Anachostic

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Tag Archives: health

Changing My Tune With A New Band

I posted before about the recent death and dismemberment of the Microsoft Band.  I had pretty much given up on fitness tracking and fitness in general about a year ago.  In that time, as you might expect with someone not as young anymore, with more health issues than none, it had a detrimental effect on my wellbeing.

Without dwelling on the negative aspects of that situation, I powered back on again.  With a new blog tagline to lead the way, I began mentally preparing myself for change.  Positive change, I mean.  I’ve had plenty of other changes already.  Along the way, I happened to see something about a high-feature, low-cost fitness tracker, the Huawei Band 3 Pro.  Very interesting.

In my mind, I was just imagining it as the next version of the MS Band (which stopped at v2), but the design was more standard – no extra bits in the strap and clasp.  But, it did have the one feature that kept me from immediately replacing my MS Band – built in GPS.  And the price was about 25% what I paid for my last MS Band.  And it’s waterproof, which doesn’t mean much to me, but might for others.

I bit the bullet the other day and ordered one, in blue of course.  I’ll be able to use it this weekend.  In the meantime, I’ve begun walking on work breaks again, which is something that ended with the departure of AK, right around the time I gave up on my Band.  Of course I would begin this just as the furnace of summer heat is kicking on.  But a start is a start; building momentum and all that shit.

So, to remember a little about my last post, I’m putting my trust in a new company to let me use their hardware and software for as long as I can.  Will the hardware outlast the software this time?  We’ll have to see.  At least I won’t have paid too much for the experiment.

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Parenting

Anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t have a fondness for children.  Those same people probably know that I have a great fondness for my own children, who happen to be feline.  Some people think it’s cheating to consider yourself a parent to pets, because animals are somehow less worthy of love and care than humans.  I’ll be honest, it is easier to raise pets than humans, which is why I do it.  However, this last week or so has leveled the experience between kids and pets for me.

One of my kids had the shits for an extended period of time and the other one needed caught up on shots (no anti-vaxxers in this household).  So I took them both to the vet and left them for the day for their procedures.  When I picked them up after work, I was given a prescription and a special diet for shitty.  Yay, we get to spend $50 for a bag of cat food now.

As soon I got them loaded in the car and we started moving, the big boy sneezed.  I was like, “no fucking way.”  Little girl had an upper respiratory infection early in her life, so I knew what a sneeze means.  Over the next couple of days, he seemed to be fighting it off pretty well.  However, little girl did not.  I took her back to the vet and got her diagnosis and a prescription.  $100 for meds!  And that’s where I felt like a parent.  I took my kid to see you and you got her sick and now I have to pay all this money for drugs and I have to dose her 2x a day and she’s going to hate it and what the fuck cat wants to eat berry flavored medicine?

Surprisingly, she bounced back after only about 3 dosings, which I think is impressive.  But, while she was improving, big boy was failing, hard.  I called the vet to get a second prescription for him, and unfortunately, I lost a full day in getting the new drugs.  If they could have told me the dosing for his weight, I could have just used some of my existing medication.  But whatever, my cat is miserable.

Having a sick, miserable kid makes you sad, which is my next parental experience.  All you want is for them to get better.  And his little sister wants him to get better, too.  I could tell by the way she would constantly check up on him.  And he was in really rough shape.  He wasn’t responsive to any stimulus.  For a couple of days, he didn’t want to get out of bed at all.  He stopped eating wet food because he couldn’t smell.  But he still had the energy to resist medication.

This cat has a big fucking mouth.  In fact, one of his potential names when he first came to the house was “mouth”.  It’s like a bear trap, and like a trap, he can clamp it right down and refuse to have any medication shot in.  My eventual success came when I switched from a 10cc syringe to a 3cc syringe.  He needed 12cc dosings, so 4-3cc shots was much easier with a skinny syringe than working with that fat one.

