Friday, July 31, 2009
I don't participate in these groups but there is virtue in attempting to create a photo which needs little or no manipulation with various editing programs, the replacement for film and print darkrooms.
If a photo is saved in the *.jpg format, each copy, revision and change degradates the image, some would say imperceptably- takes an eagle eyebetter than mine to tell the difference. There are proprietary/RAW formats which do not degradate, but then must be converted to a popular format among viewers, like *.jpg!
In renewed amateur efforts I am trying to do take photos SOOC. An effective camera feature which helps is a "zoom" lens where, if you have time, you can include, or exclude portions of the picture. Obviously, children, pets, sports, and anything that moves, does not usually allow for a "perfectly composed" photo.
Editing programs are great fun with which to tinker and usually, if careful, the tinkering can be reversed. I have learned to use in moderation because extreme manipulation can lead to garish results. I generally love realism and very modest application of artistic salt-n-pepper now and then.
I am posting two photos from yesterday along with the original SOOC . Both photos were made with the little Canon A1000 IS SureShot from WalMart. All are 'shot' in *.jpg format. I'll think about that RAW stuff when I am rich and famous!!!
The Naked Ladies/Black-Eyed Susans in yesterday's post I have so labeled, and the original [straight out of the cameral is unlabeled. The same is for the other photo, Benign Neglect [unlabeled one is straight out of the camera].
At first Naked Ladies/Black-Eyed Susan looks like the photo is cropped from the other, Benign Neglect, but in this case I "shot" these from nearly the same point, using 'zoom' of the Canon SureShot. However, I could get 2-3 'new' photos by selective cropping of 'Benign Neglect.' May have to fool around with that in my spare! time...
Tip: A way to informally frame a picture is using the forefinger and thumb as a frame like a viewfinder. Another way is to make two "L" pieces of cardboard to form a frame, and move them around like a frame for a 'shot', or to crop a photo. If you can not visualize this, let me know; I'll create cardboard one and 'take a photo.'
[By the way, the Naked Lady stalk with buds (Nikon) was not cropped but I don't remember about other editing.]
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The rest are taken with a Canon A1000 SureShot 10 megapixel camera (WalMart $129) I bought to keep in my SUV. I am pretty impressed with this little Point-N-Shoot camera; in fact, I purchased one for my husband.
I wanted a camera in the SUV so I could stop and take a shot to see it there is good reason to return with Nikon such as better light, etc.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Her hair had regular appointments with Miss Clairol. She had NO sense of humor. In retrospect I think she had 'small woman syndrome,' not unlike 'small man syndrome.'
[I forgot to mention in the previous post Susan seemed to lag behind in the learning curve, and may have been held back a grade--I don't remember. ]
From the first day of third grade, I was depressed just being there. MOLS chastised a few rude boys, but not as much as the uppity upper classmates led me to believe.
During the early days of her class, I realized I could not clearly see the blackboard. MOLS asked me a question from material on the blackboard, and realized I didn't have a clue what she was asking. She asked me if I'd like to move up to the front. Not really, I thought: that puts me right next to her desk, besides my peers will call me 'teacher's pet.'
Student were assigned seats alphabetically, ascending or descending. There were exceptions, sometimes erroneously labeled 'teacher's pets.' My last name, Richardson, never got me a front seat. I was behind the Joneses ascending order, or behind the Smiths descending order. Thank the schoolhouse gods for the Smiths which kept distance from Susan in front of, or behind, me; her last name started with ST. There were not many Rs.
I did not know if MOLS was being kind or sarcastic, but I accepted a front seat, thinking I would stay out of trouble. Apparently, she called my parents, as shortly thereafter I had optometrist's appointment and left with eyeglasses. Thank God they were a lot less thick than MOLS's binoculars!
Another antiquated procedure in those days was students appointed as monitors whose duty was to report misbehavior of their peers to the teacher. We had hall monitors, playground monitors, restroom monitors. I figured monitors were nothing more than spies in training, ratting and tattling on their peers--not an achievement to covet for a transcript or application by an aspiring, prospective college student.
Nevertheless, I eventually was appointed restroom monitor. My main chore was to accompany female peers who requested use of the facility during class, but I also had duty during recess. While all my friends were playing Red Rover I was standing alone in the restroom "monitoring." I called it DUMB DUTY, but soon it became HAZARDOUS DUTY.
Susan pushed the envelope of decorum in the restroom, but if she did not physically abuse another student or damage the restroom, I did not report her.
One day she asked MOLS to be excused to the restroom, which meant I must accompany her. Her request was granted, and we started down the quiet hallway toward the restroom.
