Monthly Archives: August 2010

Health care reform – hope and reality.

(Health care reform.  What I hope will happen.  What I think will actually happen.  That is the topic presented to us for next week’s ChronicBabe Blog Carnival.  What a loaded topic this time around!  Please note, I have enlisted the help of the informative website established by the government,, throughout this post.)


If all goes well, we should start seeing the impact of health care reform soon enough.  Those with a pre-existing condition but without health insurance are already beginning to receive access to the high-risk pools.  On September 23, new rules will also:

stop insurance companies from imposing pre-existing condition exclusions on your children; prohibit insurers from rescinding or taking away your coverage based on an unintentional mistake on an application; ban insurers from setting lifetime limits on your coverage; and restrict their use of annual limits on coverage.

Tax credits for small businesses employing fewer than 25 employees will be put into place – up to 35% of the cost of insuring employees.

For people with chronic illness (or parents of children with chronic illness), all of this is good news.  Many of us are self-employed, underemployed, or unemployed.  Some of us in such a position are lucky enough to have a spouse working for an employer that does provide excellent benefits, though for the ones who do not, this provides another option for children with pre-existing conditions now and for the rest of us in 2014.  No one should go broke because they are sick or become sick.

Also on September 23, young adults will be allowed coverage up until age 26 on their parents’ health insurance.  To me, this is huge for children and young adults with chronic illness.  It does not limit them to only college before losing the good coverage their parents may have and it means they may pursue dreams of furthering their education without fear of racking up huge medical bills in the process.  Student health insurance is often not enough to avoid financial disasters.  Who knows, perhaps some of these young adults will find better treatments (or even a cure!) for their condition by pursuing research or become stronger chronic illness advocates through careers in social work or the law.

Easier access will be made to preventative care on September 23 as well – not just your typical annual physical and pregnancy care, but also to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes screenings.  Most important to me, having regular physicals and regular blood screenings allows both prevention and earlier diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, which can make all the difference in a person’s life.

The act also ensures that more primary care providers will be available for underserved communities:

The Affordable Care Act expands the health care workforce and increases funding for community health centers, which provide comprehensive health care for everyone no matter how much they are able to pay. Health centers serve an estimated one in three low-income people and one in four low-income minority residents.  The new resources will enable health centers to double the number of patients they serve. Combined with investments made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new law will support 16,000 new primary care providers.

In 2014, health care exchanges will be created, ensuring that even in the event of job switching, job loss, or illness, affordable quality health care will be available to all.


While I will try to refrain from beating a political dead horse, it is without question that the 2010 mid-term elections (and beyond) could change the way health care reform looks right now – and not in a good way.  Fear is being put into people’s minds about socialism and big government when it comes to health care, while I (and many others) fear what happens if the changes are not made.  This is especially true in states that are trying to block health care reform, either in its entirety by challenging the federal law or in bits and pieces by passing legislation against certain aspects of the law.

But enough about politics.

One of the biggest barriers to preventative care is whether allowing affordable access to it will actually move people to go to their primary care provider.  We all know people who go for years and years without seeing a doctor, not because they cannot afford it, but because they do not want to do so or fear some aspect of a routine physical.  How do we remove these mental blocks of these people to healthier lives, or should we even expect them to change?

Along the same lines, and more specifically to my expertise, not everyone with diabetes sees the health care providers necessary to fight complications of the condition.  Sure, early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes might spur people to stay as healthy as possible, though for every person (type 1 or type 2) who is vigilant about diabetes care, there is another who either is filled with denial and/or fear.   How do we remove these mental blocks to better lives with diabetes, or should we even expect them to change?

Speaking of mental health, I worry that not enough is being done to ensure mental health coverage is just as important as physical health coverage.  There is no question that physical health worries can lead to mental health issues (and vice versa) – keeping the mind healthy can impact recovery from acute health worries and in maintaining the best physical condition possible with chronic health worries.

Fortunately, there is an organization called the Collaborative Care Research Network examining “the clinical, financial, and operational impact of behavioral health on primary care and health outcomes”.   Hopefully some of this research will come in handy as health care reform moves forward.

If it moves forward.

Turn back the clock: How to ride a bike.

Each day in second grade, we were assigned a writing topic.  Often, I filled multiple pages with thoughts, feelings, or memories in my young life. I’m guessing this day (February 24, 1984) I didn’t feel much like writing about “How to ride a bike”, however.

  1. Let your dad hold on the bike.
  2. Tell him to let go.
  3. Ride it yourself.
  4. Now you know.

(Since it really is THAT easy, I need to fill up the tires on my bike and get riding again!)

Choice or circumstance.


The word implies trying and trying and trying to bring a child into the world without success.  It implies tremendous heartache through repeated negative pregnancy tests and/or through pregnancy loss.


I always expected that my uterus would be ready to play host to a child for nine months should we decide to jump into parenthood.   Even as the biological clock ticked away and even as health concern after health concern came into play, I never doubted my body’s ability to create and sustain a new life should we decide to create a new life.

Oh, how wrong I was.  An incidental finding during imaging exams for a serious acute illness last winter indicated the uterus with which I was born is likely infertile ground.  Women with my condition do create life, do sustain life, though at increased risks of miscarriage and pre-term birth.   Add to that the laundry list of health concerns and the risks grow higher and higher.

And so I chose to eliminate those risks through tubal ligation during a follow-up surgical procedure for that serious acute illness.  I accepted that my body would likely not tolerate pregnancy very well, including any emotional impact arising from such high risks of miscarriage, pre-term birth, and other pregnancy complications.


Here are the questions I still ponder.  Because I never thought I wanted children and (more importantly) never tried to have children, do I have the right to call myself infertile?  Do I have the right to grieve over my imperfect uterus?

