Category Archives: Rants, Rambling, and Musing.

I’ll defend your right to breastfeed wherever you want… But will you defend my right NOT to?

With the controversial Breastfeeding doll currently all over the Internet, it’s kind if hard to ignore. Not that I haven’t tried. (And failed…)
I decided to stop leaving ten page long comments on other peoples blogs and just say what I need to say here. Again.
So…The thing is-the doll creeps me out.

But, wait, don’t start typing that nasty comment just yet, let me explain.

All dolls that mimic bodily functions, (including talking) freak me out. Especially Elmo dolls that call me fat.
(I was pregnant, asshole)

I just don’t see why kids can’t use their imaginations anymore. Every kid I’ve ever met who has been around a breastfeeding woman for any amount of time has given one of her(or his) toys a little nip from the imaginary breast. (Pun only slightly intended.) Kids are going to mimic what they see, its inevitable. And natural. No different than a child pretending to talk on the phone, or pretending to drive, or pretending to be a fireman.

Do I think this doll is sexual or sexualizing children in ANY way?
Um, no. Flower petal nipples aside, it’s just a toy (Granted, it’s an obscenely overpriced toy.)

Breasts are sexual objects. I’m not going to argue that. They are, and that won’t change anytime soon. And that’s not a bad thing. Without them, what would weirdos motorboat?
But they are not only sexual. They are, first and foremost, a means for mothers to nourish their offspring.

Which brings me to…
No, nursing mothers should not be asked to leave, shamed, or forced to wrap themselves and their babies up like mummies when feeding their children in public just so you don’t catch an (unlikely) eyeful of boob. Or even, *gasp* a nipple.

No, not even if there are other children present.
I admit, I’ve sometimes worried about where to point my eyes when a friend is breastfeeding near me, so as not to have an awkward moment. So, I get that it makes some people uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable is your problem, not the nursing mothers.
I’ve never managed to breastfeed long enough to have to deal with this issue, but most moms I know have, and still do-deal with the realities of having a breastfed child and, you know, the need to leave the house every so often.
Taking care of a baby is stressful enough without having to worry about getting kicked out of an Applebees the first time you actually get to eat out in 137 months.
I’m a big proponent of the “If you don’t want to see something-then don’t fucking look” school of thought. There is no rule that says you have to stare at a woman, just in case she exposes something indecent while trying to feed her kid. As for the argument about not wanting your kids exposed to that smutty, porn-like breast that may be behind that babies head?
Seriously? Ladies –And sadly, it IS mostly women who complain about this-I promise you, your child is not going to be scarred for life after seeing a woman feeding a baby. Odds are, they won’t even notice, unless you draw attention to it. And if they do notice, just tell them the truth. Breasts, while being bouncy and fun to look at, are also where baby food comes from.

Most of the time, anyway.

Which brings me to…

I don’t breastfeed.

And I’m tired of feeling like I have to preface that statement with a long explanation about how I tried for three months with my first child, but I have inverted nipples and she never could latch properly and we were both miserable and then I tried again with baby number two and three, to no avail, and baby four, I didn’t even try because I had to go back on my meds after I had him. I’m tired of getting dirty looks for pulling out a bottle and feeding my child with it. I’m EXTREMELY tired of people muttering about how “Breast is Best” and if I really LOVED my kids I wouldn’t be poisoning them with evil formula, and I wouldn’t be to lazy to wear some freaky-assed nipple shields 24/7 and try, try and TRY harder until I’m ready to commit suicide while my baby starves. I’m tired of the attitude behind the people who felt the need to tell me that breastfeeding a baby while on narcotic pain medication was better than formula feeding.

(And I’m not talking a Lortab here and there people. I am talking big-time pain meds.)

There is no way in hell my child would be better off addicted to narcotics than fed formula.

Yes, Breast IS Best.

It is not, however, the wonderful cure-all for everything from ear infections to athletes foot that people like to claim it is.

