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The Usual Gang of Idiots

So, I received two voice mails Wednesday, regarding scheduling the scheduling my next CT/lymph node biopsy.  (apparently they didn’t get enough diversity last time.)

Unfortunately my cellular phone took a dump, and I didn’t receive them until Wednesday night!

So I called Thursday morning, early.  At length, I was placed in a que, and told they would call me before 1300.  If I didn’t hear from them, I was to call them.  Subsequently, I wad placed in another que, and the would call me letting me know when they would call back.  I was told 45 minutes.  The said they would call after 9 minutes.  They did eventually call, to advise me they were unable to take my insurance.

I spent most of my chair waiting for a phone to ring, only to be told they were unable to assist me.

Customer service, anyone?

My oncologist won’t return until Tuesday.  His assistant was supposed to call me yesterday afternoon.

Guess what happened?

 

It’s no big deal, just being used to develop the correct chemotherapy medicine for me.

The Eyes Have It! 

Cataracts (insert joke about Japanese luxury cars here!)

Seriously, I already was aware I had them, from my last eye exam.

As a card-carrying diabetic, I am supposed to have my head examined, ahem EYES examined, annually.

I obtained secondary eye/dental insurance for this year, having used MEDICARE previously.

The problem was, I traditionally was examined in January, and hadn’t met my deductible yet!  And $150 is difficult to acquire.

SO, I obtained a secondary. Which also had a deductible.  And as normally I would only see my ophthalmologist once annually….

You get the idea.

Suddenly, my primary health care insurer called me. “Why haven’t you had your diabetic eye exam yet?” 

“Well, I don’t have the cash!”

My primary insurer told me they would cover the exam, as long as I stayed in their network.  I would only pay my specialist fee.  $25.00.

The call was last week.  I saw the eye doc Tuesday THIS week!

Cataracts?  Yes.  Something may need to be done in three to five years.

My retinas? (the big concern of diabetics and their doctors).  EXCELLENT!

Next, I need to scare up funds to get new glasses, and I am golden.

The Opioid Crisis 

There has been much media attention of late regarding ‘the opioid crisis’.

This is directly parallel to the the so-called Drug War.

Or ‘gun violence’.

Those who wish to insert governmental controls into private actions often label (insert issue here) as a ‘crisis’.

President Nixon started the War On Drugs in 1971. Here 40 years later, billions of dollars later, thousands have been incarcerated, and little illegal drug commerce has been stopped.

And numerous States have decriminalized and/or medicalized previously illegal drugs.

People continue to be shot en mass in Illinois and elsewhere.

And people with legitimate prescriptions are being squeezed more and more because their physicians and pharmacies are. 

By the ‘well meaning’ federal government.

A recent study noted that something like a whopping 1% of those who have opioid prescriptions are abusing them.

The lions share of abuse comes from those who steal, smuggle and illegally obtain such drugs.

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

I sometimes take a relatively low dose narcotic, which I get through a legal prescription, to deal with my chronic pain. I know others who take a much higher dosage than I, who must constantly wrestle with the increasing pressure on the medical community.

While the bad guys make billions from illegal users, largely unchecked.

Read between the lines.

 

How DOES One Pay It Forward?

When one is broke?

I have been so fortunate in this life.  Not in the money/riches sense, but in the helpful friends and family sense.

These most recent trials involving my roommate’s surgery (and subsequent loss of income), coupled with my own health issues (heart, rash, suspected clot) AND repair of the shower leaking through the ceiling (with an insurance deductible, and the insurance company promising they would pay for a hotel room – they didn’t(!)  They said the hotel wouldn’t take it (!?)

I’ve a Sister stepped up without my even asking, with the deductible.  That was eaten by the plumber and the hotel.  And other friends have come forward to make certain I would have a positive bank balance(!)

The insurance company said, as the hotel refused their method of payment, that we could subtract the hotel charges from the deductible.  Making today’s visit from the adjuster forty-one dollars and change!

We actually have that.

Will wonders never cease?

But, back to the question.  I’ve been told by my generous friends that there is no balance sheet, and, when I am able, to pay it forward.

I’m on permanent disability, and have no savings left, nor credit!  Exactly HOW am I supposed to pay it forward?

And, I have some other payments due shortly with which my friends traditionally assist.

