American health care.

My mind’s been such a stew lately

:::record scratch:::

Hi there!

Well, that was weird. I’d just sat down to update the blog yesterday around 5 p.m. — starting with my customary apology for missing a day I usually don’t — when I was hit by a wave of dizziness. Whoa, I thought, this is pretty weird. But it’ll pass.

It didn’t. It got worse. My editor called, and I declined the call, because I didn’t think I could walk to the kitchen, where my phone was. Alan was right there, and I told him what was happening. I made some calls, did some Googles, and we decided to go to a local urgent care. After we’d driven half a block, I had to open the door to vomit onto the street. We upgraded to the ER, where we sat for hours more of spinning vertigo and two more emesis bags. I had what’s likely to be several thousand dollars’ worth of before-deductible tests that turned up nothing. But they medicated me for nausea and whirliness, and we left just before midnight a.m.a., because I didn’t consent to the CAT scan to rule out a stroke. I was feeling fine by then, showed no symptoms on the stroke assessment, and bottom line: I have shitty insurance to tide me over for these last few months pre-Medicare. A hospital CAT scan would likely be thousands more (although no one could tell me, because doctors aren’t privileged with that information).

My family doctor, who is likely out of network on said shitty insurance, counseled calling a private MRI facility and asking for the cash price, which I just did: $420. I’ll probably go that route, but not after a few hours of sitting on hold with BCBS Michigan to discuss my Bronze-level plan and trying to figure out a way to minimize the financial damage.

Which I’m fortunate to be able to afford. I am contractually obligated to say this. Still, it seems ridiculous that this is what’s on my mind the morning after an evening like I just had.

Personally, I think this is an inner-ear thing, but you can’t see that with an otoscope, alas. My ears have felt cloggy for a couple weeks, which I chalked up to swimming. We’ll see.

Nothing like having one of these strapped to your wrist to make you feel old:

So to back up to the beginning: My mind has been a whirl lately, but not entirely with vertigo. It’s been a crazy it’s-only-Wednesday kinda week here. Monday dawned with news that a recent victor of a special election in West Michigan, who is now a shoo-in to be in the legislature, because he won the GOP race in a safe-GOP district, went on a recent livestream and dropped a bomb. Discussing the election of November 2020, which this guy wants to “decertify” so as to install Emperor Trump back on his golden throne, he trotted out the old barroom saw, with some embellishments: “I tell my three daughters, ‘if rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.'” Just, y’know, casual-like.

Well. You can imagine.

There’s good news and bad news in the reaction. The bad news: Various GOP groups “condemned” and “disavowed” the comment. But the state chairman stopped short of telling this human toadstool to withdraw from the race. The good news: There are many, many people who had never heard that particular zircon of wit, and I have to think that’s a good thing.

I’ve heard it, of course, because I’m old as hell and read a fair number of trashy novels. I remember when Bobby Knight said it, back in the day. It’s the sort of thing ol’ ruff-n-tuff coaches would tell their players, even though it makes very little sense as an expression of pretty much anything. But to add “I tell my three daughters…” really elevates it to another level, in my opinion.

His defense: His “words aren’t polished,” and can you guess why? Yes, because he’s “not a politician.”

Fuck every one of these guys.

Oh, and one of those three daughters made some headlines a couple years ago, when dear ol’ dad was running for the same seat, for tweeting to voters not to cast one for pops.

Ladies and gentlemen, the modern GOP.

OK, time for me to hit the shower and try to feel presentable again. Thanks for your good wishes. I feel fine. Even with an MRI in my future.

Posted at 11:43 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

78 responses to “American health care.”

  1. Scout said on March 9, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    As we are the same age, I too am on a shitty bronze care HMO crap policy until September. I have a few ongoing issues that need follow up but I keep telling the schedulers that call, nope, I won’t be coming in until after 9/1.

    I had a debilitating case of Benign Positional Vertigo about 10 years ago that landed me in the ER. What you described sounds very much like that. The drugs the docs prescribed for it made it worse and I opted for PT, which worked. To this day, if I feel the onset of dizziness I deploy my exercises and they always prevent another severe bout.

    Robert Regan’s ‘I tell my daughters to lie back and enjoy it’ is all over twitter but will it reach the people who need to hear it? People who most need to be informed tend to be in a bubble of denial and misinformation.

