Showing posts with label Chillin'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chillin'. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Odds & Ends

Dear Diary,

Well now, let's see. What's been going on here in Paradise lately?
Not too much which is why I haven't posted anything in a while.

The wife and I just got a nice, free, pre-owned Serta queen size mattress to replace the futon mattress that we've been sleeping on since we came to Arizona in '94. (no, it didn't come with pee stains)
We've both been sleeping better since. "Beggars can't be choosers".

Our 2002 Chevy S-10 just started leaking oil from the rear differential a couple of weeks ago.
Took it to a brand new garage that we just discovered. Turns out the pinion seal was bad. They had it fixed by the next day because they had a problem finding the part.
So, we got that fixed and finally got the oil changed (it's been a while) for a very reasonable price.
We will be using them from now on for anything I can't do.

Health wise, no noticeable side effects from the ADT (Androgen Deprivation Therapy) that I am on to slow or stop the progression of the cancer. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but so far, I'm feeling fine with the exception of a little transient fatigue now and then.
I guess the more severe stuff comes on after months of treatment. I can wait! ;)

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I succeeded in losing 49 pounds over the past six or seven months. I've started cheating quite a bit lately, probably due to boredom with the menu, which bothers me. I've gotta get it under control soon before I start gaining again.
It's not an issue with quantity this time but more with what I eat.
Ketogenic dieting works but it is difficult. You really have to stick to the plan.

The bladder problem has at least temporarily resolved. There has been no pain or bleeding for several weeks. I'm still 100% incontinent but that will probably never change. It's just really nice to be able to take a vacation from blood clots and catheters for a while.

I can't really tell if the new stuff (sildenafil) is having an effect on my lungs or not. If there are changes, they are very subtle. I really need to remember to ask Dr. O what he expects as far as effects on the O2 saturation and what time frame we're looking at.
Regardless, I continue to very gradually improve which is unusual for arterial pulmonary hypertension. It's usually just the opposite.

*sips on a bourbon*

On another note, the wife has now signed on with my cardiologist (on my advice) for a baseline evaluation. She just had a Doppler ultrasound of her carotid arteries which was recommended by our optometrist. She has a 60% occlusion of the right carotid. Probably not a serious issue but why take the chance? We want to see how much this increases her risk for stroke.
She also has fairly severe carpal tunnel syndrome. We saw an orthopedic specialist today for an evaluation and she got a set of wrist braces. She will have a nerve conduction test in the near future and, depending on the results of that, be evaluated for possible surgery.

And with that, I'll sign off with one last comment. It is very obvious that we, (the world) are in the so-called 'end times' and we are very grateful to be on the way out and not on the way in!
Does that smack of religion? Not to this old boy! It smacks of reality.
We don't need religion or blind faith to see the obvious!



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Suspenders With Diapers

Dear Diary,

Did I mention that I've taken to using dress suspenders to hold up my diapers? It works quite well until they get so saturated that I can't sit down without making a mess. (at least it's usually just pee!)

Admittedly, it does feel a little weird, especially when I feel obligated to explain to folks the reason I'm wearing dress suspenders on my bare skin under my shirt, but they seem to get the point rather quickly. 
I started using suspenders after having my shorts drop off and slide down my legs a couple of times in the middle of the grocery store! Not the best way to meet new potential friends!  Lol!

If any of you have what you think might be a better solution, I'm all ears.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday News

Dear Diary,

Today, I start the new drug, spironolactone, for the pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It will probably take a few days to a couple of weeks before it becomes clinically active.
The docs, especially Dr. O, seem to feel that I'm nor fully "dried out" yet so this is another diuretic to be taken daily in conjunction with Lasix™. We'll see what happens.

I have an appointment set up for a routine PSA blood draw on 5/15 and one on 5/16 to see my new optometrist. It's been forever since I last had my eyes checked and I can't see worth a shit so I guess it's about time.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call my health insurance company and see if they can tell me if my annual deductible has been met. I find it hard to believe that it has but certain providers have not been charging the usual $50 co-pay that applies to specialists. One even said that it had been met.
If it has been paid, this would be a financial windfall for us this early in the year. I have a lot of large medical expenses coming up and that would greatly offset the financial hit.

General overall health is not remarkable so far. No disasters. (knock on wood!)

I'm sort of dreading this coming month. Our '72 S-10 is due for emissions testing and this year, it has a leak somewhere in the system. If they pick that up on inspection, the truck won't pass and the repair costs will most likely tap our coffers big time! We are trying very hard to save a little bit here and there for just such emergencies but it's very difficult on an income of SS + 1 part time job.

