Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update on My Life

I haven't had much to say these past couple of days. I do have some topics running around in my head. However none seemed appropriate for my mood. These are some of my random thoughts.....

Stefanie is moving today into a new apartment with heat, dishwasher, washer, dryer, and toilets that flush! That is an improvement over the last place. Danielle said Stef's last place should have been condemned. She couldn't get over the slanting floor in the living room, not to mention the lack of heat in the place. I am currently babysitting for their cat, Simba so he wouldn't get in the way of the big move. As I am writing this Simba and our cat, Jack are fighting quietly in the living room. No one is crying or hissing. I think that is a good sign.

Dan's debit card is cancelled. We received the form letter from the bank explaining that his debit card numbers had been "compromised" and they were doing us a favor by cancelling his card. He is finishing the last few days of his month over the road. He took the news well actually. Of course, he stockpiled some cash when he heard the news as his card is good through today and then he's on his own. Truckers never know how much cash to keep on hand because they never know where they will be sent next and how many tolls they will have to pay. For example the George Washington Bridge in New York City costs a semi $40. And they have to go back over it again to return to civilization. Such is the life of a truck driver.

When Dan comes home this time he is going in for his 3rd injection in his spine. I hope he gets some relief. He is still in a lot of pain from arthritis in his spine and a pinched nerve. Shot number 1 and 2 helped but there is room for improvement.

Danielle is still looking for a job that suits her better. The job market here is not pretty. Stefanie needs to find a new job..... but that is an ongoing story.

The gym thing is going well. I seriously enjoy going in there and sweating and pushing myself to do the time on the elliptical and on the treadmill. I think it helps my stress level as long as I don't look at my phone to see the missed calls and missed text messages. A few days ago I made the mistake of looking at my phone to see the text, "I broke my left contact in two pieces". And the next text was, "Call me". That kind of ruined my workout. Yesterday after work I parked my car in the lot at the gym and looked over to find out that I had left my gym bag at home. So much for Friday's workout!

Danielle's boyfriend sent her flowers yesterday, "Just Because" and Jack has been trying to eat them ever since.

I changed my clickable link color to pink on my blog so people can find it. I think it is working. The video on my sidebar is a guy Danielle used to work with at a sports bar in Troy. He is pretty good. I have watched his dance quite a few times I have to admit. The other clips are from his figure skating career. Thought they were interesting. He has his own channel on YouTube - Dustbustr5. I didn't even know you could have your own channel!

I never did get my Paczki so when I saw some Entenmanns donuts marked down to half price today I bought some. I don't think it is good to deprive yourself of something that you wait all year for. I will eat them next year.

Hmmmm. I am starting to think about pizza. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tea for the Widow

This morning as I was making my morning coffee I was listening to the news on the kitchen radio. The story was about how some companies want to cut out retiree health insurance. The company is in bankruptcy and in order to cut costs they are asking the judge if they can stop paying benefits to all their retirees. They were saying that back when our parents and grandparents got a job the company took care of us "from cradle to grave". Times are different now....

I remembered a story that a coworker told me when I worked at NuVision. She was several years older than I and her father had been the butler for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford household many years ago. This is the mansion that I had taken both of my daughters to visit. The home is beautiful and well-preserved and open for tours. She told me stories about how her older sisters remembered the Hollywood stars attending the big parties at the mansion and how she used to stand at the end of the sidewalk and wait for her father, the butler to come home for lunch each day. She remembered how they summered in Maine with the Ford Family, living in a little cottage on the property. She told me of lobster cooked on the beach and how much fun she had every summer.

The last summer she spent in Maine was the summer that her father, the butler died in that little beach cottage. They had to wait for the medical examiner to pronounce her father dead after his heart attack. Mrs. Ford came into the cottage and made tea for the butler's mother and sat with the family until the medical examiner arrived to do his job. My friend talked so respecfully of Eleanor Ford and appreciated that act of kindness so many years ago. And so did her mother.

