Jumping Through Hoops For Surgery

Life isn’t fair, is it?  Murphy’s law says that if something can go wrong, it will.  Well, something is very wrong with how long it is taking to get my surgery.  I have been in pain, no, agony for going on 2 months now and I was told I could get surgery to help, yet I don’t see it coming.

I was diagnosed with Sialolithiasis which means my right Parotid gland (saliva gland) has stones in it.  You know how you get kidney stones?  Well, the saliva gland can get stones too.  The problem is that the stones are preventing the saliva from being released into my mouth and that causes it to swell up.  I can push on it and I can feel the saliva squirt into my mouth, and that relieves the pressure which is very painful.  I have been doing that for years, yes this has been happening to me for many years.  I would guess up to 10 years that I can recall.  I know it’s more, but I can’t be sure when it began.

So first thing that happened was it started and I waited a few days to call the doctor.  I figured that it has happened so many times in my adulthood and that I was almost positive it would go away from pushing on it, but it wasn’t going away, it was just getting worse and worse and there was a blockage preventing the saliva from releasing.  I made an appointment which meant I had to wait for a weekend.  I went to the doctor and he gave me an antibiotic and saw me again in 7 days.  I came back in 7 days and he gave me another antibiotic and told me that I might need surgery.  If this antibiotic doesn’t help in another week then I could get surgery if I chose to.

Naturally, it didn’t go away after that 2nd week.  In the past it has always gone away after taking the antibiotics, but this one has stayed with me.  He sent me to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone that was 1cm.  Look at your ruler, that’s nearly half an inch.  He then referred me to an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist who sent me for an CT scan with contrast which showed that I have multiple stones, not just on the right side, but also on the left.  The left side swells up as well, but not as bad as the right side.  The doctor said that the left side were much smaller, so it’s not as big of an emergency as the right side is.

The ENT doctor referred me to a surgeon at Kern Medical Center aka KMC which I always joke and call it KFC.  He gave me my options and I chose to go to LA, but then changed my mind and wanted to have him do the surgery.  Before he can do anything, he needs my original doctor to sign off on it because I have some other health concerns that had to be tested before he would do surgery.  My doctor had blood drawn and did an EKG which showed heart trouble.  UGH!

heart monitor I finally went to the heart doctor today and they gave me another EKG and put a heart monitor on me that I have to wear for 24 hours.  It has been recording since around 2pm or so.  I had to change my physical therapy for my scoliosis issue tomorrow from 10:45am to 2:30pm.  I hope that gives them a full 24 hours, but the nurse told me that I could take it off before 24 hours was up if I had to.  They also made 2  more appointments for me, one in 2 weeks and then another in October.

October?  What?  I needed my surgery like a month ago!  I’m so sick of this pain.  I mean, the pain isn’t as bad as it was for 2 months, but it’s still bad.  The pain from my saliva gland makes me think my teeth need to be pulled.  I know having my teeth pulled isn’t the answer because that’s not where the pain is coming from, the pain is just travelling to those places.  When I don’t have pain in my saliva gland then my teeth are fine.  If the problem was my teeth then I would feel the pain in my teeth when I didn’t feel pain in my saliva gland.

So I am hoping that I can get my surgery in October because I don’t think I can wait very much longer after that.  I just can’t take it anymore.  Nobody should have to live in constant pain every day like this.  There really isn’t anything I can do, so I guess I have no choice but to deal with it.  I really hope that it gets taken care of soon.

Today I found out that I have Sialolithiasis

Sialolithiasis

I have been dealing with a problem in my right saliva gland, called the parotid gland, for at least the last 10 years.  It comes and goes at the least 2 times and at the most 5 times per year.  The doctors have always given me antibiotics, or by the time I get to the doctor it has gone down so I don’t mention it.  This time around I had the issue and I made a special appointment for it because it was too painful to ignore.

inches and centimetersThe doctor put me on antibiotics which lasted 1 week.  I saw him a week later and was still in pain and it was still swollen and he gave me more antibiotics.  Because it wasn’t going away, he sent me to get an ultrasound and when he found out that it was 1cm, he suggested surgery, but asked me if that was what I wanted.  Not everyone wants to have surgery which would scar you, so he wanted to know what I wanted to have done.  For scale, see image (left).

