Saturday, March 27, 2010

Justa coupla things....

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....


rastronomicals said...


Switch to decaf dude.

Just a suggestion, but . . . .

I spent five years trying to track down heart palpitations and general tachycardial episodes. With no insurance, spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and no-one ever found anything.

I still have occasional symptoms, but they've gone way way down now that 90% of the coffee I drink is decaf.

I love coffee--in the morning, hell during the day, you need something to sip at, not to chug, and there's nothing like the bitterness of coffee for that. I drink mine iced, with milk no sugar, boom, the best.

But we definitely underestimate coffee's power. It's an alkaloid, man, like nicotine codeine and morphine, not to be trifled with. So you drink six cups a day and your heart goes bananas, surprise.

I think the body gets to the point where the more you drink, the *lower* the threshold for caffeine poisoning gets. After you drink enough, it doesn't even take a lot of the stuff to bring on overdose symptoms.

Like with nicotine, I could never live with a no caffeine rule, but what I have done is cut way down, switched to decaf, kept my cokes to one a day, maybe allow myself a caffeinated drink once or twice a month.

I promised myself I wouldn't throw any more money away chasing these phantom heart symptoms, but with Mr. Obama's pet project having passed, maybe I'll be able to have another look taken . . . for my 50th birthday.

rastronomicals said...

PS '62 Mets were 40-120. I'm with you on the Nets: no guts no glory, Holmes.

"Criminal lack of willingness" cracked me up thanks.

tad said...

R: Thanx 4 the tip on the caffeine. U could B right. I've cut back on the sugar, which I still think is the real White Devil, but....
I drink A POT of coffee, 3 big cups, B4 I go 2 work. I won't even TRY 2 drive w/o 2 cups in me. Then I'll hava 1/2-cup of hot chocolate when I get 2 work, & THEN I feel like I can face the world -- that's usually about 4 hrs after I wake up....
As the day goes on I'll have another soda or 2 outta the fountain, or water, & almost always another hot-chocolate jolt around 10 pm. I'm almost always drinking something while working -- rarely I'll have fruit juices or a V8.
I've always said if I've gotta quit coffee they might as well shoot me. Lately, if I can have that 1st cup (now with "only" 2-1/2 heaping tablespoons of sugar) while sitting in the sun, NOTHING works better 2 wake me up & make me feel all's right w/ the world. Like the commercial sez: "The best part of waking up...."

I KNEW U'd have the right info on the Mets. I flubbed that 1. & I guess the '76ers actually went 9-73 in their record yr.
I C that the Nets have now won 2 inna row, headline in my local paper was "Nets the happiest 9-63 team ever."
Like I really care about basketball. Football & hockey useta B my sports, B4 I OD'd on them or something. Closest thing U could get 2 poetry on TV. But don't get me started....

Not that I want 2 turn this in2 "Old guys discussing their ailments," but I hadda panic attack at work near the Nd of my 4mer career (2 days after my 40th birthday) that I thot was a heart attack, & I hope it's as close as I ever get 2 the real thing. If I had that sorta thing (or NEthing close 2 it) happening 2 me regularly, I'd sure as hell wanna get it checked-out, & damn the cost.

...I think this whole health-care-reform thing has bn a Big Disappointment. I had hopes 4 the Public Option, which I thot just sorta meant military-style health-care 4 those who can't afford more, & that didn't scare me much.
Thanx 4 commenting, as always.... -- TAD.