Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Yesterday Went Down Hill Fast

It seems everyday I wake up to some stupid problem that just disrupts my mind. I blame it on modern times. There are too many doodads, gimcracks and devices anymore. I can't seem to get a day without these so-called labor-saving objects making more labor for me.

They are Little things, really, but most annoying and peace disturbing no less. Monday, yesterday, was a pip.

I was up at my usual time...early, very early, but I still didn't have time to do my morning cleaning and take a little walk. My walks have grown increasingly little and that was the first rattle of my nerves. I had a 7:20 cardiologist appointment to take an ultrasound test.

I had made my appointment for 7:30, but when they called with a reminder they changed the time. They wanted me there 15 minutes early. Last week I had a later appointment, but they still wanted me to show up 15 minutes ahead of time, then they were 20 minutes late calling me for the test. Oh yeah, it's okay for them to be late, but they would jump all over me if I came beyond my appointed moment in their hands. You remember, I wrote of this test and the poor bedside manner of the technician. I sure didn't want mr. Grump again.

Anyway, I did pause to review my bank accounts, which I do everyday and when I looked at my main account at Citizens there was a $35 overdraft charge. There was no sign of any overdraft. The loosest my balance had reached this month was just under $200. I printed out a copy of my transactions and took this with.

When I turned on the car what should appear? The Low Air Pressure Light, which I hate. I hate the light, that is, because all those years of driving cars that had no such ability to nag about air pressure I never gave it a though, unless a tire looked low. That light comes on and I get concerned. I got out and looked at the tires and they all looked plump and they all felt hard. I guessed it was the left front again. Why that tire keeps getting slightly low, I don't know. These are new tires rated for 60,000 miles. The odd thing is the left front tire was doing the same thing before, except that was an old tire, in fact the original tires on the car when I bought it 7 years ago.

So I left and went down to the nearby Wawa. They have free air, except when I got out and tried to put in air I discovered their noodle was broke. I would have to try the Wawa near where my son works after taking my test.

I had my itinerary worked out. I would go get my test, change in the car to other shorts and take a walk in Rockwood, stop at the bank to straighten out the overdraft fee and finally stop by the other Wawa and put some air in that tire.

Of course on the way I got held up by a flagman on Veale Road where one lane was closed. They had one lane going last month and had just opened a clear path last week. This time they weren't tearing up the street; they were trimming high trees hanging over he route.

I got to the cardiologists at 7:00 and their door was locked. A sign on the door said Office Opens 7:30. What? How am I to be 15 minutes early if they don't open until after my appointment time? My bad, it turned out my appointment wasn't until 7:50. At 7:30 i went in, signed the sheet and took a seat. There were maybe 3 people in the waiting room.

I looked up and out came that same technician I had last week. He called in some other fellow. Great, this probably meant he would be tied up with that unfortunate gentleman and I'd get someone else. No such luck. My appointed time came and it was Mr. Grump who called me name. He was better this time, not exactly Mr. Sunshine, but at least civil and the test was short.

I went up to Rockwood and took my brief walk. From there I went to the bank. Not open yet, but I waited around and got to talk to a fellow about the situation. He said it was because a check I had deposited didn't clear until the next day, which I feel is a flimsy excuse. I make that deposit every month, the check always clears and I never have overdrafts. I had deposited the check in the morning.  Lois had used her card that evening and they didn't say, "Oh there is a large check on hold, so we will not change an overdraft." No, they quickly slapped it on there. The Platform Person told me they would see if they could waive the fee. I must wait until Thursday to find out.

I then drove up to the new Wawa and was able to put air in that front tire, which cured the problem. Like I said, little things, but those little things were aggrevating and they wasted at least a hour of my time.

We decided to go to MacKenzie's for dinner. We have some problems with Duffers and the road to Barnaby's was closed for the day. We get to MacKenzie's and I think, oh, no, don't tell me they are closed. There were those road cones across the entry drive nearest us. Turned out they had repaved their parking lot, but the smaller lot on the one side was open and so was the restaurant. So, the day didn't end with a continuation of the morning.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

You have such lovely bedside manner

If you have a job, especially dealing with the public and most especially if dealing with people seeking health care, whether you like it or not, put on a friendly face. If you don't feel compassion and or caring, then fake it. Anyone going through some medical procedure doesn't need your loathsomeness.

I have some mysterious affliction and over the last couple months have endured some testing. First came two MRIs, now it is a series of ultrasounds at the Cardiologists. Ultrasounds are fairly nonintrusive, but can to uncomfortable. There is also a bit of nervous tension leading up to such a test.

My previous one was of my heart. It took perhaps 15-20 minutes and the technician was a lady that couldn't have been nicer. She was funny, she was comforting, she was patient with the patient.

Not so today. First I was put off by the waiting about. My appointment was made for 11:30. They arbitrarily changed it to 11:20. Fortunately they called and told me this. They also told me to be there 15 minutes ahead of my appointment time. Fine.