He referred me to an Ear Nose Throat doctor who sent me for a cat scan with contrast and when I saw him on Wednesday, he told me that I needed to go to yet another doctor.  Are all these doctors getting a kick back for these referrals?  I mean honestly, why do I need to have so many referrals?  Anyway, he was trying to send me to Los Angeles and I told him that I’d rather go to a doctor here in Bakersfield because I don’t want to have to drive (well, I don’t drive, I’d have to be driven) all the way to Los Angeles just for a consultation to be told that I have to come back for the surgery and then after surgery.

So I went to a doctor at Kern Medical Center today for the consultation and he told me that I have 4 options

  1. Live with it.
  2. Ultrasound which they don’t do there and my insurance doesn’t cover.
  3. Surgery where they use a scope to go in there with a camera and grab the stone and pull it out, which is also not available there, I would have to go to LA and most likely make several trips, which we can’t afford and my insurance might not pay for it.
  4. Have him do surgery to remove the entire gland and give me a huge scar.

I decided on option 4, but when I told my partner out in the lobby he said “Oh no tell him you want to go to LA.”  Without thinking I went back to the counter and said I need to tell the doctor that I want to go to LA.  Then we got to talking, my insurance company probably won’t want to pay for that because I bet you that will cost more than having it removed.  Plus, we’d still have to go all the way to LA and probably make several trips.  I can’t afford that dammit!  If I could have afforded that, then I would have just done that in the beginning.  Sheesh!

Well, the doctor at KMC told me that before he can do the surgery (when I had told him I was up for option 4) he needs my doctor to sign off on it.  So I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week so I could talk to him and tell him that I need him to call that doctor’s office and give them his okay.

This is what I have.  It’s called Sialolithiasis.

parotid gland “Sialolithiasis (also termed salivary calculi,[1] or salivary stones),[1] is a condition where a calcified mass forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland (2) (also termed “Wharton’s duct“). Less commonly the parotid gland (1) or rarely the sublingual gland (3) or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.”

This is what he said will happen.  They will have to start cutting right at the edge of my sideburn just at or near the top of my ear which is where my glasses are, go all the way down below my earlobe and turn towards my neck and go down my neck.  It’s a big gland as you can see in the image above, so naturally they have to cut a lot.  He said there will be a pretty big scar, but I’m okay with that.  Neosporin has a cream for scars to help them disappear.

I have no issue with scars.  In fact, I feel scars give you character.  Perhaps the doctor will let me keep the stone so I can have something to show when I tell the story of how I got that scar on my face.

As always, I will keep updating this blog on the progress.

EverQuest Bonus Exp.

If you have been playing EverQuest lately, you know that they have doubled experience for their 13th Anniversary.  Well, you know what that means right?  It’s a Power Levelers dream!

When I started playing again after 5 years of being MIA, I realized that I had to relearn the game from the ground up because I had totally forgotten everything.  You know how they say it’s like riding a bicycle?  Well, it’s sort of true, but you have to take a refresher course to get you back on track.  What I did was I started playing my Necromancer who was level 12 when I began in late February.  I played for a few hours then I couldn’t play it for a week.  Then when I finally did get to start playing it again I got hooked on the game again and now in less than one month my level 12 necromancer is level 47.

When I first started playing EverQuest in 2002, it took me 6 months to get Xanapus to level 16 and I gave up on him and created other characters.  When I started playing Xanapus again it took me another 6 months or possibly a year to get to level 50.  I have done in less than one month what I couldn’t do in 2002/2003.  You see how frustrating that is for me?  But it isn’t my fault that the game is much easier now than it was 10 years ago so that does make me feel a bit better.

My guild is still MIA, I only see someone on every once in a while.  Even though I am the only member of my guild who plays every day, or at least that’s the way it seems when I get on, I am not about to abandon them because I am still loyal despite the fact that they are all gone lol.  Besides, I don’t want to have to start all over with new people, and who knows if I will even continue playing in a month from now, I might get bored with it and quit again and I will have left my guild for nothing.

I started thinking today that I have abandoned Lord of the Rings Online for EverQuest so I tried logging in today and every time the launcher tries to launch the game, it crashes and I am unable to play.  They did an update on it so perhaps the update doesn’t work with HDMI for some reason.  I will have to plug the VGA back into the TV so I can see if that will work. It’s kind of frustrating because I’m almost positive my [hobbit] house maintenance fee needs to be paid for lol.

