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Massage for Lymphedema November 29, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Cancer, Diary, Humor, Money.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+massage&iid=1134532″ src=”6/0/f/b/Massage_bfe8.jpg?adImageId=7903797&imageId=1134532″ width=”380″ height=”283″ /]

And that method did what?

I could ask my licensed massage therapist to hand me a glass now and then however!

Last week’s expenses: $30 co-pay for massage. Too bad my insurance coverage next year will not take my ICD9 code into consideration for treatment. Monthly totals tomorrow.

Total for Week ending November 27: $30.00

Who Will Take Care of the Baby Boomers? November 27, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week, Money.
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Yesterday, I heard a great hour of radio on the nursing shortage produced by WBUR in Boston. It’s called Nursing a Shortage , part of their Inside Out series. There are two structural problems on the supply side of nursing-one is baby boomer nurses retiring at the same time as their peers. I knew that part, but what I didn’t know about was the second one-the serious shortage of nursing educators.

America ‘s nursing shortage has been compared to a perfect storm gathering in intensity. In just over a decade nearly 80 million baby boomers will be in or reaching retirement, their medical needs placing an immense strain on our health care system. Nurses themselves, whose average age now is 47, will be leaving the profession and a younger generation of nurses will not be trained in enough numbers to fill the growing needs of hospitals and patients.

Who will take care of patients? Apparently all it will take is about a billion dollars to increase the student slots in nursing schools and hire additional educators to educate the needed students. Is there a national plan for that?

A billion dollars is beginning to sound very small.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=nursing+school&iid=7039143″ src=”7/e/e/c/MEDICAL_TRAINING_b892.JPG?adImageId=7880346&imageId=7039143″ width=”380″ height=”485″ /]

H1N1 Vaccine -Where is it? November 25, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, huh?.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=free+health+clinic&iid=6978221″ src=”2/c/2/9/California_Medical_Center_7126.jpg?adImageId=7831600&imageId=6978221″ width=”380″ height=”264″ /]

I don’t know where or when I can get my swine flu vaccine. I personally know of only two people in my circle that were able to get vaccinated a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t received any notices from any of the health care providers that I use. There are no notices in my home town newspaper such as “Swine Flu Vaccine Availability Today”.

Last week I met someone from the East Coast of the US –with no health insurance who said they would not be getting the vaccine. I mean, they can’t afford to be sick, right?

I can think of at least three reasons to get this vaccine:

  1. Selfish: You can’t afford the time or money to chance being sick
  2. Altruistic: You don’t want others to get sick because you are ill
  3. Health: You believe that vaccines work and this seems like good preventative care. (a no-brainer, right?)

A previous post alluded to the problems with both vaccine production and the fuzzy numbers around how many doses are being produced. I also worry that in the “best health care system in the world” people are drifting away from understanding the science underlying vaccines. And that others say ” I understand how you feel.”

What are the long term public health implications?

To learn more about the first vaccine ever-visit this site about smallpox. It was in the 18th century.

60 Votes-Senate Dems Take the First Step November 23, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous.
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At 8pm Eastern over the weekend, the Senate took an important vote to move the health care bill forward. They corralled the two Independents (Sanders-NH and Lieberman-CT) as well. Deals were made, funds were promised and the last male Senator (Nelson) and the last two female Senators (Lincoln, Landrieu) extracted promises or funds for their constituents in exchange for their yes votes.

Nelson got the anti-trust exemption removed, Lincoln got millions in annual abstinence funds restored and Landrieu got millions for New Orleans.

Did any of these Senators that traded their votes on opening a debate think about what was best for the country? Abstinence programs don’t work, New Orleans may need the funds and the anti-trust exemption removal was probably introduced so that it could be traded away. But really, what about the President’s objectives here (and those of many Americans)?

  1. Covering all or as close to all Americans as possible
  2. Bending the curve on the health care delivery system
  3. Changing the fee for service way of thinking
  4. Increasing access to affordable primary care for all Americans (not access to care in the ER for the uninsured) a “public option”
  5. Changing the cost of prescription drugs

Were these last few Senators thinking about mutual obligation and health care as a public good-or were they gussying up the holidays for the home town voters? What about their obligations as Democrats, to the President, but most of all to you and to me?

The Pink Glove Dance November 23, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, Just For Fun.
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Produced by employees at Providence Mt St Vincent in Portland, this video will cheer you up and perhaps inspire you to think about pink gloves as a happy thing! Their purpose was breast cancer awareness-pass it on!

