Monday, November 18, 2019

The 40 Question Quiz - My Version

Steve's on Facebook. I'm not. He shares stuff though, stuff I like, people I want to hear from, humor, photos, etc. The latest was a 40 Question Quiz. Thing is, there wasn't enough space on their form for real answers, and I would have asked some different questions. I mean, who really cares whether you like mustard or ketchup? So I thought I'd put out my own version. With my own answers.

1: How old are you? Are you really supposed to ask a lady of advanced years that? What? Who said that about my being a lady?
2: How many siblings? One. Doesn't anybody care which kind?
3: Are you smart? Sure I am. I even got graded with an A and a couple of SS on it.
4: What do you drink when you first get up? Do you mean the water I'm restricted to having with my thyroid pill? Or can we instead consider my morning cup of mocha?
5: What's your worst pain ever? Unanesthetized root canal. To be fair, he tried, but there was some excuse about the pH of the abscessed tissue neutralizing the novocaine. Eventually he had to bring out the gas in order to finish. Second choice might be thought to be childbirth, but those each took less than a day, and all those years of knee pain before insurance coverage for the replacements tops it for sheer audacity.
6: How many kids? 3 1/4. Technically, I think more like 3 1/7, but that's harder to visualize. And no, this is in no way an indication of any current oven buns.
7: What are my favorite types of food? Anything with sugar, salt and fat in it.
8: What's your biggest downfall? See #7. Be sure to include chocolate.
9: How many bones have you broken? Two, nose and wrist. Technically, however, it was somebody else who broke the nose.
10: Tattoos? Yep.
11: Piercings? Nope, they've all healed. I've been pierced a whole bunch of times, but after the stitches were removed, all that's left are the scars.
12: Biggest phobia? Technically, Trump isn't really a phobia, just a constant dread. So, I'll go with spiders, though I've finally gotten to the point where I can touch a picture of one on a page. But shhh, don't tell the kids. I've convinced them spiders are harmless and they should help Mama rid the house of them because those dusty webs are just ugly.
13. What's your favorite carbonated drink? Diet root beet, but only if it's the Kroger brand.
14. Name 3 things you drink. Uhh, haven't we gone at this a couple different ways already? Water, mocha, diet root beer.
15: Vodka, whiskey, or gin? Well, if you'd been the one in college who'd gotten so drunk you were vomiting all the next day, and even a whiff of ethanol brings you right back to that point, you'd already know this answer.
16: Are your parents alive? Depends on your beliefs in an afterlife. But either way, they're not paying taxes any more.
17: What's your favorite nickname? Nobody ever gave me one. At least not that I'd repeat.
18: Are you loyal? Depends. Have you earned it?
19: Hot dogs or hamburgers? Is both an answer? Otherwise, hamburger. Or Johnsonville jalapeno cheddar brats. What's closest in the fridge?
20: How many surgeries? Well, let's see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.... Oh, to heck with it. I've donated all the spare parts I can, and am working on replacing the others.
21: Winter, spring, summer, or fall? Yes, that seems to name them all. I'm more used to 2 of them. You could call them shovel and swat, or winter and road construction, at least back north. Like, say, Minnesnowta. And Minnesauna. Down here the seasons are summer and snowbirds.
22: Favorite color? Jewel tones. I was stuck in a company uniform for so many years, and now it's time to live a little.
23: Favorite hobby? Belly Dancing.
24:  Can you do 100 pushups? Well,  I can if you take that first number off. The one on the left, please.
25: Favorite job? Assistant manager at a garden center back in Georgia. Of course there were the deadly pesticides we had to use, the black widow spiders in the outdoor shrubs, and the lightning strike that took out the whole building. Hmmm, can I have another answer?
26: Working or retired? Working hard at being retired.
27: Where were you born? Swedish Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The door is still there but the rest has been incorporated into HCMC, 3 blocks of county hospital.
28: Do you like to gamble? Only if I win.
29: Do you own a gun? Why, what are you planning?
30: Do you believe in ghosts? No. Never met one. If you introduce me, I might change my mind.
31: Do you wear glasses? Yes, but only to see or hold my ears down.
32: Prefer rain or snow? Rain, preferably something more than 3" a year, please. It's kinda dusty.
33: Can you whistle? Dunno, hand me one of those plastic things and I'll give it a try.
34: Ever been arrested? Not under this name. Nor any other, actually.
35: Are you religious? Let's just say I leave the "under God" part out of the Pledge of Allegiance, just like when I was back in school, before somebody put it in.
36: Shower or bath? Considering my new knees still don't help me stand up from any position where my butt is planted on the floor, I bet you can answer this one without any help.
37: How many TVs in your house? One is plenty. There's not enough good quality programming to fill up more than one screen.
38: Do you like to dance? In my dreams. Seriously, in my dreams. I can be graceful there.
39? Do you like camping? Love Love Love it! Except for the beds. And the toilets. And the bugs. And the poison ivy. And those obnoxious neighbors with 24 hour fireworks. And all 98,473 holes in the tent begging for raindrops. But I love it, man!
40:  ........  Anybody remember that last question? Anybody?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Out Foxed?

