I gotta write somewhere!
My Take on Health Care
Filed under: family andhealth care andPolitics

Lately, there has been, of course, a lot in the news about health care reform.  And everything I’ve been seeing really concerns me.  A lot.  The general overview seems to be that everyone seems to agree that something needs to be done, but the politicians seem to be using it as an opportunity to get more tax money and more of our lives in general under their control.  The more of our lives they control, the more control they have over us when it comes time to vote for them.  It’s about power, not about what people really need.

And the thing is, tens of thousands of people are speaking out across the country, making it clear that we do not want socialized health care.  It has been put in place across the world, and everywhere it has been, it does not come up to the standards that Americans already have and expect from health care.  I won’t say it has failed in other countries – it does work.  It just doesn’t work well. There are inevitably long waiting times and rationing.  It is the nature of the beast.  And I know – there will be people who will have anecdotal stories stating how they don’t experience wait times, or stating that “studies show…” what I’m saying isn’t true.  But most of the everyday people say it is.  And if you get beyond what the popular media reports of the studies, and look to what the studies really say, they show that care in countries with socialized medicine is not as good as what America has.

And then I read an article the other day talking about how selfish Americans are, that we don’t have the sense of community that other countries have, and that’s the reason we don’t want socialized health care.  The author presumed to speak for the entire nation by stating that we don’t feel a sense of community, and so don’t feel a need to make sure our neighbors have health care, and that we have too much of an “each man for himself” kind of attitude.  And just assumed for the entire country that this was the reason why people are having tea parties and objecting to the health care bills and such.  It was one of the most arrogant articles I’ve read in a long time.

The reasons behind rejecting government controlled health care are myriad.  But not caring about our neighbors is NOT one of them.  In fact, if there’s any issue that both sides agree on, it’s probably this: that we really do feel that all people should be able to receive life-saving care, no matter what.  But how we get to that is where we disagree.

What problems does government controlled health care bring with it?  Rationing, for one.  Now rationing will happen with any system, but the difference is that rationing done by government turns into a cold, impersonal panel with no way to make good, rational decisions.  The decisions are based on policy or law only, which we all know ends up missing the mark frequently.  It will end up second-guessing the doctors and family, who are the front-line personnel with the right information to make the decisions.

It also means that innovation and research end up being stifled.  Under these kinds of systems, new, cutting edge treatments no longer get approved.  Only the “tried-and-true” get the money, because there is no money to “waste” on something that might not work.  Clinical trials don’t happen anymore…. but clinical trials often save lives and bring about new, almost miraculous treatments.  Most of the advancements we have today would never have happened if they hadn’t been allowed as experimental treatments first.  And all the countries that have socialized medicine?  They won’t be so happy if we go to that system either.  Right now, most advancements they get are from us, because we still do the research and the experimental trials.  Where will advancements in medicine come from if it is no longer allowed?

And then there is the issue of privacy.  Our personal privacy is already eroding greatly every day.  Do we really want the government in our lives even more?  Do you think that if the government is in charge of our health care, there won’t be penalties for things that are considered “unhealthy”?  Most people might scoff at that, and say “well, I eat healthy, I’m a healthy weight, I don’t smoke, so I don’t have a problem.”  Today, you don’t.  Tomorrow, who knows.  After all, that skiing trip you are taking, that’s pretty risky behavior; people get injured a lot and pretty seriously when skiing.  And riding a motorcycle?  Oh, that’s pretty bad.  By the way, they’ll probably want to start delving into your sex life at some point.  There can be a lot of risky behaviors there, right?  How much do you really want to have to report to the government?

This has been pretty long, but I want to finish up with a little about my father.  I firmly believe that if government health care had been enacted several years ago, we would not have him with us today.

My dad has had heart problems through a large part of his adult life.  He had two heart attacks when I was young, and he had 5-way bypass surgery about 10 years ago now, I think (I forget how long).  He was a smoker; he started when he was still a kid, and he didn’t stop until recently.  So yes, the heart problems were probably at least partly caused by, or at least aggravated by, the smoking.  But that doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve the health care.  (And we won’t go into the whole addictive nature of cigarettes – that’s a whole other subject!)