Oh well, I guess that's what growing old in America is all about nowadays!


Cheers!



"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Routine Health Update

Dear Diary,

I saw the cardiologist on the 14th. He was very impressed with my modest weight loss. We have agreed that I should stop valsartan totally as it obviously wasn't agreeing with me. My BP has improved significantly since then.
No comments other than asking if Dr. O, the pulmonologist was going to treat my PH medically and if not, why. I am going to schedule an appointment with him tomorrow.

Dr.B, the cardiac surgeon finally had a chance to review my TEE. He is convinced that the tumor is not causing my respiratory symptoms. As far as removing the tumor, we have all agreed to take a 'watchful waiting' approach until my overall health improves enough to allow surgery.
He feels that my risk of a thromboembolic event due to the myxoma is probably < 2% / year.
I am good with that.

As far as my ongoing weight loss, I haven't lost any weight in about two weeks. I am adhering to the diet plan 100%. The fact that that I can now utilize o2 better is allowing me to be a little more active so maybe that will speed things up.
The improvement in respiratory function is significant enough so that when I forgot to switch my o2 daytime cannula over from the CPAP unit a couple of days ago, I walked around doing household chores for most of the morning with no supplemental o2.
I started feeling a little fatigued by late morning and that's when I discovered the issue. I have no idea what I desatted to during that time as I didn't check the oximeter.

In other news, I finally got the swamp cooler cleaned and operational last week. The Arizona desert is in full bloom right now and the temps will soon be in the low triple digits. The combination is really messing with my seasonal allergies, so using the cooler will save us a ton of money and filter a lot of crap out of the air.

More later when I get ambitious! ;)


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Recent News

Dear Diary,

A few short updates.

First off, over the past couple of months, I've intentionally lost 18 pounds. (yes, Atkins works)
Losing even this little bit has significantly improved my ability to breathe. In other words, I'm now getting more 'bang for the buck' from every liter of o2.

I now have a portable o2 system consisting of 'M' tanks and a backpack for them. This arrangement now allows me to drive again. YAY!
The system uses an o2 conserver which delivers o2 in pulses, on demand rather than continuous flow.
Depending on my level of activity, it looks like I'll get about 1.5 hours @ 3 lpm on average. More than enough to do errands on.

I am also no longer taking valsartan for BP control as it was lowering my diastolic BP into the 40s and making it difficult to even move around. Also, so far, most of the back pain is gone. This is one of the side effects of valsartan.

Right now, I am probably the healthiest I've been in over a year! Let's hope the trend continues.

Seeing my cardiologist this Friday to get his take on all of this.



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Back To Bourbon And Bitching

Dear Diary,

Well, howdy there! Feeling a little chatty here after imbibing on bourbon and a couple of 'benzos',
Don't recommend it for the kiddies unless you really want to shut 'em up bur it works for me. Lol!

Managed to blast my diet into oblivion at the local Dunkin' Donuts® with the wife and some close friends. Yep! I still have a couple of friends. They're just waiting till I die hoping there's something in my will for them! There are going to be sadly disappointed.

The wife is at work and I miss her badly! I get very lonely without her. I spend a lot of time wondering what I'm gonna do if she croaks before me.

*takes long sip of booze*

I'll tell ya one thing though, the very next person who has the balls to suggest that I find Jesus, they're gonna meet him right then and there! This is "people hating day" for me. Outside my extended family, there are only 4 or 5 people that I actually consider 'friends'.
I'm really happier on my laptop than I am with most people, besides, my laptop doesn't drink and has absolutely no problem with consensual sex.

*more booze, no sex...yet*

I've never seriously considered suicide. Suicide is for losers and cowards, neither of which seems to fit my persona. I actually regard my declining health and eventual death as more of an adventure than a threat.

All my life, I've never 'fitted in' the way most people seem to do. In my youth, I was always skipping school in favor of escaping into the woods on the nearby hills of the New York Southern Tier where I spent most of my ten years. I also spent a good deal of time on the nearby river as I had a wooden rowboat which I had purchased from a friend.

I was tormented and frequently beaten in school for being different. I didn't want to fight or engage with my peers. Most of my friends were adults. By the time I was 16 and moved to Rochester, NY, my spirit was pretty much broken. It is only over the past couple of decades that that has started to improve.

Over the course of my 64 years on this God forsaken planet, I have gone through four wives and managed to survive on menial employment.

