I’m so Glad the year past is over.


This has been a year filled with upheaval.

This is the year I took a really good look around me at wider society and realized that, though I was considered a flaming liberal in my younger years, I am now – without having changed many fundamental views at all – considered a conservative, a racist, a white nationalist, homophobe, transphobic, Islamophobe, alt right, …. whatever else people on the other end of the spectrum think is a pejorative.

So let’s look at a few of these.  First:  racist.  Since thanks to my mother I have some NA in me (not enough for a quantum, but the point is it’s there), and my mother was married to a NA, I’m pretty sure we can ditch this right now.  But let’s go further – my family also has some Jewish ancestry thanks to a torrid love story that ended with a Catholic marriage, only to be followed some years later by a Catholic excommunication and a splitting of the family into Protestant and Catholic camps.  I have never put down any race for anything.  I do recognize there are widely differing cultural elements in different peoples, some of which I admire and some of which I find abhorrent – including in my own cultural group, Midwest white lower middle class.  I’m pretty sure that makes me observant, not racist.

Conservative.  Funny how time works.  This may be the only thing where my views have evolved, largely because I went into the work force and actually had to provide for myself and my children.  I used to be very much like the California style liberals – medical care is a human right, food is a human right, water is a human right, sewer service is a human right, housing is a human right.  Well, not so much.  Because taxes are a thing.  And because there are FAR too many moochers out there.

Now I feel differently in a few ways:

1.    First, clean water. Well, having water that isn’t going to kill you is a good thing to have.  And that has been largely taken care of across our country via sanitation systems which include water treatment plants.  The thing is, our taxes only pay a portion of that.  You as a consumer still need to have some skin in the game and pay a service fee.  The idea behind that being that a portion of the service fees don’t go to pay for anything now, but go into a fund for future needs for the community.  Yes, I realize that has not happened in many cases.  But we’re not talking about how it is (in places like Flint for example) we’re talking about how it should be (and mostly works, in places like Missoula for example).  If you don’t pay your fees, your water will be shut off, eventually.  This is not difficult to understand, one would think.  But though assistance plans are available, and though people are informed on ways to conserve water, they continue to waste prodigious amounts of water and to default and, instead of taking responsibility for their non payment, they scream about water being a human right when what they *actually* mean is that CLEAN water, treated by the cities they live in, should be available to them for free regardless of the actual cost of providing said water.  And regardless of the agreements they signed when they hooked up to the city water service.

2.    Sewer.  This operates on much the same principle as clean water does.  The ability to wash your dishes, your body, your clothing, your floors, and use a toilet to flush your waste, and have all that effluent simply run down a drain for someone else to handle is an AMAZING thing.  We happen to have a septic system, but we have lived in cities as well.  This is an expensive service to provide, mainly because the risks to the population if not done correctly are huge, and the liability involved is also huge.  I don’t know if you are aware, but workers are at huge risk of getting Hepatitis C – for instance – from raw sewage.  It’s a nasty, dirty job, and the pay needs to be very good to compensate those who are willing to get the education and training to keep the rest of us safe.  It’s not in fact a human right.  It’s a privilege of living in modern society.  Yes, I’m aware that there have been night soil workers in the past.  But it was still very primitive and people often got sick due to the primitive nature of the system and the fact that raw sewage was often dumped directly into the river system from which people got their water.

The U.N. says the right to clean water and sewage is a human right.   They do not however provide any funding to assure said rights, and their declarations have no force of law.  So, until they pony up the money to all those people in Detroit and elsewhere to pay their bills and keep them in clean water and sewage, I will continue to ignore the U.N.  It’s quite easy to pontificate on a subject about which you have no financial responsibility.

For both of these essential services I was blissfully ignorant of the science and technology involved. When I was small I never considered it, and when I was of the age to begin considering it, we had a well and a septic system so it remained a relative non issue.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned how it all works.  That’s when I realized how very expensive it is to provide water and sewer service, and how important the payments are in providing – and continuing to provide – these services.

3.  Medical care.  This one is a hot button for many people, me included.  I think we as a society have a responsibility to provide basic medical services to CHILDREN.  If we take care of our children, they will grow up to be as healthy as they can be, and are more likely to become productive citizens if they are as healthy as they can be.  Getting regular visits to catch things like a lazy eye, or hip dysplasia, early, will prevent complications and permanent disability later.

