Monday, July 9, 2018



 I wanted to feel healthier - acid reflux was bothering me, and I'd had a goal weight posted on the refrigerator door for a year...unsuccessfully. 
 Every article about reflux mentioned losing weight if you need to.   

Then suddenly I read:

"Stress is the main cause of weight gain around our middles..." 

The writer is a dietitian and author.  www.marilyn

 For once, I decided to trust a dietitian. I read more and decided I could handle enough of the suggestions to make myself a plan. 

 And the idea probably grabbed me because it lets me make the daily decisions.  Now on the fridge is a full page, closely spaced list of ideas, many hers - including my new eating plan. 


  Trying to eat every three hours 

 1-minute cooked oatmeal and half a cup frozen blueberries
  2/3 of a TEASPOON of  unprocessed sugar. 
 a little cheese chaser, for the  acid in  blueberries. 

Fruit and bit of bread w yogurt,  bite of cheese for me

frozen veggies, Half sandwich, 10-grain sandwich bread
or tuna pouch from grocery, and maybe part of a Lara peanut/date bar

tiny sandwich, veggies, maybe apple

Frozen veg microwaved
Precooked chicken from local grocery, deli, or fish
Salad with dressing  Bite of Lara Bar

Same veggies
little salad
Scrambled eggs, bits of uncured smoked ham
One bite of Lara bar

Dr. Glenville's secrets include eating every three hours.  Makes my schedule tricky at times.
If I'm in a place like doctor's wait room and 3 hours are up, I need to graze on something healthy.  If it weren't 98+ degrees here, I could just eat a cheese stick in the car.

Other suggestions from her and others

  "Try to put protein in every meal." .
  Eat every veg you can find,  (in morning snack I may use an apple instead of the veg)
 Small meals. No big meal  Your usual schedule may take a few hits
 Try not to eat carbs after 6 pm.
 Sit quietly at the table,   (stress makes us grab something, then  rush to make that call or...)
      ( I'm learning that I sit quietly but still chew as if I were late to put out a fire.)


Although my weight tends to jump around, it's now at least 4 or 5pounds below where I had been for years.  (I still eat too much cheese.)

I loved seeing a new number on the doctor's scales last week!

You can Google Dr. Glenville.

My plan, as you see, is  extracted from the work above, altho  my notes also mention EXPRESS online.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

HEARTBURN versus the bra Women Only A RANT

All my post-grade-school life I have just put on a bra, fastened up tight, and marched off to meet the day.

Now my acid reflux seems to be back with a vengeance, but my youthful bust is not.

I need a really humane, really understanding, SAVVY, probably female Gastro doctor who is not procedure-happy, who can help me FIND A (healthy) BRA. 

A bra that does not squeeze  my hiatal hernia, nor my stomach opening
A bra that stays in place if I have to reach the top shelf in the market
A bra that does not make me buy my tops from BIG & Tall Man, to hide bra problems.
A bra that lets my shoulders, not my stomach, do the heavy lifting.

If you know such a person, throw her into the car at once, and call me. 
This is an emergency.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

MEDICINE BOTTLES - Danger in Plastic for Seniors and You... A Rant

I just saw an article in the AARP magazine by Christina Ianzito that really upset me.  I'm guessing the interviewed person did not speak to a senior drugstore user, or senior RX patient on the new RX bottles. But I don't know.  Wisconsin Health Literacy is a non-profit, not apparently connected with a university. The article says they have "worked with patients to design new labels, which are being "rolled out" in many pharmacies..."

I've been taught that what looks cool in the interview room 
can bring us grief in the middle of the night, in pain, grabbing for our meds.

Also, the article says CVS is "in the process of introducing its new ScriptPath prescription labels..."

Who uses medicine bottles?  I'm guessing the typical patient or prescription user at my age or younger is:

A person:
 who needs glasses to read -may have two  post cataract implants for distance
 who sometimes takes medicine at night
 with arthritic fingers
 who is (and may have been for years) taking four or five medicines or more

For me, the best thing about the article was the easy-off cap on the new bottle.  Lately I've had to double check for that easy tab container.  Yet CVS is supposedly on board with the article.

At night, in a dark room, in pain, in a hurry... We may reach for our old familiar fat orange gabapentin bottle and shake out a capsule.  And then our old familiar fat bottle of acetaminophen and grab a couple capsules.  If gaba no longer comes in the bottle we're used to, life gets way too complicated for 2 am.  Did I already take it?  More important - what's this big bottle?  That must be the gaba - it's always in the big bottle.  (But is it this time?)

Now the gaba comes in a much smaller orange plastic than I"m used to, and it's THE SAME SIZE ORANGE PLASTIC AS THE THYROID. 

This gets worse if the drug store (as mine once did)  has put the wrong labels on the wrong bottles.  If there's no regular bottle size for reassurance, things can get confusing.  Luckily I've taken thyroid since I was 15.  I went back to the store,showed them the two bottles and asked them if they saw anything wrong.

Now for the A word  or is it the O word.  Someone my age or older, tired and in pain, with a new RX, and with the pills labeled wrong could make a mistake.  So could you. Maybe a fatal mistake.

I realize the drug stores do have bottle supply needs, but this is our life.

New, assorted color does not help.  If we have four or five meds, we have way too much on our minds to do color association exercises.  And NOT at night.  We need clues we have learned to expect.  Like container sizes and shapes.  And more.

