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Personal Maintenance

This week has been all about maintenance. I’ve taken myself in to the doctor for my annual maintenance, and my car is due in to the mechanic for all sorts of mechanical maintenance. I’ve even been maintaining old websites. If you’re a guy, you might want to skip to the car part at the end of this post, or maybe come back for the next post. 😉

Here are a few things I’ve learned this week:

Your Gynecologist Is A Doctor Too


Photo © ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/evablue/##Eva Blue##

Actually, I see one of the nurse practitioners, but she has a wealth of helpful medical knowledge, having worked in both family practice and cardiology before moving into OB-GYN. In the past, I’ve pigeon holed her to the realm of feminine issues, but she didn’t bother to stay on task during my annual exam on Tuesday.

On the questionnaire I filled out in the reception area, I checked symptoms off with impunity: fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, stomach issues, delusions of grandeur, etc. Said questionnaire segued neatly into a very informative discussion about how depression can cause weight gain, but thyroid disease causes both depression and weight gain, and if it’s thyroid disease, what causes it, how to test for it, why not to rule out anemia, do I take a multivitamin, why not check my cholesterol*, and try out probiotics for the stomach issues I’ve had since my bout of food poisoning/stomach flu in February. Since I’m lactose intolerant and don’t like yogurt (gasp!), she suggested a probiotic supplement called Align, which I’ll tell you about once I’ve been taking it for a week or two.

*My local blood donation center has started giving donors a cholesterol report, so I knew it was low. Another good reason to donate blood! However, the report didn’t differentiate my “good” vs. “bad” cholesterol levels.

My annual then lasted, like, five minutes, and I was out the door to get my blood drawn.

While getting my blood drawn took even less time than my annual, I thought it was way worse, despite the fact that I got to keep my pants on for it. (I hate needles.) So ladies, if you’re stressed about going to the lady-doc, try not to worry so much and make the effort anyway. Your first appointment might feel incredibly awkward due to anxiety (I was so nervous when I went to my very first appointment that it threw off my blood pressure, lol), but it’s not painful, and it’s important to have early cancer detection. Quadruply so if you’re lazy about checking your ta-tas at home.

I Don’t Have Thyroid Disease

In less than 24 hours, my doctor called me with the blood test results. Apparently, I passed the test. 😉 I’m incredibly relieved, as I’ve been worrying about my thyroid on and off for a few years before I actually bothered mentioning it to a professional. However, that also means that, with Synthroid ruled out as a treatment option, I’m left with pursuing either antidepressants and/or the task of pulling my lazy butt up by my own bootstraps — making both cognitive and lifestyle changes to reflect a happier, less self-indulgent me.

Name Brand Prescriptions Really Are Better


I’m all about Kirkland off-brand garlic olive oil, so when I reapplied for health insurance, I figured I’d go with the cheaper plan that only covered generic prescription drugs. They’re medications! How could 3mg of a drug under one name be any different than 3mg of drugs under a different name?

Shame on me. My doctor had a strong enough opinion to write my birth control prescription for the name brand and then give me a coupon to make it cost around the same as my health insurance’s generic prescription copay.

Apparently it’s all about quality control. Brand name drugs have a much more consistent dose of the active ingredient between pills, where off-brand drugs can vary greatly in the actual amount of drug in each dose.

She went so far as to say that they never used off-brand drugs on their patients when she worked in cardiology.

Technically, It’s Cheap And Easy To Replace Your Cat Battery Terminals

Geo Metro

This looks almost exactly like my car. Except my car doesn’t have any hubcaps left.

My car battery died in the Starbucks parking lot as I was breaking my fast post-labwork with a cheese danish and a latte. (Doesn’t that sound healthy?) My boyfriend, who I suspect was wearing shining armor under his university hoodie, met me to jump my car and help me install a new battery.

That part’s easy — well, it was after we borrowed the right size wrenches from the auto shop — but, the horror! My positive battery terminal, which connects everything to the battery to supply your car with the energy needed to start and keep your clock time correct, has almost corroded the entire way through. After loosening it so we could put the new battery in, it won’t tighten anymore. So if I hit a bump, or dance in my seat to Pandora Radio, it comes unseated and suddenly I have no power to ignite the engine.

I’ve managed to get around today by opening the hood, jiggling the terminal, and very sneakily creeping back to the driver’s seat to turn the key. It usually works in two or three tries, after which I can close the hood and then pray I don’t run out of gas in the middle of the street.

Little did I know that the auto store carries replacement terminals for two freaking dollars. How’s that for cheap auto repair? The problem is that, looking at my car, if any part of the cable adjacent to the terminal is corroded on the inside and needs to be trimmed back, I will no longer have enough cable to reach my new car battery.