Susan tried to engage me in loud hallway conversation, a no-no when classes were in session. Her explosive anger began to simmer when I was unresponsive to her.
We entered the restroom and I assumed my "monitoring" position, leaning against a wall. Susan entered a stall and completed her mission, I assumed.
She exited and washed her hands, a good habit. She told me there was graffiti inside the stall door; naturally I went over to check it out. [She probably created the graffiti, but I could not have proved it.]
To this day I do not understand the next sequence of events. She grabbed me from behind and tried to plunge my head beneath the toilet water.
At age 10 I was already fearful of water and drowning. Mother said you could drown in less than three inches of water; the toilet water was definitely deeper than three inches!
My life was racing before me. What would my parents think if I drown at school in the toilet, after all their warnings?
I could see front page headlines and my obituary: STUDENT ALTERCATION RESULTS IN ONE DEATH BY DROWNING IN SCHOOL TOILET (front page) or Obituaries: 'Student, age 10, died yesterday at 2 p.m. by drowning in toilet of stall 3 of South Elementary School, services pending completion of investigation and autopsy.'
Substitute commode or stool, can, throne, latrine, lavoratory, or 44 other synonyms if some other choice is better for publication. Some synonyms would not pass censorship, especially those beginning with sh----- and cr----- plus a new one on me... ordure. You look it up as I doubt it is commonly used in the South.
I struggled to get up and hit the concrete floor several times, all the while my Cherokee temper began to heat up ( didn't know it was Cherokee till 54 years later). I don't remember aggressively hitting her, but I defended myself to the best of my limited stature and strength which grew exponentially with my temper.
Susan began to see my head was not going in the toilet, down the toilet or anywhere near the toilet. She released her head grip on me; then, amazingly, her personality changed completely. She acted as if nothing happened.
To this day I wonder if she suffered from some personality disorder, like schizophrenia. Maybe her parents were abusive and this action mimicked some medieval "water boarding" method of getting her to tell the truth.
We started back to class very quietly. However, MOLS sensed something was awry. She asked me if there were problems. I'm sure I looked disheveled. I admitted there was a little problem. As expected, Susan outright denied anything at all happened.
MOLS apparently overlooked my disheveled appearance. Susan's appearance was the same as when she left the classroom. I am sure my Cherokee hair was flying in all directions and my ironed, starched feed-sack dress was creased and wrinkled.
Hey! when you are battling a Philistine descendant of Goliath, you don't make a dent in their appearance. I needed my slingshot from when I and my siblings playacted David and Goliath, another Bible story that ended in trouble for me.
We both were relegated to stay after school one hour. There is no worse punishment than detention to a 3rd grader. As the hour ticked by, my imagination raced between the anticipated grilling of my parents to the all important "conduct record" I was compiling for college.
Finally, we both were released to go home. As I dragged myself home in shame, I still could not explain what happened or why. But I told the truth as best I understood it.
Mother knew a little more than I did about Susan and her family. Apparently, her adoption was not well screened and perhaps was not through legitimate channels. Whatever the reason, the parents had a multitude of problems with Susan.
MOLS helped understand the teacher's position. She told Mother since we had different takes on the altercation and she could not discern the truth, so we both were held accountable, partly because I failed to maintain peace in the restroom.
[I tried to "maintain peace" but when a fly is battling a behemoth with a swinging tail the size of a club, there is not much of a chance.]
There was a lot of conversation between them, that I did not then understand, mostly concerning Susan.
But Mother stuck in several strikes for me. She told Mean Ole Lady Snark the students', especially my, perception of her, how much I dreaded going to her class, and that I did not like the "monitor" assignment. And I had better not have a markdown in "conduct" which was usual when a student had one detention event.
Mother did not use the word "hate," the much maligned word I learned early on the playground, without any conception of its meaning. I was chastised every time I used it included every time I mentioned MOLS.
Surprisingly, the next day at school, MOLS told students she wanted to clear up some misconceptions students had of her. She was as contrite as an old battle ax can be, but I didn't buy it. However, I never had trouble in her class again. I was relieved of my monitor duties and did not receive a markdown in conduct for the episode, either.
I continued to avoid Susan; in fact I don't remember her in the 4th grade but there were two 4th grade classes. At some point she disappeared from my elementary school experience and faded memory. I seem to remember she came to an early demise, but those details are not etched in stone.
MOLS and I reached an unwritten truce, or was it impasse, for the rest of the year. I graduated from my college aspirations and was employed when she retired as teacher of the 3rd grade. There were many accolades of former students and teaching staff plus a front page article in the local paper. Need I say, I was not among the accoladees (new word I made up) nor did I save the article in my scrapbook!!!
