Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why Me? My healthcare story.

As the battle for the budget looms in our capital, we constantly hear arguments over Representative Ryan's bold plan to privatize Medicare.  I disagree with this plan with every part of my being.

I have my own vision to fix healthcare and health insurance once and for all and I want to share it with you, so you may know there are other options.  That plan will be unveiled in my next blog post, but I want to share my own story right now.

I must include my own story as there must be journalistic integrity. 

While I live as most average citizens do, I live paycheck to paycheck.  Being sick just isn't in the cards.  I'm one of those people who would call in only if I was almost dead.  I used to work 60 to 80 hours a week, two jobs at a time, very little time off to enjoy myself.  I don't drink, smoke, do weed, or any other such vice.  Then I got a job at a health field related company.  The company is great, great benefits, decent pay, but the job is so incredibly emotionally draining.  We work to save people's lives, and I LOVE what I do.  But it is not the kind of job for takes a special person to do it and not want to quit after a couple of months.  Even when I started they told me there was a high turnover rate and people get burnt out easy.  I knew if I had to keep up with this job, I'd have to make it my only job and give it my all.  So I took the plunge as this was the first time in quite some time that I only had one job at one time. 

Unfortunately, for me, a couple of years into my employment.  I had an issue with a cracked tooth that spiraled out of control.  At first, I didn't think anything of it but it decayed quickly and this was right next to my wisdom tooth that became impacted and deformed.  Causing pain that brought me to my knees everytime I bit down accidentally (which were a lot of times). 

At first, I went to the dentist for an x-ray and some options, this was first thing on a monday morning.  We talked and the best option I had was to go to the oral surgeon to get the tooth extracted, this was to be a friday morning, in another county of my state.  So, some mild pain killers later with a week gone by, I was so excited to be pain free.  I was x-rayed just before I was set to begin and my hopes were dashed, no scratch that, destroyed worse than being hit with a 50 caliber round to the face.  The surgeon informed me that the area had become too infected to extract, the infection would spread and cut my airway off, and that I was to go immediately to the emergency room of one of the premier medical centers in that area as they had an oral surgery and dental unit there that could save my life.

My first thought was "all this for two teeth, I can't die over two teeth!" 

My second thought was "I have to go to work.  How am I going to pay my bills?  And how am I going to pay this bill?"

When faced with true fear of always just being two steps away from the financial abyss that had always layed before me, I was thinking "thank god, I have health insurance."

My fiance, my love, stayed with me all that friday in a small exam room.  Then I was found a bed and put in a regular room that night and into saturday, then into sunday morning.  My dad came in to visit that saturday morning and said "it won't be nothing, you'll be fine in a couple of days."  I smiled as much as possible, put on my game face, and awaited the surgery.

Sunday morning came bright and early.  The nurse had come in and said "its time, do you need the bathroom before you go?"  So I walked in the bathroom and my jaw had exploded in size, it almost seemed as if someone implanted five bananas on the side of my jaw while I was asleep.  I was, now, absolutely terrified of the situation before me. 

I realize now, that there comes times in every person's life, that you will see situations that are absolutely unavoidable. Times that will bring on your financial ruin, the destruction of hope itself, and the only question you have left before you know you might die or will die is "Why Me?"

So I laid down on the operating table, oral surgeons, anesthesiologists, regular surgeons, life support machines, and nurses.  In my head, wondering if I was suffering from a nightmare and just haven't woken up yet.

My parents were getting updates from the doctors on how their son was doing.  My dad got a call on monday morning that it wasn't going so well and I was in a coma.  He said he fell out of his chair at work.  My fiancee, who was my girlfriend at the time, couldn't get any updates except from my family.  My mom who lives 1400 miles away was wondering what was going to happen to her eldest son. 

Apparently there were complications with the infection and the respirator system.  I was kept in a sedated coma and given steroids to let the infection drain as the respirator tube had become lodged in my throat as the infection, just as that original oral surgeon in the beginning had told me, was closing my airway down. 

On the last day before I woke up they were going to do a tracheotomy on me as they couldn't wait any longer.  Now I use my voice all the time in my job, this would have been a disaster for me, and something I don't believe I could recover from for a very long time. 

Later, my mom would tell me that she prayed to god and told him "That is not going to happen to my son!"  My mom is a very spiritual women, loved in her community, and a devout woman of the Christian faith.  I would never, ever take that away from her.  She knows I love her from the bottom of my heart and I leave no doubt of that fact.  But I digress, back to my story.

I woke up four days later, throat intact.  I woke to find my dad and my love waiting there.  The first thing I heard was my dad saying "Don't move, just be still, it's ok."  And my love holding my hand.  Nurses and doctors coming in to see me.  But not being able to talk with this tube down my throat still, my neck still intact. 

