Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, February 02, 2015

Of Neurologists That Piss Me Off

The vertigo has been a constant companion since January 1st, a full month of riding the merry go round and wondering when the hell it would stop.  Last Monday, thanks to some self-caused stress (oversleeping), it ramped up to the degree that I usually experience right before the carousel operator kicks the switch into overdrive, and sends me staggering to the bathroom amid the 45 (or 78) rpm my world is making.

My MRI results were insignificant, which basically means that there has not been enough progression in the Chiari to cause this.  I went through the 10 day course of faux steroids, took hydrocodone for the headaches as directed by my neurologist (a treatment course we normally do, but she'd asked me to try a run of Imitrex for any and all headaches-but there's a really bad interaction with sumitripan and this not-a-steroid), and nothing was stopping it.

A week of phone tag ensued, and as is typical, the neurologist looks at the headaches first, vertigo second.  This morning, her nurse calls me back and tells me to go to the emergency room for treatment for the headaches and vertigo.

Really?  That is your expert opinion on my situation-go to the emergency room, which may or may not have a neurologist in house at the time?  That smacks of "I don't know what the fuck I am doing here, and I am done playing doctor now.  Go away"

Is it just me?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vertigo 1, Suzanne 0

Yeah, so last post talked about being prescribed a steroid to hopefully fix this off-kilter feeling I've had since New Year's day.  Well, it seems that my severe allergy to Cortisone means I cannot take any steroids.  Something I did not know, because in nearly 9 years, no other doctor has prescribed steroids.  Probably because they knew this, but I don't know.

So, the pharmacy tried to call my OLD phone number to tell me this, I wait in line for a half hour to pick up said prescription and then find this out.  Not happy about that, I call the doctor's office Friday morning to inform them.  They call in a synthetic steroid and I get a text to pick up my prescription last night-except it is the WRONG prescription (it's for the Meclizine I told them I didn't need yet.)

I'm still off kilter and no closer to seeing if adding medication to the mix gets rid of the merry go round I've been on.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Sucky Part About Having a Chiari Malformation

Well, all of it is pretty crappy, if you ask me, but right now, the most sucky thing?

When the neurologist admits that she can't tell whether the vertigo is causing the ubiquitous headaches, or whether the headaches triggered this current vertigo episode.  I can honestly say it is not a lack of knowledge on that front, it is a labyrinth of issues that are so interconnected that even the most seasoned neurologist can't definitively answer this one.

Thing is, the headaches are nearly always a part of my days, that I never stop to consider that they're causing other problems.  The only thing I have notices is that the constant neck and shoulder pain (that hovers at a 5 or 6 on that Likert scale) have been strangely absent since this whole episode started.

I think the biggest surprise is that this doctor, who I am not really fond of, was actually rather decent and displayed a modicum of compassion-which she has not shown one shred of in the past.  She even offered up a prescription for valium for next week's MRI, when last year, she told me I didn't NEED them.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm symptomatic and it's obvious it's bad.

Heck, she gave me a note to not go back to work.  Alas, the impending deadlines convinced me to not use it.

Upshot is an increase in the meclizine, a steroid, use my migraine medication on any and all headaches, even ones I am convinced won't improve with it, and go back in two weeks if there is no improvement in my situation.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Should I Switch to AT&T's Next Plan?

I do not deny that when the new iPhones came out, I had a serious case of 'I WANT!', but the practical side of me knew I couldn't spend that money any time soon.  There's a trip this year that required some deposits (yes, we are boarding a chartered cruise again) and well, I'd rather pay those than have the newest phone.

My current phone, the iPhone 4s, was acquired the day those came out just over three years ago.  So, I've been well out of contract on our cellular service, but like I said, the priorities for the fun money this year had a phone lower on the list.

When the new phones were announced, I looked at AT&T's website and saw they had two options, the plan we've always had with them, where you pay a subsidized amount for the phone, and the new Next plan, where you pay a monthly fee.  Unfortunately, the site doesn't really spell things out for you, so I assumed that the $25 a month for a 16gig 6 was over and above what we pay each month.  No thanks.

Then, my niece's cell phone broke last month and she got the new iPhone, using the Next plan.  She told us her bill actually went down.  So, I went back to the AT&T site and nope, it really didn't explain this at all.  A few days later, I was shopping at Costco with my friend Jessica and she finally upgraded her iPhone 4, but she paid outright for a 16gig iPhone 6.

This gave me a good opportunity to ask the rep about the Next plan.  Without looking at what I was paying for three lines,  he said the majority of customers have their rates drop a little.  It is offered as 18/24/or 30 month payment plan.  What is different is that, once you finish the monthly payments, you just have your base rate.  What this means is that currently, I've spent 15 months playing the subsidized rate for my phone beyond when I should have.   (It explains why none of the cell phone companies are in a rush to get you to renew!)

So, yesterday, Ed and I went to the local AT&T store to verify what the Next plan entails.  And yep, our base plan will be considerably less once we have paid off the phones.  We can trade in the phones early, if desired, but considering that we seem to hang on to them a bit longer than 2 years, it's possible we will have a few months of base plan.

If we had gone for the 16gig 6 or 6 Plus, our monthly bill would have dropped about 10 bucks a month for now.  But, I spend about an hour a month culling out photographs because my 16gig phone is FULL (and that's with less than a gig of music on it).  Long before the 6's came out, I decided that the next phone would be at least 32gig.  Little did I know, after the 16gig, it jumps to a 64 gig.  Okay, so that's what I'll get.

I was all set to get the 6, Ed wanted the 6 Plus 128gig.  Why?  Because all the iPad music recording apps he uses can be used on the phone.  Cool, it'll be easy to tell our phones apart-until he and the rep had me walk over to the display and compare the phones.  Yeah, so after having a 64gig 6 on the table, ready to walk out the door, the better resolution on the 6 plus was noticeable.

The store got wiped out of 6 Plusses over Christmas, which meant we ordered the new phones.

Another thing to consider: that unlimited data plan. Ed and I have had it on our phones since we got the 3Ss in 2009.  The Next Plan removes unlimited data-but it ends up that between the three of us, we use less than 3 gigs in the average month.  However, it allows us to tether devices, something that we've wanted to do when we travel.  It ends up that 10 gig of data per month costs exactly the same for us as the 3 gig-so that's what we opted to take. (I can tether my laptop at work when I need to check school email now.)

If you're thinking of switching to the Next Plan, it is a good option for those who hang onto their phones longer than 2 years, like us.