Health Information

Gotta’ love the “Clicklist”….

There has been a lot of talk about this new Walmart convenience feature they call “Walmart Pickup Grocery” that allows customers to shop on-line for their groceries and then go to Walmart at an appointed time and pick them up. You apparently just go to a designated pick-up location, stay in your car and a Walmart employee brings your ordered groceries out and puts them in your car and you pay the employee for the groceries. Not being a Walmart grocery shopper I didn’t give the whole idea a whole lot of thought. Then a short time back I heard that Kroger, the grocery franchise I use, was starting to offer a similar service at some of its locations. The information again registered but still I gave it little thought at the time.

But here recently, given my COPD condition and the fact that I do live alone, I began feeling a more urgent concern about how I was going to get my groceries when it became much harder for me to get around. I have pretty much always assumed I would probably have to hire someone to come in at least weekly and do my shopping for me. And of course nothing is free so I was wondering what I would have to pay for a service like that. It’s disconcerting and frustrating to think that they’ll surely come a time when you can’t even do your own grocery shopping.

Then more recently one of my sisters mentioned in casual conversation that one of her daughter’s had begun using the grocery pickup service at her local Kroger store in the town where they lived. My sister also noted to me that even though they are offering the service, it’s only at certain stores. So I told her I would have to check it out and see if any store close to me was offering it. Turns out the local store I used wasn’t offering the service but another Kroger only a little over a mile away was so that was good to know.

Now I already had an on-line account with Kroger because the pharmacy I use for all my medication needs is the Kroger pharmacy located at the store where I do all my grocery shopping. And while on the subject I can’t say enough good things about them. I really like the pharmacy and their friendly staff. Anyway, as is quite normal these days you can go on-line and set up an an account with Kroger and then you are able to track all your medication needs and transactions on-line for your pharmacy.

So… a few days ago I thought I would take a look on the Internet and see if I could learn more about Kroger’s grocery shopping service which they call “Clicklist”. I signed on to my Kroger account and noticed a tab at the top of the page that read “Order On Line” so I clicked on the tab and was immediately taken to the Kroger store closest to me which offered the service. Well, as I looked over their website I was a bit taken back after clicking on one of the site’s menu items titled “My Recent Purchases” because it appeared to contain every item I had purchased at least over the past 6 months. The “screen capture” below (click to enlarge for a much better resolution) shows a portion of the webpage I am referring to along with several of the items I typically purchase….

Then I realized they were getting and tracking my shopping habits through my Kroger Savers Card which they scan each time I shop to apply any current savings on the specific item I have purchased that day. That gave me a bit of a eerie feeling to know they knew that much about me. Since virtually every item I normally purchased was listed in the “My Recent Purchases” section, that mean’t if I were shopping I could finish selecting my weekly grocery items in a few short minutes, submit my order and be done. So, that’s exactly what I did. I had to see if this service could satisfy my needs due to my health issues and facilitate my future mobility issues.

I made an appointment for the next morning to pick up my order between 9 and 10 AM and then submitted my order. Shortly thereafter I got a confirming email. Then the following morning I drove to the store and went to the designated pick-up area and parked. There was a sign posted there giving you a specific phone number to call. When you called that number you let them know you were there and give them the number of the parking slot you were parked in which was also posted on the sign along with the phone number. In a short time they came out with your groceries on a cart, you paid by credit card, in my case they then put the groceries in my trunk as requested (no tipping by the way) and that was it…. I headed back to the house.

Should note at this point that this service is not free. At the store I am using, for your first three orders there is no charge for the service. After that, each time you use the “Clicklist” service there is a $4.95 charge and as previously noted, there is no tipping the grocery clerk who brings out the groceries and loads your car.

After arriving back home I unloaded the car and checked out my groceries. I was completely pleased. It was as though I had done the shopping myself. Had even ordered ¾ lb. of shaved smoked turkey from the Deli and it was perfectly cut and packaged.

Finally I should note with regard to purchasing of fresh beef, I am quite particular and for this type of service the purchasing of beef was my biggest concern. Having someone one else pick my beef selections was a bit unnerving. I noticed while doing the on-line shopping that their sirloin tip roasts were on sale and since it’s pretty hard to screw up on a roast I ordered one. The one they chose for me is shown in the adjacent photo (click on image to enlarge). The choice wasn’t all that bad although I’m not sure it is the one I would have chosen but obviously without the selections in front of me it is hard to say. At any rate I cooked the roast yesterday and it was really good.