For adults….not so much.  People who do not have to pay anything for their medical care are much more likely to over use the system by increasing ER visits than those who either have commercial insurance or are on Medicare, or no insurance at all.  Some patients cite the copays they must pay at their primary care office as a reason for going to the ER, because they don’t have one if they go there.  Here is the original study abstract if you’d like to read it, the one that confirms what every EMS and ER worker already knew.

This is a huge issue.  If people have no financial skin in the game they have no financial incentive – or any other incentive, really, to follow medical provider advice or instructions, no matter how carefully the provider tries to involve them in their care plan.  They will consistently take the easiest, and the cheapest, way out.  Which in America involves the ER, because they don’t have to pay.

Oh, you say, but people on Medicaid are sicker….?  And….let’s go back to the statement about having financial skin in the game.  In AZ for instance, there is a $4 copay for office visits.  Almost ZERO patients pay this, because they know they don’t have to.  They also don’t have to pay the copay for their medications.  If a provider writes a prescription for Tylenol, Medicaid (AHCCCS in AZ) pays for it.  But there’s a price attached for the rest of us, the taxpayers, a very heavy price.  Generic tylenol costs about $2.99 for a bottle.  If you pay cash.  If the taxpayers pay for it, the cost goes up to approximately $34.99 per bottle.

When I worked in the ER mothers would bring their children in for a cold, nothing more.  When Tylenol was recommended, they would insist on a prescription.  Why?  Because they don’t have to pay for it.  Many of these same patients have *very* expensive gold jewelry, the newest iPhone, designer purses, and perfect manicures.  Yes, some of these patients *are* sicker.  However in many cases it’s because they refuse to listen to advice to exercise, lose weight, and eat a healthier diet.  That involves effort, and most are not willing to invest effort if there is a free option such as a pill.  Even though a type II diabetic will likely end up in renal failure or losing extremities to amputation, most will continue to take metformin over making real changes to their health.  And all the new medications developed?  They are there because patients just won’t do what they need to do to take charge of their health.  It’s just too hard to change.  And there’s no financial incentive to do so, because they don’t bear the cost of their health care.  We do, the working taxpayers.  Even their transportation to and from medical appointments is free for them, courtesy of the taxpayer, here in AZ.

There is no cost involved in walking around the mall for a morning, if it’s too hot or cold outside, and there is no cost involved in walking around your neighborhood if it’s safe enough.  There is no cost, when you have food stamps, in choosing healthier foods and fewer foods that come out of a box.  And please don’t give me the BS line about they can’t afford it.  I was on food stamps when I first divorced my ex-husband.  I did not need to feed my children crap.  I fed them mostly from the produce aisle just as I always had.  Rice, beans – from the produce aisle.  Tofu – from the produce aisle.  Veggies and fruits – same.  My crockpot was, and is, my friend.  So is my pressure cooker.

I think the copays must be enforced.  I think everyone should have some financial skin in the game, whatever their income.  I think people need to be held accountable for their health decisions.  How?  I don’t know, other than financial accountability.

Homophobe.  Nope, never have been.  Don’t want to be homosexual, am not homosexual, not wired that way, but could care less if they want to get married.  Go ahead, be my guest.  The political ramifications of homosexuality in our modern society however….*F* that to be blunt.  If you’re gay and you want a wedding cake, then don’t sue the Christian baker who doesn’t want to make it for you.  Go to a baker who doesn’t give a shit.  Ferchrissakes,  buy a clue already.  All you’re doing is creating an even more hostile environment for yourselves where you’re going to be less safe and more likely to be the target of hostilities in the long run.  And you’re giving nut ball extremists Christians fuel for their Satanic agenda fantasies.  As to access to medical care, I really don’t care if you’re gay or straight, bi or a sexual.  If your sexual behavior makes you more at risk for certain things then that’s something we need to discuss, but other than that I honestly don’t care.  Your sex life is your business.

Transphobe.  Nope, see homophobe above.  I think they are seriously mentally ill, but I also recognize that population genetics plays out on a much larger scale than many realize.  I had a neighbor for 2 years who was transgender male to female.  In that time I went from being sympathetic to pretty well fed up.  No, you are not a special snowflake.  No, your needs and wants do not trump mine.  No, you are not entitled to special treatment.  No, you do not deserve to get angry when people mistake you for a cross dressing man because you won’t get the laser treatments for your face, and you refuse to work on the feminine voice and physical behaviors.  And most importantly, the world does not revolve around transgender issues, and not everything is related to transgender issues.

