Monday, October 17, 2016

Don't Blame Me. I Voted.

New Mexico starts early voting in mid-October, so I have now done my duty and cast my ballot. That means the election can be over now, at least for me, right? Right?

Friday, October 07, 2016

October Currentlies

Current clothes: A brown t-shirt with a picture of a groggy-looking owl holding a cup of coffee. (It seemed appropriate today.) Sweatpants in a mossy green color. White socks.

Current mood: Mostly okay, but with some lingering feelings of annoyance from yesterday (although some nice relaxing time today has enabled those to fade some) and a certain amount of tiredness. I stayed up late last night because I have to switch onto night shifts for the weekend, but then I woke up early, anyway, which is very non-ideal.

Current music: Some forgettable random-shuffle stuff on the iPod.

Current annoyance: Well, there's having finally hit the last straw with the people at my doctor's office. But also the fact that my work hours are starting to really get to me, and I am coming to the conclusion that I really need some time off.

Current thing: Wondering where the hell the time goes. Lately, things that happen monthly seem to be taking place approximately once a week. I know time speeds up as you get older, but I can't be that old yet, can I?

Current desktop picture: Still Death and one of his cats.

Current book: The Passage by Justin Cronin. Which isn't bad, I guess, but I don't know that it's exactly good, either.

Current song in head: Right this minute, "The Boxer" by Carbon Leaf, but give it ten minutes and it'll probably change.

Current refreshment: Nothing.

Current DVD in player: Disk one of season four of Community.

Current happy thing: Well, I've heard that my people in Florida are all fine after the hurricane, as well as their property, so that's good. And while I'm talking about weather, there's also the fact that here in New Mexico we've hit that all-too-brief time of year when it's neither too hot nor too cold, and that's always lovely.

Current thought: I really should take some time off. Especially as I think I'm actually close to my vacation rollover maximum, and the year is zipping by at near light speed.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

And Just To Put My Stupid Problems Into Perspective

I've been looking at weather forecasts for Florida, and that is one scary-ass hurricane. I have family members on the Florida coast who've had to evacuate, and am very glad to know they're safe on higher ground. Here's hoping their house comes through okay, as well.

Good luck, Floridians. Stay safe.

What The Hell Does Somebody Have To Do To Get Some Goddamned Levothyroxin Around Here?

Anybody have any recommendations for doctors in Socorro or Albuquerque? (Or somewhere in-between?) I think I've just hit the absolute last straw with Socorro General Medical Group and their incompetent administrative staff. Which, admittedly, I should have done after the time my doctor told them three weeks in advance that she wanted to reschedule my surgery, and they didn't bother calling me until a few days beforehand. (At which point my boss already had every one on an altered work schedule to accommodate my absence, and my mother was packing to fly out to stay with me.) Then, of course, there was the time they submitted the wrong version of a fantastically expensive and time-sensitive drug and ignored my insurance company's repeated attempts to check whether that was what they really wanted. Or the multiple times they sent me repeat prescriptions for drugs I was only supposed to take once. Or the time they made me an appointment with a nurse after I insisted, several times, that I wanted to see an actual doctor. Or... Well, yeah, you get the idea.

Today's saga, just because I have to vent about it somewhere:

Over the weekend I noticed I was low on my thyroid pills and submitted a refill request to Wallmart (which is now the only pharmacy in town, something that comes with its own share of suck, but never mind that now). There's a note that they have to confirm the refill with my doctor, which might take an extra day. They're supposed to text me when it's ready, but for the next three days, I hear nothing. When I check, the automated phone menu and website say the refill order doesn't exist. I try putting it in again. Nothing. I call back today to check it again, and the computer tells me the pharmacy wants to speak with me. They tell me the refill has been refused by my doctor.

I call the doctors' office. The woman I talk to -- who sounds like she has no idea what she's doing, and ums and ers and reads things aloud to herself under her breath like she's trying hard to understand them and immediately has to go and "ask the nurse" about something -- tells me the refill was refused because it's been more than six months since I had my thyroid levels checked. It has been five and a half months, but OK, it's reasonable that they might not want to order the refill until it's been checked again. Now, the doctor whose name is on the prescription isn't there any more; she left a few months ago. This is all too familiar, as this practice has a constant revolving door of physicians (which is another strike against it). I'm told that one of the new doctors will have to see me before they can order blood tests or refill my pills. Which is also reasonable; doctors don't want to order tests or drugs for people they haven't seen in person. But the problem is that because they never bothered to inform me of this when they got the refill request four days ago, I am now out of pills. I just took my last one.

