Face time (and some good news)

I want to boop that nose!!!

Nosencrantz is such a cutie!!!

Potato Beetle is looking downright malevolent! 😀

It was a very chilly morning today, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed down the cats, any! I tried to do a head count, but never got the same number twice, as they milled about, so I gave up. 😀

We had a first, yesterday evening, though I was not able to get a photo. While it was clear that deer have been visiting our feeding station for a while, yesterday was the first time I actually saw any.

I saw one out the window, but it saw me moving about through the glass and soon left. A moment later, I saw another – and a second one beside it! I’d hung a sunflower stem, with about 5 little seed heads, off the hook that should be holding a bird feeder (we never did find the missing pieces). One of the deer discovered it and started reaching up to nibble on a tiny seed head, breaking off the branch. The other deer promptly went after a leaf on the branch, breaking the stem from out of the deer’s mouth! The first deer went after the rest of the sunflower branch and pulled the whole thing down.

There was no trace of it, this morning.

Meanwhile, a third deer showed up and hovered nearby. I think I even saw a fourth one coming through the trees. About then, the phone rang. It was the pharmacy delivery guy letting me know he was in the area, so I quickly started to bundle up to meet him at the gate – which is when I saw another deer come in through the little gate, walking up the sidewalk, towards the side of the house!

Of course, my going disturbed the deer. I saw the delivery car reaching the gate and, as I started up the driveway, a deer suddenly came FLYING over the south fence of the spruce grove, across the driveway, and over the fence into the old hay yard. It touched ground twice, maybe three times, over the distance. My goodness, when deer go all out, it’s like they have wings!

The delivery driver missed it entirely. He had been rummaging for our package in his back seat by then.

The delivery was a bit of a surprise. My husband had ordered more insulin, but he got a refill on is bubble packs, too. He still have at least a week’s worth, left. It used to be that, because some of his meds are restricted, he couldn’t order refills until he was within 3 days of running out. That restriction went away when the government started shutting things down, and now he’s able to get his medications refilled even when he hadn’t asked for them yet! They don’t even make the bubble packs locally, anymore. He’s the only one on those meds out here, so they had to special order them from the city. Now, his bubble packs are made in the city, and shipped to the pharmacy. I have no idea how they decided to do a refill for him so soon, when they hadn’t been asked for.

What fun. We can’t go into the pharmacy because they don’t recognise medical mask exemptions, but we can sure get our opiates in advance, whether we ordered a refill or not!

Looking at the bill was a head shaker. His bubble packs, with a 4 week supply of about 10 different medications in it, including some pretty rare ones, cost less than half what his one box of 4 slow-release insulin pens cost, and the box of insulin lasts for less than a month. I know this type of insulin is more expensive, but sheesh!!!

On a completely different topic, I got an email from our vandal’s lawyer yesterday. It seems our vandal is agreeable to the conditions we came up with during Case Management, and will be stating this in court tomorrow. Of course, it’s entirely possible he’ll change his mind at the last minute, but assuming he doesn’t, that means we will have a Peace Bond against him. For one year, we will have no contact with him, and he will not be allowed to be under the influence while off his own property (I don’t care if he gets drunk at home. I just don’t want him getting drunk, then coming over here to set fire to the house or something). I’m supposed to get a copy of the court order, so I’ll get the precise wording of it, then.

It’s just a piece of paper, but it’s a tool the RCMP will have, if our vandal ever does decide to do something stupid again.

Now we just have to deal with his civil suit against us. The court date for that is at the end of January. Hopefully, the judge will see just how stupid it is, and throw it out. Even if our vandal did have some sort of claim on the junk he thinks is his, it makes no sense for him to go after me for money, when I don’t own anything here!

We shall see how it goes.

Until then, I will enjoy caring for the yard cats, as my late father did. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

This morning

First of all, I’m happy to say the new heated water bowl is working out just fine!

The power cord is slightly shorter than the old one. It specifically stated on one of the labels to not use extension cords with it, and there are no other outdoor power outlets we can use here, so we had to get creative. The bowl is not on a makeshift platform to support it. That made it too high for the cats to reach the water from outside the cats’ house, but a couple of buckets and bricks now serve as surfaces that cats can use to sit on – while also providing stability to keep the bowl from getting knocked over as the cats go in and out of their house.

The cats where checking it out and using it almost immediately! 🙂

Including this roly poly Potato, who followed me when I started my rounds. 😀

There were quite a lot of deer tracks around, but this was new this morning.

The dug up the pile of dried up bush beans that had been cleared out and set aside, to eat. These were waiting to be buried in the beds in the spring, but there might not be any left by then!

Today was pretty warm, so I took advantage of it to do a small burn. While tending the burn barrel, looking at the nearby deer tracks in the snow, I found myself trying to figure out another set of tracks.

It looks like a pair of animals leaped their way through the snow! Fairly recently, too. They are very fresh, and were made after the deer had gone by. I have no idea what would have done this. The holes left in the snow are not that big, but the space between them is pretty huge! Looking at the holes nearest where I was, I couldn’t see any prints inside them, as the snow had collapsed inward as the creatures leapt about.

