“Doctor” Steve’s Blogs
Humorous and Semi-Serious Healthcare Blogs
“Laughter is the Best Medicine!”
by “Dr.” Steve Mozena
Steve Mozena came from a large family of eight and was always gifted with a good sense of humor, primarily due to his Irish mother, because she said so. It led him to a short-lived career in stand-up comedy as well as becoming, for a while, a morning radio personality in Phoenix, AZ, with a humorous handle as “Dr.” Steve Mozena, “RADIOlogist”. (See photo to the left.)
The handle and character grew out of his family of origin’s involvement in the healthcare field. When Steve was growing up his father owned a medical supply company, and had done so since 1954. Shortly after his passing, Steve’s mother sold the business. Two of Steve’s siblings became doctors and one became a nurse.
At this point, Steve and his family have owned Mozena Medical Supplies and Equipment, Inc., since 2007 in Long Beach, CA. But make no mistake, in spite of these medical blogs, Steve Mozena is unequivocally no doctor, although he liked to play “Dr.” Steve and still does. Steve Mozena holds an MBA and maybe someday a PhD, but never an MD.
With that said, please enjoy his humor, his opinions, and his Freedom of Speech. Maybe take one or two doses of blogs at a time, but don’t call him in the morning—unless you want to buy new or used medical supplies and equipment or rent medical equipment or even get medical equipment repaired.
Now, without further adieu, we present to you “Doctor” Steve Mozena and President Steve Mozena of Mozena Medical Supplies with the blogs listed below.
1. Trump’s Vaccines and Biden’s Boosters on the China Virus War
Whether you believe the presidential election 2020 results or not, President Trump was instrumental in the development of the three COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. He was also influential in creating the vaccine distribution networks through healthcare facilities and pharmacies nationwide. In my opinion, he showed himself to be a good business and strategist. Ergo, I have dubbed the vaccines, the “Trump Vaccines.” Obviously, many people got the vaccines nationwide. I had one myself, as did my wife and daughter. With that said, there were people close to me who preferred not to get vaccinated. And nothing has happened to them. For example, just to name three, they were a 47-year-old African American man, a 28-year-old Latino man, and a 37-year-old woman. To date, none of them have contracted COVID-19. With that said, I have dubbed the second vaccine the “Biden Boosters.” Personally, it seemed to me that its purpose was to continue to subjugate the American masses and create hysteria over COVID-19. The booster shot was met with a lackluster response as millions of people said, “No thanks.” Whether COVID-19 was a true threat nationwide or even worldwide, we may never know. Although many people certainly died, it seems like no one was dying from pneumonia or any related influenzas. Why not? Could it be that healthcare institutions were offered incentives to certify the cause of death as COVID-19?
2. Face Masks Benefits Beyond Medical
Do face masks help to prevent COVID-19? Maybe and maybe not. But face masks have certainly been used for many years during surgery by surgeons and their nurses and anesthesiologists, from the old cloth masks to the state-of-the-art 3M N95 masks.
As far as masks are concerned, Mozena Medical was quite fortunate at the onset of COVID-19; we had a serendipitous encounter with NBC News reporter Toni Guinyard in March 2020. My wife and I were in our company medical supply van, getting an In-N-Out Burger, when we saw a local NBC News van. I thought the woman inside looked familiar, and when I drove by, I yelled out the window, “Are you the famous news reporter Toni Guinyard?” And to my surprise, she said, yes, she was. Toni had done a wonderful piece on me when I was an aspiring actor in the early 1990s. (See online for both feature news stories.)
As we talked, I mentioned my fledgling medical supply business. She showed great interest and said, “I’d like to do live on-camera shots during the morning news show at your store with you and your wife.” She arranged it for the next morning (wow!) and we were there at our store at 4 a.m. to be live on-camera with cut-ins during the morning news show. (See link https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/coronavirus/coronavirus-medical-supply-long-beach-hospitals/2335091/.) Toni talked to both of us as the cameraman showed me and my wife in the store doing things like me on the phone talking to customers and my wife making her homemade masks. In fact, we had so many orders, she worked all through the night with no sleep making them! We were on the cutting edge of homemade masks to fight off COVID-19. We led, thousands followed. Our business was skyrocketing, and we were meeting an important need. Imagine our shock when city and state authorities accused us, because of a few disgruntled “customers,” of price gouging. I had to hire my lawyer of 25 years to advocate for us. There went some of the profits for my small business. Oh, well.
