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They Call Him The Whineoceros

via They Call Him The Whineoceros

You guys have got to read this post.  The mom (Sarah) is delightfully witty and honest about the crazy “mom” things that threaten to steal our sanity every day – and a fellow wine lover!

Take a peek at this post – it’s a good read and will offer a light-hearted laugh and a reminder that we aren’t alone in this “mom thing”. ♥

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Allowed Amount – Medical Billing Terminology

Hello and welcome to another issue of my blog!  Just as a reminder I have 4 kinds of blogs and you can find out all about them at the bottom of this post. 🙂

This post is for my medical billing series.  Whether you are in the medical industry or not, this post IS FOR YOU!!  Everyone visits doctors – either because they are sick are trying to prevent sickness.  Either way, this series is to help you understand the crazy world of medical billing.  I will be posting on everything from billing terminology to crazy diagnosis codes.

img_5317Today, I am discussing something that many people do not understand – Allowed Amount.  What does this mean?

If you read my post, How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill? then you may already understand what this means.  (And if you haven’t read it, you should grab a cup of tea – or coffee if you aren’t allergic to the bean like me,☹ find a comfy spot and read it.)

However, whether you have read it or not, I Continue reading

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How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill?

Ok… so first things first.

What I mean by “medical bills” in the title is literally just that.  It is a “BILL” sent to you for a balance that the sender is claiming that you “OWE” them.

The reason I feel led to be so specific is that often times an insurance company will send correspondence to one of their members and it appears to be a bill when it isn’t a bill at all.  In fact, most of the time it will be what is called an EOB (Explanation of Benefits).

First, let’s talk a little about EOB’s.

An EOB is simply what it stands for – an explanation of the benefits the insurance company provided to the Patient and Guarantor.  Depending on the insurance company, EOB’s can contain various information. It can contain some or all of the following things:

  • Patient Information – This is the person that received the medical services.  It can include the patient’s name, address, date of birth and insurance ID/Group number.
  • Guarantor Information – This is the name of the person that is the owner of the insurance policy.  It can include the same type of information as the patient.
    Example #1: Jane Doe is seen at the doctor.  Her husband John Doe works for ABC company and has an insurance policy for himself and his wife Jane.  The EOB would list Jane as the Patient and John as the Guarantor because he owns the policy through his employer.
    Example #2: Jane Doe is seen at the doctor.  She works for XYZ company and has an insurance policy for herself and her husband John.  The EOB would list Jane as the Patient AND the Guarantor because she owns the policy through her employer.
  • Facility/Physician Information – This could include information such as the name of the doctor who treated the patient or the facility where the patient was seen, their address, phone number, NPI (National Provider Identifier) and Tax ID.
  • Service Information – This section will include the date the patient was seen, the procedures that were done, what was charged and then several other monetary values that can be very confusing.  (That is exactly what this publication is going to go over. ☺)
  • Remark Code Details – These are codes that explain WHY the charges were processed the way they were.

If you receive this from your insurance company – it is NOT A BILL!!  Even if it states that you are responsible for a part of the balance.  A bill will come directly from the physician or facility – because that is who you owe if indeed there is a patient responsibility balance.  I’ll go over that more toward the end of this article.

When you receive an EOB, you will want to inspect it.  Like I mentioned in my “I am Angry” article, doctors are amazing and dedicate themselves to years of education to learn how to keep us healthy and to save lives, but not necessarily how to bill for it.  Some of them do get certified and learn the specifics, but many do not.  They hire coders and billers to take care of medical claims and billing and often times, the staff is just not trained properly.  Not to mention – we are all humans and are certainly make mistakes.

 

So first, you’ll want to look over the document and make sure things like dates, names, procedures, etc. are all accurate.  Now let’s get down to the numbers…

The numbers can really be confusing.  What the heck does “allowed amount” even mean and what are these crazy “adjustments” for?!

There is a lot of information in the Services section, but I am basically just going to explain the monetary values.  I will write an article on each one of these topics that is more in-depth and will try to remember to come back here each time an add a link to each section, but here is the basic breakdown:

Billed amount –  This is the amount that the doctor/facility billed the insurance company.  Now I know that some of you may be thinking these prices are ridiculous, but trust me – there is a reasonable explanation.  You honestly have no control over the amount that is charged here.  I will say that most doctors and facilities offer a significant discount for patients that have no insurance – but to be clear – that isn’t always the case.