I know, I know, too long..............just could not find a second place to stop and continue.
[The picture above is 2-story South Elementary School that my brother sent me; yesterday's photo was the 3 story Brownwood Senior High School which for some reason was with a website about the Elementary School. I also attended the high school .]
Think about a few of the many new situations :
1. Etiquette, or how to behave in different situations and circumstances, like playground, classroom, lunchroom, and RESTROOM!
2. Interaction with peers. You can't just sock 'em, or other uncouth behavior you might impose on your siblings when things are NOT going well. Darn!
3. Respect/courtesy to principals, teachers, and all-important upper classmates.
Having aced first and second grade, I was pretty cocky; I had this school thing aced. My report cards were perfect and I rarely had a paper with less than red-marked 100 grade which I proudly carried home daily to Mother.
But should I receive a small mark down, like a 98, I threw it away on the way home and told Mother, we didn't have a paper that day. That worked until Mother had a teacher visit her. In those days teachers made house calls, instead of the teacher-parent conference at school. Mother asked the teacher about the paperless days. However, Mother's confrontation was nice, other than my fibbing. She realized I had high expectations for myself and a desire to please her and Dad.
When I passed second grade I figured college was soon, but I had to go through the motions of 3rd grade...no big deal.
No big deal! until one of those uppity upper classmates described to me and several peers, the third grade teacher was a wicked witch, really mean, no shenanigans, never smiled, and rapped your little hand with a "huge" ruler...
I and my peers believed every word of the uppity upper classmates. After all we respected their advanced knowledge and they had already walked the walk. A teacher with a first name Zada!?? I never heard of a woman with a name like that. It must have some ominous meaning which enhanced her disreputation in my self-perceived college level mind.
All summer I tried to rationalize why the schoolyard gods imposed the fate of mean Ole Lady Snark (not her real name--she might come back to haunt me). All those 100s seem worthless. Why couldn't I just skip third grade and go to college.
There was talk of double promoting me. I thought that meant I went directly to college. I was pretty proud of that, until I learned it meant skip a grade or two. Further my math skills were not quite as advanced as everything else. So that idea was flushed down the toilet.
That summer was far too short as my fateful date with Ole Lady Snark was barreling down the highway head-on with my quaking little heart.
Besides dealing with a teacher of alleged despicable nature, I knew a disturbing student from the alternate second grade class would be integrated in the only third grade class along with about 15 other students.
This student, a girl named Susan, was adopted known by all my pears as crude, rude and mean. She and the teacher were on equal footing insofar as my little mind could reason. She was bigger than any other girl in the class.
If a girl could be a physical bully, Susan was. She pushed and shoved everybody. Her voice and laughter had only one volume, VERY LOUD. Her laughter was usually at someone's expense. I avoided her like the plague.
Part 2: Mean Ole Lady Snark, Susan and the Restroom
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Astonishingly today she is joined by a host of similarly adorned friends sporting their nudity. My property appears invaded by this immodest throng, seemingly thinking I run a nudist camp.
Their numbers have neighbors wagging fingers and tongues, sadly shaking heads. My neighbor hood status is in jeopardy and my political career, in ashes.
When I moved from Texas to Arkansas, I made acquaintance in late July with Naked Ladies, a.k.a. Magic Lily, Surprise Lily, Lazarus Lily, Resurrection Lily to name a few [Lycoris squamigera].
Upon the lily's first appearance in my life, a neighbor regaled his favorite name, 'Naked Lady," to me. Having a tad of shock jock in me, the name became my favorite, despite more appropriate names.
The foliage, which slightly appears like thick daffodil leaves, sprouts in late winter and disappears by May. The large onion sized bulbs are self- propagating plus the squirrels seem to transplant some of them. They are like weeds; they cannot be killed.
A friend also gave me a similar variety, a reddish spider lily-like bloom [Lycoris radiata], which appears in mid-September. I don't have as many of this variety as the Naked Ladies. I will try to get photos this year. However, this bloomer appears in the middle of the hay fever season!!!
I was lucky to capture an hors d'oerve with this last picture! Hmm... maybe not the best word in this case since it is a fly....
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Friday, about 5 a.m. they start home to SC two days of marathon driving. The son then is leaving on his own vacation to Thailand, but BIL and wife have to take him to Myrtle Beach,SC to catch a plane. I told them to e-mail us if they survived.
My husband was suffering from a summer cold the entire time his relatives were here. That's got to be miserable.
