Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Monday, October 16, 2017

I Spoke Too Soon

A few days ago I posted about taking Bob to the ophthalmologist. After visiting with him I felt I could go forth with confidence, wrong. I spoke too soon.

Soon after that visit Bob mangled another pair of his prescription glasses. Three times he's done this. I know he sat on them one time but don't know what happened the other times. Everytime this happens I have to take him and the glasses back where we got them and ask them to repair and realign them.

I decided I would fix that so I got a cord for his glasses. Surely that would keep his glasses safe. Nope, like glasses, you have to wear it for it to be successful. That idea was a fail.

When I had my cataract surgery the doctor told me if I didn't want prescription glasses to get 2.50 strength reading glasses and I would be fine. This morning I went to Dollar Tree and bought five pair of reading glasses for a total of $5.

Go ahead Bob, lose and mangle those prescription glasses all you want, I can get more where these came from. This is it for you.

I am commenting on blogs, I really am, but when I press publish the comment goes away, never to be seen again, perhaps eaten by Blogger?  Anyone else having this problem? Know a solution?

Friday, October 13, 2017

It Happened Again

Some time ago Bob was given a prescription by one of his doctors that did not play well with his other medications. We spent the day in the Emergency Room over that one, and our insurance paid a tidy sum for that mix up.  Since then I've tried to be extra diligent anytime he receives a new prescription. I question the doctor, and read up on every new medication.

In spite of this we recently had another bad experience mixing medication. It was an inhaler that tripped us up this time. I don't know why I didn't check it. Perhaps I thought an inhaler was different, that it would be okay with pills. Who knows what I thought but this one got through my check system.

About a week and a half after Bob began using this inhaler he complained he was urinating a lot. I didn't give it a lot of thought. A few days later I was giving it a lot of thought.

Early one morning I heard him calling and he had fallen in the bathroom hitting his head. The next morning he fell again hitting the other side of his head. We were off the the ER to be sure he wasn't bleeding into his brain since he takes blood thinners.

When they weighed him I was shocked to see he had lost about 17 pounds in just a very few days. The scan revealed no bleeding but I received no answer for the sudden weight loss.

While we were at the ER our nurse daughter put on her investigative cap and went searching. She did the logical thing, started with his most recent prescription. Bingo, she had to look no further. She texted me what she'd found.

The short of it is this inhaler did not play well with any of the medications he was taking. It caused the diuretic to go into overdrive causing him to urinate off the 17 pounds weight loss, his electrolytes went crazy, even caused his heart to act up as was recorded when they checked his pace maker.  He was a mess.

Daughter flew here from Texas and stayed two weeks with us. By then he had managed to scramble back into the land of the living, and has continued to improve, but I can assure you it was not a good experience.

I took great pleasure in dropping that inhaler into the trash bin.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Walker Time

The time came when the doctor said it was time for Velcro to begin using a walker, and suggested we get one with a seat. Being the compliant souls we are we charged right out and got one. He wanted the Texas license plate added so daughter fixed him up. That's about as much good as I can say about this walker experience.

There are very few times when he needs this contraption. He uses it to wheel the trash out, and when he walks up to get the mail. That's about it.

I refuse to take him to Costco without it, so he's chosen not to go to Costco. Fine with me.

Shortly after he got it I found it very difficult to fold and put in the car, plus it was far heavier than I wanted to deal with. The contraption itself weighs 15 pounds, but it felt much heavier than that. Later I discovered he was carrying a flashlight, a wrench, and a socket wrench in the compartment under the seat! That's when I told him he was in charge of getting the thing in and out the car.

We made a few grocery store trips with it but it's hard to imagine how many ways he found to block me with it. In the check-out lane things escalated. He couldn't think how to turn around and wheel it on through and because of the grocery cart I couldn't reach him to turn him around and head him in the right direction. Once we'd completed our clown performance there and were leaving the store, I realized I was pushing the walker and he was pushing the cart!

