I saw a hand surgeon today

10 Oct 1 PIC

First off, my hands are crooked, especially the right one, thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis. So I secured a referral from my PCP doctor and went to see a Hand Surgeon today. I went in with the high hopes as I heard good things about this particular doctor, that he could do something close to a miracle.

Not so fast.

Xrays taken, I am being whisked to another room, am sitting tight and waiting.  An assistant peeks in and asks if I am in pain, and off on his merry way. He seems to be in a big hurry, didn’t take my vital signs or asked more questions that I thought was a given but not a problem.

In comes a lady wearing a white gown of sorts and asks how I am. I am like, I am here to see a doctor so-and-so, and who are you?  Then she confesses to being a resident, and proceeds asking questions.  Mind you, it’s one of the Health Centers of Cleveland Clinic, hence the red tape. I told her that I would much rather see a doctor sooner than later. Argh, this is exactly what I hate about big places with the big red tapes.

Finally the hand doctor comes in, takes a look at my hands and delivers the news. Not of a good variety. Basically he says that a surgery won’t help in that it’ll limit my range of motion.  This coupled with a fact that I am not in pain, played into him not recommending surgery.  End of story.

I was crushed. I was having high hopes and in a matter of minutes they were poof, gone. My whole world came crumbling down. Maybe he is right but I am at the receiving end. Oh well. I went home feeling pretty much hopeless and gloomy. Life however goes on, and so is the street traffic. I went out a different way than I went in, took chances with an unfamiliar exit from the parking lot and ended up going the right way after all.

On my way home stopped for a grocery shopping and splurged on a few things, which is something I usually don’t do. But now it didn’t matter. Nothing matters. My hands are doomed to be crooked for the rest of my life, so what’s the point in saving a few bucks?

Came home, googled a bit. Found out that the doctor was actually talking about a joint fusion. There is however an option of a joint replacement, but I likely won’t do it. Will sit tight and wait, maybe something else pops up. A new procedure, a new technology. C’mon now, this is the 21st century, after all.

There’s still a glimpse of a hope (I think).  Thanks for the ear, my dear readers.

Posted in arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What happened to my morning fasting BG

Lately it’s been around 100, give or take. I however found out that the variations have to do with sleeping or not for the full 8 hours at night. Yesterday someone texted me at 4 am which woke me up, and I just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I slept a total of about 4 or 5 hours. I checked my fasting BG anyway and boom, 115. Oh no.

I know for a fact that I haven’t done anything to cause this disaster. Not that I had tons of sweets; I actually did everything by the book, so it must have been something else. Most likely lack of sleep.

In the day before, my morning fasting number was 101. And today, 97. My phone is set to silent from now on.

9 Sept 9. IMG_0331

If only someone invented self-cleaning shower liners, my life would be nearly perfect

Posted in diabetes, diabetes management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Journey of a Test Strip — where to buy them.

Where do you buy your strips? This is the question of the day.  Actually not exactly a question but I was at a loss how else to word it. Am still recovering from a shock at hearing local drugstore prices.

Of course you can buy them anywhere and pay through the roof as I just discovered. I was quoted a price over $50 for a 50-count bottle at a local pharmacy. And that is my insurance co-pay. At first I thought I didn’t hear it right and asked again. The pharmacist wasn’t a bit surprised and repeated, $57.99 after some discount whatever that means.

I briefly stopped by at the Rite-Aid site that of course follows the suit in terms of prices.  Since my brand has no reviews and I am a review junkie, I tried to leave one. I said that these strips are grossly overpriced and that off I’m going to the greener pastures with reasonable prices. Predictably enough, this review was moderated for violation of some terms.

I still have one good bottle of 50-ct test strips to go; it expires in October. But now that I was done with all the local pharmacies, I turned to the online sources.

eBay was my first stop. There are some good prices, however few and far between, and then there are some sky high ones. An expiration date remains a gray area and more often than not is not stated. The excuse is that even though the strips did expire, they are still good. The others make a sweeping statement that the strips don’t expire because they are not medication. Really.

Here now, see for yourself:  8 Aug 27. not medication

You need to exercise quite a bit of a due diligence here. I blogged about this yesterday. The strips do expire because they contain enzymes (proteins).  The above strips turned out to have expired last year.

My next stop was Amazon. You can find reasonable prices here, expiration date isn’t posted but I hope it’ll be within the range. I would rather shop for the strips here as I’m buying a gift card at a local grocery store for which I get gas discounts and double points on my credit card that I redeem as a statement credit.

Here now, meet my shopping cart.  Isn’t it lovely?  No bidding and no hassle.

8 Aug 27. Amz shopping cart

Walmart is still on my list as they carry budget test strips. Such as Reli-On, OneTouch and FreeStyle, all are priced rather nicely. OneTouch strips however can get slightly complicated; will cover this later.