I've spent a part of the last two weeks in Springfield, Mo. Because of neglect on my part, I again must go to Springfield to renew my military ID card. NITWIT! NitWit!i nitwit!
Spouses' cards are expire at regular intervals until age 75 when we receive a permanent one. I am three years, two months from that date.
I have not decided if I will try to do a round trip of spend a night. But the traveling day is Friday.
So I will have another Slider day or two.
Luckie was a model of good behavior. She did not push herself obnoxiously on the SIL who is allergic to cats and dogs. When she discovered the company was not going to accommodate her doggie treat addiction she quietly rested in her own chair or at our feet. You hardly knew she was around.
Till I am through with Sliders .....NitWit1
Monday, July 20, 2009
The wife has as many allergies as I have, but different ones. I surely am sympathetic with her discomfort, traveling. I often return home sick--not an encouraging thought. She is allergic to dogs. I hope poor Luckie understands and seeks attention from the rest of us.
So here is my analysis of my own pictures, referring in order to them as they appeared in the previous post.
Picture #1 Total dud; to many things sticking up all over the place. The headstone sets on the intersection of thirds, but otherwise no atmosphere.
Picture #2 Intent was to be the hors d'oerves of the series to show the overwhelming sorrow. However, I failed to include a part of the headstone so it does not identify the place. It is just a bunch of things, albeit interesting. It appears to be a tad out of focus overall and the point of interest I intended to the the series of puppies. Instead a daisy surround by some blue flowers appears to be the only sharp thing. It is good example of not being sure major focus is in focus.
Picture #3 This would be my favorite with a little cropping. The eye moves in the lower left through the picture to the seating. I can imagine walking by the grave, pausing to read and look at the memorabilia and then to meditate sitting in the shade of the tree on a hot summer day in Arkansas. I would crop the right hand side, maybe even part of the bench so the eye could imagine exiting and sitting on the side not shown. Might also crop top part of picture, although the main image seems properly placed.
Picture #4. This might have been my favorite if I had managed to get the bench in the picture. It also seems to be soft focus. The leaves in the right foreground and overhanging in the mid-ground give depth and mood to the setting.
I think the focusing problem is due to fact this is a new (Canon SureShot) camera for the purpose of leaving in my car, to take things that catch my eye and then come back to them, when possible, with a more flexible camera. I pass this little cemetery frequently and still have not got an overall satisfactory photo . The Canon may have a focus setting, like spot vs. matrix that needs changing.
This trip I realized I am approaching this location from a poor angle, partly because I park in the only place available. There is no roadside parking unless you want to chance rolling down a ravine!
Sorry if this is boring. Yes, I often just point and shot and HOPE. My husband is a point and shooter.... period.... I bought him the same camera.
In fact this series could be said to point and shoot, as I am looking for the best angle for a more interesting overall angle. Then I saw this touching grave.
Further, photographers seem to hone in on peculiar subjects, cemeteries are mine. I'd love to return to New England where the cemeteries are 200+ years old!
Below are some shots at a roadside park in Missouri; I stopped for a break and shot a few views. The winding road is the samein each photo, shot at approximately the same distance but I moved back and forth laterally.
Again, taken with the sun overhead so lots of black and washout of light to white detail.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The lecturer was Ken Hubbard who is a landscape photographer employed by Tamron, naturally to promote and sell their lenses.
A number of general tips were shared with the group, which I will share; some of these are second nature to those with the artistic eye, others, like me have to work at it.
There was also a lot of technical jargon that most of you would not be interested in, nor are we all using the same kinds of cameras.
These tips are ways to make stronger pictures.
The number one point he made several times: When you have made the picture you wanted, stand and look 360 degrees around you. Ninety per cent of the time there will be at least one other picture you missed, had you not taken these few seconds. He had a series of three beautiful mountain pictures with fog, two of which were found with this same advice.
Let lines direct the viewers attention to the main subject. Lines may be roads, railroad tracks, ridge of rock, fences, or even tire tracks, or a path mowed in a field. [Note the wood fence in the photos I made of Bull Shoals Dam.]
Color directs the eye to the central point of a picture. Imagine a bushel of Granny Smith apples, and one Red Delicious: which one draws the attention?
When taking macros, and WOW! there some good macros out there among you, be sure to focus on the exact part you wish to be sharp because the depth of field (part of picture in focus) is as little as 1/4th inch.
There is a artist rule called the rule of thirds like 1/3 sky, 1/3 mid range, 1/3 foreground. It isn't quite that simple, but artists and photographers use it. And if 1/3 is a sky with NO clouds, adjust your thirds, so to speak. But if the picture is divided in thirds vertically and horizontally, then the principal interest of the picture should be at any intersection of these grid lines.
