Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cruel and Unusual

Ohio thinks so.

I went for my follow-up endoscopy this morning. I will admit I wasn’t in a good mood from the very beginning. First, the endoscopy was suppose to be two weeks ago but the day before I found out the hospital now expects full deductible the day of service. I offered partial payment, I was told sorry we want more. I wrote an e-mail to complain about my treatment and was fully aware to have money this morning. Second, the hospital layout is confusing and signage sucks. This is a newly acquired hospital but within the same system which I have sought treatment for six years. So even though this was my third visit there in a month I’m still getting lost. So once I made it to registration at 6 AM, I was irritated, hungry, tired and cold.

I finally get registered pay the balance of my deductible and the nurse calls me back to prep area. They do a pregnancy test and tell me change. Oh, you know how nice I thought it was that this hospital had oversized chairs in the waiting area? Well, they did not have a large gown. The nurse had to go over to another department and borrow one. So I change and get in bed. Which was GREAT because for past procedures they have tried to start the IV and then have me wait more until the exam room was ready then want me to change clothes etc with and IV in my arm.

Here’s my IV issue. I have ONE good vein. It’s a very good one, but if you miss it then well I don’t want to think about that. I was told of this “good” vein when I was 11 years old and being tested as a possible bone marrow donor for my sister. The guy who took my blood (probably the first time I had ever had blood drawn) told me “you have a very good vein here, remember to tell people where it is in the future”. And that I have. Today, however, they refused to listen.

My nurse and his assistant could not see or feel the vein. I’m not sure how that is, but they decide to have the anesthesiologist come in and try. Now I have been in the hospital numerous times, had many procedures…my IV access is non-existent except for this 1 vein. Over the years people have tried my hands, feet, even my wrists with no luck. As for my wrists, they are OFF LIMITS. I have let them try once and no success no one gets to try again. It’s a mental thing I know, but it’s pointless for them to try given the emotional trauma this would cause me. During longer hospital stays I’ve required a central line, and I’ve even had a medi-port. But my good vein usually holds up for short procedures like today.

So the anesthesiologist said he does not even want “stick me for no reason” since that vein has a valve and can’t take the catheter. I explain to him that it’s been used for IVs numerous times, to which he then says “exactly” it’s over used and won’t work anymore. WTH? At least try!

So he looks at my hands and wants to try for a vein in my center of my wrist. I say no, and I point out a few other spots that people have been successful in the past, not often but yeah this one time someone got an IV to work there. He looks but doesn’t try. Instead he goes for a vein in my hand right below my thumb.

FAIL. <-- Just as I told him…no one has ever gotten an IV in my hands.

At this point another guy came in and started looking as did two female nurse anesthetists students. So I had a guy search each arm and the nursing students putting tourniquets around my ankles looking for a vein on my foot. I’m trying to show them all the other spots and mention that in the past they’ve had to use my neck.

PSA: Needle sticks are contraindicated for lymphedema affected limbs. Not to mention the tourniquets hurt like at muthaf***.

Given the difficulty I didn’t play the lymphedema card, I let them look. But once again, been there done that. People have tried and failed at starting an IV in my foot.

He tries to start one on the inside of my upper right arm. FAIL

I decide to strike a deal. TRY my “1 good vein” and if that doesn’t work I’ll let you go for my wrist. This is HUGE on my part. Oh I added, and if you do my wrist you need to drug me ASAP.

And still he REFUSED to even TRY. His reply “I know it’s not going to take the IV catheter and I don’t want to stick you for no reason.”

Hello what do you think you’ve been doing the past 2 times???

So then the other guy goes for a vein in my left foot. I cringed from the initial pain, but it was nothing I hadn’t endured before. But then he started “the dig” and I scream “OUCH”, I’m also so emotionally upset by all this I start crying. I scream again from the pain and ask that he please stop if it’s not working. He replies “you have to let me get to the vein”. The students are trying to comfort me as I ask a 2nd and 3rd time that he please STOP since it’s obviously not working…just like it has NEVER worked.

He stops.

Again, I offer my neck. The guy has me turn my head and within minutes the IV is in…finally.

During all this the students were asking me questions. One of them was “have you ever had issues with anesthesia?” My reply “only THIS issue”.

I really do not understand why he would not try the ONE area I told him had a good vein, the area that has work 99% of the time. He said I know you know your body, but I know my job. WHATEVER.

After that, everything was smooth. I had the endoscopy but won’t know the results until I see my surgeon next week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perception: Skinny People Aren't Lazy But Overweight People Are

From Medical News Today:

Research at the University of Alberta shows that when a thin person is seen laying down watching television, people assume they're resting. But when people see an overweight person relaxing, it's automatically assumed they're lazy and unmotivated.

Tanya Berry, from the U of A's Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says these stereotypes about overweight people need to be addressed. Berry says just because a person is overweight, it doesn't mean they don't exercise, and just because a person is thin, it doesn't mean they are fit and healthy.

