ObamaCare Certified AARP Health Care Professional Drama

medical emblem

My back is cold and I am lying here on the paper, looking up at the ceiling, and I know I have been in this room before.

How?  The tiles look very familiar, the Dr. walks in, “What is going on today Mr. Smith?”

I always like that, how they refer to me as “Mister Smith.”  A sign of respect, honor, dignity, something I am totally unaccustomed to, believe me.

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My Doctor Fired Me

Midweek I received a Registered Letter, well, I didn’t get the letter.  I was home and no one rang the doorbell, but I received a notice of a Registered Letter in my mailbox that said I was NOT home, so therefore it could not be delivered, but you see, I was home, and they could have delivered the thing, but I guess he was running late, so I had to drive down to the Post Office to pick up the letter that should have been delivered in the first place.

This is when I ran the stop sign that got me the “Safe Driving Award” from the police.  And then people wonder why I need all these medications to just make it through the day?  God Bless U.P.S. is what I say!  Ever wonder why it is, that we actually NEED the weekend?

Read on.

My only crime was trying to call my doctor, I swear, up and until then, that is all I had tried to do.  I had repeatedly called him, over and over, just trying to talk to the man, and I was handled by office personnel to the point of civil meltdown.  After my fifth attempt at communicating with my primary health care specialist on the Orange Team, I just kind of lost it.

This seems to be the catalyst or the ignition point of this sorry adventure in modern health care.  Because of my apparent rudeness and lack of good communication skills via the telephone company my doctor fired me.  He sent me a Registered Letter that basically said, “Tah-Tah, tootle-loo” I will see you and suggested that I find other treatment elsewhere.

Yes, I said my doctor fired me.

My single biggest disappointment for the week being I was simply not able to penetrate this estrogen wall of defense he had surrounded himself with, and that kind of hurt my pride.  Usually I make it through on the second or third go around.  That and the fact, that I no longer will have any “legal way” to fill my prescriptions is kind of eating on me like a pit bulldog at a mailman convention.

So now I find myself “medically unemployed” if there is such a thing.

Now I have two basic questions.

(1)  “If I was fired by this doctor, how come I was paying HIM large sums of money each month?”  It seems to me, that if he was my “employer” (with the power to hire and fire) that he should have given me some kind of termination or severance pay at the point where he issued the letter saying I should seek medical attention elsewhere.

(2)  Am I entitled to unemployment compensation at this point in time.

Health care in this country is pitiful and that is being somewhat generous in the description.  So now I have to start the whole insane process over and of course, I am not overjoyed about that.

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Related:  Welcome to Your New HMO

Welcome to Your New HMO

Three nurses went to heaven, and were awaiting their turn with St. Peter to plead their case to enter the pearly gates.

The first nurse said, “I worked in an emergency room. We tried our best to help patients, even though occasionally we did lose one. I think I deserve to go to heaven.” St. Peter looks at her file and admits her to heaven.

The second nurse says, “I worked in an operating room. It’s a very high stress environment and we do our best. Sometimes the patients are too sick and we lose them, but overall we try very hard.” St. Peter looks at her file and admits her
to heaven.

The third nurse says, “I was a case manager for an HMO.”

St. Peter looks at her file. He pulls out a calculator and starts punching away at it furiously, constantly going back to the nurse’s file. After a few minutes St. Peter looks up, smiles, and says, “Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to heaven … for five days!”