Islamophobe.  Nope.  Although I do have to say that the Golden Age of Islam was the product of Shia Islam, not Sunni.  Shia valued ancient knowledge, both spiritual and practical, and were the keepers of this knowledge and in fact kept it alive by employing the peoples from the areas they conquered in teaching *them* this knowledge.  They are the mystics of the religion of Islam.  All of the radical Muslims in the world arise from Sunni Islam.  Wahabists, ISIL, Daesh….all of them.  They are now, and have from the start, persecuted the Shia.  Their goal was, is, and shall always be, to wipe them from the face of the earth.  Along with the rest of us who just won’t bend over and convert.

White nationalist.  Nope.  Please refer back to racist, and to islamophobe, and conservative.  I care that two of my ancestral homelands on my mother’s side, Germany and France, have been turned into cesspools of terror and violence, and the countries are becoming unrecognizable as their unique identities they cultivated over thousands of years are being systematically destroyed.  I care that my grandparents’ homeland, Ireland, is suffering the same fate.  I care about preserving the cultures that I came from, about preserving the peoples that I came from, about making sure they continue to exist in the future, not becoming subsumed in the current hyper saturation of incoming (invading?) cultures that have no interest in assimilating whatsoever.  I care that Sweden, my sons’ ancestral homeland via their great grandparents, has been turned into something completely unrecognizable.  I don’t want to see the cultures and countries that produced my ancestors disappear completely, to become something unrecognizable as what they have been.

Alt-right.  Still not quite sure what this is supposed to mean, even though I’ve read up on it.  If it means I think people should take responsibility for their actions, to work for their stuff, to be good citizens, to fight corruption by getting involved in a responsible way, to raise their children to be the same, then I guess I am.  Nazi?  Meh.  Hitler had some crazy ass ideas.  He also had some good common sense ideas.  Like anyone else.  The too bad part is that the crazy ass ideas were so awful we can never explore the good ones, simply because he thought of them.

And BTW.  Calling me any or all of these epithets will get you …. exactly nowhere.  Because the power of these has been expended in the last year.  I rather suspect I represent the backbone of America now, more or less.

The saddest part?  Without changing most of my political viewpoints, I have gone from being a liberal in my youth to being called all of these things in my middle age.  Because they political spectrum has shifted THAT FAR in 30 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’ — Egyptian Streets


Ooh, I am so of two minds about this….one, that’s kind of draconian.  Two, well…we KNOW obesity is unhealthy.  These women *are* role models due to their positions on national TV, and have huge influence over their viewers.  Keeping them at a healthy weight encourages viewers to maintain a healthy weight also, ESPECIALLY in light of the publicity over this issue.

Notice I didn’t say “model weight.”  I said “healthy weight.” Models today are no healthier than the obese, if your body fat content is so low that you aren’t menstruating on a regular basis you are TOO THIN.  Osteoporosis awaits you my friend, among other things.

Yes, I know I’m going to be accused of fat shaming or being racist or something.  Frankly, I DON’T CARE.  Obesity kills.  Period.  It limits your life.  Period.  You may not like facts but they are facts nonetheless.

Photo: Al-Ahram The head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) Safaa Hegazy issued a decision on Tuesday preventing eight women anchors from appearing on screen, pending the implementation of a mandatory diet to achieve an “appropriate appearance.” According to Aswat Masreya, SHegazy also issued instructions to the women anchors in the TV sector…

via Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’ — Egyptian Streets

Hospitality violation


My neighbor, whom I’ve written about before Here.  Came over today to buy some eggs.  Three dozen eggs.  She paid cash for them.

Now, I’m never really happy to see her, she wore out her welcome a while ago by constantly begging for food when she was here.  That finally stopped when we started telling her “No, we need that for lunch at work.”  Well mostly stopped.

Let me give you some more history and background.

She was discharged from her own medical practitioner last year because of drug shopping.  She came to me to gripe about it, and I told her they have that right.  She is the one who agreed to the terms when she began going there, she has no one to blame but herself.  She then tried to say she has the right to get a second opinion and I agreed with her, but told her she is the one who signed the contract, she maybe should have read it a little more closely before deciding to get a second opinion AND filling a narcotic script from the other practitioner.