There was plenty of discussion yesterday in the noise breaks between the waves of traffic. One fellow protester, Penny, was showing off her new car. Somehow the topic got onto Fox"News".

We all know how many televisions in public places are tuned to their channel. We've heard that Fox pays for their channel to be broadcast, and that channels are impossible - or at least greatly difficult - to change. Maybe there's a fix for that. When Penny walked into the 1st car dealership fully intent on buying one of their new models, she was directed to wait for an available salesman in a room with Fox on its TV. After inquiring whether the TV could be changed and getting a negative response, she walked out and over to a competing brand's sales room and drove off in their new car!

By the way, that dealership's TV was tuned to the Home & Garden network.

I've been noticing some changes lately. My cardiologist used to have Fox on its waiting room TV. Now it shows CBS. As Penny asked yesterday, would it even be possible to get an accurate blood pressure reading from anybody after 20 minutes of Fox, regardless of which political side you're on?

Penny also has an ailing husband in a care facility, whom she visits daily. The TVs in the facility are set to turn on to Fox, no matter where the set was tuned to when it shut off. The staff there are aware, and very helpful at showing visitors that they need to point the remote at the plug in the wall instead of the TV to have any control over the TV whatsoever, even as simple as turning it on and off. Of course, many of the residents at the care facility are infrequently capable of pointing a remote at anything, much less at some tiny wall outlet they might not even see.

I offered her the services of my son, should they be desired, to at least go and see if the main router can be de-programmed from the Fox start-up. There's got to be some default setting more soothing for the patients, right? Almost anything else should do. Maybe a trip down memory lane watching old westerns like Gunsmoke? Animal Planet? The Weather Channel? Somebody's old family vacation slideshow? Anything at all?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Picking A Fight Before Brunch

Ahhh, protest day again. Whole lot of honks for peace, which we chose to believe came from the impeachment hearings. Got a couple thumbs down, and, separately, several passing folks yelling Trump's name. Never sure whether the latter were for or against him. Or why they connected his name with a protest to stop wars.

But none of that was directly tied to my picking a fight. What did connect was my plan to make a tiny detour - across the street in the other direction - before heading to brunch with the group, in order to cash another check from a modest jewelry sale. The club has changed the bank to Wells Fargo. I wished the whole $20 in cash.

I guess I was also in a mood to test some limits with my 2nd least favorite bank. (U S Bank is #1 least favorite. After all this time, I forget exactly why.) This would be my third check to cash with them, or at least attempt. One already failed. I'd endorsed it to Steve who actually has an account with them. They wouldn't take it unless I wanted to open an account with them.

Screw that!

2nd time I went through their rigamarole and got my cash. But I got my back up a bit before this try. It's all about what they will and won't accept as a 2nd form of ID. They already get my state ID, in my case an enhanced driver's license. They thought my 2nd ID should be a credit or cash card.

Hmmmmm. First, Wells Fargo gets hacked. Sounds like a great chance for identity theft, and with my not being one of their customers, I'd never know. So what are my alternatives? I decided to check.

My photo ID for the community centers, address matching the DL, was a no-go. So, how about another card that's pretty hard to get without plenty of backup info, especially in Arizona - my voter ID? Again, info matches, no picture. No go. I was no way near out of options here. AARP? National Parks seniors free entry? Uh-uh. Three different insurance cards, of the health variety? Nope. My pacemaker card? Not only did all the names match, and addresses when printed on the card, but the last even matched my medic alert bracelet. I mean, how far would an identity thief go to pose as me?

