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So there you go. My body officially abhors the springtime.

March 9, 2011, 6:23 PM

Yeah, there you have it. My body abhors the springtime. I am allergic to pretty much everything related to the spring, and this was all confirmed by a doctor that specializes in allergies. So I have proof of it.

By the way, allergy testing is pretty interesting. What I’m allergic to in the spring is kind of irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, but the process was interesting. They checked my blood pressure, temperature, pulse, heartbeat, and breathing, and then they offered two options for the actual allergy testing. One was a blood test, and the other was a skin test. I opted for the skin test, since the little applicator for that was better than getting my finger pricked or having them take a little vial of blood.

For that, they came in with a tray full of samples of different allergens, with the little skin applicators ready to go. They did the testing on my upper arms, which seemed agreeable enough. I’ve heard of people getting these kinds of things on far less preferable places, and so I wasn’t complaining. Plus I could watch the process, since it was in a spot that I could see.

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Categories: Health issues

I never thought someone would actually want to work in a purple office…

December 23, 2010, 6:27 PM

So I saw a chiropractor today for some neck and lower back pain that I’d been having lately. I chose to see a chiropractor as opposed to a regular doctor because of a couple of matters that happened some years ago. In the summer of 2001, I had a bout with some pretty severe lower back pain. I saw a regular doctor about it, and they prescribed muscle relaxers, which did nothing except cost money. Then one day in March 2002, after months of the back pain coming and going, I sat down on my couch in my old Potomac Hall dorm room, and… *pop* – instant relief. The pain was completely gone. I don’t think I had felt that good in a long time. Went from about a six on the 1-10 pain scale to ahhhhh in one short second.

So when my neck started feeling a little stiff a few months ago, as well as some lower back stiffness when standing for extended periods (like at demonstrations and such), remembering that feeling of relief from a while back, I started doing some research on chiropractic. I read up about what it entailed and what it was about, and also went on Quackwatch to see what kinds of red flags to look out for. I read plenty of horror stories about chiropractors who did way more adjustments on people than were necessary, who routinely x-rayed when it wasn’t necessary, and pressured patients with a lot of hard-selling.

So having done a whole lot of research on what to look for and what to look for as warning signs, I started looking for chiropractors in the Wheaton area. Ultimately, it came down to Dr. Peter McPartland and Wheaton Chiropractic. Both facilities took my insurance. While McPartland was closer to my house and within walking distance of Glenmont station, I ultimately chose Wheaton Chiropractic for a few reasons. First of all, McPartland was a storefront office at Glenmont Shopping Center, while Wheaton Chiropractic was in a medical office building (Forest Glen Medical Center). Then on McPartland’s new-patient forms, which were available for download, I read this passage: “This is to certify that I am not pregnant and Dr. Peter McPartland or Staff has my permission to take x-rays of me.” Compare to Wheaton Chiropractic, which said, “Current research does not support routine imaging, especially for uncomplicated cases. We are conservative about ordering studies for patients, and will order them only when clinically indicated.” That was the grabber there – one asked for blanket permission up front to x-ray, and the other one said they wouldn’t x-ray at all unless it was really necessary. So I went with Wheaton Chiropractic.

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Categories: Health issues

Sick days are no fun…

October 28, 2010, 8:03 PM

Ecch… I hate taking sick days. This was the first sick day I’ve taken since 2006. But when I call out sick, I mean it. Talk about an awful time. I tossed and turned the entire night last night, with TBD (formerly News Channel 8) on the TV. And I had a fever the whole time. And I had a major case of nasal congestion and got to know exactly what sinus pressure was all about. I felt like my nose was going to explode, what with all of everything clogged up and in pain. And blowing my nose didn’t do much good. No relief. Just more of the face-wants-to-explode feeling.

And let me be the first to tell you that all-natural nasal sprays are overpriced and ineffective. I bought this all-natural nasal spray from Whole Foods yesterday that was made of saline, glycerin, and – get this – grapefruit seed extract. Lovely. So now the snot smells vaguely like grapefruit, but it’s still there. I went with the all-natural stuff because of the usual concerns about the rebound effect on conventional nasal sprays. However, unlike the natural stuff, the conventional one worked like a charm. When I finally said the hell with the natural spray, I hit my bottle of regular spray, and I could breathe again.

Then you know you’re sick when you call the office to relay some information and they can’t tell who you are by voice. Usually, I’m fairly easily recognized by voice. Not this time. I called twice to attend to various things, and two people each couldn’t tell who I was.

