Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why I am not Electable to Any Public Office

One of the very best things about social media such as Facebook is connecting with like-minded individuals. The title of this blog indicates that I feel I am a moderate Republican. Actually I am more likely to be a Libertarian.

Many times after making a quite-opinionated post, friends have said “I’d vote for you,” and “Why don’t you run for office?” So, in the name of fun, I’ll put my platform out first, then tell you why I cannot run—the so-called “skeletons in my closet.”

Catherine’s Platform

I tend to be socially liberal but fiscally conservative. For this reason, I could not run as a Republican. So let’s put the some of the stuff out there that makes me a RINO (Republican in Name Only). Here are the things I am for—I’ll write about what I’m against in another entry.

I am pro-choice. I am not pro-choice as a method of birth control.
I am okay with gay marriage. I do sort of squirm when the term “marriage” is used because of my Catholic upbringing, but if marriage is looked at as declaring love between two people and then expecting that couple to remain faithful to each other (and what I mean by faithful is sexually exclusive), then so be it.

Those two issues are between an individual and God. Yes, I know in God. God will take care of everything. If abortion and gay marriage are wrong, He will make each of us answer to it.

The above two positions are enough to brand me a RINO. It’s a shame, but I certainly can understand conservatives’ beliefs, and know they are entitled to it. Call me a Libertarian then—I think that political ideology fits me best.

I believe that the United States must secure its borders. I’d put priority on the southern border first, of course. I do think Canada tries its best to control who comes in—have you looked at Canada’s immigration requirements? Now you might argue here that Mexico’s immigration laws are pretty strict, too, though the corruptness of those in public service means anyone can buy what they want in Mexico, including turning the other cheek. But there are people getting into Mexico who have no business being there—potential terrorists—and I don’t think Mexico’s southern border is terribly tough to get through either. Securing the border comes down to two reasons: one, to keep potential terrorists out; two, to keep people who will be an economic drain out; and three, to protect the jobs of Americans or people in the United States with proper work visas.

I think the 14th Amendment needs to be clarified to omit the “anchor baby” loophole that is being so overused and abused. It doesn’t have to be complicated—children born of U.S. citizens are citizens. Children born on U. S. soil of one U.S. citizen and one legal immigrant (that’s me) can be U.S. citizens if the parents choose (there are times I wish I had dual citizenship with Germany). Children born of a couple here on a green card/work visa can be U.S. citizens if the parents choose. Children born of a parent or parents in the U.S. illegally (no green card, no work permit) are not U.S. citizens. A birth certificate will be issued, but marked “not valid for proof of citizenship.” Contact information for an embassy of the parent’s home nation will be provided so they can follow up and obtain documentation of the child’s nationality. ICE will be informed and the parents and child, or children, are subject to deportation.

I am for the federal health care legislation being repealed. I am for tort reform.
I am for education vouchers for parents of children who live in districts where the schools are sub-par. However, those vouchers should be for no more than the current national average—around $10,000 per student. And those children must be U.S. citizens or have a green card. No more free ride for non-citizens.

Yes, I know making children “pay” for the crimes/mistakes of their parents is cruel and un-American. Perhaps people who cross into the U.S. illegally to birth those anchor babies would think twice about breaking the law when there are no benefits to be gained—no welfare for a non-citizen infant.

I am for limits on how long a person can receive welfare. I prefer that welfare recipients be subject to drug testing, and for able-bodied people, community service. The idea that families are on welfare for generations has got to stop.

I am for a strong, prepared military outfitted with the very best equipment possible.

I am for term limits for elected officials. “Career politicians” will become a thing of the past. Sure, a person seeking a career in politics, and I’m fine with a person starting at the local level, and working his or her way through the state and federal office, but NOT occupying an elected office for more than two terms.

I am for responsible spending. I think every elected official who takes part in creating a budget or spending government funds (which are really our tax dollars) need to honestly ask if he or she would spend his or her own money in that way. Spend each dollar as if it is an investment. Spend it in a way that benefits the majority of Americans, not a special interest group.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What is a Liberal? and other rantings ...