I arrived at one minute past 11:00. I signed in and took a seat and almost immediately the person at the counter called my name. I started to get up, but they waved me back. She said, "Someone will be out right away to take you back."

I am not sure of their definition of right away. My definition is "right away". I sat there in anticipation and the clock ticked on. Right away had become 15 minutes and then it was the time of my scheduled appointment. I had been anticipation almost 20 minutes by then.

I now really expected the call to come quickly. The clock on the wall ticked on. 11:30 came and went, and I still sat and waited. I was beginning to think they forgot me. Other people had been taken back, but I was ignored. Finally at 11:40 my name was called. Apparently right away meant in about 40 minutes.

I was surprised to see my caller was male, I had only see female technicians in the past (my wife had had several tests before her knee surgery). I followed him not the back, but he walked so fast ahead of me I temporarily lost view of where he went. Now, first rule should be, the technicians stays near the patient and makes certain they know where to go.

He popped out of a door way and leaned against the frame, so I found him. I went into that room. He didn't speak a word, not a how are you, not a hello, not a come in. He looked like a Pakistani or Indian, maybe he was lax in our language, although those are countries that do speak English. Now I know some people will think this politically incorrect, but the truth is I find a lot of people from these cultures are just rude, I guess we are the wrong caste or something.

"Lay down on the bed," he snapped. That was all he had said so far.

I looked at the bed. Hmm, which way does he want me, on my back, on my belly, on my side? Seemed like he should have been less abrupt and more guiding. I had to ask. "On my back?" I asked.

"Yes, on back."

I lay down on my back.

"Turn toward the wall," he ordered.

He meant toward my left, so I rolled over toward that direction. Now he sounded perturbed. "No," he said, "on your back."

Good golly, man, what do you want. I lay on my back and turned my head toward the wall. This seemed to satisfy him. Why didn't you just say that, man? He began rolling the wand over my neck for a while the machine behind urged and roared.

"Turn the other way," he grumped.

I turned my head to the right and he rubbed the wand about that side of my neck. He seemed to take more time on their side than the other and I don't know what he hit in there, but it hurt. He kept pressing as he wanted and my neck kept hurting. Finally he stopped and said, "Your done."

Laying on the table I thought of telling him his bedside manner left a slot to be desired, but then I remembered I have another test on Monday and what if I got this guy again? I didn't want revenge, so I said nothing.

I don't know what he did to me, but when I stood up I almost fell right down. I fought the feeling, but I was very off center walking out of that place. I felt like a drunk and wondered if I would make it. I've felt weird all day since.

I really really hope I get a decent person come Monday. I also see my doctor on Tuesday. I wonder if someone will tell me what my problem is?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Down in Front

I was talking with my friend Ronald the other day and he was telling me why he didn't watch the Olympics anymore. I haven't watched the games in years myself. I didn't even realize they had begun until I was eating dinner in a restaurant with my wife earlier in the week. We eat a lot in Sports Bars where you are surrounded by televisions. I couldn't care less about the TVs, but my wife likes to eat in these places because she thinks they are more lively than other eateries, especially white table cloth restaurants. So, anyway, even though I wasn't watching the TVs my eye did catch a scroll across the bottom of one set that gave the scores for some match between countries. "Oh," I said, the Olympics must have started. What is the score on Zika cases and drownings due to pollution?

I ceased having much interest in the Olympics when they began allowing professional athletes to play. It used to be a big tournament for amateurs. They used to be fanatics in insisting no one show up on the field who ever got paid for anything athletic. Remember they stripped the great Jim Thorpe of his metals when it was revealed he had once taken a few dollars to play semi-pro baseball, which wasn't even the sport he was competing in. Now they embrace million-dollar stars from the NBA and NHL and recruit them to be "dream teams" in their respected sports.

Ronald has lost interest for a couple reasons that I fully understand. One is the use of delayed broadcasting, even though Brazil is only an hour difference than our own time zone, the constant running of "Up Close and Personal"  vignettes, the hogging of the airways by the commentators and the overwhelming number of commercials. I have to agree with him.

It isn't just the Olympics they pull this stuff either. It is permeating everywhere. If I put a sporting event on, I want to see the sport, not listen to a lot of palaver by commentators. One of the annoying things anymore is the in booth interviews. These begin with,

       "Oh, guess who just dropped in our booth?"

If it is an athlete, half the time or more they don't play the sport we are presumedly watching. Many times it is some actor plugging a show they are in or an author pushing his latest book. The commentators then go on and on chatting with this person I could do without and ignoring their job, which is to tell us what is happening on the field. What is happening on the field doesn't matter anymore because the TV broadcasters think these sports are too boring to hold our interest like yakking with some celebrity will.

