Gastric Bypass


I’m considering alcoholism. I figure that with my family’s history of alcohol and drug addiction, my OCD, and my personal tendency toward addictive behavior in other areas, I’ve got a good shot at becoming one within a few days. Of course I’ve never actually had alcohol, don’t have the money to afford alcohol, would probably get excommunicated from my church if I tried it, and alcohol will interfere with the Effexor, GERD, my pouch from gastric bypass surgery, and any part of my digestive tract that still absorbs pretty much anything, so this may not be a workable plan. L’chaim! Also, a big fuck you to the Republican Party, any media outlet that gave Trump free coverage early on, people in the alt-right, Jill Stein, James Comey, Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, all of the Trump voters,1 and anyone else who has contributed to the election of Hitler 2.0. Your “ideals”2 are of little comfort to those of us who Trump & his ilk have threatened, doxed, harassed, bullied, or targeted. “Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne even those of you who are friends and family ↩Is it really an ideal if it leads to discrimination or injury of another party? ↩

Mazel Tov Cocktails for the Molotov Enthusiasts


Well, I’m anemic, but I’m not. It isn’t my iron that’s low.1 It’s my B12. It’s around 300 pg/mL right now, which is low for most of the world,2 but it’s not low according to American standards.34 Fortunately, the hematologist’s office realizes that those standards are messed up and that a person who takes monthly injections of B12 shouldn’t have a level that low. They also realize that the gastric bypass surgery and my family’s predisposition to the B12 deficiency makes me more likely to have issues absorbing it and maintaining high enough levels. So now I get to re-load on B12. That means 1 shot a day for 7 days, then 1 shot a week for 7 weeks, then 1 shot a month like I’ve been doing for years. Fun, right?5 The nurse practitioner also wants me to be checked out by a pulmonologist6 and, possibly, a cardiologist.7 She definitely wants me to undergo a pulmonary function test. She said that it could be that when I fell  at the pool several weeks ago, the water that I breathed in may have caused some issue in my lungs that I’m just not over yet.8 The other possible thing was the day that my dad put Clorox in the toilet. I didn’t think and I peed in a toilet bowl full of Clorox which led to a rather enjoyable release of chloramine gas.9 I coughed for days afterward and felt like something had scorched my lungs and throat.10 Well, technically, there are other possible reasons for my breathing to be so rough. I do have a history of severe asthma and severe allergies. Vitamin B12 deficiency itself can cause shortness of breath, but it’s a rare occurrence when it happens. Of course, rarities are my specialty.11 I need to go shoot up12 with some cyanocobalamin.13 The magic of birth control pills. ↩The low end of normal elsewhere is around 500 pg/mL. That’s where symptoms like fatigue, pale skin, dementia, etc. start occurring. ↩The low end of the American range is 200 pg/mL. ↩Bad standards. Very bad. ↩If you say yes, then there’s something wrong with you. ↩Lung doctor. ↩I guess because I have ongoing issues with tachycardia. Shortness of breath is linked with tachycardia. ↩Face-planting in the water is dangerous, yo! ↩Yeah, science, bitch! ↩A sane person might have gotten checked by a doctor after that experience, but I’ve never been a sane person. ↩As are face-plants, social awkwardness, and gourmet cooking; a lady must have an entire repertoire of mad skillz. ↩My thigh muscle. ↩Don’t call the cops. It’s totally legal. ↩

