Trip to Nowhere

Trip to Nowhere
Trip to Nowhere

Time to get out more often

My wife decided that I should get out more often, so she arranged for a driver to take me around on Saturday.  She suggested, and I agreed to have her start the van on Friday to make sure the battery works.  Usually, when we start up the van, we let it run for about half an hour to charge up the battery.   She started up the van without incident and returned a half hour later.  There was smoke coming from the van.  She shut off the van and told me what happened.

Water on the ground

She said there was water on the ground.  I am not an auto mechanic, but it may just be a faulty radiator hose.  I hope.  I called the repair shop, but they could not take the van until Monday morning.  I will call the shop Monday morning.  This repair shop will come to my house.  Pick up the van and deliver the repaired van to my house.  Of course, they charge extra for this service.

Cancel the driver

We had to cancel with the driver.  I had hoped to eat at a local Subway (I was thinking of a tuna fish sandwich), and deal with my new Medicare card.

What is with the new Medicare cards?

Medicare has decided to issue new cards that do not have people’s social security number on it.  Instead, a special Medicare number is on the card.  This is supposed to be a new security measure.  I have tried multiple times to memorize the new number with letters.  Let me tell you this has been almost impossible for me.  I am still working on it.

To laminate or not to laminate

However, there is one thing that I know and it is that these Medicare cards become a crumpled mess after awhile.  It is a good idea to go to an office supply store and have them laminate the card before it becomes unrecognizable.  This keeps the card in good condition for many years.

Another time

This what I had planned, but the van had other ideas.  I will try to do this another time.

Return to the Dentist’s Office

Return to the Dentist
Return to the Dentist

Time to see the dentist again

It’s been a week since I went to the Oral Surgeon’s office and now it is time for me to return to the dentist’s office.  The extraction seems to be healing nicely but the bump mentioned by the oral surgeon may not be gone entirely.

Up the slippery ramp

Again I was dressed, lifted by the patient lift into my wheelchair, and I waited for my driver.   Fortunately, he was on time and I attempted to get into the van.  The door and ramp worked well, but it was raining.  When it rains the ramp is slippery and sometimes I slide all over the ramp.  The ramp is designed for additional traction in the rain but it is often not enough to prevent me from sliding.  I tried again to go up the ramp, and the second time was the charm.  It worked and I was in the van.

Where is the dentist’s office?

Off we went to the dentist’s office.  Again I had to direct my driver.  In all fairness, this driver had not been to the dentist’s office.  I had a different driver the last time I went to the dentist.  The dentist is near the Oral Surgeon’s office, but still, I had to direct the driver all the way there.

How much is bridge work?

Once at the dentist’s office, I was told by the receptionist that it would be $500 for the bridge work.  The receptionist said I could talk to the dentist about it.

Dental work in a wheelchair

Shortly thereafter, I went into the dentist’s room.  There is a dental chair there, but I stay in the wheelchair.  The dentist worked on me in the wheelchair.  I do not know how to make my chair go back (the dentist tried to figure it out, but he couldn’t recline the wheelchair, either), so I had to hold my head back when the dentist works on me.

A pillow, maybe

He tried to put something behind me, maybe a pillow, but it kept falling down.  I sit in the wheelchair and I am held in the chair by a seatbelt, so I cannot turn around and see what was behind me.  This, of course, makes going backwards very difficult.

What will my dental insurance cover?

I discussed the $500 charge.  Generally, my dental insurance covers most everything.  I asked the dentist whether the dental insurance covers bridge work.  He said that it wasn’t for the bridge work, it was for the tooth.  The tooth is not due for replacement for 5 years.  That would mean the tooth would be covered under my dental insurance in 2020.  Apparently, unless I want to wait 2 years, I would have to pay the $500.

It’s the right or the left

The dentist then gave me the choice whether to work on the right or left side of the mouth.  I was not sure that the bump had completely healed so I decided to have him work on the right side.  The extraction is on the left side.

