APAD Day 38 $1.72 to pee

Have you ever heard of a foley catheter? It is an indwelling catheter that is a attached to an external urine collection bag. If you have ever been hospitalized and needed a catheter this is the kind they used. Not fun right? RIGHT! Fortunately, they also make one time use catheters. They are individually packaged. When you need to urinate, you insert the single use catheter while sitting on the toilet. Your bladder is emptied, then you remove it and discard it. YAY!!!!…. or not.

Single use catheters are expensive! $1.72 each to be exact. So if I have to pee 10 times a day that’s $17.20 a day to pee or $516.00 a month. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!

The reason this comes up is because I have Medicare and they have decided that I am allowed to pee free of charge 6x a day but no more. If I have to pee more, I’m gonna have to pay for it. $206.40 a month to be exact. Yeah that’s not going to happen. I do have other choices though

  1. Reuse the single use catheters ( Mind you the box they come in, the patient information, and just about every website that sells catheters STRONGLY insists that they are not to be reused.) Medicare even has a commercial on tv that a person should be able to use a new catheter each and every time they urinate. (Then why the hell won’t you pay for it?!?!!?)
  2. I can use a foley catheter (walk around with a bag of pee strapped to my leg everyday) for a couple weeks a month when I run out.
  3. Try to spread awareness of this issue, hoping it will make a change.
  4. Try to enlist others to spread awareness as well.

I’ve chosen to do all four of the choices that I feel I have. I am also going to attempt to contact Cure Medical to see if they have any patient assistance programs. https://curemedical.com/contact-us/

If you are able, please share this story or blog, tell someone the story, something. It would mean a great deal to me if you would.

Do you have any other thoughts on how to work around this problem?

APAD Day 32 Fall Detection on Smart Watches

Does it work?

I’m not sure. For Christmas this year, my Dad purchased my mother and I a Samsung Galaxy 4 Smart Watch with fall detection. While the watch won’t prevent either one of us from falling, maybe it will work to let someone know that we might need assistance? To be honest, I am afraid to “test” it. I don’t want to fall! It hurts!

I have smacked my arm against a wall trying to imitate a trip with no result. During my last round of Physical Therapy, my therapist tried to set off the fall detection by “pretend” falling with no results. I’ve been exploring Samsung’s website to see if I need to adjust my settings somehow, but haven’t found any new answers. It does specifically state HARD FALLS. With my luck, I’m sure I will have the “opportunity” to test it again. 😦 I’ve also watched a couple of youtube videos of people testing various watches only to find that most of the watches respond maybe 50% of the time.

Things I didn’t know I needed?

So far the watch does not work like I had hoped it would. BUT, I am kind of excited about some of the other features that it comes with.

  1. I have used the FIND MY PHONE app the most! (The phone has a FIND MY WATCH option too)
  2. The watch face is customizable. I have mine set to show me the date and time, the weather, number of steps taken in the day, and how much battery life I have left.
  3. I can make, answer, and ignore calls and texts using the watch.
  4. I am learning to use the camera control on the watch to take pictures of my dogs, and grandkids (without it being completely obvious that I am taking their pictures.)

Always room for improvement

  1. The watch needs it’s own charger. ( you will not be able to use the same one for your phone)
  2. The watch band is not user friendly. I am sure that I could buy a new one, but that’s just more $$$

What do you think?

Do you have a Smart Watch? Do you like it? Why or why not?

A post a Day APAD Day 31 That’s gonna leave a mark!

While I am happy to report that I did not have any surgeries last year. Let that sink in…. ZERO… not even one!!!!. ( If I haven’t mention before, I am 48 and have had more than 50 surgeries.) So ZERO is an excellent number! Alas, I am still Ms. Graceful…NOT, and I do have some injuries to report.

A Birthday Concussion

I don’t think I was awake for even an hour before I knocked myself out…. literally! I was standing in the kitchen, maybe pre-coffee? when I noticed that Einstein had taken out BOTH the recycling and the garbage. Of course he didn’t replace the bags, but he actually took BOTH of them without me nagging for days….This was huge! Happy Birthday to me!!! I don’t know if that thought had even sunk in before I slipped on the garbage can lid that he left on the floor and felt myself falling into the kitchen table, then the bar stool, and eventually landing on floor and passing out. Of course my head was the collision point for each surface. I’m not sure how long I was unconscious.