I just finished reading a though-provoking article by George Will on First, let me say I am not in a position to invest anything (I have $48 in the bank until the education non-profit decides to pay me for several large invoices they have in hand, which can be anywhere from now to the end of the month, whenever they feel like it, and their ain't shit I can do about it). I was reading an article that had been posted on Facebook critical of' the way the current presidential administration has handled the uncapped oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, and all of the politics behind it, including BP being a big cash contributor for the current president’s campaign (I hate to type his name) and how that same president’s Interior Department gave BP a categorical environmental exception in April 2009. Very interesting … can’t blame Bush.

The linked article, “Progressivism and Limits of a Welfare State” was quite eye opening. Living in the Bay Area, one is surrounded by “progressives,” yet when you sit down with many of these people, they like, and dislike, the same things government or American society does as I do.

I ask my Democrat friends if they like paying high taxes, having no say where the money goes, and if they are fine with lifers and generations of families who have made welfare their way of life. They of course say no. I ask them if they are fine with government expanding and having a say in everything they do, from banning fast food to penalizing people who can’t or won’t buy health care as forced in the wonderful health care bill that was shoved down our throats. Mind you, most of these people are employed and have cadillac insurance, so they don’t worry about that. I ask them if they are okay with the courts letting violent criminals off with a slap on the wrist and way-too-short prison sentences. Most aren’t. I ask them if they are fine with H1-B people potentially taking their jobs because they will work for less money. Most are not. I ask them if they are fine with unchecked immigration from the south and H1-B workers overstaying their visas. Most aren’t.

They ask me about civil and gay rights. I reply I think they need to stop being an issue in order to promote true equality. I reply that I think no group of Americans (operative word: Americans or people here legally) should have preference over another. And, yes, I think Americans and people here legally have rights, and those here illegally forfeited their rights when they came here illegally. Those people don’t deserved to be harmed or victims of violence, but they do not have the right to say “the Europeans took this country from Native Americans.” That was hundreds of years ago. Get over it. Besides, aren’t most Mexicans of Spanish descent anyway? Last I looked, Spain was in Europe. At least it was when I went there one summer in high school to learn Spanish …

While I’m ranting about race, there was a story in yesterday’s San Francisco paper about children panhandling (under the guise of selling snacks) in the Embarcadero BART station, and on the streets of SF itself. These kids were brought over in a van from Oakland, during both school and off-school hours, in the name of soliciting funds for their Baptist church school. The race of the kids: black. The pastor of the church who compelled the kids to climb into the van and beg for cash: black. The reasons for fundraising have been found to be untruthful (an expansion of the school, with no building permits in place or concrete plans for building; a trip to Washington, D.C. on May 5 that didn’t happen), but because it’s black-on-black, no outrage? No outrage that black-on-black or Latino-on-Latino violence is so prevalent and epidemic? Are we adopting the attitude that it’s okay if they kill themselves? Where is the outrage? Stop perpetuating stereotypes in your own people, damn it.

So I guess I am firmly a Libertarian, but because of the two-party system, have to identify as a Republican. I do not believe government is responsible for making the United States a utopia; that’s best done by individual effort. I do believe that government has a role in regulating certain things: why was BP given that environmental exemption so quickly into the current presidential regime? How is it that drilling for oil doesn’t have worst-case scenarios in place before this happens? Oh yeah, it’s because the current prez says it’s okay …

If you are in California and registered to vote, please do so next week. And consider ridding yourself of any incumbent, regardless of party affiliation.

(Insert plug about Tom Campbell here. If he’s the only Republican senatorial candidate who can beat Barbara Boxer in November, yet he’s behind Carly “buy an office” Fiorina in the polls, we are in deep shit, my friends. Expect more of the same from our state: broke, overrun with illegals, gangs, and crime).

