Tag Archives: family

If She Would Just Become a Drug Addict….

Sweet Stephanie

This is my fourth grandchild, Stephanie.  She is a very sweet and loving child.  She loves to read to her Nanny, still fits on my lap for relaxation in a rocking chair, and her eyes are either blue, turquoise, or gray – depending on what she is wearing.  She is shy and occasionally stubborn, but she comes by that pretty naturally. 

Stephanie has missed school again this week.  She has another sore throat and fever.  She has a lot of sore throats, and strep throat more than any little being should endure – because Stephanie has huge tonsils.  I’ve seen her tonsils and they nearly close off her throat.  Sometimes she must sleep nearly sitting up, and she snores like an old drunken man.  Because she has huge tonsils. 

Stephanie still has those monster tonsils because she is not covered by insurance.  Her parents are both working, and although they are not destitute by any means, they are struggling to make ends meet.  Neither has employer provided insurance for dependents.  Her mother COULD cover her children (she has another daughter from a previous relationship) through coverage offered by her employer, but the premium is exorbitant would eat up approximately 3/4 of her paycheck.  That is not an exaggeration.  The insurance, while very pricey, is really not a great policy – it has a high deductible, big co-pays, and additional charges that are euphemistically described as “co-insurance” charges.  These costs would easily consume the rest of Mama’s paycheck. 

Stephanie also does not qualify for state-sponsored insurance programs designed to provide children with affordable access to health care.  One program is not available to anyone who has access to insurance (regardless of cost).  The other program has income guidelines – and Stephanie’s parents make just more (and I do mean JUST more) than the guidelines allow.  Because they are working adults who do not receive government assistance, Stephanie’s parents are expected to pay cash for any health care services they seek. 

Stephanie’s situation is not all that unusual, given the economy and rising costs of health insurance premiums – both for employers and employees. I get that.  There is resistance to “socialized” medicine (the physician and insurance industry PACs are well funded, very organized, and persistent and have the most to lose).  I get that, as well.  Our legislators are mostly wealthy, and have access to great medical care.  I get that, too. 

As a nurse, I have seen much waste, fraud, and stupidity in the provision (or not) of health care services.  But I am trained to provide care to everyone entrusted to me, and I believe everyone should have access to affordable health care. 

Then I read this post by amostlyseriousnurse.  In this post, she discusses a heroin addict’s abuse of hospital services in which he received free medical care, via uncompensated hospital admissions, FOURTEEN TIMES in one year to have wounds cared for – self-inflicted wounds resulting from injecting heroin directly into his buttocks because his veins are shot.  I am sickened by stories like this. 

There has to be a better way…there are the haves (insured) and the have-nots (uninsured but eligible for assistance) and a very large portion of the population (the working poor) who could be bankrupted by medical costs.  Parents should not have to choose between groceries or insurance premiums for lousy coverage.  They should not have to watch their child struggle with yet another bout of strep, or administer yet another antibiotic (thankfully – free due to pharmacy sponsored programs).  A child should not have to suffer repeatedly in this, a country with exceptional health care facilities and services because her parents are neither rich enough to pay cash, nor poor enough to qualify for services. 

I think I’ll either have to spring for some insurance coverage, pay for a surgical intervention, or introduce Stephanie to heroin…

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How Do I Love Thee? Hmmmmm……

Lenore, you said it was time for a poem – this one is for Sweet Cheeks, of course.  Hope you enjoy. 

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love that you’ve been mine for 11,840 days.

I love that you still find me the girl of your dreams.

Despite menopause, depression, and a few primal screams.

 

I love that you adore me, that you think I’m the best.

Even when I’m lazy and “comfortably” dressed.

Your faith in me never wavers – your love is absolute.

Your ability to love me is your best attribute.

 

I love that you think I’m brilliant; you believe that I’m funny.

You overlook that I’m more “vinegar” than “honey”.

I love that you eat whatever it is I have cooked.

I love the way you stay so easily hooked.

 

I love that you cover me up when I’m sleeping like a log.

You check my car’s oil and take care of my dog.

Your Post It Note love letters, your “no occasion” bouquets.

I love that you express your love in so many ways.

 

I love that your heart is mine, of that there’s no doubt.

