211220-PSAc-Stress Test

Stress            
I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate.  Read the full description before looking at the picture. 
The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it.  It was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary’s Hospital, London. 

 
Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water.
The dolphins are identical.  A closely monitored
Scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact
that the dolphins are identical, a person under
stress would find differences in the two dolphins.
The more differences a person finds between the
dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing.
Look at the photograph and if you find more than one
or two differences you need to go on vacation….

a

b

b

b

b

b

b

b

No need to Reply,  I’ll be on vacation!

Never take life seriously
Nobody gets out alive anyway!

Where Do I Start?

This post may sound a little confusing but I will try my best to make it understandable. Currently, I am in the process of dealing with healthcare in the United States. The issue is not with myself, because I have Medicare and a supplement which covers my costs. I don’t even think about it. That is probably the crux of the problem. We in the good old USA don’t think about the cost of health care often because we are covered by medical insurance either by our employer, ourselves, or by Uncle. The issue I am becoming familiar with are the people who don’t have any insurance coverage at all. They could be middle class Americans who lost their coverage because of the wonderful gift from Obama known as Obama Care, and can no longer afford to pay for the so called “free” Obama Care. Others who are in the country under unusual circumstances, and are undocumented cannot get private health care, Medicare, nor Obama Care. They are the cash paying victims of our society.

Today, I made an appointment for a simple blood test with a blood lab that is national. The doctor directed me to get a test to rule out a vitamin deficiency. At first he told me to get it done in his medical group lab, but rescinded when I told him I wanted to pay cash and keep this off my insurance. “If you do it in our lab it will cost you $161.00,” he said. “You can find it for much less at a private lab.” I took his advice.

After a few times on the internet I finally found a website for a blood test lab and the key to unlock their tests other than COVID. The primary emphasis of their site directed people to go for COVID testing. I learned that they would give me the test I wanted for $48. That is because I compared them to a competitor who was offering the same vitamin test for $54. I registered for an appointment.

At the lab this afternoon, I was asked if I had an order from the doctor. “No,” I said, but you can call him and he will give you one. They called and I was rolling up my sleeve when I finally asked what the charge was going to be. “It’ll be $100.”

“Wait a minute, the website gave me a price of $48.” The technician read the dumb look on my face and said, “Thats the price you get when you register, and pay for the test online.”

“I did register for the test online.”

“Did you pay online?”

“No.”

“That’s why, without a doctor’s order it is different.”

“You mean that if I go home and register for the test online, and pay for it I won’t need a doctor’s order, and I get it for $48?

“Yes.”

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

I was back at the computer logging into the lab website when my wife asked me what I was doing. I explained the whole thing to her but she didn’t understand any of it. “In my country all of the tests are free, but I know a place that will do it cheaper, I had the test done a few years ago.” She gave me the number, I called and made an appointment for the test for $45, and didn’t need a doctor’s order.

I have finally reached the point I was going to make when I opened this post. One trouble with our country is the high cost of health care. It is easy to tell why it is so high. My doctor has a staff to support, and he belongs to a big doctor group that owns many hospitals, clinics, and offices. All of them cost money to support. The private clinic is much the same, but on a smaller scale, and finally the independent lab that runs on a shoestring is the lowest cost of all. That isn’t apparent when they deal mainly with people who use their insurance and don’t care what the heck a test costs. It’s my guess that the little guy makes more profit than the huge hospital group because his overhead is so low.

I’m trying to decide who is the blame for this high cost, the government for supporting it with Obama Care or capitalism for juicing the profit from the insurance companies, or the insurance companies for juicing the people and their doctors.

So why is this a problem? With so many people out of work because of COVID I see many instances where people who lost their employer healthcare now wind up paying out of pocket costs that are unsustainable. It won’t be long before Uncle is preaching universal health care for all like he did when Obama was president.

You Have To Die From Something

I found this post in my drafts box from 2019. I decided it was still worth posting if for no other reason than to remind me and others what the early days of COVID-19 were like.

