Saturday, March 8, 2014
Oh ..wait ...P-L-A-N-T-S ...yeah ...THAT'S it ....I wet my PLANTS.
Okay ...never mind then. ;)
Obviously urology has been on my mind as evidenced by last week's post. There are reasons for that.
Anyway ...how apropos
This sign would be perfect in a urology office ...on someone's desk or as a little plaque hanging up behind the scenes. Some patients might be amused but others might be sensitive - you never know. This SeaSpray would laugh out loud at it though. :)
Hmmm ...urologists must really appreciate wet "plants" ...urine being a urologist's liquid gold and all. :)
I suppose that could work for a gynecologist too... but urologists ..well URO in the specialty ...need I say more. Okay ...urogynecologists too. :)
BTW ...I've REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY got SPRING FEVER!!
And I can't wait to get out there and water plants.
Can't wait I tell you. :)
I imagine that most Americans are experiencing spring fever after enduring this frigid and snowy winter all across our land.
Friday, March 7, 2014
I had a most interesting conversation at the hair salon yesterday. It was amazing how we had so much in common with where she lives now and that I used to live there, the people we knew and knew well, both in the community she resides in and in the church she attends. Yet we never met each other through these relationships. We shared faith experiences and many other things and our general outlook on life. She also shared how surprised she was when someone whom she hadn’t seen in years came up to her …happy to see her and told her that she had been an inspiration to him. (She had no idea.) Awww ...sweet. I could see why. I wish we had more time to talk ...but before I left ...I told her that she was an inspiration to me, in just the couple of hours that we had conversed. I didn't share problems or anything like that ...but it was just the boost I needed to get back to doing the positive things I used to do. She really ignited a spark in my spirit for all kinds of reasons and I have no doubt that was not a chance encounter. :)
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I see a pattern here. I've been thinking a lot about surgery lately ...especially today. It seems I get a bit zany with my writing when I think about going into the OR or some other stressful medical thing I will have to do. Hence ...this post. Yes inspired by the video in the previous post ...but it is a medical venting on my part. It is what I do. :) In thinking about the MANLY self exam video in my previous post I got to thinking about the silver sequined gloves ...and how I like the BLING ...and so I decided that I'd be okay with my gyne or uro docs wearing silver sequined gloves for the Bajingoland exam-procedures. After all ... a bit of bling in a girl's life ...'tis a good thing. ;)
Ha ha! A bit of bling - a doctor sporting the silver sequined gloves ...followed by the doctor moon walking over to the exam table ...followed by smooth dance spin just prior to sitting in front of the patient ...what's not to appreciate?
I mean really ...do our doctors do enough for us? Wouldn't a bit of medical entertainment be conducive to lifting patient morale? Putting them at ease in an otherwise awkward situation? I mean what patient has time to feel embarrassed or afraid ...when they are focused on and then through the exam/procedure still thinking about the entertainment just provided by their provider? Seriously. ;)
Hey ...I think I'm on to something here.
Why you ask?
Well ...I think medical schools should incorporate patient entertainment into their curriculum. Oh sure cadavers have their place ...but I ask you ...when is the last time a cadaver got a patient to feel up beat ...or even feel ...the beat? Exactly! Heck ...I say let the medical entertainment training begin in med school but then the residents hone their patient entertainment skills during residency. No one graduates with out acing not only the written and verbal part of the exams ...but the doctors have to be proficient in the physical ...dancing their way through that part of the test.
What? Physicians are too busy you say? EMRs, the ACA, heavy patient loads and a demanding schedule with no time to sleep or breathe unless on the run? Pish posh! Any doctor worth his
Why the most enterprising, patient savvy ...oh and skilled doctors will be so in tune with their patients that they will instinctively know what form of entertainment will be most beneficial and conducive to a positive medical exam/procedure.
Of course the more affluent practices will equip each exam room with state-of-the-art sound and lighting effects to compliment the dance routine. But every physician should be able to captivate their patient's attention even when going back to basics with their no frills Patient Entertainment 101 moves. Just as a surgeon had darned well better know how to operate even with out electricity ...so it is the same for the entertaining physician. Just saying.
As I ponder this ...oh the possibilities are endless I tell you!
