I’ll Take that Exam With a Side of Irony Please

10.1.13

Last night my son and I watched CNN as the US Government went into a partial shutdown. He looked worried that there would be mayhem on the streets so I reassured him by explaining that our Police and Fire Departments are funded with local money and it wouldn’t particularly affect him. I went on to explain that the kids who would be affected most would be the ones whose parents work for the federal government, they won’t be working.

I explained to him that there was an impasse with our budget and that Obamacare was a central point of contention. My boy’s exact words were, “I can’t believe that because they don’t want to give health insurance to homeless people they’ll stop paying the army.” He then walked away from the TV in disgust.

There was nothing I could do or say to make him less angry so we read some comic books side by side & called it a night. This morning we listened to NPR together. Jane didn’t give a shit, she’s got three homecoming dances in October. Skype and TopShop.com were taking all her concentration. I’m pretty sure her needs will be met shutdown or not.

This morning as the government shut down and the insurance exchange came alive I sat with physician to have my annual exam. Because we’ve opted into a concierge practice I had 90 minutes to talk about heart health (I’ve got a 1% chance of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years), lung health, cancer, my immune system and nutrition. It’s no secret that I adore my doctor both personally and professionally and he reassured me that we’d get my thyroid under control and that my cholesterol is fine, great even and I should keep enjoying my cheese and maintain a sugar free diet. He told me about five different times that sugar and processed foods need to be out of my diet as well as my children’s diets. We talked about the import of sex, rest and balance and we read through the results of a gazillion tests that I’d been given the week before.

I am lucky in that I have good insurance, great even, but in addition to the insurance Mr. G and I joined a concierge practice. My doctor has limited his practice to 500 patients (that’s still a lot) and we get a fairly detailed physical each year. We have a few other perks, like quick access to the doctor.

You see last Thursday Mr. G was in New York and leaving on a 6pm flight to Milan. At noon he knew that he was sick, really sick and we were able to get him on the phone with the doctor at a moment’s notice, have a prescription emailed and filled and then a courier delivered it to him with an hour to spare. Finding an English speaking physician on a weekend in Italy would not have been so easy.

You know what else is interesting? Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad just ended and for the three people who didn’t watch any of the show it’s about a mild mannered (schlubby even) science teacher who is diagnosed with cancer and needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for his treatments so he manufactures meth. Breaking Bad could only take place in America.

breaking bad canada

Also, I hate breast cancer awareness. I hate every part of it. Go read this and tell a friend.

Moderate Productivity and Trip Planning

01.28.13

Jane is home sick today. It’s brutal because I had the cold she’s developed and it lingered. Yesterday was the first day in ten that I was really able to exercise and I got punchy. Now I’m home watching her sleep, snort and snuffle. Since it’s really just a cold there’s nothing I can do but watch her and simmer soup.

It’s a horrible feeling for both of us.

I’ve put a pot roast in the Crock Pot. Yes, that’s right I said Crock Pot. My friend Mike swears that mothers who love their children never use a Crock Pot and judging by the cream of mushroom recipes out there I’d inclined to agree. But I need to have this thing simmering for six hours and I can’t stay home every second with Jane and I worry less about leaving an appliance plugged in than leaving an oven turned on. Also Crock Pots are good for making soup. So I’m going goyisha and trying this contraption with something other than a chicken carcass and hoping for the best. I do have pasta available as a back up plan in case of total failure.

I need desperately to dig into the medical bills.

$15,000 medical bill

 

Currently Cedars is expecting $15,000 from us in just 15 days which I find fascinating since our family out of pocket maximum is $4,000 for the family for the year. Of course it was easy to get a verbal “oops” from the kids at Cedars but I’m still looking to get that in writing. Of course I want to mark this as a rant pending on the state of healthcare and the ridiculousness of charging $36,000 for an outpatient surgery that the insurance will cover for $5,000.

At the same moment I’m planning a couple of trips. I’m off to Australia to speak at the Healthivate Conference in March but it would be unthinkable to travel half way around the globe and not see the Great Barrier Reef so I’m planning a side trip to Cairns and seeking out a small liveaboard vessel. Of course that means I need to SCUBA dive and I’ve never done that. It’s a good thing I live near the ocean because I see a PADI certification class in my future.

I also see begging in my future. This looks like an expensive hobby.

Can you recommend a liveaboard around Cairns? The stories look alternately glorious and horrific with tales of unmatched beauty and overstuffed quarters. Of course the thing I’ve decided to worry about is the fact that I’ll need to read a book (the kind with paper and pages) instead of my Nook.

I’m also planning my return to the Amelia Island, only this time I’m bringing two 11 year old boys with me. Wish me luck.