Awhile back, I did a bunch of research, and discovered something interesting. MOST of the studies they did that found breastfed babies were smarter/Thinner/healthier/less likely to become Paris Hilton- most of those studies were done in a way that makes the results almost meaningless. When they did these studies, the people they gathered their data from were generally stay-at-home, well-off, upper-middle-class women. The children in question were generally born to mothers who didn’t work three jobs, do drugs, eat processed foods or live near waste treatment plants in asbestos filled trailers. Those children were already predisposed to be smarter and healthier than average because of their upbringing. (I’m to lazy to re-find those links right now, but they do exist.) I’m not saying breast milk does not have some awesome qualities, just that there are many, many other factors at play here that influenced the results of these studies. And there are many things a parent can do to ensure their child is healthy and smart. And generally, the mothers who breastfeed tend to do these other things as well, so take these studies with a grain of salt, as it were.

(Incidentally- the kids I breastfed the longest have the most health problems, and the ones that I breastfed little or not at all, is by far the healthiest.)

Now, I’m not saying “Don’t even try to breastfeed, because it’s pointless.” I really do think that every mother should at least try. It IS the way nature intended, after all. It is made to be the perfect food for infants.

What I am saying, is that if, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out for you, you shouldn’t be shamed for using formula.

The amount of guilt I get for being a bottle-feeder has at times, been unbearable. I’m sick of it. And I’m not alone in this.

It makes me sad that there are women out there who are completely, utterly miserable, but refuse to use formula because of the stigma now attached to it in most circles. Not all breastfeeding experiences are wonderful, unicorn-filled bond-fests where rainbows of contentment burst forth from your nipples. I spent three months in hell, resenting my baby because all she did was scream and I never slept, and you know what? If I could go back, I’d have just started her on a bottle and been done with it. That way, I could have actually spent that time enjoying my sweet baby and bonding with her instead of crying over my bloody nipples while locked in the bathroom.

I’m aware that I could have tried harder. I could have worn the scary nipple apparatuses (Apparatti?) or stayed off my meds. But, you know what, I finally chose not to. Because, for my family, using formula was what was best for everyone involved. If a mom is miserable and in pain and unhappy, she is not at her best, and our sweet babies deserve our very best, even if that best comes in a bottle.

As fellow parents, we should be supporting each other, not judging one another because of differing choices. Of course you feel like your way is best. You wouldn’t have done it that way if you didn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s best for me and mine. Motherhood is fucking hard. We should be lifting each other up, and supporting other parents, because, really, we are all in the same, poop-filled boat. This whole breastfeeding topic shouldn’t even be a debate. I realize that there are many well-intentioned moms out there that feel it is important to encourage breastfeeding. Encouraging and supporting moms who choose to breastfeed is essential. But honestly, in my circles at least, offline and on, I have never met a mother who had never heard that “Breast is Best.” I’ve also never met one that bottle-fed and didn’t feel guilty as hell about it, either. And giving moms guilt for not breastfeeding is just as bad as giving moms shame for breastfeeding (In public or otherwise).

We are all on the same side here- we are all just trying to feed our children.

So, do me a favor. If you see a nursing mom in public, and it bothers you, simply look away. If you see someone giving her shit, stand up for her and let the perpetrator know that This. Is. Not. Okay.

And if you know a nursing mom who is miserable and at the end of her rope, but is afraid to stop because she’s afraid of what people will think-please remind her that she’s NOT a failure, and even if she chooses to switch to a bottle, her kid will be just fine.I promise.

Together, we can bridge this gap between breast and bottle. Together, we can fight for the rights of all mothers. We can fight for a womans right to be left alone when nursing in public. We can fight against the irrational idea that exposing children to breasts as a food supply is somehow going to “sexualize” them before they are “ready”. And we can fight against the assumption that mothers who choose-for whatever reason- not to breastfeed are lazy and uncaring baby poisoners.

The one thing we should not be fighting is each other.

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Discipline: Can you Believe she Wrote that Spanking Post?

I admit, it was a toss up between this and this, but spanking won. There have been similar articles popping up on Twitter, Facebook, on blogs and virtually everywhere else I have looked over the last few weeks.

