Friday, January 10 0 comments

Doctors Should Share

I have been very fortunate to have a primary care physician who listens to me, understands me and treats me me with respect. She knows my philosophy regarding my healthcare and applies it as best she can while still keeping me healthy and safe. We live by the philosophy, don't medicate forever what can be fixed today.

The hard part about my care is that I tend to choose specialists that I like and they are not always in the same network plan as my pcp (primary care physician). My pcp is part of the St. Mary's Medical Group and my orthopedic specialists are in the Wheaton Healthcare System. Now you would think that under the Affordable Care Act where there are rules regarding access to electronic medical records, things would get a little easier. I don't know if it's because we are dealing with the government or if it's just an easy excuse to blame others, however, The St. Mary's Group doesn't like to talk to the Wheaton Group and vice-versa. There always seems to be a lot of eye-rolling going on when I mention one doctor to the other. So to torture us patients they just keep making us fill out the same authorizations to send medical information back and forth over and over again. With electronic medical records in place I don't get why they just can't look in my electronic file and see that I authorized my doctors to share information.  But it's never that easy.

All I know is that I like my physicians, they are very personable, competent, and I trust them. They are worth the little extra effort no matter how stupid their policies are. But I still don't understand if electronic medical records are the new law under the Affordable Health Care Act and take effect for 2014 - then why can't they just share my medical results? I am currently walking around with my MRI images on two discs so I can take them from one doctor to another.  At least they are on disc and not giant images on film. So I guess I should be happy for that.
Thursday, January 9 0 comments

More Spine Issues

We are back in the doctor's office to discuss surgery. Before I get into that, we discuss the cervical MRI. Again, I can easily see right smack in the middle of the image is a missing disc with surrounding vertebrae that do not line up nicely, they are pushed in towards my nerves. The doctor asks if I want to get some PT for it right away and I say no, one thing at at time. I would rather put this in the back of my mind and just concentrate on the surgery at hand.

So the doctor starts the discussion. It is a lengthy conversation about how the procedure will go.  It is a two-day surgery. On the first day they do an incision in the abdomen to expose the front of the spine and put in the spacers that will become my new discs. It is a 2 and a half hour procedure, barring no complications. On the second day, they enter the spine from the back and remove the damaged bone, replace with cadaver bone and attach the bone to the discs put in place the day before.  After the doctor was satisfied that we understood the entire thing, he left us with his PA who got out a model of the spine and actually demonstrated what the replacement would look like.  I liked the visual demonstration, and at the same time the whole thing made me somewhat queasy.

My husband drove me home and we were both pretty immersed in worry and relief at the same time, knowing that once the surgery was all over I could have a better quality of life, considering I have been in terrible pain and distress for a very long time.
Thursday, December 26 0 comments

Christmas Day

Christmas Day 2013
Christmas Day is my day to cook dinner.  My sister and her husband make Polish ham and all the fixings for Christmas Eve dinner and I always make a turkey dinner.  But that is never as important as the excitement created by having granddaughters.  They make the holiday so very fun.

The girls got to open presents they received from my sister and mother yesterday and today it was all about presents from their mother and grandparents. They sure are spoiled.  The funny thing is that at the last minute I found this silly 31-inch tall Power Ranger. Lately that is Chloe's favorite thing to watch on tv. It was on sale for cheap so I couldn't resist. Both the girls loved it so much I could have skipped Christmas shopping altogether and just got that!
Tuesday, December 24 0 comments

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is celebrated at my sister, Kelly's house. Kelly and her husband Greg are both very good cooks so the food is always excellent.  After a nice dinner, the kids get to open their presents. This year Chloe was pretty into it. Terms like Christmas tree and Santa Claus are words she can not repeat as well as the word presents. That made it exciting for all of us adults.  Chloe's little sister Avery seemed excited just because Chloe was. Avery always wants to mimic her sister.
Christmas Eve with Avery

Christmas Eve with Chloe
Monday, December 23 0 comments

Happy Festivus!

Funny how some things in pop culture stick around for a long time.  Like the concept of Festivus. The whole absurd idea of a festivus pole and the airing of grievances that the fake holiday is known for, is really a fun concept. So I think it's time to continue that tradition with a list of my own.

For 2013, here is my list of grievances:
  • People who comment on Facebook posts without actually reading said posts. They make themselves look like fools making me have to fight the urge to correct their idiotic statements.
  • Speaking of Facebook, people who share tons of junky pages of crap that they like. Doesn't anybody have personal status updates any more? I like knowing what you are up to today.(I gotta stop doing this too!)
  • The new on-off ramp from I-94 that was completed recently and is practically in my back yard which makes it impossible to get in and out of my neighborhood now.
  • Grocery shoppers who don't know the difference between the express self-service lanes and the full self-service lanes. The store had to actually put up signs that say '20+ items' in the full self-service lanes for those who do not have a full grasp of the English language.
  • People who do not have a full grasp of the English language.
  • Doctors' offices where the staff is proud of themselves for the doctor "ONLY being 45 minutes behind today". Isn't that something they should be ashamed of?
  • Pinterest. It makes me feel inadequate because I know I am never going to use all those ideas I pinned.
Thank you Jerry Seinfeld, however I never really thought you were all that funny. I think this might become a new tradition for me. I feel so much better now that I've aired my grievances.

Happy Festivus!
Saturday, December 14 0 comments

Christmas with Lauren

Lauren flew in from L.A. on Wednesday and we had planned on doing a little Christmas celebration by going out to lunch with the girls on Thursday. Unfortunately, the climate change between California and Wisconsin was a bit much for her and she ended up in urgent care on Thursday for a breathing treatment so we had to reschedule for Friday.  The issue with Friday was that Jeff was having hand surgery Friday morning and I wasn't sure when we could be back home.  So we played it by ear when it came to a lunch date.

I informed the kids when we got home from the surgical center and Lauren got to the house before the rest of the girls.  So we had a nice little visit and I gave her a box full of photographs of B.J. so they both had some memories of him growing up.  Once Bailee and the girls got to the house the quiet dynamics ended and the Christmas excitement began. Lauren brought the girls Christmas gifts and Chloe was excited to open them.  I think Avery couldn't have cared less she is always a happy girl.  She even let me take some nice photos of her without trying to grab the camera.  She is just adorable.

Chloe pretty much opened all the presents whether they were hers or her sister's. And Bailee loved the cool California designer looks that the girls were now sporting.  After we hung out at the house for a while we drove over to Burgey's Pub & Prime for some late lunch and some good Wisconsin craft beer - something Lauren misses in California. The bar very recently opened so it was pretty quiet which was great for letting the girls run around.

It was a wonderful Christmas visit.  During the week that Lauren was in town, it snowed and the weather went from the high 20s to a frigid below zero.  She got a good reminder of how nice it is to live in a warmer climate.