We live in an apartment, not a house. The walker is too large to be of much use. One of the very simple, lightweight, folding ones is all he needs in the house.

In time I may grow to love this one but it will be a while.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lost Billfold

Today's adventure was Bob's lost billfold. He told me early this morning and I wasn't too concerned. This happens occasionally, only to turn up later in a coat pocket etc.

As the morning went on the situation looked more serious. He's always been super good at finding anything lost, mostly because he never gives up. He had been hot on the trail of the missing billfold all morning, always with his trusty flashlight in hand.

I decided it was time for me to get involved. I looked in the car, no billfold. I went to his room, where it looked like he might be moving. He had everything pulled out. I looked around but still no billfold.

I still felt like it would turn up but we were approaching noon and still no sight of it. I decided perhaps I'd better cancel his bank card just to be on the safe side. That done I decided to abandon my part of the search, trusting it would eventually rise to the top.

About an hour after I canceled his bank card he found it in his underwear drawer. Why there? He never puts his billfold in his underwear drawer.

By this time I'd done some thinking. The thought of replacing his military ID was less than appealing. There was also his Railroad Medicare card. Drivers license, no need to replace that. I had decided it was time to make some changes. There's actually no reason for him to carry a billfold but his heart would be wounded if I took it away.

I asked him to give me his military ID card and we locked it in a safe place. He needs it once a year when the medical folks are updating their records. Since I do all that now I can keep up with the card long enough to get that done. I also asked for his Railroad Medicare card but he insists that one of the labs he visits regularly asks to see it. (Railroad medicare is different than regular Medicare.) Still I cannot imagine why they would be asking to see it. I'll check on that.

Ideally he would only be carrying his Costco card and his debit card. A lost billfold would then not be such an issue.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Boo to Q-Tips and Medical Forms

This morning we saw the doctor about Bob's ear. The doctor said "Do you clean your ears with a Q-Tip?" Guilty as charged. I can close my eyes and visualize him with a Q-Tip cleaning his ears. This morning he had to pay the piper. Wax was packed in until it was difficult to remove, and left him with an very inflamed ear. The doctor says ears are meant to be self cleaning, I suppose like an oven. I'm now dropping antibiotic drops in that ear for the inflammation, and will slap him if I ever see him with another Q-Tip in his ear.
In addition to the ear issue we had an appointment later in the morning with the urologist for Bob. Here I ran into an issue that is really beginning to bug me. We were told the answer to good medicine would be electronic records. I'm filling out more paper forms now that I ever did in the days before electronic records. This irritates me.

Bob is no longer capable of filling out forms. This morning I was given six pages to complete. I looked at that set of forms and declared them nonsense. There has to be a better way, like perhaps using the computer system to see what information is already there. Perhaps a nurse could use the information already there and simply ask about anything he/she thinks might have changed. Surgery history really irritates me. How many times should we have to give a surgery history? What good is electronic records if doctors and medical staff do not use them? This morning I muttered a little and decided to use the least amount of information possible in order to say I'd filled out that nonsense.

I always think what would happen if Bob and I were both 85, still able to drive to the doctor, but slow and not very reliable filling out forms? How many pages should we be expected to complete? The forms this morning wanted a list of his medications, the dosage, and how often he took it, all to be added to a space about an inch and a half in length. Really, some of his medication names are longer than that.

Back in the treatment room I was given a page of very personal questions to answer. I looked at that and decided I would rebel. When the doctor came in I told him the form was designed for the patient to complete, not a family member, and I was uncomfortable asking Bob the questions. He just waved it aside and said not to worry about it he didn't need it anyway.

Recently I received an envelope of 8 pages of medical forms to complete before seeing my internist. I sat down and read the forms, making notes as I went. Then I picked up the phone and called the clinic and canceled my appointment, explaining the reason.

I'm friendly with the people in that office and it touched off quite a stir. I received a call from the office manager. It seems he'd never read those forms, didn't even know who generated them. Then I received a phone call saying my doctor wanted me to come in and talk to her. Turns out she had not read the forms either. She even said that apparently I was the only patient she had that had read them, that others just dutifully filled them out and said nothing.  She asked me to prepare her a summery of how I thought the forms could be improved and send it to her. It was obvious whoever generated those forms had not a clue about adults over 65.