Injections, two cavities, and a temporary

He gave me two needles in my mouth.  Then he went to work on a different patient in another room, and after about 25 minutes, he returned to work on me.  The right side of my mouth was numb, and he proceeded to fill two cavities, and put on a temporary crown.

Pay the money

After the work was done, I went to the receptionist, confirmed my next appointment, and paid the $500 for the tooth.

Again, a slippery ramp

I navigated my way out of the office, and the van door and ramp came out onto the sidewalk.  Again it was raining, and I slipped around on the ramp.  I got into the van on the second try.

It’s in the turkey sandwich

We went home, and I was transferred into my hospital bed.  The dentist did not tell me this, but I decided to wait 4 hours to let everything set before eating.  I started to eat a turkey sandwich, when all of a sudden, I felt something hard in my mouth.  This could not be the turkey sandwich, I thought.  I stuck my fingers in my mouth and found myself holding the temporary.  I put it in a safe place, for the next dental visit, which is soon, and I continued eating.

The effects of the injections

Usually, the numbing effects from the injections goes away after a few hours.  This is what happened.  The pain from the needles goes away in a day or two.  Well, not this time.  It was painful to open my mouth all the way for the next 8 days.  Then, the pain finally went away.

Return to the Oral Surgeon

Return to the Oral Surgeon
Return to the Oral Surgeon

It’s that time again

It is time to return to the Oral Surgeon’s office.   The tooth he removed is on the lower left side of my mouth.  There was very little pain from the surgery and I did not even feel the need to take Tylenol.

How do I eat?

However, it became almost impossible to eat on that side.  I had to eat on the other side, which I usually don’t do because there is a gap between my teeth on the right side.  This causes substantial pain when I try to eat on the right side.   Nevertheless, I have tolerated the pain when I eat on the right side.

How I am prepared for travel

I am getting accustomed to the routine I must go through to go out of the house.  I am dressed, a patient lift is used to get me out of bed, I am placed in the wheelchair, and I have to navigate the wheelchair through the house out to the mobility van.

Solar Charger

I have a solar charger that I bought for the van.  At first it did not work because the handyman I had set it up did not know what he was doing.  This is a solar charger that takes the sun’s rays and converts it into electrical energy to charge the car through the cigarette lighter.  (I’m really dating myself.  I think it is now called the auxiliary power plug.).  Also, check your car because not all cars can be charged this way.

The handyman tries to set up the solar charger

The handyman did not place the solar charger on the dashboard so that it could get sunlight.  I have since placed it properly and it seems to work fine.  This keeps the battery charged because I do not use the van that often and the battery goes dead.  Sometimes it can be recharged, and sometimes the battery needs to be replaced.

AAA to the rescue

I have AAA service and they have battery service which will replace the battery at you home.  It highly recommended for any handicapped person.  The solar charger only cost me 20 dollars.

I disconnect the solar charger

It has a diode to prevent the current from going the wrong way when the van is on, but I disconnect the solar charger when the van is on to be sure.  I do not need to unplug it from the cigarette lighter jack, which would be hard for a handicapped person.  I can unplug it from the solar panel part, which is much easier for me. By the way, the solar charger is a trickle charger, not good for jump starts.   You can find the solar charger on my products page.

Finickyh van door

Anyway, I had to direct my driver once again to the Oral Surgeon’s office even though this was the second time he drove me to the Oral Surgeon’s office.  When we got to there the van door would not open automatically the first time I pressed the remote button.  This is typical for this van, and it worked the second time I pressed the button, and the ramp came out.

The short wait

Once in the Oral Surgeon’s office, I did not have to wait long, because all the paperwork had been done at the previous visit when I had the surgery.

Ready for bridge work

The Oral Surgeon looked in my mouth and told me that I had a little bump but it would even out and that he thought that the surgery had gone well.  I thought it had gone well too.  I told him I was eating food on the other side and he said that was probably a good idea.  He said that when I return to the dentist’s office in a week, I should be ready for a mold which is a precursor to the bridge work I need.