This morning was a feel good time. The Frankfort Lions, both masked, and socially distanced met at a member’s house to pick up food and gifts to distribute to the less fortunate of our community. I confirmed a very important point at the same time. COVID-19 affects hearing. I found myself moving closer to anyone speaking to me so I could hear what they were saying. Nine times out of ten the speaker would automatically lower his/her mask to talk. I appreciated the effort, but feared the outcome. The virus count in our Township is still above three hundred confirmed cases a day. That is a scary number as far as I am concerned, although it is not as scary as the 14,000 plus confirmed cases reported in Los Angeles County. That sounds like a guarantee for transmission among people.

We Can Always Use a Couple More Hands To Help

While standing around waiting for the members to disperse I spoke with a man who had recently had COVID-19. He is sixty-one years old, generally healthy, and very physically fit. His description of his virus encounter was by far scarier than the numbers I cited above. He had invited his family (he has six kids) to his home to meet his newest grandchild. His daughter who had the baby flew in from England to introduce her child to her grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a big joyous family gathering. The daughter and grandchild left to return, taking the grandmother with them. In his wife’s absence my friend came down with the virus. His caring wife was now three thousand miles away. All alone, he had to fend for himself. He described his symptoms as mainly fever, aches and pains and a general lack of energy. “I existed on soup,” he said, ” and lost thirty pounds in two weeks.” My mental acuity was down, and he explained that he now understands why people in nursing homes and the elderly succumb to the symptoms. “They don’t have the energy to fight the damn thing off, and are very tired so they let go.” He explained that there were days when he too was mentally very low and had little resistance to fight.

Yesterday, I met on Zoom with a couple of Lions, a Kiwanis members and members of AMAN (American Muslims Assisting Neighbors). The AMAN group is proposing that the Lions and Kiwanis facilitate a COVID-19 testing day in the Frankfort area. They promote a traveling team of licensed technicians who would come to Frankfort to test as many people as they can during eight hours. The service would be free to the people, (free as in insurance pays if you have insurance, or State assisted if you don’t.)

My first inclination was to frown upon the venture, but after hearing My Lion friend describe his experience with COVID-19 I am inclined to run with the program. The question I still have is what do we accomplish with testing? If you test negative you know that on the day you were tested you were virus free, but the moment after the test you can still contract the virus and succumb. If you test positive, it means you had better run to a health facility and get help. Many people with whom I have spoken have called their doctor after being exposed and were told “if your symptoms get worse go to a clinic.” In my friends case, the only help he could have gotten was from his wife and she was gone. He was too weak to drive by himself, and probably didn’t have the mental sharpness to call 911. A few people I know who have developed symptoms went to a doctor and were given a medication which helped them quickly and effectively.

I guess the one thing you get from testing is knowledge. Knowing you are a carrier means you must self quarantine and distance yourself from others. Knowing you are negative could mean you are very lucky, or you have been doing a good job of staying clear, and that you can still get it.

Every day I become more and more leery of taking chances, the odds of my getting the virus become greater, especially now that our community has an out break. Each time I get into this mindset I remember what my mother once told me, “you have to die from something.” None of us lives forever, (darn it) and again the odds in favor of my leaving Mother Earth are pretty good every day even if there was no COVID.

Two Words Not to Be Used Together

Exactly one week ago today, I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible pain that stretched across my abdomen. Generally, it emanated from the left side. My habit is to sleep on my side and then to roll over onto my back. That roll did it. What? I don’t know but it hurt like hell. My mind played a loop of organs in the abdomen; heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, appendix, pancreas, stomach, bladder and so on. What did I eat to stimulate this pain? All I know is that no amount of rolling side to side changed the outcome.

Early in the week, I decided to take a vacation from my KETO diet. At first, it felt strange to order things on the menu that were previously untouchable but highly desirable, like bread, potatoes, or ice cream. It only took two days for me to deliberately fall off the wagon. The plan was to go back to strict KETO again after the vacation ended.

