Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘health

We Must Do Better and Insist on Better Health Care (A Collaboration with a Purpose Post)

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Sorry ’bout the lengthy title there, folks…on with the show, er, I mean blog.

collaboration-healthall

I am especially cognizant this year of World Health Day due to the myriad of health problems my family has suffered over the past year. Because of all the times we’ve been to the doctor, or in the hospital, or in the rehab center, I am more aware than ever about how we need better quality health care in the United States. (I can’t speak for the rest of the world, though my fellow bloggers have done so brilliantly. Links will follow at the end of this post.)

What I’ve seen shocks me. (And I thought I was unshockable.) A woman who needs hearing aids was in one of the rehab centers my family member dealt with this year, and can’t get them because she can’t afford them. She is over sixty-five, is retired, has Medicare–meaning, she does have state-sponsored insurance that’s subsidized by the federal government–and she still can’t afford hearing aids.

This affects her quality of life.

This affects how she can interact with her family, her grandchildren, and those working with her to help her heal up so she can go home.

There’s something wrong with a country that doesn’t find a way to help someone who needs hearing aids find a way to get them. (She is willing to pay, mind. Her daughter told me that. But it’s a matter of making it affordable so she can, and still eat, pay her bills, and afford her medications.)

Or how about this? I, myself, have dealt with a problem trying to get any help with my vision. I have Obamacare. I am eligible to be seen and get glasses, which would be subsidized (but not free)…yet every time I try to set up an appointment, and I’ve been trying now for over two years, I am told there are none.

So, I continue to wear glasses that are over two years old. My backup pair is over ten years old. My vision hasn’t changed much in all that time, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a checkup or get another pair of glasses that is perhaps a little bit more up-to-date than my backup pair.

How many other people are out there who can’t afford to pay full price for glasses, thus wait to be seen, and then never get an appointment because it’s supposedly always full?

Then, there’s the problem of paying for medication. My family members have radically different insurance. One has no help at all to pay for her prescriptions. Another has some help. But when your medicines can cost over $300 per month — yes, one of the cardiac meds my mother takes is at least that expensive — the co-pay is still plenty high. And when you’re on a fixed income, in retirement, coming up with that high co-pay is damned difficult.

Why is this considered acceptable?

Then, there’s the problem of getting doctor’s appointments when you’re sick. (I know first-hand about that one, too.) Getting your doctor’s office to even call you back is a pain in the buttinsky. And then, if you do get to talk with a nurse, they just send you to urgent care anyway, so why did you waste your time?

In short, there are major problems with health care.

Right now, we have a proliferation of forms, a proliferation of HMOs, PPOs, and all sorts of other alphabet-type agencies, that basically boil down to, “No, we’re not going to help you.” And that is utterly unacceptable.

Mind, there are wonderful people in health care. I’ve met more great nurses and doctors (much less PAs and CNAs) than I can shake a stick at. These people genuinely want to help, but they are overwhelmed by paperwork and there aren’t enough slots to see everyone who needs to be seen. And nothing at all seems to get done whatsoever about fixing these systemic problems.

The World Health Organization has done this World Health Day since 1948, to call attention to the need for better health care for as many people as possible. (Preferably, it would be for every single last one of us, and that is indeed their goal.) And this year, their slogan is called #HealthForAll.

I think we badly need to be reminded that health must be cultivated. We have to have enough resources to help people get hearing aids when they are on fixed incomes. Or afford expensive cardiac medicines when they are on fixed incomes. Or have access to doctors, nurses, and appropriate care, while being treated as the human beings we are rather than an inconvenience or worse, someone to be brushed off and ignored.

So I’m pleased that the Collaboration with a Purpose group wanted to talk about World Health Day this year. It is something that is close to my heart. And it is something we desperately need — better health care, for as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible, so we all can live better and happier lives.

Because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Period.

Now, please go check out my fellow Collaboration with a Purpose group members, as they all have interesting takes on the subject. (Links will be added as their posts go up.)

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

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You all know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?”

Sometimes, that lemonade can be sour, even bitter to the taste. But eventually, you will learn to tolerate that taste…and you might even begin to crave it.

Why?

Because it means you’re still trying. It means you haven’t given up. It means you know, deep down in your soul, you are doing everything in your power you can to make the world a better place.

You might be wondering what brought this on.

I’ve been dealing with a family health crisis this past week, and I’ve been running back and forth to the hospital. While I’d rather be doing just about anything else, I’m very glad to do this.

Why?

It means my family member is still alive, still fighting, getting better and doing whatever is possible to improve her health.

That’s a good thing.

See, the connections I have with my family and friends are essential. I want them to be happy, healthy, and to enjoy life to the fullest.

But no one can do that while sitting in a hospital bed.

Even though this week didn’t go at all according to plan, I’m glad that I was able to do something to try to help those who are important to me.

One final thought:

Sometimes, it feels like we’re not doing very much during a crisis. This is very human, but somehow we need to throw those feelings to the side.

Why?

Because self-forgiveness — which I’ve discussed before — is essential at times like this. We are not saints, and we can’t expect ourselves to act as if we are. All we can do is be ourselves, try our best, and do whatever we can to make life a little better place.

Including visiting those who are ill (if they’re up to visits), talking with them, and letting them know we care.

That’s what’s important.

Don’t lose sight of it. (Please?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 29, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Quick Tuesday Ill Health Update

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Today is April 2, 2013.  The day after April Fool’s Day . . . the second game of the major league baseball season (my favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers, faces off against the Colorado Rockies in less than an hour).

And it’s another day that I’d rather forget, because I woke up sick with a very sore throat.  I had so little energy that I had no interest in eating (yet it wasn’t a migraine — with a migraine, I’d at least understand this), and ended up going right back to bed at a time I normally am awake and alert.

