Showing 1 - 10 of 48 posts found matching keyword: illness

It's that time of year again: time for the health insurance scramble!

I haven't spent so much as a penny against my health insurance in the past year, so of course they are increasing my monthly premium by 28%. Thankfully, I only get older one year at a time. At this rate, I'll be paying $2500/mo when I turn 50. It's getting too expensive to live!

The good news is that America's Greatest President followed through on his campaign promise to make my health insurance much more affordable by allowing me to have no health insurance at all. What a great guy. He really cares!

I went on healthcare.gov to see what my options were, but the site doesn't work in Google Chrome because of Chrome's new, extra-strict security rules. Apparently, Google thinks the federal government's approach to health care for its citizens is just another scam. I'm pretty sure they're right.

I shouldn't complain too much. They tell me my current plan is pretty good, and for the first time in 3 years, it isn't being discontinued out from underneath me. So I'll probably pay the extra premium and stick with it for another year. No matter what Our Fearless Leader thinks, $200 more a month still seems a better option than letting my insides rot out.

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Almost everyone reading this already knows that in April 2014, my father moved to Fountain, Florida. What you may not know is that Fountain is only 37 miles due north of Mexico Beach, the town Hurricane Michael wiped off the map this past Wednesday.

Through a series of unexpected coincidences, Dad wasn't at home when the hurricane hit, which is good. (He has temporarily relocated to Heard County, Georgia for... other reasons.) Also good is the news that although trees fell everywhere around, including on his barn, the house emerged unscathed! Even his whole herd of cattle survived.

That's even more amazing considering that this news came from my father's friend who lives not 10 miles to the west. His friend's house was all but completely blown apart and submerged under water. (Fortunately, his friend was also out of town on business planned before and completely coincidental to the arrival of Michael.)

Both properties are without power and are expected to be so for another month. And while Father has offered his house to his friend, travel between the two will be quite the hike until Bay County can get around to clearing the roads of fallen trees, which might take considerably more than a month.

Anyway, the point of this story is that everyone is alive, and one day we'll all look back and laugh about it. Assuming that Dad's friend can find clean water and get gas to keep his generator running, and assuming that Dad ever gets over the fever he hasn't treated for the past two weeks because his doctor is unreachable.... Did I mention that the livestock seem fine?

UPDATE: I wrote this post on the 12th. On the 13th, Dad finally decided he'd had enough and visited the ER in Newnan where he was diagnosed with abscessed diverticulitis. That's bad. The hospital docs will determine on the 15th how well the abscess is responding to a heavy dose of antibiotics. Otherwise, there may be emergency surgery in Dad's near future. Freaking hurricane.

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This is libel. They've both actually been very sweet and patient with me.

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While most of Georgia spent the past 24 hours stuck indoors looking at snow — not that they have a choice here in Coweta County as Newnan has declared a mandatory curfew — I've been stuck indoors in a bed. For the third time in 10 months, I'm sick.

No, seriously, who simultaneously uses an icebag and drinks hot water?
Why does my phone come with the ability to take this photo pre-installed? Who needs this?

I haven't seen a doctor, but my symptoms are consistent with the flu. You know, that thing that's been killing people this year. Which is not to say that I think I'm going to die. I won't. (At least not right now. Not from this.)

I can't remember being sick three times in a year since my senior year in high school. In that case, I wasn't even sick, just using new excuses to play hooky. I spent "Senior Skip Day" as the only person in most of my classes because I'd already missed 30 days on the year. Poor Mr. Smith didn't know what to do with me, so we just talked about Hamlet.

I've got to figure out what I'm doing wrong these days. Is my diet deficient? Am I too reclusive? Am I just a filthy pig? Whatever the cause, I'm making it a priority to get it fixed in 2018.

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Alex Trebek is on medical leave from Jeopardy! as he recovers from what he called a "slight medical problem." The rest of us call it brain surgery!

There's a man who leads a life of danger

Apparently, Trebek was standing on his toilet and hanging a clock. The porcelain was wet. He slipped and hit his head on the sink. When he came to, he had blood clots in his brain! (That's what I heard, anyway.)

Fortunately for us all, Trebek announced he's making a full recovery and will soon be back on set giving answers to questions no one has asked yet. I hope by then, they've covered his podium with bubble wrap.

I'm not ready for a world without the exploits of one George Alexander Trebek, Member of the Order of Canada.

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Who wants a Walter health insurance update? No one? Well, you're getting one anyway.

As we all know, Georgia has done its best to destroy any healthcare options for poor individuals like me, and the Republicans controlling the federal government have, to their credit, only managed to make shit worse. So now, for the third year in a row, I have to scramble to figure out what my options are. Too bad no one else seems to know, either.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn from offering individual plans where I live in Georgia, leaving me with only Kaiser Permanente (KP) HMO options available under the Affordable Care Act. The problem here is that I cannot keep my doctor, and no urgent care facility within 40 miles or hospital within 70 miles accept the Healthcare Exchange (HIX) plans. That's... not ideal. But it might still be my best choice. At least it theoretically pays for something if, say, I was hit by a bus in New York City.