Frankly, too often these days the commentators get it the way. They seem to think it's all about them. They even did this with the political conventions.  Now, I really didn't watch that much of the conventions, because I don't like politics, but when I did somehow wander into a broadcast what did I see? I saw some overpaid teleprompter reader blabbing away like a drunken macaw. They would tell you that so-and-so was giving a speech, and then cut away to themselves babeling to each other. Really, I would rather hear the speech for myself. But instead, when the speaker takes his bows and departs, the commentators who have blathered through his speech now try to tell me what the speaker said. Hey, let me hear the speaker for myself! I'm not a baby bird, I don't need your predigested worms shoved down my throat.

There are too many commercials. I know this pays the bills, but come on, it's more like the event or show is a disruption of the 25 commercial messages that come on every 10 minutes. I can't turn on the TV without getting a commercial when it lights up and if I change the channel, there is a commercial there too. It is like they know. It is like they have something that tells them I have changed to another channel so they can slap a commercial on it.

Ah, remember when a program had one or two sponsors, who would only speak at the beginning, end and once in the middle of a show? Today it seems the sponsors have sponsors. 'This commercial has been brought to you by..."

More and more I avoid the TV. I guess that is a good and healthy thing to do.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

I Could Be Dead: Slowness of the Medical Industry

It is frustrating to have something mysterious going on with your health and you can't get an answer. It is a bit ridiculous. By the time someone, somewhere decided to get around to your problem, you could be dead.
Maybe that is the plan.

"The Patient died, doc."

"Okay, problem solved. Make out a bill to the estate."

I have been going to the doctor regularly, more their idea than mine. They say these try-annually thumping and tappings are to keep me healthy. So what went wrong?  I kept following the doctor, or nurse-practitioner because that is whoo you get more times or not, instructions and advice. They are supposed to keep me ticking.

I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't snort, ingest or smoke anything I shouldn't. They told me to cut down on sugar and boost the fruit in my diet, and I did. Exercise, of yeah, I went out and moved these bones. I worked out at a gym three times a week. I spent time on a rowing machine at home. I shed any excess weight I was carrying, reducing down to 165 pounds, which looked thin on my six foot frame. And I kept that weigh at bay by walking. Bright and early every morn I was up and out into the parks walking five or miles.

It was on one of these jaunts the weirdness hit me, like an evil wood sprite struck me with a magic spell. I was walking along at my usual clip. Now at 75 I admit I've slowed down a smidgeon. I was averaging a mile every 18 minutes now. Still I was generally passing other walkers, except the youthful athletic type. I didn't huff and puff up hill or down and sometimes I went further than the 5 miles, occasionally stretching it to 8 or 9 miles. I preferred to do this on the rougher trails, especial;y in the Brandywine Creek State Park or the First State Monument National Park (Boy, that's a mouthful!)

I was at Rockwood. It was the first quantum of my jaunt and I was walking downhill around the big meadow fronting the estate. Everything was as it always was until...pow...my whole world changed, like someone threw a switch. My legs felt odd, like they didn't want to make the bends necessary for walking. They felt like overstretch rubber band, worn out and tired. They were instantly weak and the further I walked the weaker they got.

Now I'm not big on doctors, but when I know my body is misbehaving, I go see one. I didn't know what this was, but I didn't like it.  On top of this walking thing, I also had developed a stuffed up head, with the annoyance of a constantly running nose and a hacking cough.

Now my legs betrayed me sometime in the last week of May. I was just to my primary physician for an exam on May 24 and everything was great at that exam. I had two doctor appointments scheduled in June. I waited to see what they might have to say, but they gave me passing grades as well. In late June I called my Primary and made another appointment. He could see me on the 6th of July.

I saw him and he told me to get tests. I was to get two MRIs and make an appointment with a Neurologist, and then several tests at a Cardiologists.

I got the MRIs on July 7, the day after seeing my Primary' however, the soonest the Neurologist can
see me is September 6, almost two months. Two months, I could be dead!

The Cardiologist couldn't do the first test until July 28. The next test is August 11 and then August 16. This are fairly short tests, ultrasound, so I asked why they couldn't all be done during one visit. They can't because Medicare says they can't. Is this how we cut medical costs, forcing three visits where one would do?

Nonetheless, I know no more than I knew the day this strangeness hit me. It'll be over three months before anyone will tell me anything. Meanwhile this affliction has affected everything in my life. It isn't just that I can't walk very far, but my hands aren't working right either and I have lost much of what little strength I had in my arms for lifting anything. I can't keep my balance and I walk into walls. My brain has been scrambled somehow. I can't get any organized and I have trouble focusing and concentrating. Write this Blog post took a great effort.

I don't get the delays. My grandson was just in for an MRI.  He is 2. They have said it might be water n the brain or he may be autistic. His parents have had him for testing, but haven;t heard a peep from the medical staffs on results. Is this fair? Do these people have any idea how worrisome such things are to parents? It isn't right to not say something.

But the medical world appears to be stuck in glue any more.