Allowed amount – This is the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay for the service provided to this doctor/facility.  Every insurance company has a different amount they are willing to pay for each service – it is not the same amount across the board.  You have no control over this amount either.  This is an agreed upon amount between the doctor or facility and the insurance company.  The list of pricing is called a Fee Schedule.

Deductible amount – This is the amount you are being charged for the agreed upon amount of deductible you chose when selecting your insurance plan.  If you feel like this amount is incorrect, you need to call your insurance company – not the doctor/facility.  If the insurance company determines that they processed the claim incorrectly, they will correct it and send the updated information to the doctor/facility.

Coinsurance amount – Just like your deductible, the coinsurance is an agreed upon amount between you and your insurance company.  The doctor/facility has no control over this.  So if you feel this amount is listed in error – again, call your insurance company, not the doctor/facility.

CoPay amount – This is also an agreed upon amount between you and your insurance company.  However, the doctor/facility should have verified your insurance and any copay amount that should be charged prior to your appointment.  This amount should have been collected at the time of service.  If the doctor’s office told you “not to worry about it”, this does not mean you don’t have to pay it.  It just means, for whatever reason, they decided to not make you pay it up front and they were going to bill you for it.

Note: To be clear, Deductible, Coinsurance and CoPay amounts are the responsibility of the Patient/Guarantor.  The doctor/facility does not have anything to do with deciding these amounts.  If you feel like the amounts on the EOB are incorrect you need to contact the insurance company.  If you were charged something OTHER than what is listed on the EOB, you should contact the doctor/facility at that point.  If they do correct the error and issue any necessary refunds, then you need to contact your insurance company and let them know.  They will contact the doctor/facility directly.  You can even ask them if they can do a three-way conference type call so that you can hear the response.  Not all insurance companies will do this, but some will.

Adjustment or Other Adjustments – This one can get confusing, but it is really very simple.  Ok, so here is an example:
– A patient goes to the see the doctor for a sore throat, fever, and cough.
– The doctor examines the patient and determines the patient has an upper respiratory infection.
– The doctor codes the office visit with CPT 99214 – Don’t concern yourself with the codes at this point.  This example is really just about the adjustment amount.
– The doctor has determined the billed amount in his/her office for this service is $200 (this may or may not be accurate to what your doctor charges for this service – I’m just using it as an example for easy math purposes.)
– The doctor’s billing department submits the claim to the patient’s insurance company.
– The contract between the insurance company and the doctor states that the insurance will allow $80 for CPT 99214.  This means every time this doctor submits a claim with CPT 99214 listed on it, to this specific insurance company, he/she will get paid $80.  (Not necessarily by the insurance company – keep reading!)
– If the doctor billed $200 and only got paid $80 – there is still $120 remaining.  This is the “adjustment”.  It is actually called a contractual adjustment.  This means that any difference in between what the doctor billed and what the insurance company allowed must be adjusted off.  The doctor cannot bill this amount to the patient.

Provider Paid – This is the amount the insurance company actually paid the doctor/facility.  The above seems pretty simple – right?  $200 (billed) – $80 (allowed) = $120 (adjusted off).  Here’s the thing: just because the insurance company “allowed” $80 for CPT 99214 – does NOT mean that is what they are going to pay the doctor!!

If your EOB says:
Billed $200
Allowed $80
Adjusted $120
Paid $80
Then that means the insurance company paid the doctor EVERYTHING that is owed to him/her for that visit.  To be clear – if the allowed amount and the paid amount match – you owe nothing.  Period.

However, if the allowed amount and paid amounts are different – that means that the patient is responsible for the difference – which will either be deductible, coinsurance or copay.

As an easy example, say you go to the doctor and the person at the check-out counter tells you that you owe $20 for a copay, then the EOB would read more like this:

Billed $200
Allowed $80
Adjusted $120
Paid $60
See the allowed is $80 and the paid is $60.  There is a $20 difference – that is the copay that you are responsible for.  If you paid it upfront on the day you were at the doctor, then you owe nothing.  If you didn’t then you will still be responsible for that difference.