On my way

Shortly thereafter, I left the office, and was on my way home.

Alcohol and me

Alcohol and me
Alcohol and me

Motivation for this post

Once again the motivation for this post comes from a Pinterest pin.  It is a beautiful blue pin of a margarita, but alcohol and me have always had an uneasy relationship.

Social drinking

I have to admit that I’ve never liked the taste of alcohol.  The result has been that that I’ve had very little alcohol when I have had some.  I did not drink at all until I got to law school.  Of course, this means I was over the legal drinking age when I did drink.  It was not unusual for me to go to a bar and socialize but only drink a Coca Cola.  While this was fine with me, it made other people uncomfortable so eventually I relented and had a beer.  I rarely had a whole beer.  I would sip a small amount of the beer, and when the cold beer become warm, I would order a new beer and discard the warm beer.

Bad auto accident

One day I was in a disco and heard that a female aquaitance had a bad auto accident after leaving the disco.  She had a fair amount of alcohol.  This made me question the wisdom of even using alcohol in social situations.

Stopped by a policewoman

Sometime later I was driving after going to a disco and I was pulled over by a female police officer.  While there was nothing wrong with my driving, I suspect the police were just routinely pulling over cars leaving the disco.  I had only had 1/4 of a beer at the disco, which I admired to the officer.  It was clear that I was not drunk, and no sobriety test was administered.  She let me go on my way home.

Alcohol
Alcohol

Don’t drink and drive

Even though I was not inebriated, this incident also made me think twice about alcohol.  Drinking and driving is a fool’s game.  It is a major mistake.  Besides, I don’t even like the taste of alcohol.  It is not worth the risk.  I began drinking more Coca Colas when I went to a bar.  Needless to say Coca Colas are very expensive at a bar, but you will never get drunk from Coca Colas.

Do not mix meds and alcohol

Now I’m much older and I take a variety of blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine and multiple sclerosis medicine (among others).   Mixing alcohol with medicines can be very dangerous.

The end of alcohol

Frankly, I see no reason to have alcoholic beverages any longer.  Besides, I never liked the taste of alcohol, anyway.

Conclusion

In conclusion, do not drink and drive because it will clearly impede your handling of a motor vehicle.  Do not mix alcohol and drugs, even if the drugs are prescription drugs.  Many prescription drugs counter indicate the use of the drugs with alcohol.  You are better off having a soft drink or plain water.  Yes, the Pinterest pin still looks good, but the real thing is not worth the risk.

Eating in Bed Can Be a Chore

Eating
Eating

Pinterest inspiration

Once again a Pinterest pin has inspired a post.  This is getting to be routine.  It does motivate me to post more.

Contact with others

At this point in the development of multiple sclerosis, I am essentially a paraplegic.  This means I spend much of my life in bed.  It is not a bad life and I have some friends and family to keep me going.  Of course, I have this blog too.  Some people just don’t need that much contact with others.  Some people crave it almost constantly.  I fall into the former category.  I enjoy contact with others, but I do not crave it constantly.  Sometimes just being alone allows me to think clearly, sort my ideas and be at peace.

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Energizer bunny

Anyway, if I were than much of a loner I not be a blogger.  My mind is still very active and it tells me that I am the Energizer bunny, even though my body suffers from MS fatigue. This brings me back to eating in bed.

Eating 01
Eating 01

Eating large pieces

I have most of my meals in bed.  I rarely use a knife.  It is not easy to cut food while in bed. At home,I have a hospital bed.  This allows me to raise my upper body so that I can eat.  It is not a perfect solution but is much better than a flat bed for eating.  When I do need to cut food I usually use the side of a fork, or I pick up the food with a spoon or fork and just take a bite out of the food.  This allows me to eat large pieces of chicken and other foods without an aide.  It is not the dantiest way to eat and doesn’t always look too good, but it gets the job done.  It sometimes looks like I’m eating like a barbarian, but it works for me when I’m hungry.

