Health “care”

February 13, 2015

I just want to say…I really love giving all of my money to Fairview Health Services for my primary care. I mean, they deserve it. They always answer the phone right away and get me in for appointments quickly. They are so fast and efficient at RETURNING phone calls too, it’s amazing. I never have to call multiple times and repeat myself to several different customer service representatives/nurses/who-the-hell-knows-who-I’m-even-talking-to. No, of course not. If I call and leave a message for a nurse to call me back, she doesn’t forget me and ignore my message(s) and then never return my call until I have to call again, repeatedly taking up more time and effort and energy from my day(s). They are so considerate and on top of things and that’s why I happily give them large sums of my hard-earned money.

The nurses also never get any of my information wrong, like the medications I’ve had in the past, the history of my health issues, nor do they ignore the fact that I have a chronic illness–which makes primary care a bit more of a challenge than care for your “normal,” usually-healthy person. No, no–Fairview staff understand this and treat me with consideration and respect whenever I’m dealing with an additional illness or extra pain on top of living with the miserable symptoms and frustrations of RA.

So, let’s see here: I’ve had to go to my primary care clinic and urgent care 4-5 times within the last month, I think. Each visit costs me approximately $175.00 out of my pocket. I’d stop and do the math right now but it seems like a large enough amount and Fairview deserves as much as they can get for their excellent care, of course. So why even keep track? You know, I could probably start writing out insanely large checks each month or just send them my credit card to give some of their staff bonuses (especially the CEOs and Administrators) to help encourage and ensure the continuation of such personal, patient-driven, and fantastic care.

Might as well, right?

Pain without pain relief

February 3, 2015

I’ve been having a flare-up for the last three days or so in both feet and ankles, hands, and my right wrist. My shoulder too, I think (sometimes it’s so hard to tell which pain is which). And, in great frustration (and pain), I’m out of pain medication. Once again these new, stricter FDA regulations on narcotics are causing me additional and unnecessary suffering. And I know I’m not the only one.

So, sorry for complaining, but I think this issue needs to be talked about. I’d also like to point out that if I had easier access to pain treatment (which is obviously legitimate and not abusive), I would not be missing work this week. I’m losing. My bank account is losing. Society/the economy is losing. And my sweet kindergarten students are losing their teacher.

Here’s a good opinion piece I read today from The Boston Globe by Donald N.S. Unger:

“My Chronic Pain Isn’t A Crime”

This hits home, unfortunately.

$(*#*fkhd#$mw*$!!!!

September 23, 2014

Apparently everyone in the health care field is incompetent today. About to go punch out someone at Target pharmacy right now.

That’s all.

Opinions

August 18, 2014

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Hello from beautiful North Carolina! I’ve been here since August 12th, initially for a medical appointment at Duke University Medical Center with an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist/surgeon. The appointment was a huge let-down, to put it mildly. But I’m glad that I decided to extend my stay and make a holiday of this trip. I’ve been staying on an incredible little island called Ocracoke, which is part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks since last Friday night. I really lucked out in choosing this place, as well as the cute and charming B&B I randomly found online. I’ve been so impressed with the island, the village, the B&B, the beaches. Everything.

You can read more about my Duke and NC experience in the post I recently wrote for RheumatoidArthritis.net:

“First, Second, 20th Opinions”

Tomorrow is my last full day here and I’m sad thinking about it. I’m not ready to go back home! I love the ocean so much and I have to say that island life certainly agrees with me. Alone time is something that I’ve been severely lacking for several months; I didn’t realize how much I needed this vacation.

NOT invisible

April 28, 2014

You know what, I do have some good news to share–I’m not totally consumed with whining and venting about this miserable flare-up that’s going on now (thank God for that, right?).

THE GOOD NEWS: I recently got assigned to write another article for Arthritis Self-Management magazine! The topic is “invisible illnesses.” I’ll be interviewing people who have different kinds of invisible illnesses, not just RA, and how having such a disease affects their lives–and the lives of others around them (family, friends, coworkers, employers, etc.). This “invisible illness” topic is something that’s really important to me not only because it personally affects my life in huge ways, but I know that so many other people are stuck in difficult situations because of it too.

