Monday, March 22, 2010

A new day

I've never understood health insurance, and I'm going to warn you that I don't fully understand the bill that passed last night. My personal jury is still out on whether or not this is a 'good thing,' because I tend to have a very skeptical relationship with most things that come from any institution, regardless of if it's government or private. That is what my college education and deep held love of reading every damn thing I find interesting (on the internet) has given me.

I know that I've never viewed health insurance as a part of my life the way some people might - we had it, in some form or another, for most of my life. We were the 'lucky' ones, the ones who could go to the hospital for an ear ache or sinus infection.

But my yearly physicals were more bi-annual, when they happened at all. I think our co-pay hovered in the $15-20 range per visit, per kid, which might sound like nothing to you but was a LOT to us. We were pretty healthy kids. I usually got hit with a sinus infection or bronchitis every 12-18 months, ending with a trip to the not-quite-emergency room (people in Athens know the name, but I can't remember it right this minute). My mother put off going to the doctor for some (still not fully resolved) issues because of the cost and the knowledge that they wouldn't be able to diagnose quickly and prescribe an easy fix, and I feel like there was also an acknowledgment that whatever it was could be a 'pre-existing condition.' If it wasn't one today, it could be later, when my dad switched jobs again.

So she went to the doctor, they did some stuff, it didn't fix much, and as they were still trying to figure it out, my dad was fired. (Not lost his job, as that implies that the job disappeared to some distant town or country. No, he was fired and it still disgusts me and made me skeptical and resentful of the concept of 'at will' employment.)

We didn't go to the doctor growing up because of the cost. When I was 9, my pediatrician noticed that my collarbones were uneven. My parents didn't shield us from much, or so I thought, but now that I'm older, I realize they did that year. It was the year my youngest brother was born, which is a whole 'nother story, but now I've realized that they kept me from fully understanding the costs of my pediatrician noticing that. I had an x-ray that day, then an MRI (which I fell asleep in) and a CAT scan (which I did not fall asleep in, and was actually quite terrified of). I have no idea how much of that was covered by our insurance. I know that we had some sort of supplemental insurance via the government.

I'm realizing how much I don't understand insurance or health care.

When I started at OU, I signed up for their insurance, which covers all prescriptions (though I'm fuzzy on things like vaccines). Because of the past two years and all the various things I've had to go to the doctor, I've been afraid of getting hit with the 'pre-existing condition.' I've been relieved to spend so little on my doctors visits - $40 paid to the university for the well-being plan has saved me several thousand dollars, as has the nearly $400 I pay per quarter for the insurance. But I've looked toward graduation with a wary eye, afraid that I will get a job and be punished for things beyond my control.

So, there is a sense of relief at the rules for 2014. But also a fear, for my family.

Things are improving for us, economically, but how are they supposed to afford insurance they are now required to buy? (Yes, they've been covered by the state, but it's a fluctuating thing that, again, I don't fully understand.) How does THAT work?

I'm for health care/insurance for all. I don't think kids should have to grow up without getting to see the doctor or the dentist or the optometrist. I don't think adults should have to stay in crappy jobs just because they have insurance they don't get to use, but they need it because they get the flu once a year, or their kids tend to get ear infections.

But I'm skeptical. I have a history of disappointments and insurance not equalling health care.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are you kidding?

Today, I got an e-mail from OU's dean of students, Ryan Lombardi. We have had something like SEVEN cases of meningitis on campus in the past two years, which is a LOT when you think about it. Because of collaboration with the CDC, it's been determined that all of the students who have contracted the illness had the same DNA profile, which makes these cases an outbreak.

Because of this, the university has decided that it will be requiring that all students get the meningitis vaccine starting in fall 2010. All current students will be required to have it and all freshman will be required to have gotten it, if I am understanding the e-mail correctly. This isn't that surprising, though requiring vaccinations always seems to result in a bit of a controversy and I can't wait to see the 'but it's my body and why should I get a shot?!' letters in The Post.

My complaint lies in what this e-mail COMPLETELY LACKED, which was information of where you could get the vaccine in Athens. So, I googled, googled a bit more, and finally tried the university health center's website. I knew that they provided vaccines, but assumed that they didn't provide the meningitis vaccine, since they didn't include a link in the e-mail.

So, I went to:, which I am providing for context. On the left hand side is a menu. I clicked 'health promotion,' which did NOT, in fact, include any information about vaccines that I could find. So I went back to the main page and clicked 'student health services,' scrolled down the un-alphabetized list on the left and chose 'services provided.' A page with a list pops up, un-alphabetized again, and I clicked immunizations (which, okay, guys, pick a word. Are the immunizations or vaccines?). Finally, a list of what vaccines Hudson provides and when you could get them.

That link should have been included in the e-mail, or should be accessible on the front page of Hudson's site. Also, the page should include prices and information on whether or not the university's insurance will pay for any of what they offer. I suspect that is not common knowledge, so it isn't that much of a stretch to feel that our Dean should have provided this information instead of just informing us of what he and the university have determined about these cases.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Songs about pressure

Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure."

Tegan and Sara, "Floorplan."

Other songs about pressure?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I surround myself with stuff. Books, pens, bottles and cups, sticky notes and scissors when I am studying. Layers of scarves, earmuffs, shirts, leggings, socks and more when I am walking around town. I like the feeling of being surrounded by things, of having a purpose, of being warm and safe.

I don't know why I do this. I do it during the spring as well, at least the surrounding myself with stuff thing. But during the winter, it's more like I'm putting up a barrier between myself and the cold. Enough books, enough pens, and the winter's cold won't touch me. In the spring, it's an enjoyment of the sun, a soaking in of the color of the sun on the pages and the tables and the pure life that seems to fill every area around me. Winter is a time of hibernation.