In that case, the EOB would actually read like this:
Billed $200
Allowed $80
Deductible $0
Coinsurance $0
CoPay $20
Adjusted $120
Paid $60.

In addition, if you haven’t fulfilled your deductible yet and you are responsible for a copay, it could look like this:

Billed $200
Allowed $80
Deductible $60
Coinsurance $0
CoPay $20
Adjusted $120
Paid $0

Notice in that example, the insurance company allowed $80 – based on the contract with the doctor, but did not actually pay the doctor anything.

The allowed amount is what the insurance company and doctor agree the doctor will get paid for the procedure – but the payment could come from the insurance company, the patient, or a combination of the two.

This brings us all the way back around to the bill.  Remember an EOB is not a bill – it just explains how the insurance processed your claim so you will know if you need to expect a bill from the doctor/facility.  That is why it is SO important to review your EOB’s.  If your insurance company doesn’t mail them to you – they may only offer them online.  Make sure you look for an EOB for EVERY visit you make to a doctor/facility.

When you get an actual bill, it will be from the doctor or facility.  For every bill you get, you should have a matching EOB.  If you go see the doctor for a sore throat at his/her office, you should be able to obtain an EOB after the doctor files the claim and the insurance processes it.  If you receive a bill from a doctor and have not received your EOB, you need to contact your insurance company or log in to their member portal to view your EOB or request that one is sent to you.  Your doctor bill and EOB should match exactly in regards to amounts allowed, paid, due, etc.

The title of this post is:

How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill?

You should be able to determine from an EOB what you should owe a doctor/facility and why.  If there is any difference – something is wrong – call your insurance company asap!

In the case of a self-pay patient – meaning you have no insurance and only pay cash – it is a little different.  You should ask every doctor/facility for all of the following things:

  • A list of each CPT or Procedure code and description that you are being billed for.  The specific CPT codes won’t matter to you, but the descriptions will.  This holds the doctor accountable for what they are charging and lets you know exactly what the doctor is stating he/she did for you.
  • What is the billed amount of EACH code?
  • What is their self-pay policy?  (Do they offer a self-pay discount and if so what are the terms.  This is very important because some offices only offer a self-pay discount if you pay in full at the time of service.  Some offices only offer a self-pay discount if it is asked for!  These are things you really should ask when making the appointment.)

This post may be a little lengthy, but hopefully it was helpful.  Please take a moment to scroll up top and add your email to the subscribe box so that you will be notified every time I post.

Full disclosure: Medical Billing is something that I am very passionate about.  I am a patient somewhere and so are all of my family members and it is very important to me that our claims are handled as thoroughly as I handle other people’s.  I am a work at home mom and not all of my posts are medical billing related.  Not only am I opening my own Coding & Billing Educational Consultant business in 2018, I have been an Independent Consultant for a children’s book company since 2011 and I own a photography company with my daughter.  Also – I am a wife-ish, mother, self-employed nerd and I post about all kinds of things.  I would love to share them with you.

Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  You can also find me all over social media:

Twitter: WAHMCat & Medical Billing
Instagram: WAHMCat
Youtube: WAHMCat (I don’t have a video to go with this post, but I’m working on one – Still go subscribe! ☺)
Usborne: Usborne website, Facebook Page
Photography: Shutterbug & Co., Facebook Page

Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing, following and subscribing.  You guys are the best.

Catsiggy

Cat Clayton, CPC, CPB, CPMA
PO Box 121861
Fort Worth, TX 76121

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I am angry!!

Let me give a little recap… (this is about the medical billing issue I’ve been seeing – please continue to read!)

I am a mom and for years I enjoyed casual blogging for fun.  I recently decided that I wanted to get into it again, but more seriously this time.  So… I hopped on my laptop and started a new “Welcome 2018” post.  It went well, I enjoyed it and hit Publish.

Then I thought to myself, “You know Cat, you’ve been away for quite some time.  You should reach out to each one of your followers, say hi and give a few of their posts a read.”  So I started to do just that.  But, with each click of the mouse and swipe of the screen, I kept finding accounts that haven’t been posted on in months – in some cases more than a year. 😦

So, I decided to look for some new friends to follow.  I went to the main WordPress page and thought about what to search for.  Aside from occasional art and hanging with my kiddos, my 3 favorite things to work on are my 3 businesses.  Two of them are hobbies, first, selling children’s books for Usborne Books & More and second is Photography.  The third is my profession: Medical Billing.  For whatever reason, I chose the latter.