I AM TIRED OF THE BULLSHIT!

*more booze*

How do you think you would feel if you walked around all fucking day in wet diapers because of lack of bowel and bladder control?
How would you feel if you peeing and pooping blood all the time?
How would you feel if the only way to control your weight was  to give up most of what you enjoy eating?
What if you had active cancer gradually eating away at your body and you have no clue where it is or what can be done about it?
What if you depended on up to three liters of oxygen, 24/7 to get you through the day, wheeling a tank around with you wherever you go due to pulmonary hypertension?
What if you had a benign tumor in your heart which could embolize or metastasize at any time potentially causing stroke, death or both.
What if your medical team didn't want to do open heart surgery until my lung function was improved?
What if you had Type ll diabetes?
What if you had no sexual function whatsoever and never would again?
What if you had to take 14+ drugs every day at the correct times?
How would you feel if it was fairly certain that you would probably not live more than another five years, if you were lucky and you had fucking funeral homes sending you propaganda,

I'm out of here for tonight,

R.I.P. Chris Hitchens, You died well and not in vain!

*more booze, fuck it, I say*


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Nice Rainy Saturday

Dear Diary,

Quite rainy here in paradise this weekend. It's a nice change from the usual.

The wife is at work and I'm putzing around the house doing as much as I feel I can get away with.
My back and neck are giving me problems, as usual, and the rain isn't helping much either plus my weight in up to 298 as of this morning.
The furosemide I'm taking for water weight doesn't seem to be as effective as it used to be. Not sure why.

I've got an appointment with Dr. F, my urologist this Tuesday to possibly have a quick cystoscopy done to see what the current bladder status is and also to bring him up to speed on the prostate cancer/PSA issue. We hopefully will be putting together a plan of action for when it is needed.

I also have pulmonary testing including a 6-minute walk test and spirometry scheduled for early March. This is in preparation for seeing Dr. O, the pulmonologist on the 21st.
The 6-minute walk test is not a 'pass or fail' type thing. It is merely a practical measure of what I can currently do. I will be allowed to do it on oxygen, fortunately!
This is all being done to hopefully qualify me for heart surgery in the very near future.

The wife is just getting over a head cold which is something neither one of us needs. Hopefully, I won't get it! The seasonal flu is also going around, big time. Both of us have made sure we are properly vaccinated but the thought of getting even a light case is scary. At our age, the flu can be fatal and this year's vaccine is supposedly only 50% effective.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was now on Xarelto® as a blood thinner. My cardiologist managed to get it approved by my insurance but it turns out that my co-pay will be over $200 for a thirty day supply! We cannot possibly afford that so I may wind up back on good old warfarin.
I am currently researching discount plans and manufacturers programs to see if there is anything I can use. Unfortunately, most of the really good programs require that I be uninsured, which, of course, is not an option.
The good news is that Xarelto® appears to be the only one of all the drugs I have to take that it going to be unrealistically expensive...so far.

At my last cardiology appointment, both the wife and I were amazed at the results of the angiogram and other tests that I have undergone. Dr. M says that, other than the myxoma in the left atrium, I have the heart of an 18-year-old! Given my previous lifestyle, that's remarkable. I feel sorry for the 18-year old with my 64-year-old heart! ;)

Money's a little tight right and we were forced to replace the battery in the S-10 just last week. My little granddaughter, Arabella over in Italy had to go without a birthday gift from Papa and Karen again this year. We both really miss them. I'm beginning to think that I may not be around to walk her down the aisle when she decides to get married. She is such a beautiful little girl!
I don't blame the kids at all for thinking we're ignoring them but our lives are in limbo for the foreseeable future and there's not a lot we can do about it.
If I can ever regain even a major fraction of my health, it might be possible to fly over there for maybe a month. We would love to be able to do that. My granddaughter only knows me and her grandmother from Skype,

My kids!



Well, the old lady should be getting home any time now and I hope she is careful in the rain as our windshield wipers are somewhat compromised. Gotta get new ones soon!

I think it's gonna be a really good night for sleeping and dreaming of a better life for both of us.

Good night all!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

PSA Update

Dear Diary,

Just a quick update for my millions of devoted readers.

Had my yearly appointment with Dr. Y, the radiation oncologist to review my latest PSA results.
PSA as of last Wednesday is 1.6, the same as it was three months ago.
It had initially gone from 0.8 to 1.8 nine months ago then three months later, dropped to 1.6. Now, three months later it is still 1.6.

