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Posted February 13, 2016 By Ruth

I’ve ranted before about my frustration of trying to get help at the rheumatologists office.

What I really needed to do was call my regular doctor and arrange a new referral to a new office, but life has been busy, and I kept putting it off.  Plus I knew that getting into a new office meant starting all over again with the several month wait to get in the first time.  So I decided to give it another try with the doctor I was seeing.

Beginning of January I used their online patient portal to message the doctor asking for more information on the decision to not prescribe a drug to slow the bone erosion in my hands.  Got a response back from nurse that the doctor was out of the office for a few days but she’d give him the message when he was back in.  That was January 4th.

I’ve never heard back from the doctor.

January 25th I sent a message to the office staff, via the online patient portal, asking them to please tell me what procedure they require to change doctors within the practice since their website states:

In order to maintain continuity of care and avoid “opinion shopping” within the practice, subsequent requests for switching doctors must be approved by the physicians involved, and in general will be denied.

so I assume they have a procedure to handle such requests.  Got an immediate response to “please call and ask for Colleen and she will discuss it with you”.  So the next day about lunch time I called and asked for Colleen.  Turns out she’s the office manager, she was in a meeting, but we can put you through to her voicemail?  Sure.  Left a message stating that I’d been told to call her for information, listed my name and number twice (my last name tends to give people fits in messages, so I always say it twice, spell it, and then make sure that my phone number is clearly stated twice so that even if my name has thrown them off they can still figure out who I am).

I still haven’t heard back from Colleen.

On their website is the following statement:

A chronic shortage of rheumatologists exists throughout the US. In most practices, waiting times for a new patient to see a rheumatologist is 2 to 6 months, and many rheumatologists struggle to meet the needs for follow-up care of existing patients. The shortage is projected to worsen over the next 20 years. The American College of Rheumatology has recommended the integration of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) as an important way to address this shortage and extend the ability of qualified rheumatologists to meet the demands for specialty care within their communities. As a result, AHA has created teams wherein physicians and skillfully trained and supervised NP/PAs work in a coordinated fashion to see patients in a timely manner and reduce the risk of complications or delay. The expanded physician schedules provided by the NP/PAs have successfully reduced wait times substantially, while maintaining the capacity for personalized care.

The value of this integrated model of scheduling with the rheumatologist  and NP/PAs means that when someone calls for an appointment, a visit can be provided with the minimum of delay.

So this past Thursday I was looking at my work schedule, and feeling frustrated because the pain in my ankles has become a constant (thankfully mostly low grade, mostly) thing any time I’m on my feet.  And in addition I now have little needle stabby pains in my left ankle.  And it occurred to me that they have the above statement on their website, and hey, next Friday I’m only scheduled to work till 2pm, maybe I can get an appointment with a PA for after 2, that way I can go in AFTER a work shift and actually show them how my joints are after a day of work, and maybe they’ll listen to me then?

So I call up.  But no, that’s not an option for me.  At some point someone flagged my account.  I’m ONLY allowed to see the doctor.  And no, he doesn’t have any openings for at least a couple months.  Would you like to leave a message for him?  I took a deep breath, politely told the person on the phone that “no that’s fine thank you” and hung up.  What point is there in leaving a message when no one ever gets back to me anyway.

Am I flagged because I asked for pain meds last time I was in and so they’ve deemed me a drug seeker??

Or am I flagged because I asked for information on changing doctors??

I have decided I no longer care.  The constant low grade pain is literally depressing.  I’ve never had any real problems with actual depression, but this is getting to me.  Arthritis Health Associates (Syracuse NY) is supposed to be THE office to ask for in the area.  This is supposed to be THE best office to get care from.  THE one to ask for.  But they’ve essentially denied me help.

I’m very well aware that in the overall scheme of things there are ALOT of people out there dealing with much more pain on a daily basis.  But I’m finding myself hitting my own limits.  To top off my Thursday I ended up spending almost my entire shift outside in the cold, lifting and moving 40lb bags of (heating fuel) wood pellets.  I personally and on my own sorted two pallets at 50bags each, and helped sort another 2 pallets.  Why am I “sorting” pallets you ask?  Well, we’re down to the damaged pallets of pellets.  The pallets where there are visibly a large number of damaged and broken bags, so before we can sell them we need to tear down the pallets and pull out the damaged bags, and restack the good bags for sale.  Its Saturday morning as I type this and I still hurt.  All of my joints ache (undoubtedly “helped” by the subzero weather we’re experiencing today I’m sure) and my ankles in particular hurting even when my feet are up.  My knees are starting to follow suit.  I’m hoping my knees are just a reaction to the stiffness and pain in my ankles.

The appointment to talk to my primary care physician about a new referral to a completely different office has been scheduled.  There’s at least one other rheumatology office in Syracuse that I could find.  And it looks like that if I’m willing to travel a bit further out (and it’s looking like I may not have a choice in that) there are others in cities further out.  I don’t really want to have to see a doctor a couple hours out, but if that’s what it takes to get treatment I guess I’ll deal.

