Friday, August 29, 2008

I Admit I’m Part of the Health Care Problem


I read a very interesting article on rising health care costs a while ago in the AARP Magazine (which I'll link to at the end). It makes several different points about factors that make health care expensive. But one really made me stop and think. I've drawn no conclusions because I am among the culprits of this particular expense.

Being a person of the female persuasion, I've read my share of "women's magazines". In that these magazines set out to demean us if we don't have the current crop of trendy goo gahs in a size fit for Auschwitz survivors and further terrify us with tales of big bad corporate America ripping us off because we have vagina's, I have decided to subscribe only to art magazines for the rest of my woefully untrendy life. Ah, this is a subject for another day… Anyway, in my wayward youth of women's magazine perusal, there was usually an article outlining the horrors someone went through with the health care system, usually with a male doctor patting the woman on the head and saying, well, we'll keep an eye on that potentially fatal bump on your boob, bleeding from the nether regions that's lasted 6 months, etc. So, consequently, when my body is doing or extruding something it shouldn't, I expect to have as many tests as possible as soon as possible. For instance, at my last physical, my doctor detected a small lump on my breast. I have fibrous breasts so I wasn't too worried, however, if she hadn't scheduled an ultrasound that very day, I would have felt nervous at not having this dealt with right away. That wait and see attitude from back in the day is not acceptable to us enlightened women's magazine readers.

Well, it turns out that doctors are ordering as many tests as possible as soon as possible because if they don't and the patient goes to another doctor who does and finds something serious, Doctor Weenie gets shafted with huge malpractice problems. So, doctors seem to be damned if they do (resulting in high medical costs for tests that aren't strictly necessary) and damned if they don't (resulting in malpractice insurance and payouts up the ying yang). And folks like me expect this treatment now, for fear of not detecting something serious in a timely fashion. Doesn't this seem like a vicious circle? Sadly, it's a vicious circle I'm not willing to break because I'm so not into that wait and see thing.

As I said, no conclusions here. We live in a time when medical science can save the lives of people who would have died 40, 30, even 10 years ago because we have the ability now to detect the bad stuff earlier. If I can even come close to a conclusion, it's that the way we deal with health care in this country needs to be changed. We have excellent models in England and Canada to base a new era of health care on, but we also have big ass lobbyists who don't want their power and big bucks to decrease, even if it means better health for an entire nation. To paraphrase Barack Obama, it's time we take responsibility for our woes and demand the change we want.

Off the soap box. Take care of yourselves! Here's the link to the whole article that set me off. In understanding the problems with health care, maybe we'll understand better what our politicians are proposing--and ignoring. Ok, really, off the soapbox now... Go read this!

C'est la vie!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mare’s Excellent Weekend


I had an event filled weekend. Met some friends for our Bead Society meeting on Saturday morning. We’re dark in July so some folks I hadn’t seen all summer. It was good to see people I have so much in common with, who I’ve known for 4 or 5 years. Had lunch with my friend, Anneliese, and we exchanged presents we’d bought each other in our summer travels. She gave me a couple of really big cool buttons made of white pearly beads and some peace symbols destined to be earrings. I’d gotten her a nail file with polar bears on it from Sea World.

Went home and goofed with The Husband for a while, before heading out for my friend Shannon’s 40th birthday party. She’d decided on a Tahitian theme and our friend Trish’s boyfriend, Tony, catered and provided the entertainment. We’re the ones at a party usually imitating the wallpaper but last night, we chatted with Shannon’s next door neighbors, who informed us that Oregon is much hotter than So Cal. Who knew?! I also got to eat dinner with an old friend who used to work with us, Lucy. She’s the nicest person you’d ever want to meet. I always strive to be like her because she’s always cheerful and sees the best in people. To Mare-the-Cynic, this is alien thought. Anyway, after dinner came the entertainment. Trish’s daughter, Noe, and several other folks who do competitive Hawaiian dancing came with their band and danced for us. Unfortunately, our little digital camera and The Husband’s camera phone didn’t do such a great job in the twilight but here’s a pic or two.

They were great-so much fun to watch and listen to-and they even got me up and dancing (I use that term lightly!). Too bad it was too dark by then for The Husband to record that for posterity (NOT!).

