January 31, 2009
January 30, 2009
Basye-Orkney Springs Library andHere we see our local library and airport. I decided to make the picture look even more snowy so I filtered it in Photoshop (Filter: Distort: Glass).
Sky Bryce Airport
Our library is located in the Resort but it is a county library open to the public. Vacationers often stop by to use the internet.
If you missed my story about flying in one of those small planes, read it here or go to November 2008 and scroll to the bottom of the page to see all my aerial photos.
January 29, 2009
The doctor thinks that I probably injured the shoulder playing tennis. The only time I played any tennis this year was in July. I think it re-injured it in August, maybe completing the tear, either when we practiced golf or when I was walking the dog.
Frank took the photo during that fateful tennis session.
I have a reprieve from physical therapy until after the surgery. That's a relief because going twice a week took a lot of time. The physical therapist says if I play tennis again, I need to serve underhand, not overhand.
Rotator Cuff Repair
January 28, 2009
January 27, 2009
We awoke to a white world this morning, and got more snow during the day. Now a wintry mix is upon us, with icy rain and snow chilling the entire outdoors. It could continue all day tomorrow.
I've already canceled physical therapy for tomorrow morning and plan to stay close to home.
January 26, 2009
I went to MacMall's site and followed the links for rebates for that printer and printed out the one that we originally qualified for. When I started to fill it out, I was dismayed to see that they only allowed 20 days from purchase to send it (postmarked) instead of 30! And there I was at day 30, with not much time before the post office closed.
I went back to the website and looked at other rebates for the printer-computer combination. I found one that still allowed 30 days. Frank cut the UPC code off the printer box while I filled out the form and prepared an envelope. Then I copied everything and drove to the post office.
Aleshia was taking down the flag as I drove up but the OPEN sign was still on the door. I asked her if my envelope would still get postmarked for that day. She said yes and hand-canceled it; the envelope being awkwardly thick from having the piece of cardboard inside. When I got back in the car, it was still one minute before closing time.
Another rebate story: Since our refrigerator quit prematurely, we called Frigidaire (Electrolux) and complained. They emailed us a form for a substantial rebate on a new one (around half the price of the replacement). We received the rebate the other day, and today we received a credit from Lowe's for the delivery charges. Pretty good considering that they delivered it the same day we called!
Coincidentally, a week after we replaced the fridge, our Frigidaire dryer stopped working! We called Matt's Appliance Repair (in Timberville) again, and the same repairman came out. This time he felt that the appliance might still have some life in it. He got the drum to turn again and told Frank to check the exhaust hose for blockage, for it was likely to have gotten bent in some way that stopped it from working properly.
Frank had to move the washer and dryer to do this, but he did get the hose unbent and cleaned out. We think it got bent when it was moved during the kitchen remodel. Anyway, it has worked fine since he fixed it, thank goodness.
January 25, 2009
January 24, 2009
Firefox lets me resize pictures by grabbing a corner of the image (using the mouse) and pulling it in diagonally until I have the size I want. For some reason, I can't do this using Safari.
On the other hand, Safari makes it easy to correct an entry while looking at the blog. Once I've signed in, a little pencil icon appears at the bottom of each entry. Clicking on it takes me directly to the Edit screen. This saves time when I want to edit more than one entry, such as when some change in the template made a bunch of my images go off the right side of the page. I can control-click (that's right-click on a PC) on the icon and open the edit screen in a new window while keeping the blog open on the old window so I don't lose my place. Also, if I add a new tag, the pencil shortcut makes it faster to page through and add the tag where appropriate.
January 23, 2009
The one I posted yesterday was also created in Photobooth but then I cropped it using Photoshop. I think that one looks more like me than this one does.
January 22, 2009
I have a full tear in a tendon. The doctor recommends surgery. She said that a partial tear can often heal without surgery, but mine is a complete tear. That's why it hasn't healed in the five months since I injured it, and why physical therapy has not restored my range of motion.
I have not scheduled surgery yet. She advised that I finish the course of antibiotics that the gastroenterologist prescribed before having surgery, which will require it's own set of medications.
Right now the shoulder doesn't hurt much during the day, but sometimes the pain wakes me at night, and it's bad early in the morning. I cannot raise my right arm more than halfway, cannot open heavy doors with it, or reach high shelves...
I don't like the idea of surgery, of course. I could have an allergic reaction to anesthesia, the recovery period is long and uncomfortable, and there's no guarantee that my range of motion will be restored afterward. Still, Dr. Stevens did not see any other good option.
