Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Medical grifter?

I am still perturbed about this so I am going to vent.

I was not pleased at my annual exam when my NP decided I needed to see a cardiologist because of a a Premature Atrial Complex blip on my EKG.  This is something I have had for at least 7 years and no other doctor has considered it worthy of followup. No even a Mayo-affiliated doctor.

But I promised my sister I wouldn't skip any recommended referrals.  She worries.

The initial visit with the cardiologist started out a little odd.  His NP took my blood pressure without ensuring I was relaxed.  And with my feet dangling off the exam table.  Even I know this isn't optimal and this NP works in cardiology.  Add to that "white-coat syndrome" and, of course, my blood pressure was high.

The cardiologist was personable.  Agreed that the blip was probably nothing.  But said we should do a stress test and an echocardiogram anyway.  For a baseline. He wasn't concerned about the one-time blood pressure. But since I was coming back anyway, I should keep a blood pressure journal.

OK.  Made sense.  I made the appointment. The insurance wouldn't pay for the echocardiogram, but  I did the stress test, with a very pleasant technician.

So far so good.  Or at least, not bad.

The day of my follow-up visit, a different NP greeted me.  And proceeded to tell me how many ways my heart could be damaged that would only have been detected by an echocardiogram.  Really tried to frighten me. 

I was riled up, but said nothing.  I wanted to hear what the cardiologist had to say.  He glanced - briefly - over my blood pressure log and said it looked fine.  Said my stress test results were good and showed no signs of blockage.

THEN went into his pitch.  He said I really should have an echocardiogram and it was a shame insurance wouldn't pay for it.  But he said he wouldn't appeal.  Since an echocardiogram is for diagnosing issues when a problem is suspected and he just said my stress test results were good, I was getting angry. 

He continued on to say that he wouldn't prescribe any medication "at this time". I didn't say anything.  I decided it wasn't worth the effort.  But why would I take medication if I don't have a problem.

Then he said he would see me in 6 months. 


If my insurance hadn't balked, they would have gotten the money for a medically unnecessary procedure.  Echocardiograms are between $1000 and $2000.  I'm sure trying to frighten me with tales of what could be going undetected was a ploy to get me to pay out of pocket.  And telling me to come back every six months seemed like a way to schedule income.

I felt like I had a session with a used car salesman, not a cardiologist.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Crafty Flicker

I have three hummingbird feeders I keep filled.  Partly to attract hummingbirds.  Partly because I like the gilded flickers that also frequent the feeders.  

Notice the yellow spots on the base of the feeder in the above picture.  Those are the plastic flowers that cover the feeding ports.  Supposedly they serve to attract the hummingbirds.  They also keep the birds from completely emptying the feeder.  Probably not the intent. 


I was quite surprised when I took this feeder down to refill it.  Completely, totally, bone dry.  Then I realized all SEVEN of the plastic flowers were missing. 

I admired the cleverness of the flickers, since they are the only birds big enough to remove the flowers.  I figured I would gather up the discarded flowers and reinsert them.  

Nope.  Not a single flower could be found under the hanger stand.  Every single flower had been taken somewhere else.  

Outfoxed by the flickers, I hanged the feeder up with its flowerless holes and told them to help themselves.  

Friday, August 3, 2018

I love, but not their commercials

I have an Autoship with for dogfood and treats, so it's not that I'm not a fan of the web site.

I mean how can you not love a company that sends such a cute note with your first order.

But I HATE one (or is it more than one) of their commercials.

You know, the one that says "No more lugging heavy dog food bags."

Well, yeah, you don't have to lug it from the store. 

But unless you keep your dog food at your front door, you are still going to be lugging it from the front door to wherever you do keep it.

And I think it's harder to carry the box of dog food than it was the bag of dog food.  In fact, I generally open the box at the front door so I can just carry the bag.  Then the empty box.

This doesn't mean I'm going to stop ordering from Chewy, but the commercial does irritate me every time I hear it.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Elderly or ailing dogs can be expensive

I'm happy to say that Angel's latest foray into acupuncture is going well.  (Further adventures in Canine Acupuncture) She can get up from the floor more easily and her muscles are less tight.