Eating 02
Eating 02

Soup

I presently have a cold, which is getting better, and I have some soup.  I usually pick up the bowl and just slurp as much of the soup as I can.  This may not look good but I am able to have soup. Otherwise, if I try to have the soup with a spoon, it is not long before I find myself laying in soup.  The soup is all over me and it is a mess to clean.

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Rice

Rice is another food I like, but I need a spoon to eat rice.  I usually eat it with a tablespoon. This spills less rice and allows me to eat more rice quickly.

Peas

Another food I like is peas.  However, peas on a flat plate is a catastrophe.  The peas roll off the plate when I try to eat them. Peas are better served in a bowl with a tablespoon. I often use tablespoons because this allows me to eat more faster.  It is also easier to get the food on the spoon.

Conclusion

Eating in bed involves learning a whole new style of eating.  It also means other people need to get accustomed to seeing me eat differently.  This is often harder for the caregiver than it is for me.

Pre-diabetic

Pre-diabetic
Pre-diabetic

It’s in the pin

Usually you would expect that a post would precede a Pinterest pin.  In this case, I was working on a really cool Pinterest pin and it inspired a blog post. I was working on a honey Diabetic alternatives Pinterest pin and it inspired this post.

A1c and diet soda

Previously my doctor advised me that my A1c (an indicator of my sugar intake) was moving up, and I decided to do something about it. I was drinking regular soda.  I drink soda because it has caffeine and the caffeine helps me fight the multiple sclerosis fatigue that I have.  I switched to diet soda.  It has 0 calories and no sugar.  The aspartame and other artificial sweeteners make me a little dizzy, but it is tolerable.   I decided that it was worth a little dizziness in exchange for a better A1c.

Kidney stones

I drink what is considered “clear” sodas.  The reason is that towards the end of 2003 I had a kidney stone operation.  A review of certain studies has led me to believe that “dark” sodas (mostly colas) are bad for kidney stones. They seem to promote the formation of kidney stones.  I am not a physician but it looks like I should stay with “clear” sodas.  My sodas of choice are Mountain Dew and Sunkist.  This is because both have caffeine and neither are colas.

Pre-diabetes
Pre-diabetes

Cutting the A1c

I have begun to look into food alternatives, but I have to admit with less success.  Anyway, switching to diet sodas significantly cut my A1c.  It was cut down to 6.0.  The last blood test showed it creeping up to 6.3.  I am still trying to get it lower. This has resulted in me taking a substantial interest in Diabetic Diets.  One of which I promote on my products and services page.

Reduce sugar

One way to deal with this is to cut down my sugar intake.  Just put little or no sugar in my tea and coffee.  Another is to use artificial sweeteners such as Equal or Spenda.  I have been trying to use less sugar in the food I eat.  Using less ketchup is also effective.

Chinese food

I like Chinese food, but staying away from sweet and sour chicken, and deciding on foods without sauce is helpful for me.  I put a little mustard on the Chinese food.  It does not have to be Chinese mustard, which I often find too hot.  It can be regular hotdog mustard, which I like much better.

Tasting real food

I have been eating many foods plain, without sauce. This means I actually taste the real flavor of the food I am eating.  I have found that I am actually rediscovering the flavor of foods. Plain chicken is really good.  Plain fish such as fillet, Boston scrod and tilapia are great tasting even without tartar sauce.  Tasting real food can be an experience in itself.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I was getting concerned about my sugar intake, and I have tried to do something about it. You can do the same if you need to reduce your sugar intake.  It just takes a little motivation and a lot of guts to try foods plain that you didn’t think you liked.

Getting the Grip

Cold pills
Cold pills

MS medicine and the Grip

I don’t know how much better or worse my really bad cold would be with or without my Multiple Sclerosis medicine – Gilenya. It has helped me in many ways. (A subject for another post.). It does affect the immune system, but I doubt that it affects colds one way or the other.  An allergist once tried to explain the different ways Gilenya works on the immune system, and I wish I understood it better.  I think scientists are still trying to figure out how it does what it does.  The FDA looks to whether the drug is safe and effective with less emphasis on how it got there.