Dr.Y feels that, at this time, considering the low PSA level, and my health in general, we should probably refrain from any type of hormonal therapy. I agree.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, February 03, 2017

Odds & Ends Going In To Super Bowl Weekend

Dear Diary,

What a way to start the weekend! It might as well be 'Super Bowel Weekend. Been laid up all day with a bad case of the shits. Good thing that I don't tend to be graphic, huh? With any luck, I'll be feeling better by Sunday so I can watch the game.
Neither team is on my 'favorites' list but I'm gonna go for Atlanta over New England because I'm still pissed at the Patriots!

The wife had the day off and that was nice. It was good not to have to go anywhere or do anything.

We've decided to change pharmacies due to our last one, OSCO, discontinuing their prescription discount program that we've been utilizing for years. Looks like the only one that comes close to what we had is Wal-Mart. Most of my stuff is tier 1 which should only cost us $10 or less for a 90 day supply. I only have 2 or 3 tier 3 drugs which will have to go through my insurance.

Just had my blood draw for my latest PSA a couple of days ago. No results available yet. I really hope it hasn't doubled again. Probably going to make an appointment with Dr. F, the urologist, and get him on board. I like him. It will be good to have him back, at least for this year.

Well, I'm gonna go get dinner started, it's chicken tonight!

Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Talking To Myself ;)

Dear Diary,

I'm bored today. The wife is at work and I'm here just putzing around on the Internet. The cat is asleep as usual so I'm all by myself.

I got a real nice, encouraging e-mail from one of my long time followers. I was beginning to think that nobody reads this diary anymore. I do admit it's gotten a bit repetitive of late. That's what happens when you get old and start losing it! Lol!

The rain has stopped for a while and it's real nice outside. I want to get out and walk around the neighborhood but I'm worried that I might get mugged, what with being on the oxygen and all.
The 'hood' has been going downhill crime wise for at least 2 or 3 years now.
The wife and I had a bit of a scare recently. We were out walking around the block shortly after dark when a car with a 'Papa John's logo pulled up right beside us. The driver got out and came over and started talking to us. Had me worried that he might want to take advantage of an elderly couple, especially with the man disabled.
Turns out he wanted to pray with us! Christian fanatics...gotta love 'em! I should have tried to extort him by saying that I'd report his behavior to his boss if he didn't give us free pizza!

The wife gets home around 7:00 pm and she's picking up a nice Merlot that we can enjoy this evening. I decided to knock off the bourbon for a while till the time comes when I really need it.
My Doc frowns on my constant requests for Fentanyl /IVpush. I have no idea why!   ;)

I've started using the new scented O2 based on aromatherapy. I find I'm pretty much hooked on 'Pumpkin Spice'!

On another note, I'm hoping that my health will have improved enough by September that I might be able to actually get out and go dove hunting. This is assuming I can even afford a license, what with the ongoing medical expenses we have to deal with.
I really miss being able to get out there in the desert, in the quiet, away from the city. The wife and I used to spend hours out there enjoying nature and then come home with a limit of delicious doves.
Hell, I'd love to be out there even if I wasn't hunting!

*gets up and turns on 'Lava Lamp'™*

Well, it's almost 8:00 now and the wife is still at the store. I put out a steak for dinner and it's calling to me. As I type this, she just sent me a text saying she's on the way home so it will be about ten minutes. Now I'm happy!

Our cat is now on my desk enthusiastically licking my file folders. He is the equivalent of  95+ in human years. I hope I don't start doing that when I'm that old! I'll stick to licking the windows on the 'short bus'.   ;)

I don't usually talk politics on here but I sure am concerned about what's going on with the new administration, especially health care/insurance. I'm eligible For Medicare benefits and the way things seem to be going, I'm not even sure it's going to be there for me!
I just hope the Republicans can get their act together, at least enough to replace the ACA with an equivalent or better plan. People like me are counting on it.
Personally, I think the new administration is moving way too fast on addressing critical issues, but, time will tell.

*pours another glass of wine*

The next update will be when I get home from the hospital on Monday...(and the crowd goes "ahhhhhhh". Yeah...I'm nuts, I know.

I guess I've rambled on enough for one evening so I'll sign off here.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Odds And Ends

Dear Diary,

It's been a pretty good day here in Paradise. I got to talk to my son and his wife on Skype today. They are in Italy for minimally four years courtesy of the USAF.
Apparently they are having the time of their lives. Tried to have a conversation with my soft little granddaughter but she was too intent on harassing her daddy to pay too much attention to me. ;(



My Granddaughter Arabella
The bladder bleed is back and quite a nuisance. If I can get back with my last urologist after the new year, we will address this issue once again.

