Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nausea, a gift from the brainstem...and thoughts on Medicare

I wrote down a note to mention nausea that comes from the brain here. I have this almost every day or evening (usually it comes at bedtime, but can sometimes come earlier). And last night, it came to my attention that this nausea feels different from nausea that is a result of an upset stomach.

There is no upset stomach. There is no reason to take a TUMS or whatever because the stomach is simply not involved.

Due to brainstem compression, this type of nausea attacks many of my online friends who have Chiari Malformation. It's all in the brain. Do you know what I mean? Do you have this as well?

Now, there are times I do feel like throwing up and if I could throw up, I think I'd feel better.
But, I never "can" throw up (sorry). But the nausea comes with that type of thought.

Ginger in a glass with some sugar helps a lot. Or a few sips of ginger ale. I kind of like the glass of ice water, with cubes and a tablespoon of ginger in it, along with some Equal or sugar, it's not too bad.

And lying down and keeping really still.

This type of "brain" nausea is common with people who suffer from dizziness or movement disorders. Chiari is a condition of the cerebellum. In my case, the "chiari" (small "c") is a result of my injury. I've been shown by the neurologist at TCI in New York that the herniation of the cerebellum is pressing against the posterior of my brainstem. And the cerebellum, "they" believe, controls movements. Somehow it all comes full circle and the nausea results. I don't feel like I easily get dizzy, however ever since my injury six years ago (my, how time flies), I must be careful to move my head slowly in grocery stores and not allow my gaze to go back and forth looking for things on crowded shelves...that's a sure producer of nausea and dizziness. I know others who have Chiari Malformation experience this same thing.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out my health insurance. I did have a Medicare Advantage Plan (I have Medicare because I am disabled) and was happy enough with that. But this year, due to the new Health Care Law, a Medicare Advantage Plan is no longer available to us.

I spent some time this morning on the phone with a woman from Medicare as she tried to explain some of this to me, and she stated, "The problem is, a lot of doctors are now no longer taking Medicare. There are no health insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans in the NW, in Oregon and WA, any more. And that is true of several states."

This is such a sad state of affairs. The people who needed the help, the disabled and the seniors, who were willing and able to pay a reasonable premium, now do not even have that option. Now, our fees will be greatly increased as our only options become a combination of Medicare Part D (drug plan) and a MediGap/supplemental insurance plan. My own costs will go UP from $120 to $229 a month.

And, I might add, right when my Social Security benefit took a nose-dive with a $400 a month decrease.

We're okay...we can keep plugging along. But I truly feel badly for those people who are living more on the edge than we are. I expect their only options will be to go with just Medicare Part A and suffer the high costs of clinic visits and diagnostic testing, IF they can find a doctor who will take only Medicare.

Medicare has a website, www. medicare.gov, and we are told encouragingly to go to that site where they have an interactive program that will give you the names of doctors in your area if you provide your zip code. I did this. I selected to be shown the name of doctors taking Medicare only...and Medicare plus a MediGap plan.

Guess what? No matter what I put into the box, the results came up...


Zero doctors in my area, or within 25 miles of my area, who will accept new patients who are covered by Medicare along, or a MediGap plan. I have a family practice doctor now, but what about when he retires or if he moves? What about people moving into this community?

Only an echo serves as reply.

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