Not that I have a lot of other choices. I have looked at some off-Marketplace plans, and they are really worthless. Twelve hundred dollars per year gets me a couple of urgent care visits and not much else. Compared to that, I might as well have no insurance and just pay the tax penalty ($695).

So the KP HIX HMO plan looks like the best option for me, though only so long as I make little enough to take advantage of the low-income subsidies. (Sweet spot catch-22: if I make a little more money, I'm priced out of health insurance, and as a male, I wouldn't qualify for Medicare in the state of Georgia even if I earned nothing at all.) It is my understanding that KP has to continue to offer me the subsidies discount if I qualify even though that asshole Trump has vowed not to reimburse them, essentially guaranteeing that next year I'll have no healthcare options at all.

I've been lucky so far, but I can't stay healthy forever, guys.

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I've been sick with a cold for the better part of the past week. Two illnesses in one year is very unusual for me, and it sucks.

I assume that the same is true for most people, but when I'm sick, it feels like the color bleeds out of life. Everything is just a little bit harder to do, and nothing is worth doing anyway. I feel useless and pointless.

The worst part is that when I'm sick, just like when I'm angry or frustrated, my sense of humor abandons me. Without that, I'm just another opinionated asshole taking up valuable oxygen. The world's got enough of those in it that it doesn't need me contributing to the problem.

Maybe that's what's wrong with so many other people. Maybe they're all sick. Walking, talking bags of soured cough medicine and phlegm. Maybe the Bill O'Reillys and Harvey Weinsteins of the world really just need an extra dose of antibiotics and NyQuil — the old, good NyQuil from before drug addicts ruined it for everyone. Jerks.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed.

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I'm sick.

That doesn't happen often. I think the last time I was sick was last spring. Once a year seems about right.

The only good thing about being sick is it give me an excuse to post this picture of an awesome wreath that friend Cam made last year out of Coca-Cola bottle caps.

Merry Cokemas

When I do die (which won't happen from this illness, but is, sooner or later, inevitable), I don't want flowers. I want wreathes of Coke caps.

I'm super jealous that Cam finds time to make such cool art, while all I'm doing with my free time between coding video games is writing novels and getting sick. Obviously, I need to do something about my priorities.

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My doctor says my cholesterol is too high. He wants me to exercise for more than an hour a day and consider a Mediterranean Diet, with high concentrations of fruits. He also wants me to avoid processed food entirely, especially things like french fries.

I'm not sure I can do that.

Exercise is the least of the problem. I'm already walking July for 30 minutes and then spending another 30 on the elliptical. In addition, I'd been contemplating how I can add some strength training to that regimen. I'm actually starting to like exercising.

On the other hand, I do eat too much processed snack food. I admit it. It's a bad habit that I'm always aware of, even when I'm eating it. I can make a sincere effort to cut back (he says as he stuffs another handful of potato chips in his face).

What I cannot do is eat more fruits. I hate fruit. I hate its texture and flavor. Berries are gross. Bananas trigger my gag reflex. I saw what apples did to Snow White. And don't even get me started on oranges. If I thought global warming would wipe all fruit off the face of the planet, I'd leave my car running 24 hours a day.

I understand that a Mediterranean Diet might prolong my life, but quality of life has to count for something, too. How am I supposed to enjoy a life of only eating foods I hate? Frankly, I'd rather have a heart attack.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is raising the monthly health insurance premium on my current health insurance plan to $338 for 2017. That's a 27% increase from monthly 2016 payments. I should probably be thankful it's that low. My 2016 premiums represented a 100% increase over 2015.

Perhaps you're thinking that $338 isn't a lot of money each month. If you can afford better, good for you. However, the Affordable Healthcare Act has destroyed insurance for self-employed professionals like me. The insurers are complaining that they're loosing money on individual plans, and I can understand why. No independent can afford their rates.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I don't mind paying for health insurance coverage; I've done it for years. But I don't see why the monthly amounts have grown so out of line with what I can afford. (Especially when it still won't pay for hospital visits!) We're not experiencing rampant inflation, and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of services. So what's driving these impossible costs? Perhaps its a liquidity crisis. We can't save anything for the future if we have to spend every penny paying for right now.

In the past year, my insurance has been billed for $479 worth of doctors fees. Comparing that number against the $4,056 or more I'll have to pay in premiums in 2017, it's clear to me that my best economic option is to cancel my insurance and pay the "individual shared responsibility payment" — the government's name for the ObamaCare penalty tax. At my income bracket, the government will penalize me $695 for the whole year. That leaves enough leeway for eight doctor's visits next year, and I'll still come out ahead!

So if you see me grab my chest and collapse, don't call an ambulance. There's no way I can afford that.

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To be continued...

 

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