Happy aside: I had my three-level bilateral rhizotomy on May 20, and it’s working. I hope to get lots of mileage out of it, though it can last anywhere from 5 to 18 months. Worker’s comp was found to be out of compliance in its notification to the physician, and my worker’s comp attorney was mobilizing to make inquiries when the procedure was okayed. Now the carrier doesn’t want to pay for pain pills anymore … for heaven’s sake, my lower back is fused, and it was 18 years ago. The facet pain is gone but the forever backache isn’t! Fortunately I need a lot less pain med now than I did two weeks ago.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The worker’s comp game

Not my spine, but I did have instrumentation like it in there for about 18 months, along with bone grafts at the front of the spine.

Let me tell you something up front—this is a game you never want to have to start playing. It is a merry-go-round from hell if you receive an on-the-job injury that will require ongoing care.

My odyssey began in late April 1989. I’d hurt my back at the previous hospital I’d worked at, but nothing to the point of daily back pain. Actually my knees gave me more trouble back then. I left that job thinking the job at the prison would have been easier. And it was, physically that is.

Like all acute back injuries, a little bit of time, a little bit of physical therapy and you are right back at it. This one was different. The next day the pain radiated down both legs, and I felt like I’d been driven over by a truck. I went to my internal medicine doctor who prescribed me muscle relaxants and a referral to a neurologist. I seriously should not have seen that neurologist. What an arrogant quack!

Unfortunately for me, he’d examined my sister years before he’d examined me. But with her drug-seeking behaviors, he assumed I was just like her, faking or acting out an injury looking for drugs. So he ordered an MRI scan which he claimed showed no reason for my out-of-control back pain. Yes, there might have been a tiny herniation or two, but that wasn’t the problem. This doctor eventually released me back to work because he did not believe I was as crippled as I was.

I then went to the prison’s comp doctor who referred me to the Spinecare Group in Daly City. Up to that time I didn’t even have a diagnosis, a full eight months after the injury.

So for 21 years now, I have been a patient of Dr. James Reynolds. I don’t doctor-shop, I don’t poly-pharmacy, and I don’t supplement my meager pain medication with street drugs, marijuana or heroin. I take only what this ONE doctor prescribes for pain. And I have not been on pain medication continuously for 21 years!

To read one of the worker’s comp reports, you’d think I am a drug abusing faking malingerer who should be out of their hair by now. So, State Fund denied treatment my doctor ordered back in November, and they sent the denial notice so late that the doctor’s office could not file a timely appeal.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail saying the procedure was denied, and that they would no longer approve the refills of pain pills. The reason for denial was that my doctor did not specifically define what makes me "bad" and what I can do when I am "good" after a rhizotomy. His stating "she is more active and improved after she receives the injections" and "she does not walk very far and has more pain when she needs the injections" is not specific enough for some quack who has never seen me and doesn't have half the surgical skills as Dr. Reynolds.

Mind you, this is a case that was settled back in 1995. You’d think the rules that applied then apply now.

Nope. They write ‘em up as they go. The scheduler at the doctor’s office assured me that this is the usual game of a worker’s comp carrier after the worker’s comp reforms were voted in. Delay delay delay; deny deny deny. Eventually the patient will give up and deal with it in whatever way possible.

I voted for those reforms, because there is much waste and malingering and misuse. But you’d think that three prior spinal surgeries indicates that there was indeed something wrong, and despite “fixing it,” something of that magnitude needs follow-up care.

Back when the case was settled, State Fund offered me $65K to walk away from medical benefits. I did not.

I’m guessing State Fund has to be such a bunch of assholes to a legitimate claim to save face for being so screwed over by Octomom.

At any rate, the doctor’s office was going to call the comp carrier and complain that they did not receive paperwork in a timely manner, and I told the clerk that she could tell the insurance adjuster that I am no longer driving, that I can’t sit at my desk for any length of time because my formerly perfect special chair doesn’t work anymore, and that in the morning the pain is so excruciating I cannot stand straight and walk with a shuffle for about an hour. It takes about 3 hours for my back to loosen up enough to move around like a semi-normal person.

