Monday, October 30, 2023

Be Truthful to your Doctor?


Are we truthful to our doctors? How has medicine changed over the years?

What is your doctor like? Do they listen? Do you hear what they say? 

I was having a long discussion with my elderly friend in the southern US. She grew up with old school medicine and seems to have an old school doctor. Or their healthcare is different in the deep south. 

My MIL was old school too. She didn't like to see the doctor and listened to her friends for medical advice quite often. If Silvia had The Gripe and took a particular kind of medicine, then maybe she had The Gripe and should take the same stuff. They traded symptoms and came up with solutions themselves. 

Later in her life, she decided that the More She Doctored, the better off she was. Especially if they gave her more pills to fix everything.

I'm guilty of what happens these days. I look things up on the web because we all know that we can cure ourselves on the web.

Some of the older generation never bother to ask the doctor what is going on or perhaps they are afraid of asking. Doctors know everything right? No, they don't. But sometimes getting a doctor to have a real conversation, is like a Mission Impossible Movie

My friend struggles when seeing her doctors. I don't think she interacts with her PCP. Or perhaps she can't remember what they were talking about. [She has told me that her memory is very bad.] When she tells me about her visit, she complains that no one told her a thing about her ailments. If she gets a new medication, she can't recall why and refuses to take it.

I asked her if she told her PCP about her frequent falls and dizziness. Or about the fact that she felt lonely and depressed?

Um, no, not really.

She said if she told them about her depression then they would call her mental and put it on her record. Therein lies a stigma. Depression = Mental? She is in her late 80's and won't share with her PCP because she feels she would be judged.

If she told the doctor that she has frequent falls they may think she needs help. She said she had dizziness and the doctor ordered blood work. She was angry because dizziness is only dizziness and she knows that her ears need cleaning because her Grandpa had flaky ears. It won't be in her blood work, she needs a specialist.

The last thing I discussed with my elderly friend was that it was okay to tell your doctor the truth, because they were not mind readers and couldn't figure out what might be ailing her if they didn't know she was feeling poorly.

"Do you mean you are truthful with your doctor?"

I was a bit shocked. "Yes ma'am. I do."

I studied for two years to negotiate the ins and outs of doctor visits so that I could code the visits with diagnosis codes for billing. Even I know that humans are incredibly interesting creatures that are still a bit of a mystery for doctors.

And yet here we are trying to find answers.

And yet there is the doctor visit. 

Sometimes it seems as if you are going 'round and 'round on a merry go 'round with no way off.

Humans are not straightforward in their thinking or their ailments.

Hey, I heard walking was good for you.... and....

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Never a dull moment

Kaboom. This is the oak that fell next to the old red shed.

In the first photo, you can see the wood stacked up by Olive
and her hubby in late April.
A slippery elm fell over after
a wet heavy snowfall.

The old oak fell right on a metal fence post and drove it another foot into the ground. The thing I love about my enduro soft fencing is that I can repair it so easily. I just rerouted the fence to go around the fallen tree and it was all good until my neighbor came down.

This photo shows the base of the tree. The one part that is leaning to the right is also dead and hung up in another oak. It may come down yet this winter or years from now. There is nothing holding it in the ground.

My neighbor and I decided to just ignore that for now. I will have to hunt around and get someone with some equipment and insurance to come out and do some work for me.  A dozer could push the whole works over and be done with it.

As it is, it may one day fall and crush my little shed.

Justin did some quick and hard work. He also set aside some nice oak firewood that he'll pick up at some point.

I spent all day cutting up branches with a nipper and rolling rotten chunks of wood to the fire. At least it was 34 degrees out so it was comfortable working hard. I am pooped! 

Tomorrow the neighborhood children will come to trick or treat and show Rich and I their costumes! What nice people I have on our road! Parents making sure that the housebound veteran gets to see kids in costumes. I am really quite lucky. There are 3 homes on our ridge that have children now. What a delight. 

Charlie got a costume to greet children with.
HE is not impressed.

Then he yawned and I got this! He looks frightening. But he isn't.

My cellphone catches more than one shot when the subject is moving. I thought the yawning was hilarious.

Never a dull moment at our place.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

When in doubt, make up stories...

I spent the warm rainy day making apple sauce. One of my earlier experiments to make apple butter turned out awful. It was a slow cooker recipe and I must have done something quite awful to make it so bad.

In between cooking, cleaning, and being quiet so the other half could have his naps, I decided to experiment with shooting...what else? Toys. I can be quiet while stuck indoors and my brain is distracted from stressful things.