In fact, one of the major healthcare suppliers in the nation, according to a reliable source, said Medline was involved with more than 5,000 lawsuits regarding gouging on facemasks to the point that Medline stopped selling them for a period of time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our case, it would have been better if a representative from the state and city, instead of secretive covert agents, had come looking for price gouging to provide us with a print out of the governor’s 2-page Executive Order and ask us to comply with it. This would have been a win-win situation for all concerned and a nicer way to be informed that an executive order had been issued stating that masks could only be sold at a certain percentage above cost. Once we knew about the order, we complied, and even posted it on the wall next to our face masks.
Although people have different opinions on the subject, wearing face masks may well help protect us against COVID-19, and Mozena Medical was and is pleased to be a part of that.
3. Hollywood’s Healthcare
I’ve been a member of the SAG and AFTRA union for over 30 years, since the early 1990s. Since then, I have always been disappointed that people like A-list actors George Clooney and Tom Hanks couldn’t afford to pay for my healthcare insurance through the union. This was well before Obamacare. If you are hired by almost any of the Fortune 500 corporations, not to mention a medium or small business, you usually get healthcare benefits after 90 days of employment, unlike in the SAG/AFTRA union.
In the SAG/AFTRA union, when I checked last, a SAG/AFTRA union member needed to make more than $60,000 per year in the entertainment industry. With that said, I think medical insurance should be provided to all union members. There are still plenty of starving artists but at least they can have healthcare benefits, including vision and dental care from the union. After I got married, it was nearly impossible for me to get my wife health insurance due to her preexisting condition. Yet there was a benefit to being a small business with two or more employees, including a spouse; you could obtain coverage through a special law. So I was able to get coverage. Still, I struggled as a small-business owner for years to pay for the healthcare insurance rather than having the union that I’ve been a member of for more than 30 years pay for it.
You be the judge as to whether Hollywood had and has a double standard and should be known as Hollywood Hypocrites. All I know is that the union could have provided health insurance to me and and all its members for years with the billions of profit made every year in the entertainment industry. Even now, if SAG/AFTRA union wanted to they could do it, not only for those union members who do meet the minimum income requirement, but those like me who don’t—especially for those union members here in California who struggle not only with the high-cost of living, including gas prices, but also from the fact that California is a state that requires health insurance.
4. Plastic Surgery and Sex Reassignment Surgery for Teenagers and Young Adults
Sad. Life is difficult enough even without making changes to your body that might make it even more difficult. My mother had plastic surgery when she was in her forties and through her seventies. She had her nose changed from a hook-like nose to a more pig-like nose. Over the years, my mom had face lifts, and more. I wasn’t a fan of it, but I still loved my mother just the same. Given that, I’m not a fan of plastic surgery, especially for teenagers and young adults. About a quarter of a million cosmetic surgeries are performed annually in the United States on teenagers. The most common procedures are nose reshaping, male breast reduction, and ear surgery. My feeling, though, is that no one should have such surgery until they are at least thirty years old and can make a mature judgment about it. You need a compelling reason. Don’t be one of those people who simply want to scream “Look at me, look at me! I want to be the center of the universe!” Clearly, we see that in everyday fashion and even hairstyles. It seems to be just based on personal vanity, like a form of peacocking, when someone uses ostentatious clothes and behavior to stand out from the competition and attract a mate. I hope people will at least consider the possibility that they are fine exactly the way they are. As for me, I’m certainly no Chris Hemsworth; although I have the booming voice, I certainly don’t have the hair or the physique. But truly, I am happy with who I am.
As a side note, a number of years ago my twin sister met the actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch, who was then nearly 60, at a Hollywood premiere. My sister asked her what was her secret to her continuing beauty at her age. She replied, “yoga,” though a friend later quipped to me, she should have said, “plastic surgery.” Okay, so it may work for some!