*sips on a glass of red wine*

Feeling a little lonesome at the moment. The wife is at work until 10:00pm and I miss her. At least I had enough energy to get the dishes done tonight!
Tomorrow is going to be somewhat hectic because I've gotta spend what will probably be a great deal of time on the phone with healthcare providers.

Did I mention that I got clearance to wean off the Prednisone? This is a good thing! I will titrate down from 10mg to nothing over the next couple of weeks. It's been a smooth ride so far but I'll be glad to be off it. It might even make it a little easier to lose some weight.

Does anyone need some humor lately? I know I do! With that in mind, here is a cool collection of Donald Trump jokes to give a chuckle in the wake of the election.
Who knows, it might even keep visitors on my page longer! Lol!

*********************************************************************************
Donald Trump has announced that now he’s been elected President he’s going to ban the sale of pre-shredded cheese.
He wants to make America grate again.
Now that Donald Trump has been elected President, there’ll be hell toupĂ©e.
Donald Trump getting elected President has already had a positive effect on the economy.
Sales of alcohol have never been higher.
Now that Donald Trump’s becoming president, I’m going to Mexico.
Not by choice though…
What is Donald Trump’s favorite nation?
Discrimination.
Donald Trump labelled Hillary Clinton “disgusting” for taking a bathroom break during the recent Democrat debate.
Trump himself never has to go to the bathroom, as the crap just comes straight out of his mouth.
My friend said to me, “I hear the FBI have foiled a terrorist plot to kill Donald trump.”
“What, a suicide bomber? ” I asked.
“No, a surface to hair missile.”
Donald Trump has announced that he’s going to ban wind farms now he’s been elected.
He really needs to keep his hair on.
I’d make a political joke…
But it would just end up being elected President.
Donald Trump is going to be the next president, but the real winner is Melania Trump.
Now she can call herself the First Lady instead of the Third Wife.
Why did Donald Trump secretly not want to win the election?
Because now he’ll have to move into a smaller house in a black neighborhood.
What does Melania see in Donald Trump?
10 billion dollars and high cholesterol.
What do Donald Trump and the iPhone 7 have in common?
They both think de-porting is the answer when there’s no more Jobs.
How much is Donald Trump’s life insurance?
Just one Pence.
“You’re telling me I’m losing my job because Trump won the election? Why, because I’m black?!?”
“Mister President, we’ve been over this…”
Donald Trump is visiting an elementary school one day.
In one of the classes, they’re in the middle of a discussion about words and their meanings.
The teacher asks Trump if he’d like to lead the discussion of the word “tragedy.”
He agrees to do so and asks the class for an example of a tragedy.
One little boy stands up and says, “If my best friend who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a runaway tractor comes along and runs him over and kills him, that would be a tragedy.”
“No,” says Trump, “That would be an accident.”
Next a little girl raises her hand and says, “If a school bus carrying forty children went off a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.”
“No, I’m afraid not,” says Trump. “That’s what we would call a great loss.”
The room goes silent for a while as no other children volunteer.
Trump looks around the room and says a little testily, “Isn’t there anyone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?”
At last, a little boy at the back of the class raises his hand and says, “If a private jet carrying you, Mr Trump, was struck by a missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.”
“Fantastic!” shouts Mr Trump, “That’s exactly right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”
“Well,” says the boy, “Because it sure as hell wouldn’t be a great loss and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either.”
Now Donald Trump has been elected as President, he’ll be the first man to use fake tan inside the Oval Office.
Clearly, orange is the new black.
What happens when you take a joke too far?
The 45th President of the United States of America.
A swastika has been spray painted over Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Police says it’s impossible to tell if it was done by Trump’s opponents or his supporters.
How many Donald Trump supporters does it take to change a light bulb?
Look, we can change the light bulb. That I will tell you. We’re changing it, ok? And I understand what you’re saying, I hear it all the time. People call me and say “Is the light bulb really dead?”. That’s what they are asking me, its unbelievable. The light bulb is in big trouble, that I can tell you. But we are going to change it.
Donald Trump’s foreign policy:
If you mess with the USA, there’ll be hell toupee.
How does Donald Trump plan on deporting illegal immigrants?
Juan by Juan.
Donald Trump has done more than anyone to promote equality…
He’s equally hated by blacks and Hispanics.
In a recent survey, 70% of Americans responded that Donald Trump being elected has made them nervous.
The other 30% said it will make them Canadians.
Donald Trump has announced that now he’s been elected, he’s going to put a wig on the Presidential plane and call it Hair Force One.
If Donald Trump becomes President, it won’t be the first time he’s kicked a black family out of their home.
I just found out Donald Trump is running for President as a Republican.
I thought he was running as a joke.
Do you want to hear a racist joke?
Donald Trump.
 Courtesy: LaffGaff


