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December 31, 2010

Year in review (, , , , )

by fluffy at 4:43 PM
  • ∆songs: 5 Song Fight solo efforts, 2 Song Fight collaborations, 4 covers, 6 remixes, various sound experiments and short soundtracks produced, ~20 songs written but not recorded, 2 live shows (both went way better than any shows I'd done before)
  • ∆comics: 120 published; 1 long-running series completed (Unity), 2 short series in their entirety (Unity:Planetfall and Unity:Breeder), 1 long-running series rebooted (Pernicious), 1 short series started (Unity:Meat), several miscellaneous one-offs and journal comics
  • ∆artwork: various smatterings posted to various art-sharing sites
  • ∆body mass: unchanged within statistical error; still fat a little overweight
  • ∆grandparents: -2; grandfather(paternal, age=99y1w) passed in August, grandmother(maternal, age=99y7m) passed about an hour ago and I'm still processing it. Remaining grandparents = 0

All in all, the year could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse, too.

September 9, 2010

I am so sick of St Luke's Hospital (, , )

by fluffy at 8:16 PM
I have gotten several more bills from them for things which they are still insisting that my insurance isn't covering, all from June. They are now saying it's past-due and threatening to send me to collections. My insurance still says that they have never gotten any actual claims from the hospital. Today I found out that some idiot in the billing department had transposed a couple of characters in my insurance ID, and as far as I can tell they are too fucking ignorant to fix it when they submit the updated claims, and this is just so aggravating.

Today I left another message with their idiotic billing department, and I tried to keep it cool but I lost it and after explaining the situation I kind of lost it and started swearing a lot. Maybe they'll get the fucking message here, but I have a feeling they're just going to hold it against me for being "unprofessional."


Judging by the reviews on Yelp, I am far from the first to have these problems, and will be far from the last. They are goddamned inept, and who knows how many people are suffering for it with ruined credit and being forced to pay thousands of dollars for a routine procedure that their doctor ordered?

In any case, I will definitely not be making use of St. Luke's Hospital or California Pacific Medical Center ever again if I can help it. This is the last goddamn straw.

July 29, 2010

Current status (, , )

by fluffy at 2:53 PM
It's been a while since a self-indulgent blog post about my ongoing woes, and seeing as how that's the whole reason to have a blog anyway, I'd might as well update the three of you who still bother to read it.

July 9, 2010

Well, it's not gallstones ()

by fluffy at 3:48 PM
Not an ulcer, not gallstones, so no idea what it is. Time to finally get my bloodwork up-to-date.

At least I know I'm not going to die of a ruptured gallbladder in my sleep...

July 3, 2010

Yet another boring post about my stomach ()

by fluffy at 11:29 PM
So, the endoscopy didn't find anything (those of you who follow me on Facebook got to see the inside of my stomach, even!), so last week I had an ultrasound because my gastroenterologist is pretty convinced it might be gallstones. I'll get the results of the ultrasound soon enough, I guess. The tech of course wouldn't let me see the screen while it was happening or tell me anything about what she saw, so I guess I can just fret about it for a while.

I still have the pain that I thought was ulcer pain, and I guess it does happen more after eating fat-containing foods than at other times, so that fits a gallstone diagnosis I guess. Hopefully this ultrasound was enough to figure out what it was, and if i need my gallbladder removed it can wait until after Song Fight, because no way do I want to miss that.

June 24, 2010

Stomach ()

by fluffy at 4:25 PM
Today I finally had an endoscopy. It turned up no ulcers. I'm still feeling ulcer pain though, so it's not just that my regimen of Zegerid and yogurt has cured it. So the next thing to get is an abdominal ultrasound.

Also, the anaesthetic didn't kick in quite quickly enough (they waited until the absolute last minute to administer it due to a bunch of schedule slip), so I remember most of the procedure, and gagging on the endoscope. Whee. It finally did kick in just as I was leaving the room, of course, so I had an hour of not remembering recovering.