How do you get people to understand what you’re going through when you look “normal” on the outside? How do you avoid being discriminated against because of your illness if you do decide to open up about it with others? How do you find a balance that works? Either people don’t take you and your illness seriously enough, or they judge you because of it. It’s a fine line and I think that many people don’t know how to deal with it–neither the person with the disease nor the caregiver/friend/partner/family member.

For the past 16 years, my default mode has mostly been keeping my mouth shut about my disease while trying to continue pushing forward, and living as normal a life as possible. The danger with this approach is it can lead to intense feelings of isolation and frustration, which I often do feel. I don’t know. Despite living with RA for so many years, I don’t have the answers or feel like I know what I’m doing most of the time. But I’m looking forward to talking with others who also understand what it’s like living with an invisible illness and hearing about their experiences. I’m also excited to be able to spread more awareness about this issue. There is a weird stigma and sense of taboo attached to talking about chronic illnesses, and especially chronic pain. It’s frightening and uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s a real problem. There are too many people out there whose pain and struggles are still invisible.

KEEP ON LIVIN’

April 28, 2014

KEEP ON LIVIN’! KEEP ON LIVIN’! KEEP ON LIVIN’…keeps shouting in my head. Well, I did just finish watching The Punk Singer (2013) again (love it!). This Le Tigre song is a catchy tune, but it’s also not a bad mantra to have looping over and over again in my mind at the moment.

Keep on livin’ –easy, right? No. I’m still going through a bad RA flare-up despite taking 30 mg of prednisone for over two weeks. My right foot and ankle are killing me and not much is helping. I have ice strapped to my foot most hours of the day. I’ve got my ankle wrapped in ace bandages and tape and I’m trying to elevate it wherever I am (which is not easy to do when you’re in public). I also took all last week off from work (and today) to try to rest and stay off my feet, despite feeling guilty for doing that–that I was letting my employer, coworkers and myself down.

Well. What can I do? More phone tag with my doctor’s office and nurse. More medications. More MRI scans. More unanswered questions. Desperation elimination diets. Acupuncture? Meditation? Drinking binge? I have no control. And that’s one of the main things I hate about having RA flare-ups–the disease is in absolute control during these times. I don’t know how long this is going to last and I don’t know how much or little pain is going to come from it. The scariest thing is not knowing if it’s going to go away or if I’ll be stuck with a new permanent disability. I keep trying to tell myself to calm down and not panic and not fall into despair because that won’t help anything. And as cheesy as it might sound for me to say this–I am simply trying to just keep on living right now. Living would be a lot easier, though, if my doctor, or someone, could figure out how to help me get better.

 

Arthritis Walk recap

October 6, 2013

The annual Arthritis Walk, September 14, 2013, Edina, Minnesota

The annual Arthritis Walk, September 14, 2013, Edina, Minnesota

I’m sorry I’m so late posting this! Things have been a bit crazy in my life (see previous posts). The Arthritis Walk a few weekends ago was a great time and the weather was perfect and beautiful for it. Lots of people came out to participate in the walk and to support arthritis funding for research and to help those who suffer from the disease. It’s always inspiring and motivating to be involved in these types of events because you’re surrounded by positive, energetic people who are all passionate about arthritis issues. Many of the people involved also have some form of arthritis themselves, so it’s nice to be able to talk to people who can understand what you go through living with the disease. All-in-all, a fantastic event! Lots of money was raised, people got outdoors and came together to exercise and cheer each other on. As always, it was fun for me to walk around snapping photos of the walkers and other stuff going on at the walk. And, even though I decided at the very last minute to register as a fundraiser myself for the walk, I managed to raise over $200. Awesome! Thank you to everyone who donated and supported the walk — I really appreciate it.

If you wanted to donate to the walk and didn’t have time, you can still do it! You can make a donation on my page or you can donate on the main Arthritis Walk page too, I think.

Here’s my fundraising page again if you want to contribute something: http://awtwincities.kintera.org/angelalundberg

And here’s the link to the photos I took at the walk on the (Upper Midwest Region) Arthritis Foundation’s Flickr page:

ARTHRITIS WALK 2013 PHOTOS

Hope you like them!

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