Due primarily to a lack of news, i haven’t written much about The Park lately. This is just the quiet before the storm.  The Clampett’s shall ride again…

Mom’s bypass surgery is scheduled in three weeks.  In the meantime, she has exceeded all expectations in her quest to quit the demon tobacco!  i’m very proud of her, and although she hasn’t completely quit, she’s only smoking about 5 cigarettes a day.  Given that she has been chain-smoking for 65 years, this is remarkable*!

i’m even more proud of her for finally standing up to her quack family physician, Dr. Bonehead**.  In the past, this man has misdiagnosed many a malady.  Among other things, he prescribed arthritis medication for “leg trouble” which was due to circulation problems, and an early indicator of heart failure.  His office staff is equally incompetent, and excel at finding ways to charge Mom for unnecessary procedures.  A recent example:  Because they used the wrong code for lab tests, which the insurance company then refused to pay, Mom was forced to drop an unexpected $200 on lab work.

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Park Logic 101… Again…

Spent the day in The Park with Mom for medical follow up.  We met “Robo Doc” to see if she is a candidate for “robotic assisted laparoscopic bypass”, which would be much less invasive than traditional bypass surgery. 

Alas, no robots – she passed the pulmonary function test, but since one lung must be deflated for “robo-bypass”, Robo-Doc (who is just as cute as a tall, scrawny, geek button) said that with her pulmonary hypertension, it would put too much stress on her heart.  It shall be traditional double bypass.

My regular readers might remember my last run in with Park Logic.  Today?  Another Park Logic Moment:

Robo-Doc said the biggest risk during bypass is pneumonia, driving the 4-5% possibility of fatality from the procedure.  Her chance of getting pneumonia more than doubles if she keeps smoking* before/after the surgery – so Robo Doc virtually demanded that she quit smoking for 2 weeks prior to surgery.  That meant no smokes starting today since she’ll need to be cut soon.

He prescribed Chantix. She immediately raised concerns about side effects, based only on info she’s seen on television.  “That stuff messes with your brain, doesn’t it?”.  He explained that it satisfies the craving without the nicotine, that he’s had many patients successfully quit using the drug, and that he felt the side effects were less threatening than those from smoking prior to surgery. 

In the car, as we headed to fill the prescription, she started whining about not wanting to deal with Chantix – the strange dreams (one potential side effect) would drive her batty**.  i helpfully pointed out that the side effect of smoking was that it jacked her chance of complications (including death) from bypass to over 10%.

Thinking “Woo-Hoo!  Take that!  Logic rocks!”

At the pharmacy, we learned that this particular drug is not covered by her new insurance plan.  Mom suggested we head home and call Robo-Doc back to see if he had a Plan B.  Thinking quickly despite the lack of sleep and caffeine, i asked the pharmacy tech “how much?”.  $117.62.  My charge card was out in a flash, drugs in my hand and we were on our way before Mom could finish her protest statements. 

She offered to pay me back, but of course i declined.  And again being the helpful daughter that i am, grinned at her and said “Besides, now you’ll feel guilty if you don’t use this stuff.  Paybacks are hell, ain’t they Momma?” 

Thinking “SLAM! DUNK! I am a logic MACHINE!” 

Still complaining about the cost of the demon medication, i once again went to my Big Bag O’Logic and reminded her that she spent $160 on four cartons of cigarettes the last time i took her to the cardiologist. 


We headed out for a late breakfast before i took her home.  i was feeling pretty good, having scored some serious logic points.  Ordering a healthy breakfast (Egg Beater omelette, fruit instead of fried potatos, english muffin instead of gravy/biscuits), Mom went for her usual:  Two eggs, basted in butter, 3 slices of bacon, 2 biscuits with a bowl of sausage gravy.  Yes.  i said “Bowl”.  i said “Gravy”.  When asked about the breakfast potatos, she said “I’ll skip those – the doctor said I need to start watching the fat in my diet”.