Big boy did not bounce back after a few dosings like little girl did.  It took a few days and the improvement was really slow, but faintly noticeable.  Yesterday, he turned the corner and I knew it when I went out on the patio to check on him and he came and greeted me with his tail held straight up.  It was a pretty joyous moment to see him happy again.  He still sniffled and sneezed, but his mood was improved and that was a sign that things are going to be ok.  Later in the evening when I checked to see if he was ready to come inside, he bounded away with his tail up.  After a couple of days picking up and carrying a limp and listless bag of fur, it was a wonderful sight.

And that’s the last parental similarity.  You want to see your kids happy.  I’ve been very lucky in my time to have not gone through the experience of having sick pets.  This last week or so has been revelatory in how much emotional investment you have in your kids and what they mean to your own happiness.

What Happened?

Um, hi again.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted anything here.  Things kind of went weird for me a while ago.  I’m not really into exposing a lot of myself online, but I’ll summarize my radio silence as collateral damage from the combination of worry of my health, sadness of current events, and fear about work performance.  It’s been an eye-opening experience in the sense that I understand some things now that I could not understand before.

I have a small backlog of drafts that I wrote during the time I did not feel like “talking” to anyone, so I can have a little content to wrap up 2018.  I can say that 2019 is going to be a very interesting year.  Maybe it’s premature for me to make any claims of success on a few good days in a row, but optimism has to be better than where I’m coming from.

Falling From Grace

In this here blog, I have alternately praised and condemned Burger King and their food.  And for the longest time, I didn’t eat there.  A long time ago, I might randomly drop in to remind myself why I hated it so much.  Wendy’s is another place I stopped going to regularly, also documented in this here blog.  I would rarely stop in and when I did, I would leave full and disappointed.

These two places are what I consider third-tier dining.  Over time, I elevated myself to places I consider second-tier.  Conveniently, in the current economy, you can simplify this scale of mine into how many $10 bills it takes to get a meal.  Third-tier meals typically cost less than $10.  Second-tier is $10-20/meal, and first-tier is over $20.  So, yeah, I suppose my business-class, expensed travel meals that were something like $70 rate about the same as a meal at Kobe.  That kind of sums up how refined my palate is.

But anyway, it was early sometime this year that I had made the comment, “I’ve eaten at Wendy’s more times this month than I have in the last few years.”  I can’t really say why Wendy’s fell back onto my list of viable dining places.  I think it was an alternative SadMeal™ at the time and it kind of stuck with me.

Today marks the second time within a week that I’ve eaten at Burger King.  One of my biggest gripes with the place is that the double cheeseburger is hardly worth the effort to eat.  But on the random decision to eat there one day, I saw on the menu (which was totally different than I last remember it), they had a thing called “Double Quarter Pound King”, which looked essentially like a double whopper with cheese, or, to my excitement, a larger-than-old-times double cheeseburger.  And I bought it right away.

The taste of the burger was awesomely nostalgic and the fries even seemed to be better than I remember, too.  I left that day with a surprisingly positive impression.  Today, when I went back for a repeat visit, the smell in the restaurant took me back to my hometown.  (Fun fact: When I was much younger, I worked at that BK for two weeks and two days.  On my second day, I decided I didn’t like working there and put in my two-week notice – and fulfilled it)  Today’s experience was slightly marred by an undercooked patty, but I ate around the pink (heh) and was still satisfied at the end.

Despite the unmistakable smell of a Burger King that surprises me when I get inside, the other thing that surprises me is the way the place makes me feel – sad.  For a very long time, I’ve held the impression that BK is probably about as low as you can go in the burger world.  I know that’s not absolutely true, because I’ve been to a Krystal once, which resulted in me coining the term, “meat pringles” to describe their burger patties.  But anyway, watching people buy and eat BK food fills me with pity, that they may not have better options available to them.

I’ve always thought the only reason I’m still alive today is because I was able to elevate myself to eating at second-tier restaurants, where the quality of food is higher (possibly only marginally).  So, with that personal impression, maybe it’s a little weird to regress and start eating less healthy options.  But, at the same time, as I get older, the more I want to just enjoy the current moment.  (Fun fact: when I was much younger I always thought going to the bathroom was such a waste of time, like I had so many other things I’d rather be doing.  Now, going to the bathroom at work is a chance to actually relax and savor.  It feels like the only time I can be alone with my thoughts)

The non-point of this post is just to document a moment when I might just be slumming it in the dining department, or it may retroactively identify that 2018 was a turning point in my dietary standards.

