Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Pregnancy Appointment -- the art of peeing in a cup

The first appointment to the OB/GYN for this pregnancy was pretty uneventful. They told us we'd need to get an ultrasound to figure out how far along exactly I was and I'd get to pee in a cup to do a drug test.

So the drug test.

I'm all for drug testing to make sure the mother isn't a drug addict and lying about it. I'm all for protecting children, unborn and born, from people who will neglect them and forgot about them in favor of a drug habit.

But I was asked very casually if I do drugs then asked what prescriptions I'm on to make sure everything was pregnancy safe. Now I'd already been over my prescription medication a few weeks prior with my PCP once they confirmed the pregnancy just to make sure I was on pregnancy safe medication a little early -- you know since the OB won't see you until you're 6-8 weeks pregnant?! (Again something totally insane, and they don't tell you it's because if the pregnancy isn't going to take it'll miscarry within that window, so thanks I needed MORE to worry about at this point in my life)

Anyways back to the pee test. They made a HUGE deal that I didn't give them a large enough sample so back to the bathroom I had to go and I finally gave them something that was passable. Upon check out the receptionist/billing lady told me because of my insurance I need to go to Lab Corp or the hospital to get my tests done so I don't have to pay a deductible. I usually go to Quest since it's right around the corner from my house but fine I'll schedule an appointment elsewhere. When I looked up Lab Corp they were only open 9-4 pm or 9-1 pm, so I'd need to take PTO to go over there plus wake up Wil early to drive me (I can't drive post needle stick, after years of experience just trust me it doesn't work) Plus Lab Corp nor the hospital had weekend hours, well screw that. I went to Quest and had to pay something like a $30 deductible which was for the OB blood work AND my thyroid blood work for my endocrinologist. Well worth it.

Fast forward a month and I receive a bill in the mail from Einstein Hospital for $135. At first I'm confused because I'm well aware I haven't been hospitalized in the recent past. I think it's a fluke so throw it away. (don't roll your eyes at my naivety, my husband and father in law both got hospital bills from ER visits at another hospital that they didn't make, so it's possible) A few weeks later I get another bill in the mail, again stating I owe Einstein Hospital $135 only this time at the top right corner of the bill it says "total $1337.25"

Um what?!

Angry now I call the billing department. Now don't get me wrong, I completely understand the billing department and people working there have NO idea why I'm mad, it's not their fault someone charged me $1300 for A PEE TEST.
So I very nicely request an itemized bill stating I don't know how a urinalysis can cost this much and I will not be paying until I see the itemized bill. The woman assures me I'll have it next week.

So today I received said itemized bill in the mail. Now reviewing the first part of this story, I didn't ASK for a drug test, I was told I had to take one, I did not ASK to have the hospital process said drug test and I certainly didn't ASK to be charged $1337 for a test I didn't ask for.

This is how the bill reads:
BARBITURATE  158.00 (charges)
URINALYSIS     85.00
COCAINE               158.00
PCP                         158.00
OPIATES                158.00

Then apparently they were allow to give me an HMO Allowance bringing my total down to $675, then my insurance paid theri portion, leaving me responsible for the $135.  Well thank you very much.

We all want to know why the economy sucks and why insurance coverage sucks? This might be an indicator why. When I can get a vet visit for my cat and a urinalysis for him for $150 (without insurance) while mine is over a thousand dollars, I think the world has gone a little crazy. If it's so important to drug test new potential mothers than someone else needs to eat the cost OR the need to figure out a lower cost way to drug test OR maybe they should figure out if you're going to keep the baby, or if you're an actual drug user before issuing all these tests. I think the reason I'm so pissed off is because I was told tests at the hospital were 100% covered by my insurance which was obviously false information and because I've never done drugs in my life. Testing me for drugs was pointless, if I had to sign an affidavit swearing I don't and haven't done drugs I'd rather do that instead of this stupid pointless testing that costs me an arm and a leg.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Obviously I haven't blogged in quite some time. There's been crazy things happening around here. In May my dad was hospitalized and I found out I was pregnant.

Cue horror music.

No, just kidding!

Anyways it all happened in the same week, we found out dad would need dialysis and we would be needing an extra bedroom for the little stowaway in me. The situation was complex because my husband and I live with my parents. This was to be so we could save some money for a house (cough* right* because my job pays SO much) and my husband could get through school for nursing. A little over 2 years later and we're still here. Well, the rent's the right price, hubby can take a few less classes to ensure good grades and I can attempt to save, which happens more often some weeks than others.

So Surprise to us, in the middle of Bad News City we're expecting, always look for that silver lining.
And my dad's okay for anyone wondering, he has to be on dialysis three times a week which is not easy but we all agree it's better than dying of kidney disease. See? Another silver lining. Stay tuned folks I'll update with more exciting pregnancy news soon!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Working Out.. or My Love-Hate relationship with Jillian Michaels.

