Friday, December 28, 2012

Yet another week in the hospital...

I might have known there'd be complications after the hydrocele surgery. A week after the surgery, things started swelling. By Friday Dec. 14th I was running a fever near 104 degrees. I hit the ER, got admitted, and spent the next 10 days in the hospital. I lost track of all the antibiotics that got dripped into me, the names of the nursing staff, the uneaten meals.

I didn't sleep much, couldn't focus well enough to read, and barely used my laptop (that's some pretty serious trouble, there).

Then I had to go BACK into surgery to get the infected stuff taken out. More antibiotics, daily dressing changes, and home on the 24th.

So much for the simple outpatient operation, a couple of weeks' worth of recovery. I don't even know where, how or when things started going bad. They just went bad fast--and this is after an in-hospital outpatient surgery with all the precautions. It just cements my attitude that it's stupid to risk an infection with a "do-it-yourself" approach. DO NOT try it at home.

I'll be getting daily IV antibiotics at least through Jan. 10 and daily visits to the Wound Care Clinic to get the dressings changed. Considering that last year's kidney removal took about 2 months in Wound Care, it might be March before I'm done with them this time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Song of the Day: Working Man (Rush)

The guys will finally be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Fans have been grumbling and agitating for this since at least the early 1990s.

How better to celebrate than by doing the same song--from different ends of their career?

Here's "Working Man" back in 1974, when it was Alex Lifeson (guitars), Geddy Lee (bass, vocals), and John Rutsey (drums):

...and during their most recent tour, 2011's Time Machine, with Lifeson, Lee, and Neil Peart (drums):

Congratulations, fellas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I Had My Share...

Lots of medical stuff happening, finally.

Ever since I got bumped from Florida's "Medically Needy" program in July of 2011, I've been coasting along on the MediPass program instead. In theory, at least, I've got the same coverage, except that everything has to go through my MediPass doctor, who I only get to see every three months.

If I need to see any of my established doctors (vascular surgeon, urologist, kidney mechanic), I have to call (and call and call and call) the County Clinic and hope that I'll get the Physicians' Assistant--or that she'll reply to my voice mail. So far, I've never gotten a successful referral by phone. I always end up having to wait until the next actual physical face-to-face can't avoid me this time visit with the County Doc.

I'd been trying to get a referral for a urology visit since this past May, but it wasn't until I was in the room with "Dr. County" (or "Dr. Useless") that I finally got two referrals--one for a CT scan to see what my torn aorta has been up to, one for the urologist. I got the CT referral in two days.

The urology referral took more than two months.

CT scan results were bad. My remaining kidney can't handle the iodine contrast required for a vascular CT, so all the CT showed is that my aorta has enlarged significantly from the top of the arch down to the pass-through in the diaphragm. Without the contrast, there's no way to see the dissection.

I had a copy of the report sent to the vascular doc, but I can't go see him without...a referral.

Remember all that horseshit from Republicans screeching about the evils of Obamacare, that it would mean the government getting between you and your doctor?

Well, the reality is that Florida's MediPass system--currently being misadministered by Republicans--is between me and my doctors.

So I have yet to hear back on my calls trying to get someone to write me a referral for this one.

Stuff really started rolling in November, though.

First, Nobel Peace Prize Winner President Obama kicked ass, took names, and humiliated a bunch of billionaires and Mitt Romney. Nothing to do with the medical stuff, but gawddamn it still feels good.

I got a call from the urologist's office, went in, and started the ball (hehehe) rolling to say goodbye to my little friend after a bit more than three humiliating years. Surgery was yesterday. Sore as hell (feels like I took a knee to the groin), can't sleep, walking like a crab, sitting very very carefully. I keep having to reassure myself it's finally gone. For anyone thinking of the do-it-yourself approach, it's just not worth the effort. Aside from the risk of infection, the damn thing will just keep coming back. I've been there, with no medical coverage and unable to pay for much more than a single doctor visit. I was told that the doc's fee alone would be about $1500 for less than an hour's work. Then there's the anesthesia, the hospital fees, and all that. That was in May of 2010, before high blood pressure damaged my aorta and put me onto Disability and Medicaid. Until then, I was making just above minimum wage and couldn't afford my company's medical coverage. Sucks that I had to go through all that to be able to get treated for a hydrocele. Here's hoping that the Affordable Care Act will get everyone at least a start toward medical coverage they can actually pay for.

In the "even better" column, a week ago I got a notification of "Case Action" from the Department of Children and Families advising me that I'm back on the "Medically Needy" program as of January 1, 2013. I'll be able to just go to my regular doctors again, flash my Medicaid card, and that's that. No referrals. I've also gotten a mess of medical insurance paperwork, brochures, booklets, and such that I need to go through. Apparently I'm eligible for Medicare coverage of some sort. I don't think it's Obamacare related, given that the chucklehead governor of Florida is still trying to weasel the state out of participation even after voters killed, killed KILLED a mess of state constitutional amendment proposals, including one that would "override" Obamacare (hahahahaha). Whatever it is, it's a State program. Wouldn't be surprised to find that it's linked financially to Governor Chucklehead, the way the drug-tests-for-State-aid clinics are.

Nice little boondoggle he set up: if you want any State aid (medical, food stamps, etc.) you have to submit to a pee test. You pay for the test yourself. If you pass it, the State--not the clinic you paid, but the State--reimburses you. Chucklehead co-founded a drug-testing company called Solantic back in 2001, then handed it over to his wife just before he took office in Florida. Chucklehead (even indirectly) makes money off you, the taxpayers pay you back.

Good news is, only 2 more years of him. Maybe by the time he's gone I'll have read through all those brochures and such.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Song of the Day: Take Five, RIP Big Dave Brubeck

One day short of 92. Here's the song I most associate with Brubeck, though it was written by Brubeck Quartet member Paul Desmond.

I've heard several interesting variations on this song. There's this reggae-ish version that was used as the theme song for "The Secret Lives of Machines" which morphed the song into 4/4 time instead of its normal 5/4.

The other one I can remember off the top of my head was at a Chinese restaurant, played using Asian instruments.