Berry had a group of study participants look at a number of pictures that would flash on a computer screen. After each photo a sedentary word such as "lazy" would appear. After the participants looked at each picture they were asked to say the colour of each word. Berry says when a picture of a thin "couch potato" came up, the participants were quick to say the colour of the word that appeared. But when a photo of an overweight person lying down appeared, the study participants paused. Berry concluded that the slow reaction resulted as the stereotyped thoughts automatically set in, with the participant thinking about the person being lazy rather than thinking about the colour of the word.

Berry says the research is important because stereotypes can influence the way people behave. She believes that more awareness of stereotypes can help people counter the effects. For example, if you're aware that you hold a stereotype about a couch potato you're less likely to be negatively influenced by those stereotypes.

Carmen Leibel
University of Alberta

FOX and ABC refuse to air Lane Bryant Ad

The Huffington Post reported:

Lane Bryant Accuses Fox And ABC Of Refusing To Air Plus-Size Lingerie Ad (VIDEO)
First Posted: 04-21-10 11:34 AM
Updated: 04-22-10 09:29 AM

Plus size clothing retailer Lane Bryant criticized Fox and ABC for refusing to air a sexy lingerie commercial, but later deleted an accusatory post on its Inside Curve blog saying the networks embrace a double standard of beauty.

AdWeek still has some of the text of Lane Bryant's post, which read:

"ABC and Fox have made the decision to define beauty for you by denying our new, groundbreaking Cacique commercial from airing freely on their networks."

The post also claims that ABC "restricted our airtime" and refused to air the spot during Dancing With the Stars, while Fox "demanded excessive re-edits and rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of American Idol, but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy."

The post continues: "Yes, these are the same networks that have scantily-clad housewives so desperate they seduce every man on the block -- and don't forget Bart Simpson, who has shown us the moon more often than NASA, all in what they call "family hour."

"While it's no secret that Victoria's Secret 'The Nakeds' ads are prancing around on major networks leaving little to the imagination, steaming up TV screens and baring nearly everything but their souls, our sultry siren who shows sophisticated sass is somehow deemed inappropriate ... Does this smack of a double standard? Yep. It does to us, too."

What do you think? Let's remember not only do Victoria's Secret commercials air regularly there is also an annual primetime fashion show that airs on CBS.
Here's a comparision:
Lane Bryant

Victoria's Secret  

Perhaps this is just proof that full figured women are sexier than skinny chicks????

Teen Beauty Queen Dies from Stroke

I share this because I had two mini-strokes in my late 20's. I had some risk factors, weight being one of them. This young women didn't seem to have any, unless there was a family history.

Very scary and sad. Grab a tissue before you watch.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I waited.

Since 2002 I’ve been in 6 different hospitals in 5 different cities, the total number of admissions I cannot remember. I would guess close to 20. In addition, I have had 4 upper GI’s, 2 colonoscopies, 2 endoscopies, 1 trans-esophageal endoscope, 1 MRI, 5+ Echocardiograms, 6+ CT scans, 1 medi-port placement, 1 medi-port removal, 1 IVC filter placement, 1 IVC filter removal, 2 hernia repairs, 1 PFO (hole in my heart) closure, 3 right to left shunt studies, a bazillion tiny bubbles injected into my veins.

I’m sure I’m missing a few things.

Last year was a “healthy” year. I met only $53 of my yearly deductible, spent 0 days in the hospital for the first time since 2002. For the record, I had NEVER been in the hospital prior to 2002.

So when asked “why did you wait so long to seek treatment?” I can honestly say I didn’t want to go back ‘there’.

I’m not normally one to avoid treatment. Given my medical history I often seek treatment for the things most normal people wouldn’t worry about. When the scale started to creep back up in 2007 I attributed it to stopping the Topamax. When the regain exceeded the amount I had lost while on Topamax I was more concerned, but I had had the tests and been told everything was o.k. inside. I tried to get things under control on my own. When that didn’t seem to be working and I read that my heartburn could be related to a surgery complication and my regain I decided to seek treatment. I saw my PCP first hoping she could do something for me without tossing me back on the medical rollercoaster. Sadly, her response was “that’s not my area, go see the surgeon”.

So I go.

And here we go again…my year of good health was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's not a love seat.

I accompanied a friend to his CT scan this afternoon. I’ve been to this hospital many times, they have recently remodeled the radiology waiting rooms and it was a nice surprise to notice they had a few oversized chairs to accommodate larger patients.

It was annoying and even comical to see two normal sized people approach it as if it was a two seater. One very slim couple successfully sat together. Another set of normal sized adult sisters tried their best to sit together, if I didn’t have manners I would have taken a picture of them squeezed (one half on, half off) in the chair. Eventually, one moved to the next chair. Perhaps the chair should have a fatty label on it.

“Your ass must be at least this wide --------- in order to sit here”

Thankfully, my ass fit comfortably in the regular chair. But it’s nice to know hospitals are thinking.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Information Overload

The internet is such a vast resource of information. That is a good and a bad thing. I like that I can research, but then I always seem to do “this” to myself.