We had a delightful day browsing antique malls and stopped at Clementine’s in South Haven for a late lunch. I had a turkey club sandwich with curly fries. For desert, I was disappointed to learn that the Sherman’s Ice Cream shop that was previously across the street from Clementine’s was not there. I rationalized that the high fat content in the ice cream made it KETO (WRONG!!!). I Instead of walking across the street for an ice cream cone I drove a mile and a half down the street to the original Sherman’s. Believe it or not there was a line of people standing six feet apart wrapped around the building. COVID hit Sherman’s as it hit everything. Sherman’s wasn’t about to concede to the virus and they remodeled their store completely. Originally, they were an inside ice cream shop, Now, they were an outside window shop like a Dairy Queen, place your order at the window and pay, they give you a ticket and call you when your order is scooped. They had a bunch of old-fashioned picnic tables scattered around the building spaced six feet apart to handle the crowd. They also provided an awning over the line so people would not have to bear the hot July sun while waiting to place an order.

It only took a few minutes before our order was called which we happily picked up and headed for the car. There, we sat with the windows down enjoying the late afternoon sun drop, and spooning ice cream, it was good, but not KETO. Neither of us spoke while enjoying this rich creamy delicacy known as ice cream. We saved the spoken words for later when we drove to our cabin in the woods.

Our evening was somewhat uneventful, and I spent it reading a novel, while my partner read her celebrity gossip magazines. Eventually, I tired of reading and turned to my computer to stream a favorite program episode before going to bed. I never used my pc to watch TV before, so it took a bit to get the computer set up for wi-fi. Thankfully, I found a little black box that provided the wireless link, and also the password. A testament to the fact that miracles do happen.

The program I watch is called Cruising the Cut. It is a self-made reality series by a young man who has sold everything he owns to buy an antique long-boat which he uses to travel about England’s vast network of canals. The canals were built before railroads were invented as a way to transport goods from sea ports into the interior towns all across the country. It is a very relaxing way to travel at a couple miles per hour through some of the world’s prettiest countryside. A very simple way to lull one to sleep.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6SNxiLzSlh8e0yjndE9o_A

On a scale of 0-10 with zero being absolutely no feeling what so ever to a ten which is excruciating can’t bear it a for a second pain I ranked myself at eight. I rolled out of bed and found a nice easy chair to plop myself in. That’s when I envisioned the theory of what was happening to me. Here is my version: I switched from KETO to a normal diet too quickly and over loaded my pancreas. I am already a type two diabetic which pretty much means my own insulin is limited in what it can process. Like a fool I had a huge sandwich with three slices of very good white bread, loaded with strips of bacon and turkey accompanied by a pile of freshly made curly fries and topped with two scoops of Sherman’s extra creamy ice cream, and put the poor pancreas into dire stress. Add to that that I have heard that pancreatitis is extremely painful I self-diagnosed myself with self-induced pancreatic cancer with six months to live. It was not an easy night waiting for the sun to rise. I slept very little, and in the morning, I woke my sleeping beauty to announce that I needed her help to pack so we could leave for the emergency room. There are emergency rooms located all around Michigan, but I was determined to drive to the one by my house in Frankfort. That began one of the longest drives of my life.

I have never driven in traffic as heavy as that which I did last Saturday. Add the volume of traffic to the construction projects going on between Covert and Frankfort, and the drive time went from 90 minutes to 140. Thankfully, I have seat cooling on the Death Star so I set it on max to cool my hot pancreas. It seemed to work a little.

I can painfully prolong this painful story of where I am on the pain scale, but have opted to cut it short and to save it for another post on how Emergency Medicine works in an Illinois hospital considered state of the art on its ability to cope with emergencies and to move people through at record rates.

Oh, yes, the two words. Each one by itself does not evoke grimacing pain, but when put together the entire world changes, kidney-stone.

Learn To Live With It!

For the fourth time this year I left the house without my wallet. On previous occasions I left my car keys home too. As luck would have it, my wife was with me and the extra key is in her purse. Since the Death Star is a push button start it was her key that started the car.

This time, I was on my way to the post office to buy stamps and to mail some letters. I grabbed my ass pocket as I left the car for the PO door and felt ass, no wallet. I turned around and red-facedly admitted my error.

Is this the way Alzheimer’s begins with little things like forgetting car keys? I recall some of the early incidents with Peggy and they were similar in nature. She began to forget little things. Once I found her staring at the controls of the washing machine, she was afraid to touch the buttons for fear of breaking the machine. This came from a woman who used a washing machine every day for over fifty years. When we stopped at a rest stop while traveling, she always asked me to wait for her right outside the lady’s room door, or a few feet away. She was afraid she would lose her way back to the car, little things.