I suppose this is a rather lengthy post but I just thought that someone in the same boat as I am with regard to lack of future mobility that had never considered this new service being offered by so grocers might like a bit of a review from an old person who had actually tried it. I did like the service and there is no doubt that I will use it a number of times in the future. The only roadblock I foresee is if something were to happen to my ability to drive a car. 🙁

More brief notes on getting old at my house….

As I get older and begin to suffer from one affliction or another, I find myself beginning to have to do things (or rather not do things) that I don’t particularly like when it comes keeping the inside of my home as I like. With the affliction of COPD I find that I can, after some 70 years or so, no longer make up my bed without it being a major under taking. And changing the sheets is totally out of the question. I imagine that I never paid much attention to what all went in to changing the sheets on a bed when I was in better shape. But there is a lot of pulling, pushing, lifting, and tugging that goes on during that insignificant household chore. But if you have COPD, it’s like a none-stop six-hour workout at the local gym.

Of course early on in my life my mother was my primary motivation for making up my bed. Then when I went into the military they had made an art out of making up the bed, not to mention the dire straits one would be in if they neglected that artistic chore. I guess it was after the military when I was living alone did I realize just how indoctrinated I had become. Now making the bed was a bit of a household obsession and my life was in a bit of a tilt if my bed wasn’t made up and just so-so.

And so we fast-forward some 45 years or so from that point and here we are in a virtual nightmare experiencing bed-lam having to do with an unmade bed every morning!! I am about four days into a new routine which involves little to nothing as relates to now the making of my bed. Gently, very gently pull the bedspread up covering the bed like your covering a dead body… then you leave the room. Bed made (Well sorta, but not really)!

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And while were on the subject, I’ll turn my attention to the kitchen where I have had to deal with yet other issues. I do a majority of my cooking in cast iron which can be quite heavy. Bending over to get it out of the cabinet just under the stove top and lifting it up onto the stove I found was becoming quite the taxing chore. Then I realized that storing such cooking necessities on the stove top in lieu of underneath the stove top in a cabinet would furnish me some relief.

stove-top-with-skillets

So now I find as an elder that not only do I have to deal with the health issues that have come my way but my organized and otherwise well kept home must suffer along with a measure of my pride. I suppose there are yet other surprises I will have yet to encounter before I find myself leaving for Cemeteryville. Oh, for the joy of it all… 🙁

All appliances aren’t just for the kitchen….

I spent pretty much my whole life referring to appliances as things such as refrigerators, washing machines or stoves. Now at the ripe old age of 74 there are yet even more appliances that one may come to know. They fall into a new category of appliances I find myself completely unfamiliar with, in my case most recently it has been a nebulizer and an oxygen concentrator. These are not things I recall being mentioned on any of my favorite television cooking shows. No… these are appliances that I have been introduced to me compliments of my COPD and are more commonly known as medical appliances.

Last Thursday, based on an order submitted by my pulmonary doctor to Alliance Home Care, a nebulizer was delivered to my home for daily to include a specific type of medication. Turns out this is a fairly common medical appliance especially well known among Asthma sufferers but completely unknown to me. When I was a kid I remember the old room vaporizers but this one is of the small hand-held variety it seems.

This device, which dispenses your required medication in a mist form to be inhaled, consists of a small compressor, hand-held dispenser & medication container, a mouthpiece and a length of plastic tubing for connecting to the compressor. The compressor is quite small at approximately 8″ wide, some 5″ deep and about 4″ tall.

nebulizer-combo-picture

My next new medical appliance which follows the nebulizer was just delivered yesterday afternoon. Once again I was called by Alliance Home Care and they were notifying me that my pulmonary doctor wanted me start using oxygen at night while I was sleeping so they needed to bring by some additional equipment. Well based on what I thought I knew about that equipment, I assumed I was going to get some sort of oxygen tank mounted on a cart with all sorts of trailing tubes, some of which would be emitting some sort of cold mist looking similar to a mini-rocket launch platform.

everflo-q-oxygen-concentrator-5-liter-308Heh, heh… well what they show up with is this small unit as shown just to the left that looks like a small piece of luggage similar to something you would see being pulled around an airport. And it doesn’t hold oxygen and dispense it as needed. No, the damn thing ‘makes’ or more correctly stated, extracts the oxygen already in the room, concentrates it and dispenses it through tubing and the nose piece which I am more familiar with. The concentrated oxygen is then breathed into your system.

