observations on life

Is it just me?

I think that when we are old, or old enough, we should get to decide what we do, rather than doing what everybody else wants us to do.  Maybe that’s selfish.  Maybe it’s something we are owed after 60 or 70 years of doing what others want instead of what we want.  Maybe there are still enough things, finally, that we have to do that we don’t want to do, like mow the lawn or do the laundry or scrub the toilets, chore after chore after chore, that life requires of us, that we should get to decide all the other stuff for ourselves.  Is that wrong?

observations on life, Uncategorized

A republication–still,unfortunately,true.

(When I first started this blog, I wrote this.  It included a web address for an opinion piece from the New York Times, which I can no longer reproduce here for some reason.)

If you’d like you can read the article posted above.  It’s an opinion piece published in the New York Times about the “overmedication” of women who suffer from anxiety or depression.  I confess I haven’t read the whole thing because as I read it, I began to feel I would have a stroke from the escalating rage.

The person who wrote this is a woman.  A psychiatrist.  And what she says is that anxiety and depression are healthy and adaptive and we should “appreciate” them.  Oh, the long series of expletives I could put here.  Instead I’ll just say, Fuck you, you ignorant, willfully stupid waste of air.

Depression and pain are the least understood and most commonly ignored and berated problems that people bring to their physicians.  Many physicians are understanding of the life-threatening implications of these two issues.  Some even understand that sometimes physical pain is the result of traumatic emotional events that haven’t been adequately addressed.  Example: When you see your husband and child killed in front of you, and your house burned to the ground, and then you are raped, and you finally end up in the United States by some miracle, you may go to the doctor with physical pain.  And of course there may be good physical reasons for your physical pain, but the pain may also be a manifestation of the devastating emotional trauma you have endured.  Does you doctor understand that?  Does he or she even know, or ask, about where you’re from or how you came to be here?  Probably not.  Tests are ordered, procedures endured, myriad approaches are tried and fail.  Simply because physicians are not attuned to the emotional suffering of others, they are not trained to deal with it, and most of all, they ignore it altogether.

If this wounded person does end up seeing a psychiatrist, let’s hope she doesn’t see the person who wrote this article.  And those of us who have not endured this level of trauma should also hope we don’t end up seeing a psychiatrist like this one.  Because this woman has clearly never been depressed or paralyzed with anxiety.  And she’s not alone.  I have known some wonderful psychiatrists, and all the good ones have had some personal experience with anxiety or depression of their own.  On the other hand, I’ve heard so-called experts say things like “You want an antidepressant for seasonal affective disorder?  Go out and take a walk for God’s sake.  You’ll feel better.”  Well, Sweetie, if I can’t get out of bed, I can’t go take a walk, you miserable stupid excuse for an “expert”.

The people who hold your life in their hands probably don’t have the first clue what it’s like to be depressed.  And they don’t even realize they’ve got your life under their control.  If I could not get my antidepressants because my psychiatrist believed that I should embrace my feelings rather than medicate them, I would die.  Simple.  I would die because I would be in so much psychological pain that I would kill myself.  End of story.

So all I can say to this ignorant, condescending non-expert is Fuck You.

observations on life

Medical care, corruption, and greed.

Yesterday I called to see how much Avera Health Plan has spent on my medical care this year. The answer was $78.00.  Wait–maybe it was $71.00.  I also got a letter from Avera Health Plan yesterday saying that my premium in January will go from $660 a month to $997 a month.
I have always been extremely frugal. That means when something is ridiculously over priced, I don’t buy it. Insurance coverage is no different.
Why medical providers, pharmaceuticals companies, medical equipment manufacturers and health insurance companies in the United States have not been indicted for conspiracy to commit fraud, I don’t know. Wait. Yes I do. And it’s all about greed, corruption, and lack of political will.
Meanwhile, insurance companies like to claim that charging people $12,000 a year, while spending almost nothing, is what they have to do to stay in business.
The only way, THE ONLY WAY around this is to have single payer healthcare like every other industrialized country in the world. This would allow prices to be fair because we would all pay a much smaller tax than we are now paying in insurance premiums, prices could be negotiated and controlled, and everyone would be covered. But a lot of people, including elected officials, would make a lot less money. Apparently we here in the United States would rather make a handful of people rich than have affordable healthcare for everyone.

And to those who will say it’s not MY medical care that’s driving costs up, I say this.  Say the wind blows the roof off your house.  This happens through no fault of your own.  Nevertheless, the premium for your homeowner’s insurance goes up, because the company has had to pay a big claim.  Not true for medical insurance.  If I have to pay for other people’s medical care, I DEMAND to pay it with taxes instead being legally robbed by insurance companies.

And here’s a kicker. It says in the letter telling me about the premium increase:

“What you need to do-
You can keep this plan
You can pick a different plan
Here are some ways to look at different plans-
1) Check with Avera Health Plans to see what other plans may be available.”
So I called. They can tell you what the different plans are but they can’t tell you how much the premium will be.
It’s when dealing with insurance companies that I truly understand those people who take a gun into some business and start killing everybody.


from The Dog Stars

There is a pain you can’t think your way out of.  You can’t talk it away.  You can walk.  When you walk you propel it forward.  Then it sits with you, the Pain puts its arm over your shoulders.  It is your closest friend.  Steadfast.  And at night you can’t bear to hear your own breath unaccompanied by another and underneath the big stillness like a score is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away.  Then.  The Pain lying beside your side, close.  Does not bother you with the sound even of breathing.