Coughing and more

Anyway, the grip (a bad cold) is no fun.  It has caused a coughing spree which has made it very difficult to do much of anything.  I’m writing this post to help people through this and because I suppose that misery loves company.  The cold does get better after a few days, but does not go away.  It seems to just linger on for awhile.  It spreads its misery throughout my system as it travels from my chest to my head to my nose to my ears.

Pills
Pills

Weakness

This weakens me, and simple things become much more difficult. Simple things like eating and taking my medicine, become a chore.

Other health issues

It would be bad enough if I just had the grip, but I am recovering from the baclofen pump operation, and oral surgery.  Frankly, I usually have great motivation and I still do, otherwise I would probably not be writing this post.  This is just one more annoying thing to deal with in life.

I will survive

I am determined to make it though all of this, as well as MS fatigue (which will be a topic for another post), and so can you.

So will you

If you are unlucky enough to also have the grip, we can make it though this together.  I’ve been taking a little Tylenol to make it through the rough spots.

Be determined, and we will survive this cold.

Medicine Change (It’s like an oil change)

Surgery

I recently had surgery changing the pump – when they change the battery, they change the pump, too.  I have the standard (40 ml) Medtronic Sychromed II pump installed in me.  It’s a little like being the bionic man.

An oil change for the pump

Typically, the pump is refilled with new medicine every three or for months.  It’s more like an oil change.  The bad (old) medicine is taken out and good (new) medicine is put in the pump.

I have a service that comes to my home and will change the medicine while I am in bed.

Surgeon’s office says new medicine

The service called me on Saturday to tell me that they would come on Monday for the pump refill.  I said that I was told at the surgeon’s office that when the surgeon changed the battery and pump, they put in new medicine.  Accordingly, on Monday someone would come, but only to check out the pump.  This is called interrogating the pump.  Thereafter, I realized that Monday would not be good for me.  I spent all weekend trying to get in touch with them to change th day to Tuesday, to no avail.

The nurse and the medicine plan to arrive

Monday came and the nurse who would change the medicine called to tell me new medication would arrive at the house and so would he.  Still trying to change the day, I explained that the surgeon’s office had told me that new medicine was put into the pump when the surgery was performed and the medicine had not arrived at the house.  He assured me that the medicine would arrive shortly and so would he.

The nurse calls the surgeon’s office and is told of the new medicine

Apparently, the medicine and he arrived in the afternoon, negating my reason to change the day to Tuesday.  When he arrived, I again told him that I was told at the surgeon’s office when I had the staples removed, that new medicine was put in the pump at the time of the surgery.  He decided to call the surgeon’s office.  He was told that new medicine was put in the pump at the time of the surgery.  He came back to the pump, interrogated the pump, and he noticed that I had a fair amount of medicine in the pump.

The nurse calls the surgeon’s office a second time and is told they are uncertain about the medicine

He again called the surgeon’s office, but this time they were uncertain whether new medicine was put in the pump at the time of the surgery.  He said that they usually put in new medicine, but might not have because I was getting such a low dose that the medicine was diluted, and they may not have had diluted Medicine  available at the time of surgery.

The nurse decides to change the medicine

In view of this uncertainty, he decided to change the medicine in the pump.  Usually, this does not hurt.  The pump has no port.  A needle is inserted into the middle of the pump.  The area of insertion is found by feeling for the depression in the pump, and with the help of a template that shows the area of insertion.  This time the needle hurt.   This was so probably, because the whole area was sensitive as a result of the recent surgery.  Anyway, he took the possibly old medicine out and put in new medicine.  I was relived when the procedure was concluded.

Bandage

Usually, no bandage was used, but this time a small bandage was used.  I removed the bandage two days later.

