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So I drove to Walmart last night

Sometimes you just got to fucking love the healthcare mess in the United States. It’s not the sole reason for why after I got home last night, I ended up having to drive first to my pharmacy and then Walmart, but it was a contributing factor. I suppose maybe another contributing factor at this point is how life just seems set on kicking me in the teeth every now and then. Right now, even if I won a lottery, I probably wouldn’t have enough money to buy enough luck to get my luck to balance out.

And that’s not really accurate, but I am just frustrated and pissed off.

Almost 2 weeks ago, it was announced that test strips for certain meters were being recalled. I heard about this the morning of December 23rd and called the 1-800 number. I went through the tedious process of giving name, blah blah blah, number of boxes of strips that I had, blah blah blah, and was told that they would be getting shipped and I could expect them in 3 to 5 business days. Seeing how the next day was Christmas Eve, it seemed possible that I might not receive the strips until January 3.

But anyhow, all the strips my pharmacy had were of lot numbers that were being recalled. Now since insurance requires you to specify what brand of strips are being used, that meant that morning I called my doctor’s office to change my RX to one of a different meter and strip. They did so, and my pharmacy called me later to tell me that they would fill it. The unfortunate fly in the ointment of it was that when I picked up the new meter and strips, the RX had been written for testing 4x per day. Instead of my usual 8 to 10x per day as I need because of being a type 1 diabetic. But I calculated that if the 100 strips lasted 10 to 11 days, I would have the replacement strips from Abbot Diabetes Care by then. And since it was late and the day before Christmas Eve, it didn’t feel worth the extra hassle of getting the RX changed so I could have 300 good test strips instead of just 100 which would be enough to tide me over until the replacements showed up.

You’ve probably already figured out what’s going on by now. Yeah, I haven’t received replacements from Abbot. So I called Abbot again last night, and was told that they couldn’t find record of my call on the 23rd. So I went through the info giving again, and was informed this time that I would be getting a call back within a few hours to verify that I would be getting sent replacements.

Of course, that did nothing to really alter the fact I had just used my last Bayer Contour strip. I needed more strips. So I went to my pharmacy with my new insurance card for this year, so they could be updated on that, as well as asking them if maybe they had a new supply of Precision Xtra strips. I thought if that were the case, I could then get refilled on that RX and it would be okay then. But no, they still didn’t have any.

So, it was off to Walmart to get a Relion meter and their strips. It’s $20 for a box of 50. $9 for the meter.

This morning, I of course called my doctor’s office to ask them to write a prescription for 8 to 10x per day for the Bayer Contour strips. I hope that because my insurance changed between the 23rd and now, that Aetna will approve the RX and I can get a full month’s supply of strips for my copay.

And this morning I also called the 1-800 number to find out why I hadn’t been called back last night. I’m fairly sure the rep last night had told me I would be getting a call back in a few hours because of how I had called before on the 23rd earlier. But anyhow, this morning’s rep told me it might take 24 to 48 hours, but seeing how this was my 3rd time calling, he would bring it to the attention of his managers. I really hope that means I will be getting a call back soon on that.

Somehow, I have a pit in my stomach that the pharmacy will call me later and say that Aetna won’t pay. And I’m going to have to try to hassle with calling Aetna, and trying to explain the litany of circumstances that has led to all this.

The cherry on the cake of things right now is that I’ve found out that a Christmas gift that I received will not ever be available to me again. In purely practical terms, it means nothing. In the emotional sense of what 2010 did to me, it’s the exclamation point on a long painful sentence.

I’m tired. I hate some of the shit of this world. It’s a world that I don’t really fit into. I never have, I never will.


To keep this from being a total bitchfest, I can at least write something about my state of fitness and health, plans for those 2 areas this year. By the end of November last year, I had finally begun to feel more normal again. More vigorous physical activity wouldn’t wipe me out. I also remember looking in the mirror and noticing that I had begun to look soft almost. I had lost a good amount of the muscle I had gained earlier in the year, and regained some weight which was probably fat. It was time to get work on that.

Of course, one difficulty I have right now with strength training is the condition of my left shoulder. It is still painful when taken to the extreme range of its motion and the range of motion itself is limited. I’ve been working on the stretches and mobility drills for it, I’m noticing some improvement now, but I’m still far away from being able to raise my arm straight up. That means no overhead pressing. It also means I cannot do pull ups or chin ups, which is one of my favorite exercises. Still, I reasoned that I could still be able to do something with Zercher squats, stiff legged deadlifts, barbell rows and weighted push ups. And maybe some accessory lifts too.

