Tag Archives: health

When it rains it pours, but….

Since the day I turned 60 in July of this year, I have had one health issue after another with no reprieve from pain and discomfort.  Beginning with my back when I experienced a “discogenic episode” that lasted for nearly 6 months until I felt human again.  These “episodes” seem to be occurring once per year now.

During this time I had to also address skin cancer on my scalp that keeps popping up (my friend calls it “popcorn”), since November of 2018. I embarked on my first journey of chemotherapy cream to my scalp for 3 weeks with another 3 weeks of “healing”. Only it didn’t work.

Which brings me to the present.  The last two weeks have been what I call “Murphy’s Law” weeks, beginning with the news that the scalp treatment failed. And so I have to do a second round, only this time more aggressively, adding a second chemical to help it “get angry”. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. So I have shaved my scalp to make it easier to apply and am back to wearing caps and scarves.

Next, I decided to get my toe examined by a podiatrist as I had been having pain in it for probably a couple of years, but had become pretty excruciating.  Well lo and behold the joint is “bone on bone” and I have to get it fused and a bone spur taken care of as well. The surgery will take place in February of 2020 and I will have to wear a knee high boot for two months! And just when I had got back to a walking routine. Ugh.

When it rains it pours.

I have had systemic osteoarthritis for most of my adult life (I believe it onset as a teen, but no official diagnoses until my late 20’s). First my knees (4 surgeries on one of them), then my spine, then my shoulders, and my jaw.  Yes, my jaw.  70% bone loss when I first went to get it examined. And now my toe. I suspect it is in my hand and my other foot, but one thing at a time.

Yes, when it rains it pours.

During the most recent health issues, my family is also dealing with the issues of aging parents, most recently my mother’s fall resulting in hospitalization and now some months to be in a healthcare unit in the facility where she was in assisted living.  She actually has a fracture in her leg, but surgery is too risky due to other health concerns so she is confined to a wheelchair for two months to see if the fracture heals on its own.

So while when it rains it pours is such an appropriate idiom for these events, my mother put things in perspective the other day when I was conversing with her.

“Well,” she said, “I can think of worse things than spending the rest of my life in wheelchair.” (I’m thinking, seriuosly????).  Now mind you, my mother is 83 years old and has spent her entire life in and out of hospitals and doctor’s offices.  She even was the subject of a 20 year study at a medical research facility.  She has probably had more than half of her days in her life not well. She deserves to be depressed, angry and in despair.  And she has gone through those periods.  But she always bounces back with this kind of perspective,sending me into a figurative shock.

She even has a joke ready to tell the doctors in the surgical suites whenever she has to have surgery, so that she goes under laughing at them laughing in the hopes of awakening in a happy way.

So yes, when it rains it pours.  But things can always be worse, in the words of my mother. I am not minimizing the pain and emotional upset when we are dealing with our own issues. It’s o.k. to feel that way. It’s all relative to our unique situations.  But it sure feels good to hear a loved one take on a perspective that keeps us alive in hope.

I’ve got my umbrella up, ready for the next storm.

Thank you mama.

Vice Taxing

Utah’s legislators are about to set the stage for placing a tax on tobacco products.  But what about considering increasing taxes on all “vices”?

HB196 Tobacco Tax Revisions aims to increase the tax rates “on the
sale, use, storage, or distribution of tobacco products in the state for the 2010-11 fiscal year and allowing the rates to fluctuate in subsequent fiscal years”.

SB40 Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments aims to
“increase the tax on cigarettes, moist snuff, and other tobacco products; deposit income from the permanent state trust fund into the General Fund; and
address the deposit of revenues collected from the taxes; make technical and conforming changes”.

HB71 Nicotine Product Restrictions “amends provisions of the Uniform Driver License Act, provisions relating to the state system of public education, the Utah Criminal Code, and the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure to place restrictions on the provision, obtaining, and possession of a nicotine product and to enforce these restrictions”.  Specifically, the bill is aimed to prevent the sale of nicotine laced candy and gum (not including smoking cessation products) in Utah, the products of which are currently not available in the state.

The sponsor of HB71, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has been the target by tobacco companies for possible court action should the bill pass, according to a Deseret News Article.

“Now they need to try to keep going by doping candy with the most addictive and deadly substance in tobacco,” he said. “Utah has made a point of protecting our youth from the hazards of tobacco use, and now that they are targeting a new market with lozenges and mints, we think that’s going to far.”