Why limit oneself to dancing? Surely the specialists will be able to sing and dance ...and even throw in a clown routine ...or maybe some opera. And the truly ambitions ...yet thoughtful docs will have their staff participate too. I mean what's not to love about singing and dancing medical assistants or front desk receptionists? Or an entertaining call to Medicare while trying to secure that reimbursement?
Or a clown shtick?
Or how about entertaining the surgical patient? I know a thing or to about going to the OR and I think the entertainment should begin with the transport to the OR ...singing and dancing all the way. Then without missing a beat the OR staff jumps in, with the surgeon being the lead performer? And off course that's because everyone knows the surgeon calls the shots in the OR. And can't you just picture a singing and dancing ...stent wielding urologist in the OR? Or a power tool wielding orthopedic surgeon? Obviously that little intravenous pre-op cocktail will enhance the patient entertainment experience ...just a bit. Maybe throw in a little stand up comedy? What a way to go out for surgery...leave em laughing. :) And by "leave em", I mean the patient goes under the effects of the anesthesia laughing and only leaves the OR doors going directly into post-op. There will be no other leaving the OR ...as in the vertical out-of-body ...float to the ceiling exit. None of that!
Oh and how about the emergency room docs dancing their way into the patient areas. Talk about CURTAIN calls! ;) Why Press Ganeys would take on a whole new meaning with patient reviews. Siskel and Ebert - Move over!
I'm just putting this stuff out there.
As for this SeaSpray ...now that I think about it ...I think I would prefer that my doctor wear silver sequined gloves and/or a blinged up white coat and tap dance his/her way into my room. Yes ...the rhythmic sound of tap shoes on the hard floors along with animated silver sequined gloves would be truly mesmerizing, i.e., distracting from the exam/procedure at hand ...pun intended. And for the encore ...I could fling turquoise glitter into the air ...adorning everyone in the room. Oh what fun! Now that is my idea of a positive patient experience. ;)
Actually ...I never knew this and I don't think most men do. I could be wrong. I hope I am. And I didn't know that testicular cancer is the number one cancer threat for men between the ages of 15 - 34.
I'm sharing this with the men in my life. They won't like it ...but ...I'm sharing this.
None of us like to think about ...never mind do self exams ...but they ARE so important and can SAVE LIVES.
There should be more public awareness on this topic.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Okay ...so here is an update regarding the nuclear stress test that I was afraid to have. It actually wasn't a big deal at all because I BREEZED right through it. Not that it was a day at the beach, but was nothing scary like I had imagined it to be. And yes ...it was a creepy ...unsettling thought to think that a medication could induce my heart to work harder. I mean ...seriously ...*I* don't even make it do that. Such a disturbing concept I tell you ...and admittedly it had magnified in my mind ...over the course of 4 years if I even seriously contemplated going along with this test. Just saying. ;) So ...I want to share my experience and perhaps this post will help someone else.
But first here are the test results: Normal heart function. No defects.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Dear God!!!
I mostly believed I would get a good report ...but I still have to lose more weight, do have hypertension and sometimes the numbers do elevate ...and I'm not always the most compliant patient ... and I guess mostly the weight was concerning me. Sometimes I feel like walking sin in terms of what I have done to my body for what I perceive to be the catalyst of anything wrong ...being overweight. I mean only God knows for sure ...but I do not believe I would have Type II diabetes, hypertension or knee issues- now needing replacements if I hadn't gained weight.
And I guess because I know there is a cardiac history on my maternal side ...although they were all elderly before they had those issues ...and because of the weight ...lack of exercise ...I allowed fear to cause me to avoid. Which is the wrong thing to do - I know.
BTW, I am still counting on outliving ..with a quality life ...my paternal great grandmother who lived until almost 103. :)
And now I shall tell you about my experience and the phone call after the test.
