Posts Tagged ‘illness’
My “light bulb moment” began with a Band-aid. I wouldn’t have sought treatment for the wound, but Beloved Soul Mate insisted I get a tetanus shot. The adhesive bandage used to cover an inconsequential injury, triggered a mental disruption that lingers, almost two decades later.
Back then, I had old-school insurance. Not an HMO, not a PPO, just an indemnity policy. An indemnity policy is a contractual agreement between an insurer and the insured, as to whom will pay for what. On the itemized invoice, a generic type of Band-Aid (which was called a surgical dressing) cost $66. The wound healed fine, but long after, I was bothered by how and why the charge for something with a retail value of about .11, cost six-hundred times as much.
Perhaps my insurer and I were subsidizing the cost of treating deadbeats, illegal aliens, or those who couldn’t afford treatment. Maybe the inflated prices were helping pay for expensive treatments, or cover costs associated with malpractice. Whatever the reality, that “surgical dressing” seemed to be “window-dressing” on a larger problem.
Not long after, Hillary Clinton began doing her best to convince America to adopt a national healthcare plan. After being charged so much for so little, I was interested, but skeptical. It was clear costs no longer reflected the real cost of services.
It was easy to see symptoms of distress in our medical system, but there was no easy remedy. I’d heard the rhetoric about, rich doctors, greedy insurers, profiteering lawyers, and money-grabbing pharmaceutical companies. It seemed greed was at the root, but nobody was talking about self-interested or freeloading consumers–even though it was well-know patients would clog emergency rooms for non-emergencies, like colds to avoid paying doctors. It seemed even those with insurance wanted everything for nothing.
The huge disparity between what consumers paid and the costs of what they received could not be ignored. With the best treatments, innovative technologies and the ongoing development of life-changing drugs, medicine in America was then and is now, generally the best in the world–except for one glaring thing. Some were receiving services for less than what it cost the providers, others were paying more than seemed reasonable for services received. High costs and the plight of the uninsured seemed to necessitate an overhaul, but with government-intervention, a decline in the quality of care seemed inevitable.
No matter what anyone paid, one thing remained the same. The value of health or life, could not be measured in dollars and cents. Whether it was a premature birth, a child with cancer, or an aging parent, when the patient was someone we cared about, we wanted the best care money could buy–even if it meant risking financial ruin.
That Band-Aid, was overpriced, but a bargain, because it launched my education into healthcare. Not an easy education, but an ongoing quest to understand the real costs of healthcare. Healthcare in America is good, but there isn’t a Band-Aid big enough to fix the problems. After years, not months, of dedicated reading and research, I still feel barely qualified to write about it. The problems affecting our healthcare system are far-reaching and complex.
Every aspect of our medical system has been affected by the necessity of cost-shifting, which is why some form of nationalized healthcare seems to be the necessary solution. Unfortunately for all, the issue has become money, not health. Giving the government the authority to make sure everyone gets care seems like a great idea, but it’s problematic. The next phase in American healthcare will be redefined by costs, not care.
There isn’t anyone who can fully know or understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act, (ACA). Not only is the new law thousands of pages, but it leaves many provisions undefined. I‘ll do my best to hit the major points, as they have been defined–with my only intention being to represent the facts fairly. Because of my sincere desire to write without partisan bias, I prefer to call the bill that has been passed, by its proper name, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) instead of its better-known name “Obama-Care.”
Over the next couple weeks, I hope to shed some light, on what can be reasonably expected under The Affordable Care Act. My intent is not to politicize this blog, but to illuminate issues affecting this audience. The issue is healthcare, not politics. Everyone needs to be aware of changes that will affect our healthcare system, but the issue is of particular importance to women, since we are often the primary caregivers for ill loved ones. The facts are sobering. If you value your health or the health of those around you, you cannot afford not to know what to expect under “affordable” healthcare.
Almost every woman–and a few men, have cried (or cussed) over their hair. Almost everyone has had the unfortunate experience of leaving a salon light-headed and lighter in the pocketbook, but less-than thrilled with the result.
Hair, good or bad, can be a head turner, but considering that hair is basically dead cells, its amazing how much time, money & energy we spend on it. I find it especially ironic to consider that most of us aren’t nearly as invested in our teeth, as we are our hair. Hair comes and goes. Bad hair is usually a very temporary condition–if only bad teeth were as easily remedied as bad hair–when a tooth (or teeth) went bad, they’d already be growing their own replacement(s).
Of course with teeth style & color options are limited, but with hair there are so many choices:
Short vs. Long
Curly vs. Straight
Natural vs. chemical.
If the style options aren’t enough to keep us constantly contemplating a change, there are all the implications. Our hair can affect how masculine or feminine we seem, how old we appear, or convey how stylish we are–and that’s just the hair on our heads. An abundance of luxuriant hair on the head is good, but on the body–not so much. We may be simultaneously, trying to remove the hair we don’t want while trying to cultivate and preserve the hair we do want.
Because most of us vacillate between loving or hating our hair, we quickly learn the value of a good haircut. A good hair cut can be expensive, but a great haircut is worth the price. Because I just got braces, I can’t afford to have a bad haircut. If my newly acquired mouth full of orthodontic apparatus isn’t enough to leave me feeling attractiveness-impaired, the last thing I need is a bad cut. With braces I’m just one bad haircut away from being something like a “purse-holder”. (For those who have never had the misfortune, “purse-holders” are the girls who are never asked to dance, and therefore stuck watching purses, while their more attractive friends are dancing.)
My hair was due for a change, it was too long. My hair was too long. Short-hair people probably won’t understand that, but take my word for it. There is such a thing as too long, and mine had reached that place about three months ago. Though I was badly in need of a haircut, I was not in no mood for a bad haircut. Taking the philosophical approach, I did the one thing I know that guarantees a good haircut. I got a haircut the no-lose cut–the one that makes me feel good no matter how it looks.
If you are as fortunate as I am to be able to grow long hair, at least once in your life, you should consider donating the stuff that would end up on the salon floor to Locks of Love. Thanks to Oprah, I think everyone in the country knows about the non-profit organization that makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss due to cancer or alopecia. Because my hair grows quickly, I’ve been fortunate enough to donate hair a few times.
The helplessness we feel when someone we know is affected by illness or cancer is something that we all eventually experience. When there is nothing we can do to change the outcome, we do our what we can to improve outlooks. Donating a ponytail is nothing to someone with a healthy head of hair, but to a individual who is suffering from alopecia or dealing with the challenges of an illness, it could make a huge difference.
No matter how my hair looks today when I leave the salon, I’ll leave knowing I just got a great haircut!