Two more links to keep the ultra rich from visiting my blog

I can’t help posting these links. I feel like I’m at war regarding who pays taxes in this country. The middle and lower classes keep taking it in the shorts because the ultra-rich claim it’s good for all of us if we continue to keep them ultra-rich: We’ve worked so hard for our money and you haven’t.

I feel like I’ve been bamboozled by multimillionaires telling me to drink their Kool-Aid.  Well, I can’t drink this shit anymore. I’ve had it. (BTW, I like the word “bamboozled” and may use it to name out next dog. How cool would it be if our new dog escaped the yard and I had to drive through the neighborhood yelling, “BAMBOOOOOOOZLED, BAMBOOOOOZLED. Get your ass home NOW.”)

Here are two more articles that got my blood boiling. I guess this means I’ll never be invited to play golf with Donald Trump. Oh, well, I’ll be busy doing my taxes with Turbo Tax again because I don’t have a team of accountants to do them for me. But I do have a dog named Bamboozled, and he’s one messed-up mutt.

http://www.truth-out.org/how-rich-soaked-rest-us68155?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/22/income-inequality-america_n_772687.html

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Free healthcare – in prison

Medical parole: Hospitalized prisoners costing California taxpayers millions – latimes.com.

I got excited when I read the above LA Times article about healthcare in prison. Here I thought that one day I’d have to kill myself when my insurance runs out, but now there’s a possible light at the end of the tunnel – free healthcare in prison.

Of course, I’ll have to commit some kind of crime to get there, and the healthcare in prison doesn’t sound top-notch. However, that seems inconsequential when it comes to staying alive and getting to see my daughter grow up, though it will be on scheduled and supervised visits at the prison. Will I get to keep my iPad? Probably not.

I think I’ll rob a bank. I can pretend to have a gun in my jacket and ask the teller for unmarked bills and no dye packs. See, I’ve watched enough movies to nail it. Then, I’ll just stand outside the bank and wait for the police to arrest me. Life is simple after all. There’s always a silver lining.

Then I think of the honest, hardworking, taxpaying CF individuals and families on GHPP here in California who are barely holding on to it with the state budget cuts. California will provide medical care to people who have committed the most horrific crimes but cut other programs to the bone. Hmm, something about that bothers me – a lot.

Maybe my idea isn’t so hot. I might get tired of having to file my nebulizer mouthpieces into “shanks” or “shivs” – or whatever prisoners call them – to protect myself. Clearly, there’s a downside. Forget I posted this. Thanks.

Next idea?

Just another reason I hate our government

The rich keep getting richer in today’s America of not making them pay their fair share of the load. It helps when our politicians protect their interests and not the interests of the lower and middle classes.

If you feel like you’ve been working harder, paying more for services, and making less, it’s not your imagination. Click on the links for the math.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110223/ts_yblog_thelookout/separate-but-unequal-charts-show-growing-rich-poor-gap

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

End of rant.



Use the Force next time an anxiety attack happens

After two visits, my new heart doctor suggested I should go on Prozac. “Forget you” very much, doctor. At what point did you not notice my extensive list of medications? The one that comes on a scroll and unrolls onto the floor.

Sure, let’s add another med to the list. Genius idea. Especially a drug like Prozac, which can do all kinds of strange things to your head. May I have a prescription for a .44 Magnum handgun, too? Pretty please with mustard and my brains on it?

How did I get here?

My fantastic regular heart doctor is getting up there in years and is a 60-minute drive each way, plus the two-hour visit. So, every time my heart does its samba, giving up four hours of my day is a real drag just to be told I’m alive. So, I spun the doctor wheel of fortune and picked a new one close by. The five-minute drive rocks. But the new doctor ain’t my old one.

During the first visit he was complaining about his older patients and how slow they moved and how long the visits take. During the second visit, he mentioned how the children of dying patients don’t accept the fact their parents are dying and nothing can be done. He wasn’t making a big production of his frustration, but was whining. And, as I’m the king of whining, I can spot when someone else is stealing my stage time.

I was also thinking he has life pretty good. He’s a doctor, married with kids and doesn’t have cystic fibrosis. Right there he’s ahead of the game. No whining allowed, Doc. What the hell are you complaining about? Where’s the genie that gives you CF for a month to teach you what you should already know? You’re living the high life.