First of all, let me just note that Googling spanking is a highly entertaining/terrifying way to spend an afternoon. Just in case you were wondering.

Secondly, both studies have serious flaws, (which I will get into some other time, in detail.) Mostly though, I take any “study” like that with a bucket grain of salt, because we all know you can make any study or statistic say whatever you want if you know how. The article linked above even admits that it is virtually meaningless, if you read far enough into it: “Whether or not spanking equates with dumber kids is not known, and may never be known.”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, we can get to the core of the issue. As you probably realize by now, I am not Anti-Spanking.

Now, before you jump all over me, I’m not necessarily Pro-Spanking either. Also, I’m definitely not promoting child abuse here. I want to be completely clear about that.

However, I don’t believe spanking is child abuse.

(To clarify, when I say “spanking” I mean specifically, an open-handed swat on the butt. Through clothing. In private. Not hitting with a spoon or switch, not public humiliation, not repeated hitting, or pinching, or hair pulling or mouth smacking or really, anything else.)

I hold the unpopular and politically incorrect opinion that spanking can be an effective discipline tool when done correctly, and within a certain age range.

(In most cases, once a child is old enough to reason with, they generally no longer need spankings, though that age varies depending on the child.  And babies under the age of one or so aren’t yet developed enough to make the connection between their action and the consequence, so it wouldn’t do anything but confuse them.)

I’m not saying that I believe spanking should be a parents first, or even third line of resort when it comes to discipline. Or that it should replace other tactics in your parenting arsenal. Just that, in some cases, with some kids, it works when nothing else will.

Discipline is all about consequences. Children learn how to behave by trial and error, mostly. They do something and something else happens. When they are babies, they throw food off their highchair, just to see what happens. As toddlers, they push boundaries all the time. It’s an appropriate, normal stage of learning. And for many kids, when they do something inappropriate, all it takes is a simple “No” and a redirection for them to eventually learn not to do something. The spoken “No” is enough of a consequence to make them desire not to repeat a specific action.

Eventually, they get to a point where they can clearly understand and articulate consequences, and then you can explain the reasons why a specific behavior is unsafe or unwanted instead of just saying no. 

But before that point, some kids don’t respond to the more common methods of discipline. You can say no, or yell until you are blue in the face, you can take away toys, or administer time-outs, but what do you do when nothing else works?  I know discipline in general is a dirty word these days, but I certainly don’t think its child abuse to do what you have to to to ensure that your child listens to you, especially in situations where not listening is going to result in that kid hurting himself, or, you know, drowning my kid. Sometimes an “Oh no Johnny, we don’t drown people honey, it’s not nice!” just doesn’t work.  Sometimes your kid needs to know you mean business. And if a spank is what it takes, then, hey, you know what? I’m not against it. 

Do I think spanking causes lasting and permanent psychological damage?

No. I really don’t. Not with the type of spanking I am referring to. I don’t think kids at this age really see anything other than when I do X, Y happens. I don’t think a 3 year old is saying to himself, “Mommy hit me, I must be worthless.” I think they associate the behavior with a consequence, period,  and it’s no more damaging than a time-out is. Probably less damaging than screaming at them would be.

I’m well aware that many, many people out there disagree. People think it’s never okay to hit a child, no matter what.  Also, I’m aware of the arguments that claim you are teaching a child to deal with problems by using violence and/or fear.  About how we are supposed to lead by example, and what kind of example is this setting?

There is a very clear difference between teaching your child to solve problems with violence and teaching them that actions have consequences, (which are sometimes unpleasant.) You set an example by dealing with your own issues with other adults in a reasonable, violence-free way. Give kids some credit. Most kids are smart enough to recognize the difference between their being punished as a consequence of bad behavior, and randomly hitting other people just for fun.

(Also, most of the time, they won’t even remember having been spanked.)