As Usual, All About Me

I have regrets delving into potentially politically topics, but then again, I have had posts about libertarianism and extreme ideologies before, so I’ll give it another attempt.  My regret is that it’s so easy to bitch about hot-button topics.

I follow a “news” site that sort of straddles the line between hard-right and anarchistic.  I think it’s a good idea to at least read opposing viewpoints, despite how much it might piss you off or baffle you.  This site could be considered a news aggregator, although they do have some original authors on there.  A lot of times, what you get is an opinion piece with quotes from news articles.  And this one was no different.

Typically, the postings on this site are using news articles and other sources to promote their ideology, which is free-market capitalism and very anti-government – essentially extreme libertarianism.  This particular article I found was on health care costs and how it is cheaper to go to Mexico for surgery, on the order of ten times cheaper.

Naturally, the article invokes the trigger word, “socialism” as in “socialized healthcare” and their applied synonym, “ObamaCare”.  The belief is that if we stop the subsidies, the prices will come down to reasonable levels.  And to bolster that argument, the article compares a $30k procedure in the US to the same procedure in Mexico, which cost $3k.

Let’s pause for a moment here and realize there are quite a few Americans who do not have $3,000 readily available for an emergency.

Now, let’s also consider that the exchange rate.  Today, $1 is nearly 19 pesos.  Another potential cost of living metric is that bread in the US costs $1.40, which in Mexico it costs 15 pesos.  So then, sure, things in Mexico are typically ten times less expensive and our American dollars get us much more in Mexico.  So, you could just as easily have a Mexican version of this article wondering why a medical procedure costs 57,000 pesos.

So, let’s play along and embrace the libertarian dream.  Now, there is no insurance and health care is a cash-only option.  Because the health industry can’t exploit insurance, prices drop to $3,000 for a particular procedure.  So, who’s going to have trouble paying for this?  Hint: It’s the same ones that couldn’t pay $3,000 before.

As usual, this just reinforces the standard position of not caring about anyone but yourself.

What Did You Do This Weekend?

cf

Oh yeah?  How was that experience?

Let’s start with the night before any of this.  Actually, we can go back a little further, because I already said I pulled my fitness tracker out of retirement and as such, made at least a small commitment to addressing my declining health.  I’d been walking pretty regularly, maybe 2.5 miles a day, weekdays.  Then, I decided to address the issue with my bike and get road tires so that I could use the bike on a stationary stand and get some higher cardio benefits.  And then I agreed to at least try exercising with the GF on the weekends I was over there.  So, in my mind, I was committing to one day a week of a real workout.

The night before the first workout, I was hit with anxiety.  I don’t get anxiety, but that’s just another “don’t” that was destined to fall this weekend.  I woke up in the middle of the night and my heart was pounding.  Like pounding so hard it was making my breathing stutter.  I did eventually fall asleep again, but had a poor sleep and woke up the next morning little unchanged.

Normally, I don’t worry about things.  I have a “just do it” mindset and just go, ignoring whatever consequences there might be.  This time was different.  This felt like going to the dentist, where I just disassociate and become a zombie. (Although my current dentist is pretty amazing and although I’m over the fear of most procedures, some are still unknown.)  So, we get to the gym (a “box” in their terms) and I’m just sitting against the wall staying away from everyone.  I had no idea what to say, do, or behave.  I wasn’t sure if I would be guided or just left to figure it out on my own.

We start out with a warmup – running.  The only time I can ever remember running was doing track events in summer school, like 30 years ago.  But running is instinctual, so I just did it.  I got winded pretty quickly.  My mouth dried out and that was it for me.  But that wasn’t it for the workout.  That was the “warmup”.  There was also stretching and some other stuff I don’t even remember anymore.  Oh yeah, ring rows in place of pull ups.  Couldn’t do ‘em.  I think I was on my third set when my body gave out.  I was near passing out and every time I mentally set myself to expend the effort to do a set of rows, nausea welled up in me.

