DIDN’T MOST AMERICANS HAVE MEDICAL COVERAGE BEFORE OBAMACARE? REPEAL IS UP TODAY OR TOMORROW!

The HEALTH CARE REPEAL BILL is back. Again. Maybe you thought it was finished and were paying attention to other stuff? McConnell and his evil party are planning to vote on REPEAL tomorrow or Wednesday. I got this directly from Elizabeth Warren’s office a few minutes ago. This isn’t from an external news source. Straight from the Senate office, so if you thought you could relax, don’t.

Post your story! Anywhere. Everywhere. Now.


The original question on Quora was “didn’t a majority of Americans have medical coverage before Obamacare”?

I thought about the answer. This is one of those issues in which I had — still have — a gigantic personal stake. I’m one of those people who would never get insurance without laws forcing them to give it to me. Maybe a majority of working adults had medical coverage, but among those who were not — for whatever reason — working, mostly, they had nothing. This includes disabled people, old people, people injured and unable to return to work. And, of course, children.

We were among the group who no longer had medical insurance, although we’d had it before.

I was desperately ill. Massachusetts had not gotten its own medical care system yet and the U.S. had nothing, the situation to which it seems we will shortly return. I could be fixed, but no one would help me because I didn’t have insurance. I went from not well, to sicker, then even sicker. One day, I realized I was dying. For real. I was beyond sick. I felt as if the air was blowing through me and I was disappearing.

Someone told me about a doctor in Boston who might be interested. He was interested, but I had no insurance and no money. When it suddenly occurred to me that I really was dying, no kidding, I called the doctor. I said I was dying. He told me to come to the emergency room and he would take care of the rest. They took me in. I spent three weeks with a vitamin drip in my jugular vein trying to get me physically able for surgery. Then, he invented a surgery to fix me. It had never been done before and he warned me it might not work. I pointed out I had nothing to lose because I was going to die otherwise.

Anyway, after the surgery, my abdomen went septic and he had to call in the plastic surgery swat team. They performed another surgery, cutting out all the rotting skin on my abdomen and leaving me with a scar that looks like I was partially eaten by a shark. But I got better and a couple of weeks later, I went home. I only weighed 90 pounds and was warned that no matter how difficult it was, I had to eat. I needed to get back up to about 130 pounds. Which I did.

The hospital took care of the bill. I never paid for anything. Miracle number one.

Eventually I got Medicare — after finally getting disability. The process took almost four years. In between, I got cancer in both breasts and was fed a lot of poison and … then …

My heart failed. A lot of surgeries, later, I got more leases on life — and the hospital ate any expenses not covered by Medicare. They knew I couldn’t pay it. It is one of the things about dealing with large hospitals — they can manage catastrophes like me.

In the course of this period, Massachusetts got its own healthcare program and then there was Obamacare. By that time, I was already on Medicare.

I am alive. That I’m still breathing is amazing. This is just a brief overview — but before there was health care, if you weren’t absurdly lucky and just happened to have a brilliant doctor and a few top quality hospitals to lend you a hand, you would be dead. I could as easily be long gone by now.


Not having real health insurance is not politics: it is life or death.
It has nothing to do with how you vote. And as a reminder, the dead do not vote.

How did this stuff happen? How did we go from being good earners with high incomes to not having medical insurance and watching me slip from life to death?

I’m glad you asked.

I became too sick to work. My earlier job had fallen to bankruptcy. I was too ill to find new work. My husband had also stopped working. We had no money, no insurance, and I was dying. It is amazing how quickly a life can fall apart. It takes surprisingly little and ill-health is often where it begins. We thought we had enough — or soon would have enough — but when you are sick and uninsured, whatever money you put away disappears.

This is a “life accident.” You work. You’re doing fine. Your company goes bankrupt and you are not eligible for COBRA — assuming COBRA even exists. Some people lose jobs because they got old, or the company decides they will do better with younger, cheaper help. If you have a union, you might (at least) get some kind of payment to go with your pink slip. If not, you’re just old and unemployed and very unlikely to find equivalent — or any — employment. Because there aren’t that many companies looking to hire mature workers.

Your health insurance — assuming you had it — leaves when you leave and if your mate is part of your insurance, both of you are now without insurance. Sure, there are emergency rooms, but an ER won’t cure your cancer or repair your heart. If you have cancer and you do not have insurance, you are dead. Emergency rooms don’t take care of long-term illness. They might fix your broken leg — and send you the bill — but if you’ve got breast cancer? You’re done.

What kind of country are we building? What kind of world will this be if we have stripped the last hint of human kindness from our culture? What is wrong with compassion — even if it costs a little more? To me, this isn’t political. It’s humanity. It’s caring for others, including those you’ve never met.

That’s what compassion is.

EAU DE DOGGE – AND HOW SMART SHOULD A DOG BE?

The difference between two and three dogs is probably the smell … and of course, it is (naturally!) pouring.  Which definitely improved the fragrance.

And I don’t mean it’s raining a little bit. We don’t get trickles of rain. No drizzle. No fog. It is pouring. It has been doing that a lot recently.