Chances are, if you are a loving, attentive parent who disciplines, and even occasionally spanks, you are a far better role model than someone who ignores their kids and lets them do whatever they want with no discipline at all. By correcting their behavior in a way that is effective, whatever way that may be, by teaching them that actions have consequences, by showing them that they cannot, in fact, do whatever they want with no repercussions, you are setting a good example, giving them much needed boundaries, (which studies show kids actually NEED) and preparing them for the real world.

Seriously-and I can’t stress this enough- you are not supposed to be your child’s best friend. You are not their buddy, you are a parent. Kids need limits. They need boundaries. They need consequences. And it’s your job to give them those things.

Discipline is important.

Let me reiterate: I am not saying that you should spank your child every time he refuses to eat his peas. Also, if you have issues with anger, and you are afraid that you wouldn’t be able to control yourself, then, please, don’t spank. You know yourself best, and if you are angry enough at your child, to the point where you feel it could escalate into something more, then walk away.

Nor am I saying you should do it at all, if you have other methods that work on that particular child. Many other things can be just as effective for some kids. In fact, for most kids, the other methods work just fine.

But for a kid who doesn’t respond to other methods? A spanking might just work wonders. (Or it might not, it all really depends on the kid)

I’m posting this, despite the hate mail-fest that will ensue, because I WAS one of those parents that said they would never spank. And then I actually had difficult kids.

I’m not trying to encourage people to start spanking either if they have other methods that are effective (But if your kid is the one trying to kill my kid with a fireplace poker, in that case, please discipline him. In a way that works.)

I’m just explaining my own point of view. I don’t think this is a black or white issue for most people. And just about every parent I know never intended to spank, and then did, and felt horribly guilty for it.  (Especially those that ended up with more than one kid.)

No- It’s not a great thing-but I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world either. It’s all part of the bigger thing where we are all trying to do the best we can, trying to raise happy, smart well behaved children as best we can. And one person may not understand it or ever chose to discipline this way because their kids respond to other things, and another person, well, another person could have a different kind of kid.

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Socialization, Innovation and Pie

In reading countless mind numbing health care articles lately, I’ve time and time again come across the the idea that socializing medicine will somehow halt or significantly slow the innovation of new life saving medical treatments,  drugs and equipment.

There simply won’t be a financial incentive to find a cure cancer if you aren’t going to get rich selling it, right?

And if the insurance companies who are run by the drug companies who are the ones funding the research to make them bigger and more expensive drugs they can then charge whatever they want for aren’t making money off the drugs anymore… well, you get the idea.

The way I understand it, most companies  are motivated by profit.  And profit and innovation don’t necessarily go hand in hand when it comes to medicine. In other words: I’m pretty sure the current system doesn’t do a whole lot to provide incentives for  innovation either.

Take this for example: Any finance-driven, company run, research facility is going  prioritize research and development of disease treatment drugs that maximize profit and need to be taken on a daily, lifelong basis rather than invest time and money in curing said diseases completely. Why spend money creating a cure that will cause you to lose millions of life-long customers and untold dollars? It simply doesn’t make sense from a business perspective.

So, how then can we create an incentive to make actual life-saving innovations that are independent of the profits lost by curing the disease rather than requiring people to buy a company’s product for life in order to live? What about the diseases that are less common, and therefore less lucrative? What about diseases that primarily affect the lower class and therefore are less profitable than say, investing money and research into developing something like Viagra?

Many claim that ours is free market system and where there is a need, someone will fill it.

It’s not really fair to call the current system a free market system when the individuals options are: Pay whatever price the insurance companies demand: Pay whatever the cost of life-saving treatment happens to be or: Die.

The theory of the free market as I understand it is that the need for some product or service creates companies which then fill that need, and in doing so, compete with each other to gain the public’s patronage, which results in prices leveling out, based on what people are willing to pay to have that need filled. Supply and demand. And if the prices rise too high, the market levels itself out because people refuse to pay more than something is worth.

But- in the case of health care-people can’t simply refuse to get treatment until prices are lowered. Not if they want to, you know, live. And as an individual our only option is refusing to buy insurance to force down costs, and that is ineffective as well because then if we do get ill we are forced to use the emergency room thus driving up the costs for everyone else even more.

