Tuesday, 11 March 2014

09:15 – Dentist visit yesterday, to get my fangs cleaned and sharpened. And I’ve come down with a bad cold, which is unusual for me. I’m going to spend some time today making up some of the solutions to fill bottles that Barbara has labeled.


34 thoughts on “Tuesday, 11 March 2014”

  1. I almost never got sick until I had a kid. I would seriously go like 2 or 3 years between colds and in 30+ years had never had the flu despite never getting a flu shot. Then I had a kid and the illnesses she brings home from kindergarten (and before that, preschool and daycare) make me want to put a biohazard symbol on her.

  2. I almost never got sick until I had a kid. I would seriously go like 2 or 3 years between colds and in 30+ years had never had the flu despite never getting a flu shot. Then I had a kid and the illnesses she brings home from kindergarten (and before that, preschool and daycare) make me want to put a biohazard symbol on her.

    My daughter does seem to get sick a lot. Strangely enough she’s more likely to give whatever bug to my wife’s parents than to me. The rate of illness hasn’t changed that much for me or my wife. That may be because my wife plays are you smarter than a room full of fifth graders?

  3. Ditto here with the kids; they brought home every cold, flu and whatever from skool and day care over the years and made us both sick countless times. And then one of us would have to use up our own sick or vay-cay days to stay home with them.

  4. Yeah we’re all healthy he-men until that dick, Father Time, shows up at the party.

    Never knew the problems I had before I started seeing doctors.

  5. Yeah we’re all healthy he-men until that dick, Father Time, shows up at the party.

    Right now I have pretty bad pes anserine bursitis in both knees. My doctor’s response was, “Well, you don’t have 20 year old knees anymore” and I was like “Fuck you.”

  6. We homeschool, but the kids still end up bringing home stuff from taekwondo class or museum trips or from playing at the park. Unfortunately for them, they have to be pretty sick before I let them take a day off from schoolwork.

  7. Chad, that’s funny.

    I had an old-timer in SF. He’d say the same thing and I *would* tell him “Fuck you” and we’d both have a laugh.

    Before him I had an even older old-timer. One time I thought maybe I’d broken a rib, so went in for a consult. The sum of the consult went almost exactly like this: “I think maybe I’ve broken a rib” (Pokes me). “Yep, it’s broken. We used to tape them up but don’t do that anymore. It’ll heal all on its own. That will be $25, please.” Heh.

  8. I trashed my shoulder about a month ago.* Symptoms suggest a torn rotator cuff. I could have gone to a doctor, except I don’t have a doctor and haven’t for a decade and a half. I could have gone to a doctor-in-a-box, but they would have taken my blood pressure, poked at it, and probably sent me to get a CAT scan or something, then told me to take ibuprofin and to avoid using it. Thanks, but I’m pretty sure I can take ibuprofin and avoid using my arm without a prescription.

    * No idea how it happened. I also had most of the symptoms of a concussion, except for no lump on my head. My best guess is that my wife beat me with a hammer while I was asleep**, then used magical Chinese medicine (made from genuine bugs and dirt) to cure the lump on the head.

    ** Just joking about that. No need to call Husband Protective Services. I wake up fast and violently, and the odds of hitting me and not being attacked are low.

  9. “That will be $25, please.” Heh.

    Boy, the West Coast must be cheaper than the Midwest. A routine check-up visit for me is never less than $250. And aside from the friendly chat (my doctor and I went to the same high school) the only outcome, is ‘come back in 6 months and we’ll do this all over again.’

  10. Never knew the problems I had before I started seeing doctors.

    Truer words have never been written. They put me on another heart medicine (#3) last Monday and called me with a 4th medicine on Friday. Umm, no.

  11. Chuck,

    This was an old, old-timer GP. 70 yo if a day, and this was San Fran in late 1990’s.

    Don’t know how that fact adds to the discussion, but he was of the old school who simply hung a shingle outside his door and dispensed learned advice and prescriptions, as warranted. His reputation in the neighborhood stood for him. I seem to recall he didn’t want anything to do with insurance, either; which is a growing trend.