But the strangest thing happened, the nurses brought my head up in a sitting position and I barely made out a sign language chart.  When I was a child, my mom had taught me how to sign the letters of the alphabet but that knowledge, I forgot about completely.  But after I woke up I could sign letters like a natural. 

Apparently, while I was in this drug induced coma, I would be conscous enough to sign to people.  The nurse said the first time she saw me in this state, I was signing like a wild man and no one could find out what I was trying to say.  Apparently I was asked while I was in this same state, what I was signing and that I made reference that I didn't know.

But one of those nurses faces sticks out in my head.  I remember this one but I can't remember her name.  Only being with her for a few moments I wrote down to her on a piece of paper that she had found her true calling.  And from what I remember, and I do remember the encounter, I would stand true to these words to this day. 

I spent the next two days recovering, the infection draining quickly.  But I could not breathe well enough on my own to get a good blood oxygen count and I could not open my mouth more than one fingers width.  They told me I would have to stay in the hospital a few more days.  Then while I lay in bed, just getting a handle on my new situation, financial fear came roaring back. 

"Oh my god, I haven't been to work in a while!", "How am I going to pay my bills?", "What if my insurance bails on me?"  I can only imagine four days on life support in a coma would cost, not counting everything else.  Truly terrified of the unknown.

I woke up on that wednesday.  Stayed in the ICU until thursday.  When I was brought to away from the ICU, I realized I had to leave fast.  Not for my own safety of my health, but for the safety of my job, and my finances.  That thusday night, I did breathing exercises and jaw stretches.  I didn't sleep a wink and worked at it for hours into the early friday morning.  Me in my hospital bed, fighting for every inch of freedom from the hospital.  Not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was the only way to survive.  Collapsing of exhaustion later that morning for fighting all night. 

The doctors let me go later that friday evening.  I had convinced myself and them, I was well enough to go.  My mom had come to see me after traveling that 1400 miles and was able to take me from the hospital.  So weak and destroyed.  I stayed the night at my sister's house while my fiance got our apartment ready for my return. 

Two days later, I left my home to go and run errands with my fiance.  I didn't even get out of the car really and when I got back I realized the error of my ways of leaving the hospital too early.  Just with that small amount of energy to use, I over did it.  With this new revelation, how could I even think of going back to work and survive?

The whole time not sure how I was going to pay the bills.  I was just above water staying ahead with the bills I had, let alone this huge thing happening to me.

So I did the only thing I could do.  I let the insurance pay for most of it and I let the medical bills go.  Yes I know there is a stigma to that.  Some might believe that I'm lazy, cheap, evil, or even a leach on the system.  And some might believe that me and others like me should be allowed to die because we don't make enough to cover our medical bills but just enough over the margin not to get some sort of charity or state coverage.  Or what if the hospital has to close up shop, because of me or others like me.  If you think I don't think about these things then you are sadly mistaken.

The financial abyss takes many forms:  fear, doubt, dread, fights over money, destruction of the family, destruction of relationships, depression, and sad to say, but death as well.  But with the economy the way it is, more and more people who never thought they would be looking in their own financial abyss are being forced to look down the "rabbit hole."

But this is my story, there are many like it, but this one is mine.
There are a few lessons I've learned along the way that most people forget if they are in this type of situation:
1. Your voice is not tied to your position, your income, or your debt.
2. Your voice matters to people only when you speak out or speak up.
3. If you have a message or ideas that society as a whole can benefit from, it doesn't matter where you are in life, just dare to make the world a better place.

In closing, I have a plan, myself, that will fix healthcare for good and will focus on four fronts:
1. Cost of healthcare now
2. Cost of future healthcare
3. Free market solutions of health insurance companies and a public option.
4. "Solving for X" (god that should be a hashtag, LOL) for the problem of not being able to see a doctor.

Until next time my friends, remember you have a voice!  It is only when you don't share your ideas with society do you make the future worse.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Oil and Gas Subsidies - A new way to distribute them.

The republican controlled house is attempting to cut and slash government spending everywhere.  Even as the hours count down to Republican Paul Ryan's budget plan for 2012.  I'm sure there are cuts to medicare and medicaid, social security, and a host of other entitlements that the working and middle class have paid into since the 1930's.

The only thing they stand firm on not cutting is subsidies to oil and gas companies.  When this was brought up for debate every house republican stood strong against cutting a single dollar for these items.  Some arguments brought up for the protection of these subsidies were borderline insanity or severely misinformed.

So why don't we change how subsidies are given out in this area.  I'm not advocating for cutting a single dollar from this program, in fact if possible I want more money given to it if possible and the free market (you know republicans, the thing that you want to protect above all else) decide where the money should go. 

Every year Joe Kennedy takes the time to promote his heating assistance for the poor and working class.  Now, yes he does bring up the people of Venezuela in the advertisements.  Now Hugo Chavez is not the best guy to do business with, so think of this idea as killing two birds with one stone.