    Russia bombed a maternity hospital. The horror is escalating.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on March 9, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    nance, have them rule out Meniere’s Disease. My dad had that but any good doctor can fix it.
    Two people on my blogs posted hospital bed pics today, as my 30 year old grandson in Houston got hit with pancreatitis and is still in the hospital.
    My little add-on is that I am battling a vicious cold.
    Sorry to read you fell ill, and here’s hoping all is OK.
    I have the plumber back in here now; all water pressure is gone to the hot water faucet upstairs….OK…I need more water shut-off valves and a new faucet. Go for it, Mr. Plumber man. And whoosh…he is off to get the parts.
    Putin is relentlessly attacking, but his troops are reluctant to shoot civilians, as reported from sources, so I guess that means the civilian deaths are mainly from rockets and mortars. Zelensky has giant brass balls, and his people believe in him.
    After years of having most of my money drained out for bills my awful retiree insurance provided, I am past that. Do not let anyone convince you , as you age into Medicare, not to get a supplemental plan. 20% of a bill that Medicare does not cover can wipe out a family’s nestegg like THAT.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on March 9, 2022 at 12:41 pm

    Nancy, I was worried about you and am sorry to learn why you’ve been away. I could write a book on crappy healthcare and insurance companies, with a long chapter about Florida BCBS and how having it is like not having insurance at all, but I don’t have that much time. Careful in the shower!

    Scout, my mom also has Benign Positional Vertigo, with symptoms just like yours, and we thought all kinds of horrible things were wrong. Her doctor diagnosed it in the simplest of ways, by having her look her in the eyes as she moved her head around. Easy PT exercises solved it all though she hated doing them. She’s been experiencing it again lately and I have to get after her to do the therapy.

    The Florida legislature not only passed the Don’t Say Gay, the wacko Surgeon General issued an advisory that healthy children don’t need the Covid vaccine. Ahem.

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  4. Little Bird said on March 9, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Hope you feel better soon and can figure out whatever it is.
    I get that fall risk bracelet when I go in for procedures, or I did before my hip ablation. My hip was bad enough that it messed with my balance and they don’t take chances at hospitals apparently.

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  5. ROGirl said on March 9, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    I went through a vertigo problem once, had an MRI, ENT test. I didn’t have a brain tumor or inner ear problem, it was due to a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid on one side of my head. Craniosacral therapy helped.

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  6. Deborah said on March 9, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Nancy, take it easy. If you had a tip jar I’d be happy to contribute, you do a lot of good for me and probably a lot of us feel it would be totally worth it and you deserve it as you provide us with entertaining and thoughtful blog posts and a forum to a community of commenters to discuss and commiserate with each other. Priceless.

    Last year I had headaches and double vision that sent me to urgent care where they sent me to the ER. There I had an MRI which turned up nothing. It later was determined by my ophthalmologist to possibly be caused by my cataracts. I had surgery for that and haven’t had any problems since.

    I had an inner ear infection a long time ago and had those same symptoms as you had.

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  7. Walter Biggins said on March 9, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Nancy, I hope you recover quickly. It says a lot about our country–and none of it good–that, when something like this happens, our first thoughts are about insurance premiums & how screwed our finances are about to become.

    And thanks for the link re: Robert Regan’s daughter. Looks like she’s the sane one in the family.

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  8. David C said on March 9, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    We, collective we not those here, tolerate shitty insurance but whine like little babies if gasoline goes up $.50. Is there any hope for us?

    Vertigo stinks, I hope it clears up. Stand alone MRIs are so much cheaper but you almost never find an open MRI in one. I’m not claustrophobic so they don’t bother me but if you are, oh boy do you need one.

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  9. Bob (not Greene) said on March 9, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Nancy, take care of yourself and I hope you’re back in the pool soon. It’s more and more obvious just what an abject, expensive failure the U.S. healthcare/insurance system is, and I’m amazed how impossible it’s been to change.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on March 9, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    American health care is treacherous terrain. If you have a good plan, it can deliver excellent results without completely breaking the bank. If you don’t, well, then you start taking the route you and Scout have been forced to travel. As a childless couple who did fairly well at capitalism, we continued with Aetna, which was the provider for Johanna when she was at KPMG. Even so, we pay almost $700 monthly for our Plan B coverage and still have deductibles, though they are modest. We acknowledge how lucky we are.

    A quick word about strokes. Johanna suffered one (or maybe two) on the first week of January 2019. On an average Tuesday morning, she suddenly pronounced herself dizzier than she’d ever felt, lying on our couch and gripping it for dear life. She also felt nauseous. She spent most of the day in bed, convinced it was a flu bug, and on Wednesday, she pronounced herself much better. I was pouring coffee on Thursday morning when I heard her yelling for help from upstairs. She was overcome with nausea but could not get her feet under her to reach the bathroom. I carried her in and realized she was slurring her words. She also reported a “tingling sensation” on her right side. I called 911 immediately.