On the face of my forgetfulness, I laugh at myself, but internally I fear for my life. I can’t imagine what I will do if I ever learn I have Alzheimer’s disease. My mother went through that process as well, and at first, we thought it was somewhat comical, but later came to realize that forgetting the little things can mean a lot. There isn’t much I can do about it if it does happen. I learned from Peggy’s experience that taking the miracle drugs recommended will only make me another kind of vegetable. In her case I chose to take her off the anti-seizure medicine and take my chances with the predicted outcomes. Her doctors kept preaching to me that if she has another seizure she may fall and injure her head and have a stroke. After living with her on the drugs for a month I decided for her best interest she will be happier without the stupid drug. By the time I made that decision she was not able to walk anymore and was living in a wheelchair. How does one fall out of a wheelchair? I learned it is possible but probably unlikely to happen. One day I found her leaning over the armrest of her chair, her head nearly touching the floor. I quickly got her a chair with devices that would restrain her from leaning out of the chair.

Miracle drugs are great when they work. They are not unlike computers that are great when they work, but when they fail all hell breaks loose. Currently, the world is speaking out against miracle drug makers because they rape us with charges for the drugs. All we see and understand is the money leaving our pockets and we don’t really care about the drug makers profit and loss statement. This, I believe is very communist thinking.

I sound like a broken record when I keep telling my story about polio, also a virus. It was over twenty years before a vaccine was available. and we all relaxed when it became available. We didn’t argue that we didn’t want our kids to get it because it was against their first amendment rights. I remember getting vaccinated for measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and other terrible killing diseases. My parents were happy that we were vaccinated. Another thing, I don’t recall anyone asking my parents if we wanted to be vaccinated, we were lined up at school and the health department nurse did the job. I thank them for taking the initiative to do what was best for me.

My wife and I are at odds with the COVID-19 vaccine. I have it and I am grateful, she won’t get it, and believes it to be another conspiracy to reduce world population. She watches a lot of European TV and reads a lot of European articles on the vaccine. If one person dies within a week or two of being vaccinated the whole world knows about it, but, there is not a whimper of news lauding the millions who have been saved. She tells me that women who have been vaccinated have been found to be unable to conceive. I see that as a benefit and a cost savings not having to buy birth control pills. Not to mention the fact why would a woman in her seventies be worried about conceiving?

In my time, I was vaccinated for measles, mumps, scarlet fever, diphtheria, chicken pox, and any number of killing viruses. I don’t remember my parents protesting that their first amendment rights were being violated. They were happy, that their kids were saved from a horrible death. I also don’t remember anyone asking them to allow the Health Department Nurse from coming into the school to give the vaccinations. I thank them for doing what was best for me.

Today, we have kindergarteners deciding they want to change gender. That one really blows my mind. There is nothing in the science to indicate that gender is changeable. You become what you are at the moment of conception. No amount of brainwashing will change that, nor will chemical inducement. Can you imagine a person taking drugs all his life to maintain his gender? It doesn’t make any sense to me. If you were born with a penis and testicles you are a male, if you were born with a vagina and clitoris, you are a female. That is nature. If you were born with a penis, testicles, and a clitoris, or with a vagina and a clitoris the size of a penis that is nature doing its thing, learn to deal with it. Don’t expect me to make laws that define you as a special gender with special inalienable rights that are different than the original inalienable rights you were deemed to have in 1776.

The bottom line is that in nature there are many anomalies, but those anomalies do not change the genus and species that they are found in. They are anomalies, just that. The Constitution reads “all men are created equal” which includes all the anomalies. There is no need for special laws or lobby groups for them all.

So, what does all this have to do with my forgetting my key? When a person gets Alzheimer’s disease they do not need special rights beyond those already on place. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deny that person special treatment for his malady, his rights remain the same.

This whole gender issue reminds me of the movie Star Trek. In one scene Hans Solo is in a bar with creatures from all over the universe. Did he consider them to be different? He spoke to them as if they were human, even though they had weird noses, and ears, and appendages hanging from their bodies. Let us learn to live with it!

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