Taking Note of Some Things: The Medical Edition

I managed to slice my left index finger recently with a box cutter. I knew right away it was bad, so I had to decide fast between heading to the ER or to Urgent Care. At 9:30 in the morning, I walked into an empty Urgent Care and after filling out the usual paperwork, I was seen by a doctor who cleaned and stitched the wound. An hour and a half after I walked in, I walked out and all it cost me was twenty bucks. I doubt the ER would have been as quick and it sure would have cost more.

Lately, I have been on the specialists’ cycle where I have been sent from one specialist to another. It began with seeing a neurologist who ordered a variety of tests and injected me with Botox to help relieve my headaches. She then sent me to a neurosurgeon to see if I needed neck surgery. Fortunately, I had MRIs on file so there was just a single consult.

When I told my neurologist I stood up fast and passed out, she sent me to see a cardiologist who told me, “Your carotid arteries look great on your ultrasound. Your heart and lungs sound great too, and your cholesterol is excellent. I’d say you are in excellent shape.” Then he said, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to order a few more tests.” A few more involve an ultrasound of my heart, echocardiogram, stress test, and wearing a heart monitor for two weeks. I can’t imagine what he would have ordered if I wasn’t in “excellent shape.”

All I am seeing is copay after copay draining my savings while my days are spent in waiting rooms, each one of which has at least one patient who ignores the mask mandate posted on the door.

Do I need all these tests if I am healthy or is this just a way to bill insurance for more money? Since insurance has to approve these beforehand, I guess I better get them. Still, I can’t help but think the primary reason is to make sure doctors don’t lose a lawsuit in case I suddenly drop dead. Since a dead person can’t sue, it leaves a lawsuit up to my wife and I have to believe she won’t sue. Maybe if they added a question on the likelihood of a lawsuit on the forms I fill out, it might result in fewer tests.

I am also back to getting TMS — Transcranial Magnetic Therapy. This is the third year I have received it. It does help with depression and decreases the level of antidepressant I need. My doctor who oversees it decreases my copay to just five dollars a session which is nice because gas prices make the daily trip into Ventura more expensive.

Next week, it’s back to the pain clinic. Something different needs to be done about my pain. Too many days are spent trying to hold off taking pain killers until late in the day. I will talk with a pain specialist about marijuana, nerve ablation (burning away the nerves that cause the most pain), and other options. There goes another copay and probably more tests. I just want to feel less pain.

All of these specialists seem to singularly focus on the symptoms they are presented with and fail to pay any attention to what the others are treating or prescribing. They either don’t see the larger picture or are not trained to. Either way, it is frustrating.

Two days ago, my primary doctor asked to see me to go over my prescriptions and medical situation. While discussing all my pain, she asked me something none of the other doctors have asked, “How is all of this affecting the quality of your life?” She actually spent an hour with me going over what each of the specialists are doing and making suggestions for what I need to ask them. She even went so far as to offer to contact each one for me if I wanted. At least with her I know I have an advocate. Every person with an on-going medical issue needs an advocate, but too often they go without one.

As nice as my visit to Urgent Care was, I would hate to be in a position where it was all I had to rely on for my health needs. The day I went, they were out of tetanus shots. The doctor was going to send me to CVS to get one, but I knew I received one a year or two ago. He also had to search high and low for the right size needle and thread for my stitches. Like everything else, medical supplies are hard to keep stocked.

How is it that the wealthiest nation on the planet can afford to fight pointless wars that yield us nothing while failing to meet the most basic healthcare needs of its people or keep their hospitals and urgent cares fully supplied? Our leaders would prefer we kill people halfway around the world while our citizens go with inadequate healthcare. The prolife party is a joke when it comes to backing up their motto. Babies go without infant formula. Women can’t receive an abortion. The poor are punished for getting sick with bills they can’t afford to pay. All of this while the prolife party enjoys better healthcare than the people they represent. It’s sickening.

Speaking of sickening, the manner in which the right has backed up their idiot candidate for senator from Georgia, Herschel Walker, shows just how little regard they have for who joins their club. At least the Dems ran off Anthony Weiner. However, conservatives continue to embrace and financially support Walker who can’t remember who all of his children are because of all the women he knocked up. He also can’t remember paying for an abortion despite being shown the check he wrote to reimburse the woman whose abortion he paid for. Conservatives mean it when they say they do not care what their candidates have done as long as they win their elections and return control of the senate to Republicans. Still, people will vote for these clowns thinking they are voting for people who care.

It looks like I missed a real snooze fest with last night’s Thursday Night Football game between the Broncos and the Colts. It’s never a good thing when the home team fans start walking out of the stadium at the end of regulation when the game is headed for overtime. However, as long as the NFL is happy with bad football played by teams with just three days’ rest, fans can expect more games like this. Profit before product applies to the NFL business model just as it does to everything else.

Running the last few months has been easy with most morning temperatures checking in at 60° f. It sure makes it easy to know what to wear when every morning has the same temperature. This will change in another week. Mid October is when I see a steady decline in morning temperatures until they hit a consistent 40 degrees.

The coldest I have felt on a run was in San Diego. I have run in snow, wind, pounding rain, and extreme heat, but nothing was quite like a run I had one December morning in San Diego. I was not expecting the temperature to hit 32° f so all I had was a thin long sleeve t-shirt and running shorts for an early morning run on the beach. With the ocean breeze blowing a mist, the wind chill felt far colder than the actual temperature. I figured I had two choices; either not go for a run or run as fast as I could to make myself sweat. I chose to run fast but never was able to shake the chill I felt.