We went to be about 1:30 in the morning with three dogs. I woke up at 6:42 this morning being told the original owners (the ones living in a truck) wanted their dog back.

I said “Back to the truck? They want to put Duke in the truck?”

She said she wasn’t happy about this and I said “Think of the dog. I’m pretty sure HE is not going to be happy about it either.” I told Garry and he was downright hostile. Meanwhile, what with the rain pelting down, we needed to push all three of them out the door. They were gathered by the door. Circling. Watching the rain fall. No one was going out.

I told them to go out. With Garry who was sufficiently pissed off and agitated to have gotten up too. They were reasonably amenable. The heavier rain was yet to come and it was only “just raining” as opposed to “pouring.”

Back to bed. Phone rang.

Previous Duke owner: “Never mind.  I got snappy about it and they said, well, okay, I suppose it must be nice for him to have a yard to play in.”

You think? I woke Garry. “The dog is back.”

“Right,” he said.

The phone rang again. This time, it was the bug guy reminding us he’ll be back tomorrow to spray for the damned ants. “Thank you,” I said and went back to sleep for another hour before I got that mental itch that told me it was time to be up and about.

The dogs were gathered in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs again. Watching the door suspiciously and circling. Obviously, they needed to go out. But they don’t like rain.

“Go OUT,” I said. “All of you. Out.” Duke ran upstairs and I chased him around the table in the living room until he fled to the door. Then they all tried to go out at once, which I swear is something they got from watching movies of circus dogs.

“One at a time, you dummies. One dog at a TIME.” I’m sure they do that on purpose to aggravate us.

There were toys everywhere, from front hall, up the stairs, and covering every piece of furniture and floor in the living room. And there was that unmissable “wet dog” smell … something I hadn’t sniffed since Bishop passed. It must be the difference between types of fur on the dogs. Duke has that longish fur while the Scotties have Terrier hair which isn’t fur and smells different. Not better, mind you. Just different.

I looked around, hoping it was just wet dog smell. My reward was that it was only wet dog, nothing more insidious.

About “dumb dogs.” Previous owners assured us Duke isn’t smart. In just about 12 hours, he has figured out how to do anything any other dog does without coaxing from us. So I have to ask what they think a smart dog is like? Do the smart ones have a manual with instructions they memorize? Can they do arithmetic? Calculus? Read in French?

He found the doggy door and can go in and out. Found the water, the toys. Though he has clearly demonstrated he can easily jump both the kitchen and hallway fences, after being firmly told “no,” he stopped trying., at least while I’m looking. I’m pretty sure he was in the kitchen at some point, probably because all the bottles on the floor were knocked over. At least he didn’t eat anything.

That’s smarter than most kids.

They told us he doesn’t like being petted but he doesn’t seem to want anything else and when we aren’t petting him, he waits patiently on the rug in front of us, looking at us searchingly for signs of petting to come. He has located the treat boxes, but hasn’t figure out how to open them. Yet.

How smart was he supposed to be?

FLOATY BOATY ODDBALLS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: July 23, 2017


I don’t know if you could really call these oddballs because I took them on purpose. I’m one of the people who goes in for minor surgery and wants a local so I can watch the screens while doctors do whatever they do. Okay, probably not for heart surgery, but for other, less life-and-death stuff. I wanted to watch them do my knee years ago, but they wouldn’t let me.

Bridge and controls

So here I am, on the boat. And there are all these exciting controls with colors, beeping, and chirping. You can see how deep the water is. See the sandbars. Figure out current, waves, water motion. That’s totally cool.

My favorite control
Let’s not go thirsty.

I took pictures. What else could I do?

JUST CALL HIM DUKE

Our granddaughter called.

“I probably shouldn’t ask this, but I’m going to ask anyway. I’ve got friends who have to find a home for their dog. How do you feel about another dog?”

“Male? Female? How big? House broken? How old?” I think she knew she had a sale because I wasn’t flat-out saying “no.” I was negotiating.

“Small. Boston terrier maybe crossed with a border collie? Just about a year old.”

“I’m pretty sure I can give you a solid ‘maybe’ on that. Garry’s at the grocery store and I don’t think he wants another dog … but he’d say probably say yes if you ask. Because you’re you and he’ll do anything for you.”

“True,” she said. Garry’s feelings about Kaity are not a big secret.

Garry and the dog and dog’s parents all arrived at the same time.

Duke the First

We had some minor negotiations. A lot of running around and playing. Lots of tongues hanging out. Play positions, a bit of yapping. No biting, no sulking. He figured out the doggy door by following Bonnie through it.

Kaity said: “Grandpa, you should give him a name. He’s never had a real name.”

Garry went outside to clean up the walk and came in the house.

“His name is Duke,” said Garry. We were getting another dog.

Duke never had a name and has grown up inside a truck. He wasn’t confined to the truck. The family who owned him lived in the truck, too. Eventually they gave the dog up for adoption and the people with whom he was living liked him, but their dog really didn’t. They had had a week of growling and serious biting and felt it wasn’t working out. Unable to get in touch with the adoption people, there was Kaitlin. And then, there was us.

