Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Getting a Power Up!

I’ve complained enough for you all to know that I’m a hard stick when it comes to blood draws. Quite frequently the phlebotomists ask if I have “a port” or suggest that I get one. After getting stuck five times about a week ago I finally inquired about getting “a port.”  My oncologist contacted a surgeon the same day and I got an appointment to see a surgeon a couple of days later. I saw the surgeon yesterday and am scheduled for surgery to implant one next week.

The surgeon kept referring to it as a “power port.” That sounds more like some sort of attachment on Ironman’s armor to let him recharge from a wall outlet. How cool would that be? Forget the Power Port, I want a repulsor beam!

The last time I made a post here I mentioned that my oncologist finally said the T word, but didn’t make any comments on a time frame. I decided to clarify that on my most recent visit and asked if I’m looking at weeks, months or years. His reply was that it was more than weeks, but I shouldn’t be counting on years either. Everyone is different, but apparently I’m kind of like the McRib, here for a limited time only, available while supplies last. Unlike the McRib, I won’t be coming back any time soon.

I saw a pulmonologist about my shortness of breath a couple of weeks ago and he prescribed a 4 day infusion of the diuretic I’m on, Lasix. It effectively doubled my dosage, I dropped about 15 pounds and wasn’t feeling quite as short of breath. As soon as I was off the IV, some of the weight came back. A few days later I saw my oncologist who looked at my blood tests, determined that my creatinine levels were out of kilter and cut my normal dosage of Lasix in half. So in the course of about a week and a half, I went from 40 to 80 to 40 to 20. Weight-wise I’m back where I started and short of breath again.

We got the riding lawnmower out for the first time this season and got to mow for about a half hour before the belts fell off again. I think this makes the fifth time for the same problem. It had a two year warranty and it was two weeks past the factory warranty expiration. Luckily, I bought a three year extended warranty with it, so now I’m waiting for the local repair shop to contact me about picking it up. If past experience proves to be the norm, it’ll be at least two weeks before we can try mowing it again. I Googled the mower on the Internet yesterday, “Problems with 42” Rustee Riding Lawnmower.” One website had 87 complaints listed, the top three and about 50% of the rest of the complaints said “The belts keep falling off.” Sounds like a design flaw to me.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Health and Welfare

My oncologist decided to send me to a pulmonologist for my shortness of breath. It was tossup between drawing fluid off my lungs with a needle (been there done that) or having a nurse visit my home every day for the better part of a week and give me an injection of a high powered diuretic. The diuretic won.

So my insurance company decided that a supplier 120 miles away was better than one just across the river. They send a guy with supplies for the nurse. Two IV kits and one and a half day’s supply of the medicine. I’m a hard stick, so the nurse goes through the two IV kits without success. A check with the doctor and he says inject it with a syringe instead, but start an IV ASAP. A call to the supplier and they have to send the guy back again with more IV kits…and no additional medicine. The IV was finally installed but there was only a half day’s supply of medicine left. They finally send another day and a half worth of medicine and offhandedly mention to the nurse that the medicine they sent previously had expired. She asked them if they had informed the patient, they said no, but they would. It’s about 48 hours and I still haven’t heard from them. Still a couple of days left on the treatments and another box of supplies arrived this afternoon, I hope it has enough medicine to finish up the treatments…but I’m not going to bet on it.

In other news, we are in the process of trying to settle my brother-in-law’s estate. He was on Medicare and SSI his entire life and only got about $700 a month. He was frugal and was able to stretch the money, but he ate a lot of beans and pasta. He paid his bills and always dealt in cash. No credit history whatsoever. If he couldn’t buy it with cash, he did without. His only assets were the 20 year old mobile home he lived in and 1/3 ownership of half an acre of property. Not a lot. 

As a part of Medicare, one of the things he had to do was agree that they could have his trailer and other assets when he passed away. We just heard from the government about what they think he owes them...$127,000.00.  
They’ll have better luck getting blood out of a turnip.