I typed “medical billing” in the search box expecting to find another soul that is as intrigued by medical billing as I am.  (I know I am a giant nerd, but I am totally cool with it.)  The very first thing that popped up – was quite the opposite. It was an article titled, Billing and Bullshit (I will be happy to link back to the original article once given permission) complaining about a recent medical bill.  Or a set of them actually.  One where the patient was charged $86 for a procedure and then $43 for the exact same thing.  Also, $22 for a different procedure and then again $12 for the same one.  What?!

Now, without actually reviewing these bills and the procedure codes associated with them, I can’t say that there is an error.  What I can say is that all of that is confusing as hell, especially to someone who doesn’t do medical billing.

Then I came across another article titled Dollars and Senseless.  (Again, I’ll be happy to link back if given permission.)  This one was also frustrated with their bill.  One specific irritation was the “adjustment” amount of nearly $30,000.  I actually do understand that one without having to see any coding.  And when this person called to fight their bill, some charges were removed, but others were not.  When medical records were requested for review, it was going to cost $4 per page for over 40 pages.  So, since the original costs were less expensive than $160, they just paid them to avoid the higher cost of the research.

Not only is this an injustice and unfair to the patient, but also, if those charges were indeed incorrect – the insurance company now has incorrect information as part of that patient’s medical record!  And if the procedures were listed incorrectly – what about the diagnosis codes?!  What about the medications (which in this case was specifically what it was).  That could affect the patient’s overall healthcare! #Unacceptable!

One follower posted a comment stating that a doctor once told them that medical billing is more difficult to understand than medicine.  That is probably true in some ways.  I left messages for both authors and for a few commenters on both articles.  I told all of them what I often explain to other people.  Doctors are amazing!!  They go to school for years to learn how to save our lives!!  They are not taught specifically how to bill for it.   Sure, they learn a little along the way on coding and billing, but it just isn’t the same.

Coding and billing guidelines change quarterly – that is every 3 months.  Doctors are busy saving lives and learning the new technologies and sciences behind how to do it better every day.  There are some that do get certified in coding so that they understand this side of things better.  Most do not.  That is why they hire coders and billers.  There are a lot of crooked people in the world – some of them are doctors.  But honestly, that isn’t the biggest problem.  The biggest problem is the staff that is not trained properly to know the best practices for coding and billing!

I have been certified through the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) as a CPC – Certified Professional Coder, CPB – Certified Professional Biller, and a CPMA – Certified Professional Mecial Auditor.  I am sitting for my CEMC – Certified Evaluation & Management Coder certification in 2018 and eventually my CPC-I – Certified Professional Coder – Instructor certification.  THAT is my passion!!  I want to educate!!  I want to help audit physician’s offices and educate them and their staff on the proper coding and billing guidelines.  More importantly, I want to help educate… YOU!!  Anyone reading this that is not in the billing industry!!  I want to help explain medical billing and the “mysteries” behind it.

So, in 2018, with my fun little hobbies and hopeful vacations – I really truly want to open my own medical billing education business.  I’m just getting started, and it may take a minute to find all the moving parts and get them all put together, but it will happen – and I can’t wait.

I know I can’t save the world and fight every crooked doctor out there and I can’t train each person that is currently billing incorrectly.  But, I can help educate other people and together we can make a pretty good dent in it.  And I can help educate people in general – so that they can be their own patient advocate.  No, it’s not saving the world – but it’s a start.

Catsiggy

2

Welcome 2018

20130722-141049.jpg

Ok….so I’ll admit… I’ve been kind of MIA.  It’s a crazy thing when your children start getting older and your days start getting busier.  You tend to lose, well… yourself!  That is what has happened to me.  There are days when I wake up with a start, and my brain screaming, and my mouth uttering something along the lines of, “What day is it?”  Usually, it’s those days, when I actually have no obligation to be anywhere anytime soon – which is really irritating once I realize that.  Once I have tumbled out of my sleepy stupor, the fact that I woke up so confused also really irritates me.