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekend Stuff

Dear Diary,

We managed to finally get that CT scan we were waiting for done yesterday so the pulmonologists can compare it with the previous one.
Managed to get it done in hospital as an outpatient which means they can roll the co-pays into our ever expanding payment plan.
Now, I just need to reschedule with Dr J on Monday. Hopefully I can get something fairly soon as I'm getting more and more concerned about this heart surgery thingy the longer I have to wait.

Got my lab work done on Thursday for my appointment with Dr E on Monday. This will include a standard PSA which, no doubt will bring bad news.The worst case scenario will be if it has doubled from 0.8 three months ago to 1.6 now. If it has, I may be in deep tapioca.
Regardless of what it is, I will be setting up an appointment with Dr Y, my RO as soon as possible.
I'm having a really hard time coordinating all this crap that's going on with me so I am very thankful for my wonderful wife who does practically everything for me.

For those of you who are placing bets on when I will die and what will be the immediate cause of death, I would put my money on this respiratory issue of unknown etiology. The immediate cause will probably be cerebral hypoxia due to or as a consequence of atypical pneumonia. Big words, deal with it!

Good thing I still have access to booze!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

'Hump Day' Ramblings

Dear Diary,

The wife and I went out yesterday to get my latest INR and a couple of other errands. I had to do this without the aid of O2 as my replacement regular had not been delivered yet.
Things went very well for a change and I didn't seriously desat at any point.

We stopped in at my new urologist's office in hopes of getting the usual 'new patient package'. We got that with no problem but came to find out that out of the six or seven doctors in that group, only one took my insurance and it was not the doctor I had in mind.
We scheduled a tentative appointment with him for late August. When we got home, I decided to 'run his records' as I normally do with new providers and, lo and behold, most of his reviews were terrible! Mostly complaints about his bedside manner, communication, general attitude and attention to detail. So I nixed that one and am now looking for somebody else who is both credible and takes my insurance. That is not an easy task here in Paradise!

I finally got some Tramadol® from Dr E. That seemed to work real well for my back. It's a pity I didn't have it when the spasm first occurred around a week ago. It's always better to treat pain (especially severe pain) as soon as it starts rather than waiting for it to become unbearable. When pain gets to that stage it becomes very difficult to control.

As far as health insurance goes, we are looking into Tri Care which covers military personnel as well as their immediate families. According to my son, depending on which definition of 'immediate family' Tri Care uses, it is possible I could be covered as a 'dependent parent. This would allow me to use Tri Care as a 'second payer' co-insurance at minimal out of pocket expense to me.
We are just now looking into this so right now, it's all pretty much 'up in the air'.
More on that later.

I'm becoming a little bit concerned about this continuing pain in my right calf. It's been going on for about two weeks now and I am at a total loss when  it comes to remembering what I did to it, if anything. My main concern is DVT (Deep Vein Thromboses). This is a distinct possibility as I have had it previously when I was in the hospital. That resulted in three PEs (Pulmonary Emboli) which were, at least in part responsible for the lung damage I currently have.
The diagnoses requires an ultrasound of the legs and, of course my cardiologist is currently out of town so if this gets abruptly worse, it could mean another trip to the emergency room.  *sighs*

We recently received our first official payable invoice from Honor Health. It seems that over the past 6 months, I have single handedly racked up about 75,000 in medical expenses, payable on receipt.
Unless my humble math skills have totally failed me, at a payback rate of $50/month, it would take 125 years to pay this off. Since both the wife and I probably have, at most another ten years to live (if we're lucky) the payback arrangement becomes awkward very quickly.

That's probably enough for tonight and it's almost dinner time.

Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface


Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Even More Insurance Woes!

