The fair; the niece; the funeral

A Shade of Jade

In a five-day period last week, I had three medical appointments, went to the county fair, saw my eldest niece sing, and sang at a funeral.

Tues, Aug 15: I went to the dentist for a crown at around 10:20 a.m. This treatment was delayed twice, once by the dentist’s office in March or April because of a dentist leaving the practice.  Then I postponed it because I realized it was five days before going to France, and I would likely have mouth pain.

While waiting in the office – they were running late -I received a phone call from my gastroenterologist’s office, telling me there was an opening for a follow-up appointment today at 3 pm, so I took it.

I hate talking on the phone in public, as it feels rude. So I was speaking so softly that the GI office caller couldn’t hear me.

Because I have had a root canal where the crown is being put on, the novocaine injection didn’t hurt much. I had to remember to only eat on my left side. And by Friday, the pain required OTC pain medicine and Orajel.

I went downtown to the library talk, which was interesting but long, and the subject of its own post.

Among other things, my gastroenterologist’s office took a blood sample. This later revealed that my iron count was fine and good enough to donate blood, but my hemoglobin count was slightly low. More spinach!

After dinner, my wife and I went to the movies, which is its own story.

Le deluge

Wed, Aug 16: It was a lovely morning as my wife and I sat on the porch of a fellow choir member who would be speaking at Gladys’ funeral.

We went to the Altamont Fair, the county fair for Albany, Schenectady, and Greene Counties. It’s free on Wednesdays for seniors like me.

As we approached one Farm Equipment building, it began to rain. Then it began to pour. For about 20 minutes, we stayed in the building, listening to the torrent struck the metal roof. The operators in that building closed three of the four doors because the wind was bringing the water inside.

I’ve been attending events at the Fairground for over 40 years, and never have I seen the infield turned into such a sea of mud. There were six feet wide streams in some parts for a time and even more severe flooding elsewhere. Water got inside some structures. The equestrian events were canceled.

Still, we saw much of the event. I learned how to make lip balm: two parts beeswax to one part coconut oil, and one part shea butter. (BTW, Congrats, Chuck Miller.)

Salt City

Thurs, Aug 17: I went to my podiatrist while my wife had breakfast with former work colleagues.

Then my wife, daughter, and I traveled to Syracuse the attend the final Jazz in the City event. We go to the hotel of the performer, named Rebecca Jade, who I may have mentioned on these pages. We went to eat at the Salt City Market, a marvelous concept of several small food vendors under one roof. After dropping off RJ, we checked into a nearby hotel.

We drove the short distance to the lovely Thornden Park. Jazz in the City is a series of free public health events, so the vendors did blood pressure screenings, gave away COVID tests, dental products, etc. The opening act involved women dancing to funky tunes for their health.

Then Rebecca hit the stage. She was singing with a pickup band (keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and occasional sax) she had met only the day before. The two 50-minute sets combined cover songs with original songs from her latest album, A Shade of Jade.

It would be perceived as avuncular bias if I were to gush about how good and professional she was. I will note she sold some albums to people who were NOT related to her.

We bought Jazz in the City T-shirts because Rebecca’s name and visage appeared thereon.

Afterward, she, a couple of organizers, and one of the musicians went to the bar of RJ’s hotel for a drink, and Rebecca also ate. One of the folks was taking her back to the airport for her 6:15 a.m. flight to San Diego via Charlotte. (Coincidentally, she’ll perform in the Queen City on September 22.)

Going home

Fri, Aug 18: My family went home. The day before, the eastbound traffic was at a standstill in two locations on the Thruway, but it was smooth traveling this day except for the mouth pain from visiting the dentist three days earlier.

Sat, Aug 19: I went to church to sing at the funeral of Gladys Crowder. There were 30 in the choir; 10 were former choir members who came back, one driving from Auburn, NY, 173 miles (248 km) to be there. Three current choir members had never sung with Gladys, but they were there because that’s just what choir people do. Everyone said the music was great,  and the service was lovely.

Afterward, I talked with folks I knew from Trinity, the former church of Gladys, Tim, my wife, and me, as well as current and former First Pres folk.

My wife and I went home and took naps.


Cash: don’t carry; you need your phone


moneyMy oldest college friend complained on Facebook. “It is almost impossible to use cash in the airport. You’re SUPPOSED to use a QR code to download a Health/Travelers form because there’s No Paper, but you need to sign up for an ACCOUNT to do it!!”

Yes, that was worth at least two exclamation points!!

There are a number of places where cash is no longer king. Getting food on an Amtrak train, for instance. A lot of retailers at markets seem greenback-averse. My running joke at a store register is “Do you still take cash?” Apparently, you CAN accept cash and checks with the service Square. Are businesses required by law to accept cash? It depends on where they are

What countries are going cashless? China’s society is, its central bank is pushing backSweden and Zimbabwe, for two, are also getting resistance.

