My New Primary Doctor

My New Primary Doctor

Let’s start with the big news: I have a new primary doctor. More importantly, I like her. Which, if you’ve been reading here a while, you know isn’t an insignificant thing. I was a little daunted thinking about this task just after we moved here, but I put what I’ve learned as a professional patient to good use in selecting a primary care physician (PCP).

Basically, there are four things I look at now when I’m hunting for a new doctor here in the US:

Screenshot Text: This doctor has been teaming up with insurance companies since at least 2009 to get super-rich insurance companies off the hook for paying cancer patients the disability benefits they deserve. It's pretty disturbing. Recommend researching him before you choose him to be your treating physician.

DO over MD: There’s just something more humane about the way I’ve been treated by DOs. I’m not saying that all MDs are terrible and myopic—far from it. But I’ve never been treated like crap by a DO yet. So I figure why mess with what works.

Woman: It has historically been helpful for me to receive care from women. I’m not saying that all male doctors are terrible either, but my experience has been telling. Percentage-wise? Dudes are way more likely to be arrogant jerks. And arrogance gets in the way of my getting good care. Arrogance literally traumatized me. Not letting that happen again if I can help it.

Insurance: I’m on Medicare due to disability, and not every doctor wants to deal with that. I always check before I schedule.

Ratings and Reviews: Most doctors these days have been rated by patients, either on Google or Healthgrades or, you know, somewhere. I read those reviews. All of them. (Coincidentally, I just received an email this morning telling me people found my review of Dr. Lee Hartner helpful. Suck an egg, Hartner. You absolute ass.

Yesterday’s encounter went really well because one of the things my new doctor said was something like, “I don’t know a whole lot about brain cancer.”

Music to my ears, kids. I immediately knew I was in the right place when she said that. Doctors who admit they don’t know everything are magical. Like unicorns. I told her that was good, and maybe we’d both learn something.

“Also,” I said, “I have, uh, some trauma from a doctor who thought he knew everything and I knew nothing. So my brain tumor was mis- or undiagnosed for a couple of years. I’m going to be a little anxious every time I’m here.” My voice got a little quivery and I could feel a few tears bubbling. I was tired and trying to stifle the medical PTSD episode that wanted desperately to be let out and recognized. I didn’t cry, but I came really close.

Anyway, I told her about my extreme sensitivity to meds, how doctors always want to prescribe me medicine by weight and it always ends badly for me and she said something like, “I get it. I’m the same way.”

So I found a new primary doctor in one try. That’s nothing short of amazing.

Putting on the Figurative Big Girl Panties

Putting on the Figurative Big Girl Panties

I’ve accomplished quite a bit for it being Monday. I got meds ordered for Boomer after a fat-finger typo on the online order form yesterday. Found a new primary care doctor and scheduled an appointment, and I got the ball rolling on getting an appointment with the oncologist my previous doctor recommended. And let me just say, there’s nothing I’d rather avoid than doctors and their associated appointments. (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m so tired of cancer.) So I definitely put on the big girl panties today.

I also thought a little about setting up a 2023 bullet journal-style calendar or doing a Zentangle video earlier, but I’m worn out. It’ll happen. Just not today. In the meantime, maybe I can decide whether I want to create something myself or just follow someone else’s YouTube tutorial. One is slightly more rewarding, the other is just easier.

We’re supposed to have weather in the 50s (F) this week. I don’t mind mild temperatures, but the constant back and forth takes a toll on me. It cranks up the pain a notch or two and, well… do. not. want.

Still, Thanksgiving Day will just be me, Dan, and Mom, and I’m looking forward to tucking into some mashed potatoes. I’m going to try my hand at making the pumpkin pie using our fancy new oven. I really wanted a wall oven because I can’t really bend over to put anything in—or get anything out of—a traditional oven without tipping over into the damn thing. Turns out Mom and my brother found a used one with a respectable price tag that is a smart oven—meaning I can preheat it via and app on my phone from the recliner. Um, yes please. So I’ll report back on how it all goes. It’s been a long time since I’ve used anything other than a microwave or air fryer to cook.