This is a dog who, like Gibbs, never had the room to just run around and be a dog. He looks more like a Cavalier King Charles or a Shih Tzu crossed with a border collie. He has a rather eastern dog-face.

Tom Curley believes that when you need a dog, a dog will be there. I had been thinking that both dogs were now past 10 years old as I was cooking supper. A dog appeared. Magic!

One ear up, one ear down. And I have a feeling he’s a barker.

THE BIRTH OF A PHENOMENON – BY ELLIN CURLEY

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to be in on something, at the beginning, that becomes huge and enduring. My ex-husband, Larry, and I had that opportunity in law school from 1973-1975.

Larry started at Georgetown University Law School (GULC) a year ahead of me. In the spring of 1973, Larry, with a talented guy named Jack Marshall and a few other law students, got together and decided to put on a show. They picked the Gilbert & Sullivan show “Trial By Jury” – very appropriate for a law school. This was unusual. Law schools are not known to have many, if any, extra curricular, non-legal activities. Students are overworked and overwhelmed just trying to keep up with schoolwork.

Jack Marshall

Nonetheless, Jack and Larry’s group forged ahead. Jack was the director. They got a popular professor to star as the Judge. There wasn’t much rehearsal time and no marketing, but everyone involved had a great time. The performance was free, so it was hoped at least a few friends and family members of the cast would show up.

Six hundred people came to see the first show. The auditorium only held 200. People stood sardine-style in the aisles or sat on each other’s laps. The show was a smash! The Dean of the Law School said the show had bound the school community together in a unique way. He asked Jack to continue to produce shows until he graduated.

The next year, my first year in Law School during which I met my future husband, it was decided to try a more sophisticated performance. This show would have full sets, rented costumes and a large cast. Students, teachers and family members were recruited to do everything for the show, which was “The Pirates Of Penzance.” We ended up with a professional set designer and a professional seamstress volunteering their time.

I was in the chorus.

1974 “Pirates of Penzance“. I am in the purple dress, second from the left, second row

Larry was in charge of marketing. He had the brilliant idea to advertise the show in local papers and not just at the law school. Tickets were no longer free.

Jack was a brilliant director and the show was awesome. The cast was as close to professional as amateurs can get. We filled the auditorium for both performances. The cast and crew had a blast. The reviews were fantastic. The audiences were enthusiastic and the law school was thrilled. We made enough money to repay the school for what they had laid out for the production. We even had some money left over to put aside for the next year’s show.

That next show was “Iolanthe” and I was, again, in the chorus. This show became famous at the law school for a strange reason. William Rehnquist, who later became a Supreme Court Justice, loved Gilbert & Sullivan and came to our infamous dress rehearsal. It was an epic, four-and-a-half hour disaster. Everything went wrong. The set caught fire behind where I was sitting on the stage, and yet …

1975 “Iolanthe.” I am second row back, green dress behind the girl in pink dress

The actual performances turned out to be even more polished and well-received than the previous year. We made enough money to be self-supporting. A tradition was born.

Jack was hired by the Law School to stay on after graduation and keep the shows going. These shows have continued for 44 years. This is the only graduate student-operated theater company in the country. It also prides itself in being “America’s Only Theater Company With It’s Own Law School!”

The Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society (GG&SS) is part of the admissions office promotional material used to attract new students. The Company’s success and popularity over the years caused the law school to remodel the Moot Court Room which was being used as the theater. They turned it into a fully equipped, professional theater.

GG&SS logo

Over the years, shows and performances have been added to the repertoire. The GG&SS began producing three shows a year – a Broadway musical in the Fall, a straight play in the winter, and a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta in the spring. Each show gives at least four performances. The recruitment of cast and crew expanded to include the entire Washington, D.C. community as well as the law school. The productions are financed by Student Government.

The GG&SS is now an institution with its own history and fan base. Jack and his original crew are like rock stars at the Society. Stories about our first years are like folk-lore to each new batch of legal theater nerds.

In 2013, Jack Marshall came back and wrote and directed a 40th Anniversary alumni performed Gilbert & Sullivan revue. The current students also put on an anniversary production of “Trial By Jury.” A thousand alumni and fans came to see the four performances and celebrate the phenomenon that is GG&SS. Jack said that they were really celebrating that the law was unable to squeeze the humanity and fun out of generations of law students.

2013 40th Anniversary Playbill

It makes me happy and proud that I was there when all this began. I’m even in a photo of the 1975 “Pirates” cast on the website. Something that I was a part of has made a difference in people’s lives for more than four decades.

It’s still going strong. That says a lot.

ON THE EDGE IN THE MARINA – GARRY ARMSTRONG

ON THE EDGE – A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGES


To a degree, being in the water on a boat, you are always on the edge, but more so if you happen to be up on the bow, or back on the deck. And yesterday we were out and about. Very edgy.

By the water in the marina
Photo: Garry Armstrong