I want out.  Not out of being a mom or having a crazy schedule.  I actually love that and can’t imagine my life “simple”.  I want out of the bit where I can’t find… me!!

Last year I posted a challenge on Facebook to my friends and family to comment with a #OneWordResolution.  I chose the word “Laugh” and I really think I stuck to it.  At the end of 2016 I felt frustrated – almost as if I had woken up in that sleepy stupor every single day.  I did not want that for my 2017.  So I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  When times got me down, I laughed.  When I felt like my buttons were being pushed, I laughed.  When people cut me off on the freeway, sat through green lights, drove toward me with their brights on and rode my tail end, I laughed.  When co-workers pulled me down, I laughed.  The more mad things would generally make me, you guessed it, the more I laughed.  And I’m happy to say… IT WORKED!! My 2017 was actually light-hearted and joyful – mostly.  So, I decided to make it part of who I want to be and will carry it over to 2018 and every year following.  I realize there are some things you can’t laugh at, but it helps in a lot of situations.  It’s hard to remember that you can’t control everyone and everything, so sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.

Moving on to 2018, I decided to get crazy and go with a whole phrase!!  So I again challenged my Facebook friends and family, but this time to comment with the quote or phrase they want their 2018 to model.  Originally I chose, “Have Less, Do More”.  While that is definitely still the plan – it’s more of a personal goal.  I have come up with another that I love and I think it is really going to help motivate me.  “Just get up and do it.”  (I’ll tell you where that came from in a few minutes.) So moving in to 2018, those two things will be my “live by” words.  I feel like 2018 is just the beginning. 🙂

So… where did I come up with “Just get up and do it”?  Well, I’ll be honest – it didn’t come from this momma brain.  I heard it on TV.  When I have some downtime and can do something for me – I like to watch HGTV.  My three favorites are Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines, HomeTown with Ben and Erin Napier, and Property Brothers with Jonathan and Drew Scott.  (Clicking on those links will take you to their twitter feeds, but all of their social media links are listed below – make sure you follow them if you don’t already!)  Anyways, I watch them as often as time allows.  I’m super excited about Drew’s upcoming wedding to Linda Phan, Chip & Joanna’s #5 baby on the way and Ben & Erin’s new little bundle of joy, Helen. ♥ In one of the most recent Home Town commercials, Erin looks right at the camera and says, “Just get up and do it.”  Those words really spoke to me (Thanks Erin!!).  So that’s what I’m doing!  Getting up and doing it!  #everyday

Here are my plans: (There are a lot of them – don’t fret – I’ve got this!)

  • Re-launching my Usborne Books & More business.  I enjoyed this so much when I started it in 2011.  I let it slip through the cracks because other things got in the way and I lost sight of my passions.
  • My daughter Alli and I, really plan to grow our photography business this year.  Both, the personal – Calli Brooklyn Photography and corporate – Shutterbug & Co sides have taken a hit this year with my “schedule” going wonky.
  • Continuing my path on my medical billing journey.  I enjoy medical billing so much!!  I plan to add at least 1 more comma to my credentials this year as well as get my medical billing/training business going.
  • Working on my YouTube channel!!  We are revamping WAHMCat!!  I will be doing regular videos and Alli and Liam are both going to have segments that they are really looking forward to.  Maybe I’ll even get Blake to chime in a time or two. ☺  My channel will be unboxing from our favorite subscriptions AND we will probably be trying a new one every month.  I will also be doing recipes, DIY’s, tutorials and so much more.  I’m even planning to do a storytime segment for the little ones.  I am so stinkin excited.  I currently have 50 subscribers and need 100 to set up my custom URL.  So… wanna help a girl out? Subscribe here. 🙂
  • Blogging every day!  I need to get back into my rhythm.  I’m looking forward to some of my blog plans.
  • #KnowledgeIsPower – I want to learn… a lot in 2018.
  • I would like to travel at least once this year – somewhere – anywhere.

2018 is going to be amazing.  So for those of you that have been a subscriber, thank you!  If you are new, welcome!