January 21, 2009
I already had Wal-mart's price but knew they didn't keep it in stock. We called three other stores. No one had even heard of Rifaximin, but after I gave them the brand name Xifaxan they looked it up in the computer. (I only knew of the brand name because I had researched it on the internet and made some notes.) However, none of the stores would gave me the price that I would pay as an Anthem insurance member, saying that I would have to come into the store before they could submit the info to insurance electronically, and then they could tell me the price. (This makes comparison-shopping pretty much impossible.)
Neither CVS or the Mt. Jackson Pharmacy had the drug in stock, but Rite-Aid had a partial supply (half the amount prescribed). I decided to go there and get the partial bottle since at least then I would only pay half price for now, and could get more later assuming that I didn't have an unpleasant reaction to it. (More than once I've bought a prescription, had an allergic reaction, and had to throw out the rest.) We drove to their store in Woodstock and got the half-bottle for $130, the amount allowed by our insurance. It was only a 5-day supply.
I didn't have notice any side-effects except for a slight dizziness which could be due to something else anyway. On Monday morning I only had one day's supply of pills left, so I called the drug store for a refill. I had to go to Woodstock for physical therapy that day, and after that tried to pick up the prescription. The clerk informed me that insurance would not pay for their share of the prescription until the next day. I protested that I only had one day's supply left and I was not planning to come back to town the next day, but it was no use, even though if the store had stocked the full amount in the first place I wouldn't have this problem.
I've had problems before with Anthem refusing to pay for medication if I refilled it early, and I didn't want to pay full price (almost a hundred dollars more), so I left without the medicine. On Tuesday we made a second trip to Woodstock and got the prescription. That's about an extra 34 miles of driving, and over an hour out of the only day this week on which we had no appointments, no reason to leave our neighborhood except for this extra trip to Rite-Aid.
I sure hope this stuff works!
January 20, 2009
In 1958 and 59, my parents were among the many Virginia parents who successfully lobbied to keep the state's public schools open when the governor tried to close them to avoid integration. They would have been proud of the American People today. I was.
January 19, 2009
It's on the second floor of a contemporary building and is listed at $133,000. It is within walking distance of Lake Laura, a park with swimming pool and nature trail, Hot Plates Café, and the Community Store. You can see details at Homes Database, MLS#: SH6960044.
January 18, 2009
If you spill any pennies, pick them up so your dog doesn't swallow any. The ASPCA warns that the zinc in pennies is very toxic to dogs.
An air horn works too, but it's as jarring to us as it is to him. And it costs a lot more than a can from the kitchen and loses it's air after a while.
January 17, 2009
We've had several very cold days. When I walked Ben this morning, the temperature was one degree Fahrenheit, and that was around 10 AM. (I had procrastinated, hoping the sun would warm up the ground. Ben often naps patiently in the morning.)
I just read of a Wisconsin study of black-capped chickadees when temperatures are below 10 degrees. Chickadees with access to feeders have a survival rate of 69% but those without feeders have only a 37% survival rate in such cold weather. So be sure to feed the birds when it's cold like it was today! You can throw seed on the ground if you don't have a feeder.
I wouldn't throw it on the ground in warm weather though. You may attract wildlife that you don't want. Several people around here have seen bears pawing at their bird feeders! We stop feeding the birds in early spring, about the time that bears come out of hibernation.
By the way, human food such as bread is very unhealthy for deer. We saw warning signs on the Blue Ridge Parkway about this, so don't scatter baked goods around for wildlife.
January 16, 2009
Generally I like photos to be large enough to show some detail, usually "medium" in Blogger terms. Still, small ones can be handy when the detail isn't important, and readers can always click on them to see a bigger version. Keeping them lined up with the text can be tricky, since different-sized monitors change the spacing. I've gotten pretty adept at inserting tables in HTML to line up pictures and text, when I take the time. Tables are fairly simple as long as you work carefully so that you don't split any code in the wrong place.
While I'm writing about the blog, here's a summary of postings for the last three months:
January 15, 2009
Although Kernstown Battlefield park is gated in the winter, you can visit from May to October and it is worth seeing. A number of historical markers interpret the site and volunteers staff a visitors center in one of the farm buildings. The farm itself is attractive, with green grass, curving lanes, and a large barn. All this is within walking distance of Creekside Station Shopping Center. The battlefield lies at the southwest boundary of the city of Winchester.
An interpretive marker tells us that "Fighting swirled around the home during the First and Second Battles of Kernstown, as it did during smaller engagements on June 13, 1863, and August 17, 1864." The Pritchard family took shelter in their cellar as battle raged around them.