    We were lucky. Not only did she avoid any physical or cognitive issues relating to the stroke, but her seven-day hospital stay revealed myriad other problems including atrial fibrillation (which increases chances for a stroke by five times), COPD and osteoporosis. The bad news is once you have a stroke, you’re far more likely to have another. It’s likely the first event was a mini-stroke of some sort.

    She joins me in wishing you health and strength. Thank dog Alan was with you. The outcome might’ve been different if you’d been alone.

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  11. Joe Kobiela said on March 9, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Nance, hope your feeling better. I’m not a doctor but your problem may be the mask you had on in the last post, still makes me dizzy looking at it.
    Hanging out in Monterey Mexico till tomorrow, prices are cheap,food is good people are friendly and the sun is shining.
    Pilot Joe

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  12. Mark P said on March 9, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    A “fall risk” is a serious thing. I wish one of our local hospitals had taken it more seriously. My father died from a fall in his hospital room.

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  13. Andrea said on March 9, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    Oof, Nancy. I hope you are feeling better soon. Vertigo is nothing to joke about. That said, I sincerely hope Joe was joking when he suggested your mask causes vertigo. The alternative is that he is that stupid, I guess.

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  14. susan said on March 9, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Epley maneuver, and other tricks for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. If that’s what you just suffered through. There are lots of yootoobs showing how to do that, but it’s lots easier for a PT to do it for you.

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  15. Jeff Gill said on March 9, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    Healing mercies your way, Nancy; I’ve had parishioners with vertigo & with strokes and I agree — you could have had either of them or neither. (Here endeth the medical advice.) Glad you’re getting some kind of follow-up, just to be cautious. Nothing wrong with caution, in my humble opinion.

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  16. alex said on March 9, 2022 at 4:21 pm

    Glad my spouse is younger than me by two years. We’re contemplating putting me on his health insurance so that I can retire early. His plan is actually better than the one I have right now through my employer.

    Today is a bad day for health news. A colleague’s sister in her mid-40s was just found to have advanced colorectal cancer that has spread to other organs. It would never have occurred to her to get scoped as it’s not recommended before age 50. And I’m 60 and still need to have my first. Shit, I even have a Cologuard kit at home from my doctor but I usually don’t feel like swabbing poop when I take my regular morning dump and so haven’t gotten around to it yet.

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  17. Deborah said on March 9, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Just a thought, have you tested for Covid lately? The reason I ask is one of our friends had vagus nerve issues when he had it. It made him dizzy and he passed out multiple times but he knew it was coming on when it started so he was able to get down on the floor before he actually passed out. When W Bush passed out from choking on a pretzel (allegedly) when he was watching the superbowl with his dog it was a vagus nerve issue. You’re probably getting all kinds of internet diagnosis. Sorry, but I had to throw it out there.

    Alex, Cologuard is easy, don’t put it off. Read the directions it really is no big deal at all. Seriously, you put this gizmo across your toilet seat that has a “bowl” you attach to catch your poop, you pour some liquid on it that they provide (I forget maybe you put the liquid in the bowl before you poop in it, you screw the provided lid on the bowl (tightly) and put it in the box to send back. No swabbing at all.

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  18. Colleen said on March 9, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Yikes. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious. But it does well and truly suck that when something happens to our health,our first thought goes to our finances. And yet the Repubs want to gut Obama care. Why is everything punitive with them?

    Alex, in my line of work, dealing with cancer data, we are seeing colon cancer in younger and younger patients. I abstracted cases recently of patients in their 30s and 40s. We don’t know why yet….that’s what the data we CTRs collect is supposed to help figure out. Definitely get scoped. It’s really no biggie. I have gut problems, so I had my first one in my 20s. It’s a nice nap followed by Dr’s orders to go home and belch and fart….

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  19. Dexter Friend said on March 9, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    A man at the information desk at the VA told me I didn’t need any supplemental insurance if I lived in Ann Arbor, or anyplace with a VA hospital within ambulance range. If I fell ill and had to be carted off to a civilian hospital, I damn-surely would need that 20% policy. I pay like $338 per month and if it doubled I’d pay that. Believe me, if you are healthy and have not been responsible for lengthy hospital stays, you are good. If something happens, it’s demoralizing to just turn your checkbook over to a hospital. They will bankrupt you and not give a damn.

