Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Think She's Gonna Blow!

I'd like to catch you up on some things that have been going on. First of all, there's been another doctor incident, and yes, it nearly killed me.

I found a great new doctor, well, I thought she was great. She even offered me a way to help me lose weight. Sadly, this was in the form of a pill and as we've known from past blogs – pills are bad. I ended up having very high blood pressure and possibly headed for stroke. There is only one solution and that is to stop taking that medication. The bad part is that I was starting to lose weight and I was starting to feel less depressed; the good part is that I no longer have to check my blood pressure twice today. My husband grew afraid that a stroke was imminent, as my blood pressure reached an enormous height. Even the doctors were concerned, finally.

I now understand why blood pressure is called a "silent killer" because I did not feel any symptoms. Instead I could only rely on the numbers that my meters read, and I had what a woman undergoing active labor of twins, during preeclampsia had. This just goes to show more reasons I will never have children – blood pressure issues!

It was farcical finding a resolution. One of the doctors decided that it was my pain medication causing the problems. However, at the same time I had been on that same medication for nearly 10 years. Another decided it was my allergy medication. They all finally concluded that a combination of my allergy medication plus my new weight medication was the culprit. This was decided after month of having blood pressure well above the levels recommended if expecting a stroke.

As far as weight loss goes, during that time I felt terrific. My energy levels were up and I wanted to do everything, so I did. I used my Wii, and danced and danced the danced. The result of this was ruined knee caps, swollen hips and now I fall down all of the time. It turned out all that dancing was making me less stable once I was off of all of that medication. It also turned out that my pain levels had been increased greatly, but the weight medication hid the pain levels.

After three weeks off of the weight and allergy medication, I ended up gaining 4 pounds and now I'm in the place that I was before started to lose weight this past December. Here's the problem: weight causes joint pain joint pain causes all sorts of issues. The primary issue is of course is that I have more joint pain which means I need to move around and exercise, which means I need to lose weight which I can't do because it causes more joint pain – getting the picture here? The last few days, I'm starting to get used to being off of all of those medications except for my standard pain meds. However because of the hot weather, I am now sleeping a lot more than I want to be.

Sleep is great. I can't complain about sleep. Here's the thing. I hadn't slept for more than four hours for nearly 7 years straight now. I'm now sleeping six hours a night which I'm completely not used to. It's great for me it's bad for my pets. So my pets now are trying to wake me up after four hours of sleep! I do laugh about it. I have to laugh about it. Wouldn't you laugh about it? You finally get to get to sleep, only to find that your cat is now walking in your face at 4 AM. They beg me, “feed me mommy feed me”.

That’s what happens. Realizing that I can't move around until I lose weight, I have to start yet another weight loss program. I'll try some sort of Nutrisystem, or maybe instead, then granola or vegetarianism or all the other weird things. I got one more new thing. Consumer Reports posted a statement that there are three or four programs that work better than others, through their testing. The second of these which was coincidentally least expensive is Slim fast. There's only so much weight loss you can afford when you're on disability. You could go for $75 a month program that involves chocolate. I went for chocolate, wouldn't you go for chocolate?

The great thing about being on the chocolate program is, well, it’s chocolate. The bad thing about being in a chocolate program is, well, it’s chocolate. I am getting tired of chocolate and those words sound weird. Also, I'm not dancing, yet, so what happens next?

Menopause. I am now turning into the old lady. I always knew I was. You know, I talk to my computer and I tell it....(using speech recognition)... PE are IOD. It doesn't read this quite right, so it gives me dots at the start of the word menopause. But you don't lose dots-- you lose periods, which all alone would be a fun day. I was looking forward to it for 35 or so years. Instead, I'm finding myself sitting on the couch wondering how deep my voice will get. That, and hoping that any chin hair I receive will be someplace where I could find it and pluck it to get it out of the way of anything else I might use.

So I believe we're caught up at last-- meds cause blood pressure issues weight causes pain, weight loss causes blood pressure shoots no weight loss causes pain. Pretty much sums it up. Really. This will get sillier. I promise a silly blog is due. I started to write one tonight. I'm so punch-drunk tired from not sleeping. Oh yes I did sleep, though no I didn't. Oh yes I did. Oh, no I didn't. I don't get the sleep I want when I'm waiting for a cat to put her face in my nose. Any minute now. In the meantime the dog is heading for his potty pad so that must mean it's time for me to stop posting a blog-- until the next time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flex Spending Or F'd Spending?

A childhood friend, and all around GREAT human being, Sue Quartarone wrote about her issues with the government's answer to Medicare Gaps and other issues with high pharmaceutical costs- the "Flex Spending" Accounts. They are supposed to be some sort of savings program designed to keep medical costs down for those of us who just can't afford them. Instead it's become the bureaucratic slapdashery that seems to permeate all of the "helpful" ways the government steps into our lives.

I'm not a Libertarian. I refuse to align myself to ANY party at all. At ALL- and NEVER will I be called Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Mormon, Lithuanian, or Tap Dancer. I just don't see the point in this stage of humanity in the separation of humans based on something that may have had a purpose when Tories, Whigs, and Separatists made for great history book babble. If the basic premise of political action is to find a joint answer for questions needing a resolve for the greater good, (all together, Hot Fuzz fans, "The Greater Good"), then unification is the first step in finding those answers. Deflate politics, and deal with issues. Period. But that's my 47 year-old's optimism again. Sorry for that babble.

