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Medical Surveillance

Once upon a time…

A friend with breathing and heart issues (mentioned before in these pages) was recommended by their pulmonologist to wear an apparatus whilst sleeping.

To measure whether or not they were getting enough oxygen while they were asleep.

A small device – a wrist watch apparatus connected to a finger tip thingee – much as they use at doctor’s offices and hospitals to measure oxygen absorption.  To be worn during a minimum of five hours of sleep.

Easy peasy.

Yeah, right.

The machine was delivered, and it was asked it be left outside the door for collection the next day.

A one-night procedure.

And so it came to pass.

A poor night’s sleep ensued.

Including a number of visits to the loo.

Upon awakening, the patient stretched, and a voice was heard emanating from the wrist watch device,  “Good morning, XXXXXX!” 

This scared the living hell out of the patient, as they thought this was a data collection device and not a surveillance-two way communication device!

Good thing they watched PG-rated television at bedtime, instead of something less of a more adult nature…

Medical surveillance, indeed!

Father’s Day 2015

2014-03-19 15.57.18

 

So, it’s another Father’s Day.

This is my twentieth without Molly around.

My own father lost a son (my twin brother – name unknown to me), and a daughter, through a previous divorce.  He was not around to suffer the loss of Molly.  If he had been, I could have asked him how he dealt with such ephemeral matters.

I guess I know, at least in part, how he dealt – he drank and he overate.

Traits familiar to me.

Fortunately, I’m not an alcoholic and am dealing with my food issues.

If only I knew how to deal with the issue of loss.

Guess I am, in reality.  I’m still here.  And I have the love of my friends and family.

And that, my friends, is everything.

Go and hug your children and tell them you love them!  Because you never know.

♫ Angie…Angie…♫

Will the blockage disappear ?

(with apologies to The Stones)

Probably before you read this blog post, my roommate J, good friend, landlord, and hairdresser extraordinare, will  be undergoing an angiogram.  That is exploration of the heart muscle via a tiny camera.

It seems doctors think she might have a blockage, making half of her heart not work as efficiently as the other half!

The good news is that, unlike in days of yore, the current procedure is mostly outpatient.  If a blockage is located, either medication will be prescribed to dissolve it, or a stent will be implanted during the angiogram.  This is all dependent on the size of said blockage.  If a stent is used, she will be required to stay overnight.

Once again, I get to play dog wrangler.  This is not a problem.

We (the critters and I) are all  anxious for her return – either later today or tomorrow.  Logistics involving our cars made it impossible for me to drive her.  A good friend is there for her during the procedure.

Please keep a good thought.  If you are a praying kind of person, doing so would be appreciated! 

This just in (0930 MST) – J. is awake and talking.  No blockages found and no stents placed.  The poorer part of the heart is functioning @ 55% instead of the previously thought 40%.  The next step is to find out why, and what to do about it – but NO blockage is GOOD!  

She can come home after three hours!

Attention Veterans! Your Rights Are On Sale!

At a cost!

Vets told they can ‘buy back’ 2nd Amendment rights

‘This is illegal and is called extortion’

If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It!

Well, maybe…

A close friend has fallen on some hard times, mostly because of health-related issues.  As a result, they have missed work, and as a result, have missed income.  (This is not my story.)

They obtained Obamacare last year, believing all the promises made public.  And they were obtaining top-notch medical care.  Seriously.

And all was right with the world.

Until the end of the year, when they were advised, yes, they could keep their insurance.  If they could pay ANOTHER $300 a month (on top of the $200+ they were already paying directly – the gov’t was paying $400 on top OF THIS!)  Our tax dollars at work!

SO, they went searching, and determined, based on their drop in income, they could qualify for Medicaid. (A State-run, federally funded insurance for low-income folks).

They jumped through all the hoops, provided all the documentation, and became insured once again.

And all was, once again, right with the world.

They were told they would have to requalify every six months, and could then make choices regarding which insurance they could have, of the few available.

They obtained some medical care and tests.  And prescriptions.  And made a carefully-studied choice regarding which company would be their next insurance.

And heard nothing.

And the six-month boundary passed.  Again, nothing.  No company literature, no insurance ID, no specifics.

And care, tests and prescriptions continued to be covered by the initially-assigned company.

And attempts to obtain an insurance ID card and literature on line required their insurance ID number.  Which was on the card.  Which was not in their possession.

And more tests were scheduled and appointments made.

Then, yesterday, after business hours, their pharmacy called to advise they had received notification the insurance had changed, and they would need a copy of her new carrier’s ID card.

The one not yet received.

And they have many tests scheduled, for serious maladies.  Heart and breathing related.

Now what?

What were those promises, again?

I suspect they will be many hours on the telephone and on-line today.

The adventure continues.

Keep a good thought.

If stress wasn’t part of the list of maladies, it certainly is now…

(This just in.  They were able to make telephone contact this morning.  They must CALL BACK Thursday or Friday to get the matter resolved, as the company had no idea who they were!!!)

I LOVE bureaucracy!

Another ‘Bobbie Burns’ Day

It’d been said tell God your plans – and watch him laugh.

I’ve been reluctant to go in for a back x-ray, on doctor’s order.

I’m just tired of procedures.

Robert Burns – the poet laureate of Scotland wrote Ode to a field mouse.

“The best laid plans of mice and men aft gang agley”

(oft go astray)

I actually decided to go in.

Then I got a cold.  And I feel like crap.  Fevers, chills, muscle pain.  And a temperature of 102°.

Been bedridden since yesterday morning.

Sigh.

Dear Friends, Part Two

Well, I made it through the ‘procedure’ okay.

Thanks for all your emails and support!  (Especially J. who stayed with me and drove me to-and-fro!)