So that first day, I figure I was only able to do half a workout.  Pathetic.  I was assured that the first day is always the hardest.  And after resting and getting all calmed down, I wasn’t yet done for the day.  I don’t get anxiety.  I don’t run.  I also don’t puke.

But today is full of firsts.  It’s a pretty raw memory for me, back in 1995 or so, when I last hurled, barfed, upchucked, chunderspewed, vomited, or puked.  And that night I swore I would never do it again.  I would do anything to keep that from happening again.  But today, after thinking I had dodged the possibility once again, when everything was calm, the warning hit me.  It’s strange how you instinctively know how to run and also strange that you know when you are going to throw up.  Your body actually preps you for it by coating your throat with mucus to protect it from the coming tsunami of acid.  And that taste and sensation is unforgettable, even after decades.

I made my announcement and swiftly, yet calmly, went to the bathroom, whereupon I did the deed.  My unbroken streak was now broken.  All in the name of some sort of health benefit.  Cruelly, the gym makes you sign and date a puking man mural on the wall when you fail to keep your fluids.  But I was assured (again.  Lots of assurance here) many times that people only sign the wall once.

So, that was fun.  Sounds fun, right?  Let’s do it again tomorrow!  Fuck yeah!  More running, more stretching, more things.  Jumprope, throwing medicine balls, pushups, weights.  Again, I failed about midway through, but that was also because I knew when that nausea feeling arrived, it was not something to fuck with.

So, that was fun, too, right?  Except for the fact that my muscles really fucking hurt.  So, tomorrow, then?  It’ll just be a private workout at a friend’s house.  What’s to say about that?  More of the same, more failing halfway through.  Much more pain in the muscles, especially the legs.

It’s hard to say where this is going to go, but it’s not fun.  I’m assured that it’s going to get better.  The first day is the hardest.  The second day is better.  In a week or two it will start feeling good.  I am not sure if people that work out have a different definition of what “feel good” means.  This is probably the most radical change I’ve made in my life, just in the span of three days.  I can’t evaluate it yet.

Nevar Forget

I was reading a thread on a music forum and the participants were lamenting the rise of “anniversaries”.  When I first got into the thread, I thought they were going to be complaining about anniversary reissues, as a lot of 80’s big hits are now hitting 30-yr anniversaries, and some later ones are nearing 25-yr milestones.  But surprisingly to me, it was something else.

Specifically, the jab was at a music news outlet making posts like “7 years ago on this day, we reviewed this album.”  Ok, that’s a little weird.  First in that it’s not a standard milestone like 5, 10, or 15 years, and also that it’s something they did.  As if the world needs to remember the awesomeness of something they did… 7 years ago.

The consensus was that it was just a “slow news day” or a way of making a post to fill things up.  As bloggers, I suppose we’re all guilty of such things.  Although to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever done a “year in review” or “in case you missed this” post with links to my nearly 10 year archive of shit.  Maybe because a vast majority of it is shit, or maybe because I respect you enough to expect you to use search or tags or categories to find what you want.

But that forum thread gave me a lead-in for a post I’ve wanted to make for a while.  I just keep forgetting about it, which is ironic.  With this concept of rehashing old stuff to other people, there is also a different rehashing going on, the rehashing of your own stuff to you. (#rehash?)  Specifically, I’m talking about Facebook Memories.  Not having FB myself anymore, I hear about the things I’ve done via my GF, whose life is documented on FB.  “Remember when we did this last year?”,  “Looks like five years ago we were doing this.”  and on and on, each day.

On one hand, it’s kind of insane to think that life is moving so quickly and events are so superficial that we need to be reminded of what happened to us a year ago.  On the other hand, more fingers.  The idea of reminding people what they did for their own benefit is not new. 10 years ago (I swear this is just a coincidence), Microsoft Research presented SenseCam to help improve the memory of those with Alzheimer’s.