Back to the five-minute Prozac diagnosis.

Along with the suggestion for Prozac came a few suggestions that showed he hadn’t listened closely to why I was anxious, and ended with the simple advice “don’t worry so much.” Oh, doctor, it’s that easy? Why didn’t I think of that? I’m so lucky. You cured me with your brilliant wisdom. May I kiss your stethoscope to show my eternal gratitude? I promise to name my next boa constrictor after you. The one I’ll let wrap me up and squeeze me to death while I’m high on Prozac.

Prozac this. I’m insane, not depressed.

[“Cranky tonight, I am,” as Yoda would say – if he were not on Prozac, though we all know he is.]

Carry the Load, Crybaby

If I saw a psychiatrist, which I probably should, and he or she asked me what the future looks like, I would answer: It’s heavy. And I’d mean it in the sense that the future weighs a lot, that it has physical mass and I can carry it on my back – like a rock. And with every step I take, the rock gets bigger and heavier, growing from its molten center. At some point, my legs give out and the future crushes me flat, my arms and legs sticking out under its mass like Wile E. Coyote.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I think of the future, it looks difficult, hard, not appealing, filled with unpleasant events. Who enjoys carrying a giant tumor of a granite on their back? There will be more coughing up blood, more hospitalizations, more of everything CF.

And there will be dying. And there will be crying and emotions by others, though this is debatable and shouldn’t be taken for granted, as I’m not the most lovable of guys. And sadness. And the time my daughter and wife will need to find a way to pull themselves together, which I hope is short (move on, have fun. Enjoy at all the Craigslist furniture I bought you. Live like they do in Coke commercials.)

I confess: I have days when I wish the disease would take me, wipe away not feeling well and the buttery stress. But I’m happy that it hasn’t.

This I do know. The pressure to make sure each minute counts is great, oppressive, and increasing by the day. I can do the math in my head. I’m not going to be here in 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 or who knows how many years. Perhaps days. If I get in another argument with someone with blue hair who sees things that didn’t happen, my end of days may take place in prison.

I am running on fear. My tank is full of it, 91 octane, high-grade. Every day now is a bonus. I look at things more closely, linger on objects and people, the lines in my friends’ faces. We’ve all changed over the years. And I feel like I’ve been through so much, taken my share of beatings from CF and have the scars from each one. And I have more to come. I’ll take them like a man, or a mouse, and see the movie through to the end. I hope the CF Foundation or Sharktank or some drug company finds a way to stomp this disease’s demonic spirit of gut-ripping terror into the earth with the heel of a boot. For the sake of everyone one involved. I hope. And that makes the weight of the rock bearable for one more step. And another. And one more. And.

Playing nice in the sandbox – being Swiss at work

[adult language]

I miss the days when I used to travel light. When I threw clothes in a bag and drove away without six pounds of meds and compressors and nebulizers and CF-related paraphernalia. Luckily, this week’s business travel didn’t include an airplane flight where TSA agents’ main objective is to embarrass me by having me remove everything from my bags. I hate airplanes and air travel for so many reasons now. But again, I only had to drive this week. For that I’m thankful.

I had three days of meetings, many of which I had to lead. If I had a favorite moment it was the opening when we went around the room and introduced ourselves, stating our position, years of service and other standard information, ending with a question: “What’s your favorite vacation spot?” Lot’s of possible answers to that one. Islands and Disney were the most popular. I would have liked to answer “the hospital” because that’s where I spend most of my time outside of work. However, this would have raised eyebrows and revealed my secret identity, which is now known in HR but not to others.

I dream of winning the lottery because I’d live in a large house with a big yard, donate to CF research, and not worry about money and health insurance.  I also dream of winning so I could stay at my job for a few weeks and say what I want to say. That’s right, I wouldn’t quit right away after winning. I would stay. But I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone with my words. That wouldn’t be sporting. Rather, I would like to quit playing the dance of being Switzerland, of using the most neutral of phrases and replies. I’d like to be blunt and not worry about making people feel like their idea was the best I’d ever heard. I’d like to hit a buzzer and say “average idea, you can do better.” Or tell my bosses that micro-managing sucks and we have a proofreader for catching typos. Management’s job is to avoid icebergs in our path, not visit the engine room to fix a spark plug.