Any hunters or trackers out there who might know what made these?

After the burn was done, I also took advantage of the relative warmth and broke out the ice chipper.

Then I finally got to shovel the main paths wide enough that my husband can get through with his walker.

Then, because I’m a suck, I shoveled the path along the garden bed that cats had been using. 😀 It’s not wide enough for a walk, but if my husband ever needed to, he can at least cane it through here.

After I came inside, the girls went out and cleared paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back door of the garage.

Eventually, we’ll clear enough of the yard that we can drive in to unload the van, but that will be a job for our little electric snow blower. 🙂

All that done, I then worked on the cheese I’ve been making, which was really interesting. That will be in my next post! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

This and that, and… why have my fonts changed?

I did some unexpected running around yesterday and didn’t have a chance to post. Now that I am, I’m seeing that the title font in my editor has changed. I did not change the default font. I’m not even sure how I would do that!

Well, we’ll see if anything is different after I hit “publish”. So far, it looks the same as always when I hit “preview”.

WordPress gets weird at times!

Anyhow.

For the last couple of mornings, I have been happy to see that the outside cats are using the cat house again. When I head out, I’ve been seeing a big mass of orange in the window and, as I come closer, three heads will pop out to look at me! Unfortunately, when I try to get closer to get a picture, Creamsicle Jr. gets spooked and runs off.

I’m still heating up water for them, which they really seem to appreciate!

Yesterday, the plan was to drive my husband to the clinic to get some blood work done. Unfortunately, he had another really bad pain day, and could not handle the trip. I should see if they will fax the requisition to the lab in the town closer to us. I think he would better handle a 15-20 minute drive, over a 40-45 minute drive!

I still wanted to take the van out on the highway, though, and see about blowing more carbon out of the lines at highway speeds. So I headed out to the Walmart in the small, nearer city to finally pick up the rest of the month’s supply of cat litter and dry kibble.

You can tell that spring is in the air, though, when you start seeing birds in the Walmart!

This little guy was checking out the bird seed aisle, and finding stray seeds to eat! 😀

While there, I hoped to pick up more 750ml canning jars, but there weren’t any. I’d picked up the last one, previously, and it doesn’t look like they got more. So I got more wide mouth 500ml jars (2 cups/half a quart). I think these are the two sizes that will be the most useful for us. The plan is to pick up a case or two every month over the summer, so that we’ll have a good stock available by the time we are harvesting from the garden. Assuming everything goes well and we actually have enough to preserve. I usually go with “hope for the best, plan for the worst” but in this case, we’re also planning for the best!

The van, I’m happy to say, ran well. I even loaded the heavy stuff in the back, rather than the middle, and didn’t feel any of the issues I’d noticed before, that had us splitting our trips and loading the heaviest things in the middle of the van.

Later on, I made sure to call my mother to arrange a grocery shopping trip for her. That was set for this afternoon.

If all had gone to plan, I’d be on the road to her place right now.

Does anything go to plan? 😀

It was quite late when I got a call from my mother. She had suddenly developed pain in her bones. Especially her already damaged knees.

My mother had received the vaccine for Schrodinger’s virus a couple of days before.

She was obviously quite concerned, but as we talked I suggested it might also be because of the fluctuating temperatures. That calmed her down, and she decided she would take some Tylenol, bundle up for the night, and keep the cordless phone by her bedside, just in case.

I’m happy to say she was feeling better today. When she got the shot, she had the usual adverse reactions everyone seems to be getting; her arm was sore, redness and swelling. Fatigue, as well. No allergic reactions, but I wouldn’t expect any from her. She has an iron constitution. Muscle and joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting are all on the list of adverse reactions that are being reported. We will have to keep an eye on her after the second shot, as reactions are reportedly worse after that one.

Though she was feeling better, she wasn’t up to actually going out, so I was going to do her shopping for her. We had a bit of a snow storm happening this morning; not unusually cold, but colder, with blowing snow, low visibility, etc. It was supposed to get worse in the afternoon, so I headed out in the morning. I popped in to go over her list with her and be really clear on what she wanted. I noticed things that were not on the list and asked her about them. It’s always hard to shop for someone else. Especially when shopping is often a “see what’s good” or “whatever’s on sale” situation.

There were a few things on her list she would have picked up at the pharmacy, but the pharmacy kicked me out because they don’t honour medical mask exemptions, so she said she would get those items, later. She’s not willing to pay the grocery store prices for the same things. 😀

Just me and her list did make for a very quick trip! I was even able to stay for a short visit, which I haven’t been able to do for a while.

So she is doing all right, but is very tired and will be getting lots of rest for the next while. My siblings and I are going to have to watch not to pester her with phone calls to check up on her! 😀

Thankfully, the local weather has actually improved; whatever was being forecast for this afternoon seems to be missing up.

I’m good with that.

😀

The Re-Farmer

Winter is not quite done with us, yet

After getting teased with spring, the temperatures lurched back downwards last night.