She has no job, no visible means of support, yet she gets tattoos regularly – she is covered from neck to feet.  She says people just give them to her, my husband says she is trading sex for them (which might actually be true).  She worked for many years as a stripper.

She has tried to tell me for a year that there is something wrong with her thyroid (there’s not, I saw the tests myself), that there’s something wrong with her sinuses (she saw a specialist who told her there’s nothing wrong), that there’s something wrong with her heart (there’s not, she had an angiogram but before that for months her excuse for lying in bed all day was chest pain), that she has anxiety and insomnia (but when asked how much she sleeps she says about 12-15 hours per day), that she can’t lose weight and feels tired all the time (yes you probably do, you sleep too much and you don’t exercise – and you’re nearly 50!).  There’s a word for this:  malingerer.

She says she can’t get a job (well probably not, your top lip is pierced twice and your bottom lip once, your head is partially shaved and neon red where the hair is actually growing, and your tatted from neck to toes).  This is rural Arizona.  That crap is seriously frowned on.

Today was the final straw.   Nearly every time she comes over here she tries to use me as a free second opinion.  Today she asked me about doxepin.  And tried to tell me she’s going to try to get on Adderall.  Which is legal meth.  I lost it.  I told her flat out that I’ve known her for a year and she does NOT have ADD.  Or ADHD.  She said that yes she does, she took a test and it said she probably does (one of these on line self tests mind you).  Now seriously.  Think about the previous two paragraphs, what I’ve said about her, and tell me if that looks like ADD/ADHD to you.  She’s spent the last year bitching about her heart, her metabolism, her fatigue, her sinuses and NOT ONCE about anything remotely compatible with ADD.  Other than the changing focus on different body parts when they are proven to be just fine, mind you.

I actually began yelling at her.  “Bull $h!T!!  Bull $h!T!!  No you do not! You F*ing do not!  I’ve known you for a year, you do NOT have ADD!  You took a F*ing self test, they’re very easily manipulated to get the results you want!  You just want F*ing legal meth!”  I basically threw her out of the house.  I actually told her right before I shut the door in her face that she just wants it to sell it.  Which is probably a huge hospitality violation.  But really.  Does coming over and bouncing a bogus diagnosis of ADD/ADHD off your practitioner neighbor when you’re purportedly there to buy eggs really count as visiting?

I seriously think she wants the meth so she can sell it – there are several people here in the community who were getting it from the previous physician (who has since gone on to more lucrative pastures) and were selling it as well as using it.  I know there’s a market.  And I know who was selling it.  And she can’t get a job, so the logical thing would be to fake an illness in order to get a controlled substance for sales purposes.

Man I get sick of the people who are bleeding the system dry.  I work 6 days per week, and I have insurance that I can’t use because the deductible is $6500.  My husband doesn’t even have insurance, we can’t afford it.  I’ve been to the doctor maybe once for an actual physical since we’ve been together (nearly 20 years) and twice for employment related physicals, and maybe 3 times for urgent care type issues.  He’s been to the doctor three times  for a physical (all employment related) and once to the emergency room for an allergic reaction.

Our neighbor goes to the doctor, courtesy of the taxpayer, at least once a month!  And gets very expensive medications prescribed, for which she pays nothing, courtesy of the taxpayer!  And then proceeds to refuse to take them.  And there’s no reason she can’t work other than the fact that she deliberately makes herself unemployable!  These are the people who are breaking the system, not the hard working poor people who really do need a little help.  And believe me, I live in a very low income community.  I know which of my neighbors work and which are milking the system.  For all the good it does.

I actually do not have words for the amount of anger I am feeling right now.  And a little shame that I let her get to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gene splitting. Or something.


So.  Have been in a sort of an argument with the writer of a Folkish Asatru blog.  I think I quite upset him by saying that I don’t think you have to be white to worship the N. European Gods.  And that I would rather raise a horn with an honorable Black Man ™ than with a white guy without honor and full of hypocrisy.  Which was not aimed at him, but at the Fearless Leader of HUAR.

