Local health care soapbox

I just need to vent. If you aren’t local to Temecula area, or even if you are, this may not be for you. But I have to say after my family’s little adventure last night that the health care “system” in our area leaves a great deal to be desired.

Sarah has been struggling with a horrible cough ever since the sickness rolled through our house. (By they way, Matt was tested for Swine flu and it came out negative. Just your ordinary human flu.) Last night, she decided she needed to see a doctor to get a cough medicine to help her fight the cough just so she could sleep through the night (at least as well as she used to). Our regular doctor had already left for the day from his office, so he’s pretty well useless. So she went to what they call an “Urgent Care” center here in Temecula. What a joke! They can’t do any testing – xrays, blood work even an EKG. You have to be kidding me. It should be called a walk-in clinic cause it’s nothing more than a doctor’s office that doesn’t take appointments!

Anyway, back to the adventure. Apparently Sarah’s heart was acting very strange and it concerned him greatly. I have to say that at this point, that I am not convinced that this guy is really a doctor. If he is, he must have only just barely passed medical school. Maybe it should say what a doctor’s grades are RIGHT ON THEIR DIPLOMA AND LICENSE. They should even have to put it in their phone book ads and signs. Why do I think the guy is a pre-pubescent imbecile? The final diagnosis is Pneumonia. HELLO? Even I knew that and the closest I have come to a medical degree is reading a Michael Crichton novel! I have been saying that she probably has Pneumonia (she gets it every year or so when she’s smoking). But this welp couldn’t diagnose Pneumonia. He thought she had some crazy heart failure. Nice. Scare the hell out of a sleep deprived woman who just wanted something to make her stop coughing long enough to catch a few hours of sleep.

So, instead of going to see the movie I had purchased a ticket for, we all went to the “Emergency Room” in Murrieta, arriving just before 9 PM. Uh yeah. If you live around here and have one of those “I might be about to die” emergencies, don’t go there. You probably won’t make it. The process of just getting into the place will likely kill you. They have been working on building a new facility for a long time now and still haven’t managed to move into it. But to get to the Emergency entrance you have to drive around the new building to the entrance back behind it. Once you get in there you then have to get your vitals taken by a guy who looked more like a bouncer or security guard than a medical professional. Then you get to take a seat and wait for them to get around to you. Yeah I know all ER’s are like this. Their main waiting room is about the size of a matchbox and has a TV in it playing some kids show or movie at full volume – I assume to mask the sound of someone coughing death all over you as you sit in the petri dish. They should call this room the incubation chamber, not a waiting room.

Anyway, when they finally DID get her back to a bed, she saw the respiratory therapist and such all before ever seeing her nurse. It seems to me that once you get to a bed in an ER, their goal – besides trying to not kill you – would be to get you treated and out of the way for the next pathetic soul to get treatment. But here, I think they charge your insurance by the minute. The nurse was nowhere to be seen and discharge was a nurse’s visit away since she’d already seen all the “important” people. For you nurses, I don’t mean to say you aren’t important. In fact, I have nothing but major respect for what you go through and how little credit you get for it. In this instance, and in this ER, it would appear that the nurse she needed to see is more of a clerk and counselor. Anyway, the nurse kept her waiting so long that the respiratory therapist had enough time to come back and check her again. Sarah finally had to light a fire under them to get things moving since Nathan kept waking up crying because it was the middle of the night and he wasn’t in his bed yet.

The ER here is a private company. This isn’t anything new. But for a private company, this facility seemed pretty government-run. Disorganized, lazy employees. Maybe it’s just the night shift. Either way, I don’t want to go back there.


September 26, 2009 at 8:59 am 2 comments

June & Ward had it right

Thinking back on Leave it to Beaver and other old shows where the parents slept in separate beds, I realize that while the show producers were trying not to be to risque, they actually got something very right. For those of you that are married recently, or going to be married, consider the following.

It was probably close to 1 or 2 AM when my typical sleeping position of “dead man” (which is where you lay flat on your back arms akimbo and legs spread wide enough that an enraged spouse could easily kill you starting at your groin) was beginning to become a bit of a problem. You see, it’s kind of warm here in southern California, as you may know, and when I went to bed the temperature was warm enough that I didn’t need any sheets or blankets. I am sure that most married or shacked-up men can relate on this. The wife is bundled up like Nanook of the North wearing more layers of clothes than a popular dry cleaner shop. Add to that the numerous sheets and blankets on the bed making her look somewhat like a bear in hibernation. All I can see of this woman is about the same amount of face as you see of Kenny on South Park. Yet somehow, it was plenty warm for me when I went to bed. However, around this midway point through the night, the temperature drops down below what would be considered normal for man that doesn’t want to have to go through the thawing process in the morning.