  • Q.     I just joined a new HMO.  How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
  • A.  Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents.  Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the plan at the time of the information was gathered.  These doctors basically fall into two categories:  Those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan.  But don’t worry — the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half a day’s drive away, just outside Amarillo, Texas.  Talking to him however will NOT be tolerated.
  • Q.     What does HMO stand for?
  • A.  Hand over your money or die.  No that is not right.  HMO.  This is actually a variation of the phrase “Hey Moe.”  Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Dr. Moe Howard, who discovered that a patient could be make to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes.  Modern practice now replaces the finger poke with hi-tech equivalents such as voice-mail, referral slips, but the results, remain the same.  You get the sharp stick in the eye pain when you get the bill, and he gets a new car.
  • Q.     Do all diagnostic procedures require a pre-certification?
  • A.  No, only those you need.
  • Q.     What are pre-existing conditions?
  • A.  This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to talk about existing conditions.  Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with it.
  • Q  Well can I get treatment on my pre-existing conditions?
  • A.  Sure, if they do not require treatment.
  • Q.     What happens if I want to use try alternative forms of medicine?
  • A.  You’ll need to find alternative means of payment.
  • Q.  My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand.  I tried the generic medication but it gave me a stomach ache.  What should I do?
  • A.  Poke yourself in the eye.
  • Q. What should I do if I happen to get sick while traveling.
  • A.  Try sitting in a different area of the bus.
  • Q.     No I mean what if I am away from home and I get sick?
  • A.  You really shouldn’t do that.  You’ll have a hard time seeing your primary care physician.  It is best to wait till you return home and then get sick.  The ideal condition would be to NOT get sick period and then everyone would be satisfied and content.
  • Q.     I think I need a specialist, but my doctor insists she/he can handle my problem.  Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his/her office?
  • A.  Hard to say, but considering that all you’re risking is the $15 co-payment, there’s no harm in giving him/her a shot at it, eh?
  • Q. My insurer reimburses the doctor for my outpatient surgery, but I’d already paid my bill.  What should I do?
  • A. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement check over to you, or you can ask him/her to invest the money for you in one of those great offers doctors and dentists hear about, like windmill farms or frog hatcheries.  Here is the best bet.  Shut up and stop whining.  If you don’t we will boot your generic butt right out of the office.  After  all, we have YOUR telephone number and vital Statistic’s, you don’t have ours, think about it.
  • Q.     Will health care be any better in the next century or the new Obama administration?
  • A.  No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

I hope this has cleared up any matter that has given you anxiety.  Now if you will excuse me, I am going to sneak back to my cubicle, paint my face with liquid paper, and become the Office Mime for the rest of the day.

That is if my boss doesn’t decide to fire me or send me some kind of Registered Letter.

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Cuddling with Yangyang

Now that the election is officially over, what happens to all that money that is left over?  I was wondering, if they (the people that helped get Mr. Obama elected) will get a Christmas bonus.  It appears that everyone else is getting a wonderful package of something this year, everyone but the taxpayer that is.

I wonder how much NBC, CBS and ABC will get?  I am also noting that the stock market, ever since the election has concluded, has been in decline.  You know what the means don’t ya?

“The Stock Market is racist.”

Where is Joe Biden?  All of a sudden, he is nowhere to be found.  Could it be that because of the recent choice of Hillary he has decided to just sulk, wasn’t Old Joe picked for his “expertise in the foreign field?”  Barack Obama is “either shrewd or delusional” picking Hillary.  I don’t know what is up with that, but I cannot figure it out to save my life.

Thanks are in order.

Recently the Obama camp put out a note thanking the press for their coverage and John McCain thanked them also for that “one positive story” they ran on him last December.  I hear Ann Couter has fallen and broke her jaw, and it is now wired shut.  Rush however is reported to be doing just fine, on some days you win a few and you lose a few.

C’mon Orin are you outta your mind?

Senator Orin Hatch from Utah is proposing that outgoing President Bush give convicted felon (his new title) Ted Steven’s a pardon.  Now the door is officially kicked open to grant a pardon to a convicted felon, “for his years of faithful service to the country.”  What a crock.

The man should get probation for the rest of his natural life, he should forfeit his pension and/or benefits, and should be dismissed from the highest body in the land.  He is a disgrace, he is not a national hero.  Senator Hatch needs to sit back down in the cheap seats and be quiet.

Recently I came across this little eye-opener.

Several years ago I was in a training course on Capitol Hill in which we had an instructor from the Library of Congress. She explained that it was her job to answer any question posed by a member of Congress. She told us that the two dumbest questions she’d ever heard were printed out, framed, and hanging on her office wall.

The first was a Congressman who called one day saying he needed information “on the pros and cons of child abuse.” The second was a Senator who called at 11:15 one morning saying that he needed to know by 11:30 “what Abraham Lincoln did after leaving office.”

Dumbfounded, she told the Senator “he took a very slow train ride back to Illinois.”  For this the Senator thanked her and hung up the phone.

The instructor then turned to our class and said “THESE are the people running our country!” If she’s still alive our instructor is probably saying the same thing about Orrin Hatch today.  As much as I am afraid to say this …  “I don’t believe even Bush is this stupid to consider pardoning this guy.” … But I have been wrong about Bush before.

Don’t get sick … Man, don’t get sick.