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  20. Deborah said on March 9, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Definitely if you are just joining medicare get the prescription supplement right away even if you’re not taking any medications at all. Eventually you will need medications, it is inevitable and if you don’t get it right away you pay a penalty for every year after your enrollment that you don’t get it. It’s not a huge penalty but it’s enough that makes it worthwhile to get the supplement right away. I learned this the hard way. Oh the joys of aging.

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  21. LAMary said on March 9, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    I skipped the prescription coverage for a few years. When I added it I was told there would be a penalty. I asked how much. It was 2 dollars a month. The hospital where I used to work put a yellow maple leaf on the doors of rooms where the patients were fall risks.

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  22. Heather said on March 9, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Glad you are feeling better. A friend’s mom recently had experienced what sounds like a similar episode of dizziness, and they also couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Hope they can pinpoint it–it sounds like it is most likely something that can be easily treated. I’ve had a few episodes of minor dizziness and they were no fun, so I can imagine how scary this was.

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  23. Jim G said on March 10, 2022 at 12:01 am

    Another member of the BPPV club here. My attack was just like what you describe, right down to having the driver of the car I was in pull over so I could throw up. I spent a couple of days in the hospital. They ran the MRI and such; I suspect that BPPV is the “we’ve ruled everything else out so it must be this” diagnosis. They told me to lay off salt and caffeine and sent me to an ENT who put a vibrator (the non-sexy kind) behind my ear and twisted my head *just so* to break up and move the offending loose particles in my ear around (that’s the Epley maneuver Susan mentions above).

    On the plus side, I have something in common with Al Shepherd.

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  24. jerry said on March 10, 2022 at 2:23 am

    Nancy, best wishes for finding out what the problem was and that it’s nothing serious and easily (and cheaply) fixed.

    Reading the comments I bless the existence of the NHS although yesterday I received a letter changing my next appointment to March 23 at 0930. When I checked it was being changed from March 23 at 0930! I’m sure there’s a good reason for the letter but not sure quite what it is,

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  25. Dexter Friend said on March 10, 2022 at 4:00 am

    I want to clarify that the 20% coverage has nothing to do with the drug coverage, which I don’t have for the grace of having a 0% co-pay at the VA for drugs. Yeah, for the privilege of going to Vietnam 52 years ago and getting poisoned with Agent Orange, I get free drugs. It’s a mixed feeling, but I really do take 9 prescription drugs every day for my ailments. Anyway, don’t forget to cover all your bases regarding American healthcare. Many foreign people, pre-Covid19, refused to set foot in the USA because they knew a trip to the hospital would ruin them financially. But we are Americans, the greatest nation, blah blah BLAH! Just don’t get sick here unless you have those cards in your wallet.

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  26. alex said on March 10, 2022 at 7:06 am

    In Chicago I had a friend who was Venezuelan. His mother came to visit, and when it came time for her to leave she started having psychosomatic heart issues, and her brief hospital stay with a negative workup cost some ungodly amount. And this was in the 1990s when medical costs were still relatively cheap by today’s standards. Not sure how they ended up paying for it, but the bill was enough to cause some genuine coronary distress.

    I had a minor surgery last fall and had a significant copay. Since then I’ve been getting bills for all kinds of ancillary services such as anesthesia, etc. I thought it was illegal for medical providers to do this shit anymore, no? I haven’t paid and no one has threatened to take me to court over it, so I have to wonder.

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  27. ROGirl said on March 10, 2022 at 8:41 am

    I turned 65 in October and stayed on my employer’s insurance rather than switching to Medicare. I have never come close to even meeting my annual deductible. A few weeks after open enrollment I had my heart attack and ended up spending 4 days in the hospital. I’m on a 12 month payment plan to the hospital to pay what insurance didn’t cover. I feel like it’s a mortgage on my life. The bills have come in every month since December and the total before insurance has just about hit $50,000.

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  28. diane said on March 10, 2022 at 9:25 am

    I am still working solely for the health insurance. My employer has an excellent plan. My husband is retired and is on my plan for a fairly nominal cost. We will hit 65 this year (him) and next year (me) and I will retire. I am still competent at my job but there are young, very good staff at my workplace who are totally up to the challenge, would probably bring new ideas to it and could use the additional $ to continue to live in our area. I would love to get out of the way now and give one of them the opportunity. It is truly ridiculous that healthcare is tied to employment in this country. I have never understood why businesses were not in support of national healthcare. Why wouldn’t they love to get out of the health insurance business?