I was warned by two different people (one of them my MOTHER) that despite rheumatologists being the specialists in the field, the people who ought to know better, many of them still consider all of that sort of problem to be an “old person’s” problem.  And so it may take some trial and error to find a doctor who’d work with me.  My MOTHER (who’s approaching retirement age) told me this.  I guess I should have realized that meant it’d be hell trying to find the right doctor.  But I didn’t expect it to be this bad.  How many other “young people” (and I don’t normally consider myself to be in that category, I am after all in my mid-30’s) are struggling to find a doctor who’ll listen to them?  And how many have given up and are just dealing with the pain and frustration on their own?

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Kyocera Brigadier

Posted February 9, 2016 By Ruth

So, I got this phone almost a year ago, so this is the not quite year in review.

I still really like it.

The biggest issue so far has been the port covers.  In order to make it properly water and crud proof it has these little hard plastic covers that cover all of the ports (charging/USB port, headphone jack), and these covers are attached to the phone by little plastic hinges.  I’ve managed to tear the USB port cover off its hinge.  And my Husband has come close to tearing off the headphone jack cover on his.  Now, this doesn’t mean that the cover doesn’t go back on, cause it does, infact it snaps back into place no problem.  But it does mean that every time I have to charge (or sync) my phone I have to remove this little tiny piece of plastic, that’s smaller than the fingernail on my thumb, and NOT LOSE IT.  I have so far managed, but I can see that being an issue in the future.

And I have to add that Android Lollipop and this phone….well, they work together, but not well.  Mind, I’m positive the problem is Lollipop and not the phone, as I know several other Android users, with different phones, who had issues with Lollipop, but still.

Having said all of the above, this phone is awesome.  I’ve dropped it onto solid concrete, from several feet in height, on multiple occasions, and the phone is still just fine.  No scratches, or dings.  Heck, the screen didn’t even flicker!  Not sure I’d want to try letting a car run it over, but it has held up to every bit of abuse so far with not even a blink.

In addition, the gripes I keep seeing in reviews about the camera…..


That is one of the first pictures I ever took with this phone.  Those are ice crystals on the front porch railing.  No photoshop.  I didn’t even have to fiddle with the camera settings.  This is not a bad camera.  Not even a little!

I will say, the phone’s ability to tell when it needs to turn on the flash to take a picture is more iffy than I’d like, but that’s not exactly the end of the world either.

Overall I’d highly recommend this phone!

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Posted February 8, 2016 By Ruth

Pictures taken yesterday of my wintering broccoli:

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The garden rodents have discovered the warmth, like I was afraid they would, so I saturated the tires again in an attempt to disrupt their digging.  But otherwise its some very happy broccoli!  Infact, I’m going to have to redo the covers this week, because the two tallest stalks are pushing up against the top.  And as you can see we have the start of heads forming!

I’d hoped, with this warmup we had this week, that I could consider pulling the covers off entirely (as it is I reduced them to one layer yesterday), but the below image is the 10day forecast from Weather Underground:



I’m still hoping that Saturday’s forecast will change, but so far the only changes have been to predict it to get even colder.  I’m not amused.  This lovely warm up has me wanting to kick into spring mode!

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Posted February 5, 2016 By Ruth

The old trail camera finally gave up the ghost just over two weeks ago.  We knew it was coming but were hoping it would hold on for a bit longer.  Doing a bit of shopping and looking around and we found the Moultrie M-880 Gen 2 on Amazon for $89.  We bought two.


Is it my imagination or is that deer on the small side for a critter that ought to be pushing its 1st birthday??

No sign of whatever produced those tracks I found on Christmas.  But I saw on Facebook that someone got a sighting of a Canadian Lynx down in Olean, end of January, which is only a couple-three hours from me……

I’m finally feeling human again, instead of a miserable wad of exhausted snot.  Sinus infections suck.  Coming on top of the viral stomach bug really really sucked.  I was starting to worry about how exhausted I was feeling, but I think I’m finally catching back up.

Course, being sick for most of two weeks means I’ve gotten almost nothing done on the projects I was hoping to get done…..I have the new vinyl tile to go down in the kitchen, got the laundry done before I got sick, but I haven’t touched the kitchen yet.

I need to finish figuring out what, if any, seeds I want to order, and start figuring out the starting order and how I’m going to do all that this year.

And I need to prep a new location for my little greenhouse, cause the wind this winter shredded my old one, so the former location won’t work.  Oh, and yup, set up a new one, since the old one was shredded.  I’d hoped to have a more permanent structure for my greenhouse this year, but life conspired against me last summer.  We just had a major thaw though, so if I can get the energy this weekend I ought to be able to at least get a spot figured out and cleared of debris.

Ran across this video on Facebook yesterday, take a minute to watch, its fricking awesome!

In other news, I found the political platform I want to vote for:



(Links out to Amazon in this post are via my Amazon Associates account, if you buy something after clicking through these links I might earn a few pennies.  All linked to merchandise was bought with my own money.)

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Windows 10 “Upgrade”

Posted February 3, 2016 By Ruth

Yesterday I ran across this article.

