So yeah, I've been slacking off on the posting. I know. I've had a shit ton of stuff going on, but still. I didn't have many appointments at Emerson in January. And I just had to go look up where I left off in the last post.
Yes, we did the Behavioral Health appointments with Lisa over the phone. She called, and we sat in my room and passed the phone on to the next person when we were done. She gave us some tips and ideas, but mostly it was a check-in about how we're doing, how we're feeling about surgery, if we have any questions or concerns, etc. So that went well. We also had brilliant parfaits for breakfast that day. This is going in my permanent recipe file. Vanilla yogurt, fresh or (plain, no syrup added) frozen berries, pomegranate seeds (they were still in season) and granola. Holy mother of Cthulhu. A huge bowl of it was only 300 calories. After surgery size servings should be extremely low in calories. Awesome. I really like granola. I got some later that has flax seeds in it. I think it's quite a while after surgery before you can eat those, but I'm going to be eating them once I can. They're like little dark sesame seeds, with a slightly different flavor. And I have an insane love of sesame seeds.
Also in December, I... misplaced(?) my primary care doctor. I'll try to explain as briefly as possible, but as always with me, it's a long story. A week before Christmas, I tried to refill my blood pressure medication online at CVS, like I normally do. I was out of refills, and requested that they contact my doctor for authorization, also like normal. Come Christmas Eve afternoon, I realized that they had never gotten back to me, and that I was almost out. Lovely. Phone calls. I hate those. So. CVS said they'd never heard back from the doctor's office, and to call over there. OK. The practice's answering service said that the on-call doctor wasn't accepting any calls other than extreme emergencies until after 8:00, so I should call back then. Fortunately, my CVS is 24 hours, even on Christmas. The Rite Aid pharmacy next door to it closes at 6:00 pm whether it's Christmas or not.
So I called back after 8:00. She said they'd call me right back, and asked again which doctor in the practice I had. "Dr. K." *silence* "but for some reason my medications have been coming with Dr. C's name on them." She said, "OK." She called me back a few minutes later and had me repeat that. Then she said she had Dr. C. on the line. He told me that they don't cover Dr. K.'s patients. Which left me going "huh?" As far as I knew, the practice was Dr. K., Dr. C., and Dr. H. He said I needed to call Dr. K. But the number I'd called was the only number I had. He said that when the practice changed over to UMass, Dr. K. didn't join UMass, so his name had never been in the system. (Whatever that meant.) According to Dr. C., someone had "stolen" (his word) his name and put it on my prescriptions. I asked him where Dr. K. was, and he said (somewhat snidely) that he didn't know. He finally offered to give me a ten day supply so I could figure it out. OK, great. I have ten days, during weeks that included Christmas and New Years. So I did end up skipping a few days to make the pills last longer.
I saw my regular therapist the week after New Years. She called the hospital my where PCP was affiliated, and found out where he'd moved his office (everything I found online gave the old practice's number for him). Not even kidding, he's in the same building where he was, but on the first floor, rather than the second floor. So he basically moved downstairs. And Dr. C. couldn't be bothered to tell me that? *insert uncharitable thoughts here about how Dr. C. was my mom's PCP when she died* So I finally spoke to Dr. K's office, they refilled my prescription and told me to call back later and make an appointment to come in and see him. The move had only happened in August, so it's not like everyone would have been expected to automatically know about it.
All this leads me to.... January. Finally. We had our appointments with the nutritionists. Which, naturally, involved another adventure. A medi-van adventure. Let me tell you. Never be without a car if humanly possible. L's appointment was for 10:30. They said they'd pick us up at 10:00. Cutting it close there, again. The who guy picked us up said that he was told we were supposed to be there for 11:00. Once we were on the highway, he got on the phone and started telling someone what a sweet ride he had with the new van they gave him to drive. Blah, blah, brag, brag. When he got off the phone, he said that his GPS said we'd be there by 10:40. Um. OK. Fifteen minutes down the highway, it was "oh, I just have to stop and run in to get my license. I ran out of the house without it, and my boss in on my back about it." We drive all over the place to get to his house. "I'll just be like two seconds." He disappears into a house. More like five minutes later, he comes out with a six-year-old child. Not even kidding. Picks her up, literally throws her into the front seat of the van, and we're back on the road. And he's all telling her about how they're going to go to McDonald's. Fantastic.