Many years had gone by. Eleanor and Edsel Ford had both passed away. The butler's widow was in her 90's living in a mobile home park in Florida. The Ford family had been paying her a widow's pension for many years. She needed to go into a nursing home as she wasn't able to live alone anymore. The Ford family paid for the nursing home. They took care of their employees "cradle to grave".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

To Paczki or Not

This Tuesday is Fat Tuesday my all-time favorite holiday. Well normally this means that I would sniff out some bakery around here that ships real Paczki from Hamtramck in the wee hours Tuesday morning so I can buy a dozen of these heavenly creations. I can just feel the heaviness of the bakery box. During that special Tuesday I would probably eat at least three of them, each one better than the last. The law of diminishing return does not apply to Paczki.

I mentioned the upcoming holiday to Danielle and she in no uncertain terms said, "Mom you can't bring those things into the house". If Dan was home he would be good for three or four I'm sure. Stef would probably help out for at least one. She doesn't overindulge in anything that doesn't come in chocolate. Danielle would weaken and eat some too. However, it is just Danielle and me here and a dozen of those things would just be too much temptation for her I'm sure. I of course have perfect control over my cravings.

So I have been eating very healthy and going to the gym. It really doesn't make sense to break down and eat Paczki. I looked at some today at Meijer but those really aren't the real thing. They are more like a jelly donut than a Paczki. I didn't buy them today but but I did hold the box and then put it back on the shelf. Tuesday is coming quickly.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Sad Sign of the Times

Most days are just busy at work but no stories to tell. You have to be careful about not violating privacy laws and such so no names here.

A couple of days ago one of our longtime patients came in with a problem. His eye was red, hurting, and his vision was down. He wasn't sure if he was doing the right thing by coming in to the office but it took our doctor 2 seconds to tell that he had developed an infection inside his eye. This can happen because of the surgery that he had had on his eye years ago. It leaves him with an increased risk of infection that if it happened could make him lose the eye completely. If this infection is caught early it can be treated with massive doses of antibiotics and sometimes it is necessary for the patient to be hospitalized.

We don't treat this problem normally but we send the patient immediately to a doctor in our building that treats them and then sends them back to us after the problem is resolved. So that is what we did that day.

Well, a few minutes later we got a call from that office telling us that they were refusing to treat the patient because he had a previous bill of $106 and didn't have the money to pay the old bill. The office policy could not be compromised even so the man would not lose his eye. The doctor did tell our doctor what to prescribe for the patient. And they sent him back to us to treat.

The patient had previously asked me for a sample of his regular eye drops because he said that he had no money and he could barely keep his heat on in his house. I gave him a sample and took a quick look at the front sheet of his chart to see how old he was. I thought to myself that he probably never thought that he would be in that financial situation in his retirement years. The new drops that were needed for the infection are very expensive, there are no samples, and can be only obtained from a small pharmacy near us. Insurance rarely covers them.

Our doctor told us the next day that he couldn't justify that the money he might spend on a nice dinner with his family could save a patent's eye. He got out his credit card and paid for the medication over the phone. The patient left to go pick up his eye drops at the pharmacy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ten Rules for Being a Good Patient

Jeanne did a post this morning stating the rules she has learned in her 55 years. Well I am 57 so I must have learned a couple of things. I kind of thought about this as I was working today so this is from a health care worker/patient perspective.

1. Don't show up for your appointment on the wrong day and demand to be seen even though your doctor is not in the office.

2. If your cleavage is wrinkled please cover it up.

3. If you are so fat you need a double-wide wheelchair please bring someone to push you around the office. Don't project the attitude that it is my problem that you are fat. I didn't feed you Twinkies.

4. Don't refuse to fill out paperwork when you are a new patient. We need all that crap.

5. When you go to the eye doctor wear your glasses. Some people think we want to see how poorly they see without glasses. We don't.

6. Don't schedule your other doctor's appointment across town at the same time as your appointment with us and then get mad at us because you are going to be late.