I just finished a bout with some especially nasty stuff, at first I thought it was food poisoning but now, I am not sure.  Vomiting, diarrhea all the associated nasty stuff.  Made me think of all these poor souls in Asia, Africa, third world countries, that deal with this type of sickness on a daily basis because of bad water.  I cannot imagine how miserable life would be if this was an ongoing all the time thing, it surely was not fun for me.

And to top it off, it is very expensive these days to get sick.  Taking a look at the health care stats in the Bush/Rove era, it’s clear that most Americans have seen a decline in their health care at the same time that health insurance companies have reaped tremendous gains:

Since 2000, the ranks of the uninsured have grown by 7.2 million.  Health care premiums have doubled under Bush. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have risen from $5,791 in 1999 to $12,680.00 in 2008.  The fastest growing component  fastest growing component of health care is health insurers’ administrative costs.

Enrollment in Medicare private plans doubled. Through such plans, insurers “have increased the cost and complexity of the program without any evidence of improving care.”  The combined profits of the nation’s largest insurance companies and their subsidiaries increased by over 170 percent between 2003 and 2007.

Now there are two good reasons to live in Canada

First, they have socialized medicine and it is cheap, not the best, but it is reasonable.  And their courts have just ruled that if you are obese you are officially “disabled” and therefore have the right to two seats on an airliner for the price of one.  So go ahead, have that extra piece of Canadian Bacon this morning, it really doesn’t matter in Canada.

Bad Week to be a Russian

Global market forces are starting to apply in the Soviet Union and a recent survey has found that the average Russian is drinking about six times less vodka due to financial hardships.  The government has to to do something for these people trying to afford the most basic essentials of life.

And finally as promised yesterday (Tuesdays Funnies).

Anthropomorphism, after a Chinese college student climbed into a zoo pen so he could hug a panda  bear.  “Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him” said the student from his hospital bed.  “I didn’t expect he would attack.  I don’t remember how many times I got bit.”

Kind of reminds me of my first wife … she was so dog-gone cute and cuddly in the beginning … but towards the end … well it just brought a tear to my eye it did.

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The Short Rows

Don’t really know where the term “The Short Rows” originated, I first heard it as a lad, applied to the practice of plowing a field. When you are harvesting or plowing a field, and you are almost done, you are in “the short rows” which is the very edge of the field.

It also could apply to a person’s life, when you reach that point, where you have more of it behind you and very little of it left in front of you.

And last, I guess we could apply it to the year, being close to November, we are in “the short rows of 2008,” and 2009, is just around the corner.

I remember a long time ago, walking in a graveyard in Livermore, California, I came across a tombstone (head marker) that read: “As you are, I once was. As I am, you someday shall be.” That always stuck with me for some reason. A grain of truth in that believe it or not. What goes round … Comes around … Where I am at, you are some day going to be.

That is, if you are not already there.

There are three things that will eat your proverbial lunch in this life. Most folks would agree with me on this, and they are: (1) Taxes. You have them always, they never go down, and they never, ever, go away. (2) Insurance. You are dammed if you have it and dammed if you don’t. Almost like heroin, it is something you cannot live without. (3) Health Care. Which is of course, a form of insurance, but never the less, something you desperately need. A very necessary economic fact, especially on the downhill side of life.

So, as I am so fond of saying, down the road you go. You work hard, you build something, and hopefully you rest a bit.

Youth has a way of slipping by without your really noticing it. One day you stand before the mirror as you have day after day, but this day it is different. What was youth, is no longer there staring back at you. You get busy working, raising a family, watching the kids grow, spending every waking hour searching for that little extra each month, to kind of nudge it over the top.

You plan and you scheme, you cry and you dream, God smiles,and life just sorta slips by unnoticed.  The weeks into months, months into years, first thing y’know.

Looking back to 1974 (which to me, doesn’t seem all that long ago, but it was) I can remember stretching my monthly dollar value to buy the best possible house I could afford. It cost me and the bride, $118 a month, and at that time, I was really concerned that I would be able to meet that $118 obligation each month. Today the taxes alone, are over that amount. By the time I had finished paying off that house, some seven years early on a thirty-year note. My payment had escalated to over $269 per month. Why?

Taxes and Insurance.

It is almost impossible for me to even wonder where all of this is going to end up in the end. My only consolation being, I more than likely am looking at the short rows on this at this point in my life. So in retrospect you wonder if you made a change. Did you leave something for the next person down the pike?