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Categories: Health issues, Work

With pupils as big as saucers…

October 1, 2010, 7:06 PM

You know, a trip to the eye doctor can be kind of fun, but let me tell you… recovering from same is less fun. Specifically, recovering from the dilating drops is no fun at all.

I had two different eye exams over the course of the week. One was the standard checkup-type eye exam on Wednesday, and the other was with a specialist on Friday (don’t ask, but I’m not going blind). And in both cases, they give you the little drops to dilate your eyes, in order to be able to see what’s going on inside and make sure all is well. The problem, of course, is going out into the real world afterwards, still dilated and all. Wednesday’s dilation was fine because it was raining out. Thus going home afterwards was fine since the sun wasn’t out. However, for Friday’s exam, it was cloudy in the morning, but after working a half-day at the office and going to see the doctor, it cleared up and was a beautiful day again. It would, of course, normally be beautiful for me, too, except that I would be practically blinded by it all. Yes, they gave me the little horn-rimmed dark inserts that sit behind your glasses in both cases, but they don’t work all that well because they move around a bit and cause their own reflections.

If it gives you any idea what we’re dealing with, here’s what my left eye looked like for Wednesday’s exam:

Dilated left eye on Wednesday

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Categories: Activism, Health issues, Radio

Here’s some advice: Don’t eat a five-day-old salad…

June 14, 2010, 11:48 PM

That’s my advice for you, because on Saturday, I wasn’t feeling too well, and I blame it on Friday’s lunch. You know how it is – you wake up feeling icky and with a fever, and then by the end of the day, the fever has broken, and all is feeling well again. I have a feeling it was food poisoning on Saturday. At least that was my theory until recently.

Except now I don’t know what to think, since I started feeling bad again on Monday, too, and I’d not eaten anything else that I could pin down as questionable. I hope I’m not getting sick. That would be really unpleasant. But as of right now, I have a fever, and my chest hurts from all the coughing I’ve been doing. I really don’t want to have to call out at work tomorrow, because I’ve got stuff I need to do down there, so hopefully I’ll be in a state where I can make it in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, now I’m trying to figure out where I caught this. It’s been two weeks since Boston, so for all I know, I might have caught something up there, because after all, that was a perfect breeding ground for colds, with people sharing rooms and coming together from all sorts of cities. I consider that most likely, because since coming back, I haven’t done anything, other than the aforementioned salad that was a shade past its prime, that would have made me sick.

Actually, I take that back. We got all of our summer interns in recently at work, and I wonder if I didn’t catch something from one of them. That would certainly be unpleasant, wouldn’t it?

Either way, it certainly shot my weekend. I was planning to go out, and ended up staying in all weekend. That did, however, do wonders for the Web site, where I got a lot of work done on new content (by the way, look for the CSS version of the site to go live around July 1 with at least two new photo sets at launch).

See, don’t tell the allergies that it’s their season, because maybe they’ll forget and it will be too late then…

April 3, 2010, 10:10 PM

First of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft. This ought to be a fun weekend. I saw my friend Bergit in Charlottesville on the way down (that was a lot of fun), and then I’m spending tomorrow with the parents, then Monday I’m spending with Katie, and then Tuesday, back to DC.

The drive down here was kind of interesting. Usually I don’t hit traffic on a Saturday, but this time, the Beltway was awful. Almost as soon as we crossed into Virginia, pow. Slowed to a 10 mph crawl. Once I hit I-66, though, no problems, and except for some moderate congestion on US 29 through Gainesville, we were good. Smooth sailing right down 29 to Charlottesville. I noticed that they were expanding the Charlottesville Wal-Mart, and also noticed that an Exxon station at the corner of US 29 and Barracks Road had been demolished and seeded. Very strange seeing a vacant corner lot like that…

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An appointment, and a trip to Shady Grove…

April 7, 2009, 8:09 PM

So today was interesting. I had an eye appointment today in Chevy Chase, and so I only worked half a day, and spent the other half going to the appointment.

I decided to try something different today as far as my commute, to see if a different method worked better. Since my appointment was a block away from Friendship Heights station, and work is at Dupont Circle, instead of taking the 51 to Glenmont and taking the train like I usually do, I drove over to Shady Grove and took the train from there.