So whats the idea?

Well instead of handing our oil and gas subsidies over directly to the big oil companies, why don't we hand it over to the oil and gas assistance programs and charities and let them decide where they want to buy there oil from.  Since it's so much subsidy money, I'm sure they'll get a better price from our American companies directly.  Working families will not freeze to death or face financial ruin trying to keep up with high heating bills.  Those funds will show up as profits on the balance sheets for our American oil and gas companies pushing their stock price up and being even more profitable which intern focuses less attention to Venezuelan oil and Hugo Chavez.  And Joe Kennedy can even do advertisements about the American oil companies his organization bought the oil from.  Now I'm sure there are more oil and gas assistance programs other than Joe Kennedy's, but his is the most notable.  Free advertising, profits, free markets, helping working families, and the middle class.

It's a win-win situation all around, it stresses tenet #1 of social capitalism, "Compassion Thru Cost."

But the best thing of this idea, is it keeps the "Free Market" intact completely.  Now no republican who values free markets and the profitability of American companies could possibly be against it.  I mean no elected official just wants to give money away especially not REPUBLICANS.



Saturday, April 2, 2011


As I watch the events in the world unfold it seems that America has come to a point in its evolution that we cannot turn back from.  People who would call themselves republicans, are at war with their own party leaders. 

And the T.E.A. Party seems to be hijacked by a select few who know nothing of their nation's history and care nothing for their nation's constitution.  The only thing they care about is invoking some sick and twisted Christian type Sharia Law.

Do the the regular republicans even know who they voted for anymore?

On the same token, do we as democrats even know who we voted for anymore?  Our president said he would walk the lines with our unions when they needed to fight for their rights, and what did we get?  Oh, just a few talking points.

THAT'S IT?  Granted, we had Egypt and Libya going on.  But President Obama could of just taken one day out of his schedule and put on his comfortable shoes and stand with the people that elected him.

I've been thinking about what are nation has been put thru for the last decade and we as Americans have a right to fear.  Our economy is in the tank, just beginning to breathe new life.  We have three costly wars that have cost our family members lives, our friends lives, our treasure, our safety and security, and most importantly our freedom. 

So what now?  Most republicans have just pushed and pushed for power grabs left and right, doing everything to cut even the most basic services at the expense of tax breaks for the top 2% of our nation with subsidies to match.  And what of the democrats?  Government so big, it can't get out of its own way.  Departments that cover departments that cover departments.  Where is the line on both sides?

So what do we do now?

Time for truth from me, I have really never voted, I honestly never cared to.  The reason why was I thought the world would just forget about me and let me do my own thing and leave me be.  But this past decade has been different.  So much hate has been spread, so many lives lost, so much money gone, so many jobs eliminated.  And the worst of all:  The American Dream almost completely gone from view, that if fades into the darkness with all but a slight sliver of light.

I stand now, woken up to the nightmare before us.  Seeing those who seek power too much, and those who seek power not enough. 



I am a capitalist, I'm just not their kind of capitalist.



1. Compassion thru Cost:  Unless it's an entitlement because you put something in, it will always cost you something.

2. All American Citizens have the right to speak their mind without fear of reprisal or death.

3. Even the poorest of American Citizens are important.

4. If elected to office, always fight for peace unless peace is not an option.

5. If war needs to be declared, the elected must ensure there are clear goals and objectives to win the war.

6. America is not and should never be the policemen of the world.

7. Privately owned businesses that are not based on limited liability are to receive a permanent tax rate of 15%.  The owner shall not be double taxed.

8. Privately owned businesses that have ten (10) or more hired American citizens that are not based on limited liability shall have a permanent tax rate of 10%.  The owner shall not be double taxed.

9. All members of the armed forces, doctors and physicians who practice in public hospitals, and teachers in public schools shall have a permanent tax rate of 2%.

10. Farmers will have a permanent tax rate of 2%

11. The government shall have a public option of health care for those who have no health care option.  However, if a citizen uses coverage for themselves or their family as form of payment for option they will lose their tax exemption and child care credit for two years from the date of the care needed.  Special needs families are exempt.

12. If a person chooses not to have health care they will not be mandated or taxed.  The government will cover the cost for 60 days until said person pays out of pocket for the care.  If they are unable to pay or chose not to pay after the 60 days tenet #11 takes effect.  Special needs families are exempt.

13. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid shall not be cut until cuts to all other programs and services are made, including armed forces.

14. The borders shall be secure.  10% of the defense departments budget and resources shall be transferred to the border patrol for a more secure border with the majority of those funds for manpower and vehicles.

15. Apprentice programs for American citizens shall be encouraged.

16. Any branch of government institution shall make no law (written or implied) that gives a single religion preference over another.