BlogCatalog November 22, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Healthonymous.
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Womens Health Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Risk: Relative vs. Absolute November 22, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance, huh?.
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What is the risk of getting cancer? There are two types of risk, absolute and relative.

If you are over 35, try out the breast cancer risk assessment tool at cancer.gov. There are also tools for colorectal cancer and melanoma.

Also from cancer.gov:

Absolute risk is the number of people who will get the disease within a certain time period. Absolute risk gives an actual number of people with that risk factor who will get the condition. You also may see this expressed as, for example, “10 out of 100 people.”

Relative risk compares the chance that a person with a certain risk factor will get cancer to the chance that a person without the same risk factor will get cancer. When you hear that someone is at “high” risk or “low” risk of getting cancer, it is referring to that person’s relative risk.

Relative risk is usually shown as a percent or ratio. The ratio is based around the value of 1. A value above 1 means a higher risk; a value below 1 means a lower risk.

There are different kinds of risk factors, they include genetic (I have a second degree relative with a cancer history-2 generations away), environmental (secondhand smoke exposure and sun), biological (gender, age, race, skin complexion), or behavioral (what I eat and drink, how much exercise I get).

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had no risk factors. No first degree relatives, (in fact I didn’t know that I had any relatives with cancer until I was asked the family history question for the first time), no second-hand smoke exposure-unless you count flying in the 70’s) , didn’t come from an ethnic group at higher risk etc. Regular readers will recall that I do not have the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations either. Cancer was a (more…)

Weekly Expenses-ER bill November 20, 2009

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Diary, Health Insurance, Money.
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The other shoe finally dropped. Remember my visit to the emergency room (ER)  in October?  Yesterday I received three actual envelopes in my mail-two out of the three were health care related. You can tell that the health care business is important to the Postal Service.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=mail+delivery&iid=5672705″ src=”b/4/6/c/The_Expected_Budget_87b9.jpg?adImageId=7691531&imageId=5672705″ width=”380″ height=”260″ /]

One envelope was the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for the hospital charges from my 3-4 hour visit to receive IV antibiotics for an infection (cellulitis), treated as if it was MRSA. This was the balance of the charges.

The bill (before the PPO adjustments) was $1282.13. This is in addition to the charge (previously noted) for the physician.  This was for the second visit in one day for a cellulitis (skin infection) that was treated as if it was MRSA. I was in intense pain, which probably was nerve pain from the inflammation.

Part of my bill was .23 for pharmacy services. I do not recall what that was. I may spend more than .23 in someone’s time and query the company as to what that was for.

I think that if the burning, sharp, recurrent pain in my head had been described differently by me, (and interpreted differently by the physician) that I might not have needed to go back to the ER, because it would have been treated correctly on the first visit-7 hours before.

My share of the bill is $149.09 (after the $100 ER co-pay).

Weekly Expenses: $149.09

Better Read Than Dead! Keeping abreast of the new guidelines November 19, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous, huh?.
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How many mammograms have I had in my life? At least 26, and most likely between 30-40. I want my mammograms read and to have them be part of our new health insurance plan. The United States Preventative Services Task Force has issued new guidelines for women to follow for breast cancer screening. Their position is that too much screening generates excess anxiety, testing, false positives, and doesn’t save enough lives to warrant screening for women between the ages of 40-49.

If I had followed that advice, given my two cancer diagnoses, I might not be here to write this blog.

At 40, I had survived a cancer with a 2cm tumor (found by self-examination at age 26) and a smaller more aggressive cancer at 39, found by routine screening for a cancer survivor. I did not have any false positives, unnecessary biopsies or guilt. Anxiety, of course.

As Lynne K. Varner wrote in The Seattle Times on November 18-

“Women are not responsible for false-positive readings. The solution is not to take away a woman’s choice to have  a mammogram, but rather to work to reduce the rate of false readings.”

In the New York Times on October 20 of this year,  Dr, Otis Brawley, of the American Cancer Society, was quoted:

“The issue here is, as we look at cancer medicine over the last 35 or 40 years, we have always worked to treat cancer or to find cancer early,” Dr. Brawley said. “And we never sat back and actually thought, ‘Are we treating the cancers that need to be treated? ”

(more…)

Coming Soon: “Better Read Than Dead” November 17, 2009

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Healthonymous.
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Frequent Flyer keeps you abreast of the latest advice for women.

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