Since I’m not up to the task of replacing the entire cable, and I don’t want to pay for a tow truck to bring my car to the mechanic when I undoubtedly ruin it beyond home repair, I decided I would just jiggle my way there on Friday and let him replace the terminal (and possibly cable) for me. I was supposed to bring it in for new belts and spark plugs anyway. And I also need new headlamps.

Maintenance is my theme this week. What’s yours?

7 thoughts on “Personal Maintenance

  1. Awesome! I’m glad you were able to get so many question’s answered at your doc’s. I went recently but need to call to get my test results (ack!). very interesting about name brand vs. generic drugs. I wonder if that matters for all types of meds or just some?

    1. I wondered the same thing. I can see being extra careful with cardiac drugs, but she was pretty adamant about getting me some name brand birth control. It was actually pretty funny, she was like, “What kind of name is–” (checks her clip board) “–Gianvi, anyway? I can never remember it. It’s stupid.” Then she wrote the prescrip for Yaz and gave me instructions on the coupon, which involves calling it in a few days before you call the prescription into your pharmacy. 🙂

  2. I have high cholesterol, but it’s mostly due to freakishly high HDL numbers, so my doctor is pretty ecstatic about it. 😀

    RE: Thyroid – be really glad you don’t have to worry about it! I hear that Synthroid and such makes your life a living hell. I have hyperthyroid (so the opposite issue there), and finding a balance is a real PITA. I did fine off meds for a couple years after a 1-year course on them; but started having problems and dropping muscle mass like crazy earlier this year. 1-2 months after starting my meds I began showing the early warning signs of swinging back the other way (weight gain/inability to lose vacation weight, mild depression, sluggishness, etc.) despite being in range with my blood tests. My doctor was taking the “Your numbers look good, stay where you are” approach, but I decided I was over-medicated and cut my dosage in half myself. I’m due in for another blood test, but the last one was promising.

    RE: Birth Control – NAME BRAND MATTERS. I did a lot of research before going on the pill 7.5 years ago, and when I went in to the clinic I actually asked for Yasmin by name. I payed out of pocket for it every after that month, but it was worth it. I didn’t notice any physical side-effects, or any of the major mental/emotional ones my friends had gone through. Very worth it. Currently I’m experimenting with being off hormonal birth control to see if it has been having any affects on my general well-being (anxiety, libido, general malaise, etc.) in recent years. I’m about 6 weeks so far, and was pretty thrilled to get my first natural period in over 7 years earlier this month.

    RE: Probiotics – just grow some kefir, dude. more probiotics than you can shake a stick at, and healthy yeasts to boot. Also may help with the lactose intolerance and any other digestive issues you may be dealing with. Go read up!

    1. Yeah, a few of my relatives are on thyroid medication, and they’re constantly fine-tuning the dosage.

      I’m really interested in hearing how you do off of Yasmin, if you’re interested in sharing! I started with Yasmin years ago, but switched to Yaz on my doctor’s suggestion soon after it was released. Lately I’ve been wondering if my mood/fatigue/libido could be side effects of the pill… but a) I’m terrified of getting preggo; b) I’m terrified of switching birth control (I tried Nuva last year and it was awful, I gained 15 lbs and was incredibly angry all the time); c) before the pill, my periods were hell.

      And don’t worry, I’ve got the kefir discussion from my other post bookmarked for further reference! 😉 I’ve never actually even had kefir, I don’t think, but it sounds really fun to cultivate!

      1. Yeah, I really lucked out when it comes to thyroid issues. Hyperthyroid issues seem so much easier to deal with than hypo, at least based on what I’ve read/discussed with others. I went back on meds the day after my last 5k. I had to walk a LOT to keep my heartrate under 200 bpm, but did way better than I expected.

        I’ll keep you updated on my non-pill condition! Right now I don’t feel I can really judge, since I’ve got other factors interfering with my moods and such (lack of sleep >__>

        I had already planned on doing a full kefir post at some point. I’ll try and get it done sooner, if I can. 😀

  3. I’m in the camp of no birth control pills. Now that I’ve been off them for 8 years, I realized they made me crazy and sick! However my situation is a little different than yours.

    Thanks for the reminder about maintenance, of both self and car! Now that I’ve had my car blow up on the freeway because of poor maintenance I think the point has been sent home.

    1. I’d like to get off the hormones… but my doc said I’m not a good candidate for an IUD, and I’m scared of trying the “track your fertility” methods. At this point I’d rather be sick and crazy than pregnant. 🙂

      That sucks about your car! :/ My Geo has been going for something like 13 years, knock on wood!

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