Blog Archives

OK… next step.They are going to get me ready for surgery.

Hope this doesn’t take long…. I don’t really want to be knocked out for a long time. It’s my right brain that this tumor is on and I hope when they take it out I’ll still have mind enough to do this blog…an activity I am unusually fond of.

 

 

I guess I’ll be signing off now.  I’ll try to get back up tomorrow or Sunday.   –  Bill

 

Just finished my MRI…

Elly and Cassandra say I had a seizure going into the test… apparently I was “babbling”…but I don’t remember it. I was under the MRI’s spell for about an hour. Now we are having dinner and getting ready to drive back home.

They have added 2 more doctors appointments in Hagerstown tomorrow. There goes my last day off. I’ll be glad when the brain surgery is all over with this weekend.

Posting from my iPhone is a new experience for me. These fat fingers on a teensy keyboard really means not much writing. Sorry.

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

Realizing how much I have come to depend on my wonderful Superfocus glasses.

For the last few weeks I have been wearing my new Superfocus Leonardos, the new Italian design frames for the amazing focusable glasses I discovered a couple of years ago.

My original pair is a very modernist design called Bauhaus. My wife was so impressed with them that she bought a pair as well.

People are always asking “Where do you get those glasses?” and we give people the source and refer them to the Superfocus web site, show them the Penn Gillette ads, and demonstrate the ease of use and the focusing action of our specs.

The Bauhaus focuses with a sliding device and the new Leonardos have a rotating dial that is virtually invisible to onlookers. Both methods are very easy to use and I am so used to them I rarely even realize that I’m carrying out the focusing.

Interested? Go Here:

Today is our 34th Anniversary…

Elly dances with Buddy at his wedding reception.

Hard to believe it, but Elly and I have been married for 34 years as of today. It’s almost unbelievable that this wonderful woman has out up with me so long. I’m not the best husband in the world and have been obsessed with my various projects, often ignoring hers and making her life less than happy. Now, with my seizures and health care problems, she is making my actual living circumstances both possible and relatively enjoyable.

But we did have highlights in our combined lives. The major thing, of course, was the creation of our fantastic son Buddy (who now calls himself Will, but we will never think of him without the name “Buddy”) who got married a few weeks ago in Milwaukee. I hope he and Rachel get at least the 34 years we have had.

Together we have now raised four different dogs – it’s amazing how much we care about our pet relationships; Now, with Nestlé and Byron sleeping on our couches, our living room is warm and wonderful.

I guess we will go eat somewhere nice today to mark the occasion.

Healthcare Question: WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?

My friend Ted Czukor sent me this essay and I am pleased to pass it on to you:

WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?
By Ted Czukor

info@tedsyoga.com

I’d like to take a poll of all readers over the age of 30. How many of you think that life is going to unfold the way you had envisioned? It certainly hasn’t been like that for me! I’m 65 now, and on the one hand I’ve had some wonderful experiences that I never could have predicted, while on the other hand some experiences have been the sheerest crap; but very seldom in my life has my planning brought about the exact result to which I had looked forward.

One of the more disturbing surprises I’ve had recently is that finally getting Medicare health insurance is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving proper medical attention—because healthcare providers are sometimes slow to order medical tests. I say “sometimes” because it’s a very mixed bag. Sometimes our doctor may send us immediately to the lab for something that he feels is necessary, but other times we may have to come back to his office for multiple appointments over several months with the same persistent complaint before he will decide that the quickly-written prescription isn’t doing anything, and we really do need to have a tube stuck down our throat or a picture taken of our brain or joints to see what the hell is actually going on.

It’s hard to predict when our doctors will jump on a test immediately or delay one for several months—but it seems clear from the national discussion on TV that some tests are being delayed due to concerns about cost. Our healthcare system is losing money, and some patients are guilty of what the insurance industry calls “over-utilization of services”—which makes it damned hard on those of us who legitimately need the testing.