It’s a never ending cycle where the people can’t win, society as a whole isn’t benefiting, and really, the only happy ones are the insurance and drug companies who are making humongous profits with wasteful, pointless drugs and procedures.

It has become so that  people can’t afford to not have insurance that covers even routine and preventative care by artificially raising the costs of such care.  I, for one, would have been more inclined  to pay out of pocket for simple routine doctors office visits and pay less for insurance overall, but now even the cost of an average fifteen minute, procedure-free  doctors visit is about seventy dollars. Which is rather ridiculous.

And if you get a serious or chronic illness, forget it. Without insurance you will undoubtedly go bankrupt trying to pay for it all.

Chronically ill people need drugs and treatments, in many cases just to continue to live.  And usually one company manages to corner the market with a drug with patents and secrecy, making it so there is virtually no competition to drive the price of that drug or treatment down. And the cost can be hiked up, not because the company makes the best product and therefore deserves the best price for it, but because people simply have no other choice, and they know it. Forcing a person to pay exorbitant fees for life saving medications and procedures-or forcing them to suffer the consequences- is essentially extortion.

Pay the price, or die.

When the health care industry is driven solely by profit margins and not the ultimate well being of people, everyone loses.

There has to be a way to actually make insurance companies competitive, and provide incentives for drug company research that actually saves lives rather than just increasing profits.

So, I’m all for a government program that funds lifesaving research. Drug companies claim the costs of medicine are so high because it costs so much to research and develop new medications and they lose so much money on failed attempts. Well, fine. Honestly, I think they should be able to charge whatever they want for things like Viagra.

But, the things that save lives? Diabetes treatments, asthma inhalers, cancer medication? The list goes on.

No. I think these things should be taken completely out of the hands of for-profit companies. I think we should have a government funded research center that exclusively develops life saving medications and treatments. I think it should be linked to the charities that work tirelessly to support these causes, and I think the drug companies should be given incentives to A) Donate money, and B) Pay their employees to donate their time.  Give them tax breaks,  give them ponies. Whatever. Also, the people that are willing to work there should be well compensated. Give them ponies too.  Because the only way some of these diseases are ever going to be cured is if it’s not going to take money out of the hands of profit driven CEO’s to actually do so. And because the people with cancer and diabetes shouldn’t be dying because the drug companies want to make a buck off their medication.

I also think the government should create a completely new system-and abolish the old wasteful, mismanaged ones- that provides care to a few key groups, no matter what. Specifically, children, the elderly and the chronically ill, mentally ill or otherwise disabled.  Use the money that is currently going to medicaid and medicare.

(Need more money? Stop wasting tax money making commercials and pushing the whole seat-belt law on adults, and stop making us pay to feed, house and clothe drug addicts in prison- but that’s an entirely different post. And to be clear, if you don’t put seat belts on your kid, yeah, you should get in trouble. Don’t put one on yourself? You are stupid and should know better by now. Don’t make us pay to enforce laws that protect people from their own stupidity. Same thing with drugs. Don’t sell them to kids. Do I care if you want to use them yourself? Should we pay to feed you when you go to jail for it? No. Ahem. Moving on.)

As for peoples gripes about how they shouldn’t be forced to pay taxes that go towards a health care program for other people:

We live in a civilized society, not a third world country. And, as a civilized society: Yes. We should all bear the responsibility for caring for the old, young and infirm the same way we all pitch in to help build roads and schools and all of the other things that make this country better than a third world hellhole.

Here, we don’t leave our elderly  out on the ice when they become a burden, or expose infants to the elements when they are born ill.

If you are one of those who doesn’t think you should have to pay for health care for kids because you don’t have any? You may not have any, but I bet you were one once.  And chances are, you will be elderly too. Or you could be run over by my a car and become disabled. You never know.

I’m repeating this in case you missed the point: In my ideal world, there absolutely would be a health care option that provides for people who are elderly, children (and pregnant women,) and those who are facing illnesses that make it impossible for them to work.