At least an ultrasound isn't a stressful, invasive procedure. Sigh.

May 21, 2010

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium: My heroes! (, )

by fluffy at 7:59 AM
I used to eat a lot of active-culture yogurt, but I fell out of the habit a few months ago. But it turns out that it may have been doing more for me than I thought.

So I bought a whole bunch of active-culture yogurt on Tuesday and have been eating two servings a day (one for breakfast, one after dinner) and my ulcer symptoms have already all but disappeared.

So three cheers for this critter and its partner (who, sadly, does not come in a plushie, but looks similarly nondescript).

I think I might start culturing my own yogurt, too. It's fairly easy to do and somewhat cheaper than buying the active-culture stuff at the store.

May 17, 2010

American healthcare is Kafka-esque ()

by fluffy at 3:27 PM
So in addition to the whole "insurance wanted me on an unsuitable medication because they didn't want to pay another $15 for the suitable one" issue, I'm still having ulcer problems which are apparently independent of the GERD, so since I had today off anyway I made an appointment with my doctor, who did nothing but referred me to another doctor, a gastroenterologist, who could do an endoscopy and a biopsy. (Even though this two-minute conversation could have happened on the phone, I still had to come in and pay a $20 copay.)

The gastroenterologist's secretary wasn't very enunciative and she was impatient with me when I didn't just predict what information she wanted from me. Then she said that he's only at the office that I would see him at two hours a week (and was very impatient about that, and apparently assumed I was going to debate her on it), and the doctor insists on seeing every new patient with an office visit before doing any procedures. So I asked when I could make an appointment for. The first one in my local office would be June 16, a month from now. So I asked about the other location, and rather than volunteer information about appointments, required me to ask about specific days. I said I preferred afternoon appointments, and she said that would restrict it to only Mondays, and the next Monday appointment would be June 14.

Maybe I should call my primary care physician again and ask him to just put me on antibiotics for H. Pylori and see if it works, because I'd much rather take potentially-unnecessary antibiotics for two weeks than to have to wait a month to find out that it'll take another unknown amount of time before I can even get a basic diagnosis, my stomach hurting the whole time.

May 16, 2010

Long Beach was a success (, , , )

by fluffy at 8:15 AM
  • Took 101 on the way down. Kept regretting taking that instead of 1. Then I hit LA and traffic got terrible but I repeat myself. I think the extra time for 1 would have made the final part that much more annoying.
  • Thursday night went to Tokyo Wako, which is a terrible, terrible restaurant. I was hoping for some simple sushi but everything there was best characterized as "too much of everything." Both rolls I got (one spider roll, one unagi roll — helpfully called "eel roll" instead for us poor Americans) were loaded up with avocado and disgustingly-sweet teriyaki sauce, and the pieces were too large to fit in my mouth and fell apart and so on. It's basically a local chain version of Benihana. NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Friday I went to the aquarium, which was nice, except that it happened to be the same day that a lot of LA elementary schools were taking a field trip, so I had a hard time taking any pictures or reading the signs or enjoying a nice quiet day at the aquarium. So, not very nice.
  • Went to Zephyr, had half a grilled tofu sandwich (which was good but I didn't have much of an appetite before my set and after my set it was too late for me to eat anything per GERD treatment protocol), and had a great performance after a couple of false starts. Unfortunately, the stream crapped out just as I was getting good (or at least, I like to think so, but I haven't listened to the recordings yet). Got most of the musicians in the crowd to join me for a rousing chorus of Night Terrors, which was a wonderful trainwreck (in a good way).
  • Saturday, wandered around the area near the hotel before going to a barbecue at Ross Durand's house. I showed up early (because traffic was way better than expected), and met his family, and slowly other Song Fight people trickled in, although the two who I really wanted to see again (MintyHandy and Johnny Cashpoint) couldn't make it due to bad circumstances. But that's okay. Got the next fight's title from Spud over the phone, and Alex (of the Seamus Collective) wrote an absolutely brilliant song, which we recorded in bluegrass style. I played cello. We're probably going to collaborate on improving parts of it over the next several days pre-submission (Ross wasn't feeling comfortable enough with his dulcimer playing to record it along with us, for example, and I'd like to record a separate cello part for the bridge and maybe some vocal harmonies) but even as recorded live it was wonderful. I got video, which I will post after the fight goes live.
  • This morning, woke up at 5 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep. At 7 AM a badly-organized gay pride parade circled around the lagoon by the Hyatt. There were maybe 20 people in it, and their chant was: "What do we want? JUSTICE! When do we want it? NOW!" and of course it was not in a place that it would be seen or heard by anyone except tired out-of-towners.
  • Now I'm just trying to figure out if I want to take 101 back (semi-pretty drive, but I've already seen it), or 1 (very pretty but also a grueling endurance test), or I-5 (a little faster than 101, boring). Will definitely be stopping at Chris's on the way in any case.

