I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The High Cost of Physical Therapy

I have 3 more sessions of Physical Therapy left before my prescription runs out.  This morning, when the receptionist asked if I wanted to schedule for next week, I told her I'd wait and see what my doctor said.  Her comment to me was "well, maybe you should see what your therapist thinks."  And, of course, I said "nope."  I like the people at Drayer. What they've been having me do has been helping, however they are expensive.  My consultation cost me, after insurance, $126 and my first session cost $59 on top of that.  For the next 3 sessions my cost was $86 per session because they added more exercises.  By the 5th session my cost had jumped up to $113 per session.  Oh, and until I fulfill my deductible, which is $1500 I will have to pay a large  percentage of each session's expense.  While I don't think I'll hit that $1500, I know I'll come close.  However, after I hit my deductible I'll only have to pay a $35 copay for each visit (right, like I'm going to continue going).  This is costing me way, way more money then it's worth.

Why do I say it's more then it's worth?  Because every exercise they have given me to do, I can do at home for free.  And it's not as though there is a lot of supervision, you know, like someone is hovering over me to verify I'm doing the exercises correctly (and I do get billed per exercise).  Two of the therapists are very good with observations, 3 are okay, and then there is this Blondie who walks away, maybe to get herself a beverage or perhaps talk to the receptionist.
Anyway, my point is that so far my therapy has consisted solely of 'core' exercises: leg abductions and variations of crunches, to strengthen my 'core' muscles.  Interestingly enough, I could join LA Fitness (or some other gym) for $100 and pay $30 per month ( access to a trainer is a little more) and get exactly the same workout / therapy.  That high cost I'm paying for my Physical Therapy would easily cover 3 or 4 years at a gym.  You shouldn't be surprised if I tell you I've already begun checking out gyms in the area.  So, unless my doctor says different, I'll probably start posting pics of the hotties at my new gym.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why some would love to banish the 8 hour work day

While the rest of my work week has been scaled back during my recuperation, Mondays are still the same 8 hours on the clock.  For me, Monday is the day in which I verify numbers, analyze sales reports, go to meetings, and, if necessary make notes in employee files.  I'm will need to do the latter today.  While I was out, they decided to hire an individual who really shouldn't be in the paint department.  He's retired enlisted military who worked at a civilian job for another 20 years after retiring.  When I asked him why he was working since he was getting both a military pension and Social Security he shrugged and said "eh, it gets me out of the house."  Wrong answer.  You see he doesn't really want to work, he just wants to get out of the house.  He's 68 years old and doesn't really want to sit around at home, but he doesn't really want to work, either.  His customer service is very, very slow, not because of any physical restriction, but because he just doesn't see any urgency, no matter how many customers are lined up at the paint desk.

To be honest, he is only working part-time hours, unfortunately for him, we require all part-time associates to put in at least one 8 hour work-day over the weekend.  However, something always crops up in his personal life and he needs to leave early, this past Saturday it was a reunion of sorts.  We have a big sale coming up over the July 4th weekend and he was scheduled to work 8 hours on July 3, and.... he called to say he's going to be having some minor, surgery on July 3 and will need to be out for a week... over the holiday.
Anyway, he would very much like to banish his 8 hour work day and, as a result, I will need to take up some of my 8 hours today putting notes into his file.  I suspect that soon he will find himself banished from the time clock.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Back to work / a color for Bristol and Rick

It's Sunday, and I've been back to work for a week, only 24 hours and with restrictions - like no lifting.  And boy, has this been an exciting week:  The Supreme Court made Obamacare immortal, they gave a thumbs up to Marriage Equality and Bristol Palin announced that she's pregnant... again.  Oh, and of course, she's Not Married to be baby's father.  One of the headlines I saw regarding this embarrassing issue had her saying she didn't want to be lectured.  Surprise!  No one is going to lecture, they're just going to point and laugh.  Oh, and I saw that Rick Scarborough never self-immolated.  For those of you who don't know him, he's the former Texas Pastor who vowed to torch himself if Marriage Equality passed.  Now that buffoon is saying he was just para-phrasing a song.  First of all, he's para-phrasing something from the book of Daniel, not a song, though I do remember singing a song in Bible School based on the verses.  Secondly, I doubt if any of Rich Scarborough's followers know what para-phrasing is, they probably think it has to do with paratroopers, maybe something they say before jumping out of a plane.