Also, I am SO tired of our intermittent internet. It took me forever to get any of my weather apps to load! We’ll be able to switch back to the primary account soon. Hopefully, that will be better again. :-/

As I write this, we’re still at -24C/-11F, but the wind chill has “warmed” up to -33C/-27. It was pretty steady like that, all night.

I am really looking forward to that 6C/43F two Sundays from now!!

While doing my rounds this morning, I opened up the sun room to let Potato out for a bit, if he wanted. Along with the warm water, I had a treat for the kitties. I’d kept the meat juices and dregs from a roasting pan. Usually, I’d use it as part of the liquid for a soup, or make a gravy out of it, but this was onion free, and safe for cats. The juices had gelled, so I added warm water to melt it and brought it out for the cold kitties.

They were so excited for the treat!!! Cats that would normally stay away from each other were all pushing their way into the bowl, ignoring the container of warm water they usually go for, while I knocked the ice out of the water bowls. With the temperature fluctuations, the metal bowls are in melted depressions of ice, and I had to use a chipper to get one of them out! LOL

I was happy to see that the terrarium heat bulb was enough to keep Potato Beetle’s water from freezing. There was just a bit of ice on the water surface furthest from the bulb.

Once the water was taken care of, I fought some kitties off the bowl of meat juices and split it between the various food bowls. More room for more cats to have a treat! The very last bits in the bowl, which had chunks of meat in it, went into Potato’s bowl in the sun room. He had gone outside after I’d opened the door, but it didn’t take much for him to go back in! We are a bit concerned about him being alone and lonely in there, but he seems to be content over the whole situation.

I tried to get a picture of his wound, but he wouldn’t stay still, so this was the best I could get! Now that the fur is shaved, we can see that it’s a rather large puncture wound – and there is a smaller one, next to it! It’s drying up and scabbing over nicely, though. We’ll keep Potato in the sun room for a few more days. Once it warms up again, it should be okay for him to be outside with his little nekkid patch.

I’m not sure what we’ll do if he wants to stay in the sun room, though! We’ve tried propping the doors open, but then we caught Nicky the Nose in there, asserting his dominance. 😦

I wonder if that old sling shot I found in the garage is still usable… :-/

Since Potato was content in the sun room, I closed him up again and continued my rounds.

I had lots of company.

I had five of them! Butterscotch and Nostrildamus, the spice boys and Rolando Moon, all came along.

Then I turned around and there was number six.

Creamsicle Jr. many not want us coming anywhere near him, but that doesn’t stop him from following me around!

Unfortunately, this lurch into colder temperatures has been very rough on my husband’s pain levels (the added medications are helping, but not much at this point), and this morning, his TENS machine just stopped working. It seems one of the wires has … broken? I don’t know. He’s in a lot of pain, so his tolerance to try and figure it out is out the window. It’s an older machine, so I don’t know if we can get new wires for it anymore. The plug in port is universal, so we should be able to. I’ll have to do some looking.

But it will wait until later. I just got a call from my sister in law. She’s dropped my brother off to see my mother, and is on her way to deliver the pressure cooker! Time to go open the gate. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

They’re finally in! Also, we still have an income…

The last of our seed orders FINALLY came in the mail today. They were shipped quite a while ago!

This was the first batch that was ordered.

I completely forgot that, on noticing how few seeds were in the packets compared to the giant sunflowers we ordered last year (which was by weight, not seed count), I had ordered two of each.

The Crespo squash, which is a type of pumpkin from the Andes, was a last minute addition. I couldn’t resist!

I love how they use adorable children for scale.

This was my second order.

This was another “I couldn’t resist” order. After placing the first order, I went looking around the site. Baker Creek then sent me an email to up-sell me, using some of the new things I’d added to my wish list. I ended up ordering all of them. With seeds selling out so quickly again, I figured it was worth it. The price was right, too.

I have no idea if we will be able to plant any of these this year. We shall see how much space we have for starting seeds indoors. I think, at the very least, I want to try and germinate 2 or 3 of each variety.

Then there are the freebies.

This is the second package of purple kohlrabi we’ve been sent. I really, really want to try growing kohlrabi again. Gotta protect them from the bugs somehow!

As for the kale… we’re not fans of kale, except as kale chips (leaves tossed in olive oil and salt, then dehydrated in a warm oven). They are supposed to be very cold hardy, though, so that’s always a bonus for our area. We’ll make that decision then the time comes. I’m certainly willing to try a new variety!

I was very relieved to have these finally come in the mail! We do still have some back ordered items, and others that will be shipped at planting time, from Veseys, but those haven’t been shipped yet. These were shipped about month ago.

Something else came in the mail today.

It was from my husband’s health insurance.

Every year, he has to fill out a form to confirm that yes, he is still disabled, still under the care of a doctor (well… as much as he could be, this past year) and still alive. He is able to fill out the form, take a picture of it, and email the image, rather than send it through snail mail. At this point, he doesn’t even need a doctor to sign anything anymore. Everything gets process very quickly, and he later gets a letter detailing how much he will be getting in disability payments per month (it changes by a few dollars every now and then).