Now, admittedly there was a little more dread for me with regard to this appliance and its use. Especially since it was to be used while I was sleeping. For me I saw the first challenge as being able to sleep with a foreign object stuck in my nose. And surely I have to sleep totally on my back, otherwise I would be waking up at some point in the night tangled in an array of plastic tubing with  no idea as to where the nose piece part is anymore. And of course there was a noise I would have to get use to although sometimes mundane, constant noises are a welcome by many sleepers since it drowns out most extraneous noises. Even without this new noise maker, I already run a small fan in my room exactly for that purpose every night.

Well, much to my pleasant surprise, I experienced nothing even close to that last night as I pursued my first night sleeping with the device. Even when I initially put in the nose piece and pulled the tubing around and behind the ears did I hardly even notice it. As far as sleeping I was able to turn to either side at any time I desired and within no time at all lost all realization that the tubing was there nor did the tubing at any point tangle up with me or anything else. Ended up getting my normal full night of rest… 🙂

And so the world goes on for a time longer. I’m reasonably sure these new medical appliances will not be the last but who knows. As they say… growing old is not for wimps! 🙁

I had a sleepover night before last….

Well no, it wasn’t as though I ‘scored’ as they often say. Not to say some 74 year old’s aren’t up to such things but alas, that’s one group I cannot attest to being a part of.

No, my sleepover pal was a ‘Wrist-Oximeter” which was prescribed by my new pulmonary doctor and delivered by “Alliance Home Care Equipment”. It is a device that is worn on the wrist as shown in the photo below with a monitoring device attached to your index finger that monitors primarily your oxygen saturation level along with your pulse. Although the device can be worn at any time, I was required to wear mine one night, overnight, to monitor my oxygen levels while sleeping.

wrist-oximeter

Alliance home care picked the device back up yesterday morning, took it back to their office where they downloaded the information gathered by the oximeter and emailed the data to the doctor for her review. So now I guess I just wait for a call from the doctor or one of her nurses with the results with regard to any further followup required.

Took delivery of a ‘nebulizer’ this past evening again delivered by Alliance home care. This is a device normally used to treat asthma patients as I understand it so we will see what that is all about in the next day or two I suppose. Will see if that turns out to be a greater challenge than the wrist-oximeter…. 😕

Pulmonologist or bust….

female-doctor-looking-at-x-rayWell tomorrow will be my first visit with a pulmonary doctor. My primary care doctor noted to me on my last visit to see him last month that it was time to see a pulmonologist for a more precise evaluation of where I stand with my COPD.

I’m actually looking quite forward to the visit since I hope to get a good evaluation of where I stand ‘stage wise’ with this emphysema. My perception of its progression and an actual evaluation could be at some odds with each other, whether good or bad.

The one thing about this disease when you go to see a doctor, you don’t expect they will prescribe a new medication that will put you on the road to recovery because that can’t happen with a degenerative disease. It seems I go simply for the sole purpose of finding out a more definitive estimate of when the train I’m on will be leaving for Cemeteryville.

Bucket List Item…. Clean out the old man’s attic!

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Okay, it is definitely a given that cleaning out one’s attic is not an activity you might find on a great many ‘bucket lists’ but it did find its way on to mine. You see dining in Paris, kayaking down the Amazon River or climbing driving to the top of Pike’s Peak may be more common ‘bucket list’ items but for me, well it would be the preparing and packing for those trips and not the trip itself where the pleasure would be extracted.

All this is predicated on the fact that I am suffering from a self-diagnosed case of OCD. No, it’s not the more familiar kind of OCD known as ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’. In my case it is an off-shoot disease known as ‘Organizational Compulsive Disorder’. Any sign of disarray sends one into a fit of organizational rage. And if you are planning on moving to Cemeteryville in the not so distant future, how in good conscience can you leave such clutter and mayhem to your beneficiaries.

