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I haven't been posting updates on the ankle problem--it has not gone away despite 4 weeks in the air cast, 4 weeks (overlapped by a week) of 2x/week PT, and now 3 weeks breaking in and using the new cu$tom orthotic$. The current symptoms are these occasional stabbing or burning pains just behind the right inside ankle, sometimes spreading upward a little toward the tendon.

Today was the "how are the orthotics?" visit with the podiatrist. I told her that the orthotics themselves were fine--I'm past the stage of foot fatigue, have no issues walking in them, but....there's still this pain. She poked around a bit and proposed that this could be tarsal tunnel syndrome, possibly caused by varicose veins in the area. I've recently noticed some small varicose veins around that ankle, and it appears that you can have other varicose veins that don't show on the skin at all. The choices she offered for treating TTS were a compression sock, which I'd tried briefly after the last visit and stopped because it was so uncomfortable, or a cortisone injection.

After some discussion, I took the cortisone. (After I decided, Doctor said that in her experience, the compression sock people are back in 2 weeks for the shot.) On the pessimistic side, she also said "if it improves with the cortisone, we'll know it's TTS." I went off to my office with a chill pack for a 20 minute application, and just repeated that this evening. Only one round of burning pain post-injection so far, about 30 minutes ago.

I sure hope this works. I desperately need to get back to regular exercise, for both weight control and general health. I think I may have to admit that regular Jazzercise is just not going to be possible for some time longer, and go find an alternative. That I'll do regularly--that's the hard part.

Cast away

Feb. 8th, 2010 12:22 pm
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I've been having persistent tendonitis in my right leg and ankle for about 4 months, aggravated by my Jazzercise and really all activities--a long standing session in the kitchen will kick it off. So today I saw a podiatrist, and left her office in an air cast.

Four weeks. Take it off only to drive, bathe, and sleep. Oh, joy.

This rather kills my Jazzerthon participation, though I'll of course keep on fund-raising. Maybe I'll go and cheer from the sidelines, depending on how hard I'm finding it to get around...


Feb. 15th, 2008 10:13 pm
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Busy Friday...

Finally get my overdue perm at 9, then stop at the thrift store in search of new-to-me black pants (successful), then home briefly to change clothes and punch down the challah dough rising in the fridge. Off again to Petsmart for cat food, then Weight Watchers, lunch at the newly opened Alcove Coffee & Tea (moved from another location) just down from WW, home again. Quickly off to St. Joseph's medical complex for the annual mammogram. That accomplished, fight the building Friday PM traffic through Spaghetti Junction and around to Northlake to the grocery store. Parking lot cellphone consultation with sister-in-law leads to the purchase of a chuck roast for grilling. Home again, braid challah, marinate chuck roast. Grill the meat, bake the bread, eat both with veggies provided by sister-in-law, in company with sister-in-law and younger niece. Nephew is at friend's for a sleep-over, older niece and my brother at softball practice.

Reflection 1: spring must be approaching. After a brief temperature dip into the 20's and a few snowflakes spotted on Wednesday, we were back to 61 or so today. And there was still enough daylight to read the meat thermometer at the grill at 6:30. And I felt like grilling...and the result was wonderful. We all (well, except the nephew who rarely eats beef of any type) love this barbecued chuck roast recipe.

Reflection 2: on the inefficiency of health care providers. If they make a special call to me 2 days before a scheduled procedure (to my home number, thus requiring me to call back from work the next day), and verify name, address, birth date, doctor, emergency contact, and insurance, and provide me with a 'confirmation number' and tell me I must bring it with me....why don't they ask for the confirmation number? Why have me fill out a form which repeats much of this information, instead of printing it out from their database? I see they've started asking to see and copy a photo ID, too. Insurance fraud by people stealing the card, perhaps?
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I had an "annual physical" today, probably my first in 15 years or so. I seem to recall having a physical offered by the employee health clinic in the Federal Building in Jackson, Miss.--that must have been in the late '80s-early '90s. The chest-pain scare of 2 years ago probably ran me through most of the basic physical exams, too.

I'm not opposed to physicals, but they are one of those things that I procrastinate on. I'm religious about my annual pap smear/pelvic exam and now mammogram, but the general physical just didn't ever seem to happen.