7. If you beg for a cancellation appointment please don't tell me you can't make it because your dog has a appointment at the groomer's this afternoon and you won't be able to come in.

8. When I explain the whole electonic prescription process we are doing now, don't go to the checkout counter and ask why we didn't give you a paper prescription.

9. If you have to go to the bathrooom, please don't wait until I call you back to the exam room. You have been to our office 100 times and you know the bathroom is out by the elevator.

10. Please take a shower before you come in for your appointment. If you see employees walking around behind you with a spray can that isn't Easy Cheese in that can. If my eyes are watering when I talk to you it isn't because I got something in my eye. It is because you stink!!!

Now these are just a few things I have learned working with patients for 20 some years. I was actually surprised how easily these came to me which makes me think there must be a lot more in my head. I think I had better keep them in my head. Some things are better left unsaid.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm Back Jack!!!

The mail brought me sweet relief. My debit card came!!! Life is good again. Too bad I don't have any money.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Blog

Tuesday I am guest blogging at Interstitial Life and I am excited. I hope you will check it out. I wrote it back in September when I was the only person reading my blog. Somedays I still am the only reader but that's OK too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Year New Look

Along with my resolutions I thought my blog was getting tired. So I changed colors and added a picture to my profile of last year's Valentine flowers. I was getting really sick of the manly profile. I also like the slideshow of the cherry blossoms. I feel so much better now even though my debit card still hasn't come in the mail. Valentine candy is half off now so that's a good thing for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Recap of the Week

Well my new year is a few days old now. I am counting from the opening of my new gym and all my resolutions. Things are going well. I went Tuesday before work and the next three days after work. At first I just did the treadmill and then branched out after that. I am a newbie at this crap so I am just trying a few things on my own first before I do the "Fitness Evaluation" that Rocky wanted me to do.

Rocky is a cute, perky, happy little fitness trainer at the gym. She saw me struggling on the StairMaster and thought she would spread some of her happiness and charm my way. Here I was sweating and ready to give up and she comes over to smile and encourage me. No thanks. I told her that thing was "kicking my butt" and I was ready to leave. "Oh, you can't leave now. You just got here". She smiles. Rocky just moved back to Michigan after living in Atlanta for a while and I think the Michigan weather has affected her somehow. No one here is that happy.

I try not to look stupid as I try this cycling thing and then the Elliptical that my daughter likes. I didn't like it. Today for the first time since I started going to the gym, I am sore. Mostly the calf muscles. Dan says that's good and that after I start weight training I will be "sore all over". Are these people trying to encourage me or scare me off? I think they enjoy my pain vicariously. Let them get their own pain. This pain is mine.

I have been getting more sleep. The cat and I go to bed earlier. Problem is, he wakes up earlier too because he is a cat.

I have also been taking more vitamins. I have a little pill reminder thing and it is kind of empty at the end of the week. Not completely empty but I am trying.

So overall I think I am doing OK. I feel like I am getting a head start on spring actually. The good thing about the gym is it is always daylight in there so the short days aren't getting me down like they usually do.

Next week I am going at least 4 times. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fight 255 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

This morning I was reading Alice's Underground Adventures about Flight 90 that landed in Hudson Bay and how modest and professional the captain was. It was nice to have something good in the news for once.

I did comment on her post about how it made me think of a hot August evening 1n 1987 when I had taken my husband to work earlier in the evening. I was returning from that trip when I smelled a horrible thick smell and didn't know what it was from. I heard and saw fire trucks and police cars racing by us. My oldest daughter was only three and the younger one was just an infant in her car seat. I told Danielle that when we got to Middlebelt Road we would be able to see what was going on. Well, when we got further up the road I saw that the traffic on the opposite side of I-94 was completely stopped and men were directing traffic wearing shorts and t-shirts and carrying flashlights. This was really odd.