Read the rest of the article here.

In his piece in the Deseret News, Tobacco tax to hit those who can least afford it Lee Benson shares his encounter with folks addicted to tobacco who, despite raising taxes on the products and thus the consideration to stop the addiction, still are not able to stop.

“I know smoking’s not healthy,” he[patron at tobacco shop] says. “But every time I stop smoking, I gain weight — so I have to decide, am I going to die from obesity or from smoking?”

Smokers, he says, are a “scapegoat” for taxation.

“Nine percent of taxpayers smoke. Out of that 9 percent, they’re trying to take care of the majority. It isn’t fair. But what can you do?”

Benson interviews Sy Pham,  a tobacco wholesaler, who complains of the disparity between citizens actually paying for the tax increase:

 

Continue reading

“Unless you have been in our wheelchairs, you don’t know what it’s like….”

This is the message that  disabled citizens wanted to get across to legislators as they rallied yesterdayat the Utah Capitol in protest of the cuts being made to health care in Utah as part of HB67 Health System Amendments and the budget cuts being made this year.  The bill is before the Senate after passing the House on February 11th. (See previous post on this issue here.)

The Deseret News reported on the rally in today’s news.

“….[the legislators] are compounding the problem by supporting bills against health care reform,” said Stevie Edwards, a West Jordan resident who said he came to the Capitol to “do what I can to make sure that they understand that their positions have real-life consequences for those of us who depend on a little assistance just to get by.”

Several attending the rally, which was organized by the Disabled Rights Action Committee and the Anti-Hunger Action Committee, said the bill is premature, likely unconstitutional and makes outlandish claims without any convincing evidence to back them up.

“And they are compounding the problem by supporting bills against health care reform,” said Stevie Edwards, a West Jordan resident who said he came to the Capitol to “do what I can to make sure that they understand that their positions have real-life consequences for those of us who depend on a little assistance just to get by.”

Organizers of the rally had these things to say:

The coalition’s chairwoman, Barbara Toomer, who has been a wheelchair-bound disabled rights activist for years, said….”By bringing health care reform into this new push for state sovereignty, lawmakers should know they are reaching for that high ideal by standing on the backs of the disabled and the 258,000 uninsured citizens who would finally have coverage under federal reforms,” Toomer said.

Utah lawmakers pride themselves on being health care reform leaders in their own right, said Bill Tibbetts, head of the anti-hunger coalition. “So far, the main health care reform solution is to do less every year.”

Participants in the event are tired of fighting this issue year after year.

“This is not national health care reform leadership, and HB67 is a lie,” said protestor Jason Weeks, a disabled local keyboard player and Web-based music promoter.

“I’m just here to be part of the group that has to constantly fight tooth and nail to keep on being able to fight tooth and nail their whole lives,” Weeks said. “The federal options are not the obscenity some lawmakers are trying to make them out to be. Besides that, it hasn’t even happened yet, and who knows if it will.”

In an effort to avoid raising taxes, the legislators have proposed deep cuts to many services as part of this year’s budget balancing act.  (View post about budget proposal here.)

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Health Care Crisis: Groups Organize to Ask Important Questions

The Disabled Rights Action Committee (DRAC) and the Anti-Hunger Action Committee (AHAC) have together organized a rally at the Utah Capitol for Tuesday to confront legislators on the HB67 Substitute Health System Amendments in advocacy for the rights to adequate and equitable health care for all, particularly addressing the current crisis of those who are without insurance.  This announcement was recently distributed via Facebook ((links to organizations and the bill added by this post’s author):

Utah Legislature Action/Press Conference
Whereas the legislature continues to deny that there is a health care crisis we need to set the record straight!

Whereas the State of Utah, embodied in State Representative Carl Wimmer’s HB 67 bill continues to deny that there is a health care crisis in Utah and

Whereas Representative Wimmer asserts in HB 67 that Utah has embarked on… health system reform, that the health system reform efforts for the state … address the unique
circumstances within Utah and to provide solutions that work for Utah and that Utah is a leader in the nation for health system reform, and

Whereas on February 23 Families USA will be releasing a report detailing the number of uninsured Utahns who will die from untreated illnesses as a direct result of their uninsured status,

Now comes the Disabled Rights Action Committee (DRAC) and the Anti-Hunger Action Committee (AHAC) to ask why, in light of the above assertions, dental, vision, physical and other critical aspects of health care have been cut from Medicaid, to ask why critical health care has been cut from children and to ask why consideration is being given to further cutting back on Medicaid eligibility, further increasing the roles of Utah’s uninsured, and

To set the record straight that there is a heath care crisis in Utah—any needless death or suffering is a crisis.