(As an aside, I certainly do not feel worthy of such help, or friends.  How they made such determinations is beyond me.)

To all of you (and you know who you are) I have undying gratitude and thanks for all the help you have given me over the years.

I just don’t know why I deserve such help, or how to pay it forward?

Don’t Do Anything Rash! (The Adventure Continues…)

SO…

I go to see my primary doctor yesterday afternoon.  She confirms ‘yes’, I DO have a rash of undetermined origin, now permeating most of my body.  My edema in my right calf is of significant size, and has NOT diminished when horizontal.

She prescribes a synthetic corticosteroid to deal with the rash.  She is MORE concerned about the edema.

She sends me to a diagnostic center for an ultrasound of the leg.  (I must drive myself, as J. is still recovering from her shoulder surgery and cannot drive.)

It’s either this, or she admits me to the hospital.  She’s concerned I might have a blood clot(!)

So, it’s back from central Phoenix to Chandler (nearer to where I live) for the imaging.  It’s approaching 1700, but they are waiting for me. (My doc has pull!)

I wore sandals I don’t usually wear, so she could get a better look at my legs and feet (wrestling with socks and ‘Ed’ the really big shoe can be difficult when swollen.  The sandals are uncomfortable and make driving difficult.

And I cannot afford to Uber.

J. is with me for moral support and to listen to my cursing.

Finally, we find the place and I get the ultrasound.  NO CLOTS!  😛  They contact my doc, who prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic and schedules me to return Friday @ 1300 for follow-up.  She does this all herself and makes certain she speaks with me about diet to accompany the antibiotic.  Initially, I missed her call (loud surroundings) and she called back and left a message.  Then she kept calling until she could speak with me personally.

I have a great physician!

The Good News is I picked up the meds.  The Bad News is neither is recommended for evening use.  So, another night of calamine lotion looms.

I think I received three hours of sleep.  J. has another physical therapy appointment this afternoon.  AND I TOOK MY FIRST PREDNISONE THIS MORNING!  😛

C’mon work!

Time will tell.  It’s been about two hours, and I feel slightly less itchy.  (Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?)

I will keep everyone advised.  (No Clots – Hooray!)  😛

Don’t Do Anything Rash!

I’m a generally ‘healthy’ guy.  Considering I survived premature birth, numerous childhood diseases, my leg disability, a serious car accident, diabetes, skin cancer and lymphoma!

When I get sick, it’s rare.  And it’s NEVER a slight cold…

Thursday last, I developed some edema in my right (disabled) leg.  A fairly common occurrence for me – usually laying down (like sleeping) and it goes away.

Only this time, it didn’t.

And it was followed on Friday by a rash around my right ankle!  This rash grew, and now, in varying degrees, covers my entire body! (except my head)

Accompanied by the requisite itching and burning as one expects with rashes.

No fever, no blistering, just discoloration and itch.

(NO, it’s not shingles. – I DID have chicken pox – TWICE!)

The earliest I can get in to see my primary physician is tomorrow (Wednesday) @ 1500.  (ERs and urgent care facilities are not an option – they cost money!)

Baby powder with aloe, and calamine lotion are my friends!  Sadly, all Benadryl seems to do is knock me out.

The ‘doctor of the Internet’ (always a dangerous place to go) runs the gamut from you have a rash to you are going to die!

My semi-educated guess is I was taking ibuprofen for my arthritis (more than the standard dose), and reached the limit.

Hopefully, my doc will make a correct diagnosis and provide a remedy.  🙂

I will advise, as I know more.

 

We Should Learn From WHO? France?!

(from Free North Carolina)

France’s Death Spiral

Via Frank

  • In 1990, the “Gayssot law” was passed, stipulating that “any discrimination based on ethnicity, nation, race or religion is prohibited”. Since then, it has been used to criminalize any criticism of Arab and African delinquency, any question on immigration from the Muslim world, any negative analysis of Islam. Many writers have been fined and most “politically incorrect” books on those topics have disappeared from bookshops.
  • The French government asked the media to obey the “Gayssot law.” It also asked that history textbooks be rewritten to include chapters on the crimes committed by the West against Muslims, and on the “essential contribution” of Islam to humanity. All history textbooks are “Islamically correct.”
  • In hospitals, Muslims are increasingly asking to be treated only by Muslim doctors, and refusing to let their wives be treated by male doctors.

