Doctor, Doctor Please

Danger Live Wire!

Went to the doctor today for a checkup. He seemed distracted though. At the appointment’s end, he informed me that he had prescribed me a narcotic. Then he said that he had cancelled the prescription. He had tried to prescribe the drugs for another patient and thought that he was in that patient’s digital chart, but instead he was in my chart. He had to call the pharmacy to cancel the errant script.

This little mix-up in part explains why he was so late in seeing me today, but it doesn’t bode well for the future. He has been my doctor for thirty years. He is about my age or maybe a little younger. I can remember him when Obamacare first began to work its way into his office. He was not shy about making his displeasure with it known. One of its stipulations was the requirement to make all medical records digital. I can remember those appointments. Him hunched over the keyboard, paying more attention to his new robot overlord than me his long time patient. Now he has a medical technician interview me first and she does most of the heavy digital lifting and he is back to concentrating on his patients. It is human to error, but it takes a computer to really screw things up.

Before I was ushered into the little examining room, while I was still in the waiting room, some of the other patients were remarking on a display that announced the newest doctor who was joining the practice. They were surprised with how young he looked, like “right out of high school.” Like my dentist of similar longevity, who retired this year, I expect that my doctor will soon be gone too. Isn’t that just dandy. Just when you get to an age when you might really need a doctor, they up and retire on you.

Phlegm

Un-Phlegmatic Plasma

Thick, viscous and secreted, medieval medicine once believed it to be one of the four bodily humors. I don’t even want to know what the other three were, but today it is no laughing matter, what with it coating both my mucous membranes and respiratory passages with its thick gelatinous goo. Produced in excessive and abnormal quantities, it comes in colors bright and pleasant, like green and yellow iridescent, sometimes flecked with red. TMI? Just wait, there’s more.

Inspiration for this post occurred this morning, while I was blowing my nose. In addition to producing some of this not quite liquid, but neither entirely solid substance, I also produced a somewhat painful under pressure within my ears. This novel situation took some time to right itself, until when with a loud pop equilibrium was once again restored. It felt like I had blown my brains out, only they had gotten stuck halfway out and were trying to get back inside my head. I was more careful the next time and first cried out in warning, “thar she blows.”

Wiki has a confusing and somewhat convoluted differentiation between phlegm, mucus and sputum, but I love its description of the stuff as juicy secretions. It almost sounds positively scrumptious. It goes on to say that phlegm is composed of high-molecular weight glycoproteins, viruses, bacteria, other debris, flotsam and jetsam, sloughed-off inflammatory cells and impure thoughts. Tell me that it’s snot true. While proofing this post, Anne suggested that I shorten it to just a photo, because its title alone is enough, but I can’t agree with my muse, cause I feel the need to share it all, with everyone. Group hug?

Early ACA Shopping

Late Shoppers – Honey and Bumble bee

We are expecting our first frost this weekend and in preparation for this event, I lowered all of the storm windows and then I headed over to the gardens to catch the last breath of summer. It was a wee bit chilly. Earlier, I had discovered that the Obamacare website has gone live with the 2018 plans and pricing. You can only window shop now. You’ll have to wait until next week to actually sign up for a plan. In Saint Louis, there are two health insurance providers on the ACA exchange, which is better than I had expected. I thought that there would only be one. They offer a total of ten plans, 3 bronze, 5 silver and 2 gold. We are old and we make too much money for tax credits, making our monthly premiums rather expensive, like in the $1,000s. I left the Obamacare website feeling despondent. 

On the way over to the garden I caught a local NPR talk show that was covering this very subject. The expert confirmed my worse fears, but also corrected some of my misconceptions. She explained that all of the sabotage that Trump, et. al. has been committing this year has caused Saint Louis premiums to jump 50% for next year. Thank you very much, Assholes! She also said that the states have stepped into the void left by the Republicans in Washington. She counseled shopping around. There may be better deals outside the exchanges. I dabbled in this and have been inundated with solicitations since. It feels like the wild west out there. We’ve been on COBRA since I retired. It is expensive too, but it is ending. I knew that this storm was coming. Now it is time to face it. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, this time for healthcare insurance. 

