July 3, 2009


Two thumbs up on the Adrenaline 9s. So far, so good.

Wait. Let's back up to yesterday, which I took as a rest day. It started with a doctor's appointment, then rolled into 10 hours of sorting and making sense of 18 months worth of hospital bills and insurance statements.

The fact is, I'm bad about keeping on top of medical billing. Every other bill in my life, fine, but I cringe from the flood of paper from TriCare, Columbia, NY Presbyterian, radiology labs, Coram, etc. It's not that the bills are even particularly high, it's just plain overwhelming. For instance, on April 8, 2009, I received 9 envelopes from Tri-Care and 5 from NY Presbyterian and Columbia. That's a peak, but gives you an idea of the steady flow of this paperwork onto my desk. And some of those bills had been sent to collections. :(

So I did what I had to. I opened every envelope, a process which took 90 minutes and left me bleeding and blistered. I shit you not. Then I sorted by agency, then sorted those by date, then started matching up insurance claim notices with medical bills item by item. I opened up an old spreadsheet I first started in 2003 to keep track of Coram bills and made new sheets and added all these endless dates of service....whew. It helps, because it forms a picture of what I am being billed, versus what I actually owe (which insurance will tell me). Sooner or later, those two tend to agree.

After all that, I sat down and wrote checks for what I could, totalling an obscene amount. I need to follow up on getting my specialists in-network, because out-of-network cost shares are killing me. I will also follow up on my remaining bills and see if I can get financial help from Columbia. They did once before, for my hospitalization, maybe they'll do so again and help me pay for the March PICC line.

So that was yesterday. Went out for a lengthy workout today, mixing running, weights, and sports therapy exercises, anticipating that I may not have time for an extensive workout tomorrow and may have to do my long run Sunday instead of Saturday. (I have two light plots I need to get done, plus of course a Fourth of July party.)

Today's run was about 2.5 miles. I walked somewhat more than I would have liked, but never for long. It was fairly humid, after all. But the shoes! Wow! I was surprised how great they feel right out of the box. There's definitely cushioning here, but stability, too. And they feel lighter than the Adrenaline 8s, somehow. Maybe it's just that black is faster. I don't know. But if they continue to feel this good, I've found my new favorite shoe ever.

The half-mile downhill run to the gym felt just great, and I entered the gym huffing and sweating and aiming for one thing: their water fountain! I pulled my shirt out of my waistband (rolled it up and stuck it there at the beginning of the run) and put it on. I reversed my routine and started with stitups, then did some free weights work on the arms, then moved to the machines floor and continued with work on the arms and legs, did pullups, progressed to pushups, then physical therapy type exercises (theraband finally!) and wound it up with extended stretching.

I felt GREAT! But it was a hard workout, totalling about 2 hours and maybe tomorrow should be a light running day. I'll have to look at the weather forecast.
OH! It occurs to me you may wish to know how the doctor's appointment WENT. Well, it took entirely too long, that's how it went. Not seeing the doc, but going for bloodwork afterward. NINETY MINUTES in the waiting room. Finally I get called - the phlebotomist is rushed and unhappy, but I try to make her smile. After all, she's about to stick a needle in me, I want a happy phlebotomist!

So I'm laying my arm out on the little table and notice the list of labels she has unrolled is about as long as my arm. "How many tubes??" I asked.

"One. Two. Three, four, five... six. Seven, eight.... nine. Nine!" she answers. She starts pulling out color-coded blood tubes - none of them the small ones. :( I am wondering if I will pass out when I stand up after this.

She readies her device - screwing a needle into the blood-tube-receiver-thingie (you know, the light green part that the tubes socket in to) - and I realize two things: one, this is a BIG needle! I've gotten used to Novofine needles - tiny little things. This one looks massive. It's about 4 inches long and about as big around as a water main. I also realise she's going to stick this in me and then jar it every time she changes the blood collection tube to the next one. Oh HELL no!

"Butterfly please!" I can't believe I have to prompt her for that. She complies and not only is the needle somewhat smaller, but now the jarring is isolated by the tubing connecting the butterfly needle to the green thing. Still, collection feels like it takes forever - but was maybe only three minutes. Still...now I'm up to 9 tubes for my twice-yearly bloodwork. Great. At least it included a test for A1C. I'll find out what that was in a few days and jot it down in my diabetes logs. The endo will want to know.

As for my PFTs, I forgot to ask for the actual numbers, but my doc was pleased saying that they are the best lung function numbers since I began seeing her.

1 comment:

Jim, Guacamole Diet said...

You said:
"Finally I get called - the phlebotomist is rushed and unhappy, but I try to make her smile. After all, she's about to stick a needle in me, I want a happy phlebotomist! "

"A happy phlebotomist?

LOL! I know the feeling.