Thursday, February 09, 2012


That is the result of my ultrasound: unremarkable. And I have gall stones. The phone nurse said the doctor wanted to refer me to a surgeon, but I declined. For one thing, I have known about those gall stones for over eight years, and since I don't have gall bladder attacks, I feel no urge to do anything about it. Also, in my experience, surgeons epitomize the adage, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

I'm a little discouraged over the physical therapy. While my strength is improving, my flexibility is not, at least not as rapidly as I would like. I'm tired of going to PT, but I am also tired of my aches and pains.

The Ambien, while providing a solid seven hours of coma-like sleep, leaves me feeling stoned the next day, plus appears to be giving me headaches. I take it only twice a week, but about 24 hours later, my head hurts.

Wouldn't it be easier to just make me young again?

Friday, February 03, 2012

So what else is new?

The doctor's office called about my cholesterol today. Still highish, but since there seems to be a loss of continuity in my chart from changing doctors, they first recommend diet and exercise, with repeat tests in six months. I tend to be more active March to November and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables then, too, so I don't see a problem with this. No results on the ultrasound yet.

I almost did not answer the phone when they called because caller ID showed the caller as "unavailable". The number was local, though, so I did pick up. Recently, I have been getting a ton of unsolicited phone calls from "card holder services". These used to be recorded messages, but lately it sounds like so-called human beings are placing the calls. I don't pick up the phone, but my voice mail is frequently activated, and if a message is recorded, it is usually, "Hello?" My telephone number has been on the National Do Not Call Registry since 1993, but only recently have I started reporting these calls.

Maybe I should resort to social media to shame these callers into finding another way to make a living. After all, it worked on Susan G. Komen and the National Wildlife Federation.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Poked and prodded

I'm sure I have written on this blog somewhere about how I wanted to divorce my doctor, but damned if I can find that entry. Anyway, I lucked out - my doctor relocated, so I was free to pick a new one. And since I was getting a new doctor, I decided it was time for a physical.

I hadn't had a physical in about 12 years, other than the occasional pelvic, so I did not really know what to expect other than a blood draw and maybe a urinalysis. I took a laundry list of little complaints - you know the kind, all those aches and pains and questions that don't warrant an office visit on their own - but the big question was, To shave or not to shave?

This winter I've been really lazy on that one area of personal grooming. It helps that the older I get, the less hair I have on my legs; in fact, my SO can't even tell that I haven't shaved since before Thanksgiving. And really, who else is going to notice? Even though it was 50 degrees outside the other day, it is hardly shorts and tank top weather.

So I did not shave, and since the physical involved the removal of no clothes except my shoes when I climbed on the scale, I was glad I had not bothered. I like the new doctor, someone I had seen once before when my previous doctor was unavailable. My only complaint is there was a student doctor along for the exam. This was not really a problem, except my doctor kept explaining things to him instead of talking to me. Then when my 15 minutes was up, she beat the hell out of there.

My laundry list included 1) a family history of abdominal aneurysms, so she ordered an ultrasound; 2) pain in my right hip, right wrist, and both shoulders, so physical therapy was recommended; 3) intractable insomnia, so I now have an nonrefillable prescription for generic Ambien; and 4) this thing on my scalp (Seborrheic Keratosis, aka "wisdom spot") that has been there for years but is getting bigger - she offered to freeze it off at a later date; the last time I had one removed, it took forever to heal, so I think I'll pass. Besides, the area would have to be shaved, and we know how I feel about shaving.

I started the PT the same day as the physical. I have been through PT before, for my back (which was a lifesaver) and my shoulders (not as successful, obviously). I've had three sessions so far this time, and already I am seeing some improvement. For example, when doing downward dog, I can actually put weight on my right wrist, and I can get my coat on and off without grimacing. My hip is still tight but better.

My insurance pays for the office visit (minus a copay), it pays for the prescription, but for PT, I have to meet my annual deductible and then pay 20% of the remainder. The PT is something that actually improves my health and well being, but insurance does not want to pay for that. I don't get it. Nor do I get how my insurance company negotiates lower fees with in-network providers, in this case about 50% of what the providers would charge someone with no insurance. That just isn't right.

I had the ultrasound (still unshaven) and a blood draw for the usual tests, but they haven't called with the results yet. I don't expect the ultrasound to show anything, but I have had high-ish cholesterol in the past. If I haven't heard from the doctor's office by next Monday, I'll call, but for now, no news is good news.