And then I came across this gem. Can you believe it? Accu Chek sells the strips on their site with or without a prescription. 8 Aug 27. PRICES on A site

Home delivery is available with the subscription, and naturally, the more you buy, the less you pay per unit. Delivery frequency is between one and six months and the limit is set to six 50-ct strip vials per home delivery order. Subscriptions are available in one-, two-, three- or six-month intervals, and can be canceled any time or so they say. The expiration dates are guaranteed for six months as per email. Wow.  This one definitely took my breath away.

I still don’t get it how come that the strips are available from the manufacturer at rock bottom prices while the drugstores charge through the roof. An unbelievable overhead.

To be continued. I am not quite done yet.

Posted in diabetes, diabetes management, Prices, test strips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Journey of a Test Strip

I am of course talking about diabetic test strips that I use on a daily basis.   First off, a bit of history.

Test strips and meters likewise are an important part of managing diabetes at home. Nowadays we take them for granted but it wasn’t always this way. Imagine having to do this in a lab and then wait for the results, reportedly ready in a few hours but I bet in my case it would be a few days easily. Then the first meters came into the play. They were bulky, required a few steps and were difficult to use.

The modern meters are easy to use but the strips come with a caveat. They have an expiration date, and I wouldn’t take chances using the ones that have said date in the past. Of course the jury is out as far as strips accuracy or effectiveness but I’m not into this right now. Anyway, the test strips appear to the be the most controversial of all. I am not on insulin or any diabetes medications so can’t comment about effectiveness of the strips related to this. In this post I will discuss the expiration date and the price.

Just how important the expiration date is, is described in detail on the Healthline site.  In regards to the test strips, it is compared to milk.  Apparently it’s not that simple and lots of other variables come into play. With milk, it depends on a brand name, how far it’s been transported and where from etc. Which reminds me of buying a Chobani Greek Yogurt that turned out all mushy and runny; possibly due to the storage problems. After having contacted the manufacturer, I received two coupons for this very product. But I digress.

Back to the test strips. Possibly the milk analogy applies to the test strips just as well, but I wouldn’t take chances with either one. And yes, contrary to some folks’ popular belief, test strips expiration dates do exist. Let’s take a closer look into it.

What makes the strips work?

The little strips despite looking pretty dry, in fact contain enzymes and chemicals. Enzymes being essentially proteins, do expire. So for example if you take nutritional supplement that has past due expiration date, it just won’t be as effective. However it is crucial with the BG test strips, especially for those on insulin.

Of course, the price comes into equation, especially for those whose insurance policy puts limits on the amount of strips per month.

Where oh where do you buy your strips? Will discuss this in the next post. Stay tuned.

And by the way, today my fasting number was 101

8 Aug 26. 101, part 1

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Diabetes is unforgiving

It won’t allow a single misstep. No simple carbs means just that which I found out the hard way when enjoying regular Mountain Dew last month. With it being a lemon-lime flavor, it didn’t even taste like an old Mountain Dew was but tasted like heaven regardless.

Eventually it went down to 114, but went up briefly once again when my computer crashed and had BSOD. My carbs schedule was disrupted for awhile but diabetes doesn’t care.

Now I’m back to watching my carbs, and this morning my fasting number was 106. Woo-hoo! This made my day.

8 Aug 18. 106

 

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This Is America To Me!

This is what America should be!

The Tony Burgess Blog

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All of this is what will make America awesome again.

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It’s 114, yay!

Today my morning fasting BG was 114. Down from 121.

Yay! Doing a happy dance.

7 July 19. Fasting BG 114

Posted in BG., diabetes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Relapse

Confession time, I have relapsed. Of course I’m talking about my diabetes. Remember when I bragged about snapping out of it? Well, well. Not so fast.

By the way, you know how easy it is to admit your own mistake, more so here on WordPress? This is my lame excuse for putting posting on hold. I am beating myself up; not that it helps any.

No I didn’t snap out of it. My diabetes merely went into hibernation but it was still there regardless. Like hiding in the bushes and waiting for a good moment to lunge at me. Meanwhile, thinking I was in the clear, I consumed a few cans of the new flavor of Mountain Dew, lemon lime ice. It listed only 25g of carbs. Since one carb is 15g, the 25g would comprise roughly a carb and a half. So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try. It didn’t really taste like a good old Mountain Dew but still good. I enjoyed it, albeit for a short while.

Checking my morning fasting BG, and it’s 125.

Uh oh.

I quit Mountain Dew on the spot. Started watching my carbs like a hawk, drinking a lot of water, having snacks every once in a while and measuring them by a cup, which I think is pretty safe. One cup at a time. About a week later, the morning fasting number is 121. A tad better but still not out of the woods.

7 July 18. Meter

I don’t know what possessed me to drink this stuff. Upon close examination, it does list high fructose corn syrup that should have made all my bells ringing. But alas, it didn’t.

Here’s the picture of a culprit (not counting myself).