    I lived in SE Ohio for a couple years and saw a few of them sawbones there, but they’re a dying breed, if not extinct. If you find one in TinyTown, hold him/her close, because the likes of them will never be seen again.

    BTW, I wish I got paid $25 for a 5 minute consult! It was more like 3 minutes, and I think he said, “Pay my wife at the desk.”

  12. Here’s the deal: don’t get old; don’t get sick and don’t get hurt.

    Otherwise, unless we have beaucoups piastres, we’re on our own, pretty much, like hundred years ago. Seen on Drudge earlier; a million Obummercare signups have yet to pay for their shitty coverage and bennies. Shocking. Stunning.

    Does anyone truly think this mess will work out OK for us eventually?

  13. As I’ve said, I think the real goal of Obamacare is medicaid for all. Except, of course, those that can afford to pay directly, which I why I don’t doubt that Barbara and I will end up using a concierge practice.

  14. As I’ve said, I think the real goal of Obamacare is medicaid for all

    Nah, Medicare for All. Medicaid is a split program between the feddies and the staties. Obummer cannot mandate that the states accept his Medicaid changes (Texas has refused the last set of changes and we are 10% of the nation). So, it will be Medicare for all which is exclusively a feddie program.

  15. I meant medicaid in terms of service levels and doctor choice, which are significantly worse than medicare.

  16. In the end we’ll be lucky to get even the level that the Brits suffer with nowadays, and from there I expect it to drop in some regions to Third-World levels. I also believe this is all deliberate and planned. And whatever they can’t screw up via the usual incompetence, stupidity and negligence, they’ll supplement with evil.

  17. Whenever I see you guys mention “the level that the Brits suffer with”, I’m confused. Our healthcare’s alright. I’ve seen relatives dealing with the different healthcare systems in the US, the UK, Canada and Spain. I work in healthcare research here. My sister is a physiotherapist. Could it be better? Sure. But it’s mostly comparable to the US.

    inb4 “death panels”, Daily Mail links and other offal.

  18. Whenever I see you guys mention “the level that the Brits suffer with”, I’m confused. Our healthcare’s alright. I’ve seen relatives dealing with the different healthcare systems in the US, the UK, Canada and Spain. I work in healthcare research here. My sister is a physiotherapist. Could it be better? Sure. But it’s mostly comparable to the US.

    inb4 “death panels”, Daily Mail links and other offal.

    I think the problem (or one of the problems) with socialized healthcare (for those that support it) is that those that can afford private/concierge healthcare will use it instead. So, at the end of the day the poor are still getting substantially worse healthcare than the wealthy (relatively speaking) no matter how much money the government dumps into its socialized medical care. The talent will follow the money.

    However, I’m also enough of a realist to understand that healthcare is being looked at more and more like the police, fire department, and others. That is, more and more people (from all income levels) consider it to be an essential and basic service of government (damn that General Welfare clause). No matter how much they have to “rob Peter to pay Paul” to fund it and no matter how much we libertarians scream about it, full blown socialized healthcare is coming to the US sooner or later. “It’s a big shit sandwich and we’re all going to have to take a bite of it.”

  19. There is no “general welfare” clause. That’s in the introduction, explaining why the document exists. That said, people were already trying to use it to justify their pet programs at the end of the eighteenth century.

    Poor having worse health care than the rich? Sorry, but why would anyone expect anything else? I mean, isn’t that kind of obvious? If anything, we should work to preserve a society with a middle class – reverting to only poverty and wealth seems to be a real danger…

  20. I pay $10.45 each month for fire protection at my home. I also pay $14 each month for a couple of guys to come by in a big truck and pickup my trash. And water that I consume and sanitary sewer to take away the used water. Usually about $140/month total.

    My point is, I pay for these services and I expect to pay for Medicare services for me and my employees. Just like the 1.45% of the total paychecks that I pay now for Medicare. Plus the 1.45% that I pay for myself for Medicare. I fully expect these rates to go to 4 to 6% each out of every paycheck.

