Category Archives: Health and Medicine

Who Says I’m Not Gonna Miss You, Glen?

Sunday nights used to be family time.  Everybody would gather around the TV.

There's no problem with the picture ... it's a Google Image!

There’s no problem with the picture … it’s a Google Image!

Ed Sullivan

The Wonderful World of Disney

The Smothers Brothers

Glen Campbell

Glen pretty much introduced me to country music.  Not the hard core drinking-man/woman-losing-dog-died kind.  He gave me some of the most beautiful melodies:  “Gentle On My Mind” and “By the Time I Get To Phoenix.”  Songs that I still love.

Back then, I didn’t think much about the future.  Or about growing old.  My parents were old back then in the 1960s and early 70s — I knew they’d been born that way.  But the performers on TV would never get old.  I knew that then.  The Smothers Brothers old?  Glen Campbell?  Pishawwwww!

Time caught up with all of us.  My parents, of course, weren’t really old back then.  But they grew into that role, they passed on.  One by one the staples of not just my family but our world have faded.

Glen Campbell is fading.  As I write this, he is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease; a heartless disease that takes one’s mind long before it takes the body.

The song makes my heart sing, even while it breaks it.  Kind of like life.

You may not miss me, Glen, but I’ll miss you.  We all will.

*     *     *

I first heard this song on one of my favorite blogs, The Last of the Millenniums.  Thanks, pal.

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Health and Medicine, Taking Care of Each Other

Don’t Ask Me!

Of course you all know that I am a fake medical professional. So you should never ask me for medical advice.

But I am a real live professional patient. So I can speak from experience when I talk about medical stuff, too.

It’s all so confusing.

You know what else is confusing?  Taking your medicines so you get the most bang for your buck.  Or for your insurance company’s buck.  Or so you just feel better.

But taking medicines, especially if, like me, you take a zillion different ones, can really be mind numbing.

But there’s help!

October is “Talk About your Medicines Month!”*

I was recently contacted by Judy from NCPIE, The National Council on Patient Information and Education. She asked me to write a post letting you guys know that October is “Talk About Your Medicines Month.”  My sister Judy got me into the habit of doing whatever Judy said,  and even though this was a different Judy, I’m doing just that.  Because it’s important, and it’s a good way to make sure you’re using medicines, both prescriptions and over the counter (OTC)stuff the way you should.

But WHO should I talk to, Elyse?

Personally, I talk to my pharmacist.  He’s easier to get on the phone than my doctor is.

Besides, he always knows the answer to my questions.  Seriously!  Before I became a fake medical expert, I thought that all pharmacists have to do is count pills and put stickers on bottles.  I bet you thought so too.

Nope.  That’s not true at all –although they are damn good counters, I must say.   Pharmacists nearly always have PhDs!  They understand the chemistry, the interactions between drugs and between drugs and foods! They know what side effects to look for.  They know all kinds of things about how a body processes drugs, and what the drugs do to a body.  YOUR BODY!  Who wouldda thunk it.

Seriously, you can talk to them about all kinds of things:

  • Can I drink my daily 12 glasses of wine/5th of bourbon while I’m on this?
  • Do I have to take it before I gorge myself with ice cream?
  • Will it make me feel better after my wine and ice cream?
  • I’ve been taking this drug for 14 years and it was always white and oblong — why is it green and round today?
  • Will the drug that my GP gave me put hair on my chest (and if so, what the hell do I do about it?)
  • Whether stopping a drug cold turkey will turn me into a cold turkey

You can also ask them real questions.

And you know what?  They’ll know the answer.

Because pharmacists are even smarter than I am.

They're good at 'splainin' Google Image, natch.

They’re good at ‘splainin’
Google Image, natch.

*  Eat your heart out Frank (of AFrankAngle)

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Crohn's Disease, Health and Medicine, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other

I can’t get no … revisited

It’s Open Season for choosing health care options at my company, and probably at yours.

Personally, I think that they call it something else, because I’m pretty sure that most people associate “open season” with hunting.  And people who get as frustrated as I have trying to have relatively simple questions answered should not be invited to think of firearms.

It's a simple question! ANSWER IT!!!  (Google image)

It’s a simple question! ANSWER IT!!! (Google image)

Instead of shooting anyone, or permanently damaging my own vocal chords screaming into the phone, I thought I would bring back this post nobody ever read.

*     *     *

Automated telephone answering systems are responsible for the 40% increase in psychotic events over the past 15 years.

That’s my theory, anyway. My hypothesis. I’m not sure how to prove it, but it is true. My secondary hypothesis is that all incidents of domestic terrorism are directly tied to automated telephone systems. The FBI should investigate.

Personally, I become psychotic each and every time I have to press 1 for this and 2 for that. I’ll cut them a break for language, though. I have no problem pressing 1 for English. People need to grumble in their native tongue. Spanish speakers should have that right too.

But in fact, nobody gets to bitch. We just press 1 or 2 respectively and listen to additional options, none of which are what we want. None of the prompts are even close to what really want to do. None of them says “Press 4 to scream at a human.”

I become progressively more apoplectic with each and every telephone prompt. Eventually, with perseverance, I finally get a person. And by the time I do, that person on their end of the telephone is thinking long and hard about their career choice.

It’s not their fault. I always tell them that. I know it is true. But that fact doesn’t alleviate any of my anger at the time I have spent just to get to them. And nine times out of ten, the human I have reached is the wrong human in the wrong department and usually in the wrong country. I must start again. My psychosis soars along with my blood pressure.

There is even one telephone prompt voice that makes my blood boil. I call her Sybil. Sybil is everywhere: at my cable company and my power company and a couple of the banks I briefly considered doing business with until I heard her speak. She is young, chatty. She pretends to be my friend. She is not my friend. I do not want to be friends with a telephone prompt. I do not want to talk to her. I do not want to do anything she asks of me. And I really do not want to press her buttons. She is pressing mine. Remotely.

On average, after approximately 5 different prompts I am invariably led to a dead end where I have the same four original choices, none of which remotely fulfilled my need at the start. Or, if somehow one of the choices would work, I am promptly disconnected. I must start again with Sybil.

I am pretty sure the cost savings in terms of personnel is not worth it for businesses. Often by the time I am done with a call about this or that, I am ready to destroy the building. And if all your customers feel that way—and they do–perhaps you should rethink your policy.

One minute with a person early on and my problem would have been solved, amicably, and I would be a satisfied customer. Instead, an hour later, I would give all that I own for a battalion of similarly psychotic customers who would help me storm company headquarters and pin down just one human for us to yell at in turn. But by the time my turn comes, of course, I will have forgotten why I want to yell at them. And then I’ll have to talk to Sybil again.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Wild Beasts

It’s a Jungle Out There

Since the video I posted about the wrong mascot for the GOP was such a hit, I figured I needed to post another animal piece.

This one represents thankfulness for healthcare.

 

It says it happened in “Columbia,” but I’m quite sure they mean in the “District of Columbia.”  Positive.

(My thanks to Father Kane of The Last of the Millennials who posted this video with far less snark than I.)

 

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Filed under Campaigning, Childhood Traumas, Elections, Health and Medicine, Humor, Pets, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

The Long Hall

While John and I were having a nice, romantic anniversary dinner last weekend – our 28th – I was thinking of another man. And another couple’s marriage.   And how, when you say those words, “in sickness and in health,” you never really know what you’re getting into.

As anybody who has read a few of my posts knows, John and I have been both lucky and unlucky through the years. I’ve had a lot of health issues that neither of us bargained for – infertility and Crohn’s to be specific. But through it all, John has been with me every step, helping me, cheering me, making me do things I don’t want to have to do.

Illness effects all members of the family, and changes their lives. Some people rise to the occasion, and some are brought down by it. I am delighted to say that I’ve been truly lucky to have this guy with me through all the , ummm, shit. I even nominated him for Sainthood when he survived a particularly, ummm, nasty point in my Crohn’s.

But the other man I was thinking of on our wedding anniversary was Charles Gulotta.  OK, I was thinking about his wife, Jill, too.  So don’t criticize.

Two weeks earlier, I’d finished reading Charles’ memoir, the Long Hall.

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

The Long Hall by Charles Gulotta

 

It’s the story of how Charles and Jill met, fell in love, married, and had a daughter, Allison. It’s also the story of a simple twist of fate that changed their lives dramatically, when Jill suffered a stroke during childbirth. It’s the story of how Charles went from a happy expectant father, to a shocked but loving caregiver to two very different people, one infant and one adult, with very different needs.

It is now a month since I read the book. And honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  The story sounds a wee bit depressing, doesn’t it?  I will admit, there are a lot of rough patches.  But that’s not what I found so memorable.   What stayed with me is a constant feeling of hope.

Often, when I’ve read Charles’ delightful blog, Mostly Bright Ideas, I’ve felt that he’s gotten into my head, asked questions that have been milling around in my mind for years. With The Long Hall, Charles got into my heart as well.  And I really think that this book will stay with me, always.

Read it. It is the most uplifting story I have read in decades.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Bloggin' Buddy Books, Books, Crohn's Disease, Family, Health and Medicine

Not One More

Maybe you’ve seen this before.  Maybe you haven’t.  But it is worth watching.  It is worth seeing again.

 

We do everything we can to protect our kids from possible dangers.  Except when it comes to guns.  Really.  How can we as a country, we as thinking rational people, we as parents continue to let the NRA decide.

Get rid of politicians who won’t stand up to the NRA.  Get rid of politicians who think that it is just dandy that anybody can get a gun.  Or collect enough of them to maintain an arsenal.

Protect your family.  Vote these folks out of Dodge.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Campaigning, Cancer, Childhood Traumas, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, Family, GOP, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Hypocrisy, Law, Mental Health, Politics, Stupidity, Voting

It’s a Joke, Son

My husband John makes a point of not laughing at my jokes.  He pretends that I am not the funniest person he knows — even though I often hear him repeating my zingers with a chuckle.  John has helpfully suggested that whenever I am “trying” to be funny, that I should hold up a flag to let the world know.  I counter that he is humor challenged.