February 2, 2017: A “no-go zone” in the eastern suburbs of Paris. Police on patrol hear screams. They decide to check. While there, a young man insults them. They decide to arrest him. He hits them. A fight starts. He accuses a policeman of having raped him with a police baton. A police investigation quickly establishes that the young man was not raped. But it is too late; a toxic process has begun.

Political correctness is killing Europe, literally!
AND, it will kill the United States.

Short Distance Travels

I don’t get out much.  Between my physical limitations (being disabled and in chronic pain, low income, crummy car) and my mental ones (I’m just not that interested in so doing), I’m lucky to get to the credit onion, grocery store, a cheap restaurant and perhaps the library each week.

This is one reason my Internet access and computer are so important to me!  My ‘window on the World’, as it were!

I’m essentially the ubiquitous pajama boy, except much older, more educated, and living in a rented room upstairs instead of a stereotypical basement.

And I’m less liberal.

In one of my travels, I met a nice couple. A psychologist and her office manager husband (not that that’s of any importance to this post).  Marlo and Jon are both pre-eminent in their field.

And Marlo comes from a long family history of motorcycle riders.

In 2008, she was in an accident which changed her life.  And almost ended it.  A car turned in front of her.  (Can you see why she got my attention?)

While hospitalized and in rehab, she wrote a blog, which she later coalesced into a very personal book regarding her Chautauqua from a person with addictions to one in recovery.  Her story included the courage, loyalty and love of her partner and husband Jon – whom I have personally nick-named St. Jon after reading her book.

Anyone who has had love, loss, ‘challenges’, courage and been fortunate enough to have others to help with those challenges should read this story!  Be forewarned – it is not always light reading.

But, there IS most definitely a positive message!

UP FROM THE PAVEMENT: Triumph over Grief and Trauma through Medicine, Miracles, Love, Laughter, and Faith Paperback

Be the first to review this item

See all formats and editions

(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for.  Only friendship from Dr. Archer.  Leave me alone.)

♫ Everything That’s Old Is New Again ♫ (in Eurotrashistan)

(from Peter – in full, because it’s too important)

A brave new world indeed!

Courtesy of a link at Borepatch’s place, we learn that Belgium is now euthanizing – i.e. judicially murdering – the mentally ill and incompetent.  The Washington Post reports:

Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands.

This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones.

. . .

In December, 65 Belgian mental-health professionals, ethicists and physicians published a call to ban euthanasia of the mentally ill.

Seemingly stung by these criticisms, the commission spends two of its report’s pages defending the system, explaining that all is well and that no one is being euthanized except in strict accordance with the law.

. . .

Of course, this ignores the essential objection, which is that, by definition, the mentally ill may be less capable of forming a “true will,” or, at least, that their intentions are intrinsically more difficult for a doctor — or anyone — to establish with the necessary certainty upon which to base a life-or-death decision.

. . .

Euthanasia of people with autism, depression, schizophrenia and dementia in the Low Countries represents a global moral crisis for psychiatry, and all of medicine, that can no longer be ignored.

There’s more at the link.  As Borepatch points out, there are also reports that organs are being harvested from the bodies of euthanized patients.  This makes it increasingly likely, in a world without meaningful morals or ethics, that someone might be nominated for involuntary euthanasia purely on the grounds of how many others can benefit from his or her organs.

I have no hesitation in calling this absolutely Satanic in its evil.  Those who, by definition, have diminished rational capacity cannot give fully informed consent to such a procedure.  It’s as plain as the nose on your face that someone is encouraging them, persuading them to make that decision . . . perhaps even making it for them.  After all, it’s convenient for the health care system to be relieved of the burden of caring for the mentally incapacitated.  If they’re euthanized, the costs and facilities that would otherwise be devoted to their care can be used instead for someone more ‘deserving’ – or not used at all, thereby saving money for the state.  How utilitarian can you get?

We’re seeing the beginnings of the same thing in this country, too.  Just last month, a woman in California reported that her medical insurance had refused to pay for expensive chemotherapy to treat her cancer . . . but it was quite prepared to pay for euthanasia, if she selected that option!  That’s not the first time this has happened.  The first case of which I’m aware was in Oregon in 2008.  Think about what those insurers are saying to their policy-holders, in so many words.  “You’re not worth this much of our money, but you’re worth that much . . . if you let us kill you.”  Charming, isn’t it?