Dear Diary,

It was an interesting day. We went in to get the latest CT of my lungs today. I expected a copay of around $35 in the worst case or nothing in the best.
Surprise, surprise, surprise! They're gonna sock me with a $147 copay! WTF? This has never happened with any of the previous scans. They're telling us that the insurance company is now requiring them to collect the 20% coinsurance upfront. This new development is going to change the playing field DRASTICALLY.
Because we couldn't possibly pay that much, we were forced to cancel the appointment. I asked if they could bill the insurance company first or at least, bill us for the copay but they wouldn't do it.
If this is going to be the case with every provider them I'm in deep shit!
We have decided to go downtown to the insurers office and sit down with a rep face to face. We are tired of being put on hold for up to 30 minutes and then get different answers from every god damn rep they have. I'm really upset over this!

*Sips some cheap bourbon*

Some good news...I hope. I seem to be able to spend more and more time off O2. I have previously been able to go off it if I'm perfectly still as in riding in a car. Now, I can actually move around and do light work. I still desat. but not anywhere near as bad compared to a few weeks ago.
I'm beginning to feel a little more confident that I might be able to pass my 'six minute walk test'.
I also might be able to start driving again. I was never restricted in that regard. It was just way too much trouble to lug that O2 tank around. I'm lazy and everybody knows it. Lol!

I'll post again when we know what's going on with the CT scan and the insurance.

Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Dear Diary,

Happy 4th! The wife and I actually got out and did some socializing last night. We went up to Carefree and drank wine and watched fireworks with some old friends (literally) as they are both in their eighties. Afterwards, we all went back in the house, drank more wine and talked about "geezer stuff". ;) A good time was had by all, as usual.
The fireworks display was quite good, so good in fact that I recorded most of it on my cellphone.
You can watch it here.

No news, good or bad on the health front. I get my next CAT scan this week but I won't have much feedback from that until I see the pulmonologist in a couple of weeks.
Other than that, both the wife an I are trying to maintain a very low profile and stay out of trouble. ;)

On another front, we have decided to try and sell my work van. It in a 2002 GMC Safari with about 106,000 miles on it. It runs great and is good on gas. The exterior looks good with a minimum of minor scratches and dents. The main issue with it is that the interior is in pretty bad shape, wear and tear wise and needs major cleaning.
I'm selling it as is as a 'fixer-upper' and I hope to get $2000 out of it. That would help us out a lot between SS checks.

That's about it for updates. More as the drama unfolds. I sure wish I had some booze! :(

                       
Cheers!

"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Short Update

Dear Diary,

The good news is...I'm still alive. Whoopee!!

The weather here seems to have stabilized for a while. Not as hot as it was, staying around 110° to 112° in the shade. Typical summer in Paradise.

*Sips bourbon*

I'm currently working on weaning myself off oxygen. It promises to be a long, uphill struggle if, in fact, it can be done at all.
Unfortunately, most of the research I'v done so far strongly suggests that I may be on it for life even if the underlying disease process is not progressive.
Sitting here at the desk, I can usually hold 95% or better. That's if I remember to breathe!
I still can't move around the house like I used to without desatting down to the mid seventies. That level is considered dangerous hypoxia if it is allowed to continue for more than a few minutes.

It doesn't seem like there's any more progressive improvement which is worrisome. The heart surgery relies on this being resolved before we can proceed with it.
If this heart issue was an elective procedure, I wouldn't be so concerned. I have to have the surgery or risk the very real possibility of my early demise.

It's been too hot to walk outside lately so I've been trying to keep as active as possible here in the house. Unfortunately, that really isn't the kind of exercise I need.

I'll post again as things change.


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Cheers!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chillin'

Dear Diary,

It's 110° in the shade here today and expected to get hotter over the next few days. The wife and I are hiding out in our little, swamp cooled house for the duration.
With any luck, I won't have to go back in the hospital over the weekend. Lol!

Got my discharge follow up done this morning so the only thing coming up is the cardiologist for my INR on Monday. Of course, that is forecast to be the hottest day of the coming week with temps approaching 120° Not a good environment for much of anything.

We are now starting to titrate down on the prednisone. I started at 60mg/day for a week. Today, we begin 40mg/day for a week. So far, the oral prednisone seems to be easier on the glucose than the IV version. I'm not having to use anywhere as much insulin as I thought I would need. This is good.

Blood pressure is still running high in the 170s systolic. We have doubled the hydralazine dose from 10mg t.i.d. to 20mg t.i.d. Part of the issue may be fluid accumulation from the steroids so we are trying to offset that with Lasix™. Lasix is a loop diuretic and very effective. It is capable of inducing nearly constant urination for several hours. Obviously, I don't go too far from a restroom when I'm on it!