The dinner was yummy and the cake yummier! The Husband got to try a Hawaiian delicacy called a Spam Sandwich. No, really… Apparently in Hawaii, spam is a big thing. The Spam Sandwich is something like a California Roll with spam instead of sushi. So… A good time was had by all!

This morning, we were awakened by our organic alarm clock, Luna, the neighborhood cat, a little after 7. I needed to trim our bougainvillea, which was about to take over the neighbors yard and Happy Plant, a snail plant, that covers the side of our carport. Both these plants started life at Casa Carter as tiny green sprouts in little containers. Now they’re monsters from Planet Green-Invaders and I did valiant battle with them. Three garbage bags later, my legs and shoulders ached and I DESERVED a Big Mac.

So that’s my weekend. I feel a rant coming on. Or rather a dazzling essay on why health insurance is so bloody expensive and how I seem to be an unwitting culprit… Till then…

C’est la vie!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Rant on Red Light Runners, Damn Them!


Today I’m going to rant about red light runners. What’s their problem??!!?? Sometimes I’m waiting for a light to go green and then I have to sit and watch while as many as FOUR cars keep going through a RED turn filter. Studies have shown that red light runners aren’t showing rage or frustration--they’re just “in a hurry”. Well, for God’s sake, leave earlier or just be late!

Here’s a web site and organization that could use your help, if only by signing their federal petition to make the roads safer.

I read the article in Ladies Home Journal (believe me, they were preaching to the choir) and was shocked to find that most people who cause fatal traffic accidents by running red lights get a FINE and that’s ALL. What?!? This is reminiscent of the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving campaign years ago that finally brought America to it’s senses about bringing consequences to drunks who kill people by driving their cars while they’re absolutely freakin’ senseless. With red light runners, they have even less of an excuse than drunks!

Please sign the petition and get yourself some free bumper stickers while you’re at it. And quit runnin’ red lights!

C’est la vie!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paris or Bust!


I want to go to Paris. Here’s some prophetic dialogue I just read yesterday in High Wizardry, by Diane Duane: “It’s like a spell. You have to say the words every time you want the results.” That puts me in mind of the Law of Attraction, the reason I recently started a Paris book. It’s a journal that I’m adhering all things Paris/France in, to keep Paris at the top of my mind. I once heard about someone who wished and wished to go to Paris and they ended up in Paris alright--Paris, Indiana! This book is very specifically Paris, France, so the universe will not be confused about where I want to go.

Here’s a partial list of things I want to do in Paris:

Walk everywhere!
Find the burial places of Heloise and Abelard
The Louvre
The Musee D’orsay
Attend an organ concert at Notre Dame on a Sunday afternoon
Flea Markets!
Cruise the Seine
Window shop on the Champs-Elysees and The Left Bank
Eat at sidewalk cafes
Musee National Picasso
Moulin Rouge
The National Library

Let’s see, have I forgotten anything??? Ah, The Eiffel Tower! I hear it’s expensive and you stand in line for hours to actually go into the structure and up to the top, so I will content myself to stand nearby and marvel. And if I happen to get up to the top, preferably at night, I’ll literally thank my lucky stars.

The Husband has been to Paris… He’s not a big city person… Every time I mention Paris, his shoulders droop… He will be as much a challenge as finding the means to get there in the first place… I am not deterred.

C’est la vie!

Mare's Journey Begins


I'm going to start this personal journey by making a confession. The picture on my profile? Taken a long time ago when I was much thinner. I've struggled with my weight since my afterschool treat was white bread smeared with butter and dusted with sugar. I'm a Lifetime Weight Watcher twice over but I can't seem to get motivated right now. I either eat pretty well or exercise consistently, but never at the same time. The latest strategy--The Husband and I are walking again every night after Jeopardy and I'm trying to think of food as Fuel, not comfort or friendship or reward. This is really how I want to be treating eating for the rest of my life--I'm tired of being a slave to food. We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to be patient with myself but damn it, I want to fit into a certain flirty little skirt sometime soon!

Mare's Journey is the companion to my creative blog, Bear Chick's Journey. Hope you'll tune in to both once in a while to see where the journey's are taking me!