I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just a Little Unwell



My designer drug came today.1 It’s actually called Pennsaid2 and has the same active ingredient as Voltaren, which the orthopedist didn’t tell me when he prescribed it. Actually, he didn’t even tell me the name of the drug. I have been twiddling my fingers3 since the appointment wondering what this miraculous anti-inflammatory that he assured wouldn’t put my can’t-take-NSAIDs body at risk of going batshit when it encountered the drug. I knew when I saw the name that this was definitely an NSAID.4 And guess what? It has the same big boxed “fyi-this-could-kill-you” warning that all other NSAIDs have. It even says that if you have asthma5 or have issues with NSAIDs6 that the drug might not be safe to take. It goes on to say that despite being a topical drug and having absolutely nothing to do with the digestive tract at all, it can cause ulcers. Well, that’s just grand. I was so proud of the orthopedist for finding something that I could take that might help my leg.7 Clearly that pride was misplaced. I know that I’m more prone to adverse reactions than most people.8 I know that it says that it’s not likely to happen, but that doesn’t mean that it is safe to give it to a patient who has clearly told you9 she CANNOT take NSAIDs. When I tell a doctor I can’t take something, I mean that I cannot fucking take it. I’m not playing around. There are some drugs that I don’t like the side effects of, but will take anyway. NSAIDs are not one of those. I list them with my allergies because I know that they are not just unpleasant, they are contraindicated given my history of stomach issues1011 and the gastric bypass surgery. So now I’m on alert. I’ll try the stuff a couple more times to see if it’s actually safe. If I don’t react, I’ll keep using it, but I will always be on watch. I don’t think that I’ll be taking it long, though, since I’m already having some nausea, acid-filled burps, and some of the most intense upper abdominal pain that I have ever felt.12 I’m hoping that maybe the pain was me psyching myself out and that the nausea/HCl burps were a result of a little too much of my turkey tacos. If it happens again tomorrow13 then I will know that it isn’t the food. I don’t want to stop taking it and realize a long way down the line that it wasn’t actually making me sick. I also don’t want to end up with a perforated ulcer like Jenn, so I’ll be cautious about taking it. Anyway, I guess I could start blogging more at night. Some of the other medicine I’m on for the knee issue and for other issues has been keeping me up to 4 AM lately. If I’m up, I could do something sort of productive. Of course I’d have to be careful because the meds do make me a little more loopy-brained than I usually am. Oh, btw, I want to apologize to anyone14 who got annoyed by all of my tweets today. Over the weekend, I saw that #DefundPP supporters were planning a tweetfest to promote their hatred of Planned Parenthood and their related ignorance of abortion, birth control, etc. I decided to join in, except I would post facts, quotes, personal stories, etc. Basically, I was trying to help give people on Twitter some legit information instead of some bullshit propaganda. I also wanted to piss off the #DefundPP supporters. Considering the tweets that they sent me, I’d say it worked. Between being called evil, being compared to Nazis, being compared to Jim Jones/Jonestown, having my head called fat and ugly,15 and some other pleasant remarks, I’d say that the mission to piss them off was one that I clearly accomplished. There were some real assholes who decided that because I support access to abortions that I must hate babies and that I must have had an abortion. I think people who jump to that conclusion are like homophobic individuals16 who think that if you’re pro-LGBTQ rights that you must be in the LGBTQ community. Anyway, they determined that I was a baby-killer and that they would encourage their followers to harass me for killing this child that I don’t ever remember conceiving let alone aborting. That was the only tweet that I reported to Twitter because people in that movement can go a bit above-and-beyond on that scary, dangerous behavior. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. I’m sorry for flooding some of your Twitter feeds with my #DefundPP tweets. It was for a good cause, but if it was annoying to you, and I don’t think that you’re a horrible human being, then I am sorry for my behavior. If I think you suck: Who the fuck cares what you think about my tweets? I certainly don’t. I guess that’s all. ‘Night, y’all.17 My dad got me started on calling it a designer drug. ↩I see what you did there, pharmacology people. ↩Or, you know, something else that’s fidgety. ↩If it hadn’t been, then I would give the company major props for their attempt at trolling. ↩Check. ↩Double check. ↩It doesn’t work well either. ↩Yay genetics! ↩As I typed this I thought of Willy Wonka–of the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film version–in his office at the end of the movie saying, “It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal!” ↩My father also cannot take NSAIDs without having his acid issues flare up. He’s where I get the 80 mg Protonix + maxed out Gaviscon = still bubbling with hydrochloric acid stomach from. He also passed along his caffeine allergy. ↩Though it’s worth noting that Nana, mom’s mom, goes into anaphylaxis with anything, including skin creams, containing aspirin. ↩Considering that I’ve had GERD for around 20 years, gastric bypass surgery, and gallbladder failure that led to gallbladder surgery, I have plenty of experience with upper abdominal pain. Hell, it even ranks up […]