Join us February 23, 2010 at 1:30 PM in the State Capitol Cafeteria to ask why our legislature insists on denying the existence of a health care crisis in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary while continuing to engage in actions that worsen the health care crisis.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Women who have miscarriages now at risk….

The big news of Utah’s Legislators yesterday was the passage of HB12 Criminal Homicide and Abortion, which will make women criminally liable for intentional miscarriages.  The subjective nature of the bill brings potential harm  to women in this state.

Planned Parenthood of Utah, in its memo sent out yesterday after the vote, stated that:

During the floor debate, both Senator Margaret Dayton and Representative Wimmer refused to support an amendment that would provide protections for victims of domestic violence! The bill is now going to the House of Representatives for the signature of the Speaker and will then move to the Governor for his signature.

The refusal to support the proposed amendments leaves the door open for women who have natural miscarriages or miscarriage due to domestic violence open for prosecution.  The bill is punitive in nature and provides no practical options to prevent or to assist women with unintended pregnancies.

Another abortion bill, HB200 Informed Consent has passed the Utah House and is currently before the Senate.  This bill is aimed at requiring clinics to give a detailed description of the ultrasound images if the woman seeking an abortion asks for the information (which, by the way, woman can already do….).  See my previous post on that bill here.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

More on health insurance

I feel compelled to post a second piece on health care in this country, based on the comment to my post below on insurance.  An anonymous poster posted this comment:

Unfortunately many employees and employers wrongly accuse the insurance companies of being the bad guys here. The reason that the insurance companies are asking for this information now is because of the politcal mess and laws that state and federal lawmakers have imposed on the insurance companies. In order for the insurance carrier to properly rate a group financially they must look at the information for ALL ELIGBLE employees. An elible employee is any employee who meets the employers requirements irregardless of if they have coverage elsewhere. Under continuity of coverage laws if someone waives their right to coverage under their employers group plan because they have coverage under their spouses plan they still have the right to join their employers group insurance plan if their spouse loses coverage, therefore the carrier has to rate for potential risk. Many people are wrongly accusing the insurance carriers of responsiblity for this and they need to look at the laws that were passed that prompted this.

I replied that yes, I do feel it is the system that needs to be changed.  I am not blaming the workers with the insurance companies, however there is something wrong with this picture.  Insurance companies, as this anonymous poster points out, have to abide by regulations.  Who makes those regulations?  Our representatives.  Who are our representatives?  For the most part, rich white guys that own large corporations such as insurance companies.

Now hear this:

All private insurance companies need to be phased out.  We need to STOP lining the pockets of rich corporations at the expense of human needs.

We need single payer, non-profit health coverage.  EVERYONE has the right to EQUAL health services.  Health care is a RIGHT, *not* a PRIVELEGE. 

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!!!

Health Care

As time passes I become more and more frustrated with the health care system in the U.S.

Recently I found out that my 18 year old pregnant daughter is facing open heart surgery. On top of the emotional shock and drain this is causing on her and me, the amount of “stuff” she is going through with doctors and insurance is unbelievable. Because she is 18 and not in school, she was just informed the other day that she would not be covered on her dad’s insurance. She turned 18 in December and was told (again just the other day) that not only would she not be covered, but all doctor’s bills that this insurance company had paid would be billed to her to have to pay. This will amount to thousands of dollars.

She is pregnant with no job and now newly diagnosed heart disease.

We are going to see if her state insurance (which served as her secondary insurance as a pregnant teen) will cover those bills, but who knows……

To put it bluntly: Health Care in the U.S. sucks.

One of the many reasons I am a member of the Green Party is because of its position on health care, particularly the section on Universal Health Care. I strongly advocate this position which promotes a single payer health care system and where everyone receives health care, a basic human right.

I have joined a LJ support community which I hope will help further my understanding of heart disease and what others with similar issues endure in the treatment process.