Further down the road I saw that there was a huge fire on the railroad overpass off to our right. I looked down onto Middlebelt Road and saw hundreds of small fires burning. The trees were on fire near the road. A large chunk of the fuselage was on fire just to the side of the freeway. Police were frantically directing us to keep on moving. I had no idea at what I was looking at. I thought a train had crashed. I heard no reports of a plane crash on the radio. I was just listening to music. This was way before cell phones. I had no idea that my husband was frantically trying to get ahold of me. He had heard about the plane crash and knew I was headed right for that area.

It sounds stupid now that I was driving right past an airport and looked at a plane crash and didn't even know what I was looking at. Now my cell phone would be ringing and I would have been talking to my husband the entire way home. Not so that night. Danielle and I just talked all the way home and decided that when we got home we would turn on the television and find out what was really going on.

When I walked in the door at home, of course the phone was ringing. My husband thought that maybe I was the one that got hit by the fusilage and was injured. I did see that fire and had no idea what I was seeing. The news reports said that no one could get near the crash. I had just been there.

Danielle being only three was very concerned about the little girl that survived Flight 255. The sole survivor was four years old. She was in the hospital for a long time and when released went to live in Alabama with her aunt and uncle. You don't hear about her anymore. We sent her a get well card. Danielle helped pick it out. She saw the pictures on the newspapers for the next few days. People thought it was strange that a three year old was reading the papers but she had seen way too much that night and so did I.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is it Too Late For New Year's Resolutions?

My gym finally opened. I have been there 2 times already and I am going back tomorrow and Friday. It is beautiful if a gym can be beautiful. All new equipment, carpet, showers, lockers, pool, sauna, etc. I have never been a "gym" person and now I belong to one. I told Danielle when she was thinking about joining a gym that if everyone showed up that had memberships there would be no room for them all. I told her they make their money selling memberships hoping that no one will come. I went on and on..... I told people that all they need is a good pair of walking shoes and the great outdoors.

Every year when the weather finally breaks I put on my shoes and start walking. I try to walk for an hour a day at least 5 days a week. My clothes start out in the spring quite snug and by summer I am fitting into summer clothes quite nicely. By fall, these clothes are sloppy looking and people are making comments like, "You aren't planning on losing more weight are you?" Then winter comes, and I sit on the couch, watch TV and gain weight. I get depressed. I get fatter. And I wait for spring so I can walk again.

This year I decided will be different. I was thinking that a gym membership would help with my winter depression. I thought that this would be a good place for me because they have a pool and I never get to go swimming. I could walk on a treadmill until I am exhausted without slipping on the ice and sloshing through the winter mess we call Michigan.

1) I will go to the gym at least 3 times a week, more if possible.

2) I will get in shape BEFORE spring.

3) I will take my vitamins. I had been taking them for a long time. I take them to work in the morning and I take them home at the end of the day.

4) I will strive for 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.

5) I will put myself first for the first time in many years. Wait a minute, I have
never been first in my life.

6) I will TRY and have a better attitude and enjoy each day. (Today doesn't count. I spilled tomato soup on my white scrub pants and got clipped by another car at lunchtime. I am not filing an insurance report. Just don't feel like dealing with the insurance company, getting a rental car, and putting up with the dealership. They know my car by name. I don't' want to go back there again.)

7) I will make more time for reading. I get into bed every night and start reading and after a page I am ready to turn out the light. I love reading and want to seriously increase the amount of reading material I can devour.

OK I think that is enough for now.

Happy New Year!

Monday, February 9, 2009

How I Spend My Free Time

I have over the course of our married life installed all the electronic components in our house for the past 20 years at least. My husband used to be a manager of a Radio Shack in his previous life and at that time he was able to hook up turntables, receivers, speakers, Pong (an antique video game), and car stereos. Somehow he forgot all of that when VCR's came out, etc. That's OK with me actually and I have set up all four televisions, two combination VCR/DVD players, one individual DVD player, and of course, the infamous WEBTV.