I don’t sleep well; the pain breaks through the medication. And I am not taking anything particularly nasty—Double-strength Vicodin, which does not impair me in any way. It takes the edge off and I accept I will never be pain free.

So the timetable is another doctor’s appointment on May 11, then another THREE months before the comp carrier has to make a decision. UNLESS of course my doctor gets pissed off and calls someone while I am on the premises.

All I need are four little needles stuck into the facet joints on either side of L3-4 and L2-3, and zap the little buggers. I won’t be pain-free, but the nature of the pain will change and I’ll be able to walk the three blocks from the light rail to work, when I am required to work onsite. I’ll be able to take my cats for strolls around the neighborhood. And I might be able to sleep more than an hour or two at a time.

I am beginning to see how desperate people with back pain can become though. I am seriously considering packing it in, giving up trying to get jobs in the Bay Area, and return to crappy rural King City where there will be no jobs for me. I guess the advantage would be is I’d have lots of time to work on novels that may never be sold.

And it really scares me thinking I may be denied pain medication—will I turn to alcohol? Try pot? Or do what killed my sister and sister-in-law—go get stuff off the street? It makes me sick thinking about it, but I am beginning to understand the desperation.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Single Mom Breaks Stereotype

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of weeks, but after a conversation with a friend who works in higher education, I guess it’s time for me to purge and share some thoughts again. As usual, things are a bit of a stretch for me, so be patient.

There is this stereotype, all too often proven correct, that a child born to a single mom is destined for … nothing. Right now in college (especially community college, which certainly can be nothing more than a place for people to hide and avoid adulthood!) there are so many kids, especially males, who give their professors grief through disrespectful behavior and the attitude “You owe me, my life’s been rough thus far.” Plenty of these kids are from single-parent households.

The “you owe me” attitude is something people learn at home. My opinion, it’s all about the entitlement attitude that the United States has created through its welfare system. Start with one female, most likely with no education herself and coming from a family with the “you owe me” attitude herself. A baby equals a nice government check.

An attitude like this creates communities like Oakland, chock full of gangs and aimless young men who disrespect women. And they perpetuate the cycle, and their sisters, who may not be in gangs, perpetuate the cycle.

So when you come across someone who breaks—or rather, shatters—the stereotype, you can’t help but wonder why more families can’t get it right.

The mom in question was 15 or 16 when she became pregnant. My own daughter was a preschooler at the time. This young woman (let’s call her B) decided to keep the baby and finish high school. Her family rallied around her. Sure, they would have preferred she not do things that way, but her pregnancy and the eventual baby were never viewed as a tragedy or a source of a government check.

The baby, a boy, J, had plenty of good strong male role models who were not his father. He has a loving grandpa, uncles, cousins, and an uncle who was right there. His mom did eventually get married and when J was around junior high age, B had another son.

Fast forward 23 years. B is again a single mom, finishing prerequisite classes to apply for an RN program. She’s raising her second son, a great kid. J attended college and today is a talented journalist and gifted writer. Talented journalist and gifted writer are terms I do not toss about lightly.

Did I mention B inherited her grandmother’s cooking abilities and if she chose to do so, could probably support herself as a baker of fancy cakes?

Never has B looked at her boys at a source of cash. Her family circled the wagons and offered support and guidance to the young woman. Nothing but success was ever expected of her and her boys. B’s family is firmly middle-class, by no means wealthy, but they sacrificed to make sure B was able to care for J. J grew up knowing nothing but love, and his family expected nothing but good things for and about him. No excuses.

Why do B and J have to be the exception? Anecdotally, how many single moms do you know who did NOT end up on welfare for years, who did NOT continue to have babies (and plenty of deadbeat baby daddies), and whose babies used every excuse in the book to explain their eventual failures?