My brain is full of information and I’m obsessing about the “what if’s”. I’m a planner and this crap is messing with my plans.

Will I need to have my hiatal hernia repaired?

If they wrap the top portion of the stomach around to fix it, how will they do that with just a RNY pouch?

How long will recovery be?

I’ve read 7 days in the hospital on one site OMG this is more serious than I thought.

I know these are great questions to ask my surgeon…but I want to know NOW. So I post on a hernia forum, and the one reply I get back FROM A DOCTOR is that the acid reflux is most definitely because of my recent weight gain. Thanks doctor, as if I’ve NEVER been told a medical issue is DUE TO MY WEIGHT. And how many years of medical school did you have to complete to make that great conclusion?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No Chubbies.

I'm watching Dr. Phil. The show today is the Ultimate Fat Debate. There is a guest named Michael Karolchyk, owner of the Anti-Gym who is wearing a shirt that says "No Chubbies". He is the perfect example of what I've found in most commercial gyms. If he thinks he is helping the obesity epidemic with that method he is wrong, however, watching his video I see no obese members of his program. This is what I've found in my quest for assistance with an exercise program, gyms and trainers are for skinny people.

First, most machines cannot accommodate obese (morbidly or super morbidly). Treadmills and elliptical machines do have weight limits, and weight machines don't allow room for big legs and bellies. I started my workouts at 500lbs in the water, my swimsuit didn't fit, but I wore shorts and t-shirt over it because I was determined to get in the pool. However, it can be difficult to find a pool with steps; obese people have a difficult time with pool ladders.

Second, personal trainers don't seem to want to help the obese. I did find Matt at the SOMC Life Center to be helpful, but that was a hospital based gym. At Bally's, LA Fitness, etc, they aren't interested in really helping. I sign up and show up; as soon as I mention I have a medical condition that might limit what I can lift I'm deemed "not willing to try". I do try, I never refused to do a workout, but I notice while I'm working out the trainer is looking at other chicks. I later find out he didn't have the machine seat level properly set for my height. I inquire about water workouts and I'm told "they are not a good workout". Never was asked for detailed medical information. While I was on an upper body weight machine he noticed the scars on my arms and asks "are those surgical scars?" Sure are...and even then he didn't ASK for any further information.

I just mentioned this to a friend last week. I would love to partner with a personal trainer/exercise physiologist and develop REAL workout program for someone with lymphedema/lipedema. I live in Miami; there are tons of trainers around here, anyone interested in the challenge?

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I don’t really believe in luck, well I don’t believe I have any luck…except bad luck.

But if you asked me for a lucky number, I’m going to say 7. I just like that number. I’m #7 in my family, born in 1977.

Today I’m 7 years post-op RNY gastric bypass surgery and I am lucky to be alive.

I sometimes have to remind myself of that.

Yesterday, I found myself questioning if surgery was worth having. There I was once again having a diagnostic test, my 5th upper GI in 7 years, and I thought “is this what my future will be? How many tests will I need during my life to check for possible complications of surgery?” Then I went to an appointment with a friend who has lost over 150lbs on his own. The receptionist in the office asked him if he had “the surgery” and he replied, “No, my insurance wouldn’t cover it, so I did it the old fashioned way”. I razzed him a bit about saying that, but honestly it doesn’t bother me because everyone is different.

But it did make me think more about if having weight loss surgery was worth it. And the answer is had I not had surgery and lost the weight I did, when I did, I wouldn’t be here typing this right now. The mini-stroke I had in 2004 would have been a full blown stroke and I would have died in my small town hospital. I have many medical issues and only a few have been a result of surgery.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I had an Upper GI this morning and the preliminary findings were reflux, hiatal hernia, and Barrett's esophagus.

I'd first like to send a big THANK YOU to my insurance company who several years ago denied payment for Protonix which I had been on since 8 months after surgery, only stopping for h-pylori treatment and retesting. Continued taking the rest of the prescription, but upon refill was denied. Oh well, I felt o.k. until a year ago when I found myself popping Tums everyday. My PCP then gave me a sample of Nexium and it helped, so I was approved for a year of it via prescription. Well it doesn't completely work now...and now insurance company you have had to pay for an Upper GI and will be paying for an Endoscopy.

Bet that extra Protonix isn't looking so bad right now.

So because I like "the Google"....

Mayo Clinic recommends lifestyle changes for Barrett's esophagus:
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Why can't I ever have a condition that says...gain weight???
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Yes, I find myself grazing all day to keep the burning in my throat to a mininum.
  • Avoid tightfitting clothes. pants per doctor's orders.
  • Eliminate heartburn triggers. Caffeine...NOOOOO!!!!
  • Avoid stooping or bending. Stooping? So no dropping it like it's hot?
  • Don't lie down after eating. What about while more breakfast in bed. =(
  • Raise the head of your bed. Already sleep on 3 pillows with the top one doubled over.
  • Don't smoke. Other than being smokin' hot...this is not a problem.