7 July 18. Can front & back

So now I’m behaving and giving away all the Mountain Dew cans to my neighbors and the garage staff. I keep them in the fridge and the weather is hot here in the Midwest, so when I offer someone a cold one, everyone’s happy. I assume that none of them have diabetes. I am happy too.

It’ll take a long time to get my BG back to normal. Am not seeing the doctor and definitely am not looking forward to start taking diabetes medications. I am doing the right thing now and my fasting BG is getting better. At one point the postprandial was 112. So I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. Still am not taking any meds but I should have known better than that.

So now no one can tell me about diabetes cure. Think you’re cured? Drink some regular Mountain Dew and then check your morning fasting number. I bet you and I will be on the same boat then.

Thanks for the ear.

UPDATE: in the following morning, my fasting BG is 114. Being proactive and resisting temptations really works. Here’s to hoping it’ll go down some more.

Posted in diabetes, diabetes management, Mountain Dew, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Too many apps around?

This actually isn’t a question. The story is, at some point in time I signed up to receive questions from Home Depot online community. Said questions are going to the peer-to-peer Q & A. I usually google my answers while wondering why everyone else can’t do the same. Everyone nowadays is conditioned to getting instant answers as well as using numerous apps to about the same effect.

Here comes the question. Someone wants to know if a certain floor lamp is compatible with a smart bulb so it could be Alexa controlled. I was tempted to say, get off your ass and turn the darn lamp on or off by hand! But of course this wouldn’t fly or in other words, there is no way that Home Depot will allow this to be published so I figured I might as well bite my tongue. After a bit of googling I answered that the smart bulb has to be equivalent to 150W standard bulb.

6 June 28. HD
If if you think that this app can’t be hacked, don’t bet on it. CBS News reports that between 75 and 80 percent of Android or Apple apps are hacked. Of course there are ways to prevent this but why having certain apps when you can pretty much do without and avoid the resulting headache. I bet the smart bulb app can be hacked, too.

By the way, ditto for the baby monitors; I just read an article about this on Techwalla website.  Someone has purchased FREDI Wireless Camera baby monitor enabled with WiFi on Amazon. The video feed could be accessed from a smartphone app and then you could watch your baby sleeping from the comfort of your living room. So far so good.

The next thing the baby parents knew, the camera was hacked, the cops were called and of course nothing could be done. Amazon tells them to contact the manufacturer, the number is out of service and the buyer is out of luck. Couldn’t even leave a product review. The only option they’re left with, is to toss said monitor and call it a day. Had they opted to check on their baby in person, nothing of the above would have happened. I used to do this back in the 1980s and I can assure you, no one dared to hack me.

There are too many apps around, that’s what I am thinking. And I don’t even own a smartphone. That might explain my feelings. YMMV

 

Posted in Apps, modern technology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What happened when I went off my meds

Remember the day when the meds prices skyrocketed? I called Walgreens for a refill and was shocked to hear the price of a tube of psoriasis ointment, as far as I remember it was well over $100.

At the time I thought that Walgreens has lost all its marbles but quickly learned that this was a new trend. According to CBS Chicago, it now costs whopping $300.

All I could think of at the moment was how huge a hole this would blow in my budget. Mind you, I am happily retired on Social Security and my fixed income is recognized as low even by Uncle Sam. I decided there was no way I pay this kind of prices. And decided to stop taking all the meds at once and see what happens.

At the time I was taking a handful of meds yet none for diabetes.   I had to see my PCP doc every three months and have blood drawn. The doc wouldn’t prescribe a refill unless I come to see him. In other words, it was lots of unnecessary hassle  now topped with the high prices, let alone copays.

So I quit taking all the meds at once. And didn’t notice much of a difference. I am now having good days and bad days, but I had them back in the day when I was faithfully taking all my meds just as well. Since I didn’t need a refill, I didn’t make the next doctor appointment until about a year later. That was when I found out that my A1C had taken a dip from 6.20 to 6.0. Scroll up to 2018, and it’s 5.9.

6 June 26. My A1C Hx

Wow

According to my doc, I have officially snapped out of diabetes and upgraded to a pre-diabetes, and now have to be careful not to have diabetes. These are his exact words. Neuropathy however isn’t going away being a permanent nerve damage after all. Will have to live with it.

I however can’t take a full credit for this. Aside from dropping the meds, I didn’t do half of what is traditionally advised for the diabetes management. I was physically active alright but didn’t exercise per se. I did watch my carbs but my comfort food was and still is Ramen Noodles, 3 minutes in microwave. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that noodles are bad for diabetics. But the fact remains, my A1C went down and hopefully will continue this way. Maybe Ramen Noodles deserve some credit after all. 😉

In my humble opinion, dietary changes for sake of diabetes management are highly overrated. You can watch your carbs and do everything right but stop for a moment and take a close look at your current meds.  Most likely that at least some of them are a culprit; in other words, your medications might cause you to have high blood sugar or diabetes which is basically the same thing.

In my case, I don’t know which one caused diabetes but I don’t care to know.  For now, I am in the clear.

Am doing a happy dance.

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