B will make an excellent RN within the next couple of years; I have no doubt J will someday end up winning a Pulitzer Prize, he’s that gifted. Son #2 will do whatever he wants and will no doubt be as successful as both J and his mom.

This family needs to write an instruction manual on how to successfully raise a kid! High expectations + no excuses + no sense of entitlement = successful young adult/human being who will make a difference in this world.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

good people dealing with bullshit ... why is life so damn unfair?

I had dinner with a dear friend on Thursday night. This woman is one of the kindest, most honest people I know. She loves her job and never loses sight that her job is in the service of college students, no matter how frustrating their behavior may be sometimes!

She is having trouble at work thanks to a supervisor who is clueless about the job she does, but he's throwing his weight around as an "office manager." She's been at the job four years longer than he has ... I think the only reason she was not/can not be promoted to a position of authority is the fact her college degree was not earned on U.S. soil and although it's called a B.S. or B.A., it's really not in the eyes of the college she works for,

For as long as she's held the job, her start time and hours were from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. That *hour* for lunch she seldom took in its entirety; the students needed her and she is pretty much always available. She never leaves work at 5:30. I can't think of a single time she's met me in the parking lot at 5:30 ... if she's working with a student, she finishes that exchange.

Her new boss, on the job for a year, has never said anything to her about her work hours being any different. But last month, he wrote her up for being "late" and deducted time from her timesheet. She was always careful to make up that missed time: if she came in ten minutes late, she stayed ten minutes later.

His main bitch: She was consistently 30 minutes late from her start time of 8 a.m.! She had no idea she was supposed to be at work at 8—AND said supervisor never verbally counseled her, but rather kept notes and confronted her with a written warning about tardiness.

This woman does not deserve such treatment!

Why is it when small insecure people get into "power" they do stuff like this? I have a feeling he's trying to look *tough* and protective toward the college, making sure every employee gives good value for their wage. Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is forgetting you are dealing with human beings ... and how important it is to foster a sense of teamwork and openness at work.

My friend has yet to pull her union into this. I am not a fan of unions but this is why people pay dues: when they are treated unfairly, the union is supposed to be her advocate. I also told her that if her hours are 8 to 5, then she needs to start work at 8 and walk out the door at 5:01. Never mind if there are students waiting for her assistance. Let her boss deal with the students' complaints. Maybe he will be forced to learn her job ... maybe he will understand the nature of working for a college. It's there for education and not pissing matches.

Obviously doing a good job and caring about said job is really not important anymore.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Musings on What’s Wrong with the World

It’s tough to be positive sometimes the way things work in the early 21st century. I really try to live the motto “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” I smile at cops. I hold my tongue when people I know and care about do silly, selfish things. I try very hard to keep my promises, even pushing my poor crippled back past its point of tolerance.

Which brings me to today’s bitchfest. I’ve been waiting for THREE months for approval on a procedure on my back which will allow me to walk more than half a block and not have to take pain medication every six hours (needing it more often than that, but ever-mindful of my family’s history of drug abuse). A couple of weeks ago, I received a denial notice in the mail. Why was the procedure denied? Because my doctor, a man with 30 years of experience in delicate spinal surgery, did not chart the specifics of how improved I was after the procedure. Nope, it’s not enough for him to say “She’s better and has less pain” after the rhizotomy. He’s supposed to go into a narration of specifics—for example, “When her back doesn’t hurt so bad, she can drive or sit in a car for more than five minutes without pain,” or “When her back doesn’t hurt so bad, she prefers to take the light rail to work and walk a couple of blocks to the office” or “When her back is better, she can go for 12 to 16 hours without needing pain medication.”

Because he failed to do that, some physician who has never met me has ruled I don’t need the procedure. Furthermore, this same god has ruled that narcotics for pain is bad, bad, bad, and that I should not take them, and that I need to be drug tested to make sure I’m not buying anything on the street or having multiple doctors write multiple prescriptions, or using multiple pharmacies.