A while back, he got letter reminding him to send in the form.

Which he had already sent in.

He phoned them up and, after some digging, discovered that there was a different email for these forms than the one he’s been using for the last 5 years. Once he had that, he sent the form in again.

Today, he got another letter, reminding him to send in the form.

!!!

Thankfully, it was still early enough that he could call the insurance company, the office of which is in a different time zone. After sitting on hold, then being transferred to several different people, he got to the right one. His filed was looked at and…

All is good. His form had been processed.

Yesterday.

So that was a bit of a heart attack. If something had gone wrong, we don’t just loose the income we’re living on. We lose his coverage for prescriptions. This province does have Pharmacare, but that does not cover all of the medications he’s on. The medications are actually covered by a different company. His employer switched companies after he went on disability, so while his long term disability payments stayed with the original company, prescriptions are now covered by the company they switched to. If he loses one, he loses the other.

Which means we really, really appreciate that his insurance company was willing to send not one, but two reminder letters!

One thing I can say. Even with some screw ups related to the move, the insurance companies have done very well by my husband, and even gone above and beyond.

I thank God constantly for the excellent health insurance plan my husband was on. Yes, Canada has a “safety net”, but I know people who rely on it, and it sucks. We would have been financially devastated within months, probably weeks, without private health insurance.

We have much to be grateful for!

The Re-Farmer

Unexpected

Oh, what a day this turned out to be. I’m looking at the time and wondering why it’s not several hours later, because this day has felt much longer than normal!

But first, I share the pleasantly unexpected thing.

As I finished up my outdoor morning routine and headed for the house, I noticed something white in the window of the cat house.

Plus, something moving in the shadows behind!

Unfortunately, my coming closer startled the cats. You can just see a hind leg of mystery kitten, who dashed out as I got closer. Little Braveheart was still in the window, and I was pretty sure it was Tabby that I saw in the shadows.

Then, the Creamsicle emerged!

Creamsicle was the first cat I saw checking out the new shelter, and I’ve seen Tabby lounging in the window. I’ve seen other kittens coming out from under it, but this is the first time I’ve seen Mystery or Braveheart inside, and the first time I’ve seen more than one cat in there. This is very encouraging. I know, in past winters, even cats that didn’t get along would still join the pile on the swing bench to keep warm, but it’s still great to see some confirmation that they can use the new space peacefully together.

What I am really hoping to see if Butterscotch’s babies going in there! They are so much smaller and younger, they are the most as risk from the coming cold. Weather Canada is forecasting a long fall and late starting winter, though. I hope they are right, because I’ve also seen forecasts for an early, long and bitterly cold winter coming up.

Meanwhile, the predicted rains last night turned out to be a brief but wicked thunderstorm, complete with driving rain, thunder, lightning, high winds and – no surprise – losing our internet. Thankfully, we did not lose power. As I write this, in the early evening, we’re still at a very warm 25C/77F!

Among the things I needed to do today was head into town and pick up my husband’s prescription refills. Even with a box of insulin, thanks to his excellent private insurance plan, the grand total is rarely more than $100. Last month, his refills happened to include both his injections and needles, and for the first time since things got messed up with his restricted painkillers, his bubble packs had all of his medications in them. So it was quite a shock, but not too unexpected, for the cost to be closer to $300. This time, it should have been less.

It was more. The total was almost $400.

At this time of the month, I simply didn’t have that. The cashier started checking the slips for me and noted that not all of them had the 3rd party payment (what the insurance company pays) on them. With 16 medications, it added up fast.

So I got her to suspend the sale while I stepped aside to look through the slips and then, if necessary, transfer funds from our emergency account. I was perplexed, though. What changed?

I went back to the pharmacists and asked if anything new had been added. The pain clinic doctor was supposed to call our regular doctor and talk medications. Our doctor said that he would fax any new prescriptions directly to the pharmacy. Could that be what happened?

Nope. Nothing was changed. However, according to what was showing up on the computer, we had reached our limit with the insurance company for medications.

Our what???

This has never happened before.

In the end, the pharmacist took back the printed out slips and told me to just take the medications, and come back after we cleared it up with the insurance company. They would rebill the amount then.

Yes. The pharmacy let me walk away with hundreds of dollars of medications without paying for them! Her comment was “we know you’ll come back.” Which is true. There’s no risk to them, since we are regulars, but still… that’s a lot of money walking out the door!

The next several hours was spent alternating between my husband and myself on the phone, with him calling the insurance company first.

In a nutshell, because we now live in a province that has Pharmacare – a provincially run government insurance program – the insurance company covers the cost of the deductible, then stops paying out because the system then covers the rest – but the system didn’t kick in.

As far as I knew, when we sent in an application for Pharmacare, shortly after moving here, we didn’t get accepted. I remember getting a letter asking for my tax information from 2015, when no such information was asked for on the form (my husband and I were both on the one form). I remember getting another letter since then that was basically a giant word salad and, as far as I could make out, we didn’t qualify. So I assumed we did not have it.

