Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Incidentalomas; CT findings; both expected and unexpected.


When you go to the doctor expect them to find something wrong with you.  If you go to a medical doctor they’ll prescribe  a medicine for you. If you visit a surgeon they will recommend surgery to fix your problem.  If you visit radiology they will find some defect internally.  It’s what the do; they feel obligated to discover a disability and they will prescribe their solution based on their specialty.

As I discussed in a previous post; I went for a CT scan on February 4th, 2021  to investigate possible reasons for a recurrent swelling of my right scrotum following a surgical hydrocelectomy on 16 December, 2020.

Yesterday; 17 February, 2021 I went to my urologist’s, Dr Martz, office to review the results of the CT scan and to evaluate the renewed swelling and discuss options going forward.

On that front the choices are to wait a few more months or to proceed now with another surgery for orchiectomy.  He said that sometimes it takes 6 months for the swelling to diminish.  “My choice,”says he. Not a fan of general anesthesia for myself, I chose to wait until April and decide then about surgery.  We did agree that spinal would be an acceptable choice.

The CT scan results were predictable in regard to my urological condition: enlarged prostate, BPH, bilateral hydrocelectomy moderate to large in size. The bladder is unremarkable in appearance.

Other findings unrelated to my reason for having a pelvic CT scan: 1. Degenerative changes in the hips left greater than right. 2. Bilateral pars defect a L5-S1 with grade 2 out of 4 anterior subluxation of L5-S1. Atherosclerotic changes and degenerative changes.

Wait, you say I’ve got a broken back?  Seriously?  But I have no symptoms; no pain, no limitations to my activity level, (I play pickleball 6 days a week.).  In addition I walk 3 to 5 miles daily with no pain or discomfort in my hips. In addition to findings that we could reasonably expect we get a report of somethings totally unrelated and with no symptoms.  And so it goes.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Weekly online vaccine competition


Just to bring you up to speed; there is a world wide pandemic of a flu like virus named Covid-19.  It’s been front and center in everybody’s lives since March of 2019.  A quarantine of varying degrees of severity has been implemented across the world including the United States.

A vaccine to combat the virus was developed in record time; less than a year.  Usually It takes years to develop vaccines, or so we’ve been told by the “experts.”  In addition 2 additional vaccines; 3 different companies, altogether have been created and two have been available; approved by the FDA, for immediate use.

There are approximately 328 million people in the USA alone and 7,800,000,000 world wide.  Again the experts tell us that to achieve “herd immunity” we must vaccinate a minimum of 70% of our population.  In the US that amounts to 229.6 million people.

As of Thursday 11th of February 2021 about 34.7 million people have received at least 1 dose of  a covid-19 vaccine and 11.2 million fully vaccinated. Currently 1.5 million doses a day are being administered in the US.  Without overwhelming you with math details; the New York Times Has a neat graph that shows 10% of our population has been vaccinated as of 11 February, 2021.  At the current pace we will have 50% immunized by June 26th, and 70% by September 3rd.  And 90% next November 10th.

Due to a variety of factors; first and foremost, not enough vaccine! Not enough syringes, not enough personnel trained to administer injections, and sadly; wealth of communities(wealthier communities being vaccinated at a higher percentage than low wealth communities,) are all factors in keeping us from getting to herd immunity more quickly.

To dole out the meager supply of vaccine States have set up a lottery system for citizens to use to get vaccinated ahead of their neighbors.  I will speak to Florida’s system because that is where my wife, Diane, and I have resided since Oct. 2020 and will be here, God willing, ‘til the middle of May.

First they prioritized the population into groups to be vaccinated first; front-line health care workers, and people over 65 years of age etc.. then they eventually set up a state registry system by county where you sign up and establish your eligibility.  In our  case we qualify under the elderly category.  Instructions inform us that we have been “Q”d and when our turn comes up we will be notified by phone and/or email. In a quote from the local newspaper; “the state’s new system ensures those who have registered will eventually get a call back when appointments are available.”

They already have 20,000 more people on the list than actually qualify as residents in our county—— You can see where this is going; usual government inefficiency.

To make getting the vaccine into a competition  they (the state) have started distributing the still limited amount of doses to various pharmacies around the state.  In another quote form the same article in the local newspaper; “for those who prefer the weekly online competition for appointments, doses are also available through Publix stores in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.  They quickly fill up as that online registration opens up several times a week.”  To date Winn Dixie, Walmart, and Walgreens have joined the lottery competition for vaccination.  All these vendors to administer the same limited number of doses.

