Archive | November 2013

How Many Blessings Does it Take?

Tootsie Pop OwlCounting blessings, sometimes it resembles the Tootsie Pop Owl: 1, 2, 3.

But then you realize that Blessing number 2 makes you think of 3 or 4 more blessings. Then those blessings remind you of others and of course you end with the blessing of: Thank You God for my life.

I always thank God for my blessings. It’s always easy to ask God to step in and help, but how often do we actually take the time to say Thank You? Do you say thank you for the “little” things? Like not being late for an interview (traffic was better than you thought it would be) or thank you for the last leaf bag not bursting open (because you only had a few leaves left so you over stuffed the bag).

Everyday I have many things I’m thankful for:

  • My husband has been cancer-free for two years.
  • I have been seizure-free for six years.
  • Our home
  • Our family and friends
  • My husband – that he’s even in my life. (he’s my rock/my life)

Kim nowEvery night when I pray, I start with Thank You God for everyone and everything in my life. Thank you for my Kim (he’s the love of my life), our home and thank you for today. Sometimes that’s it, other nights I will ask for help – for friends, family and sometimes for me.

I’m thankful for waking up in the morning. I’m thankful for the abilities I’ve been given and those I’ve learned. I’m thankful for friends/clients who refer me to their associates. I’m thankful I can help my Brother when he’s out on the road, there is the occasional thing he needs done that he just can’t get to (it seems smart phones aren’t always all that smart).

Yes, being Thankful is a lot like counting your blessings. Well, why not? All those things on my thankful list, are my blessings. No matter how you feel about a Higher Power, whether you believe. For this we will go with, yes I do – there is a God/Divine Being. While you will not see me in church – I believe in God, not religion. (There is a difference and not for this topic)

Something to keep in the back of your mind, are people thankful for you? Are you a person who helps, and/or brings a smile to someone’s face? Or, are you the type of person that people are thankful to see you leave? Please don’t take your blessings for granted. For this Thanksgiving, besides being thankful for your blessings, do something (no matter how big or small) nice for someone. Hold the door open for that person struggling with their hands full and trying to figure out how to open the door and not drop something. Smile at complete strangers. Give your complete attention to the person your talking with – ignore your phone/pad. Do something unexpected for a family member/friend/co-worker. Then be thankful you have the ability to do such a task.

Feeling Loopy? It’s the Drugs, Man!

I saw a story on the Today Show (aired 11/8/13), the topic is generic drugs and reactions.

The loophole they mention refers to the warning labels. It seems there are generic medications that do not have accompanying warning labels, or at least not the same detailed information as the brand named medications.

But there is one issue they forgot to include, fillers.

ALL medications have a filler of some sort. The filler helps with forming the tablet, filling the capsule, adding flavor to the liquid along with a variety of other functions. The FDA regulates that generics must have the same chemical composition. However, there is NO regulation on the fillers. The generic companies are not required to match that part of the “recipe”. Even the various generic companies don’t use the same fillers. These fillers all by themselves can have harmful side effects.

prescription-drug-addictionsBoth of my seizure meds list drowsiness as a side effect. One, when I first started taking it, was only available in the brand name. Then it went to generic. Perfect, more affordable. But I couldn’t understand just why I was feeling more tired and foggy. It was the same dosage/strength it shouldn’t change how I react. Right? I had been on the brand name for years, why would I suddenly have issues? Since I had prescription coverage at the time, my doctor had to write: dispense as written. Then when I lost my insurance and found out that my medication was $600+ for a 30 day supply I had to start looking for the most compatible generic. I finally found one, made here in the US 98% matching the brand. The drawback? Not every pharmacy carries that particular brand, and you can’t buy directly from the manufacturer. When I was started on the second medication I was told to decide which version I wanted: brand or generic. I was told by the doctor that (on this medication) the side effects are much different and to get me acclimated to the medication I had to decide which version to take.

Swell.

If and when the FDA enforces warning regulations on generic medications, I hope they consider the issue of the entire chemical make up of each drug.

You should always question your doctor and/or pharmacist about your medications. Know up front what could happen. If you choose generics, ask: does the chemical make up match the brand? How closely does it match? When I started my research I also found that the generic prices ranged. Here in the US, that one that 98% matched the brand (buying via Canada) was $78/month. The generic version from India (only 75% matched) was $18/month, buying via Sam’s Club (with membership).

The Little Things That Make You Happy

Those of us with medical conditions (of various types), whether it’s serious allergies to medications like penicillin or those with heart conditions should wear a Medical ID tag of some sort. Should you ever be in an emergency situation this is one of the first things emergency responders look for. The site to order your bracelet is: http://www.americanmedical-id.com

As I have mentioned before, I have epilepsy (notice I did not say I am epileptic – but that’s a different post) and hypoglycemia. So yes, I wear a Medical ID bracelet, I have since 1995.

The first one was stainless steel, nothing fancy, but it listed both conditions, my medication allergies and the one medication I was taking. In 2007, I had another medication added and found a new medication allergy. Because I was depressed about the new medication and was post surgery I decided to get a pretty bracelet. That one (I wear currently) is sterling silver and has a nice link for the chain. So yes, this cheered me; I had a nice/pretty piece of jewelry. Since I’m going to be wearing one of these for the rest of my life, I wanted something nice.