17. The government has the right to celebrate single holidays already established.

18. Private persons, businesses, and establishments may celebrate any holiday or religion they wish at the discretion of the owner without fear of reprisal, discrimination, or lawsuit as long as the hired personnel are informed of the holidays or religious practice before being hired.

19. Small insurance businesses have the right to conduct business across state lines as long as all coverage to the insured is in-network only and meets with the other states regulations if any.

20. Corporations that are headquartered not in the United States shall be treated as citizens of the country they are headquartered in, meaning it is illegal for a citizen of another country to contribute to a political campaign or political charity organization.

21. Marijuana will be legalized for recreational in home use with regulation, taxation, and protections for landlords.

22. All Americans have the right to bear arms and that right will never be taken away, however the government may restrict persons from having guns if they do not have a license to use a firearm, especially in cases where a question of mental illness or mental stability is involved.

23. All Americans have the right to defend their homes from intruders without fear of lawsuit.

24. Every American citizen is only responsible to pay for their own legal council in regards to civil lawsuits and cannot be sued for the cost of legal counsel for the other party.





Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Lone Wolf Terrorism

Before I begin this blog post I want to give credit to Wikipedia for which I found the term as I was just Wiki-ing for different Items.

A Listing on Wikipedia shows what Lone Wolf Terrorism is. 

I found something particularly disturbing on this page:

Direct from Wikipedia

Origins of the term
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the term "lone wolf" was popularized by white supremacists Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger in the late 1990s:
On Curtis: Curtis encouraged fellow racists to act alone in committing violent crimes so that they would not incriminate others. He called for the elimination of nonwhites by "whatever means necessary" and promoted assassination, illegal drug sales and biological warfare as useful strategies. He popularized the so-called "5 words" – "I have nothing to say" – which he urged extremists to use whenever questioned by police as a highly effective means of obstructing prosecution.[1]
On Metzger: One of the most influential aspects of Metzger's right-wing activism has been his advocacy of the "lone wolf " or "leaderless resistance" model of extremism, which favors individual or small-cell underground activity, as opposed to above-ground membership organizations.[2]
Now as I think about what I read on this page, it scares me.  Everyone has the right to be scared of something, you would not be considered human if you were not afraid of at least one thing.  It is only how you handle your fear that is important.  Facts are still pending in the recent events in Arizona. But innocent people have died at the hands of an extremist and that is one fact that cannot be ignored!

But what makes a person an extremist anyway?  I'm not talking just about a political extremist, but just the term "extremist."  I personally do not believe you can be born an extremist, it must be nurtured.  Is it a chemical imbalance in the brain brought to bear by ideologists?  Is it a fear of evolution of society or an attempt to stop it?  Is it a belief that if you don't go to an extreme act no one will notice you or your beliefs?  Is it narcissism?  Is it a feeling of being left behind?

Which brings me to my thought on evolution vs. revolution, hmm, those terms do sound familiar for some reason?  I know I heard them used by a political pundit at some time.

History usually makes notice of revolutions more than evolutions, and sometimes they are one in the same.  One such note is the dark time in our American history on the issue of Slavery.  I bring this up only as an historical reference on a point of revolution and evolution and I take only the opinion that Slavery in any form is wrong.

In the beginning of American history, by the year 1750 all original 13 colonies were involved in the "slave trade."  As time passed, all of American society came to know it was wrong.  But it was not an overnight change.  It evolved to a single point in time where it was no longer correct but being absolutely wrong in society.  But even in the Bible, slavery was ok (example: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.  (Ephesians 6:5 NLT) (this passage makes me sick to my stomach)).  However even at that time where there is an evolution of beliefs in cultural society there was also a revolutionist push toward the same goal.

Hence revolution and evolution are sometimes the same, and sometimes they act in opposition to each other.

Which brings us to our most current time. 

There is a current evolution of American cultural society.  The evolutional push for the legalization of marijuana, the evolutional push for gays and lesbians becoming more excepted in American society, the evolutional push for multi-cultural religious factions coming together in understanding.  Even the evolutional push for the ideas of free persons to be shared in a forum of learning and understanding (internet), just to name a few.  All of these things that were not even thought up as being possible 60 years ago by the common man.  And make no mistake, eventually all of these will happen, grow, and prosper.

Then you have the revolutionist push back.  The persons who link religion and patriotism in the most sadistic ways possible.  Those who believe if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.  Those who do not like the way evolution is going but doing everything to slow it down, stop it, or trying to reverse it.

Unfortunately there will always be extremists in the global society and that is a fact I can't ignore even though it sickens me. 

The only solace I can take is that maybe, just maybe, in the future, extremists will look themselves in the mirror and will eventually value the life of a living breathing human being.

Yes, I have a dream too.

Just a special note:  Evolution almost always can never be stopped, but with a lot of care and effort, it can be lead in the right direction.