The sale of the house in Urbana is in the works, and what a relief! Dan and I will both miss that house, but it is honestly so much easier to move around in this house that was designed for my disability. I know people have given up a lot for me to be hear, and I just want y’all to know that I am seriously so happy to be able to move around and take a shower without feeling like I’m risking my life at every turn.

Speaking of the new digs, a couple of people were so kind, and sent me gifts from my Amazon wishlist. With my new robe, socks*, and sleep mask, I am feeling pretty fancy. Had a spa day with the foot spa thingamajig my friend gave me a while back, and my big toe is even on the mend.

I’m going to rest for a bit before heating up some leftovers for dinner. If I don’t blog again before Thursday, I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving.

* I don’t use these for exercise either, but they stay in place and keep me from slipping on hard floors 🙂

Happy Thursday!

Happy Thursday!

My left big toe is infected, somehow. In a normal body, it would be no big deal. But this body I have must make a show of everything. So it hurts to walk, and I keep thinking about the maskholes of yore while I stare at it and wish the pain away.

It’s like, if you can obtain a driver’s license to reduce the risk of killing a pedestrian, why wouldn’t you wear a mask at the grocery store? It might seem like a giant leap to go from toes to COVID, but only if your immune system is fine. The rest of us take this mental jog several times a day.

But I’m not angry. My brain just likes to fiddle around with things that don’t make sense. And people who shrug off their part in harming others do not make sense to me. I can wrap my irradiated brain around determining there’s nothing one can do. I cannot wrap my head around knowing what could be done and refusing to do it because…I don’t know. It’s not your job?

Anyhoo…

The sale of the Urbana house is underway, and the official closing got bumped a few days. We will not be attending the closing, so we have to get some documents together for the real estate attorney, and naturally that means hooking up the printer which is a whole thing. First we have to get it on the WiFi and then we have to pray to Gandalf the ink isn’t all dried up.

“But can’t you just sign it on your device and…”

No. I can’t, and I’m not explaining why again.

Thats all I have for now. Must find food.

Sale Pending

Sale Pending

Good things are happening! We got an offer on the Urbana house and are scheduled to close by December 26. I mean it when I say we are all relieved. Starting the new year without that mortgage payment will ease the financial burden by a lot.

The city inspector came by yesterday to give everything one more look. We passed inspection inside, but there’s a pretty major fail outside. It’ll be fixed, but it’s not what I call an easy one. I know Mom is really looking forward to everything being done. So are we.

Izzy has never really been fond of people, and when you put a scaredy cat in a new place…well. The first week or two it was hard to keep track of her. Before the kitchen countertop was installed, she was hiding between the lower cabinets and the wall. Now that the countertops are in, she switches it up a little. Either on top of the antique secretary or between the top sheet and the quilt on my blanket.

Oh, random thing, but we tried a new flushable cat litter, and I recommend it enthusiastically. It doesn’t clump urine super well, but it’s okay. What I love (besides being able to flush it down the porcelain throne) is that it doesn’t stink like that dusty, scented clay stuff.

Boomer is equally spoiled. He’s had a couple of tough days, and I’m not sure why. But he got a french fry, and that had him laid up for a whole day. After he did a round of oral chemo for his chronic hepatitis, his already sensitive gut was just like “hell to the no.” I can relate. I’m clenching my teeth just thinking about it.

Anyway, here he is in his new bed on a day he was feeling pretty good. And also him begging Dan for a cookie. You know, as one does.

On Saturday Dan and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We tried a new Chinese place and were very disappointed. I don’t want to name the restaurant in case it’s just not our thing, but oof. Probably won’t be ordering from them again. Still fun to explore. Even if it’s just via DoorDash.

Oh! You might have already seen my GoFundMe update, but our campaign is fully funded. With that, I think we only need a few things for the house and basically it’s just stuff I want (as opposed to need). So I deleted our housewarming Amazon list, and am just back to using my personal wishlist. For the first time in a while, nothing on it feels extremely necessary. It’s just stuff that would be nice to have.

I always knew that money weighed very heavily on me, being disabled and having cancer and all, but I am feeling like I’m emerging from a pile of stone rubble. Keep voting like you might be sick or disabled one day. That’s my advice to everyone who thinks they’ve got good insurance because they don’t need it…yet.