I also said that in America, given our history, it’s quite likely that said Black Man ™ has more than a dollop of N. European ancestry in him.  So if he wants to worship Odin, or Freyja, or whoever, I’m not going to question him on it.  Because I am an actual polytheist.  I believe the Gods have agency.  And agendas.  And they choose who they choose.  They call who they call.  I’m sure many have been called, but few answer. ETA  I do think the call is a LOT easier to hear if you share the same ancestry with the Gods, and a LOT easier to answer.  Those who do, though, have been bestowed a GREAT gift, in my opinion, by those Gods.

Said writer said I am right, that he and other folkish heathens have no desire to limit people from worshipping the N. European Gods, that said folkish heathens simply have no desire to worship with said Black Man(tm) – mind, he did not say those exact words.  But that was the gist of it.  He also said he would not worship with me (gist again).  Because of what I said. But I find it interesting that he never said he wouldn’t worship with a white guy without honor, which was the point of my response in the first place.

Which leads me to ask:  is the color of one’s skin more important than their deeds?  How white do you have to be to be in his tribe?  Is looking white enough, or do you have to produce a pedigree?  How about a cheek swab?  What if you have a wop in the wood pile, as my father in law likes to say?  Does that exclude you?

ETA after reading Stormwise’s comment.  I think I should clarify: I DO think many of those who *appear* to be without Scandinavian/Germanic heritage do in fact have it. I DO think those of those who “look” of another race are hearing the call inherent in their genes, especially here in America. And I DO think an understanding of the history, lore, culture, and values are an important part of the religion. You can’t have orthopraxy without some understanding and “buy-in.”  You certainly can’t have orthodoxy without it! Dogma….another thing entirely.

And what if you’re 100% lily white, Swedish and German in heritage, with grandparents who emigrated and homesteaded here, but you are also a narrow minded jackass who can’t be trusted not to beat his woman and his children, and cheats on his wife?  (I know this person personally)  What if this guy is a straight up racist jackass who calls Mexicans ‘beaners’ and African Americans ‘niggers’  and tries to teach his kids to do the same?  Is this guy OK because of his heritage, even though he behaves without honor?  And if I say that I care more about the deeds of someone, about how they treat themselves and their families and their neighbors and their bodies, and how well they keep their word, than I do about the color of their skin, that makes me not OK to worship with?

Puttin’ it out right here:  I am NOT universalist.  I do NOT believe Asatru is for everyone, any more than Druidism is for everyone.  Or Zoroastrianism is for everyone.  Or Yoruba.  I think we all can agree what universalist religions have gotten us….a couple thousand years of massacres of native peoples because their God is so greedy for ALL the worshippers he orders his followers to kill those who don’t want to worship Him.

Do I think there are cultural differences that sometimes simply cannot be surmounted?  Oh, of course, without a doubt!  And that’s an important factor in a religion like Asatru, where ancestry – and culture, and values, and mores – play such a huge role.  For instance:  Voudun.  I respect the hell out of it.  Believe in the reality of the Gods they worship as much as I believe in my own.  But that religion is not mine, I don’t understand much of the culture, those Gods don’t speak to me, because it’s not for me, I’m not from those people and I know it.

I DO believe in the science that supports genetic expression and epigenetics, and I believe in spiritual inheritance from our ancestors.   Hel, I even believe in genetic memory, I’ve experienced enough times of knowing something I just really shouldn’t know to prevent me from dismissing that out of hand.  I DO believe in the importance of honor.  And honoring one’s ancestors.  And doing what you say you will do.  And being a responsible member of one’s community.  But apparently just saying that I place so much value on the values of our ancestors, means I am not welcome in some Asatru circles, because I would not exclude someone who met the standards of those values, based on the color of his skin.  And I certainly don’t want to go back to the times, not that long ago, when someone had to “pass” as white in order to gain acceptance in society at large.

When I was a child we moved 18 times in 11 years.  I always felt different, uncomfortable, like I didn’t quite belong.  Every time I would finally feel like I understood what my place was, or could be, we moved again.  I was a quiet kid who felt more comfortable in the woods, making a camp, or being in a tree with a book, than with other kids my own age.  I spent my childhood soaked in the fairy tales of Europe in every iteration I could find.  Between the moves and the family, I spent a lot of time watching tribalistic behavior, watching cliques develop and break down, figuring out who would stand by their word and who would not.  I learned to see the true value of people based on their deeds, not their status. And I sure as hell learned to read their bodies and their eyes!  So perhaps I place a lot more value on quietly DOING the right thing than being the LOOK of the right thing as a result.  I don’t make friends easily.  I have a lot of friendly acquaintances, very few friends.  I don’t give friendship lightly.  The ideas of Inner and Outer yard are innate to me.  I grew up with them.