On the Today Show on Wednesday morning, August 28th 2012, Dr. Nancy Snyderman actually suggested that any medical test will come up with something treatable, so therefore people in their 90’s should hold off on such tests so that younger people with longer-expected life spans can benefit from the treatments instead!  We like and respect Dr. Nancy, and we never expected her to take such a cold-blooded stance on the subject. It sounds logical and fiscally responsible on the surface, but how low on the age scale should we set the cutoff point? Age 80? 70? What about people over the age of 60? Shouldn’t other factors besides age be considered in such a decision?

Such a stance is easy to support, so long as the older people in question are generic groups whom you have never met. But when that older person is suddenly a personal friend or a member of your own family—or when, God forbid, it’s actually you—then you will probably take a second look and decide that in this case, at least, an exception should be made!

Another unexpected and recent surprise has been that we have to do our own diagnosing. More accurately, we have to research our symptoms on the Internet and take our questions about possible causes to our doctor, to get him to look into them and determine whether we are barking up the wrong tree—or not. Only our doctors and their labs can diagnose for certain, but we have to tell them what to look for! This is doubtless due to the overwhelming number of patients they see every day, with the result that even the most conscientious physician can only pay full attention to the patient who is right in front of him. As soon as that patient has left and a new one has come in, the first one better receive proper follow-up from the doctor’s staff, because the doctor himself will have forgotten about him until their next scheduled appointment.

In the last three years my wife and I have been successfully treated for degenerated hips and shoulders, melanoma and allergic reactions to various medications—but in every case we were the ones who had to self-diagnose the condition and then go to the proper specialist to have it verified! Until we did that, we were simply given prescriptions for pain or infection in an attempt to mask symptoms.  It was never suggested that surgery might be needed, or that a medication should be discontinued because it might be messing us up.  Suggestions of that nature had to be put forward by us.

I have two reasons for writing this essay and sharing it with others. For those in the medical profession, I want you to know that educated patients understand your dilemmas concerning healthcare costs and the limited time you are allowed to spend with each of us—but we insist that attention be paid to us as individuals, rather than as generic members of a certain age group. For my contemporaries who are experiencing the same frustrations that I am, I want to encourage you to Keep Doing Your Searches on WebMD, and Keep Asking Questions. Don’t take a doctor’s “I don’t know” for an answer. Get your facts lined up, and insist on getting tested for anything that alarms you and that your doctor isn’t completely sure doesn’t need a test.

For those of you who aren’t wealthy and are under 65 without health insurance, I empathize.  I went without insurance for two years before finally making it to Medicare age. The best advice I can give is to do whatever you feel is necessary to maintain your functionality, until you can finally get coverage to see doctors again. The trick is to just stay alive. But remember that getting the insurance won’t be enough. You will have to be an active advocate for your own health and for the health of your spouse and parents.

Why do we take medications that can kill us?

Have you noticed on more and more TV commercials for prescription medications that something upsetting appears?  According to law, prescription meds have to state their side effects in advertising, and since I take a lot of prescription meds I monitor these commercials with scrutiny.

A great number of these side effect revelations include such things as depression, sleeplessness, stomach problems or DEATH! So in taking these sleeping pills or pain killers or diabetes medications, the side effect could be that you die.

Does this cause any problems for the medications industry? It looks like doctors have very little trouble prescribing these potential killers… and the TV ads convince many patients to request these from their physicians.

I see no one on the news or in other source material debating this issue, so I wonder if it is important to Americans (it is becoming important to me because I take at least one of these pills.)

Let me hear from you if you have any thoughts on this issue.

A personal note – I’m living in considerable fear…

Yesterday I had another seizure like the dozen or so I’ve had in the past three years. As I mentioned at the time of the accident 4 weeks ago that left me with broken ribs and shoulder blade and collarbone (and sent me to the hospital for close to a week), my fall down the stairs was caused by one of these seizures. My car accident which took away my right to drive was the result of another seizure four weeks before that.