The insurance company’s limit on the deductible was only $1500. I called the pharmacy and talked to someone there who looked up my husband’s file, and they’d actually paid out almost $2000, so we were well past the limit. Most confusing of all, according to what she was seeing, is that we were approved for Pharmacare. We had it. But it didn’t kick in when it should have.

She gave me the number to call and find out why.

It turned out our Pharmacare deductible was actually over $3000. Which meant we were on the hook for the rest. The guy I spoke to said we should have gotten a letter back in the spring with the deductible amount. That would have been the letter that I understood as telling us we didn’t actually qualify. He said he would mail us a new one, which our insurance company would probably want to see.

Also, two of my husband’s medications (one of which is the pain killer that comes in slow and quick release forms) are not covered by Pharmacare at all.

My husband then called the insurance company back. Sure enough, once they have the proof in hand, they will adjust the limit to match what our deductible.

I called the pharmacy back and explained it to them, and they are fine with our coming back after all this was done, so they could re-bill the insurance company, and we would be paying only whatever was left. How long that takes depends on how quickly the letter gets to us in the mail (after that, my husband can just email a copy to the insurance company), which could take more than a week.

Our pharmacy is awesome!

If we were living in a province without Pharamacare, this would never have happened. What I don’t understand is why this didn’t happen last year! I guess the new medications my husband was put on after his stay in the hospital was enough to kick it over this year, but he was put on them late enough in the year last year, that it wasn’t an issue.

By the time this was all figured out, my husband and I were both completely drained.

The rest of the day’s plans went out the window.

It’s time to de-stress!

The Re-Farmer

Broken. Like our system

Okay.

I think this is going to be a difficult post to write.

To recap for our new followers (Welcome! Thanks for joining us!); about a year and a half ago, my husband ended up in the emergency room for what turned out to be pulmonary edema. He spent the night in the hospital, was sent home with a prescription (without being told what it was for) and told to follow up with his regular doctor. He had a week’s worth of what turned out to be water pills, but the earliest he could get an appointment with his doctor was almost 2 weeks later.

While he had been feeling a bit better for a while, once he ran out of the pills, he started to crash again. When we got to his appointment, he was in such bad shape, I had to ask for the use of a wheelchair to help him come in.

The clinic was part of a hospital building, but there was only 1 bariatric wheelchair. I can’t even remember right now if they ever found it. I think he ended up using a regular wheelchair. The nurse that wheeled him into the exam room was looking very alarmed, and was saying my husband would probably be going straight to the emergency room. Sure enough, the doctor basically took one look at him and sent him over. They were wondering why he hadn’t been followed up on after his time in the emergency before, and we told them that this was the follow up!

He ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks. In that time, along with almost killing him by giving him too much insulin and not checking his blood sugars before deciding on the doses, they managed to drain over 100 pounds of fluid out of him. His pulmonary edema was actually peripheral edema, and he was diagnosed with heart failure.

Since then, my husband had been expected to go into the city once a month or so, as they tried to determine the cause of his heart failure and decide on courses of action. There is only one cardiac clinic serving the entire province so, as you can imagine, it’s pretty busy.

These trips have been incredibly hard on my husband, his back injury and his pain levels. It’s one thing to be sitting in the van for the drive (about 3 hours driving in total). It’s another to be sitting in the waiting room for such a long time, then waiting again in the examination room, only to be seen for maybe half an hour.

Now, we deliberately leave early for these appointments. It takes an hour to reach the city, under normal circumstances. Getting to the hospital, if traffic is light and we get nothing but green lights, takes maybe 10 minutes. Most of the time, though, it takes about 20 minutes. That gives us another 10 minutes for me to pull in, unload his walker, leave him to find his way in, then search for someplace to park.

However, we don’t leave things to chance and leave 2 hours early, and today is a good example of why this is necessary. On the way to the city, we hit a section where cracks in the road were being patched. A two lane highway was reduced to one lane, and they were alternating each direction of traffic to let through. So we spent some time driving very slowly through the construction, then just stopped on the road as we waited for traffic from the other direction to pass through. Then, once in the city, we were delayed by more lane closures bottle necking traffic. That one area has been under construction for as long as we’ve been out here, so more than three years! I really would have expected them to be done by now. :-/

My point being, we respect their time and go out of our way to ensure we will be there before the scheduled appointment, so he can be checked in and ready when they are.

There was one day, however, that – after waiting for 1 1/2 hours – he was in so much pain he walked out. It was that day that we discovered they built in a half hour waiting period. So while he was told in to come in for a certain time, they had his appointment for half an hour later. We’d already come in 15 minutes early. Even with the built in waiting period, they were still 45 minutes late when he left. Who knows how much longer he would have had to wait if he hadn’t. They certainly didn’t seem like they were going to bring him in anytime soon.

He talked to the clinic on the phone after that, and for his next appointment, they had a stretcher for him. It helped, but the trips still wiped him out.