Then, about 4 or 5 years ago (I forget the exact times now), his doctor said he didn’t like the way my dad’s breathing sounded.  Now my dad has emphysema, and the doctor could have just chalked it up to that.  In fact, the doctor said it really didn’t sound like much, and that it probably was the emphysema, but he didn’t like it, and he wanted dad to get an x-ray.  After some postponing, and my mom and my sister-in-law pretty much forcing him to, he got the x-ray.

The doctor then saw a small spot on the x-ray.  He said again that it probably was just the emphysema, most likely it was, but that for some reason, he just didn’t like it, and he wanted dad to go to a specialist.  Dad was in to see a specialist within a week or so.

The specialist said it could be the emphysema, probably was, but… you guessed it, he just didn’t like it.  And he wanted dad in for a biopsy.  They got dad in for the biopsy within…  I think it was within 2 weeks, but I know it wasn’t very long, and it might have been less time than that.  And all of this was based on the fact that the spot was small, tiny, and was probably nothing.  If they’d really thought it was cancer, they might have moved faster.  Though I don’t know – they moved pretty fast as it was.

Sure enough, when they did the biopsy, it was cancer.  And it was the worst kind, the kind of lung cancer that most people don’t survive.  But….  most people that don’t survive it also don’t discover it until it has gotten through most of their lungs and spread out through the rest of their body.  Because of these doctors’ attentiveness and speed, they caught it when it was just starting, and hadn’t spread at all yet.  They said this was extremely unusual to catch it this early, hardly every heard of.

Because my dad is on blood thinners, they did have to wait about a month or so to do the surgery, to get the blood thinners out of his system first.  Fortunately, the cancer was not growing at all.  And they were able to get all of it – he didn’t even have to do any chemotherapy.  The doctors were able to convince him that if he smoked again, it would kill him.  He hasn’t smoked since.  And he has been doing well – the family keeps him moving.  He isn’t as strong as he used to be, but for going through all he has, well, it’s pretty amazing if you ask me.  Oh, and all the checks since then have shown him to be cancer-free, which, from what I’ve seen on the statistics for lung cancer, puts him in an extremely small percentage.  We have a lot to thank both the doctors, and more importantly, God, for.

Now granted, we got really lucky on how early they found the cancer.  But I contend that in a government controlled health care system, that would never have happened.  Why?  Because the doctor would not have been allowed to pursue it further.  The first symptom was not really anything that should have indicated cancer; in fact, I don’t know that his doctor even suspected cancer at the time.  He just knew that it sounded like more than the normal emphysema.  But without a definitive diagnosis and plan, the doctor would likely have not been allowed to go on what would have been considered a wasteful “fishing” expedition, and it would have been considered just part of dad’s emphysema.

That’s the kind of intuitive thinking and doctor-patient interaction that gets lost when the government gets to decide if a treatment is necessary or not.

And I know I had more to say, but this has been long enough for today, so ….  that’s it.  My thoughts on this whole big mess.  If I get some time later, I’ll write up what my husband and I have talked about for ways we think it could be handled instead. (Here’s a hint – what value do insurance companies add?  If they are taking money, they should be adding value for that money.  If not…. why do we have them?)

osxgirl @ 11:46 am
Not Right, Not Left, Just Straight On Crazy…
Filed under: Politics

So, here I am at WWDC. And much as I would like to talk techie kind of stuff, other than chatting about what I’ve done to my site or my blog, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m afraid I will never be able to talk tech kind of stuff here on my site.  It’s one of the things I’m most passionate about, but that’s what happens sometimes when you work in the industry, depending on where you work.

So I’ve had little to talk about here on my blog.  I’ve wondered if I should even have one, except I really wanted to play with creating one, and, well, it seemed like it should be on the site/  I just figured I’d write about whatever came to mind, and no one will ever read this anyway.

Well, I still don’t know if anyone will read this, but after events of yesterday, and reading what people were saying today, I decided I finally had something I wanted to say.

There was yet another senseless shooting yesterday.  This one, at the Holocaust museum in D.C.  Fotunately only one person was killed before security guards shot the gunman and ended what could have been a much larger tragedy.  One person is one person too many, of course, but it’s much better than more than one.

This comes not too long after an abortion doctor was killed.  That too made headlines.  More senseless killing.