On a much brighter note, I did start to mix paint again this past week.  The above can will end up being a very nice geranium red; a color both Bristol Palin and Rick Scarborough might be enjoying these days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A technologist reveals the truth about physical therapy

While I was at Physical Therapy yesterday, I had a chance to talk with the technologist who did my EMG  and I can tell you he was quite surprised at how well I was doing.  Three months ago I could barely walk, and, as he put it, was "using my bones to walk rather then my muscles."  Back then he had told me my neuropathy as so bad I would probably require surgery to fix the problem.  Yesterday I did a little dance for him.  "That's simply amazing," he said, and went back to review his report.  When he returned I was already on the table with a 2 lb basketball between my knees doing an exercise which no doubt has some official name, I call it 'move that ball.'  Anyway, he reaffirmed that back then I had extensive nerve problems in both of my legs, though the weakness in my right leg was far more extensive than the weakness in my left leg.  And then he asked me what I had done.  So I told him I live alone and have 2 dogs, and back then Seig was barely 3 months old.  There was no way I could lay around.

Seig & Lilly making a mess of the living room with their black and white checked cow

He looked at my therapist and said "We have patients coming in here all of the time all hunched over and complaining they can't walk and they're in so much pain, if they did what you did we'd be out of a job."  Now I'm sure he was exaggerating somewhat, but I'm also fairly positive there is a lot of truth in what he said.   I know people who wear their ailments like merit badges.  When they bring up their health issues I always change the subject as fast as possible.  It's either that or tell them to just shut up and deal with it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Confederate Atrocity

With the shit that went down in South Carolina I did have to note how the GOP 'wanna be' are reacting to it because I don't think many of the understand this is where they get to act "presidential."  So far Jeb Bush is the only one to have said that damn  confederate flag needs to come down.  The rest of them are being pretty namby pamby   about the whole thing.  Except for Rand Paul, that twit issued a "no comment" statement.  Oops, I don't see him in the White House.  The rest of the bunch are terrified of offending the "southern, white voters."  Speaking of those "southern, white voters," you hear a lot of them defending the confederate flag, claiming it's part of their heritage.  They claim they want to be proud of their ancestors who fought in the Civil War.  They're proud of the fact that their ancestors were pro-slavery and anti-black?

I started searching Southern Heritage and was surprised that in general most websites, except for one, had serious racist overtones.  The one that didn't pretty much smacked down the confederate flag.  Even more interesting are the comments, and there are quite a few.  Most find the flag to be an atrocity.  Those defending the flag?  Well, they're very good at rationalizing their racism. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jurassic World - an 'A' ride

I went to see "Jurassic World" last evening and liked it... a lot.  Looking at how much it's making at the box office, quite a few people are really liking this movie, too.  One of the things I found super neat was they way they embraced the original "Jurassic Park" so thoroughly.  I'm sure everybody in that theater has seen the original and there are scenes where the old film and the new film are juxtaposed so perfectly you could feel it in the air.  Think of it as electrically charged nostalgic memories of "I remember that."

This is not to say it's a perfect movie, it isn't.  There are some... plot holes.  There was a moment when my friend leaned over and asked "where'd that raptor come from?"  Of course I didn't need to answer because the raptor did what raptor's do, and in that finger snap of a moment the story had moved on.
For all those Chris Pratt fans out there, you'll be pleased to know he does an outstanding job of doing what he's supposed to be doing, anchoring this film.  Those times when he isn't on the screen are a bit wobbly, but then he enters the scene and everything stabilizes.  If you haven't seen it, then go see it.  In my book it's an 'A' ride ticket.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mass Effect - Andromeda revealed