I used a digital back drop for these shots just for experimenting. Basically, I set the Lego folks on blocks in front of my Smart TV and put up some selected pictures on the screen.

They didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, but still, it was fun to try. There were some miserable failures involved. But that is what I like about photography. Try it, adjust, try it again, and perhaps improve.

I was sure at one time that the only true photography was of landscapes, wide open vistas of mountains, lakes, skies, and forests. I don't have open vistas in this area unless I am standing on crop land or a bluff. I turned my attention to the small things in the forest. 

I took a Still Life class on line and discovered the fun of being able to do photography indoors. I didn't find all the subjects I tried exhilarating. But I did discover new ways of enjoying photography.

My first Lego person presented himself in 2017. A child I was babysitting gave me a Lego minifigure. I used it in a Still Life as a joke:

The photo made absolutely no sense what so ever. A cup of coffee with a flower and a Lego person in it and rose petals and baubles tossed around the cup? I really got a kick out of it never the less. My husband thought I'd gone over to the Looney Bin.

Small things in the forest interest me also. The world of tiny is so often missed by those of us looking for the beauty of large.

So I decided to take some time in between rains to run out into the woods by the house and have some fun.

I decided to continue the story of Squatch and Big Foot. They'd heard that they had a brother that was a Yeti and they went searching to find him. Yeti was trying to build a fire. Contrary to popular belief, Yeti does NOT like the cold at all. He'd rather be warm and cuddly near a fire.

Squatch and Big Foot invited them back to Squatch's little stick house.

Yeti was so relieved to have found a fire and his long lost brothers at the same time. As the boys talked, Yeti asked them if they recalled their oldest half brother that was shunned from the family. 

This was new to them, but they said they did recall the family having some arguments when they were little Squatches. They grew up and went their separate ways with their own unique identities.

There was something said about a half brother from another mother that behaved strangely and didn't conform to their standards.

The Three odd brothers decided that they would look for their half brother who had gone missing.

Meanwhile in the forest...
Wait, What?

A space ship?

Chewie crash lands in a forest with his little space cruiser. He sets out to fix the cruiser when something strikes him as very familiar. This feels like a forest he knew long ago.

He finds mushrooms to eat which remind him of the food he used to eat with his little funny Half Brothers. It reminds him of the joyful times he had before the elders found him 'different' and threw him out of the clan.

Chewie takes a bath in the cold creek of his Squatchhood. He is now pretty sure that his space cruiser crash landed in the forest of his youth.


Yep, that's what happens when you decide to let the imagination play out.

I did make some great applesauce without messing it up. Washed windows, did laundry and started to clear warm weather stuff off the porch.

I guess I divide my days between all my chores/farm stuff and daydreaming of what could be...

Thursday, October 26, 2023

An Office Visit

I had another visit with the Endocrinologist. Actually, it was a good visit as far as doctor office visits go. I am beginning to think that health providers in my part of WI are exceptional in attitude and demeanor.

The nurse 'Jackie' put me at ease when she took my weight and brought up my chart. When she took my blood pressure ---> it was low normal. This is NOT what generally happens in any office visit. She commented that White Coat Syndrome exists but at the same time doctors sort of poo-poo it. 

Dr. Bone Doctor insisted I call her Emily. See? She wasn't so high and mighty and full of bluster at all. She and I talked about my tests which well, were much the same as they were 2 years ago. I know I've said I wouldn't try anything after reading all about these medication side effects. One of the subjects of discussion was in particular my lumbar spinal column. 

Decisions, decisions. However, I am going to give medications one more chance. One of the biggest challenges to taking medications is Fear of potential side effects. Hey, I am one of those for sure. You can read about horrid side effects and even know those who suffered from it. But...IF I can improve the loss of bone around my spinal cord with meds? I am willing to try.

Other reasons for not taking or resisting meds: 
[Yikes, this could be a whole article in itself]

[I understand how it works and what it is supposed to do]

Too many meds
[not me, this would be the only med I take compared to the 14 ones that hubby takes]

Lack of symptoms 
[I have absolutely NO symptoms. I do have back pain, but other than that? Nothing]

[This is huge. Big Pharma -- only out to make a buck!]

[Thoughts like --> I will NOT take this for the rest of my life!]

[Hey, it is depressing to think after all my life that I may have to take something!]

Emily and I went over my concerns and we set up a plan of action. See? She and those I've dealt with in my town aren't boorish at all. They communicate with their patients.