As it turns out, I recently learned that there are loads of humor challenged folks.

And they read our blogs!

SHIT!

Now most of you know my good bloggin’ buddy, Peg-O-Leg.  Well, Peg was Freshly Pressed just yesterday!  It was a delayed FP’ing for a post she wrote over a month ago, entitled: Facebook Ruined My Life, Now They Must Pay.  It’s about how she wants to sue Facebook because somebody put up an embarrassing picture of her from her childhood.

It was a joke, son.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T2wYE0W1oo

But the thing is, she got comments from strangers criticizing her for suing Facebook.  I’m not joking, she got nasty comments about the lawsuit she was clearly making up for a humor blog.

Just how many humor challenged folks are there?

***

Peg’s predicament reminded me of one of my very early posts.  I couldn’t resist reposting it, because, well, it was my very first blogging experience with possibly humor challenged folks.

Manitoba Bound

It’s time to export all the stupid people in the United States to another country.  Congress will go along with it as long as we can designate “stupid people” a commodity.  A trade lawyer I consulted suggested that designating them as “spare parts” under the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement would permit widespread exportation of stupid people from all over the country.  It would also ensure that only “real” stupid people and not fake or “counterfeit” stupid people qualify.  US export numbers will skyrocket, the debt limit will take care of itself, and we won’t owe China a penny.  Or a Yuan.  The economy will be saved.  More importantly, I won’t have to deal with them any more.

I decided to send them to Canada – nobody lives there, anyway.  Manitoba, to be exact.  Why?  It’s easier to spell than “Saskatchewan.”  Manitoba is right there in the middle of the continent where the stupid people won’t be able to hurt themselves.  Like one big padded room.   They will be safe, happy, well cared for.  Cable TV.  Internet access — even broadband.  I’m not unkind, you know.  A team of teenagers will be available to help them turn on their TVs, stereos, DVD players, mobile phones.  Friends and family members can visit anytime.

There are a lot of stupid people in the US, you say, so where do we start?   We’re starting with the ones that bug me the most.  It’s only fair.  After all I am the brains here.

I deal with stupid people every day.  I work in medical products litigation.  Stupid people believe the TV lawyers’ mantra “Sue then Retire.”  Each time I walk into my office, I am smacked upside the head by the stupid actions of stupid people who sue for big bucks.  I learn way too much about them, sort of like when you interrupt your 74-year-old uncle in the shower.  You’d be happier without the image.

          I want them outta here.

 Here’s a contender:

 A woman named Mona was sick.   Mona went to her doctor and was given a 30 day prescription for the drug that would treat her.  She took it to the pharmacy where the pharmacist typed up a label and put it onto the bottle that the manufacturer dispensed the tablets in, because conveniently, those pills already came packaged in bottles of 30 pills.  Terrific!  Safe!  Foolproof!  How many times have you gotten medicine this way?  Loads of times, I wager.  Have you gotten it that way lately?  Nope.  Thank Mona.

Now Mona is a very precise woman.  She carefully monitors everything.  She uses a pedometer to count her steps, compares food package labels. Understands the food pyramid.  She doesn’t walk when the “Don’t Walk” sign starts blinking.  She knows the calorie, carbohydrate and vitamin content of everything she swallows. Brushes her hair precisely 100 strokes each night.  Flosses.  Therefore, she read the label that came with the pills from the drugstore, too.  She opened the sealed package, and poured out her first dose.  That’s when Mona’s ticket to Manitoba was punched.

Because when she dumped out that first pill into her hand, she also poured out a tiny crunchy plastic package about a half inch square.  It contained salicylic acid – packages like that are put into many products to help keep the contents dry and to prevent mold.  The little package in her hand said “DO NOT EAT.”  So she didn’t.  At all.  She didn’t eat for 30 days while she took her medicine.

She didn’t call her doctor and scream:

          “You never told me I couldn’t eat!” 

She did not call the pharmacist and say:

          “Can I at least have toast?  Or Jell-O?”  

And when she got very ill from (1) being stupid and (2) not eating for 30 days, did she feel embarrassed?  Did she pack for Manitoba?  No.  She sued the pharmacy and the drug manufacturer for millions of dollars for pain, suffering, and lost wages.  She won.

So Mona goes first.

And the woman who fell into the shopping mall fountain while texting and then sued the shopping mall?  You saw her.  She went onto local and national news shows to tell the story and to complain that no one helped her after she fell.  She said repeatedly that she was embarrassed that everyone she knew had seen her fall into the fountain on YouTube.  She was upset at being called “Fountain Lady.”  She appeared on television voluntarily, where they replayed the video three times for people like me who hadn’t yet enjoyed it.  She made absolutely sure that “Fountain Lady” was unmasked, because this caption appeared at the bottom left of the TV screen:

CATHY CRUZ MARRERO

“FOUNTAIN LADY” FIGHTS BACK

Her ticket is printing now.

 

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Diet tips, Disgustology, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Law, Mental Health, Stupidity, Word Press