E3 2015 is going on right now out in Los Angeles.  For those who don't know, E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo and is The Show where studios talk about new games.  Also, for those of you who don't know, worldwide gaming makes $101.62 billion dollars.  Yepper, you read that right.  That makes E3 very, very important.  The big guns come out.  Now I know a lot of your are saying that's a lot of money for kids to be spending... well, it isn't kids.  Surprisingly, 26% of all gamers are over the age of 50.  I'm in that group.  I started playing because of hand / eye coordination, not that I had any problems, I just want to keep them in tune as long as possible.  All games use different button controls on the controller so you're constantly learning new moves.
The trilogy of Mass Effect games are my favorites by far.  I've played them through several times on different difficulty levels as well as with different characters.  You can even play as a female, should you want.  Mass Effect 3 was the first game to offer same sex relationships.  That's a biggie, believe me because anyone playing the game, whether as a male or a female, can have a same sex relationship.
The last Mass Effect game came out in 2012 so it's about time for another and everyone was hoping for some thing.  No one was not let down.  This is all CGI.  It's all done 'in engine' which means this is what it will probably look like on your television or computer screen.  Video games have come a long way.

Here is the teaser trailer for Bioware's Mass Effect - Andromeda.

Now all I have to do is wait until Christmas of 2016.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yoga and the Dongle

So far a lot of my Physical Therapy has been exercises designed to strengthen my core muscles.  While I don't have a nice, cushy table at home to do them on, I do have a yoga mat I can use to cushion the floor.  Since I tend to be one of the Pro-active people, I've decided to do as much core training at home as possible.  Grabbing ye old yoga mat, I rolled it out on the floor of the weight training / computer room and got down on my back.

Yes, it's purple which is better than pink.
About 2 minutes after I started Seig started sniffing around my ear.  Now he's big for 5.5 months, weighing it at almost 60 lbs.  I said to him "go away," and, of course, still being very much a puppy, he ignored me.  Rather then stop what I was doing, I just closed my eyes just in case he decided to start washing my face.  He didn't.  So, I opened my eyes to see where he was and found that he was now standing directly over my head, sniffing at the weight bench.  This meant that his front feet were on the left side of my head and his rear feet were on the right side of my head... and I was looking directly up at his dongle.  So I laughed and said, "Seig, you got to move buddy, that's a little too close for comfort."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Hideous Truth about Physical Therapy

Well, I've had several sessions of Physical Therapy as part of the treatment for my lower back issues and I have to say... I am not that impressed.  This is not because I'm not noticing any difference, rather the exercises they are having me do?  I can do at home.  Basically I spend about an hour strengthening my core muscles.  That's it.  And I'm serious when I say everything they have me doing, I've already done.
My Dr prescribed one month of Physical Therapy, and I will do one month.  Mostly, however, I'll be doing much more at home because for all intents and purposes, I have a gym in my house.  I had asked about using my eliptical and my therapist said that was fine but nixed the free weights and the bicycle.  In fact yesterday I spent 15 minutes on the eliptical and was rewarded with a slight burn in my quads and hamstrings.  Every day is better.

What I really need to focus on is not looking around the room when I'm there.  That's when I realize how hideous Physical Therapy can be: people like myself who can do the same exercises at home.  True, there are patients who need help, like the woman with the knee replacement,  But there seem to be more like the woman who came in, threw a white towel down on the floor, took off her shoe, and bent her great toe while pushing her foot front and then pulling it back.  Why is she, and her insurance company, spending money for her to rub her toe across a towel?  And she's not alone!  While I want to get in and get out many more appear to do their exercises in slow motion in order to socialize.  Like the middle-aged woman who had them do moist heat treatments on her shoulders.  She started talking to the therapist about a church bazaar, and how her son couldn't attend because he was going to baseball camp, and how the minister was so disappointed because he'd been hoping her son would be a ringer for the dunk tank.... And the therapist walked away to check on another patient and this woman just kept on talking.  See what I'm talking about?  And this is not an isolated incident.  It truly is hideous.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Elizabethan collars? meh

Big Seig had his big surgery yesterday... well, it wasn't that big, just a couple of snips to cut away his masculinity.  It was something that needed to be done because of Lilly.  Even though she is spayed, I didn't want to have him trying to hump her every times his little hormones kicked in, if you know what I mean.  The Vet wanted to put him in an Elizabethan collar.  "He might try and lick his wounds," she'd said.  I said "nope."  "But saliva is a digestive juice," she countered, "and it will slow down the healing process.  "Nope," I said again.  And it's not because I always feel bad when ever I see a dog in one of those collars, which I always do.  Don't you?