First of all ...the receptionist and other staff that came in and out of her registration area and out to get the patients to bring in the back, were warm and friendly... with easy smiles. It had a calming ...welcoming effect that put me at ease. To physicians and office managers (I know you know this), it truly matters what type of person represents you in your reception area. They are the people on the front lines of your office that represent you and could possibly set the tone for the rest of their experience. No patient should ever have to feel uncomfortable because of a cold, uncaring ...possibly judging employee. UGH! Fortunately most reception experiences are positive ...but every now and then you have to interact with someone who should be working in a cubicle somewhere away from people. Most likely they have a gift for some other job ...away from people. I've said it many times before and I will say it one more time here (it's been awhile :), I am so grateful for the staff at the urology office I went to when I had to go through all the things that I did. Of course my doctor was amazing and having the trust and good rapport with him was most important. I was truly blessed with the right people involved in my care at the right time. Oh how horrible it would've been had they been the unfriendly, mechanical sort ...you know ...like I was just a number standing in line at the deli. Good staffing matters. And perhaps I am more attuned to this because I was in the business for 20 years, often going out of my way to be supportive and helpful to patients. And then I became keenly aware of the patient experience once I became the frequent flier patient on the other side of the desk. Thankfully ...the worst of that is behind me now.
Anyway ...and I know this may seem silly ...I loved the artwork on the walls in this testing facility.. I could've gotten lost in it. Pretty ...peaceful ..very nice. *And something I never would've thought of until having the knee pain ...they had a comfortable raised chair in the waiting room. Same style/fabric as all the other chairs ...just more patient friendly for those that need it. The first time I saw one of those was this past summer, in the operating orthopedic doc's waiting room. They are for the comfort of both hip and knee patients. And I have found they really help minimize pain because it is much easier to get up from the higher position. I think every medical office should have at least one for their patients.
Okay ...now to the nuclear stress test experience.
The thing about a nuclear stress test ...be prepared to wait around awhile. My test time was about 3 hours. One woman was there before I got there and still there when I left.
The 2 technicians and the PA that worked with me in the back were terrific. My favorite tech was the one that laughed at all my jokes. Ha ha! Don't you just love it when someone's humor is totally in sync with yours? :) But they were all efficient, compassionate, reassuring ...and even interested ...asking me questions about a story I shared. I don't expect the latter ...but it was nice. It showed they cared and that helped to put me at ease too.
I'm not sure, but I think the appointment could've been shorter because it seemed they rotate patients through each step of the way. So in my case ..the first thing was to be set up so the IV line could go in my arm for when they called me back in for the stress part of the test. It was at this point that I told the first two techs why I was afraid to do the test. I figured doing so would explain why they had to pry my feet and then the nails on my hands out of their metal doorway to pull me into the testing room. Oh and so they would be alerted to reassure me ...assurances I soaked up like a healing balm to my mind and I suppose body since they did relax me a bit more..
After the IV was in, I went back out to the waiting room for awhile, until they called me back in for the photo shoot of my heart. ;) Okay technically it was a nuclear scan of my heart prior to having the nuclear substance in my body.
This picture process takes a little over 11 minutes, while lying down in the scanner. I am pretty sure my heart was smiling back at them when they read the scans. That tech was so darned funny that I told her she had to stop being funny or I be laughing in the machine. And what a CONTRAST (pun intended), in my mood from when I first arrived at the facility. :)
At this point, she also put the electrodes on me so they could monitor me during the stress test.
Then back out to the waiting room for awhile.
And then the moment arrived.
It was time to have the nuclear stress test. Admittedly ...I was again apprehensive about the whole making-my-heart-work-thing and hoping they wouldn't make any mistakes. And I was concerned about what it would feel like. Mind you ...I knew better and I was more relaxed thanks to their being so friendly and upbeat ...yet ...mental notes made ...of the exits as I walked back down the hall.. ;) I'm kidding. I didn't look for exits. I already knew where they were. ;)
So now I had the tech at my side who administered the medication and also called out my blood pressure numbers throughout the test. And the PA was at my head focused on the information provided during the testing process and telling me what and when to anticipate the different sensations. Just prior to their starting the test, I was thinking I was glad we were across the street from the hospital. I really couldn't imagine what it would feel like to have my heart induced to speed up or whatever it would do. Anyway ...just before they started, I focused on the light above and said a prayer. Then I amused myself (humor still intact ...although they say there is an element of truth to all humor:), when I thought ...I don't want to go to the light ...look a-w-a-y from the light and I looked away. Ha ha! :)
And right then the PA began talking me through it ..stating it would be about 6 minutes and I would peak in the middle. I focused back on the light because it just helped to have a focus. The PA talked to me every step of the way as the medication ran it's course ...telling me when the medicine was working ... that I would feel a flush in my face when it peaked and then it was already on it's way back down. It really helped to hear the tech call out my blood pressure numbers which sounded great to me. Heck ...I've had them higher just sitting in the doctor's office.