Now, when they do the blood test, what they're testing is whether the medication is working properly, or whether the dosage needs to be adjusted. If the levels are where they should be when I'm on the medication, it's fine. If they're off, we probably need to change it. But that only works if you do the test when I've been taking the pills. So, after the woman offers me an appointment on Monday so we can do the blood test sometime later, I explain to her why this is a problem, and ask her if the doctor is aware that I'm out of pills. She just repeats that she's going to make me an appointment for Monday and the policy is that I can't get a blood test or the pills until then. Yes, I say, but is a doctor aware that this is going to be a problem? Can she talk to them and see what they have to say about it? She can't talk to them, she says. They're all in rooms with patients. OK, can she talk to them when they have a free moment and maybe give me a call back? No, she's not going to do that. She will make me an appointment for Monday. Yes, I say, but the doctor really should be aware of this. Does the doctor know I'm out of medication? She assumes the doctors know, she says. They probably aren't going to do anything differently. (Although, in my experience, the doctors themselves are generally very good at being flexible and accommodating, and, in any case, they should be warned about the problem.) "Probably," I say. "You assume. That means you don't know. Can you check?" No, she's not going to do that. This is the policy. I sigh and ask if there is someone else I can speak to. "Yes," she says, "But they're just going to tell you the same thing."

She transfers me. I explain the situation again, and about the other person's refusal to help. Oh, yes, says the new person, they can absolutely check with a doctor when one is free, and will give me call back before noon.

Someone calls me back before noon and says that, actually, one of the doctors has a free slot this afternoon, and I can come in at 2:45 so she can see me so I can get the blood test. Hooray!

An hour later, someone else calls me, and tells me that one of the doctors is putting in a 60-day refill order for me, and I just have to make sure to make an appointment before the pills run out. "Great! I say. Um, does that mean I shouldn't come to the appointment today?" The guy sounds befuddled. "They made you an appointment?" He checks. Turns out, the person they made the appointment with doesn't even take my insurance. So, yeah, let's cancel that. I should just make an appointment later, he says. I tell him, uh, I think I may actually want to see a different doctor, instead, and ask about what I need to do to transfer my medical records. So now, I guess, I need to find a new doctor in the next 60 days.

And, man, I really, really hope they actually send that prescription in. I won't be remotely surprised if they don't.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Always "Getting Ready," Never Actually There

Why is it that lately I seem to be spending half my life waiting for Windows to update?  And is it ever going to decide it's finally up-to-date enough? These are the burning questions in my mind as I watch my laptop reboot itself for the umpteenth time.

As for its promises to take care of business during an "inactive time," I can only laugh. Windows, I guarantee you're not smart enough to figure out when I'm likely to be awake and wanting my computer. Even I am barely smart enough for that.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

You Can't Take The Quiz From Me.

This week's geeky social activity: the Geeks Who Drink Firefly theme quiz, which was held in Albuquerque last night. (Well, and also in lots of other cities, but I didn't go to those.) We came in third! Which didn't win us anything, but it was not too shabby at all, considering there must have been thirty teams, and that the winners reportedly only missed two questions all night. Now, those are some big damn heroes!

Win or lose, it was an entertaining evening, and a good excuse for a re-watch, something I hadn't done in years. Of course, now I'm annoyed at Fox for cancelling the show all over again. Some grudges truly never die...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Trekkin'

After my post on Star Trek the other day, someone linked me to this piece of music, which combines the theme songs from the original series, TNG, DS9, and Voyager into one amazing whole, and I thought it was just too great not to share:

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Keep On Trekkin'

I could not possibly let today pass without wishing a happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek. Who would ever have predicted, back in the day, that a show that had trouble even staying on the air for three years would still be something we'd be talking about half a century later? Let alone that it would have such a tremendous influence on science fiction, on pop culture, on millions of people, and even on real-world technology?

I sometimes like to describe myself, only half-jokingly, as a lapsed Trekkie. There was a point -- OK, it was pretty much the entirety of my teens -- when Star Trek, with its humanist philosophy and its much-discussed optimistic view of the future, served me pretty effectively in place of a religion. These days, Trek and I have drifted apart a little bit. I've found myself disappointed with some of the later entries in the franchise, eventually giving up entirely on both Voyager and Enterprise. And I can see problems with the original series that weren't remotely obvious to me as a youngster, from the disturbing implications of Kirk's interpretation of the Prime Directive as something that only applies to societies he approves of, to its unexamined 1960s sexism.

And yet. And yet, I still maintain a deep, abiding, nostalgic affection for Kirk and company, and (in a somewhat different way) for their Next Generation descendants. Not to mention a strong appreciation for the tragically under-rated Deep Space 9, which, despite a rough first season and the occasional plot or character misstep, was and remains a damned good show.

I may not think about Star Trek obsessively the way I did when I was, oh, thirteen. And I'm pretty sure I've forgotten more Trek trivia than even Gene Roddenberry ever knew. But the swelling notes of that classic theme song can still stir my heart, and the role Trek had in shaping my life really cannot be underestimated. I feel like I should feel embarrassed by that, somehow. But I'm not. If nothing else, I'll always love Star Trek for giving me Mr. Spock as someone a lonely little nerdy kid to look up to and adopt as a role model, as he was for so many nerdy little kids like me.

Live long and prosper, Trek. Not that you need the encouragement from me. Whatever I might think about all the twists and turns you've taken over the years, you seem to be managing that just fine.