THE REAL COST OF HEALTH CARE is stunning, w/ health-care re4m or not. & I'm 1a those 30 million people who doesn't have/can't afford health insurance.
I went 2 C a doctor this past wk, 4 the 1st time since I got outta the Air Force in 1992. I wanted 2 get a physical/check-up, I'm 50, I've got some minor little concerns, & the last time I got looked-at I was 32 & knew everything was working pretty well.
These days I'm wondering why I'm ALWAYS tired, why I can't sleep ENUF, if the massive amounts of coffee I drink (& the TRULY massive amounts of sugar I take w/ it) might B coming back 2 get me. I'm wondering why it takes me 4EVER 2 wake up & so long 2 wind-down 2 sleep at nite, why it Cms like I NEVER wake-up on cloudy days -- or all winter. I'm wondering why my legs so often feel numb or achey or cramped (EZ, I'm on my feet 8+ hrs/day). Is this just what Growing Older feels like? I mean, I dunno. So....
Cost me $100 up-front 2 C the doc, which I was actually OK w/. Other places wanted 2wice as much. He Cmd a Good Guy, sharp, knew his stuff. & we talked 4 about 45 mins, which I thot was pretty amazing. I think we talked over almost everything that was on my mind, + the nurse who checked me in told me I had the blood-pressure #'s of a 35-yr-old, so overall I felt a lot better, comforted.
The doc knew I had no medical insurance at all, so he immediately dropped the idea of lining me up 4 a colonoscopy, which he said he'd normally recommend 4 some1 my age. (Ugh. & do they use a wide-angle lens w/ that camera? Never mind, I'm sure I don't wanna know.)
NEwho, he printed-out a list of about a dozen routine tests he wanted 2 run on me, 2 C if I might B pre-diabetic or possibly anemic. Some day when I could face the traffic on nothing but black coffee, he invited me 2 come back & the lab'd take some blood & a urine sample & he'd get back 2 me a coupla days later & let me know if they found NEthing significant.
I'd bn advised when I learned how much it was 2 C the doc that if I called the medical conglomerate's billing office I could get 40% off NE future tests, so naturally I called them & asked if there was NE way 2 know up-front how much these tests might cost me.
Estimate: Just short of $900.
If I could pay them within 30 days they'd drop the cost by 40%, down to about $525.
& again, this was just 4 a buncha routine tests, just 2 C if I'm actually healthy & just kidding myself about NE weirdness, just 2 put my hypochondriacal self at-ease.
I started laffing uncontrollably, Bcos THERE'S NO WAY. If I was BLEEDING FROM MY EYES I wouldn't B able 2 afford this stuff.
MayB if I dropped my rent, food budget, junk-food budget, gas budget & used-music-&-book budget 4 the next 3 mo's & lived under a bridge I might B able 2 swing it. My income-tax return already went 2 other stuff (new cheap washer, new cheap lawnmower....). MayB the doc lined me up 4 this 2 C if I was SERIOUS?
The operator at the med office Cmd 2 get the msg from my howling laffter & offered 2 send me a financial-aid package. I've looked at it. It looks like yr basic loan application, basing yr possibilities on yr gross income B4 yr bills, & offering no odds on approval. I hava lotta overhead & past bills that there's not even room 2 mention on this 4m. I am not hopeful.
So 4 awhile I was thinkin mayB I'd just bite the bullet & plow on until something REALLY backs up or I'm really in pain. After all, I'm still functioning. More or less. MayB not like I did at 35, or even at 45. But I'm still here. & I've already cut back on the sugar by 1/2. But not the coffee....
Then my girlfriend reminded me that as a military separatee I could probly get looked-at thru the Veterans' Administration.
I don't know why I didn't think of that -- mayB cos I Got Out so long ago & I've tried so hard 2 put most of it Bhind me.
& Bcos I'm senile, of course....
I called the local VA Hospital about 35 miles down the rd from me. They said they Rn't sure if I qualify 4 their svcs & they won't know 4 sure til they look at my separation paperwork, but most likely I DO qualify 4 at-least SOME svcs, & based on my current income, NE work they do on me would likely B on a sliding scale.... Which means if I qualify, NE work I have done will at least partly B paid-4 by YOUR TAX DOLLARS.
Hahahaha. Now that's what I call REFORM.
Not sure if I'm gonna go ahead w/ this, tho whatever the VA can offer has GOTTA B cheaper than $900, or even $525. But if I've gotta go 2 Tacoma 2 fill-out paperwork, I'm gonna make a Day of it, hit the good used-bookstore, dump off some music I can't hear, make it worth the trip & the gas $$$.
I'll keep U posted. But my point was: Cheezus, health care is crazy Xpensive. Thank Ghod I don't have NEthing life-threatening. Just a few dozen minor complaints....
GUNNING FOR THE RECORD: I'm not mucha a sports fan NEmore, but I C the New Jersey Nets hava shot at turning-in the worst NBA season-record EVER, eclipsing the old futility record set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia '76ers (who went 8-72 or something that yr).
All the Nets have gotta do is lose 10 of their last 12 games. Should B EZ, right?
If I were sitting on the Nets' bench, I'd B gunning 4 the record. If U're gonna B really bad, B RECORD-BREAKING BAD. Don't waste the season. Nobody remembers who was 2nd-worst ever. If yr gonna B terrible, go 4 the record books. That's a record I could get Bhind & cheer 4. Seriously.
Remember a few yrs back when the Detroit Tigers were within reach of the 1962 New York Mets' record 4 worst MLB season ever (42-120)? If I'd bn in the Tigers' dugout I'da bn urging my teammates 2 throw the games. Again: If yr gonna B really bad, don't waste it. B the Worst Ever. At least get SOMETHING outta a terrible season -- yr name in the record books! Salvage something from the humiliation. Other than a paycheck.
But the Tigers couldn't bite the bullet. They Nded-up merely the 2nd-worst ever. Not much applause 4 that.
I C the "Nots" have already won 1 of their final dozen games & may Nd up dodging the record, & I think that's 2 bad. I think it shows a real lack of courage. A criminal lack of willingness 2 join basketball's Hall of Shame. They could B the Bob Ueckers, the New York Mets of basketball. (Didn't the San Diego Clippers hava run at that title awhile back?)
Who wouldn't B ... honored ... 2 wear a title like that?
...My outlook here may stem from the fact that I was always a klutz at sports while growing up, & back in my newspaper daze I always had more fun covering the losers than the winners -- & THEY Cmd 2 B having more fun, 2.
Summa my fave stories ever were the 1's about the intramural baseball team of Brits who lost every single 1 of their 18 games & hoped 2 at least have the rules of "American baseball" down by the next season; or the AF volleyball team who lost nearly every game, Nded up in the cellar, & had players go on-leave rather than face another loss....
But I got warped in this area WAY back. Someday I'll tell U the story of how in junior-high I helped my team lose a basketball relay by missing at least 37 consecutive shots at the 2nd hoop (after getting the 1st 1 on the 1st try), still standing there making shots in an MT gym as the relay Nded & everybody headed 2 the showers w/o me....
I think it was probly at that Xact moment that I Bcame a reporter, put here 2 watch other people do fun things & then write about them. U do NOT want 2 hear this story....