Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Bit Nippy

It looks like we got about 7 inches of snow in this recent go-around.  And then it turned cold.  Rob over at "At The Lake In The Woods" reports temperatures at his place fell to minus 31 degrees early this morning.  He and his family live 50 miles away from me - a shorter distance as the crow flies.  I am a craven coward.  I didn't want to know how cold it was then.  I checked my thermostat that registers both indoor and outdoor temperatures and found that at 10:30 am it was still 12 degrees below zero.

I checked my Facebook page this morning as I usually do.  I rarely comment there, but look to see if any of my children have posted pictures of their families.  I chuckled when I saw my oldest son had posted two words before braving the elements to go to work this morning.  I quote: "bursy toad."  Years past, when I would take my little ones to see their grandparents in the middle of a Minnesota winter, at least one of them would ask Grandpa how cold it was, knowing his answer would be, "Brrrrrrzy Cold," said with the proper voice that was guaranteed to make the kids laugh.  The younger ones, having the usual pronunciation by toddlers, parroted the phrase as "bursy toad," which has been our description of mind freezing weather ever since.

I am happy to report that the healing of the legs is progressing nicely.  I have been going to therapy appointments twice weekly to have the progress assessed.  My legs are bandaged knee to toes, partly to deal with the seepage of fluid that goes along with the Cellulitis and mostly to provide the compression necessary to keep the fluid from building up and to help reduce the swelling of legs and feet.  I have been able to reduce the appointments to one a week and go from daily changing of bandages to every other day.  May not seem like much, but to me, it is a huge difference.

I wonder when the insanity within the pharmaceutical industry will end.  Or if it ever will.  I realize there are folks who need medications that are much more spendy than those I need to take, but here is what I learned this week.  My doctor sent a prescription to my pharmacy for medication that should greatly increase my chances of having near normal feet and legs.  The usual dosage requires two refills each month.  One refill costs $365.  Two come to $730 per month.  I just signed up for prescription drug insurance which kicks in Jan. 1, so I won't know until then if this medication is covered.

But what happens to those who can not afford insurance.  Those like me who are on a fixed income.  I did the math, just to see how I would fare should my meds not be covered.  Figuring in rent, monthly bills, groceries and the meds I already take plus the new one, I would wind up in the hole each month by over $400.  One of my kids is facing a similar situation.  His insurance does not cover his latest prescription, which is necessary in a life sustaining way, that costs nearly $900. a month.  He doesn't qualify for his clinic's program of financial aid to those who need assistance because he has insurance.  But if he were uninsured, other medical bills would eat him alive and our government would fine him for being uninsured.  I don't know what the answer is.  I do know that if either of us is required to pay these outrageous prices, the only way we could afford to live is if we pitched a tent in the park and lived there.

One the bright side, my apartment stays warm and cozy even on the coldest of days.  And I need not go outdoors unless I want to.  I don't.  There has been one casualty due to the cold.  My herbs that have been growing nicely on my windowsills have given up the ghost.  I didn't think there would be enough of a variance in temperature next to the windows to affect them.  I was wrong.  I seem to have, once again, murdered my plants.  I was, however, able to make use of them while they still lived.  Parsley, sage, thyme and basil lived long enough to let me experiment with cooking using the fresh herbs.  I will give them a decent burial and try again in the spring.  But next time I will move them to a warmer place when the snow starts to fly.

There is a pot of vegetable beef soup simmering on the back burner.  I think a pan of cornbread will go well with it for supper.  Until then, there is a half read murder mystery book that needs my attention.  And a mug of hot chocolate - with mini marshmallows - is calling my name.   Not a bad way to spend a cold afternoon here in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," which is now the Land of 10,000 ice skating/hockey rinks.


  1. I'm glad your cellulitis is better. I'm lucky that mine has never gotten that bad. I would invite you to join me on Facebook, but I spend WAY too much time on there posting and reposting stuff, so you'd probably feel spammed. As for meds, I just figure if things get too expensive, I'll just leave it in the Lord's hands when I croak. The reality is that it's in His hands already, but at least I know where I'm going. Hope you have a good week.

  2. Glad to hear you are doing better. For the prescriptions you might try contacting the pharmaceutical company directly, if you haven't already. (There should be a form on their website.) They will often provide meds for free or at a large discount for people on a fixed income. If that doesn't work and you are anywhere near a state university hospital or county hospital you can sometimes make arrangements through their pharmacies to get the meds you need at a discount.

  3. Thanks, Gorges...I am glad yours isn't too bad. There is no pain here, but it is more a pain in the whatever!!

    Thanks for the invite, but you are right. I just use FB for pictures of family and then it is just a quick check and done. I leave the rants for my blog. :)

    I guess the expense of meds just irritates me. Fine for those who can afford it, but that leaves the rest of us hanging out to dry. I understand that companies need to make a profit and that medical research costs money. But nobody should have to make a choice between groceries and meds. That is just wrong.

    My entire life is in God's hands. Whatever happens, I have faith.

  4. Thanks, Spikessib...I am doing much better now. I am going to wait until after the first of the year to see if my insurance covers that prescription. One of my kids checked out the website for that particular drug and they do have some sort of program for discounts. Our medical system is so screwed up. Hope there will be some changes soon so people will be able to get the meds they need without putting such a burden on them.

  5. Cold was an understatement... My insurance will drive anyone crazy. I hope Uncle Donnie will get it fixed. I was worried about you this am, praying you are staying warm. I talked with my oldest in Fla. it was a 98 degree temp difference when I talked to him. between MN and Fla. This is the main reason he won't come back to MN. It keeps like this we may move back to Fla....Just kidding.

