Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Quiet Day at Home

Here we are -- Saturday. Ben is off at the Diocesan Convention for the day and I am sitting here just enjoying the luxury of not having to go anywhere or do much of anything. I would rather be doing it with Ben, but a down day is just what I need. Last night we attended the Diocesan banquet where the guest was the presiding Bishop of the ECUSA. It was very nice to be included in this event through the efforts of one of the local priests -- all I had to do was stand at the door and collect dinner tickets -- a whopping 20 minutes of "work" and then I got to enjoy the rest of the evening. It was great to be out in a public setting with my sweetheart and no one had a problem with it. Perhaps the Episcopal Church is the place to be.

Yesterday I got the bill for my recent overnight stay in the hospital. The bill was over 5600 bucks. I will be following up with the hospital social workers seeking some relief from this bill. Either that or they will be getting 10 dollars a month for the next 50 years.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Update

Hi all. Well, yesterday was the big day -- got to meet the new doc! Let's say this -- I wondered what he'd look like an a leather harness and chaps LOL. Seriously though he seems to very nice, caring, knowledgable, and right on top of all the latest technology. He has a paperless practice. The first thing I noticed when entering the office was the total absence of those banks of lateral files bursting with the file folders with the multicolor lettered tabs. All the charts and information are computerized. The receptionist (his wife) entered all my info into the laptop, took me and it back to the exam room and entered my vitals. Then the doc came in with his thinkpad thingy. He clicked buttons and punced away with his stylus. He even punched in a few things and in the blink of an eye had the records from my recent hospital visit. And then to top it off, he zapped my prescription to the pharmacist -- again no paper. It was so 21st century -- a little more technology and it will be StarTrek revisited. On to more important matters, he changed a medication and recommended a couple of tests. The good thing was that he left most decisions up to me based on my lack of insurance. He said that if I had insurance, I could have this test and that test etc. It makes me wonder again about our health care system. We can spend trillions of dollars on a war that 1) makes no sense and 2) is unwinnable, but we can't take care of the people in this country who do not have health insurance or gobs of money. Ah well, perhaps after the 2008 elections we can do a little something.

Anyhow, I am now in the care of a competent health care provider, on new meds, and hopefully on the road to a long and healthy life. Of course......with THIS doctor, I wouldn't mind a few office calls (LOL). Thanks for all the concern and kind thoughts. Hug someone!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Milestone

Well, today I did it. I called the doctor to whom I was referred following my recent hospital escapade. I figured out that it's a bit better to be in debt than to be in the ground. I spoke at length to the doc's business manager (his wife)and explained my situation (no insurance, no money, etc), but this doctor is new in practice and is more concerned with patient health than with rapid payment -- isn't that noble? He also makes house calls for a few select elderly patients and treats folks at a couple of nursing homes 30-50 miles away. Sounds like a good guy. Watch for details next week -- perhaps this will be a good thing - we shall see....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Adventure or A Misadventure

Well, this week I have had an encounter with our ever failing medical system and I am both pleased and furious. Yesterday morning I awoke feeling like crap -- kind of dopey and having intermittent strong chest pains. I, being me, decided to tough it out and let it pass and off I went to work. About half way to work the pain was mid-level on the 1-10 pain scale, but I pressed on. The pain subsided, but left me feeling bad. I ended up leaving work at lunch time (actually I went to lunch and could hardly stand the sight of food)and headed home. The pains were back though not quite as severe. As I sat at home worrying the heck of Ben, I finally decided that these pains had lasted long enough. I sought out a "doc in a box" (also called an urgent care clinic). Walking in the door cost me $90! Add to that a $50 EKG, and I was instructed very strongly to go to the ER. Well, I was worried enough that I actually did just that. The pleased feeling I referred to above was born out of the attitude and care I received at the clinic and at the hospital. Everyone I encountered with the exception of the receptionist at the clinic was considerate and compassionate, seeking to identify the source of suffering. The other side of the coin is the constant questions about my regular physician and my health care history. I am one of the ever growing thousands with no health insurance in this country. I don't even want to think about the hospital bill I racked up -- two more EKGs, a stress test, a couple of blood tests, and chest Xrays (just for starters) plus the cost of overnight hospitalization. The good news is that they didn't find anything wrong with my heart. The bad news is that they didn't find anything wrong. Yet, I sit here feeling mediocre, not knowing why, and facing a mountainous medical bill. Add to that a day and a half off work. And then there were the discharge instructions to -- you guessed it -- follow up with local doctors. Somewhere someone doesn't get it. If I could afford (with or without insurance) to do that, I would have been doctoring all along and never would have been in ER. To those who have good insurance and are opposed to nationalized health care -- think again! Oh, it is true that I could right now have some kind (not very good) health insurance, but the premiums are prohibitive. Why is it that in the "most advanced country in the world" people have to make choices between paying the rent or going to the doctor? Why is it that we can spend mulitple trillions on senseless wars, but we deny our needy children the care they need? Can someone explain it to me, so that I will be able to tell my grandson about the good old days when people cared?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Long Past Due Post