Mystifying Contraindications


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Late last week, I rescheduled my appointment with the UAB OB/GYN clinic to get my Depo Provera shot on Tuesday to Thursday afternoon at 2:30.1 I asked that the nature of the appointment also change, since I had done some reading and found out that Depo Provera increases the chance of bone loss. I was told that since I wasn’t dude for an annual visit until October 15 that I would have to make it into a birth control consultation. I said that was fine. On Thursday afternoon, I was in a pretty good mood. I knew that it was possible, if the doctor took too long or there was some unexpected wait going on, I was going to have to stay at the clinic longer than usual because my mom had a dentist appointment, I still felt relatively optimistic. That should have made me nervous, but it didn’t. I was even joking around. 2:16 pm: Craving coffee on the way to a birth control appt while wearing a short strapless dress. Clearly my LDS conversion didn't take. — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 That changed after I started signing in. 2:33 pm: Well, that's just great. If you're conservative you probably need to unfollow me right now because I am fucking pissed off. — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 The receptionist started by saying that someone should have gotten in touch with me. She asked if I was on Medicare. I told her I had Humana Medicare and Medicaid. She said that the Business Office had told them that Medicare wouldn’t cover my birth control consultation. I thought that there must have been some misunderstanding. Medicare has never denied a birth control consultation that I’ve been to, including the ones that I went to when my gynecologist was trying to come up with a treatment for the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, but my hormones weren’t taking to the ring or the Seasonale or any of the many hormonal birth control methods that I tried. And I knew that, as a Medicaid patient, there shouldn’t be a rule against birth control access.2 I asked if she could appeal it and she said not today. That might seem like a perfectly reasonable statement for her, but I’m on a clock. Depo shots are only effective for so long. And once the progesterone has gotten out of my system, my dysfunctional uterine bleeding or, more specifically, my menometrorrhagia3 will act up again. I will bleed for days, weeks, or months on end until my iron stores are depleted and my anemia comes back with a vengeance. Birth control is life or death for treatment for me. Even if it weren’t, denying access to it would be wrong. So I started drafting tweet after tweet of how horrifying the situation was. 2:34 pm: I arrived for my #birthcontrol consultation appointment & was told insurance won't cover it. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (1/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I get to wait a month until my annual exam. My Depo will wear off in the meantime. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (2/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I will start bleeding. My anemia will get worse. My overall health will get worse. (3/31) @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 All because there's a magical little rule that says I can't come in before my annual (4/31) @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 exam to switch #birthcontrol methods. A switch I was making because Depo increases risk of bone loss. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (5/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 As a person with joint issues & a vitamin d def., bone loss isn't something I need. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (6/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 It's ridiculous that I've never run into this rule before. I've taken bc off and on @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (7/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 for 20 years, and half of those have been on #Medicare & #Medicaid. I've had bc consults in that time. @HumanaHelp #birthcontrol (8/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I asked the receptionist if it could be appealed. She said not today & acted like this @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (9/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 rule was something she'd never heard of, but she also wouldn't get call anyone @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (10/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 from the business office for me to ask. She also claimed they tried to tell me. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (11/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Kinda funny since they didn't call & didn't email. How hard were they *trying*? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (12/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 So, when did this rule come along? Why is my health allowed to be put in jeopardy? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (13/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Are other women being forced to go w/o meds? Are they on meds that could hurt them? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (14/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 How many low income patients are being denied basic healthcare? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (15/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Believe it or not, not all #birthcontrol is safe or effective for all people who take it. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (16/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Patients deserve to be able to find the one that fits their needs. Why deny us that? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (17/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 They said that to get the prescription, I'd have to pay for a $90 office visit today. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (18/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 IF I HAD $90 TO SPEND ON AN OB/GYN APPOINTMENT, I WOULDN'T BE A PATIENT THERE. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (19/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 It's […]

Some Days Even My Lucky Rocketship Underpants Don’t Help



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Last Monday, I went to the orthopedist with my knee. As usual, for me,1 somehow my file got misplaced until his nurse realized that maybe that girl who had been sitting out in the waiting room for a while was there to see the doctor. I told her my name & who I was there to see. A few minutes later, she was taking me back to X-Ray.2 By the time that I was out of X-Ray, the room was open. It wasn’t long before the physician’s assistant came in. He asked me if it hurt when he pressed different spots. Then he started pushing my kneecap around and rotating my knee and leg in different ways; it was very similar to the things the physical therapist had done during her exam, except this PA dude pushed a lot harder than she had pushed. I told him about the knee buckling/going out that had gone on & and how it had started as a painless thing before morphing into a screaming in pain situation. He asked if it hurt when I went down stairs and I told him that I didn’t know.3 I also told him that I’d gone through about two months of physical therapy because I’d thought that that would help. He also asked if I had taken any anti-inflammatories/NSAIDs over the last few months. I told him that they upset my stomach and he was kind of like, “Oh, okay.” Then I mentioned that I’d also had gastric bypass surgery and he was like, “Yeah, you should never take NSAIDs.”4 When the orthopedist came in, he did some of the same manipulations of my knee that the PA had done. He told me that he was going to order an MRI because he couldn’t tell what was going on without it and that the knee buckling worried him. He was glad that I had tried the physical therapy, but he didn’t like that it had gotten worse during the sessions.567 He suggested that it could be a tear in the meniscus, but he couldn’t be sure without the MRI. If Dottie had ever gotten around to doing the requested referral,8 I could have gotten the MRI scheduled on Monday. Instead, I had to wait until Thursday for a prior authorization to come in. It came within an hour after I’d sent my name, phone number, zip code, and email address to Humana’s social media team.9 My MRI is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6:15. When the scheduling/referral person from the orthopedist’s office called, she said that it was at 6:15, but didn’t say AM or PM, so I had to ask. She laughed & promised they would never try to send anyone that early for an MRI. My appointment with the orthopedist to find out the results of the MRI is set for the next day after 3.10 I’m looking forward to figuring out what is going on and finding out what I need to do to get better. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of my knee hurting like hell. Keep your fingers crossed.11 This has happened to me a few times. ↩There wasn’t an exam room open at this point. ↩My old orthopedist, who is old enough that he’s now retired, told me as a teenager to avoid stairs. I told the PA this. ↩Told you so, UAB. ↩I didn’t like that either. ↩Neither did the physical therapists–pool and land. ↩Or my family. ↩Let’s face it. Everyone involved, including Dottie, knew that she wasn’t going to make that referral. ↩On Wednesday evening, I had asked how long it would take for the prior authorization to be approved. They responded Thursday morning asking for those bit of information to look up my case. ↩Dad is a bit bitchy about having to go on a Wednesday because that’s grocery day and nothing is allowed to interfere with grocery day. But the next appointment available was the next Tuesday morning and he hates morning appointments even more than he hates Wednesday ones. ↩And not behind your back. ↩

