Saturday, August 11, 2012

Doctor, Doctor.......


I woke at 4AM this Saturday morning and since I was still awake at 5:15 so I figured there's no since in waking hubby at this hour and I got out of bed.
I'm in pain so sleep eludes me more often than usual these nights. Some of you know that I've had health issues for well over a year now and that's one reason I haven't posted on my blog as much as I'd hoped.

      Sorry, had to inject a little humor in there.
The fact of the matter is I've been down more than I've been up. My search for a capable doctor continues, despite the many referrals I've been given since we moved to this city last July. I've come to several conclusions-one being the the state of health care in our country is horrible. As my story's come out, I've heard from many friends who concur that I am not alone in my struggle for just basic, decent health care. The theory that it's all about the money seems to be the case. The health industry strokes each others' backs more than they do the patients'! I'd like to get off the referral merry-go-round now, please.

      IF one is fortunate enough to find a doctor these days who is actually taking new patients, that's something to get excited about but don't hold your breath because it can take a month or longer to actually get scheduled on the books. Does anyone else see a direct correlation between an aging society and the NEED for doctors!? At the age of 54, I feel badly for the elderly who may be dealing with this nightmare. God help the person who decides to go to the urgent care facility. There's nothing *urgent* about it as we all know and I have another story I'll tell you later about those trips.

      The amount of paperwork a person has to fill out in order to see the doctor is enough to age anyone. While I'm on the subject of paperwork, can anyone tell me WHY, in these days of super high-technology, we must answer the SAME series of questions to half a dozen different individuals who, by the way, are EACH typing the answers into a computer?? Just FYI, I've asked the question straight up and didn't get a reply so don't waste *your* time asking.

      What really gets my goat is when the golden moment comes and the dr. enters the room to ask the very SAME questions!!! Need I remind him/her that I've only been allotted 30 minutes (at most!) for this rare opportunity to sit with him and he's getting ready to waste half of that time with this inane questionare. ~Sigh. Usually I take a deep breath here and just get on with it so I can finally start addressing why I'm here in the first place.

     Maybe it's just me, but I particularly find it annoying as all get out when I'm rolling along, answering THEIR question as to "what brought me in today", to have them begin interrupting me or arguing with me. This is usually preceeded by some rolling of the eyes--yes, I DID see that-----or a downright smirk. Just because you have a badge that says MD before your name doesn't always mean that you're smarter than a 5th grader.

     Whoops........wrong show. Anyway.......I have so many examples, but let's take this one: Female doctor #2 on my list diagnoses Plantar Fasciitis and I tell her I like to walk for exercise, asking if I can/should continue with that. She says, "YES, by ALL means, DO walk as much as you can". Great. Super-d-duper. After draining my body of *all* my blood (well, 5 vials FELT like it!), her office begins leaving a series of voice mail messages on my cell phone a few days later. One in particular, THE most important, is unclear, so I call to confirm. What I thought was "just continue on with your thyroid medication was actually "discontinue your thyroid medication". That CAN'T be right, I told me husband, so we call back; they reiterate.

      We drive TO their office and explain that I've been on this thyroid medication for 23 yrs. and was told by my surgeon NEVER to go off of it because all but a fraction of my thyroid was removed. I'd have felt better if they'd tapered me down in doseage but they would NOT listen to me. She wanted me off the meds for 6 weeks----I lasted 3 weeks and had been in a downward spiral and so extremely ill that hubby ended up taking me to the ER. The ER determined that in 3 wks. time my number had gone from .08 (WAY too low) to a whole number of 13. Emergency room dr. put me back ON a slightly lower doseage than I was on before this fiasco. If you don't have thyroid issues you probably cannot understand the drastic changes going off that medication did to my body.

      It took several weeks, but I can honestly say that the thyroid issue seems to have leveled out. No sooner did I begin to feel better than I got out of bed one night to check if hubby had put the garbage cans out on the driveway for pick up the following day. I opened the interior door to the garage and simply walked out, completely forgetting the fact that we have 2 steps there. I broke one toe, and that foot received major tissue trauma, not to mention the rest of my body. I was black and blue for about 2 weeks.

      Naturally, the broken toe is on the opposite foot which has plantar fasciitis, which I should explain required a podiatrist' opinion because it was hurting more as time went on and I knew that something was wrong. When I told him that I'd been given the ok to "walk as much as possible" he couldn't believe it!!! He said I shouldn't have been walking except around the house; no walks around the lake and parks. I'd aggravated the poor foot and if I say where I wanted to shove that injured foot you wouldn't hold it against me, would you? Relax. I'm only half-kidding.

      Let me just say that when BOTH your feet don't "work" you gain a whole new appreciation for your body and how much we depend on it for even simple things. Never, ever take that for granted!
I hobbled around for a few weeks and griped because I had NO. IDEA. that one toe could hurt for so long! I rested a lot, but I didn't stay completely down; it's just not in my nature. In the back of my mind, I knew it was likely only a matter of time before my new gait would affect my back. I have a long history of back issues, dating back to my mid 20-s. Which brings us up to date. My back started acting up about a month ago and at first felt like a pinched nerve which hurt, of course, but not enough to have me running to a dr.