You see, I cannot quite identify with women who are blissfully child-free, those with whom I used to agree without hesitation.  And yet, I cannot identify with women who have tried and tried and tried to be full of child, only to see their bodies fail them time and time again.

I’m stuck somewhere between choice and circumstance.  And wondering, really wondering, if anyone out there understands that feeling.

The hilarity ensued at BlogHer ’10.

  • It took two hours to get from LaGuardia to the Hilton.  Yeah, yeah, traffic, other tourists going to other hotels, whatever.  It certainly did not help that the shuttle driver stopped for gas along the way and also asked us, the tourists, for directions to our hotels.  (Between that and the fact my return shuttle showed up late enough for me to take a cab instead, I now know why $31 round-trip is not worth the trouble.  Next time, I will be cabbing it.)
  • No shame in wearing a tutu in the middle of Central Park.  For a good cause, of course.
  • Flat Jasmine enjoyed herself in Manhattan and at BlogHer’10, glad to keep running into @PoppyBuxom and @blackbird17 everywhere.  Smoking area, parties, even the elevators…
  • Yes, it’s true.  I growled every time I stepped in the television-equipped Hilton elevators and saw a diabetes commercial on CNN, as I am not a fan of how much television advertising for my condition is out there.  Just ask Julia.
  • I am not sure, but I *think* Dick Cheney was hunting liberals in front of Fox News on Saturday morning.  Julia and I fled quickly.  (Seriously, the set looked like rural Wisconsin during gun hunting season for deer.)
  • Now I know better.  It is Tiffany & Co., not Tiffany’s.  Unless you refer to the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  (Thank you for the grammar lesson, Julia.)
  • The Humor Blogging panel was, well, hilarious.  I noticed that the line to see Jessica Bern afterwards was quite a big longer than that for Lizz Winstead.  Oh, how we bloggers support our own.
  • Seeing the artist at work at the arts & crafts private party put on by Eden Fantasys.  Lee Ann seemed at home decorating her unmentionable sex toy.  Overheard at the same party from a certain someone else, “this is making me hungry”.   I didn’t dare ask what exactly she was hungry for.
  • I joined a conga line behind a cutout of Barack Obama and stole the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off movie poster at Sparklecorn.  Yeah, that party would have rocked my socks off if I had been wearing any.
  • To cap off my New York City experience, some guy came up to me in Central Park on Sunday morning and told me “nice rack”.   Needless to say, I am already planning my next trip to the city.

Little fish in a big pond.

This blog is small.  And yet, it is nearly five years old.

Ever evolving in name, platform, and subject matter, this started as a diabetes blog until I started doing that at Diabetes Daily a couple years back.  Football talk dominated previous autumns, though this year I shall write about that at Garbage Time.  And if I see that one subject or another begins to dominate, I will not hesitate to branch out yet again.

Some might say my voice is stronger when it comes to diabetes or to knowing the ins and outs of football.  Yet, this blog is where I can most be myself.   This is where I laugh.  This is where I cope.  This is where I write instead of simply blog.  This is me, at both my best and at my worst.

You may first come here because of Genie’s Living Out Loud online writers’ workshop, you may first come here because of Jenni’s ChronicBabe blog carnival, you may first come here because of Lori’s Perfect Moment Monday, you may first come here to see the damn cats.

Of course, many of you are stopping by this week because we talked for a few moments and exchanged business cards at BlogHer ’10.  The flood of new readers as a result of the conference will undoubtedly slow after a few weeks, or a few months.  You may find me hilarious or touching and keep reading, you may find me boring or disgusting and never come back.

You see, I write about life as it happens, I write about memories both fresh and worn.  I write funny posts, I write sad posts, I write funny posts about dark situations, I show off my silly felines.  And I receive an average of less than 100 hits per day.

I am a little fish in a big pond.  And that is absolutely fine by me.

Friday cat blogging: Tuxedo cat world domination edition.

Dear internets,

As Rachel is off in New York City for some blogging conference, I am stuck here at home with that man.  That man who insists on calling me “Poopsie” and holding me against my will, what a dorkbutt.  Since I’m busy hiding from him (and camera-shy today), I asked my pals K.C. (human is Karen) and Casey (human is George) to write a few words.




Greetings!  My tuxedo friends and I are taking over your computer today for a little Friday Cat Blogging.  While our moms are out of town at some silly blogging thing for women, Perl and I have our heads together plotting World Domination, as only a couple of bi-coastal tuxedo cats can do.  Given our superior intelligence and disarming cuteness, it should be a breeze.  First off, I’m concentrating on my list of demands?  What do I have so far?  A food dish that is NEVER empty (and has wet food in it more often), unlimited access to all the yarn in my house (which I’m never allowed to chew or bat around), use of my favorite scratching post without getting yelled at (what good is that pretty arm chair if I can’t drag my claws across it?) and a cease and desist order on that annoying thing my mom does all the time (it’s humiliating to be scooped up, cuddled and kissed a million times on the head while listening to incessant bather about how I’m so cute and such a good girl).  None of these demands are unreasonable, so don’t even think about resisting.  Although I guess I can put up with being told how cute I am!


K.C. from Connecticut


Hi everyone. I’m Casey from California and I am joining these two lovely Tuxedos in some Friday cat blogging too! My human keeps talking about how he wishes he could go to this blogging thing that Perl and K.C.’s humans are going to. I guess it has to do with how he uses the litter box or something. Who knows!

He rambles a lot. My other human told him he should put on a wig and get over it but he just sulks around and eats lots of bacon (smells so good) to take his mind off of things. I am allowing my female feline friends choose the demands for the world domination thing. They are much smarter about that stuff than us boy cats. We just think about food and sleep. In fact, I gotta go. I just heard food hit my bowl!


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