But there’s one thing wrong with sterling silver. While the bracelet chain is still beautiful, the tag isn’t doing well. You see, sterling silver tags for the bracelet don’t hold up well. Last year the scratches started showing, to the point where you can’t really read the thing. (I’m sure the necklace tags hold up much better.)

Crud! Now what? I still want something that looks nice, actually different from what “everyone else” is wearing. (Never have been big on conformity.) Then it dawned on me, a friend of mine makes jewelry. Kris’ business is called Peacock and Lime and she creates wonderful items. Of course what triggered my thought to contact Kris was the fact that the American Medical ID site has one of her bracelet designs. So why not go directly to the source and get a design (stones/beads) that I would like best?

custom bracelet-2So, my friend designed a wonderful bracelet for me (pictured) based on the beads I wanted, something more ME. I’ll receive it in the mail within a week or two. Yes, this is another little thing that brings a smile to my face and helps me to feel good. Remember, seizure medications can cause depression and as we all know in life little things make a person feel better. I do always remember that on the up side I haven’t had a seizure since August 28, 2007, it was five days after the surgery to remove the electrodes from my brain.

My neurologist tells me that I will have to take medication for the rest of my life, even though I don’t have seizures. I guess that’s OK because I do on occasion worry that the seizures will return.

So, share with me, what are the little things that make you happy? I have two other bracelets from Kris and this one will add to my collection. I will always look at them and be happy that I have such a gifted friend and that she made me such a bracelet that speaks more to my nature.

Oh for the record, YES I feel that a Medical ID of some sort is important!! While I normally share e-magazine links (because the blog is also in the magazine) and don’t advertise, I also feel it is important to share the love and brag about friends and family.

Technology – Helpful Pain in the …?

Ah yes technology. Where would we be without it?

There are many incredible things technology has brought us – personally I love dishwashers. (yes, that is technology) No, I will not get in to a long list of technology, I’m sure you’re acquainted with a variety of forms.

computer hackerWhat I will talk about: the abominations called HACKERS, SPAMMERS, and the rest of their ilk.

One of the latest attacks – people calling you and telling you that there’s something wrong with your computer. They introduce themselves as: I’m Jason from Microsoft PC Help & Support. Your computer is sending us multiple warning/error messages. I am calling to help you with this problem.

OK, so Jason (sounds like he’s from India/Pakistan area of the world) tells me that he’s from Microsoft. I told him: “no, Microsoft would not be calling me, I don’t believe you.” As I’m about to hang up, he stated that he misspoke, his company is a contractor with Microsoft and they monitor Microsoft problems.

Uh huh, sure you do.

I told him I wanted proof of who he is, the company, then maybe I would listen more. He said that with each step he would show me what was going on and would explain everything. He then directed me to a website: http://www.ammyy.com/en/ and asked me to click the “Start working with Ammyy Admin (it’s free) button and we will get started.” It even has a warning: Attention! Please read this before giving UNKNOWN people access to your computer. So I asked what would this do. “Oh, this is so I can remote access your computer.”

Oh I don’t think so!

If you’re already telling me that you can tell that my computer is sending warning/error messages, why do you need remote access? Didn’t answer that one. I didn’t download. When I questioned how would he even know that my computer had any errors (even though my constantly updated computer protection programs don’t show any issues).

His answer?

Oh, well Microsoft has built in special codes in to the software just for this reason. Your computer is on right now, correct? Yes, it was. Doesn’t seem to matter that before his call I wasn’t on the internet. “Microsoft still knows.” Um hm. I’m not networked to anything – at all there’s no way. Then he says that hackers can get in to your computer without internet access and get your IP address. Then, once a hacker has that, well, they can do anything and it traces back to you and you’re the one responsible for all wrong doing. So, to protect you, let’s get started.

Remember how I mentioned technology has given us many things? Well cell phones are one of those things. Called my computer guy (CG) while I had the other guy on my house phone and told him what was going on. He told me to hang up IMMEDIATELY. So I did.

CG explained this current scam and that it was on the news just the other day (10/30/13). These guys call and do what they can to convenience you that your computer is failing and they can run scans to help clean your system. They will ask for personal information and credit card info, then “run” the scans. One person (according to the news) was charged $900 and the system wasn’t fixed. CG told me to just hang up on these calls.

So, if you get a call from a 206-456-0661 number – ignore it – that’s the number used when they called me last night. After I hung up they called back, my husband answered, the guy said, we got disconnected somehow. Yep, we hung up on you. But we need to start working… my husband said no, any issues will be handled with our CG who we know and trust – don’t call here any more and hung up.

Yes, technology is great. The thing that isn’t so great; the scam artists/hackers, etc. who seem to thrive off making people’s lives miserable. Yes, I know, this kind of thing has gone on for years, Carpetbaggers where a horrible lot. Just be careful, know who’s contacting you. If you have questions, hang up and call the company they say they represent and ask questions.

Oh, make sure your passwords are changed on a periodic basis. After last night’s call, I changed all of my passwords.