Health

About this Posting Idea…

So my idea was to start posting more regularly. Right. Gotcha. About that. And then life happened.

That wee sma’ kidney stone I had been attempting to pass (for a week!) went nowhere, so the end of my week got turned upside down after seeing the NP at my new urologist’s office on Thursday. I got a call at 3:30 Thursday afternoon to report to the Surgical Check-in Desk at 8am Friday morning for eviction of said stone. I’m still not quite recovered, but all things being equal, no stone is much better than stone.

Hadn’t felt much like eating in quite a few days, but this evening, I had an absolute craving for pizza, and not just any pizza, but really cheesy (with the almost-burnt rim of browned cheese at the edges) deep-dish pizza.

Enter Jet’s Pizza. They’re just outside the 2 mile limit (wherein I’m supposed to have 50 places to eat), but they make the little rectangular deep-dish pizzas. That is WHAT THEY DO. They have round pizza, as well, but their specialty is exactly what I was craving.

The store is small, but it smells heavenly. There’s nowhere inside to eat, but when the weather warms up, there are a few tables outside that could serve for a nice al fresco lunch. I walked in and ordered the Deep Dish Duo, a 4-corner pizza with a matching 4-corner side of cheesy bread. This absolutely hit the spot!

The cheesy bread has mozzarella, cheddar, and romano cheeses in abundance, and pulling the slices apart led to long strings of cheese that I had to chase down with my fingers. Oh, darn. The pizza was equally good, with sauce that is slightly sweet and just a hint spicy, under a generous layer of cheese. I could, however, wish for more pepperoni per slice, but that is fixable.

I’ll definitely be heading back.

Categories: Around Town, Health | Tags: | 1 Comment

Getting Angry Works

I have to say that a muchly re-written angry letter to the “contact us” form of Summa Health System produced amazing results. And I would be remiss in not applauding them for stepping up and doing the right thing.

In 2015, I had individual (not group) insurance, so I spent much of the year discussing with medical entities the need to resubmit claims to the proper address. I tried to stay on top of these things, but apparently one slipped through the cracks.

I arrived home one day last week to find a letter from a collections agency for 2 (not just one, but TWO) separate bills from LabCare Plus from July of last year. When I called the LabCare Plus number to discuss it, I was told that it was my fault, that they’d submitted it once, that they wouldn’t do it again, that I needed to have my insurance company call them before they’d do anything, and that they wouldn’t remove it from collections regardless.

It took me almost 3 hours on the phone, and at least an hour with my insurance company sitting on the phone with me attempting to talk with LabCare Plus. They insisted that they’d sent me several bills initially, but that they “didn’t send out bills that were past-due” and that they “just sent them to collections”. Even though the gentleman from my insurance company assured them that they would be paid if they just resubmitted the bills, they refused to take it back from collections until it had been paid.

Because of this, I wrote my angry letter. I received a phone call yesterday from someone fairly high up at Summa Health. She could not apologize enough times for how poorly I was treated. They have forgiven the entire debt and will not even bill my insurance company at this point, and they have removed it from the collection company.

While LabCare Plus apparently needs their craniorectal inversion fixed, I can’t say enough in favor of Summa Health.

Categories: Health | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

It’s the End of the World as We Know It!

Or, well…no, it’s really not. Not quite, not yet at least.

But the Zika virus is real, and it is out there, and it is in some of the southern states already.

However, while I am a doctor, I am not YOUR doctor, and anyone who takes medical advice from any random person that they read over the internet may well deserve what they get.

I’m not going to tell you what is or is not to be done. I’m not going to make recommendations about what precautions you should or should not take with regards to the virus.

I am only going to point you to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their page about the Zika virus. It’s one of the places where I get my information; it’s a good place for you to start, too.

Categories: Health | Tags: | 1 Comment

Happy Christmas to All!

Matthew 1: 18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

May you all have a happy and blessed Christmas and a joyous and rewarding new year!

Categories: Family, Health, Home | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Changing the Rules

Debate is a sport. It has rules. The rules are spelled out very clearly in many places, and in my one class, we were given very clear references to exactly what rules our debates would be held according to. We were even recommended to watch examples of such debates.

I still think that having been on speech and debate team for several years in high school gives me an advantage.

The big debate still isn’t for a month, but we had mini-debates this past Saturday in class. They were somewhat informal and just pitted campus against campus on some fairly simple topics. Almost no one had done a lot of research, but the 45 minutes we were given in class was plenty of time to pull things together.

My campus was given the affirmative of the question, “Resolved: The United States healthcare system is the best in the world.” Most of us could barely read that aloud with a straight face, but we had to defend it. After everyone else started groaning and saying there was no way we could do it, I said, “Exactly, so we change the rules. Redefine ‘healthcare system’ so that it becomes ‘diagnosis and treatment of disease’. Then show how the US does that better than anyone else.” And we were off to the races.

