Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Debate This.

Monday's Tampa debate was the worst of the lot.  The Mitt and Newt show that Brian Williams allowed for the first interminable minutes was a travesty.  Talk about a schoolyard spat between two petulant brats.

The only two grownups in the room were Rick and Ron.  Thank heavens they are gentlemen who chose not to twist and shout about being ignored by NBC.

  We get who these people are.  Does the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" sound appropriate?  Maybe we are ready for some "absence makes the heart grow fonder" time.

NO MORE DEBATES.  And whomever takes credit for the Super PACs should be run out of town on a rail.  I fear I am out of words on this subject.  So are the candidates, but they just keep talking anyway.  There's got to be a better way.  Any ideas?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Did I Really Need That $4,347. Brain Scan?

 I was experiencing some balance problems and pains in the neck and  head, my doctor referred me to a neurologist.  She could find nothing wrong with me except low B12 so she prescribed B12 shots over a period of several months.  As I was leaving, she said, "just to be safe, let's schedule a brain scan."  Pretty scary being in that MRI trap for over an hour.  Results - brain is fine, lots of arthritis in my upper spine and neck.  Solution: watch your posture when at the computer and  keep taking B12 - not shots, a nasal spray.  Result - no more head pain.  The scariest thing was the bill.  The other scary thing is how cavalierly doctors refer patients to very expensive procedures. 

Fast forward about 6 months.  I am having some weird symptoms, similar to what could be described as a lead up to a heart attack.  We get in a cab and off to Northwestern's E.R..  As soon as I related my symptoms I was whisked to a room, not a bed in the hall, as I have heard from others.  They must also have suspected heart problems.  Remembering back to the brain scan bill, I started taking notes on what happened next.  While in the E.R. I was attended by:
  •  guard who greeted us
  •  admitting clerk
  • admitting RN
  • EKG tech
  • 2 doctors
  • 2 residents
  • Chest X-ray tech
  • IV tech
  • 2 RNs
Also while in ER I received:
  • A nitro patch
  • nitro pills
  • anti -nausea meds
  • advice that I'd be expected to do a stress test
  • advice that they might be "working" on my carotid artery
  • A chest X-ray
  • at least 2 blood draws
After looking at my blood results and all my other records from NWM hospital they concluded that:
  • I had recently successfully completed a stress test
  • My carotid artery wasn't bad enough to "work on"
  • My chest X-ray was clean
  • My magnesium was so low that it caused heart attack-like symptoms
  • My blood pressure was a bit high (wouldn't yours be?)
  • I would be admitted for the night
I was then given:
  • An IV with a bag of magnesium
  • A heparin shot
  • I blood pressure pill
In my room that night and in the morning I was attended by:
  • 2 techs who checked vitals every 4 hours
  • 3 RNs to administer injections and IV bag
  • The doctor on duty
  • The food guy
  • The housekeeper
  • The pill pusher
While I had to practically be carried from the cab upon arrival, I felt so good upon dismissal that I walked home at a brisk stride.  What a difference a little magnesium makes.
The second to scariest part was that the blood pressure pills made me so dizzy I couldn't walk across the living room , so I disposed of them. The scariest part was the bill.  Well over $15,000.  I could have had a suite at the Peninsula for that.
Just wondering if I was existing only on Social Security and didn't have expensive Medicare supplements:
  • Would I have been referred for a pricey brain scan?
  • Would they have hopped to with all the pricey tests at the hospital?
  • Would I have been relegated to a bed in the hall of the E.R.?
These are two instances of how chemical imbalances, B12 and Magnesium, led to over $20,000. in medical expenses. 
I'm not drawing any conclusions - I'll leave that to you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

90 Minutes More in School in Chicago - About Time.

But----- What to do with those 90 minutes? Here are a few suggestions:

  Language Arts:   Practice having a 5 minute conversation without saying "like" or "awesome".
 Hand write a 100 word essay using full sentences without textisms.

Social Studies:   Take a field trip on public transportation.  Instruction on standing for disabled people, keeping voice down and once off the train or  bus, walking on the right in pairs, not five abreast.
    Geography:  Identify North Riverside,  North Dakota, North Korea,Northern Ireland and the North Sea on a map.  Next week work on southerly locations, including Chicago's south side.
      History:  Learn about where your grandparents came from and why they left there. Visit the Chicago History Museum on the suggested field trip.

    Math:  Figure out how much change you get back from a dollar after making a 32 cent purchase 
                without using a calculator or your fingers.
                Compare the cost of buying Chicken McNuggets vs. buying a whole chicken to cook at home.

    The Arts:  Send them out to paint flowers and rainbows over the graffiti.

    Physical Education: Any activity to use up excess energy.  JUST KEEP MOVING.... and make them check their mobile devices at the door.

      Friday, January 6, 2012

      Lightbulb Crew - Downsized.... And I'm Taking The Credit

      On Sunday, June 19th, I posted this scold.


      Today is Friday, January 6th and this is what I observed.  Only two trucks and 3 guys and they're moving a lot faster.

      I doubt that the mayor actually reads my blog, but I'm going to take full credit for the newly efficient crew that was changing the bulbs today.  Thank you Mr. Mayor.  Keep up the streamlining.

      Monday, January 2, 2012

      Bowl Games Then And Now

      Today's College Bowl Games made me think back......way back.  In the 50s, I was the eldest daughter of a father with three daughters and a wife who hated sports.  I loved my father and while my sister Pat shared his love of fishing and Jan was too young to be anything but cute - I was the only one who would sit with him on New Year's Day and watch the bowl games.  I never pretended to understand football.  We had only soccer in our Chatham, New Jersey championship soccer high school.  Even as a cheerleader for the lackluster University of Arizona football team, I had no idea what the hell was going on - only that my job was to produce enthusiasm for the cute but ineffective players.

      Fade to the 50s.  My father is ensconced on the couch in our den with the red wallpaper with the birds on it.  One of the birds had a splot of white under it, resembling "you know what".  I can still picture it.  Daddy sat in the big chair with the TV (no remote) tuned to the bowl channels.  Only Rose, Orange, Sugar were the features.  I sat on the couch with my Nancy Drew book hidden under a pillow. I knew he'd be so absorbed as to not notice. He was a damn hard worker and he deserved to have company for his bowl watching.  I did this - with no involvement in the outcomes for many years.  I especially remember the season before he died at age 49 - watching it as he laid in bed while I secretly cried.

      Fast forward.  Over the years, we have entertained family and friends who really cared about the bowl games.  All I had to do was cook and keep the beer coming.  Joe never cared that I didn't care - and I would only have cared if Arizona had ever made it to a major bowl game.  Now we are alone.  Son and sons-in-law with their own families and friends. Today is bowl day.

      I decided to make the effort to watch with my husband so he wouldn't feel alone.  What  surprise.  I actually saw, and enjoyed two good games.  ( I was secretly reading a New Yorker.)  The outcomes were in my favor also. Outback Bowl:  How could I not root for State when my Sparty son-in-law made me the best chicken liver pate in existence for Christmas.  Besides - I love to root against southern schools.

      Rose Bowl: Next up:  the  Rose Bowl
      Okay - Oregon is where Amanda went to school, it is in the PAC 10/12, Dungee's son plays for them.  AND  Wisconsin was the least friendly host of all our Arizona Alumni games several years back AND (where was the adult in the house?) - their marching  band is coached to shout Fxxx Yxx many times during their performances in the home stadium.  Hope they weren't allowed to shout it on national TV. I'll forgive Oregon the stupid uniforms- but only for this year.  Get real.