Bad collar
The real reason is Lilly, and not that she'd feel jealous.  She's 22 months old, and she and Big Seig love to play.  One of the things they do while playing is grab each other's collar in their mouths and pull.  I knew if I walked him through the front door an Elizabethan Collar the first thing that would cross her mind, several times, would be "toy, toy, toy, toy."  So I nixed the collar.  This was a very good thing,  The minute they saw each other it was bouncy, bouncy, play joy until he realized he was still medicated and need to take a nap.  Believe me, that collar would have been shredded in seconds flat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fun Home at Circle in the Square? Meh

For those who don't know, Fun Home won the Tony Award for Best Musical this past Sunday evening.  My feelings?  Meh.  Fun Home is a small, intimate, lesbian / gay musical and gays and lesbians are jumping for joy.  I have, of course, no problem with they gay and lesbian bit, what I'm not excited about is the fact that this show is "small" and "intimate."  Oh, and then there's the fact that it's on Broadway where things need to be big and brassy, a place where intimate shows have a fairly poor success rate.  Now I know there are those who will say "but it's playing at Circle in Square, that'll make a big difference."  For those who don't know, for every performance of Fun Home, there are 776 seats available.  Think about that.  That's a lot of people.  In my opinion that sort of drubs the intimacy rating.

The entire cast of Fun Home
I read in the NYT this morning how the producers of the show were ecstatic because ticket sales skyrocketed after the win.  Well, that always happens - nothing new there.  Oh, and if you happen to want to go see this "small, intimate" show you're going to need to shell out over $150 for one of the cheap seats.  Now that's not very intimate, is it?  If you really want to get up close and personal it's going to set you back about $280 a seat.  And just think, you'll be sharing those intimate moments with 700 plus other people.
My advice to you is that if you have any interest in seeing Fun Home, wait.  I suspect that when their lease runs out, probably in about a year, the show will move back Off-Broadway from whence it came.  There, in a theater that truly is small and intimate, I wouldn't be surprised if this show runs for years, and years, and years.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Amazon Prime Failure

Every now and then we find ourselves blindsided by something and all we can do is say WTF.  This just happened to me with Amazon Prime.  It's a fairly good service, for the most part.  I buy a lot from Amazon.  Since most of my purchases are planned out I usually take the standard 5 - 8 day free shipping; Amazon Prime will get it to you free in 2 days.. if you're that desperate.  They have a nice music service, I used mine three times for a total of about an hour and a half.  What I subscribed for was the TV / HD movies.  The free movies tend to be older, the newer ones you have to rent.  This morning, since I had a credit, I decided to rent "The Hobbit."  I was notified immediately that there was a problem:  my viewing device was not compatible.

Above is a picture of my television, a Sony Bravia KDL-46EX500 which is, I said above, incompatible.  Well, let me correct that, it's only incompatible when it comes to streaming HD movies.  This means that if I truly wanted to watch "The Hobbit," I could rent it and watch it in SD (standard definition).  This is what everybody wants to do, isn't it?  Rent an SD movie and watch it on an HDTV?  Needless to say, my subscription has been cancelled and a refund issued.  I suggested to Amazon's customer service department that they require individuals wishing to subscribe to verify their TV's are compatible.  Personally, I don't know anybody who would chose to watch an inferior quality movie on a superior quality television.  To not do so is a failure by Amazon Prime.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Eternity without a Break

My 82 year old mother is constantly berating me about my lack of religion, in fact, if I had a nickle for every time she's told me I need to find Jesus I could buy myself a really, really good bottle of wine.  This doesn't mean I don't want to be religious, it's just that in my mind there are several issues, one of the most important being the thing about 'everlasting life.'  I don't understand why anyone would want to have everlasting life, especially since you don't know what you're going to be doing.  The Bible isn't very specific about either Heaven or what you're going to be doing when you get there.  My Mom thinks it's going to be like an eternal family reunion.  Me?  I hate family reunions.  All everybody does is either talk about themselves or someone else, you know gossip, and it will never stop, it will go on forever, and ever, and ever.
My friend Hennie could sum up Heaven in one word: Bingo.