The worst part of these seizures is that after blacking out (and falling or actually carrying out some activities), I remember nothing until I come out of it… maybe a few minutes later, but occasionally a much longer time. Those who have experienced seeing me in such a state have confirmed that I talk to them and often do things… something I have never had a memory of.

My fear now is that these seizures may start coming more frequently. I’ve been through a large number of medical tests with no results. One doctor thinks it might be epilepsy and a couple of weeks ago had me watch out and see if new seizures happened, even with prescribed medication. I’ll have to call her today and tell her it has happened… not something I look forward to.

Elly is afraid that I’ll have one while she is at work and that I will fall and hurt myself with ho one around. I fear that, too… but I’ve got to go on living somehow.

Actually, this blog is one of the things that keeps me going and for that I thank the several hundred readers who view it every day. Sorry I’ve spoken about it now… I’ll try to lay off in the future.

- Bill

Here we are in Milwaukee…

 

After a 14-hour train ride with no sleep, we are now at the Hilton hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Actually, I just woke up after sleeping for about five hours.

Our son met us at the RR station and got us over to the hotel. Then he took off again to have his Bachelor’s party with his friends.

We’ve had no Wi-Fi until we got here…so I’m sorry not to have kept up with you.

Tomorrow is the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner… more to come…

I’m going back to bed.

 

A lot of the pain is gone, but what’s left is still miserable.

 

It’s the two week anniversary of my fall down the cellar stairs and I continue to stay pretty much immobile in my recliner which I’ve packed with pillows.

The pain was so intense when this started that I was hoping I’d pass out and it would all be over. The pain rating has gone from a 10 to about a 2 now and I expect it will be another few months before the five ribs, shoulder blade and collar bone all heal up. This has been the worst two weeks of my life.

I have to say thank you for all the e-mail, Facebook comments and phonealls and text messages I’ve recieved from everyone… I certainly appreciate it. With any luck I’ll be able to travel to my son’s wedding in Wisconsin next week…as long as I stay pretty still on the train.

 

Legalizing Marijuana Benefits All of Us…

This is a followup to the Penn Jillette commentary I posted last week commenting on the problems with Obama‘s marijuana policy. This piece is from Online Paralegal Programs and has relevant statistical information:

So… this would save us public funds, help the economy, keep medical needs filled and would allow us to grow hemp for fabrics and other products, as this country used to do.

Genetically Modified foods should be labeled…

…we have a right to know what we are eating, and the right to refuse to eat GMO foods.

Just Label It! We have the right to know.

House budget eliminates nursing home funding through Medicaid

1% of us think this makes America Better.

Under the proposed budget resolution passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, nearly a million nursing home residents could immediately lose coverage for nursing home care. Further, all of the standards that govern nursing home care today could disappear.

Republicans are saying that their Budget Resolution does nothing to change Medicare for new beneficiaries until 2022. However, for current Medicare beneficiaries living in nursing homes, the overwhelming majority of whom rely on Medicaid, the impact of the Budget Resolution would be immediate and devastating.

If you have an elderly parent whose nursing home care is being paid through Medicaid, in 30 states — so far — the legal responsibility for those bills would then fall on you.

Since 1965, the Medicaid program has kept nursing homes from requesting or requiring contributions from residents’ families. Adult children have never been legally responsible for their parents’ nursing home care under Medicaid. That provision disappears if Medicaid is repealed.

If this gets through the Senate and becomes law, so many years of positive protection of the elderly disappears. And let’s not even get into the elimination of Food Stamps!

More here:

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2011/04/21/what-happens-to-current-nursing-home-residents-if-the-house-budget-resolution-becomes-law/

Starting the third week of moving and we’re still not done…

So help me, moving again is going to take more will than I think I have. We’re still hauling boxes and artwork and clothes and other stuff from 322 Starkey’s to the new house and it is an ongoing exhaustion creator.