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  29. Dorothy said on March 10, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Oh my goodness, well I hope you will continue to have non-dizzy days ahead of you and will cross my fingers toes and eyes that you are okay overall. I’ve had some vertigo episodes and they’re extremely unpleasant. I never got sick to my stomach, though – I think my blood pressure was just a little off. One of my brothers has had Meniere’s disease and I’m not sure of his status with it now, but he’s suffered hearing loss because of it.

    Alex if I could I’d shake my finger at you and glare and scold to get you to do that colo-rectal test. My husband had colon cancer at the age of 52. He had 18″ of intestine removed at the cecum. Don’t keep putting it off. Just DO IT. The peace of mind of having done it will be soothing. And hopefully nothing will be detected. But there is no GD excuse for procrastinating when it comes to your health. Rant over.

    Joe’s comment about the mask picture actually made me smile a little. I’m pretty sure he meant no ill will. Joe I will continue to hope that your other issues will self-resolve over due time. There’s hope for anyone as long as they keep an open mind and stare the truth right in the face.

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  30. Robert said on March 10, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Dear Nancy – scary. Feel better soon. You can bet that moron candidate is opposed to extending the ACA.

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  31. Joe Kobiela said on March 10, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Of course I meant no ill will, I have been a fan of Nancy’s since the days of telling tales. I even had the privilege of buying her lunch once while I was in the D, and I feel the same way about your issues too and hope you also keep a open mind and stare the truth right in the face.
    Pilot Joe

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  32. Dorothy said on March 10, 2022 at 11:26 am

    I have a feeling we have different sources for our truths, Joe.

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  33. JodiP said on March 10, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Joining in to wish a speedy resolution to the vertigo. Several people I know have had it recently, and as you know it sucks. I really appreciate all the reminders to get supplemental insurance. I am 5 years away, but will be able to retire at 62 because my employer will pay their portion of the insurance premium beginning then until Medicare kicks in. Yay unions!

    According to my FB memories, the first snow drop bloomed this date in 2021. No where near that right now, could be a couple more weeks depending on the weather. We’ve had the coldest winter since 2014, but subjectively it went quickly and didn’t seem that bad.

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  34. Deborah said on March 10, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Just found out that our former boss when we lived in St. Louis died (my husband and I worked at the same place, that’s where we met). He was a Japanese American and his family was sent to a camp in Utah during WWII. He didn’t have to go because he had been accepted at Washington University in St. Louis, and he also served in the US military later. I had no idea he was 99 years old until I read it just now.

    By the way, I just realized we haven’t heard from Peter here in a while. Are you out there Peter?

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  35. David C said on March 10, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    My wife turns 65 in 2023. We have no idea what’s going to be best insurance for us. I’m planning to work until I’m 70 in a bit over seven years. Our insurance at work isn’t great but it seems like it’s better than most. So I don’t know if it will be better to keep her on than or what. Wisconsin has a SHIP office in town so we’re going to have to make an appointment. We get probably 3-4 flyers a week from various Medicare Advantage providers. I wonder how much money they piss away on marketing that should be going to care. Too much, I bet.

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  36. Deborah said on March 10, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    LB and I are almost finished with a last minute project we started. We made a tile backsplash behind the stove. I hate doing tiling, it’s my least favorite thing to do, but in a weak moment I thought it was a good idea. We’re mostly finished and that’s good because I leave for Chicago Saturday morning.Actually my flight is at 5pm but the only train I can take from Santa Fe to Albuquerque is at 10am. I’d still much rather take the train because the shuttle is awful and there is construction on the interstate between here and the airport. The train is very comfortable and not a lot of people crammed in together cheek by jowl.

    David C, Medicare is the best insurance I’ve ever had.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    David C, if you’re staying where you are and like your doctors, that will influence your decision, also what medicines you take. If the first two are true, I would start asking them now what plans they take, though we’ve already learned that it changes frequently. That information and a listing of your meds/dosages are what you should take to the SHIP meeting. In our experience here, no one accepts Medicare for full payment so you do need a supplement or advantage plan. And it gets more confusing from there. I honestly don’t know how most people make the decision on their own.

    The disparity of coverage available before Medicare is truly a crime. I’m so happy for Jodi and angry on behalf of ROGirl and Diane. Companies in other countries can be more competitive because they aren’t paying for health insurance. It’s crazy and wrong.

    Anyway, getting off my hobby horse, today my wonderful spouse turns 66 and requested carrot cake. I haven’t made it in years and realized I should have brought my food processor for grating all those carrots, oof. Our son’s gf has her parents in town so they are coming over for the celebration. First time meeting the dad.

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  38. Scout said on March 10, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    I highly recommend finding a good insurance broker to help navigate the flood of Medicare plans and options. The supplementals our broker recommended to my wife are great and I am planning to choose the same ones when I start the app process in August.