Anyway, rules can sometimes be broken and a still have a very exciting picture!!
Don't try to do all this in one picture. Practice one tip at a time.
I bet a bunch of you have already heard some of these tips.
Throughout this ditty I posted four uncropped photos of a very young child's grave, who died tragically at less than two years. It is in a picturesque country cemetery on the way to my seminar. The entire grave cries out " unspeakable sorrow and grief" from the statuaries, toys, flowers and lights to the tree bench in the background.
See if I was successful in any of these principles. The light was high noon which means intense blacks and burn out (not the best time of day). This was a Canon SureShot A1000 digital camera, not my trusty Nikon D50. But photos are photos. In the past some very great photographers started out with a Kodak Brownie, if any of you remember that.
None satisfy me 100%. One with some slight cropping will be very close. Which one is it? One is total dud. Which one is it. Of course, this is only MY opinion!
Friday, July 17, 2009
This particular evening it was my misfortune to step on something which retaliated with a nasty, circular sting. Mother said a tarantula, although tarantula stings are rare . It didn't matter what...it hurt. It probably was a foreboding of a lifetime or less common unhealthy events in my life where I seem to be the exception to every statistic.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I am hoping to learn how to transfer some skills and tricks I had with film cameras that I have not been able to transfer to digital cameras. I have a very nice but older digital Nikon D50 and a less technical Canon SureShot.
The workshop is sponsored by Tamron Lenses which is the one lens I bought for the Nikon, an all purpose zoom.
I'll have my laptop computer and Nikon Camera on this trip.
Next week we are expecting my husband's brother, wife and one son from So. Carolina.
If there is anything to share with you of a general nature from the workshop I will. However, I want to recommend two bloggers on many blog lists and who have been photographers for years. Both are also writers/journalists:
Abe Lincoln Abraham Lincoln, [not reincarnated, well maybe, he is kin] who is giving some occasional tips from his perspective. I am still fascinated with taking a photo with your camera between your feet while standing straight up.....read his blog and try it.
authorblog David McMahon, who is a international photographer of some note. He blogs of driving into the Australian Outback to get "the shot" even if it is only one. I first came across his blog under Post of The Day when I was an "honorable mention." If you are looking for new blogs to read, go to his blog daily and visit his selection as well as the honorable mentions.
I have an e-mail of other photographers of note which I have not had time to check out.
Meanwhile here are two photos I took during the 2008 floods in the Ozark White River Basin. Bull Shoals Dam with all (17) spillway gates open and all eight generators running.
These photos are not edited very much. However, I missed what is called the Hors d'oeuvres or creative shot. If you look closely, the reflection of the dam and spillway is in the water puddles on the road. @#$%^&*! [While I do not claim copyright to any pictures, I would appreciate requests to use them for non-promotional purposes.]
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The insolvable mystery of the behavior of my blog alone, has escaped my capacity to solve the numerous inconsistencies and weird behavior. I still do not know if it is Blogger, my browser, me or what. I am a moderately informed techie insofar as hardware capabilities are concerned, but programming--I don't have a clue. I am removing my fish tank as a last ditch effort.
I re-read some posts with a critical eye for tone. None were perfect. Upon reflection a few posts did not strike a tone with which I was happy, and indeed, may have left readers wondering "Just who does she think she is, anyway."
So I resolve to consider my words more carefully, taking a day or two if needed. there are no deadlines, or guidelines of which I am aware. This resolution includes posts and my comments to others' posts.
I resolve to not set a tone that I am an expert on anything because I am not. Everything I write has to do with my life experiences only, which may or may not extend beyond myself. This includes religion, politics, sports, medicine, dogs--any topic. I try to avoid some of these topics entirely, and will make a more concentrated effort in the areas of religion, politics and sports.
I think dogs is a safe topic. I love 'em all and cats, too. It doesn't matter to me if they are pedigreed or Heinz 57. I've had 'em all and love 'em all. My husband has accused me of loving more dogs more than him...........I'm not going there, either.
I welcome constructive criticism, so fire away.
As soon as I lose a few more pounds and am able to explore my beautiful area of Arkansas, I may post some photography only blogs...no naughty ones! I'm in a hunt for some special equipment at an inexpensive price. And I am attending a workshop in Springfield MO this week to brush up on techniques I have long forgotten.