That's right, Bingo.  She loves to shout out "Bingo!"  People are warned to not get her started on the subject because she has adventure, after adventure, after adventure poring over her Bingo cards.  Me?  Hey, I like Bingo, but there's no way I'd want to play it forever.  I can't even imagine some never-ending caller shouting out numbers.  In fact, I can't think of one single thing I'd like to spend the rest of eternity doing, even playing Video Games, and I do like my Video Games.  It would mean never, ever being able to say, "gimme a break." 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

When the 2nd opinion counts

Well, I had my 2nd opinion on my lower back issues yesterday from Dr. DeLuca at the Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania.  My, what a difference a doctor can make.  First of all, he asked for my history.  After I'd told him about the Diazapam and falling down all of those times, he pulled up my MRI.  He showed it to me from several angles, top to bottom, left to right, front to back, in a slow, methodical manner, point things out to me.  "These are your Lamina," he said, "and while there is some narrowing, there's nothing there indicating they need to be removed.  And this," he pointed to a little wedge of black, "is disc protrusion between your L4 and L4 vertebrae."  That's right, I have a floppy disc.  The Doctors at Arlington never mentioned a disc problem to me.  maybe they didn't think it was important/

My back
Will I need to have surgery?  That would be totally last, last resort.  No back fusion for me!  On Wednesday I'm going to set up a schedule for Physical Therapy for a 30 day period and after that he will reassess my situation.  I also get to go back to work much sooner than expected.  When I think about all of the time I wasted before getting a 2nd opinion I get a bit cranky.  This time the 2nd opinion counts.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ted Cruz - Horse's Ass of the Year

When I first saw this item I had one of those WTF moments.  Four days after Beau Biden's death from brain cancer, Ted Cruz makes a joke about his father.  What makes this even more pathetic is that you can hear people laughing.

And the winner is Ted Cruz

When he early on fails to achieve the GOP's nomination and he gives his consolation speech, I do hope they play this clip in the background.

The kiss

My brother and his wife stopped by last night to see the dogs, notice I said 'to see the dogs' and not me.  You see, they love my dogs.  They own aging Lhasa Apsos which sleep quite a bit.  Mine, on the other hand, are big and bouncy and full of life.  Lilly will be 2 in August (on my brother's birthday, as a matter of fact) and Seig just had his 5 month birthday.  Lilly doesn't like to be picked up, but Seig does so my brother always picks him up every chance he gets.  Last evening was no different.  Usually Seig just hangs there, but last night was different, he gave my brother a 'thank you sir.'

That's right, a big smacking surprise kiss.  I can't wait to see my brother pick him up when he gets to be a year old.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner = Vargas Girl

Well, Caitlyn Jenner's pictorial spread for Vanity Fair has been released and people are practically swooning over themselves just to compliment the transformation.  If you happen to be a part of the Twitterverse and so much as hint that you're not too impressed, prepare to have your atoms smashed.  In fact, I just made a comment on my Facebook page regarding photoshopping and I'm getting smack back.  Let's be honest here, there's much more CGI going on in those photos then there was in Road Warrior - Glory Road.
The first thing I that went through my mind yesterday when I saw the pictures was "she looks like a Vargas Girl."  For those of you who don't know, a Vargas Girl was was a scantily clad cartoon figure in Playboy Magazine.  Every month there was a new Vargas Girl.  And yes, in case your wondering, a long time ago when I was in the Navy I did, on rare occasions look at a Playboy.

Vargas Girl

Let's be honest here, most men going through the transformation are not going to look like the photoshopped Caitlyn Jenner released upon the public, so it that the bar we want to set for them?  Is she supposed to be the standard bearer?  I think not.  The pictures are a little too phony for me.

Ms. Jenner
I do hope I'm not the only who can see the animation here.  I think people need to take a big step back here, I mean, your average Joe on the street is never going to be able to afford this amount of digital artwork.