It’s funny but the older I get, the more value those same sorts of people who would have never considered me as friend when I was young, now find that appearances can be deceiving and that deeds actually do matter.  I find myself part of a tribe of people who all happen to value those same virtues.

Ironically, it is my understanding that some of the most vociferous opponents of Americans worshipping the Old Gods come from …. Norway.  And Denmark.  Because American peoples’ ancestors left the Old Country and left their rights to worship the Old Gods there when they left.  And BTW we’re not Norse enough 🙂

 

 

 

Heathens.


Just read a post on a FB page by someone who considers themselves both a Thelemite and a heathen.

So if you have UPG (unverified personal gnosis) you should keep it to yourself or expect to be kicked in the ass by higher heathens who know more of the lore.

WTF ever.

Do they really think our ancestors didn’t have UPG that they shared (or not) as they were told they could (or could not)?  Do they really think THE LORE (TM) is a static bunch of verses written down in the medieval era that sprang, perfectly formed, from the Gods themselves?  Cuz it sure as hell was SOMEONE’S UPG once.

I AM a heathen because of my UPG.  If you want to know why I am, you HAVE to know that.  So should I shut up about it and say Nunyabidness when asked how I am come to this faith?  Or, because I’m new to the actual practice of heathenry – but not new in any way to the Germanic Gods (or a lot of Pagan Gods actually).  So 20 years of practice in the Pagan faith means nothing because I’m not a 20 year heathen?  OK.  Again, WTF ever.  Believe me, the self examination, the moral preconceptions examined and discarded, the self discipline honed over 20 years of belief has only made it easier for me.  I don’t have any Christian notions to scrap – I did it a long time ago.  Which I notice has not happened for a lot of these self proclaimed ‘elders.’

I’ve had talks with Stephen McNallen about esoteric stuff (ETA over the space of a few days at a gathering, not like he’s my friend or anything).  He of all people should be arrogant, close-minded about the Lore and UPG – but he’s not.  He isn’t standing up telling people YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.  He WORSHIPS THE GODS and devotes himself to them.  He doesn’t waste his time posting things like above self appointed heathen police.

Now there is a time and a place, that I don’t disagree with.  But.  It’s not for you to determine validity.  Except as it seems to be in character with a given Divine person.

And I SOMEWHAT agree that you should be very afraid if the Gods have placed their eyes on you.  ESPECIALLY if that God is Odin.  But.  Still doesn’t mean every experience with every God is necessarily bad, or going to tear up your world, or that you’ll die a horrible death (or live a horrible life).

ETA I suppose this could be taken as whiny.  In reality it is frustration.  I really think those kinds of heathens have a real NEED for dogma, and they’ve simply switched out Catholic or Christian type dogma/religion for heathen lore/reconstruction.

What is it about heathenry that attracts arrogant assholes?

 

New Year, Big Changes


So.  Working in my own community has been a dream of mine since I still worked for the local fire department.  Yes, I worked for my community, but I wanted something more.  Then I hurt my back on the job and re-evaluated my entire career choice.  I went back to school, then went back for more, then went back for my master’s degree.  And got my national certification.  And started working.  In my own community.

Well, the lesson was Be Careful What You Wish For.  My boss literally hated his business and all of the people working for him.  When I started there he was on the verge of both business and personal bankruptcy.  He hired someone I’ve known for years to be office manager/biller and then we hired someone who has extensive (30+ years) experience in the medical field for the front desk/referrals.  We brought in friends and spouses and we spent our weekends there, unpaid, working to make the office presentable.  We cleaned carpets, washed walls and windows, scrubbed floors.  We brought in our own cleaning supplies because he wouldn’t furnish them.  I brought in my own furniture to make the waiting room more pleasant and less like a bus station.

We turned the practice around.  When I started there it was losing about $15,o00 per month (estimate).  Every month since I’ve been there we’ve made at least enough money to pay the bills, and every month since September we’ve made a profit.  A small one, but a profit nonetheless.  In December we made nearly double what is needed to break even.  We brought people back into the practice that had left years ago due to bad management.  We were nice to the patients.  We knew many of them because we too live here.  And they knew us.

But he lied to us the whole time.  He wouldn’t even buy supplies needed to see patients, the doctor bought our supplies out of his own pocket.  He sold the business out from under us – the doctor and I were working on a deal to purchase it – to someone else with cash in hand and a slick line.

And the new owner let all of us go.  He bought the practice on a Tuesday night, and we were all fired by Wednesday at 130pm.  He said he didn’t need us, he was bringing in his own staff.  The irony of this is that if he had seen the practice when I came on board, or when the office manager came on board, he NEVER would have looked twice.  We made it work.  And for that we are out of jobs.

The new owner is from the East Coast, New York or New Jersey, and he doesn’t understand how word travels.  He’s a physician’s assistant, and he needs a doctor at the office to be able to work – the doctor is the only one who didn’t get fired.  But he doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t like how he works.  Which is very slowly.  Because, while he wants to make a living, he’s not in this to get rich.  Which is why he is still here in this community – the patients know that.  And they are loyal to him.

I don’t think this new owner understands small town politics.  At all.  The patients who were coming to see me were coming to me, for the most part, because they wanted to see ME.  Not just anyone.  I’m not a number to them, I’m their neighbor.  The office manager is as well, and so is the front desk person he let go.  And by firing us, by assuming that people would just see him instead and just have to deal with his new office staff, I think he has badly miscalculated.  We are not interchangeable.  If the phone calls I’m getting are any indicator, I think the physician’s assistant owner may be in for a nasty surprise in the financial department.

You see, common sense doesn’t mean what most people think it does.  Common sense is what the peasants have – hard won experience based on the realities of struggling for a living day to day.  It isn’t common, and it’s not something wealthy people have in any degree whatsoever, because they lose it as they get more out of touch with every day realities.  And this guy has no common sense.  He sees dollar signs instead of patients.  I see my neighbors.

Questions


I truly believe in the rites of hospitality.  It’s not something that is new or as a result of my spiritual leanings.  It’s something I grew up with.

I need some help here though.

We have a neighbor who has a mouth like a sailor.  I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that she cannot speak a single sentence without using the F bomb at least once.  Usually more than once.  Now, I used to be a firefighter and I can assure you my potty mouth occasionally asserts itself, so it’s not as though I’m too sensitive for foul language.  But this is far and away more than I’ve ever heard out of one person’s mouth in a sitting.

And it isn’t even just that she uses so much foul language.  It’s that she TALKS. NON. STOP.  Like if there’s a natural break in the conversation she has to fill the perceived void.  With anything.  It’s exhausting.  I’m a quiet person by nature and while I can talk up a storm and be as irrelevant as the next person, this is more than I’m used to dealing with.

She keeps hinting that she wants to move in.  She is room mates with the person next door and doesn’t get along with her room mate.  Yes, we have a guest room but I’m not willing to let her move in.  Not for any price.  No, I don’t want you to do my laundry.  No, I don’t want you to weed my yard.  No, I don’t want you to do *fillintheblank* you can’t move in.  It’s a guest room.  For guests.  And family.  Not a spare room we’re dying to rent out.

She comes over when we’re eating and asks if she can have some.  Not just sometimes, but pretty regularly.  Now, I’m happy to share but having people show up unannounced and ask to share our food just seems kind of pushing the bounds to me, especially since we’re financially strapped right now.

She doesn’t seem to understand the concept of boundaries.  She just marches into the bathroom when I’m in there doing my makeup.  She came into our house once when we were in the shower (we have a big master bathroom and we usually shower together on days we have the same schedule) and CAME INTO THE BATHROOM TO ASK WHAT WE WERE DOING.  Seriously.

We are having company this weekend and I really don’t want her over.  I want to be able to enjoy our time with our other friends without having to deal with this.

I like her, I do, really.  But I”m kind of at my wits end and I’m starting to get a little rude because I feel so stressed.  Any ideas on how to handle this?????

Just hanging there…


ATU12That would be me, currently.  Just hanging there.  Waiting for a decision.

Time is running out, I have been in this limbo for six months now.  I need a decision soon.  Events have conspired to force a decision.  Hopefully it’s a positive one, or at least a neutral one.  Anyone who feels motivated, please light a candle/say a prayer/send energy to the Universe.  Closure is hopefully coming soon.