The team debating the negative never saw the switch we pulled and failed to redefine “healthcare system” back to anything else. They showed up ready to play soccer. We substitued a football and proceeded to pick the ball up and run with it while they were still trying to kick it in a straight line towards goals that had suddenly become uprights.

In addition, no one else knew what to do with their alloted time for cross-examination. I did. And given the debate set-up, ours was the second debate, and I was the last to cross in our debate, so no one else could take what I did and turn it back on us (at least not this week). Everyone else would ask a question, then let the person responding meander on and on, often not even answering the question and using up all of the time given for cross.

My cross went something like this:
You mentioned obesity. The US healthcare system does a fantastic job of treating the end results of obesity. Do you disagree?” “Well, no, but we need to educate…“*interrupted*
Thank you. You want to prevent obesity with education, but we do that already. Are you going to force people to eat the proper foods and exercise?” “Well, maybe we should…“*interrupted*
I see you want to remove the ability of people to make choices in their lives. You also mentioned the infant mortality rate in the U.S. Do you realize that this is at least partially due to women choosing to give birth at home with inadequate medical attention and untrained midwives?” “We need to educate them and make them go to hospitals…“*interrupted*
So you want to tie up all the pregnant women and throw them into ambulances to make them give birth at hospitals?!?” “Well, yes, we should.
*silence*
I see how you really feel about people’s medical choices in the US.

My time ran out shortly after that, but I was later told that the line about tying up all the pregnant women and throwing them in ambulances will probably go down as the best line said during class this semester.

Categories: Health, Humor, School | Tags: | 4 Comments

Health Care

It’s that time of year again… No, not when the days get shorter (ok, they are). No, not when the weather gets colder (ok, it is). No, not when the stores start putting out the Christmas decorations even earlier this year (and yes, they are).

It’s time to sign up for health insurance. In past years, it’s been easy. I just looked at the options my hospital gave me, made sure I didn’t pick the stupid choices, and *boom*, I was done.

When I got terminated at work due to the disability in February, I had to venture into the marketplace to find my own health insurance. It was a bit stressful, but it was a lot cheaper than paying COBRA costs, and it was accomplished without tearing out my hair.

It’s actually been more stressful having the insurance, because no one seems to understand that it’s individual insurance (not group insurance), so they send the bills to the wrong address (despite the correct address being right there on my card), the insco says, “We’ve never heard of her. DENIED!” and then whoever tries to bill me for the entire amount. Pretty much every single medical bill since February.

I figured it might not be too bad to renew my health insurance today. Just check the marketplace to be sure that nothing much had changed and proceed.

But wait… My state no longer offers any Platinum plans. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

The next best option is the Gold plan, with my same insco (because none of the others cover my main docs), which is almost exactly the same plan as I have now for exactly (to the PENNY) premium every month.

With one small exception.

My deductible goes from $750 to $1000. And my out-of-pocket maximum goes from $1500 to $6850.

Yes. For no savings in the monthly premium, my deductible increases by 1/3 and my out-of-pocket increases by over 350%. I hit that $1500 pretty fast this year, too. Not looking forward to next year.

Thanks, Obama.

Categories: Health, Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Shooter Self Care at NRAAM

Halfway through 2015 NRAAM… Feet are doing ok so far, I haven’t run out of batteries for any electronics yet, and there’s still lots to see!

I spent this morning taking Ambulance Driver’s Shooter Self Care course for the second year. AD is an amazing teacher; he isn’t one of those who simply reads his PowerPoint slides. He fills in the didactics with stories from his day-to-day experiences, as do the other instructors (each of whom comes from a slightly different realm medical or law-enforcement background).

This course teaches the basics of what to do when something goes wrong while shooting. He approaches it from a very factual and necessary point-of-view, with lots of examples of what to do or what not to do, and a lot of what he mentions are things that are definitely worth planning out ahead of time.

I realized that I know the name of my local gun club and even what street it is located on, but I’m not sure I know the street address off the top of my head, were I to need to call 911 and request an ambulance to be sent.

I know where the AEDs are located in each club building, as well as the first aid kits, but most of what we have is outdated. I was put in charge of updating everything medical at both club locations just last month, but I need to get busy and get it done.

I need to remember to take my blowout kit with me to the range every single time I go, not just when I think about it.

The course this year also had the benefit of a segment from LawDog talking about Critical Incident Stress, including what it is, how and why it happens, and how to get through it.

If AD continues to give this course as a yearly tradition at the NRA (or if he makes it available at another time), I highly recommend it for all shooters.

Categories: Firearms, Health | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Looking Forward

Today, I’m putting on my big girl pants and moving on. There’ll still be days when I may cry for what I’ve lost; I’d not be human if I didn’t miss what I had, but it’s time to look forward now.

I got new hearing aids yesterday. AND THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!!! Yes, they pair with my phone, and I can control just about every aspect of how they function with an app. (And I will hurt y’all who are already plotting to hack my hearing aids. Just sayin’. *giggles*) It’s amazing how loud the world is, though. I’d forgotten that snow squeaks when you walk on it. Traffic makes noise when it goes by in the road. The turn signal in my truck makes noise. I can even stream music to my hearing aids!