Now about reading the label:
 No matter what a label designer has seen on the web and in school, SansSerif print  (see the photo in the AARP article) is NOT easy to read.  A famous ad man said he round-filed any submissions in sans serif  type.  Famous mysteries by Michael Connolly and James Patterson are in serif type for a reason.  Why?  It is easy to read!  Alas, when I view this on line IT WILL BE Sans Serif.  If you know what I can do about it, please contact me.

By the way, some drugs now come in dose packs, and not bottled in store.  Never mind my attitude on that...but give us a way to keep track of the funny little boxes, since we paid you for them.

And there are pretty standard places we look for in what goes where on the label, so don't mess with that.  We are sick, remember.   We don't need to read it over and over at 3 am.

And do not, do not ask me to memorize and remember what tiny  color  symbol is for lunch time, and what symbol is for mid afternoon  Just Don't.  Write down 3 pm NICE and BIG.

(The article does mention important laws and also some interesting things Walgreens does for vision concerned customers.)

What do you think?  Let me know.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


from via TW
by Carolyn McClanahan April 29
@Carolyn McC

Sad to admit that I never knew the definition of these words that impact my health money;

"An out-of-network provider is one which has not contracted with your insurancecompany for reimbursement at a negotiated rate. Some health plans, like HMOs, donot reimburse out-of-network providers at all, which means that as the patient, you would be responsible for the full amount charged by your doctor"   13, 2018

 This fine, clear article gives me places to guard against costs from such out-of-network providers.

For instance:  I've been asking "Do you take my insurance?"  Instead I need to find out if the doctor or doctors, and what's may be done or suggested is "in my network???"

Turns out we should be asking if anything out of network is going to be done to us,  if so, we have to insist on particulars, and WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN.
Then we have to do something I've tried in the past, that I always thought was ignored:
We have to write everywhere in advance that nothing is to be done by and no one is allowed to participate that's out of network."

She also wants us to stand guard against unknown doctors participating and ordering before we meet them, and to insist on all the pros and cons on unknown medicines and how long they might be in out lives.  And much, much more.

If you get a chance, get a copy of Forbes and cut out this article.  Maybe frame it?  

Thursday, April 12, 2018

STRESS AND AGE: Two comforting sentences

Friends in senior housing often say:  Why do people always ask me what I do all day!  I do what I did before! (And from the looks of my file drawer, I do that PLUS endless, sometimes infuriating, health/med paper work. And other stresses like that eye doctor who disappeared.) Too often families, friends, and even nurses or doctors may think we have it easier as we age...until they age themselves.

 So, although I didn't agree with all of a recent e-mail "teaser'' from Harvard Health, I salute them - I thank them for  these two sentences admitting the possibilities for our increased stress;

 "Your stress may also be caused by different factors, which 
could be more complicated than the issues you faced in your younger years. ...
Signs of stress may mimic symptoms of memory loss or dementia  or include 
appetite changes, headaches, anxiety, irritability, or trouble concentrating. ''

This second sentence gives me such relief from popular talk and dangerous magazine articles that love to label stress symptoms as signs of "she's losing it, she probably has..."  etc.

We need the medical world to publish more reminders that too many problems including paper work (and missing med persons) might make us seem "like like she's finally lost it" now and then.

I wish for us that kind of admission and reassurance from the medical world more often.

quote from Harvard Medical School HEALTHbeat

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Judy Graham has done a helpful article on available physical therapy  through Medicare.   It's a Kaiser Health News article.

I may be able to get the phys ther I want for move work on balance, since I haven't mastered all I should yet - can't stand on one foot, can't walk a straight line, and think twice before I step up on the curb when I'm carrying too many groceries.

And okay, I confess I don't dare the two-flights-without- stopping test since allergies got  bad.  Used to do two flights whenever I pleased.

If you can't find the article on FB, try googling Kaiser Health News or Judith Graham..

Sunday, March 11, 2018

SWOLLEN FEET AND... part 2 Midnight special

My primary doctor seemed confused when I said No to a referral to another foot doctor. 
He also seemed to feel that elevating my feet was odd (I had forgotten by then that I got the suggestion from Mayo Clinic and some other places.)

Now I think the first podiatrist I saw in TX was the best, and after searching, I think he's still in the same office. Let's call him Dr. X for the moment.

He had some cream made up for me, which did not help. (I now sometimes use an over the counter one, but not too often.  But, more important, he left me with some important words:  

"Many foot problems start in the legs. " 

I was diagnosed once with peripheral neuropathy.  And let's face it - the more my feet hurt, the less I walk, (and forget the pollen season for walking outside)

Dr. X knew without a demonstration that I couldn't stand on one leg, even standing right by the counter, nor could I walk a straight line.

 He mentioned that the sneakers I was wearing were noticeably more narrow in the toe area than my feet.  Now that I remember his words, I've wasted hours looking for the right shoes and please, not Birkenstocks.  Yes, older women do care how we look.

Also  I will beg my family doctor fore more physical therapy for more balance and gait training.  And any exercises that are good for this osteo arthritis.

 I will still elevate my legs higher than my heart.  (I do my bed-cercises at the same time.)

But it's harder to break the sit-read-sit habit when the world is full of pollen. (When there's no pollen, there's still a mystery novel to encourage sitting') 

One confession - if I get some shoes that don't hurt, I'll have to take one daughter's advice:
 Go to the mall and walk as much as you're supposed to!

I wish you health.