I am going to try a med called Boniva. It works by slowing bone loss. Now, I've tried two kinds of versions of this before. But I'm willing to try once more. There is another med that is supposed to help build up bone but it takes a 6 month commitment to a shot [it could be a life time medication]. Boniva is a once a month pill form med.

I've read the horror stories.

When I left the pharmacy and got home, I'd worked myself into a tizzy. I was angry that I'd committed to trying it, fearful, anxious, and pissed at my body that had betrayed me, and in a word? I was in a Stress Rage.

I told hubby that I needed to go into a quiet room and cover my eyes and be left alone. I actually said something like: I need to go in a dark cage and have a sign on the door that says: SHE WILL BITE!

How dare my lumbar region be so fragile? I couldn't feel it, but I could see it on the Bone Density Scan. How Dare It? 

Emily told me to keep up my regular routine as I am 'fit and relatively strong'. However, I want to try and help myself and avoid compression fractures in the lower spine. That could end my ability to walk. Period.


This is the motivator for me to keep trying to improve things.

My husband says I need to stop having negative thoughts regarding trying a medication. You know what? He is right. A doctor's visit set me off in a negative way even though it was a rather pleasant encounter.

Conclusion so far. I've stayed active and strong which has helped keep me from injuries so far. I'm over my Rage at my body and now have settled into a mode of Let's see how I can help myself.

Monday, October 23, 2023

A bit of fungi and whatnot

 Forgive this post if it seems random and disconnected. 

My brain is like that some days. It
 jumps from one place to another without
giving me prior notice!

This black icky looking stuff is Black Witches Fungi. Perfect I think for the upcoming Halloween celebration.

I found a lot of tiny fungi/mushrooms growing last week after the last rainfall. It was pretty gloomy in the woods so I took along my cell phone for added light along with a string of fairy lights.

I thought it added a fairy tale feeling to the photo. 

It was interesting enough to try a second time...
Hobby looks surprised and pleased to find such cute little mushrooms!

I did find some Shrimp of the Woods, but they were aged so I left them be. 

There is more rain coming this week with some warmer days so I could find some more interesting fungi and mushrooms. 

Fingers Crossed!

Earlier this week I decided to take a predawn hike. Thick fog was forecast but I didn't see any as I hiked up to the ridge. In fact, the whole scene was pretty drab and uninteresting.

That is until the sun broke through the clouds on the horizon and fog came sliding in from the north. I've never seen it move quite like that! It was like watching a movie of attack fog!

I'm glad I waited around for the sun to poke through the thick fog. It was beautiful.

I do enjoy those mornings when I get out by myself and just stand on the ridge and watch the sun come up. As we charge towards late fall and winter, there is something about watching the light come into the world.

I am trying to be positive about the next month and how I can visually enjoy nature's beauty. 

I think I may concentrate on some Still Life skills indoors and outside.

Last winter, I made a stick lean-too just for fun. Creating things out of sticks, glue and moss took a bit of creativity. I finally found a use for it! You can find the build I did in February here: Indoor Project

Squatch [who travels in my pocket almost all of the time] finally found a home! 

[For this shot I added little fungi to the house. I had to be quick with setting up and taking the shot as the sunlight moves off quickly!]

I thank Boud -- from Blogger for some of her ideas involving leaves, cornhusks and weaving of natural fibers for creative ideas. I also thank Aurora for this marvelous little Squatch guy. He really does get around!

In fact, it seems as if Squatch found his half brother Big Foot wandering around. 

I guess they decided to get together and discuss their other half brother, Yeti. Apparently they plan to embark on a journey to find him in the Big Woods and they hope to spend the winter together.

They heard that Yeti prefers the snow and cold. Would he sit by the fire with them? Or would he build an igloo? Time will tell!

Happy Wanderings and Exploring!

Friday, October 20, 2023

Pretty and Fleeting ...

I thought we were not going to have much in the way of Fall Colors this year. In September the trees were turning and the undergrowth in the forest was dying off due to our drought. We've been getting rain since then and it seems the trees made a recovery and are now on schedule with bright and beautiful colors.

I think they are just showing off after such a tough year.

I like to take my photos of the leaves from under the trees in full sunlight. I use the sun to light up the leaves and make them glow with color. This past week I was limited in the morning by pet chores so I didn't get my usual morning shots. 

But this is what I did find and I am satisfied with it.

I like standing in the shadows of the trees and finding spots of light. I guess this has just how I liked to see things this year.

Apparently, according to the Leaf Color chart, our area is at 95%. I'd call it a full peak of color right now.