In order to warm up a bit, I decided to roll over and while doing so, grabbed for the nearest fabric item to pull over me. Initially, I found the dog placed squarely between the wife and I and figured that while pulling on his scruff is not-too-difficult-for-being-half-asleep, the resulting warmth of my own blood coating my body from multiple claw and incisor wound was not what I was looking for. So the next available item in the dark is the bed’s top sheet. Ugh. I have never been a fan of the top sheet. It’s a semi-useless strip of a “barely there” fabric that more often than not ends up bunched up at the bottom of the bed. However on this night it happened to be up where it should be, or so I thought. As I went to pull it up I realized that it was sort of angled from being in position at my feet but pulled up to my right side toward my wife. Thinking that it probably just bunched up between us I began to pull on the sheet to wrap it over me. (This is the point where a man realizes just how much power he has in house. I apparently am lacking in this department.) My wife let out a “Hey!”, and not in that playfulish sort of tone, but the “don’t you dare attempt that again or I will pound your face into the sand and bury your bloody corpse in the rose bushes” kind of tone. Realizing that the battle over the sheet was not likely to result in a victory this night, I decided I was too tired to risk hunting for the comforter or worse a blanket. So I rolled into position facing away from the well protected beast and slipped the sheet over my shoulder as far as it could go. It stopped just over my shoulder so that my back was under the sheet along with the outside of my arm, but my front was not covered. Still feeling a bit of a shiver I began to try to go back to sleep. Laying there only partially covered made me feel a bit like Bear Grylls (without the physique, cool accent or awesome military training) trying to be protected from the elements on an adventure into the mountains, with only a few pine needles and a couple twigs to fashion shelter over him to try to sleep under as the night turns wet and the temperature begins to drop below frostbite. At the time it made me laugh – just a bit – which helped warm me up enough to fall asleep.

What’s the point? Well, back to what I was referring to earlier, get separate beds. Have them in the same room, even very close to each other. Just be smart and get two singles instead of that cool king size mattress. Leave about enough space between them for at least one butt to pass through unimpeded and you are golden! You have your own blankets and other bedding items – even a top sheet if you are weird and like that sort of thing.

Take it from me. It’s not the size of the bed that matters in your relationship. It’s how much sleep you get. Oh sure! When you are young and in love and want to make babies, the draw of a big shared bed to cuddle in is hard to resist. But let’s face it. The bed isn’t what makes the babies and two people can accomplish great things in small areas too. As an added bonus, separate beds will help enforce the “planning” part of your family planning schedule and avoid any tragic mistakes.

If you give in to the siren song of the large mattress with the precision tuned suspension and perfectly stitched embroidery, store a few essentials on your side of the bed, such as an extra blanket, a sweater and possibly a hunting knife to fend off any raging hormones.

Sage advice or crackpot theory? Decide for yourself.

September 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm 3 comments

Day 5 – Not quite as fat

Well, I got through the first 4 days of workouts. Dave really put me through the paces. At one point I cramped up really bad. I have never felt a cramp that bad. It was right along the top of my diaphragm. IT HURT!!.

Anyway, the meal plan has gone pretty well. I haven’t even need to eat as much as the plan allows for. Most days, I don’t get the last “meal” in cause I just don’t feel it.

Today, I had Sarah take pictures of me to have some before pictures. That way, when I am done, we can compare. I have posted them below, but I warn you that you may suffer from scorched corneas if you view them.

You’ve been warned!

May 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm Leave a comment

Day 2 – Still fat

But then, I expected that. No way to make it instantaneous. But on the plus side, I am able to stick to the meal plan.

On Monday, I met with Dave to first do measurements. (296 pounds of pure couch potato). We then discussed the various supplements and food stuffs. The berry smoothy is surprisingly good despite all the powders in it! I have never taken this many pills in my life but darn if it isn’t going to help.

Anyway, he got me on the treadmill. I hate (or rather hated) the treadmill. Every time I used one of them in the past, it hurt my back and calves like you wouldn’t believe. But to my surprise, Dave had me walking very leisurely. It’s seems like the harder you work, the more fat you’d burn right?? Not true. He had me at a rate that put my heart rate at 120. I was always working out to get my rate around 148. That’s NOT RIGHT. When trying to burn fat, you want to get your heart rate up just a bit. The other thing you want to do is mix up your fat burning exercise. Fool your body into NOT going into fat storing mode by doing only 15 minutes of treadmill followed by 15 of eliptical followed by 15 of exercise bike. That way, you are working different parts of your body and small enough shifts. When you only do one exercise for longer times, your body starts saving up fat in areas that aren’t being worked. So getting the effective workout isn’t as hard as I always thought.