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  39. Deborah said on March 10, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    We have a Medicare Plan B supplement and a prescription supplement. I enrolled in Medicare when I turned 65 but my husband waited until he was 70. He’s 3 years older than me so it was only a couple of years after me. He always had a much higher salary than I did so his monthly SS payment is a lot higher than mine. Such is the predicament for many women. We have a friend who was an administrator in the AFL/CIO union and he makes more in retirement than he ever did before. Crazy.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    My mom worked for a pittance at the library, part time for years. But she kept working until she was 71 AND had the good fortune to be part of the bargaining unit of the police and firefighters. Those pensions and retiree health insurance plans that are supposedly bankrupting Illinois? She’s got one of them. After a lifetime of financial insecurity she too makes more in retirement than while working. As Jodi says, YAY unions.

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  41. Mark P said on March 10, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    Medicare Advantage plans are good and not so good. There is usually no fee over the standard Medicare cost, but there are copays and networks. Also, depending on where you live, there may be limited plans available. It often covers some dental charges, but the only dentist that accepted it on our area was about 25 miles away in the next town. Then the next year they were no longer in the plan. Same with my wife’s PCP. We ended up going back to Medicare and a supplement. The supplement cost is kind of high, but there are no copays and it’s accepted almost everywhere.

    The US healthcare system is a disgrace for an advanced country, even including Medicare.

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  42. Deborah said on March 10, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Both my husband and I got to keep our Dr (we both went to the same Dr since 2003) when we each got Medicare. That was wonderful, we love her.

    edit: that may be confusing, we haven’t both been on medicare since 2003. We’ve both had the same Dr since 2003.

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  43. Deborah said on March 10, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Here’s a video of our late former boss’s daughter explaining what her grandfather’s family had to go through and how her father escaped that When LB was a senior in high school had an internship program she interned at Kiku’s design studio. It was a great experience for her.

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  44. David C said on March 10, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    I’m pleased to be able to benefit from your Medicare experiences. Thanks to you all.

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  45. Sherri said on March 10, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Me, too, David C. My husband is 63 and I turn 60 next month.

    Today marks 20 years of sobriety for me!

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  46. diane said on March 10, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    Congratulations Sherri. That is wonderful.

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  47. Jeff Borden said on March 10, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    I hope voters are paying attention. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says a QOP Senate will dismantle the ACA. Sen. Rick Scott of Floriduh wants everyone to pay taxes –“so they’ll have skin in the game”– and calls for the sunsetting of SSA and Medicare over five years.

    Anyone who votes for these succubi deservers nothing but scorn.

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  48. Sherri said on March 10, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    In a just world, Rick Scott would be in prison, not the Senate, for massive Medicare fraud.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    The tax the poor plan was just one of 11 points in Scott’s plan, all equally horrible. In fairness, he backed off that one. But I haven’t forgotten how he screwed state employees when my sister worked there.

    Mark, we haven’t located a dentist on our Advantage program so far. It’s been extremely stressful.

    Well done, Sherri.

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  50. Dexter Friend said on March 11, 2022 at 1:06 am

    RO Girl’s post illustrates this topic. A mortgage on her life to the tune of 50 Gs.

    I had a colonoscopy on my 57th birthday, then another when I was 65 after the mail-in test indicated a problem, which was a benign polyp which was removed. The medical profession does not recommend routine procedures after age 75, and since I’ll be 75 when the 10 years is up, I was told I won’t need anymore colonoscopies. And my doctor said “We’ll see about THAT!” I guess she can order one if I bleed again. Shee-ittt.

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  51. A. Riley said on March 11, 2022 at 1:33 am

    I had great coverage through my job, and it covered spouse too. When I retired, I took its Medicare Advantage plan and I really like it. It’s $275 a month, but I don’t have to worry about copays or deductibles or coinsurance, even for a specialist or an ER visit. And since I visit my specialist every six months and he always wants lab tests — well, it’s worth it.

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  52. Dave said on March 11, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Goodness, nothing like a health scare to make one appreciate all the days one didn’t have a health scare and think that life would go on like that. Nothing like a health scare to bring to the forefront of one’s mind what a mess the health insurance racket is in this country and why does it have to be so. Oh, profits, that’s it. May this be nothing more than a scare or perhaps a needed attention-getter.

    Sherri, very good and a good start on the next 20 years.

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  53. LAMary said on March 11, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Sherri, agreed. The Medicare fraud he engineered at HCA still holds the record. He left company a very wealthy man after ripping off taxpayers on a massive scale. What a disgusting POS.