To make things worse, they have not been able to figure out why he has an ejection fraction of only about 20% (I think it’s up to 22% now). They can’t find anything to explain it. There is no reason that they can find, for him to have heart failure.

Then the pandemic shutdowns happened.

He was supposed to have an appointment in April, when they called in March. After interviewing him on the phone, it was decided to continue with phone appointments until they could start rescheduling. It was a surprise to be called back for a June appointment. We were expecting July or August.

He ended up having having to cancel due to pain.

He was rescheduled to July and had an appointment then, but with the pandemic measures, I couldn’t go in with him. It was a short appointment.

He had an appointment in August. Pain was a major issue again, so he called to ask if they would be able to accommodate with a stretcher again. I’m not sure what exactly they said, but he was made to feel like he was imposing on them significantly, so he cancelled the appointment.

Today was the rescheduled appointment. One of the things they want to see him for, is to decide if he is a candidate to have a defibrillator implanted.

With all the delays, I was still able to drop him off almost 15 minutes early, then found a place to park some 5 blocks away. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go in with him, so I just walked around to play Pokemon Go.

The high winds that broke our tent had clearly hit the city, too! This tree was in a park near the hospital, and I was seeing broken branches all over the place.

My husband was able to text me to keep me updated, so I knew when he was able to get checked in. Some time later, I got another text from him.

He was still in the waiting room.

Alone.

There was absolutely no other patients waiting. Not only that, but I found out later that at 12:30, which is he was told his appointment was for, he saw and heard a group of doctors, leaving. They were going for coffee.

Did they book in a half hour waiting time again? Without any other patients???

Finally, after he’d been waiting half an hour, and he was already telling me he was ready to leave, he was brought into an examination room. By that point, I was starting to meander back to the van.

Then I got a text simply saying “I’m out.”

So I rushed to the van. When I got there, I quickly texted him to let him know I had reached the van, so he would have an idea of how much longer I would be.

That’s when I noticed the time stamp on his last text.

There was no way anyone had seen him.

So off I went to pick him up at the main entrance. This is supposed to have a patient loading zone in front, with enough room for several cars, or a couple of handi-vans.

Of course, people were just parked there. The vehicle in front of me didn’t even do that. He just sort of half pulled in and stopped. I ended up having to drive around him, then stop in the lane – thankfully, there was no traffic behind me – to pick up my husband and load the walker into the van.

As we drove, he told me the rest of what happened. After waiting, in pain, for so long, he finally struggled to get his shirt back on, then simply left. As he was leaving, a tech was coming in with the EKG machine, and she called out to him, but he kept going. As he went through the waiting room (which finally had one other patient in it), the woman behind the counter started chasing him down. By this point, he had no tolerance left and simply said that next time, make the appointment for the actual time, and kept going.

We both realize that he is probably viewed as a problem patient right now. What we can’t figure out is how a cardiac clinic in a hospital can be so oblivious to accommodating the needs of disabled patients. I mean, besides heart conditions. After a year and a half, and his pain being an issue in the past so often, you’d think they’d at least have notes on his file or something, about his extenuating circumstances.

I don’t know.

My husband plans to write to the clinic with a letter of complaint – though he’s going to give himself time to calm down, first! I suggested that he send a copy of it to our new doctor, too.

At this point, he doesn’t want to go back. At all. He sees no point. They’re not finding why his heart is doing what it’s doing; everything else related to his heart is checking out healthy. He’d already been doing most of the things they recommend, and the things he isn’t doing, he can’t because of his back injury and pain levels. They did acknowledge this issue.

He is hardly the only patient they have with multiple health issues beyond a heart condition. How many other patients are going through the same problems he is, but aren’t confident enough to simply get up and walk out? How many are just meekly accepting being treated like afterthoughts, because they are too scared of their condition to speak out? I guess that’s one “benefit” for my husband; he’s been through so much over the last while, developing a heart condition is just another thing on the list, and not even near the top.

At this point, I don’t know what steps will happen next. For my husband, getting the pain under control is the greater priority. And that is waiting for the doctor at the pain clinic to talk to our new doctor. Which doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

This is all so incredibly frustrating.

The Re-Farmer

Get a little bit closer, and a follow up

I headed out to water things this evening, but got distracted.

Junk Pile and two of her babies were out!

I ended up lying right on the ground, in hopes that would make them less intimidated by the tall(ish) human.

Creamsicle took full advantage of the situation.

What a silly boy!

Tabby didn’t come any closer than this, but did spend some time rolling around under the grapes, in between watching me.

Little Braveheart did come a bit closer to the stick I was wiggling, but not close enough to actually touch it.

It was funny to watch Little Braveheart and her mother. They share many of the same mannerisms, and often mimicked each other’s movements.

They also have the same eyes! Even though the markings in their fur are different, they have the same facial structure and many other similarities.

The grapes, meanwhile, did eventually get watered, and are looking really good.

The more shaded ones at the back of the trellis are noticeably darker than the ones that are more exposed.

While tending the rest of the garden, I found this.