First of all, the drive over to Shady Grove from my house wasn’t too bad. I know the way quite well, traffic was moderate and moving, and so I just kind of zipped over and found a parking space. Then I got Rohr 1068 going in. Now that was kind of fun, since I got to see a lot of stations I hadn’t been to since 2006(!). After all, same destination as always – Dupont Circle – but coming from the other way. So instead of my usual run of stations, I got to ride through the other side. It’s been a while since last I saw all of the four-coffer arch stations on the Shady Grove side of the Red Line, and even longer since last I saw the outdoor stations out that way. And it’s very strange hearing “Red Line to Glenmont” in the morning, I must say, since of course, coming from Glenmont, I’ve become accustomed to hearing “Red Line to Shady Grove” first thing, and hearing “Glenmont” means I’m coming home.

However, the fare was a bit of a shocker – $4.50! Ouch! It’s only $4.00 from Glenmont, you see, so this was an added hit. But then from there, it was business as usual, walking the rest of the way to work.

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Categories: Health issues, WMATA

So I found an ophthalmologist, and I went today.

September 29, 2008, 10:22 PM

So I found an ophthalmologist, and I had my appointment today. I went to Rodman & Engelstein, and I’ll just say this – this was definitely a different procedure from when I went to Dr. Patel in Fishersville.

First of all, I took a half day off from work, and took Metro up to Silver Spring. First of all, one has to wonder who peed in the train operator’s cornflakes this morning. The train was a Silver Spring train, which meant that it ended its run at Silver Spring rather than going all the way to Glenmont. I usually hate those kinds of trains because they don’t go where I need to go, but this time, I was going to downtown Silver Spring, so I didn’t particularly care. It was there, and I caught it. This guy came down REALLY hard about the whole going-out-of-service thing. “ATTENTION CUSTOMERS ON THE PLATFORM, THIS TRAIN IS OUT OF SERVICE! DO NOT BOARD THIS TRAIN!” And he repeated this a few times before the train was completely berthed. And of course, despite being all like that, he didn’t even bother to change the sign to the “NO PASSENGERS” sign. He kept it on Red to Silver Spring.

Then getting there, I filled out the customary mound of paperwork for when you’re a new patient. After that, it was time to get started. First they checked the pressure in my eyes. Then they looked at my eyes with a microscope, checked my existing prescription, and tested my vision with glasses on. Then they dilated my pupils. This is where things changed. After this, they take you out of the exam room, and have you wait in another waiting room while the drops work. I played Tetris on my phone, and that certainly became a challenge as my pupils dilated. I ended up having to close one eye and hold the phone way far away to play. And the technicians would occasionally come by to check on how well the drops had worked. First time, they said I was almost ready but needed to ripen (my term) a little more. The second time, I was ripe, and was taken into a second exam room. There, they looked at my eyes with the microscope again, tested my vision without glasses, and then figured out what the new prescription would be using the phoropter.

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Categories: Glasses, Health issues

Does anyone know a good ophthalmologist in the DC area?

June 28, 2008, 10:52 AM

Does anyone know a good ophthalmologist in the DC area? It’s that time again, as it’s been three years since the last time my glasses were updated. And I’m not about to go to Augusta Eye Associates again, for reasons of distance. However, if you are in the Staunton/Waynesboro/Augusta County area, I highly recommend these folks. I would always see Dr. Patel.

So now I’m wondering what people think. I live in the Silver Spring/Wheaton area in Maryland, and I work in Dupont Circle. And I’m wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I’ve found a few names while doing some research, and I’m wondering if any of the names you all hopefully will give me match what I found and turn up good recommendations, or absolutely-positively-hell-no recommendations. And no, I’m not giving out my list in order to not box myself in, in case I missed anyone.

And lastly, I am only referring to ophthalmologists – doctors with MDs. I am not looking to go to an optometrist (doctors with ODs). So what do people think? Let me know…

Categories: Health issues

I wish I was in Stuarts Draft today…

February 23, 2008, 8:56 AM

Yeah, I wish I was in Stuarts Draft today. The reason is that up until yesterday, this weekend was going to be spent in Stuarts Draft. Then on Friday, I started coming down with something. It started Friday morning, when I had a very painful sore throat and a bit of a cough, but otherwise, no problem. By the end of the day at the office, I was pretty much feeling like I was sick. I notified all concerned that unless I felt really good come Saturday morning, that I was not going to make the trip down. And just as well. Yes, my mother would probably take good care of me if I made the trip sick, but I figure that if I’m going to be miserable all weekend, I’d at least rather be miserable in my own bed.

I figure I probably caught this one at the MVA on Tuesday when I got my Maryland license plates. That was about the only major deviation from my usual routine where I would be sitting in relatively close company with people I normally didn’t spend any time around. Realize it’s mostly the same people every day on the bus and the Metro. Then it’s definitely the same folks at work. So yeah, MVA seems the likely culprit.

And meanwhile, I now need to figure out another weekend to go to Stuarts Draft.

Categories: Health issues

I feel good now, for the most part…

September 4, 2007, 6:13 AM

There’s still a little bit of residual congestion going on, but otherwise, I feel good, and I once again express my gratitude that this happened over a long weekend, because it means I won’t miss any work over this.

Of course, it means that I am so behind on some of the stuff that I wanted to do for this weekend. What I did accomplish was at home – I cleaned the bathroom, and I did the laundry. I didn’t get to go grocery shopping, which means there’s still not much food in the house. Methinks I’ll hit up Shoppers tonight.

Still, I’m so glad to be feeling better again. Being sick just plain old sucks.

Categories: Health issues

No better weekend than a long weekend to be sick, I suppose…

September 3, 2007, 5:44 PM

Following my day at Potomac Mills on Saturday, I was sick as a dog on Sunday. Of course, I guess there’s no better time to get sick than on a long weekend, where there is no work to miss. Goodness knows there’s no way I would have been able to go to work today if it were a regular day.

Meanwhile, everything’s going back to normal now, as the fever I’d been running has been burning off, and the sore throat has been going away, and the headache-inducing cough has been getting less and less frequent. And the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck have gone back to normal.

In all the times I’ve been sick, though, I’ve never had “swollen glands”. It was weird. Thursday it started higher up, like it was some kind of food debris that I’d failed to brush out in my lower right molars. Then the next morning, the teeth were fine, but it had gone further down into the neck, and was slightly tender to the touch, and definitely a different feel – harder than usual. Then Saturday, the throat started to kick in, being scratchy and sensitive, and then Sunday, it was full blast – fatigue, throat, glands, fever, cough, headache, congestion… you name it. No fun. About all I did all day was sleep. Sleep, get up, feel bad, go back to sleep, get up, feel bad, go back to sleep… it was a never-ending cycle.

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Categories: Health issues

When food attacks?

December 22, 2006, 10:28 PM

I have a feeling that I must have eaten something that was not quite right today, because around 3:00, I started feeling really bad, and became somewhat feverish. I felt really bad driving home, but still went right back out after work to take care of some stuff.

At least I’m not going to miss any work on account of this little bout of food poisoning, unlike what happened last time, when I took my first and only sick day from work. While I was out, the fever broke, I cooled right down, and life was once again good.

Of course, the thing that always gets me when it comes to eating something that ends up attacking back is not knowing exactly what the culprit was. Everything I ate today was just wonderful, at least from my point of view at the time. So who knows.

Being sick is no fun…

July 30, 2006, 12:58 AM

Let me tell you, being sick straight-up sucks. I don’t know how I got it, but I was out of commission on Saturday. This marks the first time I have called out sick to work since 1999 when I dislocated a shoulder, and the first time ever with Wal-Mart.

This that I had would be your typical “sick”, too. I had a fever, I had a headache, I was wobbly, and I felt like I had weights on both feet. I spent much of the day in bed.

Now, though, I think we’re on the road to recovery. I’ve been sweating, which means that the fever’s going away, and I’m just feeling better overall. I don’t like missing work, and so I’m glad to be feeling better again.

Categories: Health issues

Allergy season begins…

April 2, 2006, 5:23 PM

It’s April 2, and you know what that means – “day two” of allergy season. I generally consider April 1 to be the first day of the season (and I make sure to have allergy medication in my possession before that date), and I consider June 30 to be the last day.

And this year, my allergy medication has changed once again. Last year, I used Equate Allergy Relief D, which was Loratadine with Pseudoephedrine. This is the “Brand X” version of Claritin-D. Generic is cheaper. This year, I’m using Equate Allergy Relief without the D, which is not only cheaper, but does not contain Pseudoephedrine, which is the decongestant that the meth junkies use to make their own kind of wowie sauce.

As a result of Pseudoephedrine being the drug of choice for the junkies, it’s now behind the pharmacy counter, where legitimate users must now fill out miles of paperwork in order to feel good again. So I was just like, the heck with it, since the last thing I need is more paperwork.

Still, regarding the junkies, it’s like I always say – someone who is determined enough to do something will find a way to do it no matter what.

And the next three months are going to be just a real barrel of laughs with allergy season upon us.

Categories: Health issues