Sunday, May 05, 2013

Tune Up

Last few weeks I have spent time in various places medical, having this and that inspected. 

First it was eyes, to deal with my little blind spot. After much squinting and poking and high-tech photography, the consensus was, Why, yes, you do have a little blind spot. We think we know what it is, it's Age-related Macular Degeneration, but we don't know what causes it, there's not really anything we can do about it, come back and let us check it in a month, and good luck.

Don't smoke. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Exercise. 

Then it was the annual visit to the family physician to see if anything I need to worry about has arisen since last time. Apparently not; this blood-work has improved; that one is a little worse; this over here is the same. Probably I shouldn't be eating so much sugar and drinking so much beer, which, I confess, I already knew, since when I cut back on those before, everything on the margin got better. (My triglycerides, which were high several years ago have steadily come down, and when I did an eight-month period of No White Death and held it to a couple beers a week? That level went through the floor ...)

Don't smoke. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Exercise. Cut down on sugar and beer.

Got it.

Oh, my doc said, and now that you are of an age, there are some vaccines you need. Roll up your sleeve, hey? 

I've already had the one for shingles, which I recommend if you've ever had chicken pox, because shingles is absolutely misery. Now I have a sore shoulder to help that I don't catch certain strains of pneumonia. (In the U.S. alone, more people die from pneumococcal disease each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.)

No vaccine is perfect, and they do have side-effects, but they do cut down the odds of catching stuff, and no, there is no link that says vaccines cause autism, I've done the research. Zip.

The fun thing here is that having connected to my medical provider electronically? I was able to get online and access the results of the blood work the same afternoon I visited the doctor. And show a side-by-side comparison of the numbers for the last seven years, too.

Then it was off to the audiologist to check the sonar. Seems it's been four years since I got a check and the last set of hearing instruments. The high frequencies have faded a little more, but mostly the other stuff has held steady. Oh, and by the by, did I know that there are much better gadgets available now and the same price or cheaper than the old ones? Try these on and have a walk about. 

Tooling through the aisles of Costco wearing the borrowed wolf-ears, I found I was able to listen in on conversations by folks two rows over; I could hear the hum of the lights overhead. Oh, and guess what? These new babies are Bluetooth™ functional. If I want, I can get a little repeater the size of a deck of cards and stream my TV, computer, iPad, telephone, or MP3 player directly into my ears.

How science fictional is that? I can sit in my chair and listen to music on my hearing aids.

The drawback is that batteries don't last as long because the doohickies are more powerful. (The receiver is in the ear and not in the body, which makes the instruments smaller than the ones I have, and thus smaller batteries that fade quicker. Maybe five days, they say. Then again, they cost a quarter each, so it might run three bucks a month to operate the pair.)

So how lucky am I? I live in a world where I have catastrophic health insurance and access to doctors and technicians who can address a plethora of health concerns. Not perfect, because some glitches can't be fixed, and the medicare and supplemental insurance doesn't cover everything, but I have choices a lot of folks in the world don't have. Plenty of blessings to count around here.


steve-vh said...

Having experienced my first case of Pneumonia at Xmas, I guarantee I will be getting that vacination!
Some scary sh*t.
Check ebay for those batteries in bulk. Wanted batteries for my ereader light and they're like a $1 each. Bought 100 right from China on ebay for $.11 each.

Steve Perry said...

I dunno about the Chinese stuff -- I don't want my head to explode. (Just saw a story on the news about Viagra going to be sold online by the company because the Chinese fake versions sell so well.

Twenty-five bucks a pill retail for the genuine stuff, I can see why there's a market for the fakes. But some of the Chinese pham is apparently nasty shit and dangerous ...)

steve-vh said...

Valid points