The tallest of our sunflowers is starting to open up its seed head! So far, it’s the only one at this stage.

Awesome!!! I can’t wait to see how big the seed head gets.

Meanwhile…

My husband and I had our medical appointments today. Heading out two days in a row was really hard on him. Thankfully, we got in quickly, and didn’t have long to wait.

I learned one thing today that my husband forgot to mention after yesterday’s appointment at the pain clinic. The doctor there was going to phone our doctor here to discuss recommended pain medications.

Another reason I’m unhappy I wasn’t allowed to go in with him yesterday. He forgets things more often, these days. At least he remembered this while with our doctor!

The doctor had a couple of concerns. For one, he will be referring my husband to an endocrinologist, so we’ll be getting a phone call about that. He also wants to adjust my husband’s prescriptions, but will wait until he talks to the pain clinic doctor, go through his current medications, and think about it. Once he’s done that, he will fax any new/changed prescriptions directly to the pharmacy.

As for the rest of my husband’s bloodwork, it was all fine.

Then it was my turn. My bloodwork was fine, across the board. During the physical, we did get a laugh. After testing my reflexes, he did the usual putting his hand on my knee while flexing the joint, as he started to ask if I had any issues with pain, etc. When he lifted my lower leg, he cut himself off in mid sentence with a startled “Oh!!”

To which I responded to his half-finished question, “yes. Arthritis. You felt that, did you?” 😀

Yeah, both my knees do some interesting things when they’re flexed!!

One thing with both my husband and I was, what we thought were heat rashes turned out to be fungal infections. !! So we both got prescriptions for creams to treat that. When we were done, I dropped my husband off at home, picked up a daughter, then headed into town to get the prescriptions filled before the pharmacy closed. A stop at the mail on the way out found a letter from the heart clinic, with my husband’s rescheduled appointment, early next month.

I’ll have to remind him to phone them about it right away, to arrange some sort of accommodations, like having a stretcher available for him, for an appointment they say might take up to 2 hours.

So while nothing much changed at today’s appointment, steps were taken and others are being put in place, for the near future.

We shall see what comes of it.

The Re-Farmer

How it went

So…

My husband and I are back from his appointment at the pain clinic in the city.

In a nutshell?

Nothing happened, and nothing will happen. At least not there.

To backtrack a bit.

When we first moved here, one of the first things we had to do was find a new doctor for my husband. Just a GP to start with, so he could get his prescriptions refilled, to start with. From there, he could get referrals to specialists, as needed.

Before the move, my husband had a primary caregiver (at first, a Nurse Practitioner, then a GP), a physiotherapist, an exercise specialist, a psychiatrist and, at the pain clinic, a team of 4 or 5 people; I can’t remember exactly how many, but there was the doctor that was “team lead” on his file, a doctor that specialized in medications, another on physical care/exercise, and one or two more that I can’t remember what they specialized in anymore. I might be forgetting another specialist.

It took him a year to get into the pain clinic in the city, but that was only because his paperwork somehow got lost.

Twice.

So somewhere between the regular clinic and the pain clinic, there were issues, but once he got in, things went quickly.

We were hoping to find something similar here, but really didn’t know what to expect.

The new doctor got a referral to the pain clinic in quickly. That was in February of 2018. What we were expecting to get was a phone call for an appointment. As months went by, the doctor would check to confirm, and yes, my husband was still on the waiting list. Then this doctor had to suddenly move, we found our current doctor and saw him for the first time in December of 2019.

When he found out how long my husband had been on the waiting list, he promised to push to get him in.

In February, my husband got – not a phone call, but 14 pages of questions they wanted him to answer. All of which was information that would have been in his medical file. He answered as best he could, but some of it simply went back too far, and we no longer had the details (which would have been in his file, anyhow), while others were too complicated to answer on the form. At one point, my husband even wrote in, “don’t you have this one file?”

Then the pandemic lockdown happened in March.

No more health care, unless you thought you had the virus, or were in an emergency situation – and even those got punted.

So that added another 6 months to the wait. Today’s appointment was almost exactly 2 1/2 years, to the day, since my husband was put on the waiting list.

We made the drive in, and it took about 1 1/2 hours to get to the clinic – about 15 minutes less than I’d expected, but traffic was pretty clear when we came in. (It took longer to get out of the city, later.)

When we got there, I was able to drop my husband off with his walker at a ramp, then parked nearby as he went in ahead of me. At this point, we were about half an hour early for his appointment. Plenty of time to go through the gauntlet to get to where he needed to be.

After I parked and went to follow him (he was NOT required to use a mask, Thank God!), I was told they were allowing patients, only. I could not go in with him.

They did, however, allow me to use their washroom, at least!

The city is even hotter than we are – it was 32C/89F with a humidex of 37C/98C. There was no way I could wait in the van in that heat. So I started wandering around to try and find some shade in the area.

I found some.

There was even a place to sit down.

Sort of.

Thankfully, I still had some waterproof cushions in the van that I’d bought so my daughter and I could sit outside on damp concrete benches to have lunch together, months ago.