We stopped the laser treatments after only two visits because doing them after the acupuncture seemed to stress her rather than assist. 

But yesterday we did the treatment BEFORE the acupuncture.  It seemed to help relax her and let the acupuncture needles do their work more effectively.

Yesterday was her 12th acupuncture treatment.  And we are booked weekly for the next couple months.  I love that it gives her some respite from the pain and stiffness.  But it's pricey. 

One acupuncture session is $68, with my United Pet Care discount.  Add laser treatment for an additional $29.  Per week.

On top of that, she has developed an itching problem.  Neither Zyrtec nor Benadryl have helped so we are trying a shot that is supposed to last a month. For $120. 

Plus, she has these two weird sore spots on her back and shoulder.  The oddest scabs the vet or I have ever seen, all crumbly instead of flat.  One course of antibiotics helped, but not completely.  We thought they would go away on their own after that. 

They didn't. Topical antibiotics helped, but not completely.  So now we are going with a human antibiotic.  I looked it up on GoodRx.  $80 for 30 tablets. 

Of course, part of the reason treatments are so expensive is that I have large dogs.  The anti-itch shot dosage was based on her 104 pound weight.  As was the dosage of the antibiotic. 

Large dogs are just more expensive in general.  More food, bigger treats, higher dosages. 

But I love my large dogs.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

This painting was my idea.

My friends and I had a painting class last night.  I decided I didn't want to paint the class picture.  So I brought in my own idea.  The instructor was very sweet and gave me advice on texturing. 

Pretty happy with the result.  No idea what to call it.  Desert Sunset #1?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I love working from home

Two years ago I started working for a software company that encourages working from home. 

My prior company allowed you one day a week. And it was nice to save the commuting time.  But working from home full time was eye-opening.

Firstly, the dogs *love* having me home during the day.  And having them interrupt me for attention means I get up from my desk a little more often.  Which is good for my neck and back.

I work upstairs.  And keep the liquid refreshments downstairs. (After a close call with a glass of water and a keyboard.)  So I get more exercise going up and down the stairs.

And no one brings in treats, or cajoles me into going to lunch with them, so it's easier to maintain a healthy diet.

Being home all day with the dogs means I don't feel guilty when I have an appointment after work.  When I worked in the office, I tried to schedule things close enough to my quitting time that I didn't go home first. Because going home after a long day, giving the dogs attention, then leaving for an appointment inspired lots of guilt-inducing looks. 

Now when I leave, the dogs are like, Meh.  See you when you get back.

Without interruption and distraction, I feel like I can focus on my code work more effectively.  But that same isolation means that there is no one to consult when I get stuck.

I had to realize that if I wanted to talk to someone, there was no more rolling my chair back to look at my cubicle neighbor.  Now I actually have to call to talk to someone about work. 

Or about non-work.  I do find I know less about cars and sports than I did when I could overhear conversations in the office.

Meetings are all done via WebEx or Skype.  And it works just as well as having everyone in one room. 

I think the main difference is management attitude.  My boss hires people he trusts.  Then sends them off to do their jobs.  He doesn't need to see you typing to be reassured you are actually working. 

We do all see each other "in the flesh" occasionally.  We get together to celebrate employee birthdays!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

And so it blows..

Arizona doesn't have earthquakes or hurricanes, but it has mondo dust storms and wind storms.  Had one of those yesterday. 

Angel, my Belgian mix, gets freaked out by high winds.  Just as she was trying to crawl into my lap at my desk, my internet connectivity went out.  So I couldn't work anyway.  I headed downstairs and saw this.

It's just a tree, and wouldn't be all that distressing, except this is the tree that replaced the tree that got blown over in the last big storm.

Of course, that storm took the clay tiles right off my roof, so one downed tree is a minor problem.

Still, I don't think I will plant another tree in that spot.  Maybe some flowering bushes?