  21. Expectation by employees or the need to offer benefits to entice good employees is fine.

    Government forcing you to offer it is emphatically not fine. Nor Constitutional, no matter what Roberts was bribed or blackmailed into “finding”.

  22. Wouldn’t surprise me. I’d originally put “extorted”, but went with “blackmailed” for the alliteration. Wordplay often trumps precision of expression.

  23. I am going to back up eristicist here. And you know I am going to sing this song again — after decades of being close to and visiting my relatives in Europe regularly, and living in Germany for nearly a decade: there is a big difference between the US and Europe. Without question, there IS far more poverty in the US than in Europe comparatively, and it is super-obvious. I have never heard people in Europe having the open objections to ‘paying for the poor’, and fuck them and let them starve in the streets and die for lack of healthcare if they cannot make enough on their own to pay their way without national healthcare.

    Now either those people essentially do not exist in Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain — where I have spent most of my Europe time — or they are very well disguised. I think the former is more likely, and the US ought to be figuring out how to accomplish the same thing. Never in my extensive tours of Europe did I see the ramshackle boarded up and falling down houses, like there are just blocks from me in Tiny Town (over 400 vacant houses in Tiny Town at the moment — many on the verge of collapse, having been condemned by the city as uninhabitable), but if the poor really are there in Europe, you would not recognize them. Moreover, it is not just Tiny Town, but nearly every other city around me that has falling down and ramshackle homesteads with porches caving in and cars rusting in the yards. In the rural areas throughout my state, barns are leaning, and one on the back road I travel a lot between Indy and Tiny Town, collapsed completely this winter — it’s still lying there with no attempt being made to clean it up. I have had to travel through rural areas on country roads a lot during the last few years due to my work and the signs of poverty are rife. I just had to travel through a section of the state along the Ohio border, where there are lots of Amish, and their properties are immaculate. Palaces, in fact. Their horses are truly beautiful animals as they trot their owners from place to place. Next to the Amish farms are double-wides with a ladder to the front door, siding falling off, rusted cars with flat tires, and underbrush overgrowth from years of total neglect. You do not have to look hard AT ALL to find this stuff.

    I have no idea how financial redistribution happens in Europe, because I was never eligible for it, but damn, when my bank debit card would not work at Aldi the other day, the clerk assumed it was an EBT card that did not have sufficient funds on it. I did not know whether to be insulted or what. Never was I subjected to that kind of treatment in Germany.

    Even in the Turkish sections of Berlin, things were clean and only slightly more run-down than anywhere else. They just did not repaint buildings instantly after graffiti attacks, like the more affluent neighborhoods (and the neighborhoods were not safe after dark), but they did paint over graffiti about once every other month. My son was in an exchange program in Britain and Ireland for nearly 2 years, and had a couple incidents requiring him to visit doctors at the NHS. No problem. Good effective care and follow-up. Now he is back in the US, and still in education, but is covered by nothing, and therefore avoids trips to the doctor, when I know he should have been visiting. But he has no funds to pay doctors, so he does not go, even when the need is there. Now tell me which country he is better off in. He IS making ends meet otherwise, but health and dental he ignores, hoping for the best, because he sure cannot afford it in this country.

  24. I saw falling apart buildings — concrete apartment buildings, shopping centers, and such — in St Petersburg. They were off the main drag, which was kept clean and well kept up and had wide roads in good condition. Specifically, they were about two blocks off the main drag. And filled with people wearing much shabbier clothes than the people on the main drags. (To be sure, I have no reason to think those were their only clothes; for all I know they had nice stuff for going to work or school and just wore shabby stuff in the home neighborhood.) (Oh, and the hookers were well dressed. I don’t know fashions from falchions and so I have no idea of cost or designer labels or anything, but the clothes looked nice and were in good condition.) This was in the early 2000s, after Russia had supposedly climbed up out of the hole caused by the collapse of the USSR. Now, you might say Russia isn’t European, but the people seemed to think they were European.

    I haven’t been in other parts of Europe, other than passing through, recently enough to have any knowledge of anything like current conditions. (And a couple times I was passing through, it was to a place I never was, heh, so I don’t know if passing through on the way to someplace I never was counts.)