Well, it's been a good while since my last post. By the time I get through the workday, I am sick of any computer activity that requires serious thought. It is Saturday morning and Ben is at work. I will pick him up later and head to my "niece's" wedding. Now -- niece is in quotes because 1) she is the daughter of my sister-in-law (a blended family), 2) I hardly know the girl (probably seen her about three times in her life and then only briefly, 3) I don't particularly like her and really don't like her mother, and 4) I'm not big on hetero weddings when there are millions of loving same gender couples who are denied this basic right. In case you can't tell, I really don't look forward to going. But it is a family obligation so off we go. At least Ben is going with me and no one seems to have a problem with that. If anyone does, they will have to get over it. By the way, we (Ben and I) will not be doing the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance.

I discovered something about people yesterday as I stood in an inordinately long line at McDonalds. I learned again about "personal space". It was fun watching people get in line, leaving a two to four foot gap between people. Every once in a while, a person would break ranks and move a bit closer. It was funny watching the reactions to such invasions. People shifted, glanced nervoulsy and so on, but people didn't seem to speak to each other. It appeared that the women in line were more willing to close the gap than the men. As I pondered all this, I realized too how few people anymore know their neighbors beyond the possibility of an occassional perfunctory wave. Where is the togetherness that we should be experiencing? Are we all up tight, too busy, frightened, incapable of social intimacy, or what? How sad!

On a bright note, it appears after record heat earlier in the week, Fall has arrived. It was down in the 30s last night and only in the 50s and low 60s the past few days. That simply means that winter is around the corner.

Anyhow, that's what new in my world, how about yours? Hug someone!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Axe Swings Again

If you read my recent post about being a temporary employee, etc., today was the epitome of what I meant in that post. This week has been Customer Service Appreciation week at work and we have had different theme days, food, contests, and other events to celebrate quality customer service. This afternoon, in the midst of all this hoopla, two of my close co-workers and good friends get the proverbial axe. One of them had just won a small prize in the raffle drawing. Go figure. Thankfully, I managed once again to escape the swinging axe, but one of the folks that got it has been here two years. And of course, the ones who yak all day, take excessive smoke breaks, and generally goof off are still here. How does that compute? Doesn't make sense to me, but then I am neither employer or client, so for the time being I keep on doing my job. That's a little hard to do with a positive outlook in light of that ever present axe. EEK!

Monday, October 01, 2007

What Do You Think?

I have been working my temp job since January and it looks as though it might continue for the foreseeable future. This is good news, especially on payday and when the bills are due. However, the fact remains that, since it is a temp job, any day could well be my last. I live with that eventual probability on a daily basis. I know that is one of the down sides of temp work. The temp-ermance (How's that for a word?) of it is a known factor and I accept that. That is not my issue. The issue at hand is that the company where I am working keeps talking about being a team, and about "world class service" and all that happy stuff. We are expected to be prepared for internal and external audits. They plan "events" like potlucks, dress up days, dress down days, theme days, and more. They treat us in many respects as permanent employees -- BUT we are not permanent any more than snow is permanent on the ground. People wonder why I question the need to be ready for audits or why I care less about dressing up to impress some corporate bigwig who will never happen down my row anyway. If they are going to treat us in actions and expectations as permanent employees, then why not hire us and give us a reason to give a crap about their goals of "world class service."? Why doesn't the leadership recognize the skill sets we bring to their business? When is an employee not an employee? When it suits the business. I won't say "employer" because my employer of record is the temp agency through whom I work. That's the company that should be expecting things of us and including us in things -- not their client! That's the way I feel, and today I feel it as much as anything? What do you think?