Twenty Two Trips To The Treatment Center

This was my 22nd IV drip here. Who in their craziest dream could imagine that? It’s not something you prep for. Like most tasks the more you do it the easier it gets. Other than the needle penetrating the skin over my port, I feel nothing.

At the Keck USC Norris Treatment Center in Newport Beach. I don’t think photos are allowed.

I’m told my days at the treatment center are over. We’ll see. I’ve been told I was done twice before, once after chemo and then after my first round of iron.

Surprise!

This was my 22nd IV drip here. Who in their craziest dream could imagine that? It’s not something you prep for.

Like most tasks the more you do it the easier it gets. Other than the needle penetrating the skin over my port, I feel nothing. Even the needle only hurts for a second and only hurts a little.

In two weeks I’ll have blood drawn then visit my oncologist’s physician assistant for the readback. My cancer numbers are perfect. My iron is still suspect.

All the nurses were gathered together today as I left. I stopped by to tell them how important their caring was. Seriously, I can imagine this being a hellish experience without a caring staff.

I know most of their names. They all know mine. Twenty two visits is an awful lot.

It’s Nice To Have Nice Neighbors

Sandra is Bob Vila-like! My question had to do with our door latch. She told me. Then she did it.

Helaine and I are the only empty nesters on our block It was a decision we made before we moved to SoCal. We love having kids around. We’re hoping it keeps us young.

Sandra, Michael and their three kids live at the end of our block. I’d offered to give a weather talk at kids’ school and walked over this afternoon to try and firm it up… and get some advice.

Sandra is Bob Vila-like! My question had to do with our door latch.

She told me. Then she did it.

We entertained the kids by giving them Doppler and some jerky treats. Perfect.

No more banging my shoulder against the door to open it. Thanks neighbor!

When Is The Time Right, Las Vegas Edition

Courtesy: NBC News www.nbcnews.com

I just tried to watch Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue on the Las Vegas massacre. After a few seconds I had to stop. With me he’s preaching to the choir. It’s too painful to be reminded we let this to happen. We choose not to stop it.

How can anyone hear the audio from the shooting and not wonder why this level of death machine is allowable? I just don’t get it.

I have friends who are sportsmen. I don’t want to restrict their fun, but I do ask they allow themselves to be inconvenienced for the common good.

This is the time to talk about gun control. Right now while we’re angry. Right now while we’re grieving. Right now while we can close our eyes and hear that sound.

Love/Hate Relationship With The Thing In My Chest

“The Alien,” I said. “I hate it. It freaks me out” It does! No one wants something the size of a bottle cap embedded in their chest.

This is how the port is placed, but it’s all under the skin.

Yesterday was treatment day. Carrie was my nurse. She is most days.

As she prepared the potion to be dripped into my chest we chatted about my catheter port. It’s how I get IV fluids. It’s a small receptacle under-the-skin below my right shoulder. Small tubes connect it to my central artery. A needle still breaks my skin but it’s orders of magnitude less invasive than a normal IV line.

“The Alien,” I said. “I hate it. It freaks me out”

It does! No one wants something the size of a bottle cap embedded in their chest.

On the other hand it’s been used over twenty times. That’s a lot of times my arms or hands were spared.

“I’m glad you’ve got it,” Carrie said. She wondered how my veins would have stood up to this amount of use?

I have a love/hate relationship with this thing in my chest. I’m not getting rid of it any time soon.

The Nightmare In Puerto Rico Is Just Beginning

Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

It was very difficult for me to watch TV as Irma, Jose and Maria flattened much of what they touched.

Two problems. First, I’d rather get my hurricane data raw, not digested by someone like (gulp) me. Second, I know how this story ends.

You probably don’t look at them too often, but most meteorologists have at least a passing acquaintance with the typhoons and cyclones that rage in other parts of the world. Poor people don’t have the mobility to get out of the way nor the infrastructure to quickly recover. We see it all the time.

Gross Domestic Product per capita, USA vs PR

Yes, Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but a very poor and often neglected part. We’re already hearing about suffering and disease. It will only get worse.

It’s going to be difficult to move supplies and personnel beyond the cities for a long time. I’m surprised I’ve haven’t seen or heard more about helicopters. Much that’s needed will have to be airdropped.

Be prepared. This tragedy is just beginning to play out.

The Crazy Insurance Problem

I’m going to tell you about my insurance problem, but you’re probably not going to believe me.

It is impossible to get a statement of my account! There’s none on the website. There’s none anywhere.

My suspicion is even they don’t know for sure who did what to me and when.

Make no mistake, this insurance policy has served me well. I have paid for drugs and not much else.

Actually it’s drugs where the problem lies. My insurer allows some drug charges directly billed by the provider. The insurer never enters these charges in their books (or so it seems). I’m not sure they’re even told I’ve been billed.

If these outside charges put me above my cap, charges to me should stop. I don’t think they do/did.

And, again, there’s no way for me to see an accounting of the services provided or how much was paid. It’s crazy.

It’s possible I struck gold today in my call with Brandy at Blue Shield. She sounded excited to do the sleuthing. I’ll report back later.