It went way faster then I thought and interestingly ...I never felt the face flush she described (And I KNOW what a face flush feels like :) and I wouldn't even have known I peaked if she didn't tell me. I said, "HOT FLASHES must trump nuclear cardio flushes." :)
Of COURSE they do! HOT FLASH vs Nuclear cardio flush? NO contest!
So then feeling quite relieved ...and surprised ...I said, "Gee ...this must go a LOT faster then the walking -jogging stress test. (I was a real Einstein with that comment. ;) And I didn't get a headache or any side effects either." They both laughed ..and agreed the nuclear tests are faster. And the PA explained that they use a different medication then they used a few years back and it is easier for the patients to tolerate and is a better experience.
After the stress test they instructed me to go back to the waiting room and to drink three 8 oz cups of water every 10 minutes and then I would be brought back in for another
If I am good at anything ...it is drinking water. I had finished my own bottle and so used their cooler. And at the cooler an elderly man with the most gorgeous turquoise eyes ...as turquoise as a tropical sea ... began telling me his entire life story. I tried to be supportive when he shared the difficult things, but he couldn't hear me. And then I was a bit mortified ...when he blurted out how he stopped getting erections in his marriage. He used the "E" word THREE times and only men were in the waiting room at that point ...including Mr SeaSpray, but he was in the far corner ...and probably glad too. I really was not wanting to discuss some stranger's erection history - EGADS! But ..I think I stayed as cool as a cucumber ...outwardly ...and MERCIFULLY the tech came out to get me not long after that. I smiled graciously, waved a little goodbye to him and then in the next second, I think the guys in that waiting room saw me disappear in a cloud of dust from my propelled like a rocket escape (knees be damned), from that conversation. Okay ..so I embellished a bit ...but I was dying a thousand mortifying deaths being stuck int he "E" conversation at the end. Talk about water cooler conversations! And it's not that I can't handle an erection conversation ...but this was so out of the blue and with a male filled waiting room ...it really shocked me and I felt trapped like a dear in headlights for the entire 30 minutes ...and I was standing too. I should've just overrode his conversation, smiled and walked away, but he was so intent on talking and I didn't want to hurt his feelings.
The last scan of my heart was uneventful ...although not only was I certain my heart was smiling a big ...happy smile for the camera ...I was so happy to be done and leaving eight after the last scan, that I think the doctor must've seen my heart wink and wave back at him too. No wonder I got a good report. :)
Going home! YAY! I thanked them and complimented them on how great they all were.
*So the stress part of the test was not difficult at all. It did feel a little different as the rate went up and I did look back at the light above ...but it really was not bad at all. I honestly expected something awful and was genuinely surprised that was all it was. And as I said above ...it was reassuring that they were telling me what was happening during the test. I think constant communication with the patients is important for this test. The long waiting was the worst part. Maybe it was pretty much uneventful because I don't have heart issues. But having gone through it ...I would not be afraid to do it again.
Oh ...they wanted to know if I'd be flying in the next couple of days and I was not. But I suppose I could've taunted the TSA in Newark airport for fun if I wanted to ...setting of their machines for radioactive materials. :)
I thanked them all as I left and told them that it was a much better experience because of how they all interacted with me and that it had been a positive experience.
We were going to go our for a bite to eat ...but after all the fluid intake and sitting in rush hour traffic ...my bossy bladder called the shots and we just went straight home. I also drove home since I felt normal and they said I could. This test really was a breeze and I feel silly to have put it off for so long. (I hope I feel the same way about my impending knee surgery.)
Then the next day ... I came in to hear a message left by the cardiology office medical assistant to call them back. She didn't say I had good test results. And I do recall my doctor stating he would only call me if there was a problem. My calm heart instantly went to pounding mode ...way more of a workout than what I remember during the stress test. Who needs a medication when all they had to do was scare me to get my adrenaline going?!
I couldn't call back fast enough! It turned out my doctor was away and so she wanted to schedule me to come in for a follow-up even though it was a good report. Be still my heart! Well ...no ...never be still my heart ...but gee that was a clear example of how the mind can directly affect the body.
That appointment was supposed to be today, but they had to cancel because he had to fly overseas for an emergency. So we'll wrap this up next month.
