week, I was a patient myself, (nothing serious – I'm grand. Thanks for asking) when I was admitted as a day case for a relatively minor procedure that was pretty unthreatening and will all be behind me, in the blink of an eye. So no biggie really and, yet, I was scared.
If you're reading this through bleary eyes and a stuffed up nose, chances are you, like almost 30 per cent of the Irish population, are starting to feel the effects of the pollen season. Hay fever – or allergic rhinitis, as clever medical types like me call it – is a bit of a misnomer, as it has little to do with hay but is an allergic reaction to environmental triggers such as pollen, dust, animal dander, smoke, foods and other stuff too. Personally, I sneeze like one of Snow White's dwarfs after drinking mineral water.
The kids have been off lately, so there's been more up close and personal family time, chez nous and presumably chez everyone else. And it's worth taking note of how they are spending their time. No one has more energy to burn than kids. They're up with the lark and able to go like Duracell bunnies all day. (Dear God when are they going back to school?)
'COULD it be a food allergy doctor?" I get asked about 10 times a week, often by people with symptoms that bear little relation to either food or allergies. And who could blame them? When we hear so much talk about it – it's an epidemic.
ETERNAL youth. In an increasingly ageist society, the pursuit of youth has be-come the Holy Grail. But now that 50 actually is the new 30, how do we continue to feel fit and healthy in our older years?
AH, THE Tender Trap. There must be something to it, considering how much of life's great art, music, literature and column inches are devoted to it. I remember reading, years ago, that despite Gallic men's sexy reputation, 80 per cent of French women said they'd never known 'great love'. (The culture of endemic infidelity might have something to do with that). And feeling quite pleased with my then-24-year-old self, for being fortunate enough to feel I had.
IN MUCH the same way as we never consider infertility, child-bearing or death until they are thrust upon us, women never give a moment's thought to the menopause until it slowly dawns on them that there may be an explanation for the recurrent sleepless nights and hot flushing that they've been experiencing of late.
SEEMINGLY ubiquitous in the western world, stress is the difference between what you feel you have to do and what you think you're able to do. The bigger the gap, the greater the pressure. And we all suffer from it at some point and to some degree.
'OH, ME aching back!" I can still remember the 'cat-chy' TV ad campaign aimed at safer lifting practices in the workplace in the 1970s. And if you're old enough to suffer from low back pain, chances are, you do too.
'NOTHING so needs reforming as other people's habits." So said Mark Twain and I'm inclined to agree with him.
I've never been a morning person. Even as a child I instinctively recoiled from early starts, alarm clocks and getting a good run at the day. I had a Snoopy duvet cover with the slogan "I think I'm allergic to mornings" emblazoned across it, whilst a wrecked-looking Snoopy lay in a heap on top of his kennel. If they made them in double bed size, I'd probably still have one now.
As someone who's been overweight, I'm very familiar with the promises we make ourselves in December -- as we squeeze one more mince pie where no additional mince pie should go. "I'll start in January. I'll go on a massive diet. I'll join the gym. I'll take up running/swimming/walking/trampolining."
There are few relationships as enduring as the Irish love affair with the weather. The cold, the rain, the cold and the rain -- they keep us on tenterhooks, like a suitor unsure of his true love's affections.