Your loving gestures are evident – day in and day out.

So this Valentine’s Day, I am happy to recount

The ways that I love you – it’s a freakin’ huge amount.

Valentines heart

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Filed under General Mumblings, Poems, Poetry and Poem-etry

Every Once in A While, It Really is All About Me

 Like today, for instance.  It really is all about me.  So here are the ground rules for today.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Choc...

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1.  I’m going to eat and drink whatever I want.  Sure, I’ll pay for it, one way or another, but today is all about me and if a trip to the ER is in the picture, so be it.  I’ve already had a gigantic homemade oatmeal raisin cookie for breakfast (YUMMY).  So don’t try to get me to eat your sushi (again), lecture me about the chemicals in my Crystal Light (again), or make that face when you take my order for dinner and I order an appetizer, a meal (I won’t even begin to consume half of) and dessert.  And wine.

English: M42 - 5th wheel pick-up truck and tri...

2.  On the drive to work, I am not going to let you merge when you stupidly stayed in the wrong lane for way too long.  I am not going to smile sweetly when your diesel-fume-spewing out-of-state supercab pickup pulling a 40-foot 5th wheel pulls out in front me, filling both lanes.  I am going to ram my vehicle into the side of your portable home because 1) you’re an idiot, 2) I have insurance, and 3) you piss me off because there is no one behind me and you could have waited the 15 seconds for me to pass.

Papers

Image by Hacklock via Flickr

 
 
 

3.  At work I am going to clean my office because all week I’ve dealt with your unending stream of crisises and drama and my work has piled up. Deal with it.

peninsular dysfunction

4.  I am not listening to any political ads, news stories, or  conversations.  I will point my real (or imaginary) remote control and click mute (and maybe leave it that way all day).

Happy listening to music

Image by p4nc0np4n via Flickr

 
 

5.  I am going to listen to happy music, look at pictures I like, and find inspirational reading – my favorite blogs, for instance!!!  I refuse to have any serious thoughts today, so don’t even go there.

A picture of a birthday cake

Image via Wikipedia

6.  I’m going to act like it’s my birthday all day long, because, really it is and it’s ALL ABOUT ME.

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Adrift at Sea on HMS Doldrums

Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean.  (Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

doldrums – noun

1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.

2. the doldrums,

a.  a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

b. the weather prevailing in this area.

3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

(courtesy dictionary.reference.com)

Captain SweetCheeks and FirstMate K8 have been on a marital voyage for more than 32 years. There have been many days of smooth sailing, more than a couple of near-shipwreck misses near rocky shores, and occasional battering by waves and winds that they somehow managed to safely navigate. They enjoyed sunsets, changed course more than a few times, and learned to trust while charting a course of togetherness for all time.

They took turns steering the ship; sometimes standing together at the wheel.  Sometimes one would stand alone at the wheel while the other, with full faith in the ability and skill of the other, rested or pursued other activities, resuming their watch in due time.

They trained a couple of crew members who then set about on their own journeys, on their own vessels. These grown crew members produced new little sailors who popped onto our ship from time to time, bringing great joy, laughter and adventure.

A long voyage was planned, mostly by the Captain, that would take the seasoned crew away from the children and grandchildren, to a warmer climate. He planned a career move that would carry him to full retirement. First Mate K8, reluctantly agreed to the voyage, and planned a semi-retirement that would include part-time teaching and exploring a life-long desire to write. The ship set sail on the newly charted adventure, the crew standing shoulder to shoulder at the wheel, heading into the sunset.

The ship anchored at the chosen southern latitude. The employment opportunity that the Captain anticipated never materialized. An alternate employment path was deemed unsuitable and the Captain obtained part-time employment to get him off the ship from time to time. First Mate K8 was homesick for her home port, missing her former crew members, dockmates, and comfortable assignments. She struggled daily to stay upbeat, fighting (although not always successfully) to keep from blaming the Captain for her unhappiness. She was offered a demanding full-time position.  Given the economic outlook for the voyage and the need to purchase the large quantities of provisions required to make margaritas (for purely medicinal purposes), she accepted it.   The position included a soul-sucking commute and left her little time or energy for her desired creative outlets.