Facebook “On This Day” was introduced five years later, in 2015.  And I think I might have been on FB at the time, but I do remember (without the use of any technology) the small backlash it caused, like “Thanks for reminding me my dad is dead, Facebook.”  But the feature stuck around, and now with much more data to work with, I guess it’s become more accepted?

Anyway, the point I was writing about is that it will be curious to see in 20 years or so, undoubtedly in an anniversary post or something, if FB’s looking-back feature has had any diminishing effect on Alzheimer’s. Maybe as we age, the Ai will start showing you things that happened a few months ago or last week.

This One Time At Summer Camp…

I made a trip to my hometown, the wasteland, this last weekend.  It wasn’t exactly business or pleasure.  I guess it would be considered more business than anything else, though.  My mom now resides in a nursing home.  I don’t think they call them nursing homes anymore.  They’re probably called long-term care facilities.  Cue George Carlin and his anger over the softening of the English language.  But anyway…

I got to see my mom a couple of times.  She doesn’t have a lot of stamina for visits and dismisses visitors with a “I want to take a nap.”  No problem.  I don’t really have much to talk about anyway.  But one thing we talked about got me thinking.

In her new living quarters, they have a pretty set schedule with meals, activities, therapy, etc.  Some things are optional or semi-optional, but a lot isn’t.  When she was complaining about it, I was reminded of my years at summer camp.  I thought, my mom’s at summer camp, for the rest of her life.

My first summer camp was an unpleasant experience.  It was a military camp far from home that ate up six weeks of my summer vacation from school.  I didn’t know anyone there and I was not exactly military material.  Your day was regimented into sessions, of which you were allowed to choose things like Arts and Crafts, Model Rocketry, Basket Weaving, etc.  Then there were others you couldn’t, like Softball and Soccer.  Then there were parades and practice parades, and inspections, and of course, meals.  You always went to meals in formation with your entire division.  What a show.

And in many ways, my mom’s new life is like that.  Some things are optional, or a choice and some you can’t get out of.  You go to meals with the same group and sit at the same table with everyone.  You are going to do therapy.  (They don’t talk about it, but the facility has to perform therapy or they are considered neglectful of their patients and would get fined or shut down.)  There is a gift shop/concession place where you can buy things with money from your account (I had that too in camp).  Other people can put money in your account for you to spend (just like my parents did for me).

So if my mom is unhappy at summer camp, it’s no different than how I felt in the same situation.  Both involved being around strangers you have to become friends with, away from a lot of things that are familiar to you, and made to do things you may not feel like doing.  If you’re an independent spirit like my mom (or me for that matter), it’s a nightmare.

While my mom and I discussed the summer camp concept, I finally admitted to her that I almost got kicked out of that military camp in my last year (the last of four) there.  I had gone “cabin-trashing” with another camper and it isn’t really a surprise we got caught.  We had to spend the time repairing all the damage we caused while all the other campers were at a picnic.  I think we were still fed lunch, I can’t remember.  And it caused me a lot of ill will with my cabin-mates. 

But, the year following that incident, my parents sent me to a different summer camp.  A computer camp that was only two weeks long.  It was a totally different environment than military camp and I would have gladly spent six weeks there.  But it was only a couple of years that I got to go and then I was on my own again.

Unfortunately for my mom, it doesn’t sound like there are other camp opportunities.

Not Getting Sick

I don’t get sick.  The last time I mentioned getting sick was four and a half years ago.  I described it as a “nasty cold”.  In fact, that old post is talking about deviation, and my time for a major deviation was due.

I’ve been to the Sick AF Theme Park and I always manage to get out without going on any rides.  Well, sometimes I end up on some of the kiddie rides like Shit Yo’self or The Dehydrator, and I’ll get on with my life.  The bigger rides always kind of spooked me.  This time, I must’ve gotten lost trying to get out because I ended up in line for the #2 ride in the whole park – IN-FLUUUUU-ENZA EXTREME.  And let me tell you, it’s a long fucking ride. (Since I’m writing this now, I can say that I’m lucky to have not gotten on the #1 ride, Nu-Moan YAAAAAAAA.)