Sue wrote this wonderful statement of the frustration we ALL feel when we rely on the programs that are supposed to be in place for supporting us, but instead creates more aggravation, questions, and despair.

Is this country f*cked?
by Sue Quartarone on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 at 12:41

In order to get MY money back from the flexible spending account for items such as cold medicines or other OTC items, I need a prescription--for each item specifically and with the number of refills allowed--and it(prescription) must be dated before the purchase was made.

So, every time I go to the store to buy Dimetapp or Benadryl, I have to call the doctor for a prescription and hold onto that prescription to submit to the reimbursement company? CALCIUM, which every woman MUST take, and OTC vitamins need a letter of medical necessity. I called my doctor and was informed that the letters/prescriptions will cost me MORE THAN I will be reimbursed! Is this Obama-care at its best? WTF? Is this what we pay our legislators for? Who the fuck came up with this one?-- I know that this is regulated by the IRS, but it's still a garbage rule regarding our health care.

This is just as bad as my other grievance that even though we supposedly don't have to pay a co-pay for our annual check-up IF you then discuss anything that's going on with you medically during said physical, the doctor can legally bill the insurance company for a second visit. NOT ONLY THAT, but then you, the patient having that annual now have to pay a co-pay for the "medical" portion of the check-up!

First of all, one of the first questions the doctor asks at the appointment is whether you have any questions or concerns about anything regarding your health. THAT IS WHAT A PHYSICAL IS FOR!

Second, I was not informed by the doctor that by actually asking a question I would have to pay $25 for an answer.

Third, with this wonderful new loophole in Obama's healthcare bill, a doctor's office can legally bill the insurance company for two visits even though we were in the office for only that one visit,

AND they (doctors), are getting paid by the insurance company twice the amount of what they formerly were paid for the same type of appointment. Why can't these doctors just write off the co-pay since they are already getting extra cash from the Insurance? The only thing all of this greed based medicine is going to do is to keep people from calling the doctor!

Sue's point is what I hear screaming from the mouths of every one who wonders what the point of Flexnet spending is! And more so, how can insurance companies now double bill for appointments previously included in the insurance policies as covered preventive annual care? The news plays the tune of how horrible our health is as a society in the United States, yet when we try to do something for it, our penalty is financial, and often due to that reason, we end up missing out of preventing issues that may have been discovered at these annual appointments.

The civil war is at hand. We have been pushing for a change in our politicians for the removal of lobbyists, for the true concept of listening to constituents, for the idea that our bodies do not belong to those who make rules in a cushy office in Washington D.C. . The true health of the United States has more to do with the stress and pain people we elect create rather than the stress of our lives, families, work, or lack thereof, and certainly we don't like the idea of walking into a drug store, expecting our self-paid benefits to be ignored due to yet another loophole in some other rule created by yet one more person in office who was wooed and manipulated by Pharmaceutical companies and Insurance agents.

Since Ronald Reagan made a stand and removed people from Mental Health Facilities; since the inceptions of HMO and managed health "solutions"; since some nut job in a voting capacity elected to change our children's Physical Education, cafeteria, and oh yeah, the free breakfast/lunch programs---all of this is the start of what will likely be the end of political interference in our health. The American public screams for comfort foods, low cost options- which tend to lie in Fast Food-, and even the idea that we have to go to auction websites to find medical equipment that wasn't"approved" by some manual of Insurance Company ABC.

Our civil war includes those of us who are on Medicare or another health program because we are disabled, of advanced age, and have PAID into a system. Our civil war is against those in the media who focus on our weight as a society rather than the removal of physical education in our schools. Our civil war is against those who stop mental health appointments after "six visits per year as stated in our guidelines". Six visits? Seriously? Our civil war is against programs that blatantly LIE to the consumer regarding their purpose and our ability to use them- such as Flex Spending.

Sue is now a warrior in our civil war. I'm sure many reading this are as well. The only way to stop it is to cut back on the multitudes of those who seem to have cropped up in Washington who plan our health decisions based on GREED. Many of us voted for a President whom we expected to listen to our causes, who seemed to be less likely to be swayed by those already in power. Instead, it's apparent we have a man whose hair is now whitened by the rigors of office- who was schooled in the reality of his role as Commander in Chief. No one in the White House ever has, nor ever will be able to change the way the House and Senate makes decisions until we, the people, make the drastic, warrior step, to change the way our public offices are created, run, and how long each person in those roles should stay there. This civil war is on its way to be one of the longest in history. The Rich may get richer, but those of us in the trenches are now wiser, and that is how true change begins.

We have Freedom of Speech. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have the thousands of years of human history to teach us why those in power inevitably fail the lands which are led. It always, invariably, starts with greed and ends in bloodshed. Hospitals, doctors, nurses- and Insurance companies- are creating the bloodshed now. Right now- we all know at least one person who has died of medical mishaps, or due to a "rule" implemented. You and I as warriors need to let those in charge that we DO NOT want any more government rules and missteps. We want to be given what is right, fair, and most of all UNDERSTOOD by those who are expecting a level of care. Flex Net spending is one HUGE issue that must be addressed. Write to your congressmen. Call your Senators. TALK to your friends, families, your health care providers, and even your Insurance Comapany. Be the warrior, not the victim.