  6. Rob...Not to worry. We rarely lose power here and when we do, it is usually due to a summer storm. Or as in several years ago when some drunk drove into a power pole, knocking it down! I have one of those propane space heaters just in case.

    Can't fault your son for wanting to stay where it is warm. Every winter I mentally kick myself for moving back, but here is where family is, so it is worth it to put up with the cold months.

  7. Pharmaceutical companies make over the counter medications, which too require FDA approval, yet they're forced to compete on the market, and expensive medications don't sell enough to stay on the market.

    I don't know the answer, but I suspect many of the higher priced medications are influenced by government meddling, Medicare fraud, and the unwillingness of some companies to reduce their excessive profits.

  8. Jess...I believe your suspicions are spot on. It is sad that greed and power are more important to some than is basic humanity.

  9. Happy to read your post this morning. Glad to hear that your legs are on the mend. Any improvement is good.
    I was in shock about your Rx prices. Wow. It just reinforces for me that I will never (probably) be able to move back to the US. The health care system here in Canada is far from perfect but at least no one goes bankrupt from medical bills. And, contrary to popular myth, we are required to pay for our health insurance premiums, at least in my province. But the premiums are discounted for low income people.
    I, too, believe the Lord is in charge of my life and I'm happy with that.
    My power tends to stay on as well as my apartment is sandwiched between a large fire station and a senior's care home. Good thing since I have electric heat. Also have one of those 'hunter' style propane heaters for just in case.
    I'm not venturing any farther outside then my front door. The dog has adjusted and actually seems quite happy with the short ventures outside. He is such a couch potato! Cheers, SJ in Vancouver

  10. Hi SJ...Good to hear from you.

    The rest of the meds I take are reasonably priced, but this last one just threw me for a loop. It irritates me that we are at the mercy of the drug companies. And then we have to have insurance or pay a fine. And the insurance companies dictate what procedures and medications we can have by what they will cover and what they will not cover. The average person just can not pay out of pocket for most things medical. There are programs for the truly poor by which they can get medical care free and I have no problem with that, but these are also given to those who are here illegally. Our system is seriously skewed.

    I bought one of those little propane heaters and it should keep at least one room of my apartment fairly warm in an emergency. I don't dare store a lot of propane, but keep enough here to last a week at least.

    I'm with you on no farther than the front door! I wouldn't stick my nose out until maybe April if I could get away with it. Dogs adapt pretty well, don't they. My little Yorkies used those puppy piddle pads when the weather was too nasty to take them out. Probably wouldn't work too well with one the size of yours. :)

  11. OK, so you had me laughing here thinking of the cases of puppy pads I'd have to buy for my guy...thanks for the laugh!

    I remember when I lived in LA (the city not the state)and my health insurance plan would only cover a certain percentage of what they thought the doctor should charge. What they thought the doctor should charge and the actual charge were worlds apart. There was no recourse that I ever figured out.

    It's truly the medical that keeps me where I am, at least until I'm 65. But even then I'm not sure I could afford to move back. It's hard because the only family I have are a handful of cousins. Almost all of them but one live on the west coast. I'd like to be closer but that's not possible for now. Stay warm. SJ

  12. SJ...Having had large dogs a good part of my life (St. Bernard, Old English Sheepdog, Collie, etc.), the mental picture of one of them even coming close to hitting a puppy pad was enough to make me giggle.

    I'm sure you have read about times past when doctors made house calls, knew how to treat illnesses without sending the patient to half a dozen specialists and accepted a couple of chickens or a bushel of apples in payment, knowing their patients had little or no cash money. Those were doctors, dedicated to healing. I know there must still be good doctors out there, but in my opinion, most are nothing more than pill pushers who want a person in their office way more than is necessary. I believe in seeing a doctor when I am sick. Otherwise I just want to be left alone. (Climbing down off my soapbox now.)

    I suppose I might have been happier born in another time when such things actually made sense. Your health system and mine - each have their good points and each have their drawbacks. I don't know what the answer is. I guess we just muddle through the best we can. :)

  13. We just got over a long 'bursy toad' snap. It's been windy and around freezing which a major improvement. Luckily our cold snaps get broken up by chinooks.
    The cost of meds you mention boggles my mind. It's vastly different in Canada.
    As always, take care!

  14. Hi Jenn...Our cold snap was short lived - got up to 20 degrees today and looks like it will stay in that range or warmer the rest of the week. You know that here in the northern States, we always blame Canada for our cold snaps, but possibly one of your chinooks snuck southward and helped us out. :)

    The price of the new medication I was supposed to take boggled my mind as well, along with a certain amount of anger thrown in. Most of us are holding out hope that our new administration will be able to do something about the current health plan that is such a disaster for the average person. Wouldn't it be lovely if companies and governments were more interested in helping humanity than lining their own pockets? Maybe some day.

  15. Did I tell you that the dogs I grew up with in my family were Old English? The last one went with me to college - in a coastal town and we'd run on the beach every morning. Part of my monthly allowance from my Dad included taking the dog to the groomer once a month. (yes, I was fortunate and my Dad paid for the first 2 years of college)
    Smile, hadn't thought of those memories in a long time. SJ

  16. SJ...I have always loved the big dogs and my Old English was a favorite. I lived on a farm when I had him and he lived to age 6 or 7 when he ran out on the road and was hit by a passing truck. He was a great dog - good with the kids and with the farm animals. I lived off a gravel farm road with very little traffic and it was just a fluke that he and the truck were on the road at the same time. I did the grooming myself and he went everywhere with me. Lots of good memories. :)