I just started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred yesterday. Needless to say it kicked my ass. I am admittedly overweight and out of shape. Some of that I can blame on my back injury and hypothyroidism and some of it on pure laziness and lack of motivation. A few months ago I FINALLY decided enough was enough and got an elliptical to start working out. Boy was that a mistake.
I literally did 5 minutes the first day, I felt like such a fat loser. The next day my legs were sore and I convinced myself I needed a break. The following day I got hard on myself and buckled down. I made it 10 minutes before collapsing in a dizzy sweat on the couch. This lead me to investigate why I was so dizzy when I was hydrating before, during and after working out. I found out about electrolytes which is basically a fancy scientific way to say my body isn't absorbing all the water I drank because of the loss of salt and sugar molecules burned up and used while sweating. To remedy this I thought "maybe I should get some Gatorade" because Gatorade is marketed at having electrolytes in it. A few years ago I had stopped drinking Gatorade because of the sugar content but now maybe I needed that sugar. Okay that's a lie, the part about not drinking it because of the sugar content it was partly because of that but mostly because they stopped making my favorite flavor Strawberry Kiwi, I lived off that stuff in high school!
Anyways I did a search for homemade Gatorade and found the link below:
With that I filled a 16 oz bottle of water with a tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and hopped on the elliptical. No dizziness post exercise! I wish I could brag and say on day 3 I was pumping out 30 minutes or even 15 but sadly I barely made it to 10 again.
At this point I've been doing 30 minutes after a over a month of the elliptical. I feel healthier, more in shape, less tired walking up stairs and my back is actually getting even better than before (still some twinges that need adjusting by my chiro but not as severe as a year ago). Last week getting ready for work I pulled on my favorite skinny jeans and I bet at this point in the story you think I'm going to wax on about how amazing it is that they fit looser and now I can go shopping for a smaller size, etc.


Actually they fit tighter. No joke.Tighter. So of course I enter the thought process of "why did I bother?", "I should've eaten ALL the cookies last night, who cares if I'm GAINING weight?!". The completely frustrating land of  "I was right being lazy all along".

Except I wasn't.

I did a google search to find out the reason I was gaining weight was due to water retention from starting to exercise again. My body was nervous about the loss of water from sweating so therefore it was holding on to everything it got just in case this didn't keep up, apparently in a few weeks time it would all even out. Or so I've read. In addition, I read that strength training would burn more fat than 30 minutes of cardio and continue burning it ALL DAY LONG!
It's a lazy person's dream come true! Exercise for 30 minutes and keep burning calories all day, freaking YES please!

Enter Jillian Michaels.

I did some reading about her 30 day Shred and there were alot of positive reviews from and other websites. I was hesitant at first because I really don't like Jillian Michaels, I think she's a bully and cruel to contestants on The Biggest Loser. I get her whole mindset that it's not easy to work out and you have to want it bad enough to work for it. I think she could be a little less of a bitch about it is all.
I downloaded it and committed to started and she is a bitch in the video! You're working out and she says disparaging things like, "Don't phone it in, I don't want you doing this!" and  "there's no modification for jumping jacks, I have 400 lb people doing jumping jacks!" to me I hear her saying 'You fat ass get off the floor and work out, this is why you're so fat."
But that's all in head. Oddly rather than irritating me so badly I turn it off it made me work for it and push harder. I want to work to make her stop yelling rude shit and prove her wrong.
Jillian Michaels might be brash, rude and  not my cup of tea but if she helps me lose weight through hate well I just might have to thank her!

Friday, October 19, 2012

An update on the doggie Underground Railroad

In the past 6 months I got a new job where my hours have changed. It gives me more freedom to do the things I love on weeknights and weekends. I've been training with the Paws to the Rescue group to become more involved in transport and hope to become more involved in rescue.
I know it's easy to become overwhelmed and sad by the problem of homeless pets. I know seeing photos of pets who have been put to sleep is upsetting and may make you want to give up on rescue. I also know if it wasn't for the amazing, strong volunteers that I share many of my weekends with the amount of dogs and cats put to sleep in a week would go up to numbers I don't even want to fathom.
Is being a part of the rescue world difficult?
Does it hurt my heart to walk into a shelter and know I can't take everyone home to safety?
How do I solider on?
By looking at the things I CAN do.
I may not be able to save everyone but I can save ONE and for the rest I can network, talk up what I do, get in contact with friends and family to discuss fostering and rescue.
Fostering saves lives! Find out what your local rescue or shelter will cover, oftentimes medical care is completely covered, sometimes food, toys and grooming us covered as well. What do you give? A pet a safe place to give until they can be adopted and love.
Is that too much to ask?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Freedom Train... how I spent my weekend