This crap is a result of new worker’s compensation law here in California, something I voted for and still am in favor of. There was so much abuse in worker’s comp when I was hurt and worked in the industry in the mid-1990s. But taking a case that has been settled since 1996 and deciding someone with a back that’s been cut on three times is NOT in need of treatment or medication is taking things a bit far.

I have not yet had the energy to fight back yet.

Bitchfest #2: attorneys. They are all that is wrong with the world.

Don’t get me wrong. Some perform very necessary functions, like estate planning or prosecutors or defense attorneys to protect the public or wrongly accused individuals. Imagine this: what if everyone managed to live by “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you,” and we were kind and honest and ethical toward each other? And by “ethical” I don’t mean lawyer ethics, because those aren’t anything close to the ethics I believe are in the Bible. I guess if lawyers went by biblical ethics, defense attorneys could not defend their clients by shifting blame to others.

Attorneys run around wielding power and threatening action against people who have different beliefs than they do. There are some who choose to blog and share their own rants and irrational thoughts, and go on to read other people’s blogs and threaten the writer if they write something the attorney disagrees with. Many love to toss the terms “libel” and “slander” about to silence people who disagree with them.

I guess what ties these two thoughts together is truthfulness. Just be truthful … treat people the way you want them to treat you. If you disagree strongly with someone’s opinion, don’t threaten to hurt them physically or legally. Unless it’s life or death (and it seldom is, really), just shrug and forget about it. Don’t lie about the person whose opinion you disagree with to make yourself feel superior. Throwing around terms like “You are an uneducated trailer trash bitch,” or “You are stupid and delusional” are childlike and show a lack of rational thought.

Chose your battles carefully. And let people fight their own battles.

And to end this with something positive: in the race for California senator, a fiscal conservative, Tom Campbell, is polling ahead of the incumbent Barbara Boxer. I pray there are enough intelligent Californians who understand that today’s fragile economy is the most important thing we are dealing with, and that the democrat’s answer of “tax and spend” simply doesn’t work. It’s time government enjoyed some serious belt-tightening, and that elected officials start living like “regular” people and not elected royalty with bottomless pockets!

Monday, March 1, 2010

So frustrating ...

For a brief period of time in the mid-1990s, when my surgically-repaired back was as good as it was ever going to be, I worked as a worker's compensation case management nurse for nearly two years. I was hired because I myself was an injured worker, having been injured on April 25, 1989 at Soledad Prison. I destroyed my back one night while keeping an inmate from flopping off a gurney onto the floor. I should have let him flop—when we arrived at the hospital, the ER physician quickly determined the inmate had been faking his seizures. I'd just completed an 8-hour shift with two inmates having uncontrolled seizures. Part of the treatment standard was to put their mattresses on the floor so they couldn't hurt themselves. But I'd have to squat or kneel every time I needed to re-medicate one of those men. At the end of my shift, and as the medical crew declined into a skeleton crew consisting of LVNs only, it was decided to transfer the seizing inmates to Salinas. I took what was thought to be the most unstable one.