And those people would not have to jump through bureaucratic bullshit hoops to have access to that care.  We don’t need to hire thousands of paper pushers to get these people enrolled. Make it simple. When you are born, you automatically get health care that covers you until you are 18. When you get ill, pregnant or become disabled, your doctor sends in a paper and you get health care. Once you retire, you get health care.  No matter what. Oh, and when you get old, you get to go to a decent retirement community. That’s paid for too. And doctors have to accept this coverage. Even the good doctors. Hand out more ponies if you have to- make it worthwhile-but make it so.

I know it could be done- most likely with money we are already paying in taxes. Get rid of the bullshit and waste and pointless bureaucracy, take care of those that genuinely need it, fund the research that’s going to actually save lives and come up with a way to make insurance companies competitive enough to drive the prices down to a reasonable, manageable level for the rest of us. Because my insurance premiums shouldn’t cost more than your mortgage either.

That’s not to much to ask, is it?

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It’s all Over Rated

So, I wrote this post a while back, (in response to a post that went up over a month ago but I’m like six months behind on blog reading so shut up) listing the  things  that *I* think are over rated.

Then I totally wussed out and didn’t post it, because I realized that there’s probably something on this list that’s going to piss off all twelve of you and my mom.

And even though I tell people who know me in real life that they are not allowed to get angry at me for anything I write on my blog because it’s a blog and I’m probably full of shit or joking anyways, still.

People can’t help it, and when I have things on my list like breastfeeding and natural childbirth, I’m pretty much just asking to be sent nasty emails calling me an evil boob-hating-Office-phobe and having people show up on my doorstep prepared to give birth in my garden tub just to show me how empowering it really is. And I don’t feel like cleaning up after that.

(Do you know how hard it is to get placenta out of the drain?)

So then I thought maybe I would qualify some of my items. Like, maybe I’d explain in detail, how I think breastfeeding is great and all,  (and  i totally think you should be allowed to do it wherever and whenever you damn well please) but I don’t think nursing until your kid is twelve is going to guarantee that kid a spot in Harvard and the ability to speak 34 languages, including a few dead ones.

And, I’d point out that no matter what the formula-is-poison people say, my exclusively formula fed kid is healthy and happy and smart and actually healthier than the kids I DID breastfeed. Who, by the way,  both suck at playing Mozart and can’t conjugate verbs at all and have yet to be accepted into an Ivy League school.

Or, I could write a whole thing about how if Natural Childbirth is your thing then- Awesome! More power to you. You are a masochist stronger woman than I. But hey, I’ve actually tried it, and no amount of marketing can make me say it was  transcendent.  Ever. Or uplifting. Or even especially spiritual. To me, it was no more spiritual than any of my other births, and I actually felt less bonding with that child afterward because I was too busy focusing on the people sewing up my girl parts with no anesthesia and then passing out from the sheer exhaustion and trauma of it all.

But then I realized I was probably over explaining things, and maybe I should give you guys more credit. I’m allowed to have my opinions, right? So, to hell with it. Here goes:

<Hoversnark Enabled>

Mmm.

Breastfeeding.

Here we are. Being unfunny.

The Office.

(and by extension, Parks and Rec)

Go to your happy place! Think about baseball! Become one with your uterus.

Natural childbirth.

Could these things BE any uglier?


The Bumbo.

I prefer to LIVE in reality, thank you. (Ok, that may be a tiny bit of a lie)

Reality TV

"And I looked across the street, and THERE WAS A STARBUCKS!"

Starbucks.

Sure, it’s yummy. Is it worth five bucks a latte and all the hype? No.

"Look, I can't help the fact that they made me look like a huge, sparkly douchebag!"

Twilight.

Yes, I have read the books and seen the movie. Along with a million other vampire stories. Why is this one so special? They sparkle, for fuck’s sake. And the guy that plays Edward in the movies is really rather weird-looking.

La Vida Meh

Coldplay

Yeah, I said it.

" Sorry, I don't speak to the help."