For those of you who don’t want to read, I’ll summarize.  Starting immediately Microsoft will be downloading, to ALL computers, the installer for Windows 10.  It will be in your “Recommended Updates”.

I highly recommend the article though, at the bottom of it is a link to a Microsoft page with instructions on how to force off Win10 updates.

This morning when I got up my computer was yelling at me that there were 37 “Important Updates” and another 10 “Recommended updates”.  A check of what exactly the recommended updates involved (click on the update, on the right hand side will be a link to further info) and at least half of them were part of the update to Windows 10.

I’ve been keeping an eye on those since this whole thing started anyway, but I’m glad I had the extra heads up.  So here’s yours!  Check your updates and don’t just automatically install them!  Unless you WANT Windows 10, and I suspect you’d have already made that upgrade if you did……

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I guess its my month to be sick

Posted February 2, 2016 By Ruth

So I wrote the last post on Thursday last week.  By Thursday evening I wasn’t nauseous any more, woohoo!

And by mid-day Friday everything stopped running straight through.  Even better!

Unfortunately by mid-day Friday it was also obvious that something else was taking hold.

Those random sniffles I’d had for the last few weeks suddenly collected all at once into the sinus infection from hell.

Course, I didn’t realize how bad it was till mid-day Saturday, when it was to late to call the doctor’s office.  I suffered till Monday (yesterday) and called in, after some discussion of my symptoms over the phone they called in an antibiotic for me without me having to go back into the office.  Which is much appreciated.

Oh, and I love my local pharmacy.  They’re a big chain, but in a small town, and the latter shows.  About half an hour after the call from my doctor’s office I called down to see if the prescription was there yet.  It wasn’t.  I shrugged, looked at the clock and decided I’d give it a couple hours and try again.  About 45 minutes later I got a call from the pharmacy tech I’d talked to, my prescription had just been received, she’d remembered my  name when it came through, and was calling to let me know it had arrived.  EVER so much appreciated!  She got a very firm thank you!

I hate being sick!  I had all these things I wanted to do with this off time!

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Posted January 29, 2016 By Ruth

I’ve been using Agnitum’s Outpost firewall for several years.  Like it alot and have recommended it.  Unfortunately Agnitum’s been bought out, and the firewall will be going away in short order.

For those of us with paid licenses they’re offering two years free of Kaspersky’s firewall.  Kaspersky’s not one I’d looked at closely, but doing so now I was less than thrilled.  Better than nothing, but not something I’m going to want to use long term probably.  I’d about decided to take the free install till I could find something else, when I discovered that Kaspersky doesn’t play well with my antivirus of choice.


Doing more poking around I ran across Comodo’s firewall.  Reviews look good, other than the usual “watch what check boxes you leave checked during install” thats pretty standard these days.  Anyone have any input on it?  Or for that matter, have a different firewall you use?  This is a Windows 7 machine, and though I keep saying I’m going to duel boot with Mint the Win7 side won’t be going away any time soon due to having too many programs that need Windows……

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Posted January 28, 2016 By Ruth

I was doing so well this  year……but I’m pretty sure I managed to pick up the virus thats been going around work.

Nausea–check (though I haven’t actually vomited ThankYouGod)



the feeling of having a fever without actually having a fever (alternately hot and cold with full body aches)–check

The doctor confirmed its not the flu, and yup, its viral, if it doesn’t go away in a few days to a week call us back.  Its the fever symptoms that are really getting to me though.  The house is currently 60degrees, and I’m SWEATING.  Which means that in a little bit I’ll have the chills…..and the full body ache absolutely sucks.  At least if I actually had a fever I’d understand WHY I feel this way!

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Posted January 16, 2016 By Ruth

Here’s a couple pictures of the wintering broccoli:

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Since yesterday was so (comparably) warm I opened it up, watered everything, and (after taking the pictures) did some weeding.  Yup.  Weeding.  Between the covers and the lights the tire-beds have been so warm that there’s weeds growing (and not just grass).  As part of the weeding process I pulled up the batch of radishes that I planted (in one of the end tires) back in the fall.  The radishes had never formed bulbs, but I’d left them in place just to see what would happen.  Well, sometime in the last three weeks they formed bulbs.

I’m utterly delighted with how this turned out.  Over this coming summer I’ll be looking at turning it into a more permanent structure that can be more easily moved than my quick and dirty A frame structure here so that I can rotate it around the garden and cover different sets of tire-beds each winter.  Although this setup works just fine for now, that much pressure treated wood is going to be a massive PIA to move and store without breaking it all the way down.  I’m thinking 1/2″ metal electrical conduit bent into U shapes and attached to a couple of base boards ought to do it, but I’ll have to play around.  Most lettuce, for example, is plenty cold hardy enough to grow in something like this.  We’d love to have fresh home grown salad all winter!  I’ve done some lettuce under lights inside the house, but it never heads right that way.

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Posted January 14, 2016 By Ruth

Mother Nature finally decided she’d better get her ass in gear and give us a proper winter.  Between late Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon we got a solid foot of snow.

The dogs are thrilled.


I was perfectly happy not having had to do any shoveling yet this winter…..

(Tomorrow, Friday, is predicted to have a high of 40……)

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