Of course I hope to get out this weekend and enjoy some of those colors in one of our county parks or perhaps a state park.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

How 'bout them bones?

Two years ago  I had a Bone Scan and didn't think a thing of it until I got an email with the results. 

Shocking! How on earth could the results be so concerning? My doctor called me that night and we set up another appointment. My scores didn't just say Osteopenia. The results were considered pretty severe in regards to the lumbar spine. 

In fact I had nightmares about going to do something that winter and literally having my bones burst out of my body and scatter all over the place. 
Wouldn't that give you a Halloween Nightmare!

I sort of explain things in an April 2022 post where my Osteoblasts are fighting my Osteoclasts.

In short, I was unable to continue with the medication that was prescribed the would keep me from losing more minerals. 

I went back to CrossFit and took up Mobility [and Balance] classes, along with weight training to build up my core muscles to protect my spine along with a moderate change in diet.

I have to be honest. I am horrible when making dietary changes. I do eat my veggies, I do eat mostly properly, but I eat as my husband would say 'like a bird'. I don't like a ton of meat. I like soups and stews, but not steak and tators like he does. I'd rather eat a salad sometimes.

I was asked to drink milk and eat yogurt much more. I don't like milk. I like it if it IS chocolate milk once in a while or if it is a MILKshake. But just milk? Ick. And after a few months of all that extra dairy, my stomach revolted.

So I substituted some Calcium supplements along with some vitamins and continued going to the gym. I enjoy what we have in the gym and it is a social relief to be around other sweaty people. Many times it is comedic relief also.

I let the whole Osteo thing sort of slip from my mind. I figured that I was doing what was right for me and being active and amused is better than being afraid and sorrowful. I let it slip away that is until the next scan which was Monday.

The result was:

Two years and there was almost no change. 
One hip got a tiny bit crappier 'score' and one hip improved on its score. 
The lumbar region had ... and I quote "No significant change".

I feel like I passed a big test and didn't flunk it! To me, this means that I think I am doing something right. Now the endocrinologist may think otherwise when we meet next week. However I will listen to her and discuss medication.  

We've tried Fosamax and Teriparatide aka Forteo with some extremely painful results. I suspect she'd like me to try a newer medication that can only be taken for a year called Romosozumab aka Evenity. It is supposed to build bone density up and can be taken only for 12 months before reverting back to one of the previous meds I've already had or suffer loss of bone due to the new med.

I'd like to hear her take on vitamins and diet and what her thoughts are regarding the No Significant Change. I've had no fractures and no breaks ever in any of my bones so what does she think of that?

Eventually the lower back will have a compression fracture[s] that is inevitable. 

But until then I will be friends with my bones and make sure I take care of them in the best way I can.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A day with Gracie

   About a month ago Gracie and her sister Tori came to visit me at our place. They got to ride my mules Sunshine and Siera.

Since then Gracie has been asking to come back. Her birthday was October 1st and one of her birthday wishes was a visit with me. I was pretty honored.

She asked to go hiking which is one of my favorite things to do. So I packed a picnic lunch of PB&J, dehydrated apple chips, and some chocolate chip cookies. 

On the drive to Duck Egg County Park she asked over and over. How much further? When do we get there? As a Grandmother, I can smile and just give an answer. There is an advantage to being my age and one of them is more patience than I had as a mom.

This was my typical view for many parts of our hike:

We stopped and had a picnic lunch on a footbridge that goes over the stream. Charlie kept and eye out in case any good stuff fell on the bridge. 

We had to hike up a very steep hillside with switchbacks in the trail. The elevation from valley floor to the bluff is 702 feet. The bluff we were hiking to is in the top of the photo pictured below.

As we started up the steep switchback Gracie kept asking 'How far to the top?' Sort of like ... are we there yet? I asked if she was tired and she said her legs were so we rested often.

A bit of 'drama' is always enjoyed...

Kids are so great and it gives me a lot of joy to be around them. 

We did eventually make it to the look out. I looks down on the valley we'd just trekked through.

When I got back to the house Gracie visited with Rich and told him about the hike. We then visited with the mules for a bit before it was time to take her back to her mom.

The mules recognized her and came right to her.

She wants to be immersed in horses and equine. I can recall wanting the same thing at that age. 

I mean, what little girl doesn't want that?

I grew up and had my dream. I surely hope she can do it also.

When I got ready to head back to town to drop her off she ran inside the house and wrapped her arms around Rich and gave him a huge hug. His and her smiles made my day. I am blessed to have made friends with her mom and family. They bring joy into our world.