Day 0 – Wed

Getting ready to go to bed and out of nowhere a large sneezing fit hits me.  A little later in bed, a second fit strikes.  This starts my sinuses draining like mad.  They drip into my throat all night.  Ticket for one?  Thank you, climb aboard.

Day 1 – Thurs

At work, the entire place is full of coughing and sneezing.  I guess I got on board just in time.  By the end of the day, my plan for when I get home is: sleep, eat soup, sleep more.  When I do get home, I feel terrible.  A different terrible, a foreboding feeling that something is not right this time.  I check my temperature and it’s 99.6.  Half an hour later it’s 99.9.  I call my boss and take the next day off work.

And here’s the other huge issue with this.  The next day, I am going on a trip to see my mom in her new nursing home digs.  At this point, I’m optimistic I can bounce back enough to make a safe trip.

Throughout the night, my fever continues to climb, broaching 101.  This is all new to me.  I don’t get sick.  Oh, first time rider?  Have fun and enjoy.  You’re going to remember this one.

Day 2 – Fri

Fever is hovering in the 101 range.  Every joint and muscle in my body hurts.  Even sometimes my skin hurts to the touch.  I put on a brave face and go out to infect the world.  I get some Dimetapp and Halls from Walgreens, a small pizza from Hungry Howies, and some Gatorade from Dollar General.  I’m good.  But I’m not.  The smell of the pizza is turning my stomach and one tiny bite was spit right back out.  Big ol waste of money.

Around 5pm, I capitulated and went to the Urgent Care.  The receptionist took my information and commented, “Boy, you haven’t been here in a long time!”  I said, “I know, I don’t get sick, but when I do, I do it with style.”  My time there was short and I wasn’t admitted or anything.  I got an Rx for a flu med, 10 doses over 5 days.  Five days!  I go back home and over the next 36 hours or so, I got to experience all the wonderful twists and turns in this insane devil ride.

For me, being under a constant fever gave my brain license to do whatever it wanted.  And this is what I got.  When I was unconscious, I was in some sort of disaster zone, providing help.  All the rubble was black blocks (there’s more to it, but it’s too weird to describe).  I had a special power that whenever I coughed, I could demolish a partially collapsed building.  When I was more awake, it was kind of the same, except everything was white, not black.  As time went on and my condition improved, so did the disaster.  Then I had to start dealing with situations like “There are reports of water at this other camp, but we can’t tell anyone because they will overwhelm that camp.”

And everyone should be happy that I did not get on the plane.  Everyone except my wallet.  $600, everything nonrefundable.  But I would literally be the grim reaper walking into a nursing home in my condition.  Do something good for once, you dickhead. Don’t kill people.

Day 3 – Sat

My second full day of absolutely nothing.  Probably 22 hours in bed.  Can’t get up.  Can’t eat.  Only sleeping in 1-2 blocks, which involves the inescapable scenario of fixing a disaster scene.  But at some point in the afternoon, I woke up and my fever broke (high score: 103.3).  I recognized this because I was sopping wet.  My clothes were soaked the whole way through and sweat running down my arms.  That’s something that hasn’t happened to me even in my most careless hiking jaunts in the summer heat.  My joint and muscle pain is gone, but something was traded for that relief.  Now I have a pain that feels exactly like someone folding your ear cartilage.  It doesn’t fade in and out, it’s a sharp, piercing pain that makes me convulse.  And it comes along about every 15 seconds.  Minute after minute, hour after hour.  Sometimes it will pause long enough for me to get a small window of sleep, but it is relentless.

With the clearing of my fever, my continuing struggle in the disaster zone literally turned into an empty field.  I think that’s a good thing?  Anyway, good ride so far.  Lots of unexpected surprises.  What else ya got?