Nope, but they'd happily take one of my $$$ cards. I reminded them they also got  my thumb print before I got my $20, but they were unpersuaded. But hey, if I wanted to open an account....

Asked and answered. "NO!"




They didn't offer any protest when I said I wasn't willing to hand over my credit card because they get hacked and I was, rather than being protected from identity theft, be opening myself up to it. They didn't care how difficult a state voter ID was to get, or that my picture and address on the community center card all matched, or how many other ways I could demonstrate I was obviously me. It didn't matter that they were the bank this check was drawn on. What the required, they finally told me, was some kind of ID with an expiration date!!!

Seriously? All of those expire at some point. Stop paying premiums or memberships, or die, that'll do it. Of course, none of those are predictable, and you'd think the fact that I'm still paying my part of all of those might attest more to my honesty and solvency than otherwise. Oh, my AARP card does have an expiration date, but they already rejected that one, because... just because.

I suggested they could take a hike and walked out. I was good, promise. No yelling. No swearing. I even told them I wasn't going to tell them to go screw themselves, and as I already stated, I didn't.

But now I've tested their limits.

And they've tested mine.

And Wells Fargo, SCREW YOU!

FYI, brunch was great.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Trip To The Pharmacy

You know that I've had questions about the latest prescriptions. Also, that I've gotten answers. Hence, this recent visit.

These guys have no issues with my refusing a particular medication, despite the fact they've gone ahead and filled it for me. I'd assume some of that is their being polite in not recognizing their wasted workload. Oh well. Counting to 90, stuffing it in a bottle, applying a computer-printed label, filing it for retrieval: several people do a teeny bit each.

Turns out the Rx I'm discontinuing has a bit more to its history. Last spring, my refill cost a hair over $60. Late summer, refilling it in Wisconsin - since the nearest pharmacy taking my insurance is across the river - the cost rose to $75 and change. I thought it  might be a state difference. This time, I asked about the price during our discussion, not the cause of discontinuing it, but just for information. I'd kinda thought it might be back to the lower price now I'm back with my home pharmacy. Not so. This time the price climbed to $95!

Not just good riddance, but better riddance.

The new, fancier replacement for the warfarin I'm being switched to after the final OK for the Watchman having sealed off that section in my heart, turns out to be less than double of the price of the other. That meant my entire shopping trip, meds and groceries combined, was only about half what I expected to pay just at the pharmacy window.


There is of course the mandatory consult with the pharmacist on all new meds. While I was discussing the purchase part of the visit, I was next to the consultation window. I learned something. (Is it called eavesdropping when you can't help but hear a nearby conversation?) Somebody was picking up some kind of opioid for another person. I've done that. There's a bunch of paperwork. This time however, there was also a question as to whether the person receiving the meds also wanted Narcan. Just in case, you know, of overdose. It's now available at your local pharmacy. The woman doing the pickup had no idea. Seems she's had no idea the last few times she'd made the same pickup either. However, there's a law now requiring the question to be answered by the patient, and a form to be signed. As the customer walked off two of the pharmacy staff discussed the fact that no more opioids would be gotten until that form was signed. Period. It was now the law.

Can I be the fly on the wall for that visit?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

So... Answers

Swimming: The 10-year-old "new" swimsuit fits just fine, thanks. Turns out I didn't need to rely on ancient memories to verify the suit was still new. When I peeled it off afterwards, I found that little strip of "protective" paper attached in the crotch. Uhhh... oops? The old stretched-out black thing is decorating a landfill, and the other overly-busted one can hang around waiting for the ambition to alter it... perhaps a few years hence.

Meds:  The one I'm being switched to will replace the Warfarin. They work by different means, and this particular one is best for after the Watchman is completely encapsulated. OK, I'll go for that, for the 4 months needed.

The one that shouldn't be needed now that the atrial ablation is preventing A-fib episodes (so far), actually is needed for six months after that surgery. So, just a bit longer. Oh wait, I checked the dates and it's already been 6 months!!! Yee-haaa. So keep tapering off till this bottle is empty.  : )  Shortly, two fewer meds to take. I welcome that day, not that I don't believe in the benefits of most medications, but after reading that long-term studies show that beta blockers actually seem to cause cardiac issues, I tend to go for fewer pills making better pills.