Peter Heller, The Dog Stars

observations on life, Uncategorized

A chronicle of cursedness. And cussedness.

About a month ago, when I lost the battle of wills with our front steps, my mood went into the pit and bottomed out.  I called to make an appointment with a psychiatrist (mine recently changed jobs and is no longer available.  This happens a lot.) They told me I could have an appointment in December–over two months away.  I complained, and now I have an appointment in November.  On election day.   My mood got a little better briefly when finally, after weeks of trying, I succeeded in making an appointment.  Then, yesterday, our dog went blind.  Just like that.  Blind.  Between the three cats, one of whom has only three legs, and a blind dog, I am, as always, at the mercy of the cussedness of the universe.  (And, we’re supposed to go to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving with Jim’s daughter.  What do we do with a blind dog while we’re out of town?  He has to stay at home where things are familiar. Do I bribe and beg my friends to take care of him?  I guess.  What else can I do?  If I were them, I’d be sick of taking care of our pets all the time.)

So my mood is back in the cesspool, festering, reminding me that life is a constant battle with little, constant, incessant aggravations, and big awful circumstances over which we have no control.  Like these:

June 2010–My good friend Julene is diagnosed with cancer.

February 2011–My good friend Jim Nardini, Julene’s husand, dies.

April 2011–Lydia, my first cat and the love of my life, dies on our wedding day.

December 2011–My cat Mia dies.

March 2012–Julene dies.

Fall 2012–Jim’s Uncle Ted dies.

February 2013–My cat Sophie has her leg amputated.

July 2013–Jim has a stroke

October 2014–Our nephew dog, Easy, dies.

January-April 2015–We have a long, bitter, expensive (to say the least), stomach churning, tooth gnashing legal battle with Jim’s ex wife, complicated by Jim’s son who was here doing an internship for three weeks, staying at our house, and making his stay a literal living hell.  My mood dove into the pit and stayed there, briefly recovering for three weeks when my sister got a new dog in August.  Then:

September 2015–Our niece dog, Winnie, Easy’s successor, dies at age three months.  Mood bottoms out again.

Christmas 2015–Jim’s son comes to Christmas dinner and works his dysfunction magic. Mood sinks deeper into the muck.  He hasn’t been back in our house since.

October 2016–Our dog, Winston, goes blind.  And here we are.

observations on life

This is my life.

My sister, who has been sick with some flu-like thing for a week and a half, called me on Saturday, and said, “Would you like to come over tomorrow and we’ll make kuchen?   Dan (our cousin) is in town visiting Dale and Jeanne (our uncle and aunt).  We could take a couple kuchens over there for them.”

I say OK.  So we make kuchen on Sunday.

On Monday, my sister is feeling worse from her flu.  So now I have to take the kuchen to my aunt and uncle’s place. Which really pisses me off.  SHE has volunteered to make kuchen and take it there, and now, here I am, taking instead.  I call them and I say I’ll come over with the kuchen after supper sometime.  7:30 or so.  Fine, they tell me.

It’s dark now at 7:00 when I leave the house, and the fact that I can’t see a damn thing in the dark is the first problem.  I drive to my sister’s.  I pick up the kuchen.  I get back into the car and get my phone out of my purse because my aunt and uncle live in a security building and you have to call them when you get there so they can come and open the door to the building. (No buzzer.) I lay the phone beside me, and back out of the driveway. As I turn into the street, the phone flies across the car and lands in the back seat.  I can’t feel it.  And.  It’s dark.  So I stop the car, get out, get in the back seat, and move stuff around until I find the phone.  I get back in and put the phone in the cup holder.  I start the car and realize–oh.  I have no gas. So now I have to get gas.

As I’m driving and looking for a gas station along the way, it starts to rain.  So I call my sister in order to increase her guilt about my having to do this by saying “And now it’s raining.” I’m dialing the phone in the car, in the dark.  No answer.  Finally I come to a gas station.  I fill up the car and hang up the spout, and the pump readout says “Go inside for your receipt.” So now I’m pissed about that, too. Why pay outside if you have to go inside anyway?  As I lean into the car to get my purse to go inside, my phone rings.  It’s some guy who says, “I don’t know who you are but you called me.”  I say, “I don’t know who you are either. Maybe I dialed the wrong number.  You think?”  (One of the many problems with cell phones is you can’t SLAM them down when you’re mad and hanging up on someone.)

So I go in and get my receipt, and continue on my way.  My relatives live way way way on the other side of town where I never go except to see them.  And it’s dark.  Very very dark.  I get to my turn and end up turning onto the wrong street.  After driving to the end of the dead-end driveway,  I think, “OK.  This is wrong.”  And have to back up all the way to the street.  So I start again.  Finally I arrive at the correct place, get out my phone to say “I’m here, let me in.”  No answer.  I dial again, and then I see my aunt standing in the doorway.  I walk over there and she says, “Did I misunderstand you on the phone this morning?”  I said, no, I just said I’d come here after supper.  “Well”, she said, “we talked to Jim (my husband) wondering where you were.”

Huh?  Granted, it’s now ten to eight, and I would have been there sooner had I not had to deal with all the unforeseen circumstances.  I stay for a few minutes, explaining why I wasn’t there at 7:30 on the dot, which apparently was a huge problem for them.

Then I go back home, without getting a flat tire or having an accident. A miracle.

My sister owes me.