Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

The long run

February 25, 2018

Harrison Walter (#575) competes on his school’s
cross-country and track teams. Photo | Hal Walter

The Walter family’s struggle with autism came in for a little attention in the press over the weekend.

My friends Hal and Mary and their son Harrison have been enduring the tender mercies of the Medical-Industrial Complex as mom and dad strive to get their teenager the expensive behavioral therapy that may help him with the impulse-control issues common among the neurodiverse.

Harrison focused on his schoolwork. Photo | Rebekah Cravens

Regan Foster of The Pueblo Chieftain — where Hal and I first met back in the Eighties — wrote about the Walters’ difficulties in a straight news piece and a more personal sidebar; both made the newspaper’s home page this morning.

The details of this particular tale of woe may be new to you, but the overarching theme is all too familiar: What happens when circumstances upend a hard-working American family that earns a bit too much to qualify for public assistance, but not enough to cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with private insurance?

“A $3,000 deductible plus a 30 percent co-pay is the same as not having insurance, except you have to pay for the insurance,” said Hal.

Harrison is designated as disabled, but does not qualify for a Children’s Extended Services waiver for Medicaid because his sleep habits, “while not great, are not entirely horrible,” according to Hal.

The amount of paperwork required in raising a neurodiverse kid (like appealing a Medicaid waiver denial) would be enough to put anyone to sleep.

That this is a stumbling block instead of a side note seems absurd; Harrison’s abilities as a student and athlete can be offset by his impulsive, occasionally violent behavior, which seems a greater concern for society than how many Z’s the family bags nightly. Someone is definitely on the nod here, and it’s not the Walters, who are appealing the decision to deny a CES waiver.

Hal and Mary are both long-distance runners, with all the stamina that requires and then some, but theirs is a race against time. Harrison is 13 going on 14, and as special-ed teacher Carrie Driver notes: “We have four and a half years to get him ready for life and to give him skills that are appropriate for him to be independent.”

• Editor’s note: You can read more at Hal’s blog, Hardscrabble Times (which is updated irregularly), and in his column at Colorado Central.

Crack me up

November 2, 2017

Have you noticed that cats rarely require chiropractic adjustment? Me too.

Bang, pow, zoom: To the moon, O’Grady!

OK, so it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But it wasn’t no honeymoon, neither.

What it was: I test-drove a new chiropractor today and after some exertion on his part (and some unseemly screeching on mine) I am feeling a bit more like myself. A barely upright lesser primate, in other words.

In professional parlance, I am “a mess,” which is no surprise to anyone.

But mess though I may be, at least I have not been caught lying to the press and to Congress. Now that’s a mess.

Whether anyone has the spine to treat this ailment, of course, is another matter entirely.

Don’t forget to put roses on my grave

October 28, 2017

This may be the last rose of the season. But this being Albuquerque, quién sabe?

Some of you may be secretly pleased to learn that after I got all smug about our lovely fall weather I managed to tweak my back just enough to curtail my enjoyment of the extended cycling season.

It’s an old problem that makes an occasional painful comeback, like herpes, malaria or the Republican Party. And it taught me the only thing I really learned in college: When delivering refrigerators for beer money, lift with your legs.

Anyway, from time to time some small movement not involving the relocation of refrigerators triggers a back spasm, and while this one is not as bad as some, it’s bad enough to keep me off the bike this afternoon.

I’m not in my basement room, with a needle and a spoon. But I did munch a little Advil to take my pain away.


Hellth care

July 25, 2017

It’s nearly impossible to live a normal life, or even one like mine, and keep an eye on all the outrages flying out of DeeCee like bats from a belfry.

The main one right now is what the GOP is cynically calling its “health care” legislation. Next to nobody knows exactly what’s in it — or perhaps “them” would be more accurate — or exactly when the Senate is likely to take up the motion to proceed.

But with John McCain saddling up to provide a key “yes” vote (yeah, I know, more Pinto than Maverick), it’s gonna be close.

The Turtle can only lose two of his bots on the motion to proceed, which is the precursor to actual debate on the legislation itself, whatever the hell that might be, and it looks like a few of them are teetering on the ragged edge.

I’d say that if you have the stomach for it, and even if you don’t, phone calls to your senators are in order. This mess needs to die in the waiting room before the GOP can get it into surgery.

Videocy (an ongoing series)

July 18, 2017

Just past the turnoff to Heartbreak Hill, the marquee bit in the Santa Fe Century.

Wrapped another video for Adventure Cyclist yesterday. I was sick of all my usual backdrops, so I went up to Heartbreak Hill off NM 14 and fiddled around a bit there.

Going up (but not very far).

