Saturday, March 16, 2013

I wrote a short story

Home Again

The future was finally here. At 80 years old, we finally had transporters - something I'd been dreaming about and hoping for ever since I was a girl. But only for inanimates. So the post office was making hand over fist whizzing letters and packages to the destinations on the same day they were dropped off and I  could send my luggage to Latvia ahead of me if I wanted, but getting there was still a hassle.

Luckily, the future, for the most part, was more of the same and none of the distopian dread that was in all the movies when I was in my thirties. The polar ice caps hadn't melted to drown all of Hawaii, in fact there was a new island that you could take a boat out to and have a "Deserted Island" picnic. But gasoline prices continued to climb at the same steady rate so that what was once considered "Inconceivable!" five years ago was "Woo hoo!" last week because it was lower than if I had filled up on the way home today. My younger friends in their fifties think it's just because I'm old that I'm not all up in arms about it but the truth is, the outside finally matches the inside that I've been feeling, on and off, since I was in my thirties. Who knew I'd be around this long? I was always so sure that my death clock had been right all those years, not that I had bothered to check it for the past ten years, but that 76 was it for me. And I was okay with that. But I'm okay with this too.

Sure there have been changes, but there always has been. And looking back, they have always come about pretty gradually. At least that's how it looks now. At the time, even now I guess, each bright, shiny new thing was amazing, better than anything and everything that had come before it!! Until the next thing took stage and was all over the news. I took comfort in that honestly. Like the keycode to get in my house, one minute it's 046 295 and by the time I make it out of my car and up to the front door it will be 535 330. No big deal. You knew it was going to be something different every time you looked. Now it's 242 245. Boring, banal. But still exciting to the kids next door who clamor to be the ones to enter in the numbers. Because even as things change, some things are universal. Something about pressing buttons that kids love. And blowing bubbles, playing with the box that something came in, and farting noises. Some things are the same now as when I was a child myself. Whenever that was.

What's the point of all this rambling? Just that, as much as life can seem so unexpected, your cat will still meow from downstairs like she's wondering where you are even though she was just in the kitchen with you five minutes ago and you haven't moved, she did. And for all the horrors that show up in the news, it's nothing like the super mutant "killer bug" that was in that movie that wiped out all those people, except the one guy who could save the world, if there was anyone else, except that there was and it was some small group of people in Connecticut or something. It just meant that every winter, I still had to get a flu shot. And at least now that I was over 76, it was free. So the little things are still exciting, like getting to be the first one at the stop light, and some things are still annoying, like having to go pee after driving down the road five minutes because you didn't go before you left because you didn't have to go then and yes, at 80, I guess I can still be a child.

You laugh, but I'm pretty sure that was you last week, or maybe it wasn't but you know it's true. Some things change, others don't. And it's never going to be as bad as "they" thought it was going to be - or fixed because we finally found the ultimate end all and be all silver bullet. Which is fine. And now the code is 335 879.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

One path to happiness is to help others

“Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us. In all likelihood it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another's life had been made better.”

 ~ Stephen M. Wolfspan

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing US

Have you read the article from TIME magazine, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing US? It's eye-opening!  Here is a (very) short excerpt to persuade you to read the entire piece:

The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy was $83,900. 
The first of the 344 lines printed out across eight pages of his hospital bill — filled with indecipherable numerical codes and acronyms — seemed innocuous. But it set the tone for all that followed. It read, “1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG.” The charge was only $1.50, but it was for a generic version of a Tylenol pill. You can buy 100 of them on Amazon for $1.49 even without a hospital’s purchasing power.
On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.

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