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  54. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 10:23 am

    Completely off topic (again): They’re filming a movie in Los Alamos (24 miles from us) about Oppenheimer. It has a star studded huge cast. I’m assuming there will be many celebrity sightings in Santa Fe, I’m kind of sorry I’ll be leaving tomorrow. By the way the town of White Rock outside of Los Alamos has the highest salaries per person in the country because so many physicists live there.

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  55. Jeff Borden said on March 11, 2022 at 10:49 am

    My wife is a third-generation Floridian, but she agrees with me that it would be a terrible, awful, horrible place to live largely because of the gun culture and loony political scene. What other state can boast such awful examples of offal:

    Sen. Rick Scott (Medicare fraudster)
    Sen. Marco Rubio (pathetic lotion boy)
    Gov. Ron DeathSantis (cruel tRump wannabe)
    Rep. Matt Gaetz (statutory rapist)

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  56. JodiP said on March 11, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Congratulations, Sherri!

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  57. brian stouder said on March 11, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Well, looks like I’m now officially retired. I’m liking it so far, and mindful of (at least several) cliche’s to avoid uttering, going forward (‘Young people, nowadays!”, for example). My lovely wife is adept at navigating all the financial/insurance stuff, so with luck I won’t end up under an over-pass in a few years

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  58. Julie Robinson said on March 11, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Congratulations Brian, unless it wasn’t voluntary. Tell us more when you can.

    This story by Karen Tumulty is appropos to our discussion:

    I’ve read her earlier stories about trying to help her brother navigate health issues and insurance. They also take me back to all the years with my sister’s issues. I know many of you here have also been in these situations.

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  59. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    Julie, that link is heartbreaking. When the ACA passed we immediately got LB enrolled in Medicaid in NM, before that she was uninsurable and had had surgeries etc that cost thousands and thousand. After a very confusing and aggravating process we were successful and it has been a godsend. I shudder to think what will happen if the Republicans come back in full power again, not just for this reason though.

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  60. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    Who knew that Mikhail Gorbachev was still alive, he’s 91. Wonder if he knows what’s going on?

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  61. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Did any of you also not receive the first round of free Covid tests? LB never received hers. I ordered again for her because they are still offering them.

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  62. Julie Robinson said on March 11, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Our first tests took forever to arrive; the second ones took three days. You could check the email you got after ordering for tracking. That way you could get both. I was really happy to get a second set because we have five people in the house.

    Jeff B, we moved from Indiana to Florida and it may have been out of the frying pan and into the fire, but I figure our votes here are worth more. Indiana was never a factor in national elections.

    BTW I hadn’t made carrot cake in several years and almost doubted myself but it was sublime. Good to know I’ve still got it!

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  63. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 8:50 pm

    This is weird, when LB went to check the mail this evening she got her Covid tests. We have no idea if this is a very late delivery of the first batch or a fast delivery of the second. In any case she’s all set. We got our first batch in Chicago and I didn’t order a second for there because we don’t need them.

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  64. Deborah said on March 11, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    This is cute from Twitter: for anyone that might need a smile today –
    call (707) 998-8410 and listen to pre-recorded words of encouragement from kindergartners.
    It’s a project from a school in the Bay Area.

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  65. alex said on March 11, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    Congrats, Brian. Hope to be not far behind you if we can get this insurance thing worked out.

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  66. Dexter said on March 12, 2022 at 2:28 am

    20 years, nice number Sherri. I was a few years older than you when I quit. I miss the f2f meetings but around here there’s a strong antivax presence and since Trump, politics is brought up too often, the kind that pisses me off. I hope someday we can focus on sobriety and not have assholes cross talking at AA meetings.
    I also thought Gorbachev was dead; Raisa died 23 years ago. Gorbachev came to Reagan and wanted to really advance SALT talks by totally bilaterally destroying all nuclear weapons. “Nyet “ said old Reagan, the worst President ever, just for that alone, let alone all the other shit he pulled.

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  67. Heather said on March 12, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Congrats, Sherri!

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  68. beb said on March 12, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    There are many reasons to hate Robert A. Heinlein and his disproportionate influence on science fiction but two of them are his use of that line about rape and for saying “any armed society is a polite society. As we are living in a heavily armed society it’s clear that politeness is scarce on the ground.

    I’, embarrassed to say I’ve been away from your blog for a few days and was shocked to see your picture in a hospital bed. My first thought was that you’d got covid, am relieved that you had not, but your dizziness is still disturbing.