Oh, How It Resonates


Ladies and gentlemen and everyone else, I am seriously alarmed by the diagnosis that my doctor, now a second-year-resident, made the other day. I thought that she said I had popliteal tendinitis. The diagnosis on the patient summary was pes anserinus tendinitis. These are very different tendons. Now, if you don’t want a bit of an anatomy lesson, I’d say go now. I’ll only use tables and not cadaver images,1 so if you’re interested, but worried you’ll see some limb of a dead dude, there is no need to worry. I promise that I won’t be really gross about it, but if anatomy just isn’t your thing and you want to skip this entry, that’s totally fine. Since all good anatomy lessons start with the basics, maybe we should start at what a tendon is. A tendon is a type of connective tissue that connects the muscles to the bones or to other muscles. Ligaments connect bones with other bones. Bones are the things that you drink milk for, unless you’re lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. I present the popliteal tendon, which sits right at the “knee” above the fibula in the back.  The fibula is the bone on the outside of the calf. It’s the bitty bitty, in width, bone that keeps the ankle stable and holds the muscles in place. Injuring this tendon is pretty rare unless you injure other things in the knee. Symptoms of popliteus tendinitis are inflammation, pain, swelling, or tenderness outside of the knee. The more the patient does before it is treated, the more likely the patient is to build up scar tissue and that causes pain every time you move the joint. This is the pes anserinus. The pes anserinus is a group conjoined tendons of three muscles that insert onto the front and inside part of the tibia. The symptom of this type of tendinitis is pain that develops on the inside or center of the shinbone about 3 inches below the knee. Now, where does the pain happen to reside? The worst pain is on the outside of my knee. It is toward the back of my knee. It hurts when I bend my knee. It hurts the more I used it. The minor pain on the inside of my leg and on the front of my leg is actually above my knee. I’m not diagnosing myself. There are tissues of different sorts making up the area in and around the knee. I’m not going to say it’s one or the other, but I am going to say that if it’s the pes anserinus, then it’s probably a case worthy of some peer-reviewed studies. It would have to be the weirdest case ever. The diagnosis is why I am alarmed. I told the doctor exactly where it was hurting. She even examined the outside, back area. But she not only suggested a part that is in a totally different area, she officially diagnosed it. And the attending2 signed off on it without actually examining the joint. I shouldn’t have to know the actual make-up of the knee joint because that’s their job. Doctors spend all of those years in school studying anatomy. When they get to the Residency program of one of the best medical schools in the country, they should know the structures of the knee and what sides those structures are on. She only has this year and next left in her residency, and this is something she should have known before she even became a resident. Even as a family practice doctor, she should know this stuff. If she was planning to be a psychiatrist, I wouldn’t be so scared, but family practice doctors deal with joint injuries. Mistakes made in treatment could cause grievous injury to otherwise healthy people. This is scary stuff. Cadaver images would be what you would see in an anatomy textbook, so consider yourself lucky. ↩AKA the main person my family is calling “the idiot” for prescribing NSAIDs to a GERD + Gastric Bypass patient. ↩