* Mom has been smoking for roughly 65 years.  Current rate is about 3 packs/day.  On her “pulmonary function test” results, amongst the demographic stats such as age, weight, etc. was a note: “98 Pack Years”.  Something akin to “Dog Years” i suspect.  i’m surprised it was that low… she must have lied…

** i get “Nyquil Psychosis” after dosing myself for 3 days.  i start to have amazing dreams – sometimes “Hostel”-like mad slasher flicks, sometimes hallucinogenic road trips!  Almost makes me look forward to going to bed when i’ve got a head cold!

Park Logic

Yet another day in The Park taking Mom to her cardiologist, the lovely Dr. M.  Prior to determining next steps – double bypass or not – Mom will need additional tests done over the next couple weeks before meeting with a surgeon in April.

When we last left The Park, the heart catheterization revealed that Mom has a substantial blockage in her left main artery.  Although it wasn’t immediately life threatening, the doctor recommended that we move quickly to clear the blockage.  Mom is at a higher risk of heart attack, and due to the location of the blockage, the likelihood of fatality from a cardiac event is high.

Do the people who (in theory) share my genetics understand that this means Mom does not need additional stress or trauma?  Apparently not…

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The Clampett’s Take Granny To The Hospital

You’ve seen the episode.  Granny needs a routine medical procedure, but the Clampett’s don’t trust them smarty-pants doctors and them new-fangled doctorin’ machines.  With a show of force that could have changed the outcome at Normandy, the Clampett clan descends upon a poor, unsuspecting hospital staff, unleashing their homespun brand of hillbilly hijinks, and much hilarity ensues.



 “Hilarity” is one word for it.  My word for it is “shoot – me – the – fuck – now – i – cannot – POSSIBLY – be – related – to – these – sociopathic – mutant – hillbilly – fucktards”.  For the purists out there, yes – i can count.  i tried the thesaurus.  There was no single word that captured the complete sentiment.

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If the Raisin Ranch is Rockin’…

This post is dedicated to the lovely nursemyra – an inspiration to all in her devotion to historical (and hysterical) medical research… 

On my recent visit to The Park i learned a most fascinating medical fact from the brilliant and pharmaceutically savvy Dr. M.

The last echocardiogram done on Mom showed potential signs of secondary pulmonary hypertension.  In short, her lifestyle choices* have not only destroyed the cardiac plumbing systems, but are starting to affect her ventilation system as well…

While we were discussing diagnostic options – to include heart catheterization in a couple weeks – i asked exactly what Dr. M was hoping to discover through the testing.  She explained – using the cutest little heart puzzle thingie i’ve ever seen – that she wants to know whether Mom’s misery is coming from the heart trouble or the lung dysfunction.  By determining the source, she can make a better decison about treatment options.

Knowing this was a possibility i’d done some surfing on the topic before the visit.  It was my understanding that there’s not much that can be done to treat secondary pulmonary hypertension.  Thanks to Dr. M’s diligence in staying on top of the latest research, i was delighted to have her correct me.

There are pharmaceutical approaches for treating pulmonary hypertension – depending mostly on the reason for increased pressure in the lung plumbing.  Among other drugs, Viagra has been shown** to effectively treat some forms of pulmonary hypertension.

Mom: You mean you might put me on Viagra?

Dr. M: I’ve got several ladies using it…

daisyfae: Good grief, she’s already a demon!  The men at church are terrorized! At least give me time to get a warning out on the church ‘prayer chain’!

Dr. M: Don’t worry – women don’t have the same reaction as men, so there wouldn’t be much effect on sex drive.

Mom: damn…


* maybe i’m being a bit judgmental here, but it seems that smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 65 years will do a little something to your health…  add in the salt/lard/bacon-based diet and take away any form of exercise and you’ve got the equation for stroke, emphysema or heart-attack… or just a multiple-organ mutiny saying “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any longer…”

** Dr. M went on to explain that Viagra was first developed to treat pulmonary hypertension.  When the clinical trials were over, the men involved begged to keep taking it…