For Christmas I was able to convince my husband that the 14 year old television in the living room needed to be replaced and the perfect Christmas gift to each other would be a new flat screen television. The old one was a 25 inch model that had the tendency to allow the picture to casually slip halfway down the screen. When there was a breaking news event, I had no idea what it might be. That event wasn't on my screen but probably somewhere below the television screen and above the carpet. And if that wasn't enough, it started a popping episode where the whole picture would disappear with each large "pop" and when this ended, the picture was too large for the screen. It was as if I had hit a "zoom" button (if there was one). That was OK. I could still watch the television but now if it was a basketball game, the score was off the screen. Dan would call me and ask if the Pistons were winning and I might respond, "I think so. They look happy". And if I watched QVC the prices were halfway off the screen. All I knew was the item being displayed was something like 79? The dollars were missing. That could have been dangerous if I was a QVC shopper.

So, of course I went to (my favorite place besides the warehouse) and ordered a new 32 inch flat screen television that was delivered right to my door. It was a miracle! I could pick up the box by myself. Getting the old television off the stand was something else. Danielle and I struggled with the old monstrosity and got it as far as the dining room floor. There was a blizzard going on at the time and I figured I would get it to the curb around spring.

As I was preparing to take the new television out of the box, Danielle asked me, "Don't you want to wait for Dad to do that?" I looked at her in shock, and she smiled and said, "Mom, I was KIDDING"! OH, I get it she was making a joke! No I wasn't waiting for my husband. That was funny.

So, on my snow day from work, I set up the new television, hooked up the cable, hooked up the old VCR, and attempted to hook up the DVD player. I read the television manual, looked at the numerous diagrams, looked at the back of the television, looked at the back end of the DVD player. And scratched my head in disbelief. This was complicated stuff. Well, at least I could watch the television. And I had the whole screen, and just half. I could get used to this.

And that is the way it stayed for a while. Yesterday I decided to put the job of hooking up the DVD player on my "to do list". I never used to make lists but after being with my husband for so many years, I now make lists to go to the grocery store, and lists to decide what needs to be done over the weekend. Never thought it would happen to me. What spurred me on what that the library finally came up with Season 3 of Prison Break after making me wait for months on the list. There's that word again.

So, I get out my manual for the television, the manual for the DVD player, and the original remote for the new television, the remote for the DVD player, the universal remote for the television, and the Comcast remote. I look at the back of the television, and the back of the DVD player. I have lots of cables hooked up to each but there is no Prison Break going on. I read both manuals thoroughly. Then I realize that this is a manual for the DVD player that broke last year. In the trash with that manual! Then I start rearranging the junk drawer. OK, back to work. I follow the direction perfectly. Nothing. I unhook everything and announce to no one that I will have to call Comcast and pay a ridiculous amount of money to have some idiot come in and hook it up for me.

After dinner, I get out my manuals, and all my remotes, find the cables again, and try a different method. Maybe the Best Picture isn't for me. How about a Good Picture? And maybe Progressive Scan isn't something I need or want. It says to turn off both components. I do that. Hook up the black to the DVD player, run about the back of the couch and hook up the black to the television, hook up the yellow to the back of the DVD player, hook up the yellow to the back of the television, hook up the white to the DVD player and run around the back of the couch to the back of the television and hook up the white back there. Done! I turn on both and try a different source and Prison Break starts playing. Yay!!!! The cat just sits and looks at me. HMMMM. I wonder why I see a split screen with two images. I hit play. There are two Michael Scolfields and two Teabags. I pull the DVD player out and flip the switch on the back and I am in business. And people think I have a lot of free time because I don't have to cook dinner for my husband every night. And my kids are grown. Somehow, the time just flies by.

Now back to Prison Break.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mr. T and the Pasties

A couple of weeks ago a patient came into our main office for the first time. He was a patient at one of our satellite offices for a few years but now that he and his wife have been moved to a retirement condo on the west side of town he needed to come to the Southfield office to be seen by his doctor. He sees me and says, "Is that Jane?" I recognized him right away and corrected him by saying, "No I'm Jan". He remembered me actually from a previous employer. He used to come in and buy glasses from us when I worked for a private optometrist many years ago. He was always nice and I talked to him for a minute. He was pretty spry for 92, with a darn good memory.