I’ve entered the lottery for Publix twice and attempted Winn Dixie once.

I’m done.  I’m not going to emulate Oliver Twist and beg for my vaccine.  When there is enough to go around and I’m still alive I’ll gladly take my shot in the arm.  If I get the Covid-19 infection as two of my children and their families did I’ll pray to recover as they did.  “They” say there is a 95+ % survival rate for people who contract the virus’ infection.  So I’ll take my chances, ( while maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask and washing my hand 101 times a day) but I won’t enter the state lottery system.  Perhaps I’ll get it an be immunized nature’s way. “So it goes.”

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Another Vino Loco day with alterations


Thursday; traditional Vino Loco day for as many years as we’ve been coming to Florida.  In recent years our friends from across the street have been accompanying us on this weekly outing. It’s modeled after the tapas bars one might find in Spain.  Although the menu doesn’t change much, (a number of items have been eliminated this season due to the covid pandemic,) they have always changing chef’s specials.  But as much as anything, it’s an opportunity for a pleasant lunch and socialization  in these days of quarantine.

Diane, my wife, has decided to skip today’s trip.  She excuses herself by proffering the fact that she has a hair appointment at 1330.  I’m somewhat puzzled because first of all we are usually seated by 1130 and are always finished well before 1330; plenty of time to get home to get her car (Sonny & Judy always drive) and make it to the hairdresser on Beach Road on time. Secondly, since we’ve been here this season Diane has complained about the social isolation imposed by the pandemic.  Enough so that she has spearheaded our Tuesday morning coffee get togethers, our Tuesday evening happy hours and Friday night dinner parties; these last two on a rotating basis.  Like I said, I’m puzzled.

My, self stated socially deprived, wife wants some alone time while I accompany our friends and their newly adopted dog to the weekly Vino Loco lunch.

What to do, what to do?  “Maybe nothing” she says. “Right” says I with a note of disbelief in my voice.  “I’ve got 2 packets to make up for new home buyers and/or fill out the history paperwork for her dr’s appointment.

I suggested that it’s a good day to go to the beach, which we’ve only done twice since Oct. (weather has been too cool to enjoy sitting on the beach.) Not only that but the hairdresser is on the road to the beach so she could easily spend an hour and a half on the beach (at less crowded time) and stop at the hairdresser which is only 5 minutes on the return drive from the beach.  Again I’m puzzled; for someone who loves her beach time, alone even, and frequently decries the lack of opportunity this season I’d think she’d jump at the opportunity.

Oh well what do I know?; I’m a man and a Husband of 53 years.  I’ll always be clueless.

Friday, February 05, 2021

CT scan of pelvis (2/4/2021)


Following up on my last post.  I received a call from the radiology (RAVE) clinic verifying my appointment for the CT scan Thursday morning.  They iterated the pre-procedure protocol; nothing to eat or drink 3 hours prior to procedure except water up to time of scan for hydration.  When she said the scan was with contrast I said that the office (Jenn) had said without contrast.  She verified and agreed that it was scheduled without contrast.  She reviewed the timeline; arrive at facility (Happens to be in same building as my urologist’s office) at 0840 to complete paper work, permissions etc, and to bring my deductible; $198.47.  The procedure was scheduled for 0900.

Being a habitual early arriver  for appointments, I arrived at the facility at 0820 and strolled around the back side looking for suite 116, and in short order located the entrance. Entering, I was met by Nicole and went through the covid 19 question protocol as well as having my temperature measured.  Nicole then said “ our policy is to have you wait in your car and we will call you when we’re ready for you.  Is you car right out back here?”  “No,” I said.  “It’s out front.”  “Ok” she said.  “Make sure your phone’s ringer is turned up.”

I wasn’t in my car 5 minutes when my phone rang and the voice said “Mr. LaRock, this is Nicole, you can come back now.”

When I entered the waiting room I was met by a different receptionist who began the questioning process again when Nicole spoke up from across the room and behind the desk area saying, “I’ve got him over here.”

I proceeded to the counter where, with Nicole’s guidance, I filled out the required paperwork and wrote a check out for $198.47 for my deductible.  She then said, “have a seat and the radiology tech will be out to get you shortly.”

I was in the process of lowering myself into a chair, barely touching the seat with my backside, when Barbara, the radiology tech, called my name and led me into the CT room. After a few perfunctory questions I laid myself on the CT scanner bed and the procedure commenced, taking just a few minutes.

Done.  I left the parking lot at 0848.   

Pretty darn efficient I’d say!  The times noted are particularly pertinent to a post on one of my other blogs.