EXCESSIVE EXPOSURE CAN BE LETHAL

EXPOSURE | DAILY POST


It’s Inauguration Day. In other years, I’d be watching the festivities. This isn’t a normal year and I am not watching.

I cannot watch. To do so would feel as if I were giving credibility when in reality, I feel betrayed. I want merely to crawl under a rock and wake up to discover it was just a bad dream.

Maybe these next years will not be as awful as I expect. Maybe they will be great, but I doubt it. I’m looking at the incoming cabinet, a bunch of billionaires and sycophants with no experience and even less moral fiber.

180-not-going-no-douglas-19012017_021

Maybe you can watch this travesty, but I can’t and won’t. Exposure? I will have more than enough of that in the months and years to come. I’ll skip this day. And hope it’s not as bad as I fear. Even more, I hope it isn’t worse than I can imagine.

YOU ARE NOT COST-EFFECTIVE. PLEASE DIE.

OR, BECOMING PART OF THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC RESISTANCE


If you have asthma or any kind of chronic medical problem that requires continuing care and medication, that’s the message you are getting. We have had a brief interruption during which almost everyone had access to at least basic medical resources. You could go to a doctor, get some medicine. Have your cancer removed, your broken leg treated. Now … well … who knows what lies ahead.

If you’re on Medicare, that’s the message you’ve been getting for several years. They’ve been chipping away at the benefits. Fewer dollars for medication. Fewer covered medications. Deeper deductibles for tests of all kinds. The out-of-pocket costs for an MRI or CAT-scan are beyond us. Garry hasn’t had any big medical issues, but I’ve had enough for both of us. Yet, I turned down a cancer CAT-scan last year because I didn’t have the $450 co-pay … and I’ve had cancer twice, so it wasn’t a decision made lightly.

medicare__estelle_carol___bob_simpsonMedicare doesn’t cover eyeglasses, dentures, dental care of any kind … or asthma daily inhalers. Those are the inhalers that keep you from needing emergency treatment. In the 1990s, when my asthma finally got bad enough to require treatment, a daily inhaler cost (without insurance) about $75. Not cheap, but doable. One day, about two or three years ago, the same Advair inhaler shot up to more than $500 a month. Medicare will only pay for about $12 of the total price. Although they are not paying for it, they will charge the entire price of the medication against my annual drug benefit of about $2800.

Let me repeat that because you probably think it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. If a drug costs $535 per month and Medicare contributes $12, they charge all $535 against the annual drug benefit. The amount of that benefit has been dropping each year while medication prices have soared. This makes sense only if the real goal is to kill older generation as quickly as possible.

In another bizarre but real piece of anti-intuitive reasoning, if you are prescribed a medication, towards the cost of which Medicare pays not a penny, and you pay for it out-of-pocket, Medicare still charges the entire price of the prescription against your total benefit.

It’s a lose-lose-lose. If you don’t get any medication, you will have trouble breathing. If you do get the medication, it’ll break your bank and will burn through your benefits, even though Medicare isn’t contributing anything towards the cost.

It’s true. Absurd, but true.

medicare confusion

I am not cost-effective. I have not the slightest doubt that my compassionate government would prefer I cast off my mortal coil and stop costing them money. Never mind that over a lifetime of work, Garry and I paid enough taxes to fund a small country. Our contribution vastly exceeded any amount we will get back. And we aren’t exactly free-loaders now. We continue to pay income taxes, excise taxes, as well as some hefty property taxes. And Medicare, while not expensive, is not free.

Ever since I turned 65, it’s been downhill.

The day I turned 65, I was dumped by MassHealth (Medicaid). I hoped I’d be protected by my disabled status. I’d been on disability for years which was why I was entitled to MassHealth.

Medical marijuanaNo problem getting around that. Social Security simply reclassified me, eliminating my disabled status. Poof — I’m just old, not disabled. They switched me to standard Social Security, so I get the same monthly check —  but without the extra medical protection conferred by disability. They also lowered the poverty guideline so we no longer qualify for any extra help on anything — not fuel, medication, electricity, nothing. Because apparently when you turn 65, your costs go down … or anyway, that’s the reasoning.

We’ve outlived our usefulness, so how come we aren’t dead? Why do we stubbornly cling to life? Obviously if we cared about our fellow humans, we’d get out of the way.

Meanwhile, my doctor found some samples of asthma medication that if I’m lucky, will keep me breathing for another 6 months. I expect it will get much worse. As of today, we have a president — if you want to dignify him with that title — dedicated to making the lives of everyone whose life is already difficult, worse. Compassion, common decency, basic fairness? What? Huh?

medicine wheel 8

Today was the first time, I learned being a Democrat is now being part of “the emerging Democratic resistance.”

