Archive for the ‘Health-Care’ category

Knee Update

July 9, 2019

Tomorrow will be the 5 week anniversary of my knee surgery. Everything seems to be going well. I saw my surgeon today and got an excellent review. Pain is beginning to wane. I am still having some trouble getting comfortable while sleeping.

2019-07-09 11.08.18

Starting next week, I do PT once per week for three more weeks, then done.

Week 3

June 25, 2019

Wednesday will be my three week anniversary of my knee surgery. Slowly improving. I am now going to outpatient physical therapy.

Yesterday, they started me with 10 minutes on the stationary bike. (Or as I call it the torture machines). Actually, it wasn’t too awful.

The incision site is healing nicely. All staples and terri strips removed.

Going forward, outpatient PT twice a week for the next four weeks and visit with surgeon in July. Still a lot of swelling but getting better.

Knee Update

June 17, 2019

So first, a big thank you to all of you that sent me get well messages either by email, facebook or snail mail. As you can see from my greeting card shelf, there have been many cards sent. Awesome. Thanks.

Second, today was my day to get the staples removed. Good to get that done.

Pain is beginning to subside (a little bit). I am trying to wean myself off of the narcotic pain meds and just stick to Tylenol. The narcotics have a side effect of constipation (not fun). Every day gets just a little bit better.

No more PT exercises until Wednesday’s outpatient PT appointment. Then my PT will give me new exercises to inflict pain.

Single Payer

September 23, 2018

So yesterday, I went to party for the Assistance League folks here in San Pedro. My job was tending bar. That’s a good place to get to know and talk to people.

I was talking to the husband (let’s call him Jim for the sake of the story) of one of Paula’s friends. He asked me to tell him about my cancer surgery and treatment. I told him about discovering a lump on my throat and having it seen by quickly by my Primary Care Doc. A week later I saw the surgeon. He did a needle biopsy on the growth. Surgeon says “inconclusive”. That’s a way of saying there are a lot of false negatives in the test.

So he schedules me for surgery a week later on Good Friday. I go through all of the pre-op testing and check in on Friday. Surgery went fine and I went home on Saturday. Then showed up at Easter Sunday services with a big white bandage on my neck. If you recall, Easter fell on April 1 this year.

Then I had appointment with the radiation oncologist. I had already planned a trip to Boston in May. Start treatment after I got back. Six weeks. X-Rays ended on July 6. That’s done and I am healing well.

Now back to the story. Jim told me that his daughter (26 years old) has a similar lump on her throat. Jim has been trying to get her to get it removed. The problem is that Jim’s daughter lost her health insurance because she had been laid off from her job. The $64,000 question is how does she/he pay for it? She might get it paid by COBRA insurance if she still had the coverage. I suggested that he look into “gofundme.com” as a possible funding source.

If she lived in Canada or the UK or Australia, this wouldn’t be a problem. You see those countries all have socialized medicine, which we in this country have been calling “Single Payer” or “Medicare for all”. That’s because the word “socialized” has a nasty stigma attached to it in this country.

I was lucky enough to have Medicare coverage as well as my private retirement coverage. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for it. I just had to worry about the outcome. I just had to pay the co-pays.

So Jim is worrying that his daughter might die because they will not be able to afford to pay for her care. One should not have to go to gofundme get healthcare. That is just wrong.

Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have been urging our government to provide “Medicare for all” to the people of this country.

With Donald Trump in the White House and GOP in control of the US Congress, providing this care will never happen. They will be happy to let people die who cannot afford for their health care.

There will be an election coming up on November 6. We can’t vote Trump out of office yet, but we can vote out the GOP. Please VOTE out the GOP on Nov 6.

Thanks,

Joe

The Cancer Bus

July 8, 2018

This past Friday I finished my last radiation treatment at Kaiser in Hollywood. I know that most people relate Hollywood to the movie and TV industry, but there is a lot more to the city than that.