So I began. Push ups one day, followed by zercher squats another day, then barbell rows. Done with the German volume training idea of 10 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest intervals. Yeah, I elected to try something from the bodybuilding school method. I had period of GVT back in 2008 where I had seen some good muscle mass gains in about 4 weeks of it. I had then gone back to more intense strength training and saw some good eventual PRs in overhead and bench press, and deadlifts. But one thing I’ve noticed with that strength training is it’s very recuctant to spur muscle gain in me. Last year, I was able to put on around 12 pounds over 5 months, but that’s a bit slow. When I had done that GVT back in 2008, I remember that I gained around 4 or 5 pounds in those 4 weeks, and that was GVT without any squatting because I was doing a lot of running.

So this time I’ve been doing GVT now for almost 6 weeks and can safely say that I’ve gained around 8 to 10 pounds. The last 3 mornings I’ve weighed in at 165, 164, 164. It’s visible too.

The routine has evolved some and now follows a pattern like this —

Workout 1 — weighted push ups, 10×10, and barbell shrugs, 3×12
Workout 2 — zercher squats
Workout 3 — barbell rows and barbell curls
Workout 4 — stiff legged deadlifts

I usually try to do 2 workouts, then rest a day. But that’s not written in stone. I follow a policy of trying to sense how I’m feeling. If I feel good, do a workout that day. If I feel ragged or rundown, take a rest day. Take rest days until I feel ready to workout. I think the policy has done well for me. I’ve done 3 straight days when I’ve felt good, I’m getting good rest, and eating well. When I haven’t been sleeping well, or eating all that good, then I get some extra rest.

I also do some grip work by putting a good amount of weight on the barbell and saw horses, gripping that, lifting it and holding as long as I can. I try to accumulate 60 seconds of gripping time like that.

But at 6 weeks now, I’m getting near the point where my body will begin to stagnate some. The same stimulus over and over, even as I have been increasing the weights, will not have as big of an effect.

I’ve got 2 options before me — Wendler’s 5-3-1 or Pavel’s Russian Bear. I’m interested in Russian Bear some because I’m not entirely sure how my left shoulder will handle deadlifting higher weights. I could start 5-3-1 using a lower deadlift number, but then of course, I also have the problem of how I can’t do overhead pressing or chin ups. So I’m tempted by the Russian Bear idea. It almost seems to be a hybrid in between GVT and 5-3-1. It appeals to me that I might be able to maintain some fairly rapid muscle growth like I’ve seen — believe me, about 1.5 pounds of weight gain per week is incredibly fast for me — but also begin to get something more like strength work in too.

The biggest problem with GVT is the tedium of it. It really sucks in the later sets when you’re checking the watch. It also really sucks with squats. Man, those Zerchers, it sucks when you’ve done the 5th set, think vaguely, that’s halfway but then also realize it’s not even close, The squats of sets 6 through 10 get freaking awful. It sucks when you go down on the 3rd of the set and realize the next 7 will just keep getting more difficult. Sweat begins dripping off of you.

Now, the Russian Bear, you’ve still got that minute rest idea, but then you’re not doing 10 reps. It’s 5 reps. I think that might be more mentally manageable, although I could be wrong and might soon discover it sucks as bad in its own way. Also with the Russian Bear, I won’t have to overhead press. I can do bench press, or push ups, or dips in some way. With bench press, I would need to be careful about lifting with good form, keeping my elbows in close to my body so the shoulders aren’t getting stressed, but it could take of my pushing strength. I will probably want to add in some work with barbell rows to work on pulling strength a bit. I’m also thinking of modifying the Bear by alternating between deadlifts and Zercher squats. I want some squatting for my quads. That’s one thing I noticed with all the squats I’ve been doing with GVT, my quads have grown. High reps seem to get my legs to start bulking. It was very hard for them to gain mass when using 5-3-1 last year.

But yeah, anyhow, this year I’m determined to put on some muscle and try to keep it too. I may decide against training to run in Philly, but just run strength and mass gaining programs all year. I think it might be possible for me to get my weight up over 170 lbs and maybe up to 180. If I do that right, I could look fairly muscular. I’m fairly wiry muscular now, but it would be cool to thicken that up.

I think that gaining that mass will improve my chances at my big goal for 2011 — a 400 lb deadlift. Another goal, assuming my shoulder gets better, will be to overhead press more than 150 lbs. Those are achievable goals, although a bit dependent on how fast my shoulder rehabs.

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