(Of course, then I slept for three more hours.)

Now, I’m awake again, and I hope to be able to watch the Brewers game.  But I’m unsure I can do that.  I’m also unsure I’m going to be able to do much of anything at all the rest of the week, which is why I’m writing this particular blog . . . even though it’s not something I enjoy doing, and believe it might actually be detrimental to my overall chances of employment down the line.

Still.  A friend of mine on Facebook had suggested a while back that if people were more honest about how they were feeling, maybe we’d see less artifice and strife in the world.  I didn’t entirely follow what he’d said, mind you — though I agree that people should be more honest and far less artificial — but in his clarifying notes, he said that what he wanted was to know that other people actually did get sick, did suffer when losing a loved one, did recover from illness and somehow dealt with their grief . . . all things our contemporary society tries to kick under the rug because these are not things that our society prefers to dwell upon.

Oh, no.  We’re supposed to be perfectly healthy.  Thin.  Never grieve the loss of a loved one.  Always be happy, even when we’re miserable.  “Fake it ’til we make it.”

That sort of thing.

And even though I’d love to be perfectly healthy (this after possibly the worst year, health-wise, I’ve ever had), certainly would like to be thinner and in better shape than I am, not be grieving for my beloved husband and my excellent best friend, etc., it’s not going to happen.

I’d rather embrace who I am, even if I’m not where I’d hoped I’d be by this time in my life.  I prefer to remember the people who’ve graced my life with fondness, bare minimum . . . everything I’ve gone through has made me who I am today.  And really, as I refuse to be one of these people who “puts behind them” the people they care about, or the memories they most treasure because society doesn’t like to dwell upon them, I need to continue to be my truest self.

Even if that means, like today, all I can do is rest, read a little bit (I’m too tired to read, which is how I know I’m really ill), and hope I can watch a baseball game (when normally nothing would keep me from at least listening to it).  And try to get back after it tomorrow, somehow.

Or at worst, the day after that.

My intention remains the same as before: stay alive long enough to get my book, ELFY, out there into the marketplace in the hopes that people I don’t know will enjoy the book.  And in the process, get every other scrap of writing I’ve worked on, or that Michael worked on, or that the two of us together worked on, into print as well.

That’s why I need to rest and get my sore throat to calm down a little bit.

Anyway, for the time being, there are other good blogs out there to keep you busy.  I suggest Jason Cordova’s blog, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog, and Chris Nuttall’s blog “the Chrishanger” to get you started.   (All links are available on the side of my blog page.)

As for me, I will try to get a new blog up by the weekend.  But I have a big edit to complete, and a rehearsal to try to get to (even if all I can do is pick up the music and go home again), and lots of other stuff to do that’s too mundane to mention.

So do me a favor, and until then, contemplate this quote by Walt Disney:

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main… and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

— From Peter’s Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter (via Wikiquotes).

Because this is not only the reason I read . . . it’s also the reason I write.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Down with the Flu . . .

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. . . and take that any way you want.

So far, 2013 has shaped up to be a year full of illness, frustration and pain.  I haven’t enjoyed it, but I have continued to do whatever I can despite all of the various things that have cropped up.

I saw my sister last week, which is a good thing.  Unfortunately, she came up with a particularly nasty case of the flu and let me know she’d been diagnosed with the same on Monday.

Despite all of the various things that have hit me within the last two or three months, I haven’t yet had an “official” flu diagnosis.  (Merely “flu-like symptoms” or a secondary infection — usually a sinus infection, occasionally a respiratory ailment as well — but not an actual diagnosis calling for Tamiflu or any of the other drugs that can help minimize a case of the flu.)  And it’s possible that this isn’t the flu either, though it assuredly feels like it as it came on suddenly within the last twenty-four hours and has disorganized my thinking like no one’s business.

So my hope is that it will leave suddenly, also.

If so, it wouldn’t be the flu — it might instead by that Australian norovirus I’ve heard about, which has a duration of 48-72 hours of nastiness for most people, then runs its course — but that doesn’t mean it’s any less distressing to deal with.

Topping it all off, I was midway through a story that I’d planned to submit to an anthology in a few days.  I don’t know this particular editor (I won’t name her), though I do know her writing . . . anyway, I’d introduced myself, told her a bit about my story and she said she’d look forward to reading it.

Now I may not be able to finish the story, which really bothers me as it shows a lack of professionalism.  (And to me, being anything less than a pro in every area is deeply disturbing.)

This particular anthology has a deadline of February 1.  I’ve known about it since early October — just before I took on the Bleacher Report internship, in fact — and thought about what I wanted to do that would meet the requirements of the anthology.  I had finally come up with what I thought was a winning idea . . .

. . . and am now too ill to finish the dratted thing up.

I do have tomorrow to make a stab at it, and if I can finish it up and believe it’s credible, I will try.

But the chances to do so do not look promising.

I know, however, that if I can finish this story, albeit more slowly than I’d like — providing I can do so before March 31, that is — I can try the Writers of the Future contest one more time as ELFY still isn’t out (I’m still going over copy-editing changes and have been asked to make one, last pass of my own in addition), not even in ARC format (that’s “advanced reader copy” to thee and me).  I may still be eligible even for the June quarter (though I’m unsure); I do know I’ll be eligible for the March 31 quarter.

So maybe not all is lost, no matter how it looks right now.

In the past few days, I did do some editing on some paying projects and a little bit of writing (I got all of 300 words into it yesterday before stalling, again).  So it’s not that I’ve done nothing whatsoever this week . . . far, far from it.

I just haven’t been able to get this done when it counts.  And that vexes me.

Sorely.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Posted in Writing

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