I am not sure if I have or not, to tell you the truth.

In a way, you want to warn young people of the apparent dangers of government that is clearly running a muck. You want to try and point out the pitfalls of life, and give them a friendly “heads up” on what is really going on. You don’t want them to have to deal with the misery and pain that you have experienced, you feel the need to pass something onto them, so hopefully, their generation can make a positive change.

Most of the time this simply doesn’t work, and falls on deaf ears. As such was the case when my father and those before him, tried to pass it on to me. Generational curse or something I guess.

It is often difficult trying to deal or explain things to someone twenty years old or younger. They see the world in a totally different light than others. The American Dream is totally out of reach or foreign to them in scope or concept and the moral foundation is completely different from people my age. It often screws things up big time, communication is at best, difficult.

Just in case you weren’t feeling old enough today, the remainder of this will certainly change things.  If you have hung in here this far, might as well stick around for the rest.

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were for the most part, born in 1990. they have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he was shot. They know nothing of LBJ’s Great Society, Nixon’s resignation and shame, Woodstock or Kent State.

They were infants when the Persian Gulf War was waged, pre-pubescent when Saddam went down, more than likely, have only known one Pope in their lifetime. They were children when the Soviet Union broke apart and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, they do not remember or possibly even know of the meaning of the word, Cold War.

The majority of them are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up. Tienanmen Square means nothing to them. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. Jay Leno has always been the host of the Tonight show.

Atari predates them as do vinyl albums and hot wax. The expression “You sound like a broken record” sounds foreign to them and more than likely has no meaning. They have never owned a record player. They have likely never played “Pac Man” and never heard of “Pong.” The CD was introduced when they were one year old.

All homes have always had an answering machine, home computer, most have never seen a television with only thirteen channels or a black and white TV. They have always had cable TV available to them. There have always been VCR’s but they have no idea what BETA was. They cannot fathom life without the use of a remote control.

They don’t know what a cloth baby diaper is, or know about the “Help Me! I have fallen and I cannot get up commercial” famous years ago. They were born in the year that Walkman’s were introduced by Sony. Roller skates have always meant “in line” to them. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool and country music was not.

Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They have never seen Larry Bird play. They never took a swim in the ocean and worried about “Jaws.” The Viet Nam War is an ancient history to them as WW I, WW II, Civil war and Korea.

They have no idea that American’s were once held hostage in Iran. They can’t imagine what a hard contact lens might be. They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from (it was the planet Ork, if anyone cares to remember). They never heard the expression “Where’s the beef?”… “I’d walk a mile for a Camel or “de plane!, de plane! (Fantasy Island ABC).”

They have no idea as to who shot J.R. and more than likely even who he was.

Michael Jackson has always been white (or kind of off white). Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places they have heard of, not bands. They never new Cassius Clay but followed Muhammad Ali and have seen the movie of his life and times. There has always been MTV. They don’t have a clue as to how to use a typewriter, have never purchased a 19 cent hamburger from McDonalds or purchased .22 cent per gallon gasoline.

So when you stop and try to explain something to the younger set, you are more than likely not on the same page, level, plain, or neighborhood. It is entirely possible you could not even been remotely close to their zip code.

Having no earthly clue as to which way the wind will blow in this country in the coming years, having no crystal ball to look down the beaten path a ways, I just do my best to pass on what it is that I do know. The future for me is just as hidden as the past I can no longer see.

So in the time that I have, I feel it is my duty to try and pass on something, anything that I can. To humbly explain whenever possible that there should be more to life than just being a tax slave for the U.S. government (or any damn government). The longing of the human condition to search out and find life, we deserve it, we need it.

It seems so necessary now, to just to take the shot, plant the seed and hope it lands somewhere where it will grow. Because as you see …We are all morally challenged (like it or not) to give something back as we pass thru life, we are all designated to try and change it and make it better.

Take time today to stop and consider one important aspect of life.  If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.  If you want to make a change for the better … then it is up to you.

As my friend in the U.K. puts it … “Mind The Gap” … Celebrate life, don’t let it grind you down. Before you know it, you could find yourself like me, standing here in the short rows wondering where it all went. If there is one scintilla of truth in all of this it is this … As you are … I once was … As I am … You someday shall be.

Bet your last dollar on it.

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