Gender reassignment surgery is an even more drastic way of changing your body than plastic surgery. For that, I also suggest that people wait until they are at least thirty years old, although I am not going to suggest a law to restrict it. There are about 9,000 gender reassignment surgeries in the United States per year. That number is rising and will continue to do so, given all the publicity about transgender people and their rights. Just over two-thirds of these surgeries are female to male; the remainder is male to female.
Gender reassignment is major surgery. It’s also expensive. If you’re contemplating it, you need good health insurance. Breast surgeries can cost up to $10,000, and what are called “bottom” surgeries can cost about $25,000. (Wow, that’s an expensive piece of A**!) Thus, surgeons make a lot of money at your expense, as do the medical device companies who produce the replacement body parts. (I happened to know a young man who was a fledging inventor of a man’s private parts for this type of surgery, who is making a lot of money. In fact, he showed samples of his work to me and a staff member.) Make sure you get good advice. Remember that your surgeon has a large financial incentive to advise you to go ahead with the surgery.
Author Scott Peck famously wrote “Life is difficult.” I just hope you’re considering surgery, either plastic surgery or gender reassignment surgery, for the right reason. I hope you’re mature enough. I hope you don’t have emotional issues like low self-esteem or other difficulties for which you could be helped by a competent mental health counselor.
On the other hand, life is short, and, if you consider the matter with great care and take good advice and firmly believe that having this kind of optional surgery will give you a happier life, then I suggest you “go for it.” It’s your life. You are the captain of your own ship.
5. Weight Loss: Oprah and Marie Osmond
Why are Oprah and Marie spokesperson for weight loss companies? Do they really care about overweight people? If they did, wouldn’t they want the program to be free? In fact, billionaire entertainment mogul Winfrey made a large personal investment in WW, Inc., in October 2015 and continues to hold stock in the company. She is also the company’s spokesperson through 2025. I was surprised that Winfrey, who has been generous to her fans with under-the-seat gifts during her tenure as a talk show host, doesn’t offer a free program for weight loss.
Similarly, millionaire Marie Osmond, as the face of Nutrisystem, touts the diet program. In my younger years, I was smitten with Marie from the moment I saw her on the Donny and Marie show. At the time, I wished I could marry her!
For me, these two ladies, Oprah and Marie, are the highest profile celebrities for weight loss programs, but there are others. I know losing weight is tough whether with a paid or free program. For example, my dad was on a food program which specified exact portions of food, but my twin sister and I would eat our dad’s food because it looked good in that nice packaging and containers it came in. Given that, if it works for people, who am I to judge? On the other hand, in light of this economy, free is better. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA), a free program based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience and mutual support, are recovering from the disease of food addiction. For me, not only am I overweight but I also see many, many people who are obese. They are in great need of free weight loss programs such as these.
6. Food Allergies: Chew on this
In America, we are lucky to have plenty of food. And yet the number of people who suffer from food allergies is going up. It has even been said that we have a food allergy epidemic. Thirty-two million people in America have food allergies. One adult in ten, and one child in thirteen, has a food allergy. Every year in the United States, 200,000 people need emergency medical care for an allergic reaction to food. Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans are the main culprits.
Many of us were raised with the belief that the best diet was that of the Native Americans, which included lots of nuts and berries. Nowadays, we have to be cautious with such statements because so many people have allergies to these foods. We even have nut-free zones at schools now because of the danger nuts can pose.
Regarding berries, there are more than 400 different species that come in many different colors, ranging from yellow, red, purple, white, and blue. These include strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and boysenberry.
Surprisingly, eggplants, tomatoes and avocados are botanically classified as berries. So if you have a berry allergy you may be allergic to eggplants or avocados. Apparently, those who suffer from a strawberry allergy are also likely to be allergic to eggplants! Yes, really!
There are some more surprising facts about food allergies. Did you know that people who are allergic to blue cheese and blue cheese salad dressing are also allergic to penicillin? Penicillin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It was discovered by Scottish scientist Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928. Certain molds, a type of fungus, naturally produce penicillin. These are molds that break down dead organic matter like dead leaves and trees. Mold is also found in some houses. Given that, those who have this blue cheese and penicillin allergies probably should have that home mold removed.