Trip to the Oral Surgeon

Trip to the Oral Surgeon
Trip to the Oral Surgeon

The appointment

I made an appointment with the oral surgeon.  I confirmed that they take my insurance, which they do.  I made sure that the driver would be available.  The night before the day of the appointment, the driver calls to say that he cannot make it.  He has no explanation.  This one of life’s problems when you are a paraplegic with multiple sclerosis.  You rely on other people and sometimes they come through for you, and sometimes they don’t.  Fortunately, I was able to get another driver.

The day of the appointment

The driver finally shows up but he is late.  There is traffic on the expressway, and we arrive late.  I give the receptionist, the x-rays which are on my smartphone, and I email the x-rays to the receptionist.  Apparently, I don’t fit in the oral surgeon’s x-ray machine in my power wheelchair.

Seeing the Oral Surgeon

I waited an hour and finally the oral surgeon sees me.  I explain that I am there for one extraction.  He explained that someday the other two would need to be extracted because they really cannot be saved.  I was considering anaethesia, but since this was not my regular driver, and he no idea how the van door and ramp work, and no idea how to get home, I decided to have an injection.   The oral surgeon gave me two injections.  He said that the tooth was being held together by a cap that was over the tooth.  The tooth came out in pieces.  He said this was a difficult extraction, because the bone underneath was strong but the tooth was cracked in pieces.  It was being held together by the cap and in place by the strong bone.  I left the office with instructions to bite down for at least 20 minutes.

Leaving the Oral Surgeon

Of course, I had to ask the driver for the key, so that the door would open and the ramp come out, which it did flawlessly.  This is particularly difficult to say when you must bite down for 20 minutes.  Then I directed him on the way home.  We stopped off at Autospa which finally had the dip stick in stock.  The big job was getting the old broken dip stick out of the van.  This was finally accomplished, at no cost to me since an Autospa employee broke the dip stick while doing an oil change.

Arriving Home

We left Autospa and went home.  Now I had to continue recovering from the pump (battery) replacement surgery, and the oral surgery.

Trip to the Dentist

Finding a dentist

I did not want to pay $5,000 to the dentist that saw me at home.  I have dental insurance and I knew I could get dental work done for a lot less.  I called my old dentists who I had seen 3 years ago, and to my surprise, they were willing to work on me while I was in the wheelchair.  I made an appointment and on the day of the appointment, I was off to see the dentist.

Getting into the van

I was dressed and I was patient lifted into the wheelchair.  I took the wheelchair to the van.  As sometimes happens the van door which is supposed to open electronically by remote control did not open.   I had my driver manually open and close the door and then the van door electronically opened.  The old used van has a finicky electronic door and ramp, but with a little work, it functions.

Dentist Office

I got to the dentist office and had the usual one hour wait. Then they took me.  I provided them with the x-rays that the dentist that came to my house provided.  Therefore, I did not need new x-rays.  I had a cleaning, and after the cleaning, I heard the dental hygienist complaining to one of the dentists how hard it was to work on a patient in a wheelchair.  The dentist told the hygienist this is part of dentistry.

Seeing the Dentist

The dentist looked at the x-rays and looked in my mouth, and told me that I had three broken teeth that needed to be extracted.  Then he left to see another patient.  An assistant came into the room to say that I’m all done for today.  I said I wanted to see the dentist again.  I waited for the dentist to return.  When he finally returned, he said the teeth would have to be extracted by an oral surgeon.  I asked why he could not do the extraction?  After all, he had performed extractions on me in the past.   He said that although they had done extractions in the past, my bone was strong but the teeth were cracked and these teeth would come out in pieces, so it was best to have an oral surgeon do the extraction.  I advised him that I was not in pain and I wanted to keep as many teeth as possible.  He then said that one really needed to come out and that the other two could be done later.

Check out

I went to the front desk and made another appointment.  Since I have insurance and these dentists are on my plan, there was no co-payment and no charge.  Of course, upkeep of the van and the driver cost, but the dentist is free.

The trip home

This time the van door and ramp worked, and I was on my way home.  We stopped off for some gas and we stopped off at AutoSpa to see whether they received the new dip stick.  They hadn’t and we continued home.