So for the past seven weeks or so, I rode the Kaiser bus every day from Harbor City (south of LA) up to the Kaiser Radiation Oncology facility in Hollywood. Bus leaves at about 11 AM and arrives in Hollywood at about Noon. Everyone piles out of the bus checks in and head down in the basement where all of the X-Ray machines are located.

When the last patient boards the bus at about 1 PM, we head back south to Harbor City. Nobody gets left behind. The driver has a count of the people on board. Sometimes patients are delayed by doctor visits or additional X-rays that are required.

For example, today I had to see the doctor and I was delayed. I finally board the bus at about 1:30 PM. No one complains. They have all been in that situation at some time or other.

So over my seven weeks I got to meet many people all of who are suffering from cancer of some sort or another. Some will survive and some will not. One lady told me that she was taking the bus a few years ago and the bus was much fuller than. Less people on the bus means people are surviving longer. A good sign.

A lot of people wear hats. Once Desmond took his hat off to show a nasty carcinoma on the top of his head. He finished his treatments a couple of weeks ago. Hope he does well.

2018-07-03 10.52.00So the group tends to be an unofficial support group. We tended to chat on the benches by the bus stop. It is good to get it out. It’s a bit tough to talk on the bus due to road noise.

I listened to the biography of Ulysses S Grant by Ron Chernow. I still  have a few hours to go. In seven weeks, I have learned more about the Civil War and Reconstruction than I ever knew.

2018-07-03 20.43.48Also, it seems that the length of treatment varies for each person. Some folks are up for only 5 treatments. Some like me are in for the long hall at 30.

So for now, I am done.  I have a follow-up scheduled for the end of August. For now, I am waiting for my wounds on my neck to heal and get my sense of taste back.

I hope to never have to ride the Cancer Bus ever again.

TTFN

Joe

Half Done

June 13, 2018

2018-06-12 13.33.52Today was 15th radiation treatment. 15 more to go. So far so good. Last treatment is on July 5.

The bus takes us from the Kaiser Harbor City facility up to the Kaiser facility in Hollywood. ( about an hour ride)

Today we didn’t have our regular bus. I guess the regular bus was out of service. In its stead we had one of those 12 passenger vans. What a pain. Just about every seat taken. No extra room to speak of.

Not only am I half done with treatments, I am also about half done with the book that I am listening to on Audible. I am listening to the biography of Ulysses S Grant by Ron Chernow. Very interesting. I have started watching the Ken Burns series on the Civil war. Also, interesting. It’s available on Netflix.

The bus is sort of a rolling support group. Everyone on the bus has some sort of cancer. I have had interesting conversations with many of the folks on the bus.

The treatments have some nasty side effects. My sense of taste is long gone. So is my appetite. I have a low grade sore throat. Though, some folks have it much worse. I can at least eat but I generally don’t want to. I am tired and grumpy. (more so than usual). Water has a metallic taste to it.

So I have lost about 4 pounds over the past three weeks. The doctor today told me “try not to lose too much weight”. What? I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor say those words. Hell of a diet.

Back on the bus tomorrow.

Joe

Radiation – Day 1

May 23, 2018

2018-05-23 09.41.18Today I had my first radiation treatment at Kaiser in Hollywood. It took a solid hour and a half to drive up there. The drive is worse than the treatment. My appointment was at 08:24, so I was driving at prime traffic time.

Starting tomorrow, I get to ride the shuttle from Harbor City. So I can catch up on my reading and podcasts.

The first appointment was different because they had to do some X-rays and fine tuning of the set up.

They have a mask that locks my head into one place while the X-ray machine does its thing.

Kaiser has about 7 machines in the basement of the building on Sunset Blvd. They gave each machine a name to help keep track of which is which. The one that I will be using is called “Megatron”. I am sure Jonathan will be amused.

If one looks carefully at the light above the machine you can see a picture of a leafy tree. I guess it’s to make one forget that you’re getting zapped with mega-watts of radiation to kill the cancer bugs.

They have a control center in another room with a bunch of computers with about 6 screens. They wouldn’t let me take a picture because another patient’s data was on the screen.

So I go back tomorrow and each weekday until the end of June. I get weekends and Memorial Day off for good behavior.