I am having fun again in EverQuest and that is a good thing.  I quit for many reasons but one of them was that I was bored to death.  I mean I would literally fall asleep while playing, that isn’t good is it?  So thankfully I am not bored now and I hope it can keep my attention for a bit longer.

PC Magazine for Nook

Last night I was thinking about the customer reviews on PCMagazine for Nook and then I was thinking about how they gave the Los Angeles Times such a bad review but I bought an issue at .75¢ to see for myself and it wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be. So I thought, why not try the 14 day trial for PC Magazine. I only get 1 magazine a month and I have 14 days to cancel, I get to sample a free magazine at no cost to me and I don’t have to keep paying.

I could have bought the 1 issue at $2.49 and been out a couple bucks just to check out how it looks or I could get the trial and not lose anything. I am so glad I chose the latter because it is very nicely done. The subscription is only $1.49 per month or per magazine if you will and I get it automatically on the first of every month. Not bad.

I used to get PC World magazine years ago and I had that subscription for I think 10 years but canceled because I couldn’t afford it anymore. Also I had stopped reading it so every issue that came to the house got ignored. I might look at a couple of articles but I didn’t really give much time to it as I used to. They didn’t want to let me go, they fought for me but I had made my mind up, I just couldn’t afford it. Eventually they gave up. If they had PC World for Nook I would gladly start my subscription back up.

I read a few articles this morning of the PC Magazine and although they were good, they weren’t as good as PC World. But it’s the best that I can get for $1.49 per month and since it’s the only PC magazine that is in e-subscription for the Nook then it’s all I got.

Awake Too Early

I woke up at around 4:15am this morning.  I tried going back to sleep but it was a no go.  It’s now 1 hour later and I’m wide awake.  I think this is a good thing though.  I’m going to use this opportunity to get my body used to waking up early for summer bike riding.

It’s not hot outside yet (even though my bedroom is hot) but I can see on this weeks forecast that it’s going to be in the 100’s this week.  99° today, 103° tomorrow, 101° on Monday then Tuesday and Wednesday are like 93° and 94°.

Right now it’s a nice 63° out but this is the perfect time to go riding.  Today however is not a riding day.  No, instead I’m going to take the bus this morning to the bike store to get some new pedals.  While I’m there I’m going to see how much it would cost for a rack and if they have the grocery bags, if not then that’s fine, I will just get them from Nashbar.  I may just get the rack from nashbar too if they are the same price as Snider’s.

While I’m out I’m going to see if the thrift store has any bike shorts.  I doubt it but you never know.  But I do need some other shorts to go on my ride with.  I have 3 pairs of shorts that fit me but they all have their faults.  One pair rubs against my knees, another pair is too light (it’s beige) and get dirty fast and the 3rd pair is just too freakishly big and will only stay on with a belt.

We have like maybe 10 more pairs of shorts but they fit me like 10 years ago (some 2 years ago) so they are obviously too small.  I will eventually fit back into them as I lose weight but for now I have no options.  I need to find at least 3 pair of black shorts that fit me that I can wear on the bike that aren’t too long, aren’t too wide and aren’t too white lol.

UGH!  I’m starving so I’m gonna go get breakfast, make some coffee and start my day.  I’m thinking about just buying the things I need on nashbars website instead of going to the bike store.  Although, I still need pedals before tomorrow when I plan on riding again.

Jump Rope

I bought a $8 beaded jump rope today and boy is that hard work lol. I’m going to use it to relearn how to jump rope and to get used to using one then I am gonna give this one to my neighbor’s daughter Devan then I want to buy one that’s a little more expensive that is the kind that is faster and thin so I can do it better.

I thought this was the better kind for me because I was afraid the rope would be too thin and light and trip me up but frankly this does that to me too lol. I haven’t used a jump rope since I was like 10 years old and watching me jumping rope is kinda funny, I look like a child just learning.

I used to be really good at it and was able to just lightly jump inches off the ground and was so fast but now I’m like a clumsy 6-year-old. Oh and my leg muscles are sore from 2 minutes lol. And after 2 minutes I’m out of breath and need a drink of water. I really need to relearn this because it is excellent exercise. It burns about 32 calories a minute and works all the muscles in the body.