Thursday, April 29, 2021

April Update - Birthday, Taxes, Doctor, Shots


Mom celebrated her 91st birthday this past weekend.  What she wanted the most, other than seeing her most favorite youngest son and his lovely wife...which unfortunately was not in the cards this year, was to have her Assisted Living Facility to lift restrictions due to COVID.  Well, she did get that wish as she can now have visitors, now have the ability to leave and return without quarantine, visit with others living in the facility other than passing them in the halls, and have "outings" where those who want can load up on a small bus and go visit a park, a mall, Walmart, etc. 

My older brother Jim and wife Carol drove out from San Antonio a few weeks ago, parked their small travel trailer in Arny & Sandy's backyard, and stayed at Sister Patti's house.  They visited mom many times, took her down to Elk Grove to visit her Sister Mary, and then visit Aunt Florence (Dad's brother's wife) ... Mom just ate it all up.  Wish we could have been there too Mom...perhaps for number 92!

Of course, April is TAX MAN time.  I did the taxes at the end of March, mailed them out in early April.  We pay quarterly taxes, and this time we overpaid by some $40. Now that I am 65, we will get another small adjustment on our taxes, so our quarterly went down just a bit.

Of course, the first quarter payment is due April 15th...and the first check was some $40 less than the rest will be since we overpaid last year.  Now I could have waited until May 15th this year...but the quarterly tax was still due April 15th, so I just did it all and sent them in.  In 1973 Dad taught me how to do my taxes (my first job was in 1972), and I have done them ever since until I married Marcia ten years ago.  There were some complicated tax issues that required a write off, so we used her CPA for the first six or seven years, and then I started doing them again.  With standard tax write-off, it really is just multiplication, and the new shorter form makes it even that much easier.

Now that I am on Medicare, we don't have to travel to Arkansas for my Doctor's Appointments.  I decided that Marcia's doctor would be a good fit for me, and during her last visit I asked her doctor if she ever takes care of spouses.  Her response was, "Yep, that's why it is called a 'family doctor'.  My visit went real well, although I have a nasty case of White Coat Hypertension...which is when your blood pressure shoots through the roof when at a medical facility.  

I have a Color Doctor wrist blood pressure monitor.  I take it a few times each week.  Last week all my scores were in the Green or Yellow.  The day before my exam they were Yellow and Red.  Of course, Red is bad.  At the Doctor's Office it was high...would have been in the Red on my monitor.  After I got home from the appointment and sat down, I took it within the hour...and it was in the Yellow, almost Green.  Go figure.  Just took it right now and it was 125 over 70...yellow but nearly in the green.

Since it was my first visit with her, she could not order blood tests until after my appointment.  Knowing that blood work would be needed, I did not eat that morning, and during my visit she ordered the test, and after seeing her I walked next door (same building...literally next door to her office) and had my blood drawn.

Do you see the bruise? (Yes, that is Indy in the upper background being a little nosy puppy.)  Well, there is a small amount of bruising today, but not much at all.  Test results came back, and well...I am alive.  The test is broken down into four categories, and they tested the following:

WBC, RBC, HGB, HCT, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, PLT, MPV, Segs, Lymphs, Mono, Eos, Baso, Neutrophil Abs, Lymph Abs, Monocyte Abs, Eosinophil Abs

General Chem
Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Carbon Dioxide, Glucose, BUN, Creatinine, BUN/Creat, Calcium, Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin, Alb/Glob, Total Bili, Alk Phos, ALT, AST, Anion Gap, eGFR

Triglyceride, Cholesterol, HDL, LDL Calc, Risk Ratio, Lipid Interp

Special Chem
PSA YR, TSH 3rd Gen, Vitamin D 25 OH

ALL were within range except for...MCH, which was at 32.6 pg (High) and the range is suppose to be 26.0 pg - 32.0 pg.  This essentially is saying that I don't have enough vitamin B12 or folic I will add B12 to my morning assortment of vitamins and pills.  Of course, I do have high blood pressure, and she kept me on the same medications that I have been on.  FYI, my Cholesterol is 152, my PSA is .6 and for the first time my Vitamin D is at 32, just over the low in the low to high I will continue to that a Vitamin D3 pill every day, and my glucose is within range, but the high end of the range.

Finally, today I got my first Pfizer COVID Vaccine shot.  And, after much contemplation and research, Marcia has decided to get the Vaccine too, and her first shot will be tomorrow.  We use Walgreens, and when I registered yesterday, I had eight or nine different time slots to choose from.  Today when I signed her up, all of the time slots were open.  They schedule three or four people for each time slot. Open time slots (those not taken when the day starts) are given to the younger crowd via an email to the next people on the waiting list, so nothing goes to waste.  I was out and in within 45 minutes, and that was with a 10-15 minute 'hang around' time period after the shot to be sure all is well before you leave.  And yes, out and in is what I means "Out the door of the condo, drive there, register, get shot, hang around, drive back, into the condo again".  Walgreens throughout the country is administering around 1 million shots per week.  I figured that if I waited out the rush to get the shot, it would be easy...and it was.

Florida has averaged just over 50 deaths per day for the month of April...compared to 155 deaths per day for January and February.  Florida's first COVID death was early March of last year.  Four hundred days later, we have lost nearly 35,100 to COVID.  That is 88 people a day for 400 days. The bottom line is, the vaccine is working.  Although masks are still required in some counties, most do not require them ALTHOUGH, individual establishments can require them within their place of business.  I do most of our shopping at Winn-Dixie, which is just down the street.  It requires masks, but around 10% of the people don't have a mask on...they just treat them like anyone who has a mask is treated.  At Sam's Club, you must wear one, and they will give you one if you don't have one, but they will give exceptions for health reasons....99% of the people in Sam's have masks on, but about 10% don't wear them over their nose or let it fall to their chin.  I have never seen a customer say anything to another customer about their masks.  I have seen them say something to someone who cuts into a line because of the gap that the 6 feet limit makes...that is just rude...everyone knows about the 6 foot rule by now.  At least he didn't hit me.  😀