May 2, 2010

How not to treat GERD (, )

by fluffy at 7:10 AM
Cheap Italian food at 8 PM, followed by some caffeinated peppermints during a long midnight drive home.

Also it turns out that being woken up by a sharp pain at 5:30 AM feels a lot like dying. Enough so that I called 911 and they thought it was necessary for me to go to the hospital, and I had my first ambulance ride ever. My vital signs were fine, and my BP was actually elevated at first (but eventually returned to normal). The doctor on-call (Dr. Chandra, who is not an ostrich) asked me about my history with GERD and established that it was probably just last night's dinner, which was a party for a friend. At dinner I had a feeling it would cause something like this, but I wasn't really thinking straight, and I was afraid of major complications so that helped to fuel my panic that kept me from just going back to sleep.

Well, that and I was feeling drained and numb and hazy and I was shivering like crazy despite my apartment being a rather warm 71°F.

Anyway, I'm sure the real pain will be when I get the bill from my insurance.

April 23, 2010

Because everyone likes hearing about my ulcer (, , )

by fluffy at 5:41 PM
I finally got the Zegerid today. Of course the pharmacist was really really worried about giving it to me because of the recent Nexium prescription. At the same time, he thought I should be aware that Nexium is "the same stuff," which it almost is (it's esomeprazole which is a kissing cousin of omeprazole), but it's in a time-release formulation and doesn't have the antacid, and that doesn't actually, you know, help for what I need it for. And of course I'm not going to take them both at the same time.

April 20, 2010

The state of the stomach ()

by fluffy at 12:08 AM
Once-daily Nexium isn't nearly as effective as twice-daily Zegerid was. I don't feel like my ulcer is making any progress, and I still wake up with a sour tummy. I should talk to my doctor again. Ugh.

It doesn't help that I've quickly fallen back into my pre-GERD habits, though, but when I look at lists of food to avoid, well, what the hell is there left to eat? Basically it seems like everything but water and the blandest possible food is off-limits.

I've also been having pretty bad headaches lately, as well as gas, stomach pain, and dry mouth. Those show up on Nexium's side-effect lists, so maybe I really should see my doctor about this. Bleh.

April 14, 2010

Prescription acid reducers are EXPENSIVE (, , )

by fluffy at 7:11 PM
So I finally got a new scrip today, for Nexium (the purple pill), which my insurance was willing to cover. My cost after insurance was still $42 for a one month supply. The cost before insurance was $180! Zegerid looks like it costs over $200 for a one month supply. That's insane!

At least that costs me less than the (not at all effective anyway) OTC version ($20-$30/week depending on brand) but why does the prescription version cost three times as much for what is basically the same medicine plus a time-release capsule?

At least this is just a once-a-day pill. My prescription also only covers two more refills, so maybe the intent is that I take it for three months and then I'm done with it since supposedly the ulcer-causing bacterium will actually be gone by then, and my doctor will be able to suggest something else for maintaining the acid reflux.

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