Thus Captain SweetCheeks and First Mate K8 find themselves on the HMS Doldrums – listless, depressed, lacking movement of any kind. Unable to move forward, unwilling to move backward, they find no wind in the sails of their marital vessel.  They feel the presence of the albatross.

The Captain, as always, feels responsibility for the happiness of the crew and success of the mission. He blames himself, berates himself for the stalled success of the voyage, despite his best intentions. He wishes, more than anything, that the First Mate will find some nuggets of happiness. He misses her laughter, cynicism, and teasing. He wishes she did not have to work full-time, commute so far, give up so much. He fears a mutiny, and treads lightly around her – unsure what to say, more unsure about what, if anything, to do.

The First Mate, finding herself in totally new and unfamiliar surroundings and roles, fights loneliness and depression. The support system on which she had depended for so many years and from which she had drawn her strength feels as if it is out of her reach. She floats adrift – immersing herself in work, floundering socially. She wonders why she agreed to the voyage, and more than once reminds the Captain that she had voiced doubt about the advisability of the mission. She finds no joy in being right.  In fact, she is despondent that he, too, seems adrift.  She hates that he has assumed the burden of responsibility for her unhappiness. Unwilling to make him feel worse than he already does, she also begins to tread lightly in the Captain’s presence.

Thus their interactions become wary, stand-offish, tentative. The crew members, accustomed to finding joy and taking pleasure in each other’s presence, now retreat to solitary pursuits, withdraw from each other. Periods of silence, once comfortable and welcomed, now feel dangerous – as if at any moment an explosion will rip a hole in the side of the vessel. At last fears and recriminations are voiced, tears shed, thoughts and hopes addressed, and healing begins.

There will be no mutiny. The Captain is reminded that he is not responsible for the happiness of his crew – only their safety. The First Mate recognizes that she would rather be on this journey, with this Captain, than anywhere else on this globe. Once again they stand shoulder to shoulder at the wheel, facing the sunset, secure in their love – ready for whatever direction the winds take them.

 

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It’s My (Pity) Party and I’ll Wallow if I Want To

 

Welcome to my pity party.  Strap on this goofy party hat and a frown and let’s get down to it.  Great.  How about some appetizers?  I made these delicious unhappiness chips – they go great with this self-loathing dip.  It has melted crankiness and shredded self-esteem, with a pinch of bad attitude tossed in.  Yummy, no?

Oooh, how about some party games.  First we’ll play I Hate My Body, then a round of My Friends Live Too Far Away, and we’ll finish up with I Miss My Kids and Grandkids.  Wait, wait!!  How about “Pin the Blame for My Shitty Attitude on Someone Else”?  My all-time favorite.

Then we’ll have the requisite party conversations.  In the living room there is “They can’t figure out what’s wrong with my stomach/heart/psyche/back” talk.  Here in the kitchen it’s “I’ve Gained Too Much Weight” but I continue to shove cookies/candy/chips/anything not tied down into my mouth.  Over at the card table there is the “I know I’m lucky to have a job, but…..” discourse.

 

A nine-pointed star piñata.

Image via Wikipedia

Then there will be the pinata.  Nothing says fun like bashing the hell out of something.  Here, I’ll take the first swing.  Ahhhhhhh.  It feels good to smack that sucker.  Look at all these goodies falling out…….Noooooooooooo.  Not goodies.  This is MY PITY PARTY, remember?

Crap.  This damned pinata is filled with goodies.  Like pictures of gorgeous sunsets, reminders that I have a good job, a devoted husband, a great dog….enough money (yes!!!), a comfortable home, dependable transportation.  Healthy children and grandchildren and the means to visit them.  A relatively sound, although sometimes forgetful, mind.  Talents, skills, and abilities.  Fabulous friends (real and virtual).  I have so much more than I deserve.  So much more.  Dammit, what a buzz-kill.

Kenny vs. Mr. Bill (109/365)

Image by JD Hancock via Flickr

So here, let’s take off that silly hat, here’s your coat.  Party’s over…thanks for coming….move along…take this tray with you…nothing to see here…nothing but smiles, blue skies, sunshine, and the realization that I’m only as miserable as I want to be – and I don’t want to be.

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