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  69. Pat said on March 12, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    I follow you daily. I am hopeful all is well. Can you post an update on your health. I pray all is good.

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  70. basset said on March 13, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Beb, Heinlein may have said some things you disagree with, but “many reasons to hate” his “disproportionate influence” seems a little strong for one of the founders of science fiction as we know, or knew, it. Say more about that, if you would.

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  71. basset said on March 13, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Meanwhile, I will go around the house changing all our clocks. Saw this morning that my iPhone was an hour ahead of the bedside clock radio, we’ve been moving back and forth between eastern and central time this week so I thought maybe something had gone wrong. Fiddled around in Settings for awhile, searched Help, finally did a system upgrade… and then it hit me.

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  72. Joe Kobiela said on March 13, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Love daylight saving time. Now just leave it like it is all year. Worried about kids in the dark? Start school a hour later, problem solved.
    Pilot Joe

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  73. David C said on March 13, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    I like DST here in Wisconsin and would like it year around. If I still lived in Michigan, I think I’d prefer to keep switching. Sunrise at 9:15 in the dead of winter is a bit much but I don’t mind sunset at 9:30 in the Summer. Of course, I don’t have children to put to bed in broad daylight either. You’re right about starting school later, Joe, just in general not so much about time change. Ask any kid, especially a teenager, if they like going to school at 7:00 AM or earlier and they’ll look at you like you have lobsters crawling out of your ears.

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  74. Jeff Borden said on March 13, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    The situation in Ukraine grows more dire by the day. The Russian attack on a base only 10 or 15 miles from the border of NATO member Poland is extremely scary. If that sawed-off wannabe Russian czar crosses that line, we’re well and truly in the soup.

    Meantime, Ukrainians are showing the definition of tough. . .not that buzzword the orange cancer and his friends throw around, but genuine toughness of soul, spirit and body. These are not people who are going to roll over for Putin. Today, Ukraine is the real “home of the brave.” Those candyass truck drivers circling D.C. to protest mandates that no longer exist, those traitorous rioters who defiled our Capitol, the faux hard guys in Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are revealed to be little people trying to act big.

    BTW, since Ukraine could use the manpower and the firepower, why aren’t these phony “freedom fighters” among us not in Ukraine fighting alongside people who truly are battling for their freedom? We all know the answer.

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  75. ROGirl said on March 13, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    DST in Michigan means that it doesn’t get light until close to 8 in the morning at this time of year.

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  76. Deborah said on March 13, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    I got back to Chicago last night after a long exhausting day of travel and waiting at ABQ for hours. Noisy people all around on the plane and they weren’t wearing masks much of the time. A totally stinking drunk woman sat down at the window seat after I was already seated in the aisle seat. When I got up to let her pass by I thought she looked somewhat disheveled and since I had my mask on I didn’t smell the liquor. But shortly after she sat down two flight attendants came over to her and had a chat with her asking where she was going etc. That’s when I realized she was drunk. After the flight attendants left she started groaning. I thought she was going to puke or something. It was a full flight and they were closing everything down so I couldn’t move. Then thankfully she passed out and stayed that way for the whole flight. The flight attendants came by and checked on her from time to time and asked me if I was OK. Her mask came off while she was sleeping and I didn’t want them to wake her up to ask her to put it back on. She slept through the deplaning process and when I got off I told the attendants that she was asleep. She was on her way to Orlando, seems crazy to go all the way up to Chicago from Albuquerque but that’s Southwest for you. Thank goodness the middle seat was empty.

    We took a walk today and when we got to the river it was bright green. I had no idea it was St. Patrick’s day weekend in Chicago. I hadn’t seen any vomit on the sidewalks and no obviously drunk people staggering around. It was all families and there were many of them. I guess Saturday is the day all of the partiers come out. I had always avoided the river area on St. Pats weekend so I had never seen the intensely green river before.

    Also on our way back from our walk we went past the Ukrainian consulate on Huron (near State). There were tons of bouquets propped up against the fence in front and large photos of injured civilians and a Ukrainian flag displayed. The consulate is in a nondescript, old, red brick, former home and I had never seen any activity around it before. It was very moving.

    It got up to 51 degrees today.

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  77. Jim said on March 13, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    ROGirl @75: the sunrise problem would be solved if Michigan and Indiana were on Central time, as I prefer and God intended.

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  78. FIX said on March 15, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Can not complain… free meds… Currently, moving the American Health Care to the Airport Free Trade Zone and it is working just fine lowered my blood pressure from 180 to 110 and the campus atmosphere is keeping me on my toes.

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