It seems logical that if someone is suffering from OCD (Organizational Compulsive Disorder) as I apparently am, it therefore follows that one would certainly take great pains in preparing for their own death. And over the past year or so I have gone to some length doing just that. It all began pretty much with my attic which has been the recipient of who knows what all since 1959. Yep, it’s been the family home for that long and I decided to clean out the attic come hell or high water. A patched together composite of my attic can be seen above and clicking on the photograph will give one a much larger view of its sad condition before cleaning out.

Now, as to the cleaning out itself, well that actually fell to my sister and brother-in-law for the most part (bet their wishing about now I had retired in some rural area in northern Alaska). Well, I was just physically unable to offer much help and they were gracious enough to offer their services. Needing and having to have help to do certain things when you have been independent and living on your own for as long as I have creates yet another issue when your growing old but that we’ll leave for another post.

As the attic refuse began to accumulate in one room or another it was evident that I was becoming eligible to qualify for one of those “hoarder” reality television programs. I may end up with a trashed living area but by golly I was going to have a clean attic, fitting for someone who is meticulous about their death preparation.

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A day or so later I got the brainstorm that I should photograph all this stuff. Why? Well, then I would have photographs of it to post on the Internet should it decide to sell it or give it away. So that is exactly what I did. I have already given away a lot of old picture frames, tons of old mat boards for framing photos and a number of those old cake and cookie storage tins.

And as for the attic itself, well there were a few remnants of life still lying around but for the most part she had been gutted of all her trash and treasure as is reflected in the composite photo below….

cleaned-out-attic-composite-01

I guess that is pretty much it at the moment. Other posts will certainly follow regarding this OCD project. I am still slowly but surely getting my house back in some as-semblance of order. Taking on this project has been quite taxing for someone with organizational issues. In order to clean out the attic I have to trash my home’s living area. Perhaps this whole thing was not as well thought out as it should have been?

A true miracle or just simply serendipity?

It’s that time of year for us Medicare folks when we are given the opportunity to change our insurance plans or jump ship to another insurance carrier entirely. So from now through mid-December many of us will begin finding our mail boxes inundated with all those offers from all those other insurance companies touting the glory of their plans. Well a few days ago I got my “2017 Renewal Information” booklet from my Medicare Part D carrier who happens to be Humana.

humana-2017-renewal-booklet-cover

I’ve been on Medicare some ten years now and they have, for better or worse, been my Part D carrier that whole period. And each year when I receive my renewal booklet for the upcoming year it goes without saying that the monthly premium always seems to go up. Imagine that huh? Well it would seem rather than getting that old generic rate hike this year I would experience the miracle that was referenced in the title of this post. My monthly premium for this year will actually decrease $2.10 as you may note in the page below (click to enlarge the page).

humana-2017-renewal-booklet-rate-page-hi-lite

Now we could probably debate whether this is a true miracle or simply serendipity till the cows come home but given the fact we are talking about health insurance and the year is 2016, I don’t think there should be any question that this can not be anything but a miracle. Medical insurance never goes down…. we all know that! 🙁

Arkansas Loses Lock on 1st Place Obesity Ranking

Adult Obesity - United States

According to the latest data released as late as yesterday, Arkansas failed to hold on to its 1st place ranking in the adult obesity ranking held in 2014. The new rankings compiled for the year 2015 shows Arkansas as having fallen to 6th place behind Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Taking over the Number 1 spot is Arkansas’ sister state Louisiana. Well make no mistake about Louisiana, they indeed serve up some great vittles down yonder in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. The top five ahead of Arkansas could all be said to enjoy similar cuisine I suppose.

I guess as a bit of a side note I should hi-lite the fact that I, myself have lost some 10 lbs this year so when the 2016 rankings come out I can only hope I am not the reason Arkansas falls completely out of the top ten.

You can go to “The State of Obesity” website and view their interactive map along with the overall ranking of all the states. Poor old Colorado came in sucking hind tit registering in last place. Well, there’s always next year Colorado….

Arkansas, the worst state to live in?

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Whoa now big boy…. that’s a quote! That’s not my own personal opinion. That’s according to a piece written by Scott Cohn who develops in-depth features, special reports and documentaries for CNBC and CNBC.com, including the influential annual series America\’s Top States for Business, which he created in 2007.