    As for socialized health care, by whatever name, I’ll believe it’s viable when I see a system that lasts more than a few decades without its shortcomings becoming positively embarrassing. Keep in mind that the shining examples of a working single-payer system have to be swapped out every so often, as the host nation runs out of money it can steal and shove into the medical system’s infinite maw. I’ll also be a lot more inclined to look at any named examples if you can also show that the wealthy or connected do not buy their own, better, system or go abroad for anything complicated.

    Not that the US system is anything but wretched, but our wretchedness stems from too much government control rather than too little.

  25. I second Chuck’s observations, but I don’t have a clue what the real, underlying cause is. Sure, there are people in Europe living off of benefits, or by crime, but it seems less common. Of course, I am only really familiar with 3 Western European countries; of those, Scotland is the poorest, and there are certainly parts of Glasgow I wouldn’t want to look lost in.

    Specifically regarding health care, I am very much a free-market fan. The current, heavily regulated system here in Switzerland was put in place only about 15 years ago. Supposedly still “choose and buy your own insurance”, however, the government dictates what that insurance must cover. The result was an instant massive increase in cost, and yearly increases much faster than inflation. The solution, of course, is yet more government regulation, restrictions on doctors and hospitals, and lots of other measures that will just drive costs even higher.

    The NHS: Sure, people have had good experiences with it. However, the waiting times for any sort of expensive but “optional” treatment (like surgery for herniated discs) are legendary. This makes absolute sense, of course: as J.P. points out, the demand for a free good is essentially infinite. Only by drastically limiting supply can you keep demand in check.

    People forget: With nationalized health care, all but the poorest *still pay full cost*. In fact, the costs are proportionally higher for lower income folks. When I worked in Germany, I took home about half of my paycheck – the rest went to taxes that were deducted immediately. With that half I took home, whatever I purchased was subject to 18% VAT. Add to that all of the various fees that you pay: water, trash, vehicle license, etc – the result is that you keep less than a third of your pay as a normal working person. The less you earn, the more VAT, licenses, and fees impact your income. You *are* paying for your healthcare; it’s just not immediately visible.

    For people without jobs, there is no reason that welfare (or unemployment) could not include a (very basic) level of health care. However, as soon as you are supporting yourself, health care should be an expense like any other – one that you budget for, one that you buy (catastrophic) insurance for. Just like you pay car maintenance and are required to have car insurance – it’s really the same thing, just for your body instead of your car.

    In the US, the health system is now so screwed up that it may be causing an entirely new, free-market system to emerge. When we last visited two years ago, my son got some sort of nasty throat infection that required antibiotics. The doctor’s office would have taken either insurance or cash. They were open about the prices, and they charged a heck of a lot less if we just paid cash. It was around $100 for the (urgent) examination, lab test and the medicine, which I found entirely reasonable.

  26. Never in my extensive tours of Europe did I see the ramshackle boarded up and falling down houses.

    I remember take a 40 minute bus rise through Italy to get to our hotel and looking out the window and thinking, “Wow, what a f’ing dump.”

  27. When I did a coach tour of Switzerland and Austria in 1995 we dipped in to northern Italy for a couple of days. Even up there the contrast between Austria and Italy was very obvious: rusty galvanised iron roofs, everything done to the bare minimum. A friend said it was partly because of endemic corruption in Italy and that they had different priorities. They spend lots of money on good clothes but let infrastructure go to hell.

  28. If you have not made those trips recently (within the last 5 or 6 years), I think you will find things to have changed dramatically. I have travelled extensively on my own throughout both England, Scotland, and Wales, Germany, Belgium, and Spain, and never encountered anything as bad as driving through Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee off-Interstates.

    Glasgow would be the one place I agree with Brad on, however, my Scottish friends tell me Glasgow has been turned into a tourist Disneyland during the last couple decades. In the ’70’s and ’80’s, it was a hell that young people could not wait to get out of. I’m told that the Glasgow I remember would not be recognizable nowadays.

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