The good news is I survived, and live to fight on another day.  The bad news is I have Barrett’s esophagus.  (I’m betting Barrett didn’t even know it was missing!) *rimshot*

This means chronic acid reflux has eaten away at the lower third of my esophagus.  I was largely unaware this was occurring as I’ve been taking medication for it for many years.  I guess it would be much worse had I not.

There is a chance of the presence of pre-cancerous cells.  Biopsies were performed – we are awaiting the results.

I am to continue taking my prescribed medication.  And take some other measures to lessen further damage.  And, barring any complications, return in a year to do it again!

OH BOY!

I’ve a series of lovely parting-gift photos.  Below is one of them.

20150419_071641This is what I get for eating and drinking foods I like and having the nerve to recline afterward!  Let this be a lesson to me.

Sadly, probably not…

 

Once More, Unto The Breach, Dear Friends…

(I’m hardly Henry the Fifth!)

But, people oft quote (or misquote) this Shakespeare line, when embarking on some ‘adventure’.

This morning, I’m going to an outpatient clinic for an EGD.  In lay terms, they are scoping my upper GI tract to see what’s what.

Some years back, after the accident, this was done.  Erosion of the lower esophagus was found (acid reflux), and were some pre-cancerous cells.  I’ve been on meds ever since, but my latest doc noticed I’d not been examined regarding progress/regression of these diseases.  The last time someone looked, things had improved, but she’s thorough.

Apparently, no re-check for cancer cells was done.

Sigh.

SO, they will put me out with propophol (the Michael Jackson sleep aid) and see what is to be seen.  And possibly take some tissue samples while they’re there.

Ain’t modern medicine wonderful?

Fortunately, this is scheduled in the morning, my being diabetic and all.  (No food or drink for hours before!)

Being a veteran of both skin and blood cancer, this does concern me.

Wish me luck!  Tell mother I died game – or whatever people say now…

Pain, Pain Go Away!

and don’t bother to come back another day!  :-(

To be honest, pain is only part of the equation.  Most of the problem is annoyance!

Yes, I have chronic diabetic neuropathy in my feet, legs and hands.  Sometimes it’s barely noticeable; other times more so.  And arthritis.  I can usually tell how a given day will go, when I awaken pain free, and reflexively open and close my fists.

If doing so is relatively pain-free, then moving to exit the bed is predicted to be so, also!

This morning, I had pain upon awakening.  While still horizontal.  Before opening and closing my hands.

And my knees were throbbing.

My doc recently took me off an oral diabetes med, which is a good thing! (YEA!)  But, she also restricted my intake of ibuprofen, not as good!  I still take the bp and cholesterol meds.

Can’t have everything!

I just took three OTC IB pills – I used to take SIX, two or three times a day.  This makes 9 pills in 6 weeks!  Along with my prescription pain meds.

And, I get to go in to an outpatient clinic next month, get put unconscious and have them run a camera down my throat!  To see if my esophagus has healed from earlier reflux damage.

Or if any cancer is present.  (I’ve had both skin cancer and lymphoma – this could be the hat trick!)

And I’m on Medicare, so a 20% copay is required.

Which, on my disability, I do not have.

The future appears to hold pain, more doctor visits, and more bills.

Annoyances.

Sigh

I try to focus on others in my circle coping with much worse situations.  Bob H., for example, who just lost the lower part of his left leg/foot, and will soon be fitted for a prosthesis.

Bob is doing well, particularly in his ATTITUDE!

THIS is why my crap is just an annoyance, and not a problem!  :-)

Bureaucratizilla and Insurance

Go together like a horse and carriage…

Once upon a time, I owned a home.

Nice corner lot.

In a sketchy neighborhood – it was all I could afford.

After a car ran into the house (driven by a drunk driver), a subsequent burglary (renovation workers?), and a plumbing failure with mold threatening, the insurance company cancelled my insurance.

Not surprising.

A subsequent water damage problem came concurrent with the onset of my cancer, and loss of the house and insurance, home and medical.

Yeah, I know.  Just lucky, I guess.  :-)

I did land ‘on my feet’, thanks to a good friend who allowed me to move in with her, and being awarded medical disability.  Fortunately, not only do I get SSDI, but I had the foresight to obtain additional private carrier disability insurance when I was employed.  Together, they make just enough for me to survive.

Barely.  Sometimes.

But the private insurer likes to give me hoops to jump through – like me sending them medical and financial records – lest I appear to be actually working and getting ‘extra’ unauthorized funds from them monthly!

The joys of bureaucracy.

Now, my former employer, TMCCC*, has contacted me suggesting I take retirement!  I just turned 62.  And as I haven’t accessed their human resources website in many years, I had to jump through even more hoops.

All to advise them I’ve no plans to retire until 2017 – when I turn 65.

At least I’m not a close friend who gleefully signed up for Obamacare!  When it came time to renew their government-mandated medical insurance, they were told they could keep it.  For an additional $300 a month!

Unable to afford it, they opted for AHCCCS – Arizona’s Medicaid option.

And trying to advise the federal government they were discontinuing one insurance, and starting another was (in a word) difficult.  Apparently, one calls in and leaves a message, so ‘they’ can call you back.  ‘They’ do so (days later), and then threaten you with prosecution for not having insurance – even though you explained to them you were simply changing to another carrier!

(I should have included this in my previous posts regarding customer service, I know!)

I know all of us must deal with some variety of bureaucracy and it’s web of crap, but, with this modern age of computers, the Internet and menu prompts, you’d think it would be easier?

Especially on the older with infirmities.

NOPE.

*TMCCC – That Major Credit Card Company, where I was employed 22 years.

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

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2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

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