Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Going Dark on the Medical Website Issues.....

 Yup. Getting a lawyer.

AFAIC, we're gonna fire a 16", 9-gun AP salvo and see what happens.....

Thank you all for your concern, prayers, and well wishes.

We're weapons free, going in hot, and full-speed ahead.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Timeline of What Happened, and Why.....

 This recent incident started when I ran out of a prescription med, an SSRI, and had some difficulty getting it refiled. My Primary Care Provider (great Doctor, BTW) had her "Patient Portal" changed from UC Health to Village Medical. 

The new website was NOT ready to roll-out, and they had several weeks of major issues. Medical records were lost, messages to your provider was were lost, appointments were dropped, scheduled wrong, or scheduled for after they were supposed to occur. i.e, your appointment for the 14th was made for the 4th, meaning you "missed" your appointment. Telephone calls subjected you to an hour more of music-on-hold while you waited. SLW was on hold for 90 minutes, and finally hung up. I lasted about 45 minutes when I called.

This is one of the worst Charlie Foxtrots I've ever seen. I've helped roll-out big sites like this, and this would have been totally unacceptable. I've seen people walked out the door for such a gross failure of a project. For a Medical website, this goes way beyond "unacceptable", and belongs in the "Inexcusable" category.

I went over Monday afternoon and told the receptionist I was in dire need of this medication, as I was starting to feel pretty bad. Nothing happened. SLW went over Tuesday afternoon, demanded to see a Nurse or somebody who could get this approved, as the pharmacy kept sending texts to me "Awaiting Prescriber Response".

After she "talked" to them, I had the prescription in an hour or so, but it was too late, and I was in withdrawl. Freezing cold, shaking like a leaf, teeth chattering, and covered in sweat. After about 20 minutes it would pass, but then I was gasping for air. Four hours later, it would hit me again. Tuesday night I started hallucinating when I closed my eyes, making it a bit difficult to sleep. All I could keep down was ice water, and even that came back up a few times. In short, I was a wreck.

Wednesday I felt a bit better, and had some ice cream, but I decided I had something was really wrong with me (Ya Think??), and Thursday morning we went to the Urgent Care Clinic. The Doctor there had spent most of his career in ER service, so he was really good at nailing things down rapidly. Had several blood draws, and exam, and an EKG. He came back in and said he had bad news, as I was experiencing a severely abnormal heart rhythm, along with "Significant T-Wave Inversion", and critically low Sodium (down to 119), Magnesium, and Potassium levels. He told us to go IMMEDIATELY to the ER, don't race there, but don't stop at Wal Mart, either. He'd phoned ahead to alert the ER, and they were waiting for me.

They started pumping me full of saline, Na, MG, and K, while taking numerous blood draws, and getting me stabilized, as my blood chemistry was way out-of-whack, my glucose was bouncing between 80 and 200, and my BP was bouncing around quite a bit, too. I had a Gamma Scan of my heart, then a stress test, then another Gamma Scan, and an Ultrasound exam of my heart. My Troponin levels were elevated, indication I suffered some permanent heart damage from the withdrawl I went through. My Doctor called it a "Cardiac Insult" which I thought quite appropriate. Heck, it "insulted" my whole doggone body. In my weakened state, the UTI that was starting went wild, and crossed over into my bloodstream, leading to a high white platelet count. My last two days in the hospital were spent waiting for the lab to do cultures on the strain of bacteria in my blood so they could proscribe a very specific antibiotic to target the bacteria.

Had my yearly "Wellness" visit with my Doctor, and she was very upset over this fiasco. The had several other patients who wound up in the hospital over the loss of communication between all parties, but I was about the most extreme one they had. I very possibly could have died from this, and I'm pretty upset about it, too.

So anyway....my blood chemistry is coming back into limits, I have some new meds to help offload fluid from the cardiac area, and ore heart exams to follow to check the damage caused by this incident.

I'm feeling better, but still a bit weak, and I lost 15 lbs during this incident.

Thank you all for the prayers and best wishes!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Home Again, Just A Quick Post.

 Got home Tuesday about 1400, and was feeling pretty good, with a few dips, and one "splat", where I just had to stop, sit down, and have some 50/50 OJ and water. My mental state has returned to normal, and the Docs are watching my blood Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium levels, which were lower than normal. The Sodium really bothered them, as the normal range is 135-to-140. and I was down at 120/121. If you go much below 120 for any length of time, you're looking at a REAL Medical Emergency.

SO......got my new glasses, and they're much better. Feels nice when something good happens!

