Health

Do we need Healthcare reform?

Last month I went to my doctor's office and ended up in the hospital (the whole story is here).

Here's a list of the high points of the care (which was very good!) I received:

  • The emergency room
  • A few EKGs
  • Some medication
  • Saw a few doctors for a few minutes each
  • Stayed overnight for observation
  • Had a stress test
  • Bunch of lab work

How much do you think 1 night in the hospital with pretty minimal usage of services costs?

$33,739

I'm not paying that much since I have health insurance and they have agreements that mean they are only paying a fraction of that cost... but if I didn't have health insurance I'd be screwed.

I probably wouldn't have went to the doctor's in the first place and my heart would just have kept on beating oddly until I had heart failure or a stroke. Fun!


These drugs are making my heart beat correctly

HeartyheartYesterday I woke up early to go for a 4 mile run. Usually I run after work, but I wanted to get my run in early just in case I ended up in the hospital. Gotta get my 10,000 steps!

You see, I had my followup cardiologist's appointment at 9am and I was worried it would go along the same lines as my last appointment.

I'm happy to report that I didn't end up in the hospital after my appointment. My cardiologist told me that I'm very healthy, other than my arrhythmic heart, and that this isn't something that people die from. It is annoying, but not deadly.

That was nice!

He was also yawning a lot as he spoke to me. I sense he isn't a morning person.

But how does one live with an out of rhythm heart? Turns out I have two options:

* Take a few pills every day for the rest of my life.
* Let them stick catheters in my heart, burn some flesh, and hope that stops the arrhythmia.

I opted for the drugs for the time being as I've been in aFib frequently over the last few weeks but popping a pill pretty much stops it. I'm hopeful that taking a couple of pills regularly will solve it for the time being (and so far it is! Though I've only taken the new combo twice thus far).

I'm on a drug called flecainide, which Wikipedia tells me is the 273rd most commonly prescribed medicine in America. It is a sodium channel blocker that stops arrhythmic heart beats which is pretty cool. Interestingly, though, one of the potentail side effects is making your arrhythmia worse, so that's not great. It seems to happen in very few people but I will be ever vigilant!

If the drugs stop working, or I get tired of taking two pills twice a day, then my heart will get ablated! Basically, they burn away some groups of nerves in the heart and that SHOULD make the arrhythmia stop.

My doc tells me that for about 85% of folks it works on the first try. And if it doesn't work you try try again and that bumps up the effectiveness to 90%. The only downside (other than surgery) is the heart heals itself. So it is possible for the flesh to repair itself and for my heart to go back to its oddly beating ways.

Overall, I'm pretty glad my heart conditions aren't more serious because while the doc was very knowledgeable and answered all my questions he wouldn't actually recommend one way over the other. I thought it wise to wait until after the holidays to schedule surgery, but I think come February my heart will be burnt from the inside.

Current heart rate: 47 BPM. And I'm in Sinus Rhythm.



I'm 59



That's my number for getting some blood work done (not to be confused with wetwork, which I do on my off hours. My assassin name is 'The Koala' because I'm so cute and furry). They just called 54, so I shouldn't have to wait too long.

These numbers make me think I am in some sort of twisted bakery where I have to give them blood to get a cookie. I hope they give me a cookie, but I bet they won't.

Bastards.


Pepsi Spice Project

The Great Pepsi Ban of '04 is set to become the Great Pepsi Ban of 04/05, and this is a good thing.

The Pepsi Spice Project is the blog of someone who purports to drinking nothing but Pepsi Holiday Spice for 45 days. I say 'purports' because something tells me this is a hoax, however, I'll tell you what isn't a hoax. I want some Pepsi! But, I won't have any because I must remain strong and ever vigilant.


Another geek accessory

iamblogging.jpgAll this talk of dressing more like a geek made me go check out Thinkgeek, a repository of all sorts of cool little toys, gizmos, and geek accessories.

This t-shirt is something I have been thinking about buying, but I don't really wear t-shirts all that often. However, the second phase of 'Project Healthier Scott' (Phase one being the Great Pepsi Ban of '04) is going to the gym and working out (ug) at least thrice a week, and who works out in a button down shirt?

More details on the Second Phase as they become clearer to me, but no doubt I won't enjoy them... but I will be blogging them.


No Pepsi: Week One

nopepsi.jpgA little over a week has passed since I proclaimed by body a No Pepsi Zone, and I am sure many of you are curious as to how I am making out.

It isn't easy, but I haven't had a drop of sweet, sweet Pepsi since Oct. 19th. I have only drank 3 things in those 7 days: water (lots of water), iced tea, and orange juice (no pulp please).

The first two days were the hardest, I had a pretty major headache as my body screamed, 'WHERE THE HELL IS MY PEPSI, SISSIE BOY! GIVE IT TO ME! SWEET, SWEET PEPSI WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING, YOU FOOL!"

Yes, my body is a bit of a jerk, but what can you do?

I made it through and I am Pepsi-free and loving it.

Here is a patented 'Blankbaby tidbit':

Recently my department had an all staff meeting. Usually at all of our meetings and events there is nothing but Coke far and wide. I often inquired if I could get a little Pepsi and I was told no, Coke is the way to go.

I gradually accepted this slight, and moved on with my life.

Then, I decided I would stop drinking Pepsi, and lo and hold the Pepsi was aflowin' at our recent meeting.

Ever get the feeling that the world is conspiring against you?

UPDATE: I must be strong. I have the Pepsi website open below this window, and one of the 'features' of the website is the sound of a can of Pepsi being opened and then poured into a glass with ice (I am not a fan of ice with my soda). One of the best sounds in life. Folks, it is the little things.

I must remain ever vigilant.


I'm fat, are you happy now?

nopepsi.jpgThose who know me, or those who have seen any pictures of me, know that I am what you would call a 'fat guy' (you probably wouldn't call me that to my face, unless you were very rude, but you get my point). In college some of my friends called me 'jolly,' my mother called me 'husky' when I was a kid, and most people of the opposite sex (who have met me) think of me as either the 'funny guy,' or the 'oddly quiet guy who is creeping me out a little bit with his constant staring and labored breathing (an impression usually gained after I have walked up a few flights of stairs).'

Anyway, my point is I need to shed some pounds. This isn't some sort of recent revelation, nor is it doctor's orders; it is something I have been thinking about for a long time and I have thought about it long enough. I have a tendency to think and think about things but never actually act on them, so in order to kick start a healthier new me I thought I would write about it on Blankbaby, for everyone to read about.

The first step towards a healthy new Scott? Stopping all intake of Pepsi, effective immediately.

People who know me well, or in passing, know I love Pepsi more than any man should love a carbonated liquid, and might be shocked to learn that I am willing to give it up. A few years ago I tried drinking less Pepsi, but that didn't work out. Then I tried drinking Pepsi only when I ate out, but that didn't last long. The one time I tried to stop drinking Pepsi cold turkey I did it for about 7 months, and I felt much better. At month 7 I thought, 'Hey, I can have some sweet, sweet Pepsi again.'

And I did; I haven't stopped drinking it since, until that is today.

It is true that Pepsi alone isn't responsible for my girth, but it certainly doesn't help. I am sure I get a large part of my 'empty calories' from Pepsi.

Therefore, I am off the Pepsi! If you see me drinking Pepsi I give you the right to smack me in the face as hard as you can followed by the phrase, 'That, sir, was for your own good.'

I'll miss you sweet, sweet Pepsi, but I am a better man without you.