And in the wake of these lunacies, lots of people, both personalities with large audiences and everyday people just spouting out across Twitter and other such media, have been raging with the same rhetoric we all hear every time something like this happens.  Blame – he was a right wing extremist, and all conservatives are filled with hate and we need to silence the on-air conservative personalities and Fox News because they stir up the hatred in these people and cause them to do these things…

Except he was really left wing, and it’s the left wing extremists who are racist and hate-filled, check the left-wing blogs sometime.  And we need more gun control, of course, because these things keep happening and they couldn’t happen if we took away the guns…

Except we have gun control laws, and he had his guns illegally; stricter laws only take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, and those determined to kill will get a gun anyway.  If there were no guns, those determined to kill would find another way – look at homemade explosives.

Through all of it, so many people fell the need to point fingers, find blame, find a REASON.  And more than anything, find the illusion that if we just do away with X, whatever X might be, then this would never happen again.  And in the process, what I hear is all these people, who are claiming that some other group is so filled with hate, flinging all kinds of hate themselves.  And they can’t even see that they are doing the very thing of which they are accusing everyone else.

There IS somewhere to point a finger; there IS somewhere to assign the blame – at the gunman.  It’s called personal responsibility.  He is responsible for his own actions.  Hearing other people’s opinions did not incite him to violence or to commit murder.  I can listen all day long to Fox News or a conservative opinion columnist, and it’s never going to make me a racist or make me feel the need to go out and shoot someone.  Why?  Because that isn’t how I feel, those aren’t my beliefs, and, well, frankly, I’m not crazy.

These people that can go out and just shoot other people down like that, there has to be something intrinsically wrong with them that they end up reasoning that is a rational thing to do.  It has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with their sanity.

There have been plenty of similar incidents that are not as well-publicized.  And how many of those attackers/killers had left leanings instead of right?  I would bet a great deal.

Let’s face it – in the end, most people are rational, and, regardless of their political leanings, the have those beliefs simply because they feel that they are the way most likely to make things better.  People disagree on how to accomplish the same goals, or sometimes even what the goals are, but most people are not evil, and their political beliefs do not make them evil either.

The political rhetoric on both sides has gotten way out of hand.  And it’s the politicians that push that.  I think all of us, regardless of our political beliefs, need to stop allowing them to do that, and realize that both sides usually, for the most part, have good intentions.  And try to work from there.

And realize that one person, like the gunman at the Holocaust museum, is not all conservatives, or not all liberals – he’s not a group at all.  He’s just a single person who is likely not all there mentally.  Because someone who is sane wouldn’t do this.

osxgirl @ 5:48 pm
Finally – up and running!
Filed under: website work

I finally got all the “tweaking” of this WordPress theme done.  It wasn’t easy.  I know, I know… what can I expect from a free theme, right?  And it doesn’t help much that I am new to CSS, though picking up what I needed of that was relatively easy.  I need some PHP now, and I need to get some more in-depth web programming knowledge all around, but getting what I needed to just edit things that were already created, that was, or at least should have been, no big deal.

Bottom line is, there are definitely things in the way the style sheets for this theme were created that made it hard to get it to look right and very difficult to make the changes I wanted.  Let’s just say I would have programmed it differently.  But I wanted to get it up, not go back and re-do the whole thing.  Eventually, I may go create my own theme.  The main reason I chose this one was the background, of course.  So, if ever I find the time, I’ll create my own background and either create my own theme, or modify one of the standard themes, which will probably be structured a little better.

Now, I need to get back to editing the rest of the web site.  And hopefully move the whole thing away from iWeb.  I now have Espresso, so I may start using that, though my preference would still be more of a WYSIWYG editor.  We should be getting all of the Adobe suite soon, so maybe I’ll use Dreamweaver.

And now that I have this set up, I will try to start writing a little more interesting Blog posts too.  In fact, in coming attractions, I have an idea for one that I want to try and write this weekend.  I’ve been reading a lot about the economy, and tax rates, and opinions on effects of raising tax rates.  And it makes me want to write a little essay about a favorite children’s book of mine – Thidwick the Moose, by Dr. Seuss.  Confused?  It relates, I promise.

That’s it for now.

admin @ 1:57 pm