March 27, 2010

catching up

Well, been a while since my last post. I'll warn you: this post is long.

Part I: my last run.

A week ago, I did a four mile run down to Ft Hamilton park. This was my first time taking 5th avenue, instead of 4th, and I almost regret it. If you'll recall, the day was beautiful, warm, and sunny. Everybody was out enjoying the sunshine and taking up room on the sidewalks. And 5th ave is all sidewalk - filled with busy businesses all the way down. So the whole run turned into a game of dodging pedestrians or traffic. Fuck me. I don't usually enjoy thsi game, but at least I kept my temper. I wanted to shout and scream and tell these idiots to get the fuck off the sidewalk with their ten-person families and three strollers and snail's pace walking. I wanted to suggest forcefully that if you have to stop and talk to your friend, that you do so to one side of the sidewalk, out of the goddamn way. But I didn't. I kept my calm, concentrated on getting some miles in, and chalked everybody else's rudeness and stupidity up to them being fat, lazy, stupid Americans. Except that a good portion of them aren't fat, lazy, stupid Americans, they're actually fat, lazy, stupid immigrants. OK, I shouldn't be calling anybody fat, lazy, and stupid when I don't know them personally, but it helps me keep my temper.

The run itself was better than I thought, overall. The first part was all uphill - a gentle mile-long rise that I thought was going to kill me. The short breaks afforded by waiting for traffic generally meant I could keep my walking breaks short. And by the end of the run - a mile-long downhill slope with less pedestrian traffic, my overall pace was really very good. There were times I was traveling better than 9:30 per mile and my run ended up averaging just a little over 12 per mile. I was shocked, really. I need more good runs like that.

I also had no pain. Perhaps it helped that I had taken some Tylenol, but there were no shin splints or anything. Nice to run without pain!

Part 2: exhaustion.

So why haven't I run in a week? Well, to be honest, work has caught up with me. I got called in to a local design-build firm that does a lot of display work for NY stores and public art projects. Interesting work and my part was to help produce some renderings for an overseas project. So I worked a solid 40-hour work week, even taking into account leaving early Thursday for a doctor's appointment. In addition to work, I had the appointment to take care of plus two nights of teaching. So by last night I was dog-tired. I went to bed just before midnight and didn't wake up even to go pee. I slept 12 hours. And I still feel tired. So I'll be in bed early tonight again and hopefully make tomorrow more productive than today has been. That should include putting in a run, cleaning the house apartment, and clearing my desk of a pile of receipts.

As tired as I was, I need more weeks like this, where I'm fully employed and earning what I'm worth. Thursday was a $500 day, part of that earned for rendering, part of that for teaching. I wish I made that a lot more often! Well, I'm off Monday from all work and am filling it up with other appointments, such as eye doctor (can you believe I haven't been to the eye doctor in five years??) - and then it's back to work Tuesday, though the work is more holding-the-fort while the company regulars are out of town than it is using my special skills. I'm not complaining! LOL

Part 3: Health.

One of the appointments I need to make - and hopefully actually see the doc before going to Israel - is my diabetes appointment. I thought I had one in April, but can't find it on the calendar. At this point, I've been upping my Lantus dosing on my own, in order to keep my blood sugar under control. I'm not sending in sheets weekly to the diabetes center, so we're not in constant contact. I *am* tracking what I eat, all my carbs, all my medicine, and testing BG several times a day - so I'm on top of it; just not the way my center wants, and I know I'll hear it from them. Perhaps I can work out a compromise and send them screenshots of my tracking charts weekly.

Anyway, it's funny how often diabetes comes up these days and funny how people just don't seem to notice when I'm testing or injecting. Is it so common?

I was watching this show on ABC: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I was simultaneously grossed out, fascinated, horrified, and enamored (of the host). (Go watch the video at the link...) This Brit is stunned by how badly British and Americans eat. He's not trying to bring gourmet food to Americans, he's trying to get them to put down the processed foods and reach for ... well, simple, whole foods. The very kinds of things I prefer eating.

One segment showed a Southern family (typical, I'm sure) at the doctors'. The pediatrician was examining the 6th grader - the 250 pound 6th grader. He pointed out the signs he sees of impending diabetes. They tested his HbA1C and he's not diabetic yet, but the doc told the parents that with their family history, their current lifestyle, and the signs of excess insulin production he sees in their kid, that he's almost certainly going to become diabetic. He then outlined the effects of diabetes and the possibilities of blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and death. I was... well, I've never heard it put so bluntly. "Diabetes is fatal," he said. True, if not treated. With treatment... maybe not. I know some who have avoided even minor complications and have had good control for fifty years. But... how is it my CF doesn't scare me that much anymore, but diabetes is starting to, now that I've had it for a year? Is it because the animal in me is realizing this is something that's not going to go away?

So my health is not great right now. I'm been worse, but I've also been a lot better. I've been on oral antibiotics for two weeks. For the first few days, they seemed to have great effect, but I have returned to frequent productive coughing and having less energy than normal. My PFTs are exactly what they were two weeks ago. My weight is good, though: 128.6. I'm just a pound and a half from weighing as much as I ever have! And believe it or not, some of it is fat! :D

So we're getting the process going of getting me on IVs. Part of Monday's task list is to get my primary on the line so I can get a referral for a PICC line. I don't understand why this process is so fucking complicated and drawn out. I've been told by Tricare that my specialist can request this and have approval within a day - why is her office so stupid and slow about this? Why must I get my primary's office involved? So first thing I'll do is get on the phone with Tricare and get the procedure straightened out! Hopefully by Wednesday I'll be getting the PICC. My doc offered to have me admitted to the hospital and spend a few days there and get the PICC there right away and while that is an option, it is not one I want to use until absolutely necessary. Even one night in the hospital is horribly expensive and I don't see a clear benefit to speeding this process up by a couple days, especially given that I'll be isolated and damn near starve to death on that hospital's food!

So, yeah, I'm going on IVs again, that's all I'm saying. The timing is good. If I'm on the IVs three or four weeks, I still have a month after that before going to Israel and my experience is that I need that recovery time. Hm. It's been four months since the last round. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Part 4: Healthcare.

I see a lot of vehement arguing about the healthcare bill and a lot of frankly crude reaction. What I don't see is a lot of intelligent discussion. Politicians use scare tactics baldly. So do campaigning patients and doctors - on both sides. Now that the bill is passed, people continue to scream and shout.

I will say upfront that I have not read the healthcare bill. I've reviewed some articles in the New York Times and on the Wall Street Journal that sum up key points; that's about it. I also don't know exactly how to feel about this bill.

What I do know is that I am tired of the illogical and invalid rhetoric spouted by both sides. Let's get a few things clear: The sky is not falling. This is not communism; it's not even socialism. This is not free health care. It *is* a requirement for more Americans to get insured, balanced with the government's help in obtaining that insurance, where necessary. This is not going to be easy; change never is. It is not going to be smooth; change never is. But with more people *insured*, we should see fewer uninsured people getting healthcare in emergency rooms, with the taxpayer picking up that bill. We should see a shift where the ER is used for actual emergencies (!) more than not and preventative care being more attended to, which may ease how many costly surgeries and medicines people and insurance companies pay for later. I can't say for sure if these things will come to pass or not. But my point is that, *neither can the politicians*. All the people who stand up and say, "this healthcare bill WILL result in..." are just spouting bullshit. They can't know! There's a lot of "might" and "maybe". There's some "probably" and "possibly". That's all. If the rhetoric were more reasonable, I might be willing to listen or even get involved myself.

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