Long story short, by the end of that 14-hour workday, my back was destroyed and my career as a bedside nurse was over.
It took eight months (and three physicians) to get a proper diagnosis and 10 months to have the first surgery. From April 1989 to early 1995, my life was consumed by surgeries, recoveries from surgeries, physical therapy. I honestly don't have a good sense of what was happening in the world at that time.
While I was working in worker's comp case management, I came to a conclusion about injured workers. They either are or they are not, and the ones who are not injured are the most troublesome. I had several clients who just did not act right, who claimed they were unable to do certain things after their "accident." We had a plague of deli workers at Nob Hill grocery store who "fell" and injured their backs. It was nearly impossible to get those people back to work. I had another client who claimed he could not raise his arm over his head following a shoulder dislocation and repair by a physician in Santa Cruz. I talked the carrier into a repeat surgery, this time by a doctor associated with the SF 49ers, thinking this injured worker would be impressed by this doctor's results with football players. Well, the guy had the surgery and claimed he was no better. I felt he was bogus, and he was surveilled and found to be repairing cars while drawing temporary total disability pay.
My back injury is long settled, and I am supposed to have lifetime care on my back. Sounds good, and when I get that treatment, it's great because I don't see a bill. But every since the worker's compensation overhaul we've had here in California—something I supported and voted for—it's been hell to get treatment.
Right now what is happening to me is a consequence of a two-level low lumbar fusion. The vertebra immediately above the fusion are not designed to bear the weight they do, nor are they designed to function like the lowest two vertebra. I'm having what is called facet disease, and according to my doctor, it's coming right on time, 15+ years after the fusion (fusion was in 1992). The treatment is pain medication and something called a rhizotomy, which is simply locating the offending nerves that are causing the pain and zapping them with an electrical current. Then I'm good to go, the pain is less, and I don't need to take as much pain medication orally.
After waiting three months for approval, I got a notice in the mail that the procedure was denied because my doctor had failed to document in specific ways how I improve after a procedure. It's not enough that he says it's so anymore. So I dashed off an e-mail and described what I do when a rhizotomy is working, and how I feel when it's not working, and the impact on my life.
And for some reason, the worker's comp carrier thinks I should not be having narcotic medications to treat pain. Huh? It's prehistoric thinking like that which will drive patients to do maladaptive things ... drink, acquire and abuse street drugs. I honestly don't know what to do if my doctor stops prescribing pain meds for me. I am very responsible with them; I don't mix alcohol with them, and I take them when I need them, or try to put off taking them.
So in a nutshell, when a neurotomy is on board and working, I can walk up to a mile and sit at my desk for hours, working. I can take the light rail to work and enjoy the three-block walk from the station to the job. I can do light housework and not be in immediate pain.
The consequences of not having the procedure: I do not sleep well, I wake in the middle of the night in severe pain and it takes up to two hours for the medication to work. I have my daughter drive me to work on those days I need to work onsite. I cannot work more than 4 hours, and need to take a pain med while at work because the chairs are so crummy.
I need an attorney to take on the fight and remind State Fund that we agreed on this years ago and they need to hold up their end of the bargain.
If I have to wait another three months for this, I may well be driven to drink.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seems like I've dropped off the face of the earth ...

It sure does seem as if it's been forever since I've done any fun writing for myself. I've been blessed with a bunch of work, greatly appreciated, and between that work and still waiting for the Worker's Comp carrier to give its blessing for treatment (they hope I die in the meantime, unfortunately for them what I have isn't fatal ... directly anyway) I've neglected sharing any random thoughts.

I am trying to be a bit better about going to my internal medicine doc. I don't like going to the doctor. I have insurance, but I just think what a waste of money to have to go at least four times a year, mostly for lab work because of statin therapy for familial high cholesterol. Strange though, I've been getting what could be perceived as good news at my last two visits.

At my November visit, the scale, never my friend, revealed a 17-pound weight loss from the last time I'd been seen, a tick less than a year previously. It hasn't yet equated to a full drop in clothing size, but stuff hangs on me. At my full physical 10 days ago, the scale said I'd lost another four pounds... that is over the Christmas holiday, without extraordinary effort.

In part the weight loss is due to scary low income. There have been times I have one "meal" a day which might consist of ramen noodles and cheese, and a glass of milk. College student fare, and if it keeps them going, I guess it's good enough for me. Combined with the stress of slow work and pain, I'm just not hungry.

We've also switched to nonfat milk and I do not drink carbonated beverages at all, not even the diet stuff. I don't know if weight loss is all that easy, but imagine how nicely a weight loss might progress with an increase in exercise?

I can hardly wait! This time, I will be rid of my "fat clothes" as soon as I possibly can!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yay for work!

There is nothing that feels as good as having work, being productive, using the skills that God and a good education gave you and allowed you to develop, and learning new things from students to boot.