To top it off it is raining this weekend and our helper students have football practice for much of it. When this is all done I’m going to sleep for two days straight and then get on with my life.

This morning on my radio show I was stumped for the first time on a play challenge, but, in general it went pretty well. Except, of course, that we weren’t on the internet due to a problem with the provider that the station is having. I’m sorry my regular out-of-town listeners couldn’t tune in today.

The Philosophy of Friendship…

Sometimes testing is very simple and the results are more than obvious.

I say this after just getting back from my weekly bout with ongoing depression with my therapist and being met at the door by Byron and Nestle, the two demanding dogs who are both thrilled to see me (and who want their lunch.)

I can’t imagine anything more pleasant than being greeted by two furry things who seem to have no other function in life than paying attention to me paying attention to them.

Moving to the new house has been somewhat of a confusing experience for the two of them, but they now seem to have centered on favorite spaces and times when things happen (lunch, walk, etc.) that pertain to them.

Flash! Pat Robertson gives approval to Oral Sex in Marriage!

Well… one can be against having health insurance cover birth control, but can approve oral sex in marriage. Isn’t that one of the simplest forms of birth control?

Where are you leading us, Pat?… America’s employers will need to know before deciding whether their female employees should be denied birth control on religious and/or moral grounds.

Did you notice that Pat said “between two people who are married” and not “Between a man and a woman who are married”?

Oh, Pat… are you slowly crawling into the twenty first century?

First night in the new house…

No TVComcast hasn’t shown up yet.

Dogs are going crazy…they have a long way to go getting used to a new existence.

Unopened boxes, big black plastic bags stuffed with clothes, misplaced furniture everywhere. Organization starts tomorrow (we’re lucky we have a bed ready to sleep in.)

Hope everyone out there has a great night.

I haven’t seen anything as politically humorous as this…

I saw this in The Political Carnival and couldn’t stop laughing…


VIDEO: Virginia delegate’s wife refuses sex with him after vaginal ultrasound bill discussed on TV

That War on Women? Well, it looks like the womenfolk are fighting back.

How would you like a Republican Death Panel standing between you and your health?

Well, if the proposed new amendment to the Health care Plan which has raised such an issue with both the Tea Party and the Catholic Bishops (both of which are groups who claim rights over your health) goes through that’s just what you’ll have.

From PoliticusUSA:

Sen. Roy "How's Your Blood Sugar?" Blunt

The amendment is sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and it is the death panel Sarah Palin preached about during the healthcare reform debate, and the ultimate loss of freedom (life) at the hands of Republicans. It is also how theocracy begins. The measure allows insurers or employers to claim moral or religious objection to covering

HIV/AIDS screenings, Type 2 Diabetes treatments, cancer tests or anything else they deem inappropriate or the result of an ‘unhealthy‘ or ‘immoral‘ lifestyle. Similarly, a health plan could refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that the plan believes that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer.”

The measure serves two purposes. It allows religious extremists to control healthcare decisions for all Americans, and undermines the new health law.

I’ve learned two things from this:

1. Because of my “immoral” lifestyle I have type 2 diabetes and doctors are going to give up the thousands of dollars they make from me and my insurance companies by banning treatment.

2. Newt, Mitt and Rick won’t get their needed mental health care, but can get together and pray their crazy ideas away.

I’m curious which totally healthy religious folks will be on the Death Panel. Certainly they are planning for an Atheist representative.

No?

Oh, well… what did you expect?

I’ve been trying to convince my dogs that they should help around the house…

… so I showed them this video:

Nestle went back to sleep and Byron picked up a chew toy and ran upstairs.

So much for dog responsibility.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Primaries Continue (does this ever end?)

David Horsey in the L A Times:

Makes me yearn for baseball season…

- and -

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald Leader:

Self promotion has it’s dangers…

- and -

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

When you get swallowed whole, it’s time to reconsider…

- and -

Jeff Stahler at Sunshine State News:

…and a divided party?