Then we had to pick up another passenger and her kid at a motel in the next town over from there. So we waited a few minutes for them. It was 11:00 by the time we got to the office. Fortuntely, Marie squeezed L & I in at the same time. MassHealth requires six consecutive monthly nutrition visits, and if L had missed her January appointment, she would have had to start completely over. Seriously.
More about the post-appointment medi-van adventures later. But here's how the appointment went. Marie gave us each a print out of the various kinds of supplements we'll have to take from surgery onward. We also talked about protein shakes and which ones people seem to like better. Some are milky, some aren't. We also got a few samples. Basically, after surgery we'll need to be taking a multivitamin with iron every day, plus three doses of calcium citrate (you can only absorb so much at a time), and also sub-lingual B-12 once a week (or more, depending on the particular brand).
Now, I have to say that I have been terrified at the thought of how many protein shakes we're going to have to drink. The ones at the store all seem to be chocolate or vanilla, and feel a lot like I'd drinking a whole bunch of slim-fast or something. Which, I can't stand milk, and that just seems more awful every time I think about it.. Marie recommended mybariatricpantry.com for protein powders. They have non-milk types, from Nectar brand. They come in flavors like orange, strawberry-kiwi, peach, apple, etc. So L & I ordered sample packets from there today. I also ordered 1 pound of unflavored Isopure protein powder, which you can add to just about anything. I'll report back on how they are. L has been researching the supplements in the print outs, and she is picking out the best ones for our budget. We haven't ordered any yet, but I report on those when we get them.
Marie also told us that there will be an appointment where we will work out what to do about our regular medications during the time period when we can't have pills. So that's good, then.
We finished the appointment and made sure we had all the future appointments we need by about 11:40 or so. Then we went into the lobby and we called for our return ride. He was busy taking the kid out to lunch at McDonald's down the street, and didn't get there until after 12:00. Whatever. The van stank of pot and alcohol-based air-freshener. Lovely. And the guy tells us that he has to wait for the other lady and her kid. OK. So we pull into a different parking lot on the same road in Concord. And we park. And we sit there. And the kid is bored. The guy gets on speakerphone with the dispatcher, who is the kid's mother. The mother is saying that he'd better not have taken the kid to McDonald's. And he's saying "oh, no, I just went there to go to the bathroom." The girl is giggling, because there's McDonald's rubbish all over the place in the van. He insults the mother a couple of times, and then tells the kid that she'd better not rat him out or she was never going to McDonald's again. I am just shaking my head at this point. And every ten or fifteen minutes he tells us that he's supposed to wait for the woman, but she should be done soon. For an hour. At which point the woman and her kid come out holding drinks, like they'd just been to lunch. FFS. I don't care if they wanted to eat lunch at wherever they were, but I don't want to be held hostage by the stoner van guy while they do it.
But anyway, even though he flew down the highway while stoned and texting to get us back home, I didn't get back to my house until after 2:00. I was starting to feel slightly homicidal at that point. A couple of my friends told me I should report him, but to whom, and for what? I can't report him to baby-mama dispatcher. She's not going to get him fired and lose her child support. I can't tell the police, "well, the van smelled like pot, but we didn't actually see him smoking any." It's my word against his that he was texting and driving or talking on the phone and driving. I mean, they could pull his phone records, but it's not like there was a homicide, so they won't. Apparently all those things police can do on TV don't actually happen unless there's a homicide. (Ask my friend whose car was vandalized, but the police told her they don't fingerprint unless there's a homicide. Even when there are obvious finger marks on the car.)
Wow, that ok a long time to type. Well, I'll talk about my PCP appointment the next day in my next post. I'm tired, I have an appointment with my psych meds lady in the morning (more medi-van! oh, boy!), and my dad is in intensive care with pneumonia, while recovering from hip surgery. And I have to get my ex to drive me down there to visit, because I still have no car. Fuck this a whole lot. Cars should be cheaper and easier to get. Not having a car is a HUGE problem unless you and everyone you know lives in a city with decent public transportation. Twice an hour around-part-of-the-town buses don't count.
Til next time.