And that is all I have to say about the nuclear stress test. :)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I started writing about the nuclear stress test and will put that up later or tomorrow, but in the mean time ...I just wonder ...do these things happen to other people?
So what happened?
A Blood bath I tell you ...BLOOD EVERYWHERE!
Okay ...admittedly not Niagara Falls volume in blood but certainly a ridiculous amount of blood.
I was fit to be tied I tell you!
Oh just so you know it was from stew meat ...but you'd think the cow was right there in the kitchen in the middle of a bloodletting procedure. It was a large package of stew meat ...but come on! GEEEE!
It had been a long day and it ended with my having to clean up blood in the kitchen (the counter, silverware drawer, the cabinet, the floor, and the refrigerator), followed by the family room tile, the NEW rug and door mat. I have this habit of practically gift wrapping the meat from Costco ...using 2 plastic bags ..one on each end but that night I only used one. Then when I get home ...I place it on a cookie tray so that if any blood leaks out it is caught on said tray. Except I was careless and placed the large stew meat package on top of the pork chops and also on the hamburger meat. Anyway ..it apparently got pushed back and began leaking blood all down the back of the fridge and pooling underneath the drawers. GROSS! I grabbed it and placed it in a box on the counter ...but said blood also spilled across the floor onto the bottom cabinet, into the partially open silverware drawer and counter and then the box. I was beside myself! This cleanup was the last thing I wanted to do after 10pm and with sore knees to boot! As I removed the meat (gross) from the plastic bag even more blood came out of the meat package and plastic bag, pouring down into the cardboard box. Son came by at that point and I asked him to take the box and put it outside for now. Well instead of putting it right outside the nearest door for some reason unbeknownst to me (I was absorbed in cleanup), he took it to the farthest exit which led him through the family room and he didn't know blood was dripping out the corner of the box on the tile, rug and door mat. I didn't know until I had finished cleaning up the kitchen. And yes it was only drops at that point but I just was not in the mood. Fortunately the rug is dark blue and I did get it clean. I just have to ask ...what the heck? How could there be that much blood? It's not like I am phobic about blood ...hence a drop looks like a gallon. Okay ...maybe magnified by fatigue at having to clean up in so many places ...followed by sterilizing. Okay ...I AM phobic about E-coli from raw meat and have been known to regale my family and friends with horror stories about it if I see them being careless with raw meat. I mean it's not like they fling it around everywhere ...but there are times I do see they could use better precautions - just saying. And so now this late at night ...I had to clean up extra carefully because of that. UGH! Where was the dog when I needed her??? ;)
Then a few nights later, I picked up a full bottle of organic carrot juice ...but it slipped out of my hands. The bottle hit the floor with such force that it broke the TOP of the twist off lid on said full bottle of organic carrot juice ...which in turn caused about half of the carrot juice to shoot under the refrigerator and under the hutch and across the floor in front of these things ..and onto my feet and slippers. Now after 9pm ...I was again fit to be tied ...this time ...beyond words. I think if I had vented ...I'd have felt even worse. In a silence of disbelief ...I soaked up everything with bath towels and slid paper towels under the fridge. I then filled the mop bucket with cleaner and hot water ..first using a hand mop. But then I got into it and even got a scrub brush and just began scrubbing the kitchen floor.
It was cathartic.
A-N-D ...since I have often said things come in threes ...even tho I am not superstitious ...I ended up looking like Casper the friendly ghost the next afternoon. That was because I was in the process of making dumplings for the beef stew. The flour wasn't coming out of the bag and instead of just scooping some out ...I decided to create a spout with the bag ...but I also held this narrow Pampered Chef measuring cup up in the air ...higher than my eyes so that I could see the exact measurement indicator in the light. However ...I was a bit too aggressive in encouraging the flour out of the bag and it shot out with force ...not only filling the measuring container but covering my face, hands and chest ...as well as the counter, floor and again with the partially open silverware drawer. Again with the open drawer. It is a large ..wide drawer that sticks a bit and so sometimes when busy I don't close it all the way because I know I will just open it again.
At least this was a dry clean up and I only had to vacuum the floor.
I am amused now ...but I was not amused when these things happened.
Oh and the stew and dumplings ...worth the bloodletting and flour debacles. Says me. :)