I'll probably never hear another word about all this, but I did accomplish one thing. My doctor has instructed the staff I am not to be asked to fill out paper forms. I'll take that.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ups and Downs of Fixer Uppers

I decided I finally have something to say so I'll be posting again for a while.

Velcro (Bob) turned 85 in June. I'll be posting some of our 'adventures,' and some of the things I've learned along the way. Some of our adventures haven't left me time to post.

We had an appointment this morning with the ophthalmologist for him. He's had cataract surgery but has never been as pleased with his surgery as I am with mine.

He'd been fretting a lot about not being able to see. Take note of his pocket and you'll see why he doesn't see well. I've never found wearing glasses in my pocket to be very successful.

He sees well enough without his glasses for most things. Mostly just needs reading glasses. Says he doesn't know when he needs to be wearing them, and I need to tell him. Quick, let me add that to my to-do-list.

I've now put his glasses on a chain around his neck to see if he can manage that. He's constantly hunting his glasses, has sat on them twice, requiring a trip to get them untwisted and aligned again.

I went through this with my father and was never able to please him, and it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to please Velcro.

I asked the doctor to tell me what I can expect for the future, and what I need to do to be sure I don't miss anything.

He recommended a yearly medical appointment just to be sure all is well. (Medical is the key word. Medicare pays for the yearly medical appointment. If you make an eye exam appointment you have to pay, at least at our opthomologist's office.) He does not have glaucoma, or macular degeneration. It's possible, but unlikely, he could grow a film over the left eye. He's already had laser on the right eye.

He says it's unlikely his prescription will change much. After all, we're dealing with artificial lens now.

This was helpful guidance that I needed. I can go forth with confidence now.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Empty Nest and 'What about that committee?'

Empty Nest

I knew our babies would not be long for the nest when I made this photo.

It happened this morning and I'm so happy we were able to witness the event. There were four of them but it seemed like a dozen. They were all over the patio at once plus mother. No way could I get a picture. We certainly enjoyed watching that nest. I guess we're now suffering empty nest syndrome.
What about that committee?

Republicans have to do a lot to shock me these days but I have to admit this one was a shock. The Senate committee appointed to write the 'new' healthcare bill is 13 white men, not a single woman. Republican men seem to focus on the female anatomy anytime they get the chance. I suppose women on the committee might make that a little awkward. 

People Watching

While the House was busy this week passing their repeal of Obamacare I was busy people watching.

Mainly I was watching this man, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-SC). Meadows is chair this year of the House Freedom Caucus.

Meadows is especially eager to see the repeal of Obamacare. You see his district is 91% white. He is a land developer. He was instrumental in the failure of Speaker Paul Ryan's attempt to pass a repeal bill, saying he wanted to help the president with a better one. He leads about 40 ultra conservatives in the House that most of the time vote no on everything. This latest attempt was a success because he had the votes of the Freedom Caucus.

He was one of the leaders in causing Speaker Boehner to resign. He voted to shut down the government in 20113.

People watching isn't always accurate but I'm thinking there's a good chance Speaker Ryan sold his soul to the devil with that last repeal vote. It seems to me the tail (Meadows) is now wagging the dog (Ryan). I'm going to keep my eyes open, and my ear to the ground in the coming months. Mr. Ryan I wouldn't get too comfortable in that speaker's chair if I were you.
2017 Congressional Directory

My copy of the Congressional Directory finally arrived. I've enjoyed looking through it, making notes, and marking information.

2018 Election

33 Senate seats will be up for election.
   23 Democrats
     2 Independents
     8 Republicans

Democrats have a challenge for 2018.

House Seats = 435
   237 Republicans
   193 Democrats
       5 Vacancies

Democrats will need to win 24 additional seats in 2018 to win the House.