Day 4 – Sun

My fever is gone, but I’m still sweaty and temperature sensitive.  My joints and muscles are not sore, but I’m weak.  I haven’t really eaten anything in days.  Looks like I lost about 7 pounds.  I’m still laying around in bed, because I can’t do anything else.  I can’t really sleep because of the constant ear stabbing.  So I decide to listen to some recent CD purchases I hadn’t played yet.  That was a pleasant reprieve.  Then I picked out another song from a different album to play.  It’s a favorite of mine – happy, joyful, and executed exceedingly well.  When the song started playing, for absolutely no good reason, I started crying uncontrollably.  I took a while to compose myself and clear out my sinuses (SO much!), but when I would think of the song again, I would start sobbing again.  And again.  And later on yet, again.  What the fuck is wrong with me?

I reprise my earlier soup extravaganza, which is probably the most I’ve eaten since this started.  I tried a burger for lunch so I could get some protein for some energy.  Just a couple bites.  Pathetic.

Now my sleep patterns are all messed up.  Didn’t get tired until 2 in the morning.  Even then, I only slept in 1-2 hour blocks, like I had been.  I’d either wake up soaked in sweat, or with pain in my chest from sinus drain.  It’s ridiculous.

Day 5 – Mon

Thanks for riding.  I hope you enjoyed it.  No, thank you for letting me get the fuck off the ride without dying.

Now, an attempt to return to normalcy, although I know in reality it will probably be a couple of weeks to get back to the way things were.  Cleaning the sick bedding, cleaning the sick house, realizing I don’t have a lot of energy available to do any of this for extended periods.  I break out in sweats easily.  I tried a small meal at Panera and had to actually take my time and eat.  Like every bite took a few minutes to settle.  And people thought I ate slowly before… oh boy.

What a long-ass post.  Six days wrapped up in a stupid story.  I should have live-blogged the whole event, or maybe death-blogging would be more apropos.  Next time I think I’m dying, I’ll try that.

You Don’t Get What You Don’t Pay For

Applying the concept of the tradeoff triangle – Good/Fast/Cheap; pick two, I recently had the opportunity to choose zero.  Or maybe I got them all, just in a crappy way.  I’m talking about visiting an urgent care clinic.

As you may have seen in past posts, I’m not a fan of health.  Luckily, I don’t get sick.  Until I do, that is.  And when I do, I usually stick it out until I’m better, or in some future instance, I die.  Well, this was a case where I wasn’t getting better, but I wasn’t dying quickly enough to get over the annoyance of being sick.  And since I don’t really have a primary care doctor, I went to a clinic.

Since I don’t really have a doctor, I’m not sure what is routine and what isn’t.  But I’m pretty sure if they cared, they wouldn’t weigh me with my pockets full of stuff.  And they would probably check my temperature to see if I had a fever.  Maybe check my heart rate while they are checking my blood pressure.  Maybe they would show a little bit of interest in me.  But, maybe not.  It’s just a walk-in clinic.

Maybe they would actually protect their customers’ personal information.  Posted throughout the clinic were signs that stated there were scammers calling their patients and asking questions similar to a satisfaction survey.  The problem is that through some phone trickery, the call would cost you $3/min.  My question is, how are these scammers getting your patient’s contact info?

To sum up the entire visit, I recited the primary symptoms I had: trouble swallowing, swollen tongue and tonsils as well as secondary symptoms I suspected were relevant.  All this was entered in some cloud-based web application. (I initially thought he was searching WebMD for the answer.)  Then the doctor came in, looked in my mouth (not even using a tongue depressor) and said, “yup” and entered an antibiotic prescription in the web app that was sent to my Walgreens.  That was it – he said the medicine should work in 7 days, but if not, there were 3 more days on the prescription.  He walked out and I walked out of the building.  But not before forcing him to make physical contact with me by shaking his hand.

I left with a prescription that should fix what ails me, but I didn’t leave with any encouragement that I was going to get better.  That is depressing as hell.  But, I guess I did expect a bare-bones experience.  In my tradeoff, Good was not chosen, Fast was fast in the wrong part of the experience, and Cheap was pretty much the entire experience.  This does little to promote any desire for longevity in me.