I have to admit being part of an emerging Democratic resistance sounds much better — far more romantic — than merely being old, sick, poor — and not Republican. Maybe they’ll write books about us. Sing ballads. Talk about how brave we were right up until the moment when they put us up against the wall and shot us.

Where is Earnest Hemingway when we need him?

LOGAN AIRPORT, BOSTON – CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Public Transportation


Locally, public transportation consists of feet. Yours. Mine. That guy over there. All of these pictures were taken at Logan Airport in Boston. Because there’s nothing more publicly transporting than an airport in a major city. Or, as Douglas Adams said: “No one has ever said ‘As beautiful as an airport.'” Because airports are nerve-jangling, hard-edged places designed for no one’s convenience or comfort. The best you can say for an airport is “not too bad.” Which, for an airport, is pretty good.

300-bw-logan-airport-gate-01042016_11

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge

WORK. THE CURSE OF THE LEISURE CLASS.

OVERWORKED | THE DAILY POST


Once upon a time in a life long ago, I worked hard. I don’t know if you could call it overworked. I never felt I had more work than I could do — if only they would let me get to it instead of using half my day in useless meetings. I always did the best job I could and worked as many hours as I needed to meet my deadlines while maintaining quality.

Blogging is the closest thing I do to “real” work these days, but I don’t get paid and I don’t have a boss, unless you count me. I’m not such a bad boss, except I don’t believe in sick days. Even with a doctor’s note.

72-Road-Work-Autumn-Uxbridge_004

I think most of us who have worked in offices of one kind or another are mentally abused by micro-managing bosses who have never had to perform the work they are supervising.

I don’t know if that makes us overworked. I think it is closer to mistreated. The work is the easy part. Dealing with the unrealistic demands, bad manners, and a myriad absurd rules and regulations turns what ought to be a profession, into a nightmare.

72-Traffic-Road-071416_10

I’ve had a lot of bad bosses. Micro-managers and backstabbers. The plain cursedly mean ones whose main joy in life is making others miserable. The little emperors and empresses who think they have the right to rule your every breath.

I’ve had great bosses too. Managers who appreciated good work and believed it was their responsibility to help get the job done. To remove the obstacles and make work rewarding. When you’ve got a good boss, you can actually look forward to work. You don’t start dreading Monday morning on Friday evening. Thinking about work doesn’t give you a stomach ache and a migraine. It’s rare, but it can happen. Work doesn’t have to be a thankless grind. It just is and far too often.

To all the great bosses I’ve had, thank you.

To the rest? If there’s a Hell, I hope you have to work for yourself.

BEDTIME, CLOSETS, AND TINY SHAMPOO BOTTLES – SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – January 16, 2017


Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I close them if I remember. For aesthetic reasons. Otherwise, I don’t honestly care. The last time I expected a monster in my closet, I was maybe five? Besides, I had a real life monster in the house. We called him “dad.”

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?

When I traveled more, I did because travel-sized shampoo and conditioner is a useful thing to have on the road. Now that traveling is a rarity … and because I’m very picky anyway about what I use on what’s left of my hair, I only take something if I like it enough that I think I’ll actually use it. I really am a minimalist. I won’t take it just because it’s there unless I have an actual purpose in mind.

What is your usual bedtime?

Whenever whatever show we are bingeing on reaches a point where we can bear to let go of it. Right now, it’s “Doc Martin” (BBC) on Netflix and I find myself actually getting involved with these strange characters in that lovely Cornish town. We don’t go to bed early and we don’t get up early.

75-bedroom-south_14

We go to bed whenever we get there, usually sometime between half past midnight and two in the morning. When we actually go to sleep? For me, it depends on how involved I am with the book I’m reading and for Garry, what movies he has recorded on the bedroom DVR. Sometimes, the dawn is peaking over the trees.

There aren’t a lot of “ups” to senior citizenship … but the freedom to go to bed and get up on your own schedule is definitely one of them.

Do you like to use post-it notes?

A Blogger's Whiteboard

A Blogger’s Whiteboard

No. I’m a whiteboard devotee.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

Does a note on a card count? No? Then … I have no idea. A long time ago.

Any phobias?

Spiders. Other bugs, too. Crawly things make me go totally mental.

How tall are you?

That’s a matter of opinion. I think I’m tall, but I never quite hit 5’5″ (165 centimeters) and now, I’m somewhere between 5’1″(155.5 centimeters) and 5’3″ (161.5 centimeters). That may depend on whether or not I’m standing up straight. I slouch.