Here are the links to my favorite HGTV stars:

Property Brothers: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
The Scott Brothers Website
– Jonathan Scott: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Drew Scott: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Linda Phan: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Fixer Upper: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – Couldn’t find an official Twitter feed, but here is a fan site: Fan Site
– Chip Gaines: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – Couldn’t find an official Facebook account, but you can search his name on Facebook and find other people that enjoy his humor too!
– Joanna Gaines: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Magnolia Market: InstagramFacebook, Website – I have personally ordered from here and can’t wait to order again!

Home Town:
– Ben Napier: Twitter, Instagram
– Erin Napier: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – this Facebook account is for Ben & Erin.
Laurel Mercantile Co. – Their website – And Erin’s journal, which she is taking a break from.  However, it is really interesting to go back and look at their 2017!

Stay tuned and I’ll do a post later this month with my favorite YouTubers, Vloggers & YouTubers! 🙂

Here is where you can find me all over the internet…. I’m kind of all over the place – both literally and figuratively…lol.

My blog. 🙂 – I know you are here, but this will take you to my home so you can subscribe. Currently: 1,550 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 3,000 followers

Youtube – Come see me! 🙂  Our YouTube channel is going to grow leaps and bounds this year.  We would love to share our videos with you! 🙂 Current: 50 subscribers & 2,427 views as of today ♥ 2018 Goals: 1,000 subscribers & 50,000 views. #FingersCrossed

TWITTER ACCOUNTS:
Twitter – I post my family stuff and fun things I want to share with the world.  This is also the Twitter account I use for Usborne.  Currently: 388 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers.
Photography Twitter – This is where you can find some pics from our photo shoots.  From both our Calli Brooklyn Photography and Shutterbug & Co. sessions!  We are just getting it started though. Currently: 2 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers
Medical Billing Twitter – I tweet total Medical Billing stuff here.  If you are into medical billing at all – you’ll want to follow!  This is pretty new too. Currently: 14 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS:
Instagram – I use this account for my family photos, Usborne, photo shoots, and just random photos we take out and about.  We started another Insta for our photography business, but honestly, we post just about everything here.  Currently: 427 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,500 followers
Usborne *FreeBookFairy* Facebook – Not only do I post specials and book reviews here, I will post the links to my story time videos, special events and interesting facts about literacy, as well as fundraising tips and ideas.  And of course, I’ll tell you how you can get free books. 🙂  Currently: 224 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 3,000 followers (I know – that’s a big jump – ☺)

WEBSITES
– Free Book Fairy Website – This is where you can go to order books, or contact me to set up an event for your home, school, church, library, etc. One of my most favorite websites.  *As of today 01/07/18 – the site is under construction, but will be going again soon.  I’ll make the link live when it’s working again. ♥
 – Calli Brooklyn Photography & Shutterbug & Co. – This is our site that showcases our gallery for both Calli Brooklyn Photography & Shutterbug & Co.  Calli Brooklyn Photography is for personal photos like family, engagement, maternity, new baby, senior and birthday type photos.  Shutterbug & Co is for corporate events like corporate holiday parties, corporate headshots, daycare photos, etc.

Ok, so that’s it.  I’ts a lot… I know.  Again, I’ve got this. 😀

 

Love,
Catsiggy

 

0

How Important is it… Really?

Soooo…. here it is.  4:17 am on a Monday morning.  What am I doing?  Trolling the internet looking for networking and business building ideas in and around town this week.  I always start with my notifications and then the things going on in the Events section of Facebook.  It never fails that I always find myself lost in some article that I found from clicking on a link somewhere on Facebook.  I have learned some pretty amazing things and added a billion things to my useless knowledge bank from these clickable links.  However, I have also wasted several…. hours (ahem) minutes, reading through these articles.  Today I was lucky enough to stumble upon a gem… I think.

The link that I saw said, “7 Surprising Signs You’re Not Getting Enough…”  So, I clicked on it to find out what I may or may not be getting enough of.  This took me to an article at healthissues.pw about not getting enough… WATER!  At this point, I figured I had taken the time to click the link so I might as well see if I had any of the signs.

One of the first things it states is that your body is mostly water and even goes so far as to give percentages of water that different body parts are.  Percentages like, Your brain and heart are 73% water and even, bones are 31% water.  I’m not sure where they got that information or if it is even true.  However, I did find several websites that stated the same facts like water.usgs.gov, factslides.com and reference.com.  I generally hate to read things on the internet that force me to click 72.3 billion pages to get all of the information, but this one only had a few pages and also had already grabbed my attention with the opening, so I was willing to click each page to read the full article.