Beyond that, we now have not only lactose-intolerant people but also those who need to be gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in some grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Those who are allergic to gluten should stick to products that are now marketed on the labels as gluten free.
America’s changing demographics also provide some interesting facts about food allergies. With the surge of immigration, both legal and illegal, from south of the border plus the influx of immigrants from Southeast Asia and China, Americans’ tastes are changing in favor of a more spicy diet. But it is estimated that as many as 14 in every 10,000 people are allergic to chili peppers.
Chili peppers, however, seem to have a medicinal benefit for many. Capsaicin derived from chili peppers is used as a food additive or as an over-the-counter topical agent for treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and arthritis.
The growing popularity of spicy food can be seen in the popularity of Hot Ones, a YouTube talk show whose basic premise involves celebrities like Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay being interviewed by host Sean Evans over a platter of increasingly spicy chicken wings. See Chef Ramsay on one of the Hot Ones episodes here. Just click the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9DyHthJ6LA).The format involves Evans and his guests eating ten chicken wings each prepared with a progressively hotter hot sauce. The tagline for the show is: “The show with hot questions, and even hotter wings.”
Peanut allergies are among the most common food allergies. For those who are allergic to them, even a little contact with peanuts can cause a major reaction. Blood pressure drops suddenly and the airways narrow, interfering with breathing. Nausea and vomiting are also symptoms.
Yet another surprising fact: Do you know that people who are allergic to tree nuts aren’t allergic to peanuts because peanuts are beans?
For those who are not allergic, peanuts have a range of health benefits. They can even help slow down aging. This is because they contain resveratrol, a nutrient found to have anti-aging properties—it protects cells from being damaged.
This might put in mind our long-lived former president Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, age 97 and 94, respectively. For many years, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, and peanuts even today are the main element in the economy of Plains, Georgia. Perhaps the Carters are lifelong consumers of peanuts! Which would make a good case for those anti-aging properties. Maybe we should all be eating more of them. In the eyes of many, Carter was a mediocre president but an outstanding ex-president, and perhaps peanuts are the secret of his extremely long and active life.
A final thought for those who suffer from food allergies is that there just might be a cure, at least for some allergies. You take in a very, very small amount of the food you are allergic to, and as a result you gradually build up some immunity. In fact, I know a person who is allergic to tree nuts but continues to eat a little of these nuts to build up immunity.
There have been studies on this approach. It’s been shown that if a child who is allergic to cashew nuts is given a tiny amount of cashew for a week or so, and after that to a slightly larger amount, after three or four months the child can eat an entire cashew without having an adverse reaction. After three to four months, four out of five children, even if they stop eating the daily cashew, will no longer be allergic to it.
That’s good news for food allergy sufferers. Start with just that tiny amount, and monitor how you react. Don’t rush it and be careful. It promises to be a very interesting home experiment!
Again, I was “Doctor” Steve on the radio, then and now just Steve. Given that, I’m not a real doctor, so none of my advice should be taken as real medical advice. With that said, if you decide you want to try that allergy experiment that I’ve suggested, check first with your real doctor for his medical advice.
“Chow” for Now!
7. Personal Mobility?
It saddens me to see the proliferation of not only power scooters and power wheelchairs but now more bicycles, even powered ones, in many cities and college campuses, from companies like VIVI and Lime. Doesn’t anyone walk anymore? There is a saying in the healthcare retail industry that once clients buy medical scooters, they never walk again. Work-In-Progress.
8. Mental Health: Are We All Nuts?
In California, it seems like everyone has a therapist, but do they really need them? Wouldn’t a good friend or spouse be just as good? Work-In-Progress.
9. Psoriasis, a Flesh-Eating Virus?
10. Molière and Doctors
11. Greek Physician Hippocrates, “Do No Harm!”
12. Vaccine Gifts to Third World
13. Homeless Healthcare
14. Mexican Border Healthcare
14. “Laughter is the Best Medicine”!
Laughter may very well be the best medicine. This could be why both Comedians Bob Hope and George Burns lived to 100 years old. Betty White died at 99 years old. And Dick Van Dyke is still living at 96 years old. Work in Progress!