It's Saturday, the weekend before Memorial Day. I'm standing in a parking lot in Newark, Delaware right next to the entrance to I-95. My husband and I are ignoring the strange looks some employees of the store next to the parking lot are giving us as we get out to stretch our legs after the hour's journey here. There's one other car in the parking lot although we're right on time. I start fussing with the backseat making it more comfortable for our traveler we're here to pick up. After a few minutes the woman in the other car gets out and we both stare into the distance as if willing the caravan to arrive.
Moments later an SUV pulls into the parking lot. They park near us and three adults get out, they come around to the back of their car and release the travelers from their holding area.
Each person has a dog on a leash, now released from their traveling kennel. The dogs pull and tug at their leashes excited to see one another again but more excited to investigate their new surroundings. It's like they can smell the hundreds of dogs who have stopped here on this "Freedom Train" the weekends before this one. These dogs are on their way north from the southern states, making their way from kill shelters to rescue organizations all the way up the East Coast. These "Freedom Train" transports occur nearly every weekend, all over the country. The idea is fairly new to me but it's been going on for a time. It's a wave of rescue which allows pets from other states to be transported into areas where pets have a better likelihood of being adopted and rescued. All adoptions and rescue transfers which occur during transport are set up in advance before the pets are even pulled from the kill shelter.
I'm a little apprehensive when I realize the dog we're taking is a little larger than I was expecting. I was so excited to volunteer I didn't realize how big 45 pounds could be! The person handing her off to us spoke very gently to her and when I saw how sweet she was leaning against my husband's legs just asking to be loved and petted, I couldn't help falling in love with her.
I was nervous the entire way home knowing we needed to keep her separate from our dogs since the stress of the journey might have made her less than enthusiastic to meet new friends. Brooke, our dog for the night, sat in the backseat with my husband her new best friend. She leaned on him and panted until the air conditioning got going and then she looked out the window before putting her head down to rest.
We arrived home in record time. I had my husband take Brooke into the backyard so I could set up her crate in our den and block off the stairs from our dogs. I shouldn't have bothered. Brooke is a border collie mix, who was very curious. However, I have one full breed Jack Russell Terrier and a JRT/Chihuahua mix (from Safe Haven Puppy Rescue in Bamberg, SC) they definitely take the cake when it comes to enterprising and curious. Needless to say my dogs had the gate down and were begging to be let into the yard in about 5 minutes flat. Our beagle who usually waits until the Terror.... I mean, Terrier Twins get the mischief out of the way before reaping the benefits, came moseying down a few minutes later. I had everyone in the backyard where my husband had already checked Brooke for ticks and fleas. The Terror Twins greeted Brooke like a new member of the family and even our cautious beagle allowed herself to be sniffed for identification purposes, Our full JRT brought her ball over and dropped it for Brooke to play with, we had no idea she would love to play fetch but Brooke took to it like a duck to water.
After wearing everyone out we brought Brooke in first to let her eat and drink her fill. My husband accidentally let our one dog in before Brooke was finished, there was some growling on her end because she was still hungry and some yelling on my end (at the hubby, not the dogs). She finally finished up, and we let our dogs in. I had made sure to put out a soft blanket on the floor along with the normal 3 dog beds. Our dogs took up their various spots on the couches and dog beds while Brooke choose to sprawl out on the floor instead of in her crate. She seemed to enjoy hanging out with what we affectionately call "the pack." Everyone was given treats and just relaxed which was a wonderful way to end a crazy day.
While laying on the couch petting Brooke's head which was always within reach, I realized how skinny she really was, I spared a few moments thoughts on what had happened to her before she'd come into our lives. Even though I knew I would only have her for a night, I knew she would be headed to a better place giving her a better opportunity than what was behind her. As I pet her and looked into her eyes, it struck me how nervous I had been about handing this 45 pound dog who turned out to be a true sweetie, I was just as much a stranger to her as she was to me. I pet her and promised her softly she would have a better chance at the rescue, I thanked her for letting us keep her for one night and I promised I would never forget her.
The next morning, I was up bright and early. I took Brooke out by herself and played ball with her so she would get some one on one time and be tired since she had a little further to go on her journey today. We fed her, offered her water and let her go to the bathroom one last time before we loaded her in the car. We drove her a few minutes away from our house to the meeting place next to the Blue Route in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Much like the night before there were drivers up bright and early Sunday morning prepared to drive the next leg to hand off the dogs again to transport them to their final destinations in upstate NY or the New England region.
As we loaded Brooke into the car which would take her onward to the rest of her journey and said our goodbyes, I looked around and felt a kinship with the others in the parking lot. I didn't know anyone else but I felt connected to them in a way I haven't felt connected before, we were all working towards a common goal. Maybe right now we can't save every single dog and cat, but we have to try. Because for the dogs we do save it makes a difference. It's like the Starfish Story, every starfish the little boy threw back into ocean made a different to that starfish.  Like how it made a difference to Brooke.
Thank you to all who participate in rescue, whether you donate, crosspost, transport or open your home even for one night for a pet on the Freedom Train, the little part you play is the difference between life and death.

The Starfish Story

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing?

The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die.

Son, the man said, don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can't make a difference!
 After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said
I made a difference for that one.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My soap box

I don't usually get on my soap box but I'm getting annoyed at what I read in the media. I wish the average American had taken as many courses on American Politics as I have. Maybe then they wouldn't be so quick to jump down the president's throat.... and I mean ANY president. 
"The first four years are better spent on foreign policy because if you get voted in again you'll spend the next four years getting blocked for everything you want to do overseas." - my  American Presidency professor

Plus it took 8 year to dig the ditch we're in, you really think it'll be fixed in 4? not even the greatest most nonpartisan politician could accomplish that.


On a completely unrelated vein, I got my new skin for my phone today. I'm psyched and nerding out over it.