'Twas a good day today. Maybe 2010 will indeed be a better year?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holiday depression crap

As I get older, I dislike the holidays more. Not because I don't like or believe in the reason for the season—I know that over two thousand years ago, a remarkable man was born mortal but under extraordinary circumstances, and that this man had gifts and abilities that we have not had on this planet since. Unfortunately I don't think we remember this is why we have this holiday, and it's become something else, a time of reflection I suppose.

Today my daughter left open her Facebook page to her cousin, my deceased sister's daughter. I do not consider this young woman to be my niece, but it's her choice. She has totally embraced my deceased father's widow and her family as her family—something I cannot do. This girl posted a bunch of Christmas photos taken with my father's widow and her children. It was like a stab to the heart. They celebrated the holiday in the huge house my father built his second wive; it's a 4 or 5 bedroom home, and it was built for the two of them, plus plenty of extra bedrooms for "visiting family." My father has been dead longer than he was married to this woman, yet she continues to live like a queen, and her daughters continue to benefit from their mother's good fortune to marry an older man who fortunately for her, died and left a crummy will.

I look at those photos of that house and see no sign that my father lived there. The furniture is not what was there when he was alive, except for the ebony baby grand piano that no one is able to play. There were gifts strewn about everywhere. Everyone is wearing nice clothes.

When I was a kid, my father was quite thrifty, and drummed it into my head that we were sacrificing for the future, that he in his old age would not want for anything and that his children would have his investments to help them to live comfortably long after he was gone. I believed everything my father said. I did what he asked. I did not report him to the cops when he hit me when I was a teenager, convinced I was a slut (believe me I wasn't). When my father remarried, his new wife was quite a bit younger than he, and I was warned by a co-worker that she was a golddigger, out for the money. But what could I do about it? Nothing.

Her three daughters became his perfect new family. He took them on vacations to Mexico, Hawaii, and places I don't know about. Vacations we did not take when I was a kid because we were sacrificing for the future. They had designer clothes; we had mail-order clothes from Spiegel. They had anything they wanted; when I was a kid we couldn't afford it.

One constant was the promise that there would be a piece of property for each of my paternal grandparent's grandkids—that promise had been made by my grandparents, understood by my father and uncle. But my dad kept stalling, saying he needed to transfer the property in the most beneficial manner tax-wise. A couple of years before he became ill, we decided on which lot he would deed to me, and I had house plans drawn up. My father knew I wanted to have a place to keep horses. My dad had also had numerous conversations with me regarding his estate, his wishes, and how I was to be executor even though I wasn't so crazy about the idea.

He wanted his widow to have income from certain investments, and I agreed that was the right thing to do. However, there were certain real estate investments he wanted held in trust to benefit his heirs, and that included an apartment complex, mobile home park, the 350+ acre ranch owned by my family from before my birth, the house I grew up in and the house he built to be held in trust.

Long story short, that's not what happened, and I had to endure my father's widow telling the cops that I'd made a death threat against her while his last-minute non-attorney written will was being probated. It was easier for me to leave the area rather than deal with her threats and accusations. She lives on $12K a month, most of that from his investments and his social security benefits. I am having a good month if I earn $3K. Usually it is quite less than that.

While my father was alive, I never asked him for money. My siblings did. I should have gotten a piece of the pie while he was still alive; I'd have at least gotten something. As it is, I don't have the promised acreage, and my beloved horses are gone. I thank my father for his cruelty and mind-fucking abilities daily. (note sarcasm)

It's not healthy to wish ill on someone. It's also not healthy for a kid, even if that kid is an adult, to not be able to remember one truthful thing a parent has said to her. But I cannot help wish that somehow something my father said would become the truth. I look at those photos and feel a hollow emptiness toward my father that is not healthy, and his widow has done her level best to keep me feeling that way.

Someday her lies will come back on her, and she will be made to face up to her greed and cruelty, if not this life, the next. And my sister's daughter hopefully never needs her mother's blood family for any reason.

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