Population medicine


Obamacare treats not for the patient in particular, but for the patient on average, globally, or in the abstract

This isn’t a problem specific to the ACA; it’s endemic in national health systems all over the world, all of which are more or less in the thrall of pharmaceutical companies who control and produce most of the research that determines population medicine.

The problem with the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring research however is twofold:  1, they control who gets into the study and define the outliers; and 2, most of these studies are not appropriate for population generalizations because they are small in size or short in length.  Oh, and I guess this makes it threefold:  any results that are not favorable to their drug will never see the light of day.

Now controlling who gets into the study is related to the outliers in that, if in the pretrial part of the study, people who have adverse reactions right away will be eliminated from the study.  So people who might give a truer picture of the drug’s ill effects will have been eliminated right off the bat.  And outliers are defined as people who have reactions that are supposedly really rare and do not give a true picture of the overall study results.  For instance, take Celebrex.  It’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in the same class as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.  Pfizer, the manufacturer, said its drug was better than those others because it didn’t hurt the stomach.  Well, as it turns out, that was not the case at all.  The reason they were able to claim that is because, if you read the link above, you will find that they only released the first six months of a year’s worth of data.  Most of the stomach problems developed in the second half of the study; because of this they were able to deceive regulators, medical providers, and the public at large into believing this drug was safer.  They altered the study’s parameters to hide crucial data related to side effects, and they explained “poor results as the result of ‘statistical glitches.'”  ***statistical glitches is researcher speak for outlier***

Perhaps the worst offender in this is Merck.  Their drug, Vioxx was taken off the market because of the substantially increased risk of a heart attack while taking it.  This was defined as an outlier in their results – which means they knew there was an increased risk before this drug ever went on the market.  Yet they chose to define a statistically increased risk as an outlier, dump all the data related to the people who had had a heart attack during the course of the study, and publish results that were very positive toward their drug.  Of course, they also paid for a study to be published that was favorable to their product without disclosing their financial relationship and were subsequently sued.  Multiple times, in multiple countries.

Regarding study length:  In the case of Celebrex, they released results related to only six months of what ended up being a six year long study.  How can one make a decision about a medication’s safety or efficacy when the study hasn’t even been completed?  Where are the critical thinking skills for those who are in charge of approving a drug?  Where are the critical thinking skills for those prescribing the drug?  The public doesn’t have the general ability to decide if a study is good or not, they rely on the government to determine a drug’s safety and effectiveness, and they rely on their providers to prescribe drugs that have benefits that outweigh the risks.  They are being seriously failed on both accounts.

Unfavorable results are related to both of the above drugs.  Data that showed there was substantial risk for certain groups of people in both cases was simply hidden.  In many cases, studies are never published at all – their data is simply buried and never sees the light of day.

So why is any of this relevant?  Well, guidelines are created based on the cumulative results of published studies.  And guidelines are what are forced on providers in order to make sure they are adhering to the standard of care.  Standards of care are based on population medicine, not on individual people.  They don’t allow for individual preferences, variability in response to a drug, differences in financial circumstances or lifestyles, religious prohibitions, or any other individual determinants of a person’s ability (or desire) to adhere to a given regimen.

If we can’t rely on the results of studies, we can’t rely on guidelines that are created from them.  And this is a big problem when reimbursement, and even licensing is predicated on adhering to guidelines.  In a local to me case, an Arizona cardiologist is under investigation because he advocates non-guideline based recommendations for his patients.  This is a huge problem.  If a physician can’t read research and make decisions for his practice, but is expected to blindly follow guidelines or face having his license revoked, how can one trust one’s medical provider that they are doing the right thing for you, the patient?

In an even more insidious fashion, the powers that be (government in collusion with the pharmaceutical and insurance companies) are requiring (here in the States anyway) that a provider have an NPI.  That’s a national provider number.  And it has to be printed on all prescriptions or the pharmacist will not be required to fill them.  So what?  Well, if you don’t follow the guidelines, and you don’t accept the insurances the government wants you to — because you prefer to offer your patients advice that you feel is healthier and safer for them as an individual — you can have your provider number yanked even if your license is not revoked.  Either way you can’t fully care for patients and are out of business.  I wish I had links for you for this one, but I don’t.  I don’t even remember where I read this, but trust me when I say this is indeed going on.

Population medicine.  Peak medicine.  Grasping for financial straws.  And you, and I, the little people suffer.