When the fighting subsided, the home was used as a field hospital, and Helen Pritchard, a Unionist from New York, personally cared for many wounded Union soldiers in the house. “If it had not been for me,” she recalled, “they would have died...” After Second Kernstown, Confederate soldiers carried the mortally wounded Colonel James A. Mulligan of the Union army into the house. A Confederate surgeon offered what little medical care he could, and a priest from the Louisiana Tiger Brigade gave Mulligan his Last Rites. Two days after the battle, Mulligan died peacefully as Helen Pritchard cradled his head in her arms.
|Right: Battlefield seen from Opequon Church.|
Below: View from the Pritchard-Grim Farm in Kernstown, now a battlefield park. Plan to visit between May and October (weekends are your best bet).
|Left: Historical Marker at Winchester's Rose Hill Farm, Jones Road near Cedar Creek Grade (not far from Route 37). Significant in the First Battle of Kernstown, this farm is the site of Jackson's dispute with Garnett.|
Rose Hill farm is occasionally open to visitors for a walking tour; see the Museum of the Shenandoah's website. A map and more information can be found on Historical Marker= Database (marker #2646).
See also my previous post on the Pritchard-Grim Farm.
January 14, 2009
After we meet our yearly deductible, we start getting refund checks from Anthem (our insurer) for prescriptions. It appears that they were reimbursing 60% of what we had paid. I called them today to confirm this.
Yes, after we meet our deductible, they pay 60% of the allowable amount on prescriptions. By using a participating pharmacy, we are only charged the allowable amount or less when we pick up the medicine. However, if we get a lot of prescriptions, Anthem stops paying after they pay $5,000.
It gets more complicated if we reach the out-of-pocket maximum like we did last year. At that point, the co-pay is dropped and we are reimbursed 100% until the $5000 limit is reached. (This would only happen if most of our expenses were non-prescription, since the out-of-pocket maximum is $6000 for all allowable expenses. Have I lost you?) But let's forget the out-of-pocket thing since we don't usually reach it, nor have we ever reached the $5000 limit on prescriptions.
Anyway, since there is no way of predicting how much of our deductible will be made up of prescriptions versus doctors and tests, there is no way of knowing how much of each prescription applies as a credit toward the deductible. To get a general idea, I used a couple of scenarios and found that my actual prescription cost runs (over a year) 49% to 67% of the price paid at the counter. Considering that we've had three medical tests already for 2009 (at two weeks!), and that I'm racking up $146 weekly in allowable physical therapy alone, we should meet the deductible pretty early this year. (Last year we met it in April.) Anyway, I estimate that for a prescription costing $250, we are actually paying around half, which is still a lot of money.
For my reader who is a benefits professional: am I correct in thinking that submitting prescriptions before we meet our deductible is actually more beneficial than submitting them afterward, since our co-pay on prescriptions is 40% and our co-pay on office visits is only 20%, but as far as meeting the deductible all expenses are credited at the same rate? I'm no mathematician, but if I can get a little extra out of health insurance, I get a little thrill.
January 13, 2009
The Kernstown Battlefield has a number of old stone walls. There must be at least several miles worth, viewable from a number of different places.
I took these photos from the grounds of Opequon Presbyterian Church in May 2008.
After a long wait in the waiting room and another 15 minutes waiting in the examining room, I finally saw Dr. S. He gave me a prescription for Rifaximin, which I was happy to get because I had already researched it online and it sounded ideal. Then he said it could be VERY expensive, even four hundred dollars, so he also wrote out a prescription for Flagyl in case insurance would not pay for the first. I took Flagyl last year and didn't like it because it made everything I ate taste terrible.
I went to Walmart Pharmacy and inquired about the cost of Rifaximin. They had to run it through my insurance and it came out as two hundred and something. AND they didn't have it in stock so they'd have to order it. I decided to try the Flagyl first. If it doesn't work, I can still get the high-priced stuff. If it does work, I'll have saved $200.
January 12, 2009
The doctor showed me a dark area: "That's fluid." Then he showed me another area that looked different from the smooth waves. "This is a tear."
So I have a torn tendon. His job is only to interpret the images; I'll have to wait until I see the orthopedic doctor to get her prognosis. But I was shocked to learn that a tendon was actually torn. I thought it would just be strained. It is less painful than it was a few months back. Still, it has been sore since August, and physical therapy has not enabled me to lift it straight up.