      Besides----I don't have a "regular" doctor at the moment, so that complicates things. Dr. #2 was so inept with her treatment of my plantar fasciitis & the thyroid that after one follow up visit with her I vowed never to go back. She actually argued with me and when I tossed out the idea of checking my pituitary gland in relation to some of my symptoms she stated that, "the pituitary gland is in the BRAIN". I said, "I know where it is, but it DOES function w/the thyroid and adrenal glands, so what's your point?". That's when I saw a completely different side to Dr. #2's personality.

      She began arguing with me that I had the SAME symptoms on my first visit with her that I now had, sitting there that day. When I tried explaining that that was not entirely the case, she talked OVER me, and wouldn't listen. I asked her once again why she would take someone off thyroid medication completely and was she aware that I don't have a thyroid, for all intents and purposes. What sliver I have cannot function without a daily supplement or I could DIE. She said, "yes, it's right here" (pointing to a piece of paper in her folder, which stated the work *thyroid*). I swear that woman never asked me one question about my thyroid history before yankng me off the RX--just having the word scribbled in my file like a random thought was NOT comforting. I'm not about to pay good money for a doctor to talk down to me and refuse to at least listen to and respond professionally about my concerns.

      Physician #1 was just laughable. Really. I had to wait WEEKS to see her as a "new patient". When the time rolled around, I had a double-ear infection---I could tell. What they failed to tell ME was that my initial appointment would be 5 minutes. Yeah, you read that right....FIVE minutes. It takes more gas and time to drive over there than that! I was already there, so I planned to talk fast. Little did I know that the dr. would saunter in, spend the first 3 minutes telling me a little about herself (I'm not looking to marry you, I just want you to look in my ears!), then to rattle off the 5 minute policy thing. That left me 7 minutes at best. I told her I have a myriad of problems, but that TODAY I just needed to be checked for an ear infection because both ears were hurting.

      I acquiesed to the notion that anything more pressing would have to addressed in future visits....until she sat down at her computer and used up the last 5-7 minutes QUOTING word for word the corporate version of the "5 minute meet & greet" policy. Huh?! If this is a "meet and greet" then shouldn't there be appetizers and cocktails!? When done, she turned to me and said, "so, if you 'like me' and I 'like you', then we can call this successful and I can be your general doctor. Seriously!? This sounds like a play date. If I'd been told all this up-front by the ineffecient office staff, I would have at least been prepared in the knowledge that my current illness wasn't going to be addressed. As she was walking towards the door, I asked if she'd just look at my ears real quick and write me an RX if needed. She replied that she CAN. NOT. treat me the same day as a "meet and greet". What is happening in this field? Since when does ANY doctor refuse treatment?!?

      That was a $25 meet and greet and let me just tell you, it wasn't good for me. Ha ha! They did schedule me a few days later for my earache. I waited and waited and waited........another big turn-off for this office; doctor was NEVER running close to schedule. She breezes into the room and does a quick peek, exclaiming, "WOW, you're ears are both really red!" Shut. Up. NO WAY!! She quickly writes up a 'script because she states that she "squeezed me in; it's her lunch hour". Ummmmmmmmmm----I don't care. YOU told me (via YOUR office staff) to be here at this hour. I don't care if you have to skip lunch---you're a doctor and you're in the business of treaing ill people, correct??

Maybe not.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mom's Butterscotch Pie

     Mom always waved us out of the kitchen when she was cooking, but I believe my love of good food and the preparation of creating something with love stems from my childhood. 
     My mother is a great cook and so was my grandmother and my great-grandmother.  My fondest memories are of Sunday and holiday dinners that my great-grandmother hosted when she was up there in years.  I'm still in awe of the fact that she desired to prepare such big feasts, let alone that her health allowed her to pull it off! 
     I've heard tales that if my Uncle desired "grandma's fudge" in the middle of the night, she would get out of bed, go to the kitchen and start making it!  Her dishes were definitely served up with a heaping dose of LOVE and that feeling is what I strived to provide for my own children. 
     I have two sons; the eldest does cook some of MY recipes, which warms my heart.  Meals around the table CAN create memories to last a lifetime!
     This pie is one of my very favorites that mom used to make, and she didn't make it all that often as she considered it kinda labor intensive, with the graham cracker crust and meringue.  Back in those days, my mother would NEVER have purchased a pre-made pie crust! 
     We actually didn't have sweets very often while growing up; except when company came for dinner.  So I prayed alot for company.....ha ha.
     My deprivation created an insatiable sweet tooth and the is too short not to have dessert......OFTEN.  ~Enjoy~

Mom's Butterscotch Pie

1/2 C all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. butter
1 pint hot milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 C light brown sugar
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Graham cracker pie crust, either home-made, or pre-made

Combine flour and butter over low heat (mom uses a double-boiler); stir till well blended.  Stir in hot milk gradually.  Continue stirring while cooking.  When thick, blend in salt and sugar.  Stir a little of hot mixture into egg yolks.  Return to sauce pan.  Cook over hot water 5 minutes.  Add flavoring and pour into cooked pie shell.


***Best to use COLD egg whites

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 C sugar
Few drops vanilla extract

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat till stiff.  Beat in sugar gradually.  Add vanilla.  Spread all the way to the edges of the cooled pie.

Bake in 325 degree oven about 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden.