I've been doing some garden chores. I think I mentioned last spring that one of my two Tamarack trees had died, and the other had half died (the top half). Well, I cut down the dead tree today, and bundled up the smaller stuff into kindling. I have a friend with an outdoor fireplace thing they use during summer, and I'm hoping they'd like some kindling and small wood pieces. (The tamarack had maybe a three inch diameter bole at the biggest part.)
One of my neighbors stopped by to welcome me back, so I asked him about one of my pine trees. A couple of years ago, the top leader died, and two branchings were vying to become the new top, with no clear winner. So it's either cut one of them off so the other will take over, or have a tree that splits. I chose to cut one of them off (not only for aesthetic reasons, either, but because I want more height and less chance of one part getting weak and coming down on top of my or my neighbor's house). And my neighbor handily had a pole saw. I had my doubts, but it was super easy, and about five minutes from walking into the yard with it to walking out to return it, having cut off the less straight leader.
I figure I have a couple hours of yard cleanup, cutting back dead iris stuff and other stuff, and then I need to get some mulch to put on the strawberries and such, I think.
At least I'm grateful for almost no snow in the yard for gardening sake, even if I'm impatient for skiing sake.
I mentioned back a waysthat one of my feet was hurting. Being back, I went to see the doctor about it, and I'm mildly (and probably irrationally) frustrated.
It starts with the weighing thing. Now I know I'm badly overweight. It's not a secret to anyone who looks at me. But I also know that weighing me means that the clinic gets to tick off extra stuff to make my visit more complex and more expensive, even though the nurse laughingly says that I'm getting more for my money. Yeah, not so much.
And then the blood pressure (also adding complexity to the visit), which was way high, higher than it's ever been. And then the doctor is working with a student nurse practitioner, so the SNP saw me first. That's fine for foot stuff, but I'm guessing this is a student at my school, and that means there's some chance that I've had any given NP student in some class at some point (writing or GE sorts of classes). And that seems weird. But for foot stuff, fine.
So she asks me about the pain compared with the worse pain I've ever had. I'll admit it here, I've never had a lot of pain (and said as much). I'm grateful for that lack of past pain, by the way. So then she asked about the worst pain I could imagine. So I'm thinking flaying alive, burned at the stake, broken on the wheel. I have a pretty good imagination, and given that, I told her that my pain was about a point one (same as I'd told the nurse before). I think that was a mistake.
The SNP pokes the foot a bit, and asks me to walk, so I do. And the foot doesn't hurt that day, though it did the night before a little in a soreness way.
Then the doctor comes in, and starts talking about my blood pressure, which as I mentioned is way high. The thing is, it's always way high at a doctor's office. So she measures it again, and it's down by like 30 points on the top part, but still high. I hand her the card that I've been using to keep track, as I was supposed to do (the nurse at the Abbey was kind enough to measure it for me every couple of weeks), and there it's a little higher than ideal, but not nearly this high.
The doctor says she's more worried about the blood pressure than my foot, and I say that I'm more worried about my foot because it's been hurting. It's not that I don't recognize that high blood pressure is a problem, but the foot hurts, and that's why I'm there. Then we talk about the cold medicine I've been on (which I'd also mentioned to the nurse when she asked about medications).
And she does look at the foot, poke it a bit, and have me walk.
The upshot is: (1) I'm not supposed to take cold medications anymore. She gave me a prescription for an inhaled steroid to use for sinus stuff if I get another cold.
(2) I have another card to do the blood pressure thing every couple weeks.
(3) She gave me a choice between trying some physical therapy for the foot or going to a podiatrist, and recommended the physical therapy, so she gave me a referral to the physical therapy department.
I guess I'm frustrated because what I want is to know what's wrong with my foot, and I don't. And I'm frustrated that I shouldn't take cold medications any more, and worried that the inhaled stuff won't help me and will mess up my nose and make it bleed, and then (if I get a cold), I'll be teaching with a nose that's running and bleeding, because I never feel like I can call in sick with a cold and have three classes of 20-35 people fall behind and get messed up.
And I know it's not really reasonable to be frustrated, because if the physical therapy works, then it won't matter what was wrong with my foot. And I don't usually get more than one cold a year when I'm not running around on busses, subways, and trains in a foreign country, so the cold thing isn't that big a deal, and I do know that having high blood pressure is really bad. But I didn't go for that, I went for my foot. I feel like being honest about the pain (and after all, I'm not disabled by it or writhing on the floor) means that she didn't really take the foot thing very seriously. But then, remembering Elaine Scarry reminds me that another person's pain is really hard to comprehend or really worry about.
The final kicker: I can't see the physical therapist she recommended until January 10th, which is after my new insurance kicks in, complete with a percentage co-pay (I think it's like 10%, but I can't remember for sure), so I guess I will need to call the insurance company at the beginning of the year and ask about if I need pre-approval. And then I'll have to call and ask the clinic how much a physical therapy appointment is likely to run, so that I can try to budget for my 10% (or whatever it is, I'll have to ask the insurance company). Then I'll have to try to get estimates for any other visits, which I gather isn't easy.
I think I need to go cut up some weeds or something to destress some more.