However, I disclaim any overt, intentional motive to discredit or belittle anyone on any subject. My unforeseen thoughtlessness, carelessness or stupidity may make me appear otherwise, but then my user name is NitWit1.
Now I must begin making arrangements for another stay in Springfield MO...very much a fun trip this time...and maybe some Baby Bok Choy from the Asian grocery.
Friday, July 10, 2009
The poetry is divided into five sections: Southern Life, Country Living, Childhood Memories, Family History, Getting Personal, Intimacies, and Summing Things Up. Picking my favorite section is difficult, but Southern Life would edge out the others.
Patricia' s writing style is direct and her message or story is easy to understand.
By painting word pictures in poetry, Patricia stir memories of my own Southern Life with images like 'mockingbirds and bumble bees,' 'chirping of the crickets,' and 'fireflies are taking flight.'
In the section, Country Living, I related to two poems, Baptismal Sunday and Preaching Sunday.
The section, Childhood Memories, triggered memories of physicians' house calls with Country Doctor (yes, I can remember that!) and magic Christmas mornings, Childhood Christmas 'to catch ole' Santa in his tracks.'
One Room School and Right to Vote are among the topics in Family History which also includes two poems about her son, Henry. Henry is a popular family name for several generations. In my family it was Paul.
Inside Me describes the authors spirit and soul, 'Butterflies spread their wings, And a new life awaits,' in the Personal section. A poem entitled Boston (Language Barrier) tickled my funny bone and triggered my memories of moving from Texas to Baltimore, MD immediately after my wedding. Salvation also triggered personal memories.
I can empathize with Patricia's lament in The (Un)Domestic Diva with a simple me, neither!" This poem is in the Intimacies section.
Summing Things Up, a collection of four poems about Mississippi, contains the title poem, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia.
Perhaps I have stirred your interest in Patricia's first book of poetry. According to the back cover about the author, she is completing a second book or poetry entitled, The Secret Garden of Love.
Copies of this book are available at Reed's Gum Tree Books
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Contact Author :
1196 CR 681
Saltillo, MS 38866
website: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems " a celebration of the south and things southern""Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word"
Publisher: GrantHouse Publishers
2101 Green Leaf Drive
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Also a specialist, she and I, were considering the next step in treatment of osteoporosis, because my gastrointestinal system does not tolerate oral and more economical choices.
Her choice, which ultimately turned out to be right, was referral to an endocrinologist (END), a specialist.
However, intermixed in her decision was some erroneous interpretations of the tests she ordered, including bone density and blood levels. Instead of analyzing the actual tests and results, she and most other physicians rely on the 'written summary' report, also written by specialists (pathologist, radiologist).
The GYN said I probably had a tiny non-malignant adenoma on one of the four parathyroids, which would need to be surgically removed, a minor procedure.
In the interim between my Endocrinologist (END) appointment I had appointments with my primary care physician (PCP)and my oncologist (ONC), a specialist. The ONC opted to await the results of the END and advised not to rush into and surgical procedures.
PCP ordered a nuclear scan to see if there was an adenoma; if positive, she had a referral to a surgeon ready. But to her amazement the test was so negative, her solution was wait and see. I told her of my appointment with the END, which she advised I keep.
In the final analysis, the END looked past the 'written summary' reports to the actual data provided him, found discrepancies, and made preliminary diagnoses of Vitamin D deficiency syndrome. He did NOT repeat tests. The nuclear scan, he said, was unnecessary at this point. A prescription for Vit D is being tried. This is a relatively inexpensive drug.
Now why am I going into this boring detail?
1. Medical practice is not nearly as precise, as we, or our government surmises.
2. The 'written summary' opinion of physicians conducting and reading various tests and procedures is often too interpretative, and sometimes erroneous. [One report observed I was missing my right kidney; WRONG, it is my left kidney.]
3. The role and need of a specialist is under attack by our government's rush to a national health insurance program.
4. In the end, which path led to the seemingly correct and least expensive cost?
Who practiced the better medicine for the patient, not the government's perception of economy?
It seems my GYN, ONC, and PPC physicans all arrived at the same decision, but took different routes.
My own evaluation based on this one experience, is the endocrinologist saved the most money, OVERALL. Yes, his fee is more, but surgery is avoided, at least, for the moment. By not repeating radiology and blood chemisty tests, but re-interpreting the results, instead of accepting the summary report, he also saved money.A ball park figure based on previous surgeries, hospitalizations , lab work and radiological procedures, I suspect nearly $50,000 was saved by one visit to this specialist.
Otherwise, I would already be considering unneccesary surgery. Granted, this diagnosis may not be the long-term ultimate outcome.
In the New York Times today, is an article about current medical practice concerning prostate gland cancer treatments. My brother chose a wait and see attitude, but finally chose surgery. Bth time the physician recommended treatment, the cancer was protruding outside the prostate gland. According to physicians, they did not get it all, but it seemingly has not spread further.
Also, in an earlier New York Times, a disasterous VA prostate treatment is exposed. Neither our veterans not our government deserve such malpractice.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The cure, hopefully will be taking ergocalciferol (Vit. D) for 90 days, maybe longer, and then resuming shots for osteoporosis which I have, and which is definitely hereditary.
That was the simple theory. He was glad I came to him and did not unnecessarily have my parathyroids removed. He diagrammed on the paper sheet on the examining table. I wish I had asked if I could keep it. Anyway the technical part made sense to me.
I also have to try to chew 2 TUMS twice a day, since I have failed to find a calcium tab I can tolerate. Right now, I can't take any calcium product with D in it as I will be taking prescription strength Vit. D for awhile.
And NO he doesn't want me out in sun burning my 73-year-old skin. COVER UP!!!
At least for now the Lord has delivered me from a more serious fate. Blessed by the name of the Lord.
Monday, July 06, 2009
A neatly dressed female senior citizen, a member of the anonymous, disappearing middle class, her countenance was sad, worried, resigned to some unknown, hopeless fate. We moved to a private counseling area.
'It's my husband," she said, as she emptied a brown bag of her husband's medications. From the many bottles I knew he had advanced heart disease.
"We can no longer afford these medications. We have no savings, no prescription coverage or other health insurance, only Social Security, Medicare and small pension checks,"she said.
The wife began a litany about substantial prescription costs they could not continue to pay. Their home and all possessions were paid, she said. They retired here to save on daily living expenses and taxes, secure their savings, stretch pensions and Social Security further, she continued, in a halting voice, trying to hold back tears.
They had had good jobs with a medium sized corporation and retired, thinking they were secure with adequate pensions, Social Security, Medicare, health and prescription insurance from their long employment with the same company. As foreign competition increased, the pressure on their company to cut costs began. As with other companies, retirement promises were broken, abruptly terminated, to present and future retirees.. Pension funds were bankrupt, sometimes due to mismanagement. Health benefits were curtailed or cut. It seemed all the dire consequences that began to occur in the 1990s steamrolled collectively into this couple's front door.
She began to cry. The physician would not change drugs, even when there were suitable, less expensive alternatives. She never complained about our prices like others. She mentioned how carefully they budgeted their household expenses and substituted store brand groceries for name brands.
She tearfully asked "What did you suggest?"
At that moment I never felt so inadequate. Every feeble suggestion I had, would be nixed by her husband's unyielding physician. One prescription was for a long-acting 'twice a day' blood pressure medication. It was available in a generic tablet to be taken four times a day, the primary disadvantage of which is patient non-compliance. [Convenience of twice-a-day medications is more costly, but patient compliance is better.]
Finally, I referred her to a service where manufacturers provide 90-day supplies to patients that meet their criteria. Every 90 days the application process has to be repeated. These services are designed for persons who 'fall through the cracks' of other services like Medicaid. She was willing to give this service a try.
She profusely thanked me for my time,; I felt I had abysmally failed.
It's been nearly 13 years and I have not forgotten this middle income, neatly attired elderly lady trying to take care of her husband. There, except for the grace of God, go I.
In the present circumstances of our health care system with current proposals I can foresee where I might be in her situation. It appears services will diminish for old people. The message, as dire as it may sound, we should get out of the way, just go ahead and die.
A pharmacist/patient relationship develops over time as the patient continues to interact with the pharmacist in the course of counseling about their prescriptions. Throughout my career the retail prescription pricing was a major topic of discussion between patient and pharmacist. An expensive prescription in 1960 was $10; today the sky seems the limit. I remember when a new antibiotic was $1 per tablet. My three COPD inhalers are over $100 ea./mo. but I have insurance.
In the early days of my career the company line was the manufacturer costs included the costs of research and development, which to me and patients some was a nebulous entity in outer space. "Research and development" became the "company line."As years fled by I no longer spouted the "company line." When percentage increases in wholesale prices regularly exceeded annual cost of living increases, I saw no justification for "research and development."
Near the end of my career the wailing over prescription costs grew exponentially with every price increase. It seemed 10% wholesale increases once or twice a year were common and even 15% increases occurred with regularity. These increases were generally passed on to the patient, as in every business that deals with a commodity.
I came to believe pharmaceutical manufacturers were disingenuous in their explanations, when they began media advertising, especially television ads which may run $100,000/per 30 sec. for small viewer audiences to $1.5 million/30 sec. for a Super Bowl ad, a national viewing audience. Further, these ads provoke patients to insist their physician give them the latest remedy, even when there is less expensive alternatives.
My employers were not rolling in excess profits. Most net profits were 3%. Their inventories, like automotive floor plans, were mortgaged at the bank. A small inventory could exceed $1 million.
A National Healthcare Plan which includes prescriptions must dissect the phases of research, developing and manufacturing medications. I do not envy those charged with this task.
I am very thankful I am retired.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some small suggestions for shopping:
Where super discount chains exist, their competitive pricing usually cannot be beat. Wal-Mart will tell every pharmacy in their market area, they will match or beat every price of every competitor.
Pharmacies cannot routinely meet Wal-Mart's prices or their bulk buying power, so they try to be as near the competition as possible, but above it.
At least this is my experience with them.
However, for a few cents more, other pharmacies may offer delivery, shorter wait times, friendlier service. You decide what you are willing to pay. If you have prescription insurance cards, your co-pay is the same wherever you shop.
Your pharmacist should be willing to answer questions in a reasonable period of time. PLEASE remember the pharmacist is an expert on medications, not the practice of medicine. Our degrees ae PharmD, not MD.
I love to play doctor with myself or my husband, but when people ask my opinion, I tell them I am speculating and repeat it.
[I will be in Springfield MO, M-Th for medical consults. My trusty laptop will be with me, but not sure how much time I will be spending with computer. The motel has free WI FI !!!] <:~D)
When I return, I hope to be able to review the book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Today several bloggers, including myself, have chosen the Declaration of Independence as a subject for blogging.
Researching and refreshing my history, I was surprised that my memorized version of the above most quoted statement was incorrect. I had always said "inalienable rights." The quote is from the Declaration of Independence page on US History.org site of the Independence Hall Association, a non-profit association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A number of bloggers apparently agree with me.
Having an inquisitive mind, I decided to do a little more reading.
Apparently, a number of us are misinformed. The Jefferson Memorial inscription of this sentence has several errors, according to this New York Times article today, included "inalienable" instead of "unalienable."
There is this tedious treatise, UNALIENABLE. I was more confused, than informed!
Then there was this more informative, and believable analysis; Unalienable/Inalienable. Apparently, Thomas Jefferson preferred Inalienable. Two known drafts in Jefferson's handwriting in The New York Public Library and The American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia) have the word, "inalienable."
Some of Jefferson's notes refer to gentlemanly debate over many topics. Just maybe Jefferson lost the debate of INALIENABLE vs. UNALIENABLE!
I stand with Jefferson....not that is makes a whit of difference!
Independence Day and what it celebrates, the Birth of a Nation, embraces the adage: Freedom is never free. ~Author Unknown.
There were 56 signers [13 colonies] of the Declaration of Independence: [Pennyslvania had the most signers (9); Rhode Island had the fewest signers (2).]
Most signers were footnotes in larger history. Below are a few notables:
>John Hancock [MA], President of the Continental Congress was the first, largest and most famous signature.
>John Adams [MA] (future second President) died on July 4th, 1826. His last toast to Independance Day: "Independence forever!"
>Thomas Jefferson [VA] (future third President), died on July 4th, 1826. Clearly the most educated and enlightened signer, he wished to be remembered for signing the Declaration of Independence, and establishment of the University of Virginia.
>Benjamin Franklin [PA] was the oldest signer, a self-taught man known internationally long before Jefferson and others, he was a business man,
publisher, writer, scientist, diplomat, legislator, social activist, abolitionist.
>Edward Rutlege [SC] was the youngest signer, an aristocrat born to a life of public service.
>Benjamin Harrison (VA), was a farmer and political activist; his son was the future 9th President.
A recent circulating e-mail The Price They Paid, which seems to have originated in 1999, spins an embellished, but impressive re-writing of history. [I linked the title to one site where an author is named, but several sites state "Author Unknown." ]
Below is the e-mail as I received it:
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
>Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
>Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
>Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
>Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
>Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
>Eleven were merchants,
>Nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
Men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
>Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
>Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
>Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
>At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
>Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
>John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free! I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please.
It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.
Snopes.com's analysis of THE PRICE THEY PAID is "some true, some false." In my personal vernacular, maybe so, maybe not. Snopes has the reputation of sniffing out the truth, and is usually more right, than wrong!
For fascinating facts and history explore the website, The Declaration of Independence, the Want, Will and Hopes of the People.