Night of the Living Dead…

I’ve had to get up really early every morning this week, what with WSHC calls and doctors appointments… tomorrow is no different. My big problem is that I don’t get any sleep at night. I tend to wake up in one and a half hour increments and by the time the 6 AM alarm goes off I’m more tired than I was when I went to bed at 10 PM.

As the week goes by I feel much worse. Usually I come back after my Saturday radio show and sleep off the afternoon… but I can’t this weekend since Elly and I have to drive down to DC for a party at an old friend’s house.

That means tonight will be utter misery, even if I go to bed at 9… even if I take a useless sleeping pill.

I need a vacation (hiding in my bedroom).

A Warning For New Year’s Eve…

Watch what you drink on New Year’s Eve

By JUDY ADRIAN AND CAROL LOBES

Don’t go out and get bombed on New Year’s Eve.

The glorification of excess alcohol consumption must come to an end. Alcohol is the worst drug.

It is more dangerous than many illegal drugs – worse than heroin, cocaine (including crack), ecstasy and marijuana.This was the conclusion of a study in the prestigious British medical journal Lancet a little more than a year ago.

The study shows that alcohol scored highest because it is so widely used and has such devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.When abused, alcohol can destroy nearly all organ systems.Alcohol leads to higher death rates than illegal drugs.Alcohol is a factor in a greater percentage of crimes.

And the economic costs are greater when you count the tab for health care, human services and law enforcement.Alcohol wins, hands down.Yet it would be unrealistic and mistaken to try to prohibit alcohol sales. That was unsuccessfully tried during Prohibition. Instead, we can do the following:

  • Stop pretending that alcohol is an acceptable drug.
  • Provide better information to the public on the relative harms of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Target problem drinkers by increasing penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Raise the price of alcohol so it is less readily available.

Many people see New Year’s Eve as an excuse to drink an excessive amount. But that’s a poor – and potentially fatal – excuse. We need to watch what we drink on New Year’s Eve – and every day.

ABOUT THE WRITERS

Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes are former co-directors of the Dane County (Wis.) Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse. They wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Readers may write to the authors at: Progressive Media Project, 409 East Main Street, Madison, Wis. 53703; e-mail: pmproj@progressive.org; Web site: http://www.progressive.org. For information on PMP’s funding, please visit http://www.progressive.org/pmpabout.html#anchorsupport.

This article was prepared for The Progressive Media Project.

OK, Got it? Have a Happy New Year… but wake up alive on Monday.

Have you noticed the increase in prescription medications advertised on TV?

As one who takes a large number of pills plus insulin shots every day, I have become extremely aware of the number of really serious prescription meds advertised on television. According to law, prescription meds have to reveal potential side effects in the ads (patent medicines don’t… although they may also have serious ones) and we are getting so used to hearing them that I think we have tuned out on what is being sold.

Thoughts of suicide, stroke, increased cholesterol, and even death are some of these announced side effects, but the drug companies drop them into the ads as if they are relatively unimportant.  Since I have lately been thinking about the effects on foods of Monsanto‘s chemicals, these meds (a couple of which I take myself on doctors’ orders) seem to join the chemical dominance of life in the U.S.

While I want to see a healthy nation, I am very worried that we use dangerous chemical compounds more and more often, seemingly as much as a commitment to corporations as they are to curing or maintaining control over diseases. In some cases they are used where non-medication solutions were effective in the past.

It’s time to investigate this further.

I’ll be signing off for the next 15 hours or so…

… to go in for a sleep exam. As I understand it, they stick a bunch of wires to my head at nine o’clock tonight and watch me while I sleep… Then wake me up at 6 AM and take the wires off and send me on my way.

I guess what they are hoping to discover is Sleep Apnea, but I’ll believe it when they can prove it.

When your sitting up tonight enjoying late night TV movies, think of me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 318 other followers