As far as the respiratory issue goes, we still have a suspicious area in the left lung base. They suspect it is atypical pneumonia. We are hoping this resolves on it's own. If it still is the same size or larger on the next CT scan in a couple of weeks, we will have to do a bronchoscopy with needle biopsy to resolve it. We are still in a race to get this resolved so we can proceed with the heart surgery ASAP.
Basically, we need to get my pulmonary capacity up to 50% or better before anyone will even consider me for surgery. Last pulmonary function test was 28%.

Wish me luck! Remember, I did promise more drama and action on this blog! ROTFFL!!


Cheers!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Home Again...For A While

Dear Diary,

Just got back from the hospital with another bunch of fun stuff.

Was back in hospital for the past week because I thought I was having a recurrence of pneumonia and I was, in fact correct.

The oxygen saturations are intermittently better now. Supposedly I can go off oxygen totally if I'm really not doing too much. They want me to be on it if I'm going to exert myself at all or practice exercise walking.

I've been put on a month's worth of high-dose prednisone which has a tendency of increasing my weight which is something that I really don't need. Because of that, I am now also on injectable insulin for another month because the prednisone has an annoying tendency of making my blood glucose skyrocket.
I am a little concerned about the abrupt weight gain though, because I gained about 5 pounds since I started the prednisone. It is probably mostly water weight which will be fairly easy to get rid of. I'm going to have to be very careful with my diet until we get through this so that I don't put on any caloric weigh
It just gets better and better and more expensive.

According to my pulmonary guy, if we can get my lung function up from 28% to around 50% or over, we will go as quickly as possible to open heart surgery for the myxoma.

We're still looking for a heart surgeon willing to take on a high-risk case. A great deal of this is going to depend on who my current insurance will cover.

My upper body is covered with bruises from injection sites and IVs that are given when my blood is so thin. In the hospital, they were giving me something related to heparin which is a short-acting anticoagulant. I was put on
 that because it was a good possibility that I was going to have to have a bronchoscopy. That didn't happen so they put me back on warfarin at 5 milligrams where I was. That will soon be increased to 7.5 milligrams.
I'm including a small photo to show what anticoagulant can do even with one injection.
This is the result of one needle stick. Courtesy: Karen Niles


So, right now, the two of us are just sitting out on the front porch discussing 'plan b',
It's a beautiful night here in Paradise so we have to take advantage of it.

Have a nice day!


Cheers!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Significant Improvement In Respiratory Issue Today

Dear Diary,

It's Saturday night here in Phoenix. I'm posting for Friday night AKA yesterday.
It appears there's been a significant Improvement in the respiratory condition over the past two days. I have no ready explanation for this other than that I've been on the CPAP for 3 days now.
All I know for sure is that during exertion, I desaturate significantly less then I did a few days ago.
I'm planning on discussing this with the pulmonologists when I see them Monday afternoon.
Over the night time use of the CPAP, the only other change might possibly be due to the iron supplementation for the anemia. I really have no clue what's doing this. I'm just hoping it's a permanent change!

As I mentioned in my last post, I really like my new CPAP. If anyone reading this use a CPAP as well maybe we can start the CPAP Wars!
My CPAP is bigger and better than yours. My CPAP can kill your CPAP and your IPAP!
When you get to this stage in the game, you really need to have a sense of humor.

It's kind of unusual for me but I'm actually really dreading the potential thoracentesis on Monday. I just hope they know what the hell they're doing.
I've had biopsies before, but there's something different about having a 7 or 8 inch needle shoved into your chest that's kind of disconcerting.
I'll get through it all right of course. I'm just hoping this isn't a secondary cancer. That's going to be really, really rough to handle.

I did wind up getting an answer to how I'm going to get a complete physical evaluation for potential surgery.
It appears that the evaluation will be done by my GP, and he will release a report containing any pertinent information to my surgeons well before any surgery takes place.
I guess I'm fairly comfortable with that.

* sips on a glass of bourbon*

We backed the warfarin off the middle of last week. Looks like it's under control for Monday.
I had some rectal bleeding today from the usual hemorroids. It seems to have thrombosed quickly, so that doesn't seem to be a problem.

Along with all the other updates, I am supposed to be having a cardiac MRI within the next few weeks.
We had a hell of a time finding any place that will do it.
The results of the MRI should shed some light on whatever this object is in my right atria.
If I'm unbelievably lucky, the object in question will have disappeared, which will allow me to avoid cardiac surgery, at least for now.

Lastly, I want to thank all those who have had the generosity to help us out with the massive bills that we're generating.
Anything, even a dollar helps.


Cheers!