Katie’s Fall Report Card

We got Katie’s report card in, and she did in fact get all As!

She’s well in to the next semes­ter now. Because every­body else was reg­is­tered for this year last spring, the advanced physics course was full and she’s in the “nor­mal” physics course. She is crazy bored. I mean, this is seri­ous­ly the first time I’ve won­dered if she’ll get in trou­ble because she’s so bored! Her teacher has nev­er taught before this semes­ter, and isn’t doing a good job of man­ag­ing the class to start with, so respond­ing to the needs of faster stu­dents seems to be absolute­ly out of the ques­tion. So far they’re just review­ing the sim­plest alge­bra need­ed to even begin talk­ing about physics!

It’s things like the physics class that make me want to snatch her right back home.

On the oth­er hand, her art and world his­to­ry class­es are won­der­ful, and they’re beyond what I could do for her. She’s get­ting a bet­ter ground­ing than I could ever give her in geom­e­try, as well—because, frankly, I detest­ed that class and got an A in it by the grace of a dirty old man called “Coach.” (And he and teach­ers like him were among the rea­sons I want­ed to home­school! Not that any­body ever had to do any­thing with that par­tic­u­lar one but lean over his desk the right way, thank­ful­ly.)

So she has Very Bad Things to say about physics each day, but is oth­er­wise hap­py. I expect that her grades will be every bit as good this semes­ter.

7,000 deaths a year due to bad handwriting? Save yours!

Well, Time Mag­a­zine reports that the Nation­al Acad­e­mies of Sci­ence’s Insti­tute of Med­i­cine says that’s the fig­ure, any­way.

Doc­tors’ slop­py hand­writ­ing kills more than 7,000 peo­ple annu­al­ly. It’s a shock­ing sta­tis­tic, and, accord­ing to a July 2006 report from the Nation­al Acad­e­mies of Sci­ence’s Insti­tute of Med­i­cine (IOM), pre­ventable med­ica­tion mis­takes also injure more than 1.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans annu­al­ly. Many such errors result from unclear abbre­vi­a­tions and dosage indi­ca­tions and illeg­i­ble writ­ing on some of the 3.2 bil­lion pre­scrip­tions writ­ten in the U.S. every year.

The cure, accord­ing to the sources cit­ed in the arti­cle, is auto­mat­ed pre­scrib­ing. Physi­cians would use a web-enabled phone to select med­ica­tions and dosages from menus, so names and num­bers would­n’t be mis­writ­ten or mis­heard (mis-select­ed is always pos­si­ble, but you can’t removed all pos­si­bil­i­ty of error). Most of the mon­ey for the sys­tems will come from health insur­ers, so I don’t know how all this will work for peo­ple who pay for their own pre­scrip­tions.

The whole arti­cle left me with many ques­tions, in fact, about choice, and prod­uct posi­tion­ing — will doc­tors even be able to pre­scribe med­ica­tions that aren’t in the “for­mu­la­ry” when they know that some­thing else will work bet­ter? Will they be able to select some­thing out­side the stan­dard range of dos­es? What about com­pound­ed pre­scrip­tions?

This lit­tle sta­tis­tic sur­prised me, but there’s no source cit­ed, so I’m not sure I trust it.

Sure­Scripts CEO Kevin Hutchin­son says one key to reduc­ing med­ica­tion errors is to get the most pro­lif­ic pre­scribers to tran­si­tion to elec­tron­ic pro­cess­ing. “Not a lot of peo­ple under­stand that 15% of physi­cians in the U.S. write 50% of the pre­scrip­tion vol­ume,” Hutchin­son says. “And 30% of them write 80%. So it’s not about get­ting 100% of physi­cians to e‑prescribe. It’s about get­ting those key 30% who pre­scribe the most. Then you’ve auto­mat­ed the process.”

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Time does­n’t both­er to give any sug­ges­tions as to how to save lives until this utopi­an sys­tem to con­trol those wild and wooly scrib­blers is in place. I guess I’ll have to give it a go.

Please remem­ber that when I say “you,” I mean you or your advo­cate.

First, be sure that you always know what your doc­tor is pre­scrib­ing for you, and why. Take notes. Write down both the name and the dosage of every med­ica­tion, and what it’s for. If you’re unclear on the spelling, as the doc­tor or his staff to spell it out or write it down for you.

If your doc­tor is giv­ing you refills on your nor­mal med­ica­tions, look at the refill pre­scrip­tions. Do they seem to say what you expect them to say? If not, ask about them. Be sure. He might have mis­re­mem­bered or writ­ten down the wrong thing. Doc­tors are not infal­li­ble. It has hap­pened to me! If you’ve already left the office, con­tact his staff. It’s bet­ter to be safe than sor­ry!

Com­pare your notes to the pre­scrip­tion bot­tle before you leave the phar­ma­cy. If the pre­scrip­tion has been filled with a gener­ic and your doc­tor gave you a brand name, dou­ble check with the phar­ma­cist (not just a clerk) to be sure that they real­ly are the same med­ica­tion. If your doc­tor said you were to take the med­ica­tion twice a day and you’ve only got 30 pills to last 60 days, don’t leave the phar­ma­cy.

Read the infor­ma­tion includ­ed with your pre­scrip­tion. Make sure that it agrees with what­ev­er the doc­tor told you, or makes sense con­sid­er­ing why the doc­tor pre­scribed this med­ica­tion for you. If you don’t under­stand, again, call the doc­tor’s office, or at least the phar­ma­cy. “I have fibromyal­gia, and my doc­tor pre­scribed this med­ica­tion, but the insert just talks about depres­sion. Why?” It’s a per­fect­ly valid ques­tion. If the doc­tor already explained that to your sat­is­fac­tion, of course, you need­n’t call—but do call if any­thing does­n’t make sense.

Tak­ing these pre­cau­tions should pro­tect you, whether your doc­tor scrib­bles, has beau­ti­ful pen­man­ship, or uses an auto­mat­ed sys­tem.

WordPress to Livejournal feed question

Why is it that occa­sion­l­ly my Word­Press blogs just go and repost a mess of arti­cles to their feed — at least, on Live­Jour­nal? Even when I have recent­ly post­ed new arti­cles?

I just noticed that the feed from this blog to LJ just burped the last 5 or so arti­cles back to LJ, despite the fact that they haven’t been changed at all, and there have been two new entries in the last week. That should­n’t have hap­pened. It’s going to annoy peo­ple so that they unsub­scribe from that feed. Dammit.

Sor­ry, folks. I did­n’t do any­thing that should have caused it, as far as I can tell, so it must be some­thing on LJ’s side, as far as I can tell 🙁

Fun update

We were tick­led to be part of the (how manyth?) annu­al Scar­let­talia last night! For those who have nev­er been blessed by par­tic­i­pa­tion, it hon­ors the arrival of Scar­lett Ross open our plan­et.

This year’s theme was Poly­ne­sian Poi, so we got to see fire-spin­ners up close and in per­son for the first time, and we prop­er­ly lei’d by God­dess Scar­lett her­self. Dis­trac­tion Darts and oth­er fun were quite mem­o­rable.

I know that a mar­velous pho­tog­ra­ph­er was tak­ing pic­tures of the firespin­ners, and will post a point­er if I see them released pub­licly. My lit­tle cam­era was­n’t up to the task of cap­tur­ing their beau­ty.

For now, my hair is renewed­ly red, my nails are pur­ple, and we are min­utes away from record­ing anoth­er ses­sion of Out in the Black. I had an aller­gy attack or some­thing ear­li­er today, and don’t real­ly have much of a voice. I’m try­ing to regain it, and hop­ing to join the game, though Jez may sound a bit butch­er than usu­al.

Katie, Me and Schools

Well, we’re wait­ing for Katie’s final grades for fall semes­ter while enjoy­ing win­ter break for both of us. We had Sam home for the first half of our breaks with us, but unfor­tu­nate­ly work­ing for a school isn’t quite as lux­u­ri­ous as being a stu­dent.

Katie has had most­ly As in her progress reports across the term, so I expect that should be what we see on her report card. We’re work­ing on an alge­bra refresh­er/wrap-up here at home, as she’ll be going into geom­e­try at school when she goes back next week. I don’t hon­est­ly recall using a great deal of alge­bra in geom­e­try, do you? Of course, I absolute­ly loathed geom­e­try and nev­er “got it” to any real extent. This does­n’t bode well for home­work help this semes­ter.

She has tru­ly loved her art class. While she has had more access to art sup­plies at home than I ever had in school or out­side it, and I’ve tak­en her to a fair num­ber of muse­ums and tried to give her some ground­ing in art his­to­ry, I’m no artist. She’s learned more in that one art class than I could have ever taught her, and she’s hun­gry for more. So hun­gry! I should have giv­en her access to art class­es ear­li­er, obvi­ous­ly — but hind­sight is 20/20. She wants to take sum­mer school class­es this year, and I’m even more in favor of it if it means she can con­tin­ue her pur­suit of art.

I’ve already got­ten my grades. The fan­tas­tic sup­port I’ve got­ten from Sam and Katie made it pos­si­ble for me to get As in both of my cours­es for the first half of fall semes­ter. The sec­ond half of fall semes­ter (Devry does things odd­ly) starts on 8 Jan­u­ary. I’m tak­ing all my cours­es online again, as that works bet­ter for the fam­i­ly and my ridicu­lous body.

Oh, I near­ly for­got! We got the results back from Katie’s first PSAT. She did­n’t do so great in the math, which isn’t sur­pris­ing, not hav­ing had any geom­e­try yet. She did­n’t do too bad­ly on it either—84th per­centile, some­thing like that, as I recall. She ran out of time on that sec­tion. She was in the mid to upper 90s on every­thing else. We were a bit con­cerned, because the coun­selor at the high school could­n’t be arsed to get Katie’s accom­mo­da­tions in place in time for the test, but obvi­ous­ly it turned out quite well any­way. The accom­mo­da­tions will be in place and she will have passed geom­e­try before she takes it “for real” next fall, when it counts as the Nation­al Mer­it Schol­ar­ship Qual­i­fy­ing Test.

Well, back to “stor­ing up” sleep and tak­ing pic­tures of every­thing, most espe­cial­ly spoiled lit­tle Kiyoshi the solar-pow­ered cat. I miss spend­ing this much time with Katie on a dai­ly basis. It was much nicer, but she does love her school. She is obvi­ous­ly ener­gized by the aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course, even by dis­agree­ing with an annoy­ing teacher. She was ready to try out her wings, and we had a good school near­by where she could do so. I’m glad we could go back to home­school­ing if we chose to or need­ed to do so, but I’m glad the fledg­ling’s flight is going so well, too.