I’d tell the guy who sits back in our meetings and looks for things to criticize to shut the fuck up. I’d tell him I don’t want to hear anything negative and to keep his pie hole shut for the duration of the meeting. End of story. If he wants to say something positive, great, speak up. However, if he wants to point out that under the harshest of deadlines and editing materials while I was in the hospital, that I could have used a different event on our timeline, well, he can kiss my ass. Because in the scope of life, it makes no difference. And perhaps that’s what irks me more than ever as my life nears its conclusion – so much of the time we spend at work is spent on trivial discussions. It’s not that the work doesn’t matter, it does. People matter. It’s how our time is spent that both fascinates and irritates me. In our quest to play nice in the sandbox, it takes longer to get to where we need to go.

And that goes to my lottery fantasy – saying what we want to say, not being mean to be mean, but stating it as we see it. Not being afraid to debate, or of healthy conflict without the constant fear of losing one’s job.

I’d also like to tell those who think that they deserve special recognition every time they do their job or work an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day that they are really doing just what they get paid to do. No one hired them to be average. Imagine interviewing for a job and stating that you’re going to do average work and want recognition every time you do great work. You’re paid to do a great job, asshole. Do it without the need for constant recognition that you’re doing your job well. The coolest cats, men and women, are the ones who do a great job and keep quiet about it. They don’ t need daily accolades. They have their own internal scoring system.

I think of my daughter and hope that she will work hard in life and find a career that makes her happy. I hope it’s one where she feels free to say what she wants to say. And I hope that opportunity exists by the time she grows up. I’m not sure it will.

The Cost of Battle

If I can compare the 20 days in the hospital to anything, it would be 20 days in enemy territory getting shot at and dodging explosions. In the movies, when the lead actor escapes the battlefield there is a moment of personal inventory. What’s bleeding? What’s broken? It’s just good to be alive. That’s the point. To survive no matter what. In the movies everything heals over time.

I’ve been taking inventory the last few days.

Hearing – more lost thanks to the 20 days of tobra. I can’t hear some high pitch sounds in our house like the alarm. The sound is gone to me. My ears play Jingle Bells 24/7. I left for battle and the explosions took their toll. When I returned, some of my hearing stayed at the hospital. Hasta la vista, high pitched sounds.

Lung function down over 20 percent according to the PFT in the hospital. Will it come back? Let’s hope.

O2 levels normal. That’s good news. So far so good.

Low grade fevers and chills. Still hanging on me. 5:00 p.m. rolls around and it’s time for a nap and baby bottle for me. I’m gone. The CF center seems content to let me suffer through them each day. It’s probably my anger talking. I’m still irritated about some of the decisions or delayed decisions of the stay. The CF team is solid though. I know they care. They just have a lot of patients to deal with.

Over 10 pounds shredded thanks to sitting on my ass doing endless IVs and a lack of an appetite for the same bland food every day. The endless fluids they gave me in the hospital masked the weight loss. At least I’m not peeing 20 times a day anymore.

No blood. That’s a good thing. It hasn’t returned yet. If it does, I can’t decide if I’ll go back in the hospital or just hunt down the people who couldn’t get it right after two embolizations. I’ll throw them on a table and cut into their groin and see how much they like it and educate them on the importance of getting it correct the first time.

Aches and pains. I could use a little time on a medieval torture rack being stretched right now. Or tie me between two horses and pull my limbs until my back pops and I get back the two inches in height I probably lost in the hospital. Tell me again why they don’t offer massage therapy in the hospital? I can get all the morphine I want while I’m there, but a little quality time face down with a certified member of the massage community digging her knuckles into my backside is verboten.  That makes no sense.

All in all, I got my ass beat. And that makes me angry because it’s embarrassing to get beat up. Worst of all, CF didn’t do all of the beating. The doctors helped and I did my part with mistakes I made. Hindsight again. I wonder if I can have it removed? Life would be easier if I weren’t tortured by my errors. I should have seen the landmines, been more aggressive about getting the embolization done quickly instead of waiting six days. There were plenty of other errors I made. Where did my courage go while I was there?