Longer post to follow, but just wanted to thank you all for the prayers and well wishes. Feeling better today (Thursday), and I'm off to see my Primary Care Doctor in an hour.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Oh, Boy....Back in the Hospital

Turns out going to Urgent Care this morning was a wise decision. They drew a bunch of blood, and did an ECG. The ECG came back with some Abnormal findings. That, along with the blood test results, was enough for the Urgent Care Doctor to give us our marching orders to report *Immediately* to the ER, and I was admitted. So tomorrow I have an cardiac ultrasound in the morning, and possibly a Cardiac Catheterization,  formally called an Angioplasty. So depending on the outcome I'll either be discharged tomorrow afternoon, or the next day.
I'll post more tomorrow, if able.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Medical Semi-Emergency. Be back when I can

My Primary Care Provider changed their Patient Portal (where you log in for appointments and stuff) to a different one, and yowie, what a Charlie Foxtrot it turned into. Appointments were dropped, medical records didn't transfer over, and the phone system is all bollixed up. As a result, one of my prescription didn't refilled, and I ran out. Two weeks ago! I went over in person on Monday, talked to receptionist, and she assured me it would get taken care of. Didn't happen. Sweet Little Wife then went to the pharmacy, talked to the Pharmacist, and he confirmed my thoughts about me being in withdrawl, although these days they use the term "Sudden Discontinuation Syndrome". She went back to the Doctor's office, and told them this had to be taken care of NOW, as I was in distress. Hot flashes where sweat would just pour off me, followed by the trots,  chills, shakes, and chattering teeth. The receptionist got a Nurse out riki-tik, she took over the receptionists PC, and sent the order out while SLW waited. I got the prescription refilled, and the Pharmacist recommended I start with a half-dose for four days. All I could keep down was cold water. Then last night I started seeing things. Not scary or unpleasant things, but it was enough to grab my attention.

We're going to the Urgent Care facility tomorrow morning, and see if they can do anything to ease this unsettling situation.

Be back when I'm able. Just took me ~45 minutes to type this post. I am really out of it....

Monday, August 7, 2023

A Tale of Two Alternators, Or "Why It Still Ain't Smogged"

 It Was A Dark And Stormy Night........

No, really, it was. We've received over 4-1/2" of rain in the last couple of weeks, and since I won't take Ms Swan out in the rain, I thought it would be a good time to change out the slooowly failing alternator with the new, higher capacity unit I bought a while back. I've swapped more than couple of alternators in the past, and it's generally a pretty straight forward job, when you can see all the bolts. The car had a pinhole leak in the power steering high-pressure hose, which sprayed out a fine mist at certain times. The mist coated that side of the engine, and the underbody, with a mix of road grime and hydraulic oil. The resultant gunk was about 1/4" thick in spots, meaning I couldn't see the bolts to get a wrench on them. This is after a quick douse and brush with a bit of mineral spirits. The slider on the threaded rod was completely jammed with gunk, and I could't move the alternator enough to loosen the belt.

 Prior to cleaning this bracket and adjustment bolt you couldn't see them. To get to this point, however, I had to remove the pulley on the power steering pump.

And it's on there really tight.

Takes a big wrench, lots of grunt, a dash of PB Blaster, and a means to hold the damn thing while you break the nut loose.

 The pulley had to come off to reach a bolt holding the alternator bracket (the jammed-with-crud bracket) to the block. This required pulling the cooling fan and fan shroud. To pull the fan shroud requires you to remove the top radiator hose, which means draining a bunch of coolant. If I'm going to do that, I might as well replace both radiator hoses. That required pulling the radiator, as the degraded bottom hose was stuck on there so tight that I had to cut it to pull the radiator. 

The hose clamp is also installed perilously close to the end of the outlet, and was barely clamping the hose on. Looks like it was in a different place during it's life, too.

Since the coolant had been drained, I decided to look into "The Case Of The Missing Thermostat", or so I thought because the engine ran too cool, rarely reaching the normal zone on the gauge. The water out of the engine through the top hose also showed immediate warming from a cold-start, a sure sign of a missing thermostat.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

It had one in it, but it was stuck wide-open.

It was also installed wrong, as the "Jiggle Valve" should be at the top to allow air to bleed out as you fill the engine with coolant.

So I'm cleaning a ton of parts, including those it's very hard to see or reach with these various bits on the car. 

And as long as I'm this far into it, I'm going to go ahead and change the cam drive belt, tensioner, and spring.

And It All Began On  A Rainy Day......

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Minor Step In A Major Project

 Got another exhaust manifold for a too-good-to-pass-up deal. I used my rethreading tap and die set, and a bunch of PB Blaster, and cleaned up the studs and nuts. The nuts now spin on easily, and aren't loose, like if I'd used a "regular" set of taps and dies. I'll go over it with my little 1/2" belt sander and Dremel to break all the sharp edges off, and knock down the casting flash it has on it. I was hoping to avoid getting the exhaust flange resurfaced, but after carefully inspecting it under a bright light, I can see that it had been leaking at some point in it's life, so now to find a shop to do it. Any shop that can mill a set of heads, deck a block, or resurface a flywheel can do it, but I haven't found a friendly little shop like that. I'll ask some family friends.

After that's done, I'll coat it with some POR-15 High Temperature paint, cure it in the sun a few days, then wrap it up and put it on the shelf until such time as I really want to spruce up that side of the engine bay.

As far as yesterday's rain......

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs! She's two years old, p...