It Doesn’t Even Go There



I saw the family doctor today about the ongoing knee pain. The family doctor thinks it is a tendon1 or, more likely, a group of tendons in the back of my knee that are inflamed. She wanted to either put me on a round of steroids or send me to the orthopedist for a cortisone shot.  Her attending told her to do a round of NSAIDs first, despite having NSAIDs listed as drugs I cannot take.  ((He told her that if they sent me to the orthopedist now that the orthopedist would do two rounds of NSAIDs before doing a shot. And they didn’t want to do the shot too soon–8 weeks of sharp pain in my knee doesn’t exactly seem like it’s all that short of a time period.)) They felt that the 80mg of Protonix2 could keep the ulcers from forming. So she wrote it for prescription strength Naprosyn two times a day for three weeks. My extra-reflux-y,3 post-gastric-bypass stomach & the brain that controls it decided that prescription would not be getting filled.4 I definitely did not want to risk an ulcer.5 She said they might send me to the orthopedist in 3 weeks6 if the pain was still going on.  Anyway, I came home and was a bit disappointed because I knew that I couldn’t take the espresso-esque dose of Aleve and that that meant the pain would continue for the next 3 weeks. I realized that it could even get worse. And then the realization that I’d have to wait another few weeks for an appointment and that might mean an even longer wait for treatment. I started breaking down and sobbing. I couldn’t see an end in sight and I think my crying worried my mom. We decided I should skip the wait & call the orthopedist.7 I have an appointment for the 14th. Two weeks instead of three somehow leaves me feeling more optimistic.  Once I was back into the less-overwhelmed-by-pain mode, my dad told me about Aunt Phyllis’s response to my GoFundMe page to help with my overdraft/unexpected bill issue. I think she meant to be helpful, but her advice really was, well, unhelpful. Missing one payment of most of the bills would just lead to badness. I saw my parents do the “just one month”/deferral thing. Debt stacked up. Debt collectors harassed us regularly. The reason I own the house we live in is that their bill situation got so bad that they could have lost the house. My debt isn’t that bad. If I skipped a payment, it might get much worse and I don’t want it to get any worse. Besides I have a “don’t take financial, moral, or legal advice from the Morris family” rule. Their solutions can range from bad to sociopathic. I really don’t want to follow in those footsteps. So I may overdraft again this month, but I’ll get caught up soon & figure out a way to pay for what I need and save a little money as I do.  Oh well. I need to start working on the grocery list since tomorrow is Wednesday. She also mentioned that I would need to avoid fluoroquinolones–Cipro, Levaquin–because of the risk of tendon rupture. I told her I couldn’t take those because of the neuropathy issue, so I wasn’t really worried about encountering that issue with them. ↩A dose that requires maximum doses of maximum strength Gaviscon to back it up. ↩Thanks, Dad! ↩Even the pharmacist knew I wouldn’t be taking it. When the scrip got to her, she called my house and said she would not fill a medicine we all know I cannot take without endangering my life. ↩Especially not after reading about everything that Jenn has gone through with her ulcers. And, no, that doesn’t mean I wanted one before. I’ve also seen the pain they’ve caused my dad. I don’t want to experience that, even if it would mean less pain in my knee. ↩My recheck was scheduled for September 21. ↩The family doctor said I didn’t actually need a referral because I’ve seen an orthopedist that specializes in knees on another referral recently. ↩

Aleve-iate Your Pain (Or Maybe Not)


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Ugh. My throat hurts. It’s been aching for a few hours now. I hope I’m not getting something. That would really suck. It’s probably just allergies or something. Nothing to get really upset about. I’ve spent the past couple of hours updating my Quote Book. I also changed my random quote script so that it displays quotes from the Quote Book. There should be a better variety of random quotes now. I also made a special layout just for the Quote Book. It features Jennifer Garner from Alias. If you have a favorite quote that I haven’t listed, then you can always add your favorites. 🙂 I have more I’m planning on adding, but it can be quite exhausting (for my hands) to sit and type up a bunch of quotes. Oh, I’ve been accepted at Alabama A&M. That’s good, since I’d already decided I was going to go there instead of UTC. I just have to send in some immunization stuff so that I won’t have to have all of my shots re-done. It’s been 10 months since I had my gastric bypass surgery. I’ve lost over 90 pounds so far. I still have a lot to lose. I wish I could lose it more quickly than a pound a week, which is what my weight loss rate has slowed to. I miss how right after the surgery, I lost like 21 pounds in two weeks. I’m sorry that this is such a boring little blog entry, but I don’t really have anything spectacularly interesting to say. Plugs: Esther, Jen, Katie, Tara

Quotable