I’m also starting to get things ready for starting school in the fall. I’m getting my home office set up as a cozy study zone, cleaning out everything I don’t need and bringing in everything I want and will use. I’ve started a study course that will brush up my study skills between now and then, because it’s been 20-*mumble* years since I was in school, and studying for the occasional exam since then doesn’t count. I am planning on doing a self-study course in basic statistics so that I won’t start out behind the 8-ball for my biostats course in the fall.

I’ve also got a busy few months ahead. I’ll be spending some time down with family. Looking forward to going to NRA in Nashville. Heading to Alaska for 2 weeks at one point. More family is coming to town (one nephew is baseball crazy and the All-Star game is on the schedule!). A friend is marrying off two daughters and I’m her general dogsbody for both weddings. And somewhere in there, I’ve got new guns to shoot! It’s all gonna be a lot of fun.

Categories: Health, Long-term Goals, Vacation, Work | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Life Is What Happens…

…while you are making plans for what you wanted to do. And somehow, the plans don’t match what actually rolls down the pike.

Today is the day I say farewell to the best job I’ve ever had, the one that I thought I’d have until my working days were done. Today is the day I close the door on the career that I worked 14 years to get to the point of starting, and then only spent 10 years actually doing. Today is the day I walk away from working with some of the best friends I’ve ever had the chance to work with, some of the best physicians and nurses I’ve had the honor to work alongside.

Today is the day I start rewriting my life. With tears in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.

For the past 18 months, I’ve been battling some wicked crazy symptoms, including losing most of my hearing, a rash that resulted in my hands and feet peeling so deep I lost my fingerprints and all of my calluses, worsening arthritis, and vertigo that randomly comes and goes almost daily. I’ve been on high-dose steroids for most of a year. I’ve been on chemo. I’ll probably remain on immunosuppressants for the rest of my life. And because of all of this, I can no longer safely treat the patients I spent so many years learning to take care of.

I have plans. I’ve been working out where my feet will lead me in the next few months and years. I’m excited about the possibilities. But today is for mourning what I’ve lost.

Categories: Health, Long-term Goals, Work | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

NRA…”Shooter Self Care”

Part of the NRAAM that I’d been most looking forward to was Kelly Grayson’s “Shooter Self Care” class. He’d put a post up on his blog, A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver, one morning, saying that he’d be willing to teach a 4-hour class on shooter self-care and first aid. He wanted to limit it to 25 or so. Within 24 hours, he had an overflowing class at 32.

Kelly is a fantastic teacher, and I was delighted to finally be able to attend one of his classes. Although I may be an ER physician, when I’m dealing with gunshot wounds and other emergencies, I do it with the backing of a full trauma center surrounding me. It’s not often that I get a chance for an update on the newest theories and practices of how to handle pre-hospital emergencies.

DSC_0089

Medicine is an art as much as anything, so the practice changes over time.
— Tourniquets used to be last-ditch and a “never!” sort of implement; now they’re just about first-line, especially given the advances in vascular surgery and limb repair.
— Basic CPR has changed. There used to be all sorts of ratios between breaths and compressions for 1 and 2 rescuers. Now it’s all compressions, all the time. 100 beats per minute. Hard, fast, and deep. (And if you can’t figure out what 100 beats per minute is, sing “Staying Alive” in your head. Or “Another One Bites the Dust”. They both fit the rhythm.)
— Electricity is key. AEDs are cheap and plentiful and found in many (?most) public places now. And they’re easy to work. I’ve had to use one on a plane before, and THEY WORK.

DSC_0099

I think everyone (save one) really enjoyed the class and got a lot out of it. Kelly doesn’t drone on and on as so many lecturers can (and so often do). His slides are well-organized and neat. His pictures were well-chosen and very representative of the injuries that he needed for us to see in order to be able to recognize what may be there out in the real world, should someone be injured by a gunshot at a range. As someone who sees the gunshot wounds that come to the ER, his pictures were hardly over the top in terms of blood and guts, nor were they examples of the worst that can happen out there. He would have done us all a great disservice had he not had the pictures in his lecture, especially when he was trying to demonstrate the differences between “looks ugly but won’t kill you NOW” and “will kill you RIGHT NOW” injuries.

And to the person in the front row who kept interrupting the class by squealing every time a new picture came up on the screen… Erin, put on your big girl panties. You carry a Glock. You run a prepping blog. You own a rifle and write about knives. What good do you think squealing and hiding your face is going to do when that Glock goes off and someone gets hit? What did you think you were going to see in a class titled “Shooter Self Care and First Aid”? Flowers and ponies? Get real. Life is, and it’s not going to stop for you and your precious sensibilities.

P.S. A huge thank you to Larry Weeks and Brownell’s for the snacks and goodies that kept us going during class!

Categories: Firearms, Health, Vacation, Weapons | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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