Then he says, "I saw a little blonde go by here. Was that Barb?" I was kind of surprised as he had bad macular degeneration and his vision was very poor. I agreed that he had seen Barb racing by earlier, and he asked me if I could just tell her that he would like to say hello. I agreed and hurried off to find Barb. She wasn't sure who I meant at first, and then by my description she did remember him and asked what room he was in. I followed her down the hall and we both went into Room 2 to speak to him.

He was so happy to recognize two employees from our small eastside office. We sometimes forget how much it means to these patients to come in and see familiar faces. And if our faces aren't familiar sometimes there is hell to pay. They don't like new faces! So anyway, the patient, Barb and I all chatted for a few minutes. Somehow we got onto the subject of how he met his wife and how her family hated him because he was Italian. Now that doesn't seem like a big deal but I guess back then it was. His eyes lit up as he described how he and his little girlfriend got married one day and then she went back to her house and went to school like normal. Well, according to the 92 year old patient, the mother went snooping in the girl's room and found out that they had gotten married. The mother confronted the poor girl after school and she admitted the deed and they ended up moving to Detroit to live. He laughed as he told us how since he had been to Detroit before he felt like a man of the world (he was 18 years old). He knew he could get a job down here and he did. I am sure he made a nice living for his family and they had a nice, comfortable home in Sterling Heights. He continued to reminisce about his grown children and how they moved all their possessions into a condominium while he and his wife were enjoying their summer home in upper Michigan. He said it was so nice that they just went right to the new place and the "kids" took care of everything. Lots of patients aren't happy about moving out of the family home. Not this guy.

Then he went from recalling the past right into telling us how he was looking forward to spring and to the time that he and his wife could go back "up north" to the summer home and enjoy the lake and eat pasties. A pastie is a type of meat pie that the miners used to take for lunch. They could take it down in the mine and it was all contained in the pastry. That was kind of refreshing to me. Most macular degeneration/glaucoma patients are not looking forward to the good things in life. We hear all the bad things. We hear how the patient just lost the 95 year old mother. We hear the recent diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, etc. It made me feel good to talk to this guy and hear of his optimistic plans for the future (spring). He wasn't looking past spring and didn't know how many springs he and his wife of 70some years would have. He wasn't complaining about his vision and how he couldn't do all the things he wanted to do. He didn't resent the "kids" for taking charge and helping them.

I felt better about human nature, aging, our patients, etc. the rest of the day. And even now, as I think about that guy it just makes me more optimistic too.

Loose Ends

First I just wanted to tie up some loose ends.

1. Danielle is feeling better but still in some pain.

2. Stef has moved out of the house but the room is still not cleaned up. It is better but not done by a long shot.

3. Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. We actually got dressed up and had a long late lunch together at an Italian restaurant. We talked. We enjoyed each other's company. That is something considering we have actually been together 35 years. Who's counting?

4. Tomorrow is Danielle's 25th birthday. There I said it.

5. My debit card still hasn't come.

6. I still haven't lost the 13 or 10 or 5 pounds that I wanted to lose after I bought the bathroom scale that weighs like a doctor scale (and we all know they are wrong!!) and my new gym still isn't open.

7. Dan just got his second injection in his spine and is still in pain but better.

8. I am still spending my evenings on the couch eating ice cream, cake, whatever waiting for spring.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My View of Winter

Originally uploaded by jntrowley
I was pulling out of the Walmart parking lot today. Walmart has to be my least favorite store on earth but they do have good prices. Anyway, I looked to my left and this is what I saw. The snow here is piled sky high and dirty, It is time for it to go. However, the groundhog did see his shadow today and that means six more weeks of winter. Of course, living in Michigan we would have six more weeks anyway.

I see beautiful snow pictures on everyone else's blog. Their animals run happy and carefree with bits of the clean snow hanging to their coats. This is what I saw today. Just wanted to share.