The Flu Season Cometh

Stay Protected. Get your Flu Vaccine today!

Flu season is nigh upon us and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is warning us that this season could be especially virulent. Australia, which is always a day ahead of us, has suffered though a pretty rough flu season over the last few months. Their summer experience has long made for a reliable forecast of our impending winter flu season. The CDC recommends that everyone (6 months and older) get their flu shot this month, before the flu season ramps up. This year’s trivalent influenza vaccine contains Michigan, Hong Kong and Brisbane strains of the virus, making for a truly international cocktail. Patients presenting flu-like symptoms have already reported in most states.  If you have health insurance, vaccination is free. If you don’t, it is still inexpensive and getting one would likely save you money in the long run. Anne and I both got ours as walk-ups through the local grocery’s pharmacy. 

The excuse, “I don’t need a vaccine, because I never get the flu”, does not wash anymore. Your immune system may be strong enough that you rarely get the flu and when you do succumb, your symptoms are mild enough to be dismissed as just a cold, but that does not mean that you never get the flu. Uninoculated you are a menace to society, acting as a vector to spread disease and endangering the lives of the elderly, very young and other citizens with less robust immune systems than yourself. Anti-vaxxers have long decried that no vaccine is 100% effective, but it has been proven time and time again that a comprehensive vaccination program does prevent disease and saves people’s lives. Do the right thing, if not for yourself, then for those around you. Don’t be a baby, do your civic duty and go get your shot. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Aztec Turquoise Mosaic Mask

Well, into each life a little rain must fall and that is what the weather has been doing since Friday. They forecasted 6″ of it and I think that we got every bit of that. There’s a fair amount of flooding going on and in our 80 year-old basement, the cracked concrete floor is weeping to beat the band. Also, the sump pump roars to life about every fifteen minutes. I shouldn’t really complain too much, because I caused this frog strangler to occur. Just like my Dad ended the five-year drought in California, when he had solar panels installed on his house, I did something similar. When he turned on his solar system, the clouds moved in, the rains commenced and the drought out there was soon history. I feel like I caused our deluge here this weekend, when I bought a new sprinkler system to water the lawn. It’s really not much of a system, just a new sprinkler and a timer for the faucet, but it should be able to automatically water the lawn, some day. I haven’t tried it out yet. There hasn’t been any reason to, but if the rain ever halts, then I’ll be ready. Anne has taken better advantage of this storm by working on her quilting. In other news, I’ve been going to the dentist a lot lately. I’m having new caps put on my teeth. The photo is an artist’s rendition of how they’ll look, when it’s all done. Great smile, don’t you think? That just a joke. The actual dental work is molars and Inca gold.

British Museum

Great Court of the British Museum

We spent our first full day at the museum. First though, there was breakfast at Ozone Coffee, a very hip and cool local roaster. We’ll be back! We popped in there, because when we popped out of the hotel, it was into the maelstrom of the Monday morning commute and that was just the raft of bicyclists that we had to face. There is a messenger service next door and an arterial bike route around the corner. 

Breakfast got us around most of rush hour, but we still elected to eschew the tube and walked. It was an interesting stroll, but a bit offbeat at times and I am now prepared to go on the record that I will never sell my wife at the Smithfield meat market. Yes, sadly it was a thing (18th-century) and at a meat market yet. On the flip side, some of the walk lights now sport LGBT symbols instead of just regular dull old walk. We saw them last around Trafalgar Square. I wonder what Lord Nelson thinks about them? “England expects every man, er… sailor to do their duty.” 

The museum was grand. We could have spent all day there. Oh wait, we did. The only bad thing that I can say about the place is that if anyone is ever missing anything of cultural significance, you might checkout this place first. Make this a special note to the Greeks. 

Afterwards, we hit our first pub. We’ll be back! The Princess Louise is named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter. Upstairs, we each had a pint and a fantastic meat pie. Downstairs, the real pub was just too confusing and crowded for us. It was all subdivided into semi-private rooms. Our upstairs waiter / bartender explained that in the 19th-century women couldn’t drink with men. So, this historic pub still has separate rooms for men, women, lawyers…