This morning, I had my second session (one of 4 every week) and it was gruelling. WE NEVER TOUCHED A WEIGHT. We started with an exercise ball and moved to doing some step exercises and different ways to walk. (It helped that his gym is freakin awesome) and he finished me off by showing me a few of the things we will eventually get into such as kettle bells, speed bag and more.

I go back tomorrow morning for more punishment.

May 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

Starting a new chapter – call it 35

Since I am turning 35 this month, and I am a big fat guy, I figured it’s time to make some changes. I have been wanting for a while to do something about my weight and overall health. Such that I joined a gym after moving to California. I kept up with it for a while, but as things usually go, I stopped going. I even bought a nice bike to ride, but lost my riding buddy and of course lost interest in doing that.

But something in me snapped in the last week or so. My friend Kendall, who moved to Ohio last summer, introduced me last year to a guy named Dave Trujillo who helped Kendall lose over 50 pounds and keep it off by educating him on health. So, when something snapped, I emailed Dave and have signed up to have him help me.

It’s not cheap! Over $600 spent so far and another $550 tomorrow, but as Kendall said, I am investing in my future. I want to be able to play with my kids, ride bikes up hills, even walk up the stairs without getting winded. So, starting tomorrow, I go 4 days a week to be pushed beyond all of my limits and be in what I am sure is the most pain I have ever experienced. I do this willingly. And what’s weird is I look forward to it.

Tomorrow Dave will take my measurements and I will post them. This blog will serve as my regular journal for tracking my progress. I will also try to get my wife to take pictures of me tonight, though I am not sure if she has a wide angle lens and a glare filter.

May 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Bad Decision 2008

So the election is over, signs are coming down and life as we know it is returning to “normal”. But only for a few more months. On January 2009, the dominos begin to fall leading to the end times. I think that’s the case anyway. Here is what has led up to these thoughts.

On election night, we were driving home from our Life Group (a small group we attend from Life Church) and we heard John McCain giving his concession speech. Sarah and I were discussing what this means for our country and the war effort came up. We all know that Obama and Biden want to pull our troups out of Iraq and Afghanistan. With a democratic majority in both the Senate and Congress, doing so will be relatively easy for them. Pulling our troops out will lead to a complete meltdown in the middle east. When our troops leave, violence will break out with many factions attempting to take control of the government and the country’s resources. This violence will surely spill over into other countries causing chaos and war.

As for the end times prediction, the bible discusses the eventual rise of the AntiChrist, who will be a leader and a peacemaker in the region. Our Life Group leader, Steven Kelly, is a biblical scholar who has researched the book of Revelations deeply. There’s a big list of criteria that defines who the AntiChrist will be. We were discussing the election and someone asked if Barack Obama could be the AntiChrist. It’s tempting to believe that he is, even though he’s not, given some of the characteristics of the AntiChrist. First, according to the bible, he will be a leader that seemingly comes out of nowhere and is so charismatic that he unites the masses. There are more characteristics that match, but the key is what doesn’t. For one thing his bloodline negates the possibility. For another thing, he’s not the reincarnation of a long dead leader. Much of this is speculation but some of the greatest scholars believe that the AntiChrist will be a leader that has been dead for along time and will be risen to become the leader the world thinks it needs. This leader will ultimately be very anti-semetic and merciless. So, no B.O. is not the AntiChrist. Take heart in that. He may not be ethical or moral, but he’s not evil.

However, I think he will lead to the rise of the AntiChrist. During Obama’s first term as president, due to his actions, the middle east will melt down as I described above. This chaos will usher in the arrival of the man who will bring peace to the region which will include a peace accord with Isreal. This is the signal to get on your knees and fight like a man.

Consider yourself warned.

November 7, 2008 at 8:48 am 2 comments

I made dinner…. I think.

I set out to make dinner tonight. It was a new recipe. Looked interesting. This recipe called for Pork Tenderloin. We bought a nice 2lb tenderloin over the weekend so I cracked it open, cut it in half and put it in the pan. Each half came apart into two pieces. No big deal. I put it in the pan and added some marinade. (Here I go again talking about food. Sorry Kendall. But this is leading to something.) At the appropriate time, I put it in the oven and roasted it for 20 minutes first. I pulled it out of the oven to check the temp.

Below is what I found on the roasting pan. Not entirely certain I want to eat it now. Would you?

Pork roast??

June 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

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