Winter is quiet.

I used to surround myself with solitude during the winter, embrace my hermit like inclinations and hunker down behind the books. Hours spent with my class assignments and iPod and DVDs watched by myself.

Winter is busy.

This winter I've gone dancing. Watched movies with friends and played board games in coffee shops. Explained why I wear my claddagh ring on my left ring finger when I go dancing. Learned how to set someone on fire without actually burning them. My inner hermit has been gently pushed onto an island and asked to enjoy the quiet in that back corner of my room.

Winter is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turning 20

Tomorrow is my 20th birthday. There's a lot going on in my life, so much so that I don't know where to start and some of it is unbloggable.

So, a playlist of songs that mean something to me from this year.

1. The Fear - Lily Allen
2. Cemetery Drive - My Chemical Romance (more significant overall than from this year. It's just a song I love for no logical reason)
3. Her Morning Elegance - Oren Lavie
4. The Night Starts Here - Stars
5. Hearts on Fire - Cut Copy
6. Weightless - All Time Low (lyric "And I'm over getting older.")
7. Wish -Paper Route
8. I'm Ready - Jack's Mannequin
9. It's Alright, Baby - Komeda (see if you can listen to this without feeling at least a smidge better)
10. Nineteen - Tegan & Sara
11. Breakable - Ingrid Michaelson
12. This Modern Love - Bloc Party
13. Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
14. Oh My God - Ida Maria
15. Just a Girl - No Doubt
16. I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You - Black Kids
17. Under Pressure - Queen
18. So Long, Astoria - The Ataris
19. Grow Old With Me - The Postal Service (a cover of John Lennon. Melancholy and beautiful.)
20. Dancing in the Dark - Tegan & Sara

Turning 20 is bittersweet. Wonderful and odd. New. Old.

Four hours from now, I'm 20.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To fall off the face of the earth (and get vaguely graphic upon return)

This quarter has been the quarter I've been sick. This quarter has been the quarter where I have struggled, where I have been that girl. The one who skips class, who doesn't turn in assignments, who sleeps through classes because getting out of bed is just too much effort. The girl with a million excuses.

I have been sick, though. I started the quarter with an inner ear viral infection. I was dizzy, so dizzy I had to cling to the walls to walk and stick my arms out like planks to stay balanced.

I never really recovered from that. I've been exhausted all quarter. I went back to the student health center last week and was diagnosed with... another virus.

That one was a real charmer. I couldn't stand to have my clothes on, or at least, I couldn't stand having them touch me. I was nauseous and I had a very nice, rich cough. Just in time for homecoming and a dear friend and Jon to come into town.

I rested when I could, and then went out and acted like I wasn't ill the rest of the time. Then my tonsils, which have given me issues for YEARS, swelled up. Those of you who aren't intimately familiar with your tonsils, you are very, very lucky. I know when mine are angry. I know when mine are filled with gross crap. I know when mine are doing all right, simply because they aren't causing me any problems for once.

So my left tonsil swells up. And up. And up. It hurts to talk, and it hurts to swallow, and it just plain hurts. I tried to just recover on Monday, because I didn't have time to go to the doctor's. I'd caved to the concept of going to the doctor when I finally noticed the hole/blister on my left tonsil. My angry red swollen tonsil. With a blistery hole on it.

Yeah, just envision that for a moment.


So, I go back to the doctor. This is my third visit of the quarter, my third trip with prescription drugs, my first go-round on antibiotics this quarter. The CNP informed me that I either have strep, tonsillitis, or an upper respiratory infection. She prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic (closely related to penicillin) and sent me on my merry way.

The antibiotic and the yogurt I ate disagreed. If you ever need to throw up in a public bathroom, attempt to have the presence of mind to cover up the motion sensor, or you'll get to experience what I experienced, which was a toilet flushing in my face while I puked into it. Even in the moment, I found it ridiculously funny. Partially because I never throw up.

Sorry, again.

It's the seventh week of the quarter and I'm just hoping that I finally start feeling healthy. Hoping that everything I've let fall by the side this quarter is something I can pick back up. Hoping that life gets a little bit better, because lately it has sucked (there is much more than just being ill going on in my life, which I'll write about eventually. Maybe. If life ever settles down enough for me to feel comfortable sharing.).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Music Monday: Songs to Get Stuck in Your Head

Today's Music Monday is a mish mash of stuff as I'm in a rush to go North for the Iglu & Hartly concert. So, songs to get stuck in your head (or, a taste of possible music mondays to come).

First up, Aesop Rock's "None Shall Pass." Jon got me hooked on this guy. Check him out.

Next up? Tegan and Sara's "Back in Your Head." I heard "Walking with a Ghost" in 2006, picked up So Jealous and The Con quickly afterward, and am now looking forward to their new album, Sainthood, which is due to drop at the end of October. With "Back in Your Head," I've always felt like this summarizes a relationship when you're starting to fight and wondering if it's all worth it. Having been through enough of this in the past... well, yeah.

With EIGHT MILLION views on YouTube, does Mika really need my little rec here? Well, maybe. Mostly I want you to dig out your Queen's Greatest Hits album and think about a 'man' named Crowely. (Wikipedia Good Omens if you've no idea what I'm talking about).

Finally, one last recommendation. My sister came across Owl City at some point or another and forwarded me the video for their song "Fireflies." But I like this video, and you might as well have something FUN to do with your spare time, right? Right. (Apologies for the size differentials here. Dunno why it is, but I did my best to make sure all the videos were similar in size.)