But anyway, I finally called for an appointment, waited the 6 weeks or so for an opening, and then went in today. And I'm in good health. My doctor is still marveling that I've lost the weight and kept it off. BP is normal, no internal organs are enlarged, lungs are clear, reflexes are good, EKG must have been normal because he didn't mention it. He checked to see if I was getting enough calcium, ordered a blood count, cholesterol, and thyroid tests (I'm on a statin for cholesterol, so the last 2 get run every 6 months anyway), and we just chatted. He offered a recommendation for a cereal he liked, I reminded him that my brother had been in to see him a few weeks ago (and he remembered that B. lives next door to me), I showed off my PDA when he couldn't believe I had 150 books on that little thing, and he wrote down the title of a book he's reading that I want to try: Salt: A World History. I've requested it from the library.

Oh, and I asked if I could get a flu shot: they were out, but are hoping for a new supply next week sometime. I'll probably watch for a grocery-store type opening, rather than fight the office admin at this Emory Clinic sub-office.
nlbarber: (Default)
The weekend is over, and my "must do" task is not done: I haven't finished making the last of the decisions on the shopping list for the kitchen remodeling. Yet undone: sinks, faucets, and any cabinet inserts like spice cabinets and silverware drawers. Maybe I can do this at lunch time tomorrow and get it off to my designer.

I shall blame this inaction on the weather (incredibly hot and muggy--heat index was predicted to reach 105 or so today), a nice day of fannish activity yesterday (ASFS meeting in the afternoon, and I made it to my first housefilk yesterday at [ profile] joyeuse13's, spending time at both events getting hints for my upcoming first trip to DragonCon), and some health stuff.

TMI warning on perimenopause... )
nlbarber: (Default)
Down an even pound, after a week of trying to keep to 20 points (which will be my official target in about another 3 pounds), not using flexpoints, and not using exercise points. And going to 4 Jazzercise sessions. I'll grant I'd hoped for a little more, but that's OK.

The little disappointment inspired me to dig out the Excel file I'd started early on and update it. The last couple of weeks have been only slightly above the trend, and the one before that was a significant drop below. I also looked to see when I might hit my goal weight, if the current trend keeps up--maybe mid-June. Except for my plan to go a little lower than the official goal, I could plan a little food-related celebration for my birthday in late June...maybe I will anyway.

In other news, I've got a head cold, probably courtesy of my 4-year-old nephew. Two days so far of a constantly runny nose. The used Kleenex is piled high. Ugh! Hate colds. Hate 'em.
nlbarber: (Default)
In fact, he was almost ecstatic. When I saw him last October, prompted by vague chest pains (that turned out to be mostly acid reflux), my total cholesterol was 204, and the LDL/HDL breakdown was 137/37. In other words, the total level was marginal, the LDL ("bad cholesterol") was too high, and the HDL just barely made it into the good range.

This time, under the influence of drugs (Lipitor, though I've since switched to the cheaper Zocor), thirty pounds lighter, and eating a better diet, the total was 116, and the LDL/HDL was 61/42. The LDL seemed to be the cause of the most joy--though it may not hold that low with the drug change.

But today is for celebrating. I'll go back in 3 months to check it again.
nlbarber: (Default)
Yesterday I realized that the samples of Nexium were almost exhausted, so I called the doctor's office to explain that the drug was working, I would like a prescription, but that my insurance company wouldn't cover the Nexium and recommended Prevacid or Aciphex. And while we were at it, would the doctor consider if I could use one of the lower cost alternatives to Lipitor, which would cut my insurance co-pay in half. Oh, and while we were doing that, I'd also like a second copy of each prescription so I can start using the Aetna mail-in pharmacy program at 1/3 the cost of a retail store. (I do not envy the life of the doctor's receptionist, or whoever it is that has to take all these sorts of calls and try to keep them all straight.)