By this time, my husband had texted me to let me know where he was, at the same time I was texting him to let him know I wasn’t allowed to join him.

Since it was a while before his appointment was booked for, I took advantage of the time and played some Pokemon Go. I even found a nice, little park next to a Pokemon Go gym I could battle in.

Such a lovely, shady spot.

Sometimes, people really suck.

I’d been playing for a while when I got a text from my husband – well past his appointment time – informing me that he was still waiting.

I walked around for a while longer before returning to the shade by the clinic. By the time I got the message that he was done, it was an hour past his appointment time.

So how long was the appointment?

Well, it turned out to be a two part appointment.

For the first part, a nurse came in to talk to him about his diet and diabetes, while skimming over his file.

He ended up cutting her off to ask if they could focus on why he was there: his pain.

It turns out that some of his pain issues was listed in his file as being diabetic related.

In reality, his diabetes is related to the pain. And the other pains that were noted as being diabetic related are actually from nerve damage due to problems with his spine, which in turn are exacerbated by the original injury.

The nurse left after about 10 minutes. He could hear she was talking to the doctor in the hallway before the doctor came in, and gets the feeling she “warned” the doctor in advance.

The doctor was to the point – which was much appreciated – and quickly ran through potential options.

Surgery.

That was looking into years ago, and my husband is not a candidate for surgery. He explained that, and the why of it, to the doctor.

Shots.

That was in the file as having been tried before, without success.

Physiotherapy/mental coping skills.

It turns out there’s nothing at this clinic as far as physical treatment that he can’t get from any physiotherapist locally. Certainly nothing to warrant the 1 1/2 hour drive each way. There don’t seem to be any of the exercise specialists that helped him before, in this province, in any variation. As for mental coping skills, as a martial artist, my husband was already well versed in the use of meditation techniques they would advise. He’s been using them to help cope with the pain for years.

It makes for very quiet trips to and from the city, as he spends almost the entire time using those techniques to control/cope with his pain during the drive.

That left one more thing.

Medication.

And there is nothing they would do that our GP can’t.

Finally advice?

Go back to your doctor.

Which is what we’re booked to do tomorrow.

On the one hand, okay. This is good. We know what they can or can’t do. Maybe if we lived in the city, there would be more options? I don’t know.

The thing that frustrates me most is that our first doctor would not adjust my husband’s painkillers, or related medications, until the pain clinic saw him first. He had no problem adding more medications for other things, but he wasn’t going to touch the pain issues without that. He was by no means a bad doctor; in fact, he was better than the others we had to deal with when my husband ended up in the hospital. I think he was just too young, inexperienced and lacking in confidence for a file as complicated as my husband’s.

As for our current doctor, he’s seen my husband all of twice, and 1) kick started the pain clinic response in the first place and 2) is already considering alternative medications that might help with the pain better than what he’s on now.

And this is even with the pandemic shut downs slowing everything down.

Which basically means we had 2 wasted years of waiting for my husband’s pain medications to be adjusted, that wasn’t necessary. Plus the 6 months of no health care at all, due to the pandemic shut downs.

We waited 2 1/2 years for less than 15 minutes at the pain clinic, and there’s nothing there to help him.

The van was parked close to the ramp where I’d dropped him off, which was handy, since there was an ambulance parked next to the ramp’s drop off/pick up zone. Still, I wish I could have brought it closer, because I could see he was really struggling.

Then, we went to a McDonald’s, mostly so we could sit in some air conditioning. As hungry as he was, he couldn’t actually eat more than a few fries, as he was in too much pain, but it did give us a chance to catch up on what happened.

Then there was the drive home.

A very quiet drive home, as he meditated pretty much the entire trip.

We still have the drive to the doctor’s, tomorrow, but at least that clinic is only about 40 minutes away.

I do have higher hopes for our current doctor.

We shall see what happens tomorrow!

The Re-Farmer

My favorite mutant

While doing my morning rounds and picking more squash, I always check on my favorite mutant sunburst squash.

It looks like, where it rests against a leaf or stem (which I’ve moved to take the picture), it turned yellow, while the exposed parts are green.

I find myself torn between wanting to pick it, and seeing if it’s any different on the inside and if it tastes any different, or leaving it to grow, to see how big it gets, and let it to go to seed. 😀

I think I’m leaning towards leaving it. 🙂

My husband and I will be heading into the city soon, for his appointment at the pain clinic. I figure it’ll take about 1 hour, 45 minutes, to get there, so we’re leaving 2 hours early. How long the appointment will be, I have no idea. Then there’s going to be the drive back.

This is going to be very difficult on my husband. For medical appointments, he tends to skip his quick release painkillers (which are “take as needed”), so that his mind is clearer. What a choice to have to make: reduce the pain, but be in a brain fog, or have a clearer mind, but with increased pain.

I really hope they can help him get this pain under control. This is no way to live.

With us being gone for most of the day, I’ll have to remember to ask the girls to freeze some of the sunburst squash we’ve got so much of right now. 🙂

The Re-Farmer