I want to avoid surgery if possible. The recovery is slow, and gaining complete range of motion is not a sure thing.
Meanwhile, I still haven't had any luck reaching a doctor or nurse at the gastroenterologist's office in Winchester, so I still don't have a prescription to cure my long-standing digestive problems. I left them an additional message this afternoon: "I have a torn tendon, so please don't prescribe one of the antibiotics that cause tendon problems."
I imagine by now they think I'm a real pain to deal with... which is certainly what I think of them, since they don't return phone calls.
January 11, 2009
"Mother Church of the Valley."
During the Civil War, the church was damaged by battles and was even used as a stable. In 1873, it burned down but was eventually rebuilt.
By the way, Opequon Creek is nearby, but it flows for a long distance and the "Battle of Opequon" (Third Winchester) took place north and east of here.
The picture below is one I altered in Photoshop because the landscape reminded me of an impressionist painting.
January 10, 2009
The sign summarizes both battles of Kernstown. Here's what it says about Second Kernstown:
July 23, 1864 – Federal General George Crooke’s corps was camped to the north of here after pursuing confederate Gen. Jubal Early’s force from its raid on Washington, D.C. Early attacked Crooke’s forward positions around Prichard’s Hill and Hogue Run. The federals withdrew in disorder after heavy fighting and Early followed up with raids on Martinsburg, W.Va. and Chambersburg, Pa. This battle opened the final phases of the 1864 Valley Campaign.
January 9, 2009
January 8, 2009
January 7, 2009
Frank's birthday was even closer to Christmas than mine, plus since his birthday fell AFTER Christmas, so he'd get toys that were less than desirable: the left-overs after Christmas shoppers had gone through the store and bought the best items.
But this year Frank decided to buy himself a new TV as a combined Christmas-birthday gift for himself. He could justify it by needing a larger and sharper screen to read the subtitles. I decided to ask for a combined gift too -- a new laptop. The old one didn't have enough memory for some applications.
In the photo, my new toy is dwarfed by the television, but I'm thrilled to have it.
Frank did not go with me because he had a dental appointment scheduled for 10 AM in Mt. Jackson. My test lasted a little over 3 hours. I had to breath into a tube every 20 minutes. There was a liquid to drink after the first breath was put into the machine to be analyzed. It has a form of sugar in it; enough so that I didn't suffer from hunger. With luck, I'll obtain the results tomorrow.
This afternoon I had a physical therapy appointment at 2:30. It's been a busy week for appointments. On Monday Frank saw his primary care physician in the morning and I saw the podiatrist in the afteroon. Yesterday I saw the orthopedic doctor. Today we had the 3 appointments I mentioned. On Friday Frank sees the audiologist. Tomorrow is our only free day. Normally I would have yoga on Thursdays but attendance has been so low that classes will not be held in the resort this year.
January 6, 2009
Patient's R shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis /adhesive capsulitis... X-rays normal. Keep me up to date with pt's progress in physical therapy. She may require surgery.
The Confederate Cemetery is part of Winchester's Mt. Hebron Cemetery. It is located between the National Cemetery (which you can easily reach from Route 7) and Pleasant Valley Road. (See map.)
|The plaque above reads:|
3000 Confederate Soldiers Rest Here
Left: Monument to Unknown Confederate Soldiers
|Right: Marker gives a brief history of Third Winchester, starting with:|
THE THIRD BATTLE OF WINCHESTER
(The Battle of the Opequon)
September 19, 1864
The decisive assault in the campaign set in motion by General Grant to free the Shenandoah Valley from the control of the Confederacy took place here. This high ground was part of Winchester’s defensive rampart against attack from the east.
The text concludes with:
These Honored Remains: Destiny’s Debris When Diplomacy Fails
For more about this marker, see Historical Marker Database, Marker 2660.
In Honor of the Women of WinchesterThroughout the South (and in some other places), Confederate Women formed memorial societies to honor and even mythologize fallen soldiers. The phrase "Love makes memory eternal" is a clue to why they did this, trying to hold on in some way to those they had lost to an unsuccessful war.
The Ladies Confederate Memorial Association Organized in 1865 And Turner Ashby Chapter #184 United Daughters of the Confederacy Chartered 1867
For Five Generations They Have Cherished The Memory of the Soldiers Who Lie in the Stonewall Cemetery
"Love Makes Memory Eternal"
Dedicated June 6th 1999
By creating the area as a last resting place for some 3,000 Confederate soldiers, the city’s women “started the ball rolling” across the South to establish similar cemeteries, including monuments to unknown soldiers.