And no, I didn’t ride the Co-Motion Deschutes there, thanks for asking. It would’ve been fun, but we’re talking a hilly 65-mile round trip from El Rancho Pendejo. Herself was serving jury duty, The Boo is very much not interested in being alone for several hours, and I had to edit the video and do the voiceover when I got home.

Also, and too, it rained like a mad bastard here yesterday afternoon, and had I been an actual touring cyclist, instead of merely playing one on TV, I’d probably have gotten caught in it. I hear you’re supposed to suffer for your art, but still, damn.

Speaking of suffering, I see the latest iteration of Trumpcare croaked on the table. Take a moment to cheer, by all means, but let’s remember the advice of kindly Doc Winston Wolf before we get too giddy. As Kevin Drum notes, the main reason the beast died is that it wasn’t tough enough on the poors.

Sticky fingers

June 22, 2017

A rose (grave not included).

The Senate’s Elefinks have released their double-secret “health care” bill, and it’s just about as bad as you might expect.

It boils down to: “Oi! You there! Sickies, crippies, olds and poors! Mind giving us a hand with this yuuuuuge sack of cash? We’re taking it over to the richies! Try not to sneeze or bleed on it, will you?”

The good news is, they won’t forget to put roses on your grave.

Oh, who are we kidding? Of course they’ll forget.

‘This is ridiculous’

March 23, 2017

The pear tree in the back yard has been enjoying regular medical care and looks great.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones is an actual wonk, unlike, say, Paul “Lyin'” Ryan, who only plays one on TV.

Kevin also suffers from multiple myeloma, and thus has made an extensive study of the U.S. health-care system, and the hard way, too. Happily, his employer provides excellent health care.

And so when Kevin writes about health care, I pay close attention. And here’s what he has to say about the House GOP’s latest scheme — surgically removing what the Affordable Care Act deemed “Essential Health Benefits” — to make its destruction of the ACA palatable to the Knuckledraggers Caucus.

This means that a health insurer could literally sell you a policy that didn’t cover doctor visits, hospital visits, ER visits, your children’s health care, or prescription drugs—and still be perfectly legal.

No. 1 on his top-three list of problems with Ryan’s little scheme: “Oh come on. This is ridiculous.” I might have used the word “psychotic,” but you know how I am.

Anyway, if you haven’t been in touch with your congresscritter on this issue, best get busy. This dog is likely to limp to the House floor sometime today.

Power to the pee-pole!

May 1, 2016

RFD-BugI was casting around this morning for some appropriate socialist content to post on International Workers Day, but May Day 2016 seems light on revolutionary news.

So instead, here’s the latest edition of Radio Free Dogpatch, in which the proletariat (portrayed by Mister Boo) is oppressed by his bladder.

And remember, kids: When you’re smashing the State, don’t forget to keep a smile on your lips, a song in your heart, and a mop within reach.

Useful links

• Manzano Animal Clinic, which did the surgery.

• The New Orleans Jazz Festival, which did not.

• Elvis Costello. This Elvis has mos def not left the building.

• Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Good God, are they still at it?

• Recipes: None worth mentioning this week. Whenever Herself hits the road, I generally give myself a break from semi-elaborate cookery.


Boo hoo

April 27, 2016

Oh, lawd, the old tee-hees are proving elusive these days around El Rancho Pendejo.

Mister Boo’s post-surgical recuperation from bladder surgery last Wednesday has been both messier and noisier than I anticipated, and it has not helped that Herself has pissed off to New Orleans for a week on a work junket that just happens to occur in the middle of Jazz Fest.

The Big Easy, this place she is not, cher. Les bon temps, they do not rouler.

There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. This morning The Boo took the last of his antibiotics and pain meds, and tomorrow the Cone of Shame comes off. The peeing and pooping is occurring mostly outdoors, which is nice. But I laid in another 50-pack of Boots & Barkley extra-large training pads anyway, just in case the flood returns to Katrinaesque proportions.

Well, I wish I was in New Orleans … I can see it in my dreams. …

The mayor of Cell Block O

April 21, 2016
I am not an animal! Oh, wait, I am! Never mind. ...

I am not an animal! Oh, wait, I am! Never mind. …

Welcome to Little Gitmo.

Mister Boo has had surgery to remove a bladder stone, his second trip down this surgical path, and the stone was apparently so rara an avis that the medicos have shipped it off to a university for further study.

Perhaps through their labors Boos of the future will not suffer from this malady, and the subsequent isolation it requires.

I’ve tried consoling him by noting that he, unlike Prince, is at least on the proper side of the lawn. But The Boo was never much of a “Purple Rain” kind of guy. Right now he’s happy to be making yellow rain.