Here are the 7 signs they list as common symptoms you may be suffering from but not associating them with dehydration:

  1. Sleepiness. – WHAT?!  That’s like my middle name!  I have lengths of time where I only sleep 3 hours a night for weeks and then there are sometimes that I sleep an entire day away (and then hate myself for wasting such valuable time.)   It said that water allows your brain to focus and when it can’t it shuts down by inducing sleep.  That explains a lot!  Ok, now they really have my attention.  I definitely suffer from this symptom.
  2. Hunger. – WHAT?!  Do you even know me?  Food is like my favorite thing ever!!  Especially if it rhymes with paco, saco, maco… you get the idea.  But seriously – I am ALWAYS hungry!  So things like hunger and cravings for sweets can mean your body is actually craving water.  Hmmm, interesting.
  3. Blood Pressure Spikes. – Okay, so I don’t really struggle with this ailment, that I know of.  There have been times where I showed signs of high blood pressure and have checked it only to find I was normal.  Well… as normal as the kiosk in Walmart said I was.  Just incase though, I think I’ll try drinking a glass or two of water next time I have those symptoms.
  4. Headaches. – Everyday since I was 18.  Seriously.  Except for that one year when I went to the chiropractor 3 times a week.  Which seriously helped the headaches go away.  However, I quit going because it was quite pricey and also I was honestly terrified he was going to snap my neck.  Seriously, it terrified me.  Maybe I’ve watched a little too many crime dramas with people getting their necks snapped, but still.  The “crack-a-lack-a-lack” in the neck region really scares the poo out of me!  So as soon as I stopped my appointments the headaches came back and I get at least 3-5 every week.
  5. Constipation. – Maybe a little TMI, but my guess is everyone suffers from some type of bathroom issue from time to time.  So I can’t discount this as a possible symptom of not getting enough water.
  6. Bad Breath. – According to this article, saliva has antibacterial properties and dehydration prevents your body from making enough for it.  This leads to a virtual playground in your mouth and according to my 5 year old, who doesn’t mean to be rude and just speaks the truth – I may have a little issue with bacteria causing bad breath.
  7. Dry Skin. – Ok… well it is winter so I do suffer from dry skin a bit here and there, but I wouldn’t say it’s a chronic issue.  But, maybe it isn’t a winter ailment after all.  Maybe it’s because I’m not drinking enough water!

So after reading the entire article, identifying with most of the symptoms listed, and looking to see if the “facts” were listed on other websites – I’m self diagnosing myself with persistent dehydration.  As for the cure… water, of course.  So for the next 30 days I am going to drink nothing but water.  No sodas, no tea, and no…. sigh… Monster’s.  Starting today, Monday February 20th, 2017 and going through Wednesday March 22, 2017 – I will drink nothing but water.

On an average day I drink 1 glass or bottle (probably about 10-12 ounces) of water, one or two sodas or glasses of tea (usually Starbucks – because it is sooooooo yummy), 1-2 cans of Monster if I need the pick me up and every now and then a cup of hot tea from my trusty Kuerig.  But, for the next 30 days it will be only water.  The only exception I will make is to flavor the water from time to time with Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix, like these:

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They offer a flavored water with zero calories, carbs or caffeine!  So I feel justified in adding this to my water while completing this challenge.

I would like to challenge YOU to play along!  Start today, start tomorrow – just give it a try.  Follow my journey on the Facebook page I created: 30 Day Water Challenge – Is H2O the Answer? or type in http://fb.me/H2Ofor30days in your browser page.  I’ll be posting anything I notice – or don’t notice – changing over the next 30 days.  I’ll also include a few healthy recipe’s and exercises throughout the journey – please feel free to do the same.

Look forward to seeing you out there and seeing if I notice a difference in things when only drinking water.  Now I’m off to finish my Yeti full of ice water, go potty for the 3rd time since I began writing this post, finish this episode of Smallville and maybe getting a few hours of sleep.  I’m starting our kitchen makeover this week and need the rest!

BIG Texas hugs,

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