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April, 2011:

Unwell

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I have had my ass kicked by bronchitis. We’re on day 6 now and I’m finally starting to feel human again. It has migrated from my chest up into my head, which is the complete opposite of every other congestion based illness I’ve ever had. My doctor wanted me to stay home until Thursday, but I told him unless he’s planning on paying some of my bills I needed to go back no later than Wednesday. Now as this damn thing settles in my head, I’m sort of wishing I’d agreed to Thursday. However, since I am out of sick time and don’t get vacation time until next month, I’ll be back at work tomorrow armed with tissues. Lots of tissues.

I tried to get in to see my doctor on Friday, but they only see patients until noon on Fridays and couldn’t work me into the schedule. So I decided to go to one of the walk-in clinics at Walgreens. My insurance covers this as a normal doctor’s office visit so my copay was only $20 instead of the $75 it would have been to go to an urgent care clinic. I’m all for saving money. There was one person ahead of me when I got there so I waited about 15 minutes. I was coughing pretty much the entire time. When it was my turn, the Physician Assistant looked at me and said I had a sinus infection. He didn’t ask me one question. He heard me coughing in the waiting room and decided before even saying one word to me that I had a sinus infection. When he asked me if the pressure was under my eyes or in my forehead and I said neither, he didn’t seemed phased and still insisted it was a sinus infection. He prescribed an abnormally high dose of Amoxicillan and sent me on my merry way. By Monday I was no better so I finally went into my primary care doctor. He actually asked me what the problem was, listened to my chest and said you don’t have a sinus infection, you have bronchitis. This I believed. The other guy didn’t even bother to listen to my chest. My doctor changed the antibiotic and gave me something for the incessant cough I’ve had for a week.

I’m not saying all the nurse practitioners and physician assistants that work at the walk-in clinics at drug stores are as bad as this guy was, but I think next time I’ll just wait for my regular doctor. I ended up paying two co-pays and money on unnecessary prescriptions because one guy couldn’t be bothered to actually listen to his patient.

Government Shutdown – Someone has a lot of esplaining to do!

I don’t often get all political here on the blog, but I have to say something about the looming government shutdown. My hope is that someone smarter than I can shed a little light on the topic.

Here’s what I don’t get. The Democratic party had full power just four months ago. They controlled the House, the Senate and the Oval Office. During that time, they could not find a way to pass a budget for the fiscal year that started in September 2010. How could the same party controlling Congress and the Oval Office not find a common ground on something so important? They knew, or should have known, that the House was going to be Republican controlled after the mid-term elections. One would think that would have been motivation enough to get it done before that happened. During that same time, they passed the mammoth health care law that most Americans are opposed to, and that most of them never even read. You’re telling me that same party couldn’t pass a budget?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but part of me wonders if this was a ploy on the part of the Democratic party. They knew once the House was Republican controlled that a stalemate was probable. Is this just a tactic to help Obama’s re-election campaign? I certainly hope that’s not the case, but there is merit to the idea.

The bottom line is that if the government does indeed shut down, it won’t affect Congress. They’ll still get paid. But that guy that works in the Smithsonian gift shop making minimum wage? He won’t get paid. The child care workers that work in daycares in federal buildings? They won’t get paid and all those parents will have to find alternative child care. Those people who work in national parks? No paychecks for them either. The trickle down effect of a government shutdown is large. Many of those people live paycheck to paycheck and there is no guarantee that after everyone is back to work that they will get paid retroactively for the shutdown time. Even if they do, it won’t help pay their mortgages and food bills now.

President Obama has said that he will veto the one week Republican proposed bill to give both sides an additional week to work things out. While I don’t think much will change in one week, what is the harm in signing it and keeping people at their jobs? I know there are riders in there that Obama opposes. Someone has to compromise somewhere. I’m not saying Democrats have to do all the compromising either. Why not strip out those riders of this particular bill and address those issues in the final bill?

Either way, the whole situation is one big clusterfuck.

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