Surviving July

Breakfast this morning was corn meal mush, black tea with milk and sugar, cranberry juice, and a probiotic capsule. I cooked the mush sitting down, with a brand new induction cooktop. Being able to sit was nice because of after effects of shopping the day before at the mall and grocery store then filling the car with fuel.

It wasn’t an impulse purchase. I looked into induction cooktops after the Sears hot plate I bought for in the motel room failed a couple weeks after the time limit for being able to take it back to the store. With an extra trip to town and shipping costs for warranty repair, the original $40 cost almost doubled, plus there was the inconvenience of having to do without it for a several weeks.

I heard from several fellow tea drinkers that induction cooktops are awesome for boiling water for brewing. They are also recommended for physically disabled people because you can operate one on a table while seated in a wheel chair. They are also good for people who live in rooms (hotel, motel, dorm) or in RVs or boats.

I found the Stopwatch App on my phone and did a test run. Three minutes on high to boil water for my usual pot! That is half the time it took in the microwave at the motel. My 1970s vintage copper bottom tea kettle, which I have been using on an electric stove since mid-June, isn’t magnetic enough (which I was aware of from the original research), so I splurged on a new cobalt blue enamel on steel whistling kettle. My two favorite cooking pots were induction-ready and did well with the mush (didn’t stick) and cabbage roll soup for lunch. I have yet to try a cast iron skillet, but they should work OK too. The cooktop came with a 9 inch frying pan which is a good size for quickly heating fajita size corn tortillas (tested it last night).

The electric kettle I used for over 5 years failed at the motel rather spectacularly by shorting out at the base and fusing an outlet strip. (Fortunately there was no other damage or injury.) Then I went to using a 4 cup/ 1 liter pyrex glass measuring cup in the microware or the old kettle on the hot plate. Redundancy is nice when you are talking about tea.

I looked around locally but when no one seemed to have even heard of such an item I gave up and decided to wait until the hot plate failed again then mail order one. So I was delighted to see one in the display window of a local retailer at the mall.

Atticus passed over his monthly heartworm pill several times, so I cooked hamburger in the skillet in a couple minutes. When I crushed the pill in his food bowl then mashed it into the cooled meat, he ate it willingly.

It took a little while to get used to the buttons, but it is great having good temperature control and the ability to program cooking cycles.

The shopping trip was on Thursday because of procrastination. I have been shopping on Mondays, but last Monday was the day for getting a phone line and DSL. On Tuesday I stopped by to visit my dad but ended up going through my mom’s things and went home instead of shopping. On Wednesday I was tired and remembered that Thursday was monthly brunch in Elderton plus some really good grocery specials were starting.

I completed a three week course of Doxycycline on Sunday. I expected some bruises from moving, so wasn’t alarmed until one by my right knee started to grow bigger and turn red. Ticks were bad this spring but thought that was past. I had one attach in the beginning of May, but it was only a couple hours at most, hadn’t got engorged. All the others I got off before they bit. Atticus got a couple bites but his Lyme test was negative and he is now immunized.

The nurse practitioner at the walk-in clinic said it looked very much like a Lyme bull’s eye rash, I should start on a course of antibiotic right away, on July 8, and go to the hospital for a blood test. I was assured that doxycycline was quite effective and fairly inexpensive.

At the pharmacy I discovered that the 10 day prescription, twenty 100 mg generic tablets, cost $115! Doxycycline has been around since the 1960s and is cheap enough ($15-20 per kilogram) that it has been used as a food additive at cattle feedlots. Somehow I managed to avoid fainting. They were able to get a 25% discount for a non-government-funded cash transaction.

This was especially bad after the discovery back in March that patents had been re-issued for asthma inhalers when a cartel replaced the freon (ozone layer destroyer) with a greenhouse gas and ran the prices up. I missed it because it was during the buildup to the great recession. This followed shortages on chemotherapy agents. Shame on you FDA!

I ended up having to move out of my room because I had become re-sensitized to cigarette smoke and was having asthma attacks, the first in over 15 years. One anti-infammatory inhaler, a month’s supply, would have cost more than I was paying for rent. An albuterol rescue inhaler would have been about $80 more. I discovered that the drugs delivered by nebulizer were still available as generics and much less expensive. An administrator at the clinic was adamantly against using a nebulizer. “Studies have shown that the inhalers are just as effective as nebulizers” — right, studies by who and if after an initial investment the treatments would be much less expensive, why aren’t you advocating that for patients?

On July 10 I got a call that the Lyme test was positive, so they called in another prescription. Just for medication alone, that bug bite has cost me $200. The lab sent my blood on for a Western Blot test after the screening test, so still waiting for the lab work bills, the initial office visit, and a followup visit the week after next. Just hope that the stock I cashed in will cover it.

So, had three weeks of gut and stomach trouble, the shakes, having to avoid sunlight and cut down drastically on dairy foods and survive a heat wave.

I did get a break on probiotics though, they were a special sale item starting yesterday and I had a coupon. Hoping that August goes better.

About Kathy

Perl, MySQL, CGI scripting, web design, graphics following careers as an analytical chemist and educator, then in IT as a database administrator (DBA), programmer, and server administrator. Diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy in 1997.
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