Wednesday, July 23, 2014

FDA Updates for Health Professionals (Jul 16)

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you informed about FDA, the Office of Health and Constituent Affairs wants to make you aware of recent safety alerts, announcements, opportunities to comment on policy issues, product approvals, upcoming meetings, and resources. We have included a list of the topics with a brief summary and links to detailed information on the FDA Web site.

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July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"God does have a sense of humor"

That's what the pharmacist said today when she was checking me out. Why was I chatting with the pharmacist about the Almighty? I'll rewind.

I installed a new meter for the irrigation system. They broke (and repaired) a pipe in the system and the new sidewalk was finally poured yesterday. When the guys showed up to remove the frame, they backed the truck (the lumber protruding from it) into the mailbox and broke it from its base.

Because Amazon is passing off deliveries to the USPS (ergo more and larger packages in the mail) I replaced the standard issue mailbox with one of these a couple of months ago. So the mailbox was fine. I watched as they righted it, removed the framing, and swiftly disappeared.

Now, I wasn't angry. These things happen. Given, well, everything, I had humor in my voice when I reported it and the person who answered the phone laughed. She apologized and I told her to go right on, it was funny.

First thing this morning they called to say the supervisor reported it was the Stanley Steemer van that hit the mailbox.

I have worked customer support so am (almost) unfailingly kind to and patient with them. Admittedly it's not entirely their fault my life has been a clusterfuck of late; still, it was too much. Lying to or about me are at the top of the list of things that make me unreasonable. We agreed that the supervisor would stop by to discuss it shortly after I blurted out, "Are you kidding me?!"

The supervisor was apologetic - I think a bit of holding back for fear of getting in trouble. No worries, I told him. He said they would fix the brace, replace the platform, and secure the box. I brought them all Gatorade when they did.

I began working on the house, taking it slowly and talking myself through it so it wouldn't overwhelm. There's a lot to do, I'm clumsy and arthritic, and anxious about the whole thing. As I was cleaning the baseboard directly behind where the cat box sits, I drove a large splinter deep into the middle finger of my right hand.

Oh, how the bad words flew. I removed the splinter and bled the wound for a couple of minutes, cleaning it and sopping up blood with alcohol pads. Then I checked for any remnant (there was) and drove, still swearing, to urgent care. I did not run tap water over it. [Take a class in first aid from the Red Cross if you've never. My mother was a Red Cross volunteer; we all had them, swimming lessons, and water lifesaving courses.]

I could have removed the splinter but can't write a prescription for an antibiotic. Flagyl doesn't cover this and I was pretty sure I needed one (the CDC's head just exploded). She wanted to numb my finger before pulling out the splinter. Please. I've had worse rising from a couch. She yanked it out, told me I'd need to take Keflex for a week, and I headed to the pharmacy with the scrip.

Actually, back up. She was really nice (a nurse practitioner I think). She knew my history, current medications (including the metronidazole), and everything else because I always have the medical profile with me. She also loves cats and declined to shoot me although I asked her to.

I always use the same pharmacy, in the same building as my PCP and urgent care, and they're wonderful. And, of course, they know me. She asked what I was doing getting sick (again implied). I told her about the cat (not the mailbox), said it was trying my patience and relationship with the Lord, and we shared a moment.

A few very nice people, including FPO to whom the story about the splinter will be news since we met beforehand, got me through a kinda crappy day. A little Xanax was in order this evening and we'll resume chores tomorrow. If you missed John Oliver this week, go watch the extraordinary piece about prisons and be sorry you missed the stuff that's not online. That man might just save the world.

One last thing: I left a message for my PCP's nurse explaining what happened.

Phase four

Benjamin bounced back yesterday and is eating and drinking -- a blessing since traveling to the vet would have been unwelcome stress. I'm glad ES suggested a professional crew. I could never have done as much: every exposed soft surface in the house has now been cleaned or discarded. The second airlock cat box is in place; it and the litter will be replaced with the permanent one today.

The nightly elves went through the trash and carried off the parasite-ridden vacuum and air filter. I was extremely annoyed when I discovered this; more annoyed than I was about items strewn across the driveway. The vacuum and filter were not set aside as castoff items to be taken away; they were clearly garbage. I'm so done worrying about the stupid things people do.

The cleaners were happy to oblige my request that they wear masks (I did as well while they were here). The parasite is not typically airborne but with their moving stuff around I was taking no chances. The garbage pilferers are on their own.

I am pretty well stressed out. Still, I am thankful for several things, including that I don't have full-blown OCD. That's not meant to be flippant; OCD is a serious disease. I've done everything possible and will just have to hope it's enough.

Today is more work, cleaning the rest of the hard surfaces and putting the house back together. Fortunately my lifestyle is simple (ES calls it Spartan) so there's not a huge amount to do. New scratching posts, furniture, and toys for the cats are on their way. I kept only the tall tree in the kitchen for birdbath viewing (which they cleaned). I tossed every throw pillow, the comforter, and decorative pillows and shams. Would have cost me more to clean than replace and in fact I won't replace any of them. Bed cover and shams stored in plastic bags are ready to be put back into service. Even if you're not as particular as I am, storing unused linens in their original zippered bags is a good idea.

I read this story at NBC News about the "blow" to the health care law. It's not at all interesting (on several levels) and contains a few ridiculous statements like this one (the case has not reached the Supreme Court):

This is the third major challenge to make it to the Supreme Court; in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional but said states did not have to expand Medicaid to more people.

You're a news organization, people. Stop typing up articles in 5 minutes and get your act together.

I'll return tonight after the chores are done.

Monday, July 21, 2014

NIH: Research Matters; CDC: Hurricane Safety; NIMH: Neurons and stress

Mother holding a baby.Drug Improves Birth Rates for Women with Ovary Disorder
The drug letrozole is more effective than standard therapy in increasing live births for women with polycystic ovary syndrome--a leading cause of female infertility.

DNA molecule unwinding from a chromosome inside the nucleus of a cell. Gene Changes Identified in Most Common Lung Cancer
Researchers identified DNA alterations that are involved in the development of lung adenocarcinoma. The findings may lead to more targeted therapies to treat this deadly cancer.

Supercooled rat liver.Preserving Livers for Transplantation
A new technique increased the time that rat livers can remain viable outside the body. If the approach succeeds in humans, it could aid organ transplant efforts.

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Hurricane Health & Safety TipsTip of the Week: Returning Home After a Disaster
There are often many hazards in a hurricane-damaged home. Learn how to stay safe when it's time to return home.

For additional tips, fact sheets, and podcasts, see CDC's Hurricanes website.

How Might New Neurons Buffer Against Stress? | NIMH

Over the past decade, evidence has emerged suggesting that the birth of new neurons in the adult brain's memory hub, or hippocampus, may play a key role in the action of antidepressants, resilience to stress, the benefits of exercise and enriched environments, and preventing memory loss. NIMH researchers in NIH's new Porter Neuroscience Research Center are following up leads.

Phase three

The Stanley Steemer folks are coming tomorrow so we're on an accelerated schedule. Items going in the garbage tomorrow are resting in the garage. I'll wait until the wee hours to take them to the street so they won't be picked through. The airlock cat box is in place; I'll toss it and the litter tomorrow night and possibly do one more temporary before putting in the new one.

In a break during the laundry I filled the odd week pill case. Because the pills are filled in 30-day increments and the cases are 28 days, there comes a month when the cases are empty but it's too early to call in the refills. So I broke down and bought a fifth case this month; henceforth I will fill it with the others when needed. Feel free to do the math and let me know how often that will be. Be sure to factor in that the prescriptions do not quite exactly run out at the same time except that totally doesn't matter; I just have to deal.

Benjamin is still not eating or drinking well so he's probably going to the vet in the morning. He won't do well when the crew arrives and he needs fluid. He is sitting on the footrest of the recliner while I encourage my body to make it through finishing the laundry and clearing surfaces. That's encouraging since he's mostly been hiding the past few days.

Maggie is in her usual spot, splayed across my forearms as I type. This activity is way boring for her. She much prefers helping me play Bejeweled. She's not going to like being put in the hall bath tomorrow but at this point she'll be lucky not to be put out with the trash (accidentally -- I'm not a monster). We'll stagger through until everything is done.

As ES said, no good deed goes unpunished. She has kept her counsel and been supportive. It's all good; I didn't want that European vacation anyway.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Phase two in progress

ES convinced me to hire a crew to do the carpet and furniture. I wasn't looking forward to the amount of work so it wasn't difficult to get me to crack open my wallet (for a lot more money). An unwelcome expense but there is plenty for me to do anyway. Turns out Stanley Steemer uses water hot enough to satisfy the requirements and I can focus on the hard surfaces and laundry.

The purge is underway. I love throwing things away so many items are going. Sad for the cats, nearly all of their furniture and bedding.

Joke from Seth Meyers:

Even though both Israel and Hamas fired on one another during the five-hour humanitarian period yesterday, the UN Secretary-General said both sides mostly respected the cease-fire. Mostly. That's like leaving the house without pants and saying you're mostly dressed.

Not sure when the FDA bulletin will go out. Might have to skip it this week.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Operation Annihilate

Phase one was not a complete success. Benjamin is feeling enough better that he ate some wet food this afternoon so it's time to work on preventing a recurrence. The new cat box arrives Monday but I want to replace it sooner so trundled to PetSmart for an interim solution. Check.

Next came the search for a steam cleaner. I need something that will clean multiple surfaces and spit out steam at least 158 degress (this one does 200). I went to Lowe's, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Walmart (a sign of my desperation). Although the last three carry it (online) none has it in stock. Amazon to the rescue yet again, but it won't arrive until Tuesday.

Phase two (tonight or tomorrow morning) I'll throw out everything around the cat box, vacuum with the old vacuum, put in the temporary box with fresh litter, sanitize the scoop again, put the discarded vacuum and air filter, box, and mats in plastic bags, and add them to the pile of junk in the garage waiting to go away.

Phase three will be laundry on Monday while avoiding soft surfaces that might be infected. Phase four is Tuesday, when I'll toss the interim box and litter, steam clean the carpet and soft surfaces (everywhere), sanitize hard surfaces, and put the new mats, scoop, and box in place.

Still not in the mood to do normal posts. In the interim, the sidebar is always full of interesting things.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Heart: Broken

ES and I watched We Bought a Zoo tonight. It's a decent family movie but when the old cat got sick I fiddled with Facebook to keep from being too sad. This was in the news feed:

AP NewsBreak: Obama approves sonic cannons, reopening US Eastern Seaboard to oil exploration | The Prince George Citizen

All that was left to do was cry. When the President delayed announcing his decision on Keystone XL until after the midterms I was certain he plans to approve it. I didn't say anything so as not to dash all hope; well, consider it dashed.

Money conquers all.

Sidewalks and Hobby Lobby

A phone call and an e-mail later and they have finally arrived to fix the sidewalk. Two people on the phone call told me they'd be here on Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon I sent a follow-up e-mail and repeated my concern that although the office thinks the work is being done, somehow the folks in the field don't. I don't know or care whether that was the case; all that matters is they're here.

Watching Colbert from Tuesday reminded me about Hobby Lobby. I can handle differences of opinion. If I come across a piece which is too disagreeable or strident, I pass it by and check the next time for something more suitable. But as I expect many women were, I was offended by the characterization of the ruling as a blow to the administration. For crying out loud, that's how Fox News described it. Thinking people should have the capacity and sensitivity to appreciate that the real losers here are women.

Friday in the funhouse

The CDC sent an article today about antibiotic over-prescribing and I'm ignoring it for now. The thing that Maggie, I, and now Benjamin are suffering from is a parasite. I don't like thinking or talking about it and have not read anything about it. Better to focus my energies on resolving the situation. Scurried to the vet today to get metronidazole for Benjamin so he should feel better by tomorrow.

The vacuum is sitting in the garage waiting to be discarded; the new cat box, mats, and scoop should be delivered today; and the air filter that lives in that room is off and waiting to go the way of the vacuum. It will be a few days before it's sensible to switch out everything. The vet wanted to wait until Benjamin threw up; I am of the opinion it made sense to treat him even if he had no symptoms.

Probably no new posts today. The drug makes me a bit tired and sad so I'm catching up on Colbert and Stewart today. That in itself is a sign of improvement since it involves a connection to the world at large. Have a happy Friday.