When I came to, I couldn’t see straight, the pain in my head was horrendous, and I began vomiting. I crawled to the freezer and put ice on my head until the world stopping spinning. After some time, I was able to clean up the mess I had made and messaged a couple of people that I had fallen and hit my head. Would they mind messaging me in a couple hours to make sure I was still awake? I even attempted to smh….FUCK that hurt!!!!!

I have had more than my share of concussions over the years, so I knew the drill. Don’t let the patient fall asleep and every hour or so ask them if they know their name etc. My vision appeared to be fine, so I spent the rest of the day watching tv and making small laps around the inside of the house trying to stay awake. Apparently “the drill” is an OLD drill. The new treatment for a concussion is lots of sleep!!!!! NO TV, NO COMPUTER, NO READING, JUST BRAIN REST!!!! Huh?….. Oh an apparently you should go to the hospital immediately if you are vomiting or lose consciousness. After two trips to the hospital for MRI’s, fluids, antibiotics, and pain killers I am now educated. I am also educated on the treatment of neurogenic fever….. SMH (it doesn’t hurt anymore)

Happy Thanksgiving to me?

Last year, Einstein and I hosted Thanksgiving at our (his) house. Our new puppy, Lady, woke me up at 6 am barking that she wanted to go outside. She immediately ran to the bedroom door and I followed to let her out. When I opened the bedroom door, she stopped, I DIDN’T! I tripped over her headfirst into the wall. and down I went ….again. THIS time, I didn’t lose consciousness, but there was lots of blood and I did require a trip to immediate care for stitches in my forehead. It took us over an hour to find one that was open, and the wait was more than 5 hours….. UGH…. Overall though we were all able to spend parts of the day together and my entire family (including Einstein) pitched in.

Can you guess what happened next?

Seriously try to guess…. I bet you can….

MORE STITCHES!!!!!

I was supposed to leave for Colorado the next morning so of course my house had to be spotless before I left. That sentence doesn’t even sound logical but somewhere in my brain it is….. The house must be cleaned before you go on a trip!!!!!! I don’t try to fight it anymore, it is what it is. I had also been cooking meals for Einstein to reheat while I was out of town. (this is so my kitchen is in one piece when I get home, not because I am nice) My suitcase was packed and sitting by the door. I was exhausted, but All that was left to do, was to feed the two of us and the dogs.

I cut the lid off of the can of dog food and placed it on a paper towel on the counter……, just as the doorbell rang signaling the pizza I had ordered for dinner had arrived. After answering the door, I carried the pizza into the kitchen looking for a place to put it on the counter.

Let me just scrunch up this paper towel ( the one with the lid on it) and throw it away…..

HOLY FUCK DID THAT HURT…..and SO MUCH BLOOD!!!!!!! Maybe the sounds that came out of my mouth were screams? I thought for sure I cut the tip of my finger off.

Thankfully I did not. Again, this required a trip to an immediate care. Fortunately, when you have blood spurting out of your finger you can skip the waiting room.

9 stitches this time

(compared to the 6 in my head)

The whole procedure was completed in less than 2 hours, the main complication being trying to control the amount of blood I was losing.

I still don’t have feeling in my finger, but I have been able to start writing with my right hand again. (on the computer and with a pen)

Here is hoping that 2022 is the year without more injury!

One post a day… APAD Day 9 Gone but never forgotten

Remembering Snuff and D.O.G.

We purchased D.O.G in 2008. I was very depressed. My step daughter that I had been raising for the last 5 years decided to move across the country to live with her biological mother. I was in and out of the hospital having MS exacerbations every couple of months. I was in A. Bad. Place. Adding D.O.G. to our family was just what I needed. She was my constant companion or copilot. The MS exacerbations continued to occur every two or three months finally landing me in a wheelchair almost full time and having to use a Foley catheter. Again, I. was. DEPRESSED. I was put in a rehabilitation center for 3 months to learn how to walk again. (That is another story though) D.O.G. also became very depressed. She would not eat unless she could visit me or hear my voice on the phone. Did I mention co-dependent? My ex-husband and I decided to get a dog for D.O.G.

Buying a dog for your dog

Yes I bought a dog for my dog. I have always loved German Shepherds. They are hands down my favorite breed. A friend of the family’s German Shepherd had puppies and she said I could take my pick for $300.00. If you have ever purchased a purebred dog, you know that $300.00 is a hell of a deal. (more on that later) Thing One, Thing Two and I went to meet the puppies. Out of 12 of them we were all able to agree that Snuff was the one. The fact that we were all able to agree, MADE her the one. That and she kind of picked us.