It being Friday afternoon, I wasn't sure they'd manage to get the prescription called in (I arranged to pick up the copies of the prescriptions on Monday morning). Nonetheless, I stopped this morning on the way home from Jazzercise, and there was a bottle of Prevacid waiting for me. BUT: the insurance wouldn't cover it. I yelped, and explained that this was the drug the insurer's Web site recommended instead of Nexium, and so they went to investigate--after dealing with another customer's insurance problems. When they got to me, their computer eventually said that this drug requires "prior authorization" (back to that phrase that this context). When I still looked baffled, they called the insurer and were informed that as of Jan. 1, all drugs in this class require prior authorization.

So, rather than pay the full retail price, I elected to wait until Monday when the pharmacy can consult with my doctor and try to get over the prior authorization hurdle. And I've spent the day reflecting on the incredible inefficiencies of this system--the time it takes for me, for the pharmacy, for the doctor's staff, and for the doctor to go through these rounds of "what drug can be prescribed, and what will it cost the patient". I'm no fan of the latest and greatest new drug that's just a tweak of an old one, and don't mind taking older drugs or generics if they will do as well for my problem. But can't we come up with a better system than this for determining what that drug is?
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Up to now, I'd managed to escape any sort of daily prescription medication--I think my last prescription may have been filled 2 years ago. But today my internist decided to put me on a statin called Crestor, as my CRP (a marker for heart disease risk) is elevated and my LDL cholesterol is also high. So, he writes the prescription at my morning appointment, and I truck off to my office and get immersed in Stuff.

Toward the end of the afternoon, I start thinking about getting the prescription filled, and decide to see what the Aetna Web site says it will cost. I also decide to check out the other drug that he just gave me some samples of, Nexium. That one is a test to see if it affects the chest/throat pain that started all this round of doctors and tests (and to some extent, the incentive for the weight loss attempt).

The Aetna site's Price-A-Drug is not very informative: it won't give me a cost, because neither of these drugs are allowed under my health plan. Information of a different sort, I guess... The doctor can request a "prior authorization" (somehow I don't think this phrase means what they think it does...) for me to get it, but if he does, the months' supply will probably cost me $80 (still a lot better than retail, I'm sure). I call my doctor's office and relate this to them, give them the phone number of the pharmacy I plan to use, and go back to Stuff.

This evening I got to the pharmacy to see what had transpired, and ended up with a pharmacist who couldn't grasp the concept that she was speaking in an arcane pharmacy/health insurance jargon to me. She finally got across to me that the doctor had called in a prescription for Lipitor to replace the Crestor (OK, fine), and they had filled it, but that it was "paid for" with cash because my insurance was invalid. "Paid for" was finally translated to "how it was marked in our pharmacy computer in terms of insurance"--that took me a while to grasp. Then I had trouble explaining to her the unlikelihood that my employer, the U.S. government, had randomly switched insurance carriers at the first of the year. (For those who don't know, there's a set of insurance options under the Fed. Employees Health Benefits Plan, and each employee gets to choose the coverage and the associated cost that they prefer. Thus I was sure that my health insurer was still my insurer, thankyouverymuch. Along with the evidence that I was logged into my account on their Web site 4 hours before, checking my personalized information.)

After much more of this non-communication, she tried putting the (now unneeded) Crestor prescription into the computer to see what happened. My insurance number again was kicked out as invalid, and she agreed to call the company to ask. Somewhere during that conversation I realized that the pharmacy had both the insurance card number and my birthdate in as identifiers, and that they gotten this information off my card. Bing! I found out this fall that the insurance company had a totally wrong birthdate for me, and got it corrected--but the card still had the bad one. I whispered this to the pharmacist, she changed the date in her computer, and all was copacetic. Although the Lipitor did cost me $40 for a month's supply. Must ask doctor if other statins will do as well for me.

And, if the samples of Nexium do indeed help the mysterious chest pain, I'll have to go repeat this lovely experience shortly.

WW, week 5

Jan. 5th, 2004 10:36 pm
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Yesterday's weigh-in was great: down 3.4 pounds for the week, 13.2 overall. The pain of the new, lower, points target must have been doing something. And, OK, I got to several Jazzercise classes during the week, and the "exercise tolerance test " (AKA stress test) must have burned some calories, even though it didn't last all that long. (I got stressed enough worrying about it, too, but the quick result tossed at me by the cardiologist as he wrapped up the test and started to leave was "perfectly normal". )


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