Also, increasingly, I NEED to have a cellphone. When I’m making a medical appointment, I get notices on my phone. When I get there, some places require that I check in via the device. And the photo of my vaccine card is stored therein.

Not covered

Speaking of medical things, I had gone to my doctor in September to get two shots during my annual physical. In October, I received a bill for $125 for services not covered. My physician’s office seemed to think it was because I had received both the flu shot AND the tetanus shot at the same time. But that wasn’t it.

Medicare had rejected the tetanus shot, the representative told me. Now, they would have covered it if I had been bitten by an animal or stepped on a rusty nail, or had another medical necessity. But since I was ONLY getting it because physicians believe I should get one once a decade, Medicare didn’t cover it. And since Medicare rejected it, my Medicare supplement carrier ALSO rejected it.

I’ll have to remember to step on a rusty nail in the fall of 2031.

Remembering three items; drawing a clock face

Next year, I’m told, the test at my doctor’s office will be tougher.

three thingsA couple weeks ago, I went for my annual physical at my primary physician’s new venue. The Physician’s Assistant, who was previously unknown to me, asked me to put the numbers on an analog clock face. Then I was to indicate ten minutes after eleven on said drawing. I succeeded!

We agreed that, a generation from now, this might not be a very useful exercise. Maybe sooner.

There were three words I was given to remember. Even that evening, retelling this to my wife, I couldn’t recall the first word. It may have started with S. It surely WASN’T Tequila because the second word was Sunrise.

The third word I feigned forgetting, lightly pounding the arm of the chair I was sitting in. Finally, I gave the correct answer: Chair.

I’m not sure how much this proves; I’m notoriously bad at remembering names. But good at numbers; I was asked to recall my weight, which I did. But that also had the visual cue.

Having to have this test administered really ticks off my primary care physician. It’s apparently a mandate of some sort for those who are eligible for Medicare; I do have Part A.

If the test HAD shown some developmental loss, it might well be at a point when it’s far too late to be of any use.

Of course, the “rule of three” is “a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers or things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information.”

That’s SO true. When my wife asks me to remember three items to pick up at the store, I’m good. Add a fourth item, and out comes the pencil and paper. Some are even worse off: Fred Allen said: “I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and – I can’t remember what the third thing is.”

Next year, I’m told, the test at my doctor’s office will be tougher. I’d start studying now but I don’t know what’s going to be on the quiz.

Family health report, July 2017: hammer toes

You start to feel better and you inevitably overdo.

The big story this summer is that the wife had surgery on the three middle toes on July 5. She had hammer toes. She didn’t have to do it now, but eventually, without being corrected, it might impact her mobility as she gets older.

The surgery was very successful. Her response, in terms of limited swelling, et al, was very good, her doctor told her at every followup visit.

One of the things we have both discovered, with my hernia surgery a couple years ago and her recent surgery, is that the cycle of pain is quite fascinating. Right after the surgery, when you get home, you feel really great. The anesthetic has not yet worn off.

Then the pain starts to creep in, and you better start taking that opiod right way, because if you decide to tough it out, it will take longer to get relief. But the prescription lasts only a couple days. It’s less than what you want, and you start taking the over-the-counter stuff, and for longer that you think, hopefully without ruining your liver.

You start to feel better and you inevitably overdo. The Wife is even worse in this regard than I. When she walked too much, and didn’t put her foot up, she is surprised how much it still hurts three or four weeks on.

Meanwhile, I chipped a tooth, for which I’m getting a filling on August 13. More significantly, both in terms of time, pain, and money, I’m getting a crown on September 13.

The Daughter noticed a mark in the whites of my right eye at the end of the month. It was a vertical red line that looks as though someone had drawn it with a Sharpie. The very next day, I went to my ophthalmologist, who said it was a broken blood vessel, and that it would resolve itself. It looked much worse than it felt.

I is for iatrogenic

Unlike an adverse event, an iatrogenic effect is not always harmful.

iatrogenicSomeone sent me this piece from an obituary: “…His demise was probably iatrogenic.” Iatrogenic was not a word I knew.

It means: “induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures: an iatrogenic rash.”

The origin of the word comes from the Greek, iatros, meaning physician, plus the English suffix -genic. The word’s first known use was in 1924.

Some of the causes of iatrogenesis include side effects of a treatment and drug interactions, which may have been unanticipatable.

Also, “unlike an adverse event, an iatrogenic effect is not always harmful. For example, a scar created by surgery is said to be iatrogenic even though it does not represent improper care and may not be troublesome.”

Still, iatrogenic disease is the 3rd most fatal “disease” in the USA, with avoidable errors such as infection, and medication errors as leading causes of mortality.

Related: the dictum “first do no harm” doesn’t exactly come from the Hippocratic Oath, but it does come from the Hippocratic Corpus, at least in essence.
Sam Simon has died at the age of 59; it was not iatrogenic. He was the co-creator of the hit animated show, The Simpsons. There’s a lovely article about him in Vanity Fair.

ABC Wednesday – Round 16

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial