Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Please don't call me again "Kevin Fields"

We have been getting regular phone calls from some computer recording asking for us to please call some dude named "Kevin Fields", so I caught the number the other day and checked it out online. There are a lot of complaints about the same number calling all kinds of people, including those on the "Do Not Call" registry, and asking for them to please call so and so at such and such number.

The name to call back seems to vary, but the number is the same on all of the complaints. It seems that a few people have tracked it down as a bill collection agency, but most of the people that complained about it stated they did not owe any overdue bills, a few that they have never owed anyone anything. I know we don't have any outstanding bills at the moment. My best guess on it is that the number is by some company that has set their computer to dial various numbers searching for some sucker that will call the collection agency thinking they need to pay a bill, then that agency collects the money for the overdue bill.

Sounds shady to me. I'm not going to call the number, but I do hope they are shut down soon because they are getting annoying. I'm going to see if I can place a block on that number so it can no longer call this house. I need to catch the number again and run them through the reverse number lookup at the Reverse Phone Detective site. The site even has an information page for the National No Call Registry to help with both land lines and cell phones.

I had not known that you needed to get your cell phone on its own do not call list, or even that you could run a Reverse Cell Phone Lookup. That would have been nice to know a while back when I was getting calls on my cell phone and could not find the number in the phone book's reverse number pages. It was probably a cell phone calling me.

For now I'll just be happy if the stupid computer that has been calling us for this Kevin Fields guy will go away and stop harassing us. It is harassment too, because they have called before 8am several times, after 10pm, and on weekends - even before 8am on Saturday! Definitely one to get blocked so they can't call anymore.

Slim Fast drops Coumadin INR results

My sister and I took our dad in for his INR check at the Alaska Heart Institute. It was rather bad this week, at 1.5 and so me and the nurse tried pinning down just what might have caused it. Usually it is medication changes or some kind of dietary change that will cause a major change. Well, this time it turned out to be dietary, but not the sort we had been thinking. Rather than my dad having ate salads or something else high in vitamin K that can mess with the coumadin and throw the results off, it was Slim Fast.

I had made my dad three strawberry flavored Slim Fast drinks over the previous week and those had apparently caused the drop in the INR test results. So he was given a new dosing regime to take on the coumadin, one that will allow him to continue to drink the occasional strawberry Slim Fast.

It's not like my dad *needs* the Slim Fast, if anything he would need it for weight gain, but it is a good weight maintaining product and he loves to have the occasional glass of strawberry milk, so this is good. Plus he needs more calcium because of his osteoporosis, so I won't complain if he likes the strawberry Slim Fast (I don't really like it much myself, so at least someone's drinking the can we have of it). I just had not realized it would mess with his INR results.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Free Medical PDA Software

Family caregivers seem to get a crash course in being health care professionals. Along with everything else that they are responsible for, one of the most important is they have to act as a pharmacist. They need to keep track of what medications their care recipient is prescribed and to double check that the prescriptions, which can be from multiple doctor‘s offices, do not conflict with other prescriptions that their care recipient is taking.

I learned that lesson first when my grandmother was nearly killed (several times) by prescriptions that should never have been mixed being prescribed to her, then when I called my father’s own prescriptions on a doctor one day. Because of my familiarity with what my father is taking, I had caught a potentially life threatening interaction that the doctor had never even noticed when they had prescribed something.

The trouble is, it can be hard to keep all of the drugs and their possible side effects and interactions straight. Coumadin, for example, requires a careful diet with foods high in vitamin K closely watched. My dad is limited on some foods and forbidden others. He can not have anything with cranberries in it because cranberries are high in Vitamin K and that interacts with the Coumadin he is taking to regulate his blood.

How does anyone keep such things under control? Thankfully there are a lot of things that I have found over the years that are intended for health care professionals but can translate well into use by family caregivers. Such as the free medical PDA software from Epocrates.

This software is intended to be used by physicians to cross reference possible drug interactions when they are prescribing medications for patients, however, I find it to be a great idea for a way in which family caregivers can discreetly double check new prescriptions for possible interactions to old prescriptions, and other concerns, before they leave the doctor's office.

In addition to the PDA version, Epocrates has medical software for other devices, such as: Pocket PC, Palm, Windows Mobile. They have also recently launched medical software for Blackberry, and are working with Apple to develop a downloadable guide for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

This announcement was paid for by Epocrates.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fenced front lawn today

I went out and did a bunch of work in the yard today. Took apart the old dog run and put it together with some more wire I had to fence in the front yard for the puppies to play out there without me having to worry they'll run off. It is not a perfect fenced area, and if they try to get out there are areas where they can easily escape, but it will work for the immediate need of letting them out when I am out there, and as they get bigger I'll work more on it to expand it past the front lawn and improve the fence so they can't get out through it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Taxes are past - sortta

I survived tax season - barely. Actually, I have not yet officially survived it, as there is still a few things I need to get done ... such as my taxes. I got an extension on them, allowing me a few months to get them done in, but I really want to have them done and filed by the end of this month. It is a good thing I got the extension, however, since after getting it I found more receipts I had not got counted for 2007. Won't change my end results any, but it will help me in the long run to have a correct accounting in my history for how the business is going.

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