We’ve got a teensy bit of really wet snow this morning, so I’m going to find something warm for breakfast. Have a lovely Tuesday, and giant THANK YOUS to every last one of you who helped us get here. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this on our own. Let my story and the Midterm election results remind you that good people are still out there.

New Island, Who Dis?

New Island, Who Dis?

We are nearly ready for the inspection on the remodeled space. That means we have water and electricity in all the necessary places. And that means my stress level has come down a notch or two more. We can cook, store perishables, shower, and set the thermostat. I feel like the feedback loop of crankiness has been (at least temporarily) quieted.

There are things I could do today, but I’m perpetually on the verge of coming down with something and have decided the best thing I can do right now is rest. There’ve been a lot of people in and out of here and a maxed out immune system in the middle of cold and flu season is, shall we say, waaaaaaaaay down there on my wishilist of things to deal with. Therefore, I deleted my Animal Crossing New Horizons island data and started the game over completely from scratch.

It got cold here in Metro St. Louis overnight, and all I really want to do today is let my aching body be cozy for a minute or two. Mom went shopping with a neighbor, and Dan is taking a nap. The house is quiet enough for me to write a few words without it hurting my brain too much. There are still a million things I need to do, but I’m doing my best to convince myself that they can and must wait until later. Maybe even much later, depending on how things go.

The house in Urbana is still on the market but there’s been a steady flow of traffic from potential buyers, so I’m far from panicked about it. By the way, if you’re one of our friends from C-U and you’d like to share the listing to help us out, I’d be very grateful. There are things we left in Urbana in haste that we will need to pick up soon-ish. For instance, our Godzilla is still there. (We were using it as a doorstop, but forgot in the chaos.) Our Realtor moved it on to the TV stand and it made it’s way into the photographer’s listing pictures, which I kind of love, to be honest. It’s like an Easter Egg.

Anyway, I need to just wind down for a bit. Things have been very non-stop for three weeks. So much so that I can’t even really believe it’s been three weeks since the move. More updates when the sun is shining and I feel a little more peppy. For now let’s all delight in Twitter’s demise, and sip a warm beverage.

We Have Running Water

We Have Running Water

We have running water in the kitchen. This is really good news for my marriage. The plumber came this morning to connect our sink, garbage disposable, and dishwasher. That’s not our sink, it’s just a stock photo because nothing in this house is what I’d call photo ready.

Anyway, now that Dan won’t have to make his coffee or wash dishes in the combination laundry room/cat bathroom/human half bath, I’m hoping his mornings will be less painful and I will be less grumpy. The weather is forecast to be kind of cruddy today, though. If it triggers a second migraine in as many weeks, I will not be the kind of person anyone wants to be around.

Chad is still running, but he’s loud and Dan gets grumpy when he runs and as someone sensitive to sound, I get it. But also? We can’t just never run a vacuum for the rest of our lives. There are upsides to both of us living with chronic illness and there are downsides to both of us living with chronic illnesses. Right now I think the downsides are being amplified by this ginormous life change, our lack of disposable income, and our respective inabilities.

Yesterday, Mom helped me get my little studio—basically a corner of my bedroom—organized. But there’s still a fair bit of work to do before I can make Zentangle videos again. Coincidentally, a company that sent me metallic pens to review contacted me to check the status of my posting about their product. Out of curiosity, I went back to the beginning of the email thread to see when they first contacted me. It was January. JANUARY. If I had any idea it would take this long, I probably would have declined the opportunity. Or at the very least, said it might be the end of the year before I can get around to creating the content.

Hindsight.

We’re getting close to being able to unpack and unfurl everything though, including my video equipment. Still on the list are things like the a final visit from the electrician and general contractor, and then a final inspection from the city or the country or whoever does that thing. I’m not certain who it is, and if I look it up, I will probably forget I was in the middle of writing a blog post.

Generally speaking, this little basement apartment is nicer that anything I’ve lived in. Or at least it will be when everything’s done. I realize that anything I have to complain about is temporary, and that’s what gets me through. I’m not sure Dan feels that way yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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