San Diego, from the San Diego Bay channel
(Tim Forkes)

There is a big difference between a dry cold and a damp cold. I used to run with temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s every winter when I lived near the desert. The morning air was always dry, so I was able to be plenty comfortable in shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt with another short sleeve shirt under it. I always figure that as long as I wear gloves and a beanie, I can get away with light clothing on a cold winter run.

Aaron Judge hitting his 62nd home run of the season and Albert Pujols notching his 700th of his career got me thinking: Fans are lucky enough to catch these milestone balls and cash in on them by selling them or trading them back to the player who hit them for a bunch of memorabilia. However, they shouldn’t get anything for them when you think about it. The ball is the property of Major League Baseball. Unless it is hit out of the stadium, it lands inside a ballpark that is not owned by the fan who caught the ball. It seems to me the rightful ownership of these baseballs belong to the league and fans should be required to hand them over. Of course, baseball has enough PR problems, and this would only add to them.

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge (Claudia Gestro)

I have zero interest in the new home run debate. Aaron Judge’s home runs were not the result of PEDs as far as we know. Does this make him the single season home run king or is it still Barry Bonds who juiced his way to 73 in a single season? What I want to know is who is the all-time single season leader in laying down bunts and beating out the throw to first base.

I haven’t watched ESPN in ages. Are they giving daily breakdowns on how the divorce between Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen is playing out? Have they relied on analytics to predict who does what next? Did they provide us with a tale of the tape on their attorneys? How many sports psychologists have weighed in on how this divorce is affecting Brady’s performance at quarterback? Finally, who does Mel Kiper pick to be Gisele’s replacement when Tom drafts one next spring?

This sort of news always reminds me of Don Henley’s great tune, “Dirty Laundry.”

I am not an expert on military strategy, but it sure seems like Ukraine is sticking it to the Russian military. In the process, Ukrainians have no problem mocking Vladimir Putin, which probably is the one thing he is not used to experiencing from a foe. Putin is increasingly more of a joke with each passing day and much less the bully he was thought to be. As much as Putin would probably love to wrap up this war, he is in no bargaining position with both Ukraine and the outside world. Until he can gain some sort of upper hand, Putin is left throwing more resources and manpower into this war or relying on chemical or nuclear weapons. In the end, neither will do him any good at home.

It’s that time of year where college football shows why their regular season is far more exciting than the NFL’s. In a sport where one loss can ruin an otherwise excellent season, NCAA football provides pivotal matchups among the top teams in the nation every week. In the NFL, you can lose two or three of your first five games and it still is not time to hit the panic button. Once the NCAA expands its playoff system, their post season will at least rival the NFL’s. There may not be another sport out there that can supplant the NFL from the top of the sports heap, but NCAA Football has the ability to now threaten the NFL’s superiority, something no one five years ago would have predicted.

If there is one problem with college football, it’s that most Americans never attend or graduate from an NCAA school. It relies on a rabid fan base of current students and alumni whereas the NFL relies on teams associated with an entire city. Still, the NFL banks on filling stadiums with a capacity of 65,000 people who pay a premium price to attend while some NCAA schools regularly fill up stadiums with more than 100,000 for capacity, many of which are discounted seats for students.

Of course, this does not apply to the undefeated UCLA Bruins who can’t even give away enough seats to make the Rose Bowl look half filled.

I used to buy a pair of season tickets to San Diego State football games. The team stunk in the years I attended, but still, two seats for an entire season cost me less money than the going rate for a single ticket to an NFL game. Throw in all the free pre and post-game activities, it was well worth the investment. Who wants to pay an arm and a leg to watch the Colts beat Denver 12-9 on a Thursday night?

But are college football stadiums as cool as SoFi Stadium? (Claudia Gestro)

There are dog lovers out there who will say pit bulls are misunderstood and get a bad rap. They will tell you a bad pit bull is only the result of a bad owner. Perhaps. However, for a family in Tennessee who just had two children mauled to death and their mother nearly killed trying to save them from their family pet, I am sure they are wishing they never had theirs. I don’t think a lovingly raised terrier has ever mauled two kids to death. Why on earth take such a risk when you have kids?

It’s hard to look at the video of Golden State Warrior Draymond Green punching his teammate Jordan Poole during practice and think it was just a little dust up that happens all the time in sports. It was a violent act of a person who has consistently shown an inability to control his emotions. Green recently admitted his emotions cost his team a championship. I am sure he will not be missed like other athletes are once he retires.

Such an act should not be handled internally by Green’s team. There are not any professions besides professional sports that I can think of that allows an employee to assault a co-worker and keep his job. The league needs to remind players they are privileged to play a game that pays them such a lucrative salary by suspending them at least a full season when they do what Green did.

I get the feeling the Golden State Warriors management is more upset over the leaked video showing Green punching Poole than they are of Green’s actions. The person who leaked it will face worse consequences than Green will as long as the Warriors have a say in the matter.

Sorry, but I ain’t buying it. I get on Republicans for the way they carry themselves and have no regard for decency, so it is only fair I nail Los Angeles City Council members Nury Martinez and Kevin de Leon. Both can be heard making several racist comments about fellow council member Mike Bonin, who is white, and his adopted son who is black. While both apologized and went so far as to use the standard, “My record speaks for itself” argument, the sheer number of remarks they made makes me think otherwise. Not only should both resign, so should their colleague, Gil Cedillo. The three were in a meeting last October with a fourth person, Ron Herrera, to discuss redistricting. Cedillo claims to not even recall the meeting, which, if not suspicious, must mean what he heard is pretty common.

Finally, Sharon Osbourne, the wife of Ozzy Osbourne, recently turned 70. Of course, that is just an estimate as her nose is eight years old, her eyes are six, her breasts are three, and her lips are only two months old.

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Editor’s Note: We thought it would be nice to end with Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green, from 1969. Enoy.