I had that chat with my regular cardiac lady, the one with the patience to answer questions and explain things, as well as work with me to adjust what is needed. I'm sure it never hurts to drop off the latest wonderful recipe, including a sample of the cookies it makes for the whole staff to sample. I had to make them - OK, I chose to, for yesterday's pot luck for the monthly club membership meeting. With 87 or so desserts to chose from, and most members taking only 3 or 4 varieties, there were leftovers. It's seemed an easy choice for them. Anyway, cardiology always acts happy to see me.

This will be shorter than my usual. I'm dragging Steve to the pool this afternoon to start his pool walking. I've tried the indoor pool, and with cooler temperatures somewhere around the corner, aka low 80s, breezes get chilly fast. We can stick with this pool till heat returns.

Friday, November 8, 2019

But... But... I have Questions

Just got the OK to resume pool walking. All the procedures are not done yet, like the one where some kind of ultrasound probe goes down my throat to verify whether my Watchman has completely shut off my heart's left atrial appendage so I can go off blood thinners. It's scheduled a month out and I'll be under for it, but from the first procedure I know I'll need a supply of throat lozenges and some ibuprofin for a couple days. That part wasn't one of the questions, though.  What is one is why they switch me to a different medication afterwards, Plavix, rather than leave me on warfarin while gradually tapering me off. It definitely will not be cheap. Plus the possible side effects are way-y-y-y more "interesting."

Speaking of medications, there's another I can't get a straight answer on. It's supposed to prevent A-fib and lower BP. My BP is currently low enough that my primary questions it and I'm already halving the dose of another BP lowering drug, the second of the three I take. So if I don't need the BP effects, and I've had the atrial ablation which is supposed to fix the A-fib, why do I still need to take this particular drug? I might not be quite so interested but for the fact that it's the most expensive in my arsenal, price increasing it seems with every refill, and I'm just on a kick to ditch as many drugs as feasible.

(Shhhhh! Don't tell anybody but I'm already tracking the side effects (none) of decreasing the dosages of the first one on my own. My cardiologist already has me working at home with daily monitoring to vary the dosages on the other two BP drugs to find the right levels to maintain the desired BP. It's working beautifully.)

There is one swimming question as well. Do I take in the old swimsuit to get a bit more wear from it? It's been done once already, and the chlorine continues to destroy the elastic, but hitching up the straps and tightening the crotch could give it a bit more life. Another option is taking in the brand new suit I ordered just before I began losing enough weight to make it baggy as well. It'll need fairly drastic revisions - like a whole restyling of the bust where somebody thought it's measurements ought to match my hips. It's possible if I swam with two pair of socks stuffed in the cups they wouldn't gap away from my actual chest enough to show just how  misguided that sizing is. It's pretty, and I like it, but... A third option is seeing if an old but unworn suit is one I can fit into yet. I have pulled it out and hung it next to the others,  just haven't gone that extra step. It does seem a shame, however, to expose that one to the ravages of chlorine. So, questions.

I have been to the indoor pool one of the other rec centers has. With a water temperature of 92 and no chilly breezes, it seems ideal. Steve will be able to go in a couple weeks, so as soon as I choose my swimsuit alternative, we're good to go.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Guest Post: 12 Steps For Congressional Republicans

The following is another guest post by Richard Rosa:

Being that I am a long time practitioner of the 12 steps, although being far from
perfect in my practice of them, I believe that there could be some wisdom gained by conservatives if they were to adopt the principles. Therefore, I offer this: a twelve step guide for Congressional Republicans. I do not offer this in jest. I truly feel bad for anyone who doesn't have anything like this to use as a guide to becoming a better person. To be clear, this is neither endorsed or approved by any 12 step group. This is my personal take on how the 12 steps might be applied by Republicans in Congress in our current Constitutional crisis. 

1. We admitted we were powerless over our President - that our executive branch had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that Congress could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn the facts over to Congress.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to Congress and to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have Congress remove our chief executive.
7. Humbly asked Congress to remove him.
8. Made a list of all persons who had been harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends wherever possible.
10. Continued to observe our oaths of office.
11. Sought through prayer, meditation and listening to constituents to improve our conscious understanding of the will of the people praying only for knowledge of their will and the power to carry it out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to our colleagues and to practice these principals in all our affairs. 

Again, this is not condoned, sanctioned, endorsed and has not even been reviewed by any member, except myself, of any 12 step group. This is my personal interpretation of the 12 steps as members of Congress could apply it to themselves.