Getting two dogs was one of the few Good Decisions that I have made in my life. Over the next few years I learned the importance of training your dogs to be “Good Citizens” or in Layman’s terms “not to be assholes”. Again that’s another story though.

Losing a pet is devastating

Snuff died in June of 2019

and I lost D.O.G. in January of 2021

I didn’t write a post about losing D.O.G. I COULDN’T write. I couldn’t sleep. I just couldn’t…well anything.

Both of these girls will always be in my heart!

Living with Interstim 3 months post op

Back in August of this year, I had the Interstim bladder stimulator placement surgery. In September, I wrote about my journey with Bladder Incontinence in a post called, Being a Human Guinea Pig. A few days later, I wrote a sarcastic, yet honest post about what I was going through mentally after having the surgery. At the end of that post, How did your Interstim implant surgery go, I said that the device was already in my body, so I should at least give it the benefit of the doubt. I have, and I would like to share.

Did the Interstim Device “fix” me?

NO

Did it help reduce my symptoms more than 50%?

Absolutely!

Do I regret having the procedure?

No

Would I recommend the Interstim device to someone suffering from Incontinence?

Honestly, I don’t know. ( Not very helpful am I?)

Maybe this will help

On a day to day basis, I don’t even realize that I have the implant anymore. By this I mean, I don’t really notice it unless I am looking for it. I don’t feel any pain at the incision site while I am sitting, driving, walking, bending over, etc. I use a leg press machine for physical therapy and have not had any issues with that amount of pressure against my back side either. I have to admit that I do miss the “ass pats” (spankings?) that Einstein used to loving provide, but to be honest we are both a little nervous about that experiment.

I did not die in the MRI

I was very anxious about having my quarterly MRI last month, (another story for another time) but after finding a location that had the equipment and experience to perform MRI’s on patients with implanted devices, my anxiety about my body being ripped apart while in the tube has been relieved. As a bonus, the pictures from the MRI model that they have to use are 1000x better than any of my previous 100 scans!!!

Going through Airport Security with an implant

I am pleased to report that I also did not die while going through airport security at O’hare or Denver airports. (I did this two times just to be sure.) Medtronic supplies you with a card stating that you have an implanted device and can not go through the metal or magnetic detector. You can also always ask to have a pat down from TSA, but I had no trouble standing in the usual “stand still here and put your arms above your head” scanner.

Other horrible things that did not happen

The above list had me terrified, but to date I have done the following and have had no issues:

  1. Driven a car without turning it off
  2. Operated power tools including a drill and a saw while standing on an aluminum ladder
  3. I carry my cell phone in my back pocket (over the device) for 90% of my waking hours
  4. Operated all household appliances including the washer, dryer, dishwasher, microwave, vacuum cleaner, freezer, computer, television, security system etc
  5. I have been to the dentist with my 2 year old grandsons, not as a patient

What HAS happened after having the device implanted?

Most of the time, I am able to hold 400-500 ccs of urine before leaking. (pre interstim and without Botox surgery, the number was closer to 150 ccs) I still have to use a catheter to empty my bladder completely, but am actually able to “pee a little” on my own (if that’s a thing). *Drinking Alcohol changes those numbers. Beer seems to run right through me. The carbonated or hard selzer drinks ( Vizzy, white claw, corona) seem to move a little slower, but still increase frequency and decrease retention.

The only other change

I have to “recharge” the device once a week.

As you can see, the recharger is about the size of my hand. Also in the picture is an elastic belt that you can put the charger in to wear while you are moving around. The Medtronic website shows a woman gardening while wearing her belt. Yay her! (This doesn’t work for me.) I have found that I have the best results and shortest charging time, if I sit at the computer, put the device under my underwear and don’t move for a half hour or so. For some reason, when I am re-charging, my right foot (the one that has that all the titanium in it gets very warm)

While uncomfortable, its not incredibly painful. Maybe it’s a coincidence? Maybe that is where the nerve that is being stimulated ends? I’m not sure. I could also turn down the charging speed, but it takes twice as long to charge and sitting still IS difficult for me.

If you are reading this because you or someone you care about it considering getting the Interstim, I wish you the best of luck. Only you can decide if it’s right for you. DO YOUR RESEARCH!