This was predicted back in the 1960’s by Pope Paul VI in his controversial encyclical letter Humanae Vitae.  The full text is available online, but in brief:

Pope Paul [warned] that … the desire for unlimited dominion over one’s own body extends beyond contraception. The production of “test-tube babies” is another indication of the refusal to accept the body’s limitations; so too are euthanasia and the use of organs transplanted from those who are “nearly” dead. We seek to adjust the body to our desires and timetables, rather than adjusting ourselves to its needs.

Many disagree with the teaching of Pope Paul VI, and the Catholic Church, about artificial contraception:  but I think there’s little doubt that this was a prescient warning.  We’re seeing it in operation in the euthanasia policies of the Low Countries.  Nature is no longer allowed to take its course;  it’s ‘helped along’, willy-nilly.

Think about this from your own perspective as you grow older.  I’m very familiar with this, after years as a pastor, so I can put myself into the shoes of a patient fairly easily.  You begin to lose your ability to concentrate . . . you can’t remember things that happened fairly recently . . . you may not recognize people you’ve known for years.

One day, a doctor you hardly know starts talking to you about ‘medical options’ and ‘procedures’ and your ‘right’ to be free from pain, fear and worry, and he pressures you to sign ‘just a simple form’ for ‘further treatment’.  One month later, he sticks a needle in your arm, and you ‘fade to black’.

Your organs are harvested for distribution to others (at a fat profit to the hospital, but none to your estate), and your relatives divide your money and possessions between them.  Most of them probably won’t bother to come to your funeral.  They’ll be too busy fighting over the spoils.

Welcome to our brave new world.

Peter

On Being Poor

Okay, just to be clear…
(and this is NOT a bleg!)

I’M NOT POOR

But, it IS a matter of relativity.

I know folks who could go out for expensive steak dinners every night of the week!  And doing so would have no serious consequence for them (except perhaps gout!).

I know others who generally ‘get by’ on what they bring in.  Going overboard for Christmas perhaps, and playing games with five credit cards in an effort to stay solvent.  Maybe playing a little too much at the Indian casinos(?)  But they are treading water.

A few of my friends have good jobs, and have for many years.  And often help friends and relatives in need.  Sometimes even including yours truly.

Thank you!

But, I remain on SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), coupled with a small stipend (17% of the total) from private health insurance I was lucky enough to purchase when I was employed.  And even though I was placed on the ‘disabled list’ due to one affliction, I am blessed with additional ones.

🙂

This is of no consequence to the bean counters.

I recently applied for supplemental Medicare insurance (I got Medicare with my SSDI).  I’ve been on SSDI for five years, but have never applied for a supplement before.  Between the complexities of the system and fear a supplement would cost more, I never did it before.  Guess what?  I will be penalized financially for NOT having applied in the previous five years!

Quelle surprise.

Fortunately, I found an independent insurance agent who researched my options and helped me walk through the Gordian knot of rules and regulations.  Sadly, he asked me to apply for assistance in paying for my prescriptions from Social Security, and they declined.

See?  I’m NOT poor.  The government says so!

Currently, I pay full price for my prescriptions, averaging $85/month.  And without a secondary insurance, Medicare is 80/20.  Meaning if I go in to see my primary care physician, a specialist or have a ‘procedure’ done (like the recent endoscopy), I owe 20%.

Which I do not have.

To be clear, I get to go out to eat (with my roommate), pay for TV satellite, rent and groceries. (She pays for the other stuff, like mortgage, electric and Wifi.)  I suppose if we didn’t ever go out (usually fast food, pizza (etc.), never steak), and we didn’t have satellite TV, Internet, etc., I could afford the 20%.

We are NOT Syrian refugees, to be sure.

My 17-year old Oldsmobile clunker is other evidence.  She still runs, albeit poorly.  And I cannot afford regular maintenance.

Theoretically, my new plan will cover 80% of my prescriptions!  And has some vision and dental coverage, as well.  (Of course, the government is tacking on $20-30/month because I had to audacity to not have applied sooner!)

I’ve seen on the Internet, one cannot be fat and poor.  I was once 350 pounds.  I am now 233 – 50 or so more to go…

5387_where-is-poor_faadooindia-com_

Everything is relative.

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…