 

#Unashamed and Strong for Life

02.17.12

I’ve thought long and hard about how to write a post about the #ashamed hashtag you’ve seen a lot of in the last week or two. In the event that you haven’t seen the discussion surrounding ashamed, let me bring you up to speed.

Earlier this year a Children’s Hospital in Georgia started a campaign revolving around childhood obesity. I’ve posted some of their videos here and here. In addition to incredibly powerful videos there are billboards that accompany them. The billboards and videos feature real life overweight children talking about the real life issues that obesity causes. The issues are social (loneliness) and physical (heart disease, diabetes and more). The videos (watch them) are presented with neither judgment nor over dramatization. The fact that these children are in physical and emotional pain is dramatic enough, nothing more is needed.

strong4life ashamed

There is a campaign to have the Children’s Hospital take down these billboards, the belief is that these billboards bring shame to children who are fat. Many top bloggers are bothered by these ads. Leading the charge is Leah Segedie.

Leah Segedie, who is the brains behind Mamavation, finds these ads to be riddled with shame. Leah is undoubtedly an authority in the weight loss arena as she battled depression along with her weight and has had a wonderful lifestyle change. She lost a hundred pounds and found her voice. Leah would be the FIRST person I would talk to if I needed a lifestyle overhaul. Leah is also an incredibly compassionate and passionate woman, she is bright and articulate, she is educated and she is charismatic. You get the picture? Leah is a woman I respect, enjoy and look up to. As a rule I do not call her judgment into question.

The women behind the #ashamed movement have it wrong. I don’t believe for a single solitary second that an ad campaign will make these children feel ashamed for being overweight. I believe with all my heart that the fat that’s covering these children’s bodies might make them ashamed. It should be noted that the fat covering their bodies also makes them ill and it’s much easier to die of diabetes or heart disease than of shame. Further, these ads are empowering. In the state of Georgia 40% of the children are overweight. Georgia is at the heart of the obesity epidemic and it’s imperative that they become forerunners in the fight against obesity.

By talking about fat, rather than whispering, some of the stigma has to leave. It’s not like no one can see. I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last two years, everyone can see it. If I only talk about it while whispering in private it’s not like people won’t notice. One of the many goals of this campaign is to have parents actually acknowledge that their children are overweight. It’s not baby fat, it’s just fat.

Having too much fat on your body is a medical issue. Yes, it can become a social one, and yes, it can be emotionally crippling. Not talking about the fact that children are overweight won’t stop them from hurting. Not discussing the fact that adults are robbing children of their health when they don’t provide proper nutrition and exercise won’t make anyone thinner or healthier.

When I was a teen everyone was worried about self esteem. There was this ridiculous notion that every child should feel good about themselves. Ted Bundy had incredibly high self esteem. What was missing was giving children the opportunity to feel good about themselves by presenting them with tools to reach the goals they wanted to achieve. The whole give a man fish or teach him to fish thing. If you don’t want children to feel ashamed let’s give them a reason to feel proud, give them a goal they can reach like walking a mile or riding their bike to school for a week. Teach kids to put together a healthy lunch or how to stop eating before you’re full and then to wait twenty minutes before eating again. If you want children to feel good give them some tools, forget advocating against healthcare workers who are trying to save lives.

Some feelings will be hurt. I assure you those feelings were hurt long ago, and if it takes an ad campaign in a region where children are gifted disease by their diets then so be it. I say let’s have hurt feelings, because the folks who are going to look at these commercials and feel like they’ve been sucker punched are going to be the parents. The kids already knew how they felt, it’s not a mystery to them.

I support Strong4Life and I’m sad that we’ve reached this place. I hope that Georgia can be the canary in the coal mine for all of us and that we can all love our children enough to make changes that will keep everyone living happier, fuller lives. Every part of me believes the women behind #ashamed have their hearts in the right place. I think they just missed the point.

Obamacare, The Republican Diet and Comedy that Writes Itself

12.28.11

It’s no secret. I’m bugged about healthcare. Much like our elected officials I have no solution but I have grave concerns. I’m so concerned I’ve actually vlogged about it recently at Momversation and I’m pretty sure that at least one of you has faced bankruptcy due to medical bills.

I didn’t really know how to introduce this video because with 2012 being an election year I worry about beating this very important horse to death.

Then I remembered that we can talk about anything incessantly as long as it’s funny. What could possibly be funny about the fact that Americans are drowning in debt and that’s leaving us unhealthy?

This postcard came in today’s mail, I’m assuming it’s because I’m a registered Republican.

republican diet

I

Healthcare

12.11.11

The numbers are staggering. We have very good insurance, and I’m grateful for that. I’d like you all to see what it costs to live with RA and Mr G’s totally routine outpatient shoulder surgery.

This is one calendar year of healthcare costs for a family of four in one of the richest nations in the world.

family_of_four_healthcare_costs_for_one_year

I’m speechless.