At any rate that’s the news that greeted me first thing this morning as I was reviewing the latest news on some of my personal news sources. Reading that your home state is considered the worst state in the United States to live in is not the news one cares to be greeted by first thing in the morning but this morning that was indeed the case. I’m sure many of my fellow Arkansans will be just as shocked as I am when they find out about their poor choice of states to live in. 🙂

During my tenure of some almost 75 years on this planet, during both my military service and civilian career I have lived and/or worked in several states to include Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas. And as for Arkansas, well I was born and raised here and that is where my family has always lived. As reflected in the referenced news release, the worst ten (10) states to live in are listed below with Number 10 being the best of the worst and Number 1 being the worst of the worst. And it seems I have lived in most of them. For more detailed information and the news release itself, you may click “here”. Additional information is also available in links available in the article itself.

  1. Arkansas
  2. Missouri
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Louisiana
  5. Tennessee
  6. Indiana
  7. Mississippi
  8. Alabama
  9. Kentucky
  10. Nevada

According to the author and the statistics used in the compilations, Arkansas’ “Quality of Life” ranking was 44th out of 50; it’s primary weaknesses were crime rate, air quality and health citing the high rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and it was concluded that Arkansas had ‘no strengths’ whatsoever since it was rated at the bottom in every metric used in the ratings.

When I decided to go into semi-retirement and move back to Arkansas it was certainly a conscious decision but admittedly, I have always been partial to Missouri since living there. I have to honestly say it was probably in total the state I most enjoyed living in of all the places I have lived including my home state of Arkansas. But if you refer to the list above you can see I’m not very good at picking favorite places to live since Missouri is only saved from last place of the worst places to live by the grace of Arkansas!

Then there is the Pacific Northwest which I have almost always been attracted to although I have never actually lived or even visited there. But that’s a place I shall never see, at least not in person. But then that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet I suppose, so we could visit places via Cyberspace we couldn’t otherwise visit!

But that is all water under the bridge at this point of my life. Here in Arkansas is where I live and here in Arkansas is where I will die. And although I haven’t as of yet run across any statistics addressing the fact, I hope Arkansas ranks a little better as far as the best states to die in, or maybe I should say buried in. I suppose as long as Arkansas is ranked somewhere above “Boot Hill” I’ll be gratefully dead (no pun intended)! 🙂

They Call It Ecchymosis….

They call it Ecchymosis…. I call it aggravating or tarnished vanity run amuck!

You see them often on an elderly person, those reddish looking bruises or blood spots. There are various medical terms given them, primarily based on an individual’s underlying health issues that may be the cause. Others of us like me get them due to the thinning of the epidermis thickness or walls of our veins.

There is absolutely no pain or discomfort experienced by these reddish black splotches but I do find them somewhat embarrassing in a sense. Other people certainly notice them and are certainly not attracted to them in any measure and can be noticeably turned off by them just as I am.

I seem to get the damn things on a regular basis, sometimes just from a simple little bump of the hand against something. And if you do bump your hand, you know they’re coming although it will take several minutes to a half-hour for it to fully manifest itself. Sometimes you look down and see one of those big red splotches and are clueless as to where it came from or how you got it. I even get them from time to time just from pulling my hand out of the pocket of my blue jeans. It’s just ridiculous and you can sometimes get your dandruff up a bit over them!

Just to share a couple with you, this first one I got simply trying to open the hood on my car the other day….

Hand after opening car hood

This second one had a little more ominous origin although completely painless. I had a small Melanoma surgically removed from my forearm a few years ago and when they removed the IV they had in my hand this was my reward….

Hand after Melanoma Surgery

I know, I know…. it looks really horrible but your hand actually feels fine, it’s simply a cosmetic thing. It took this one seemingly forever to disperse. And when you go out in public, you just want to wear a pair of gloves or keep your hands in your pocket to eliminate all the stares you are sure to garnish from other people. Normally however, these splotches like the one in the first picture disappear within a couple of weeks.

Okay, guess I’m finished complaining for the moment, at least about these things anyway. Just another one of those fun things we elderly folks get to enjoy in our day to day activities.