Rachael Ray

She recently asked my friends mom- who is a flight attendant and was trying to take her drink order- “Do you know who I am?” and then announced that she “Didn’t talk to the help,” and that the flight attendant should take the drink order and address any other questions via her assistant.

Dude, you’re a cable TV chef and your books are next to Paula Deen’s. Get the fuck over yourself.

"But I'm a LOVABLE serial killer."

Dexter

Because it needs to be said, again.

Ooo. Shiney,

The IPhone

Just because I haven’t pissed off the tech geeks yet. And because I’m jealous that I don’t have one.

(Is there an app for that?)

"Look, its got pretty colors on it!"

Macs

See above.

My apologies to you, you, you and you. I love you even if you watch the Office and want to give birth in the forest with a badger while sitting in a Bumbo with Rachael Ray as your doula, O.K.?

Oh, for the record- here’s a few things I think are underrated.

Just watch it.

30 Rock.

Mmmm. Pie.

Pie

It's a SPOON and a FORK.

Sporks

I put this together, and I hope that it doesn't fall apart the second I put the kid in it.

Baby Swings

Best. Invention. Ever.

Yeah, I am so not an attachment parent.

Shut up and TRY it already.

Hummus

Robot sex is wrong.

Science Fiction

Killer sex robots, ya’ll. Come on.

"Quick, someone save Jon Stewart, he's our most important Jew!"

Jon Stewart

All news should be broadcast by this man.


The Bloggess Army

Because we’re awesome, assholes.  Or awesome assholes. Either way, it works.

Someone make me a pie already.

Pie

I want to see a site called "LOLBADGER!" immediately.

Badgers

It may be green, but its still awesome.

Guacamole

Anything can be glued to anything,  it's ART, people.

Decoupaging

Gluing shit to other shit  and covering it with glue is the shit!

I know I had more, but I think I need to go eat something now.

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Friday Mish-mash: Healthcare Edition, (AKA: Someone DO something already)

I may not be catching up much on my actual blogging, but I have managed to get in some blog reading this week. And, boy am I glad I did.

So, as I’m sure you all know by now, This post from Loralee got linked by the White House. How freaking awesome is that? It’s a topic that really, everyone needs to be talking about, one that is close to my heart and my life.

Had I thought about it beforehand I might have left a less stupid comment.

The gist of my comment still stands though. I don’t have much to add other than the ZOMG someone please DO something.

Actually, I do. Here goes.

We all have health insurance now.

We are currently paying over $700 a month, plus a $3,000 deductible for this health insurance. We manage to do this, just barely, I might add because my husband is fortunate enough to have a decent job.

But that’s like, rent, for many people. More than many make in a week, in a city where the median income is  around 28,000. (or was last time I checked)

In other words, It’s insanely expensive.

And without it? We would be so screwed. (And they know that, and that’s why they can charge whatever they want.)

Aside from my  current high risk pregnancy, (which I’m sure is going to cost us much more than we were told because they only cover up to x-amount for delivery of a baby, and I have a history of surprises.)…I have a serious chronic illness and, with my health problems, I have had  tens of thousands of dollars worth of procedures over the past few years. Procedures that we could not have afforded at the time, had I not been on state health insurance. And as much as I have ranted about  the joys <snort> of state insurance, the fact is, without it, we would have been completely screwed financially.

I’m not eligible for it anymore. So now we pay, through his work, for me and the kid.

I admit, when I think about this topic for any length of time, I start to panic.  I have already had issues with getting my medications. and only random almost arbitrary medications are covered. When I have to go back on my pancreatic enzymes, after I have a baby, am I going to have to pay $200.00 a month for them? I will eventually need these to you know, digest food, which is um, pretty critical, if you ask me.

And don’t get me started on what I’m going to do when my pancreas completely fails and I end up an insulin-dependent, “brittle” diabetic.

My insurance  also won’t cover the stomach medicine I need to take while I am pregnant.

(The one they want me to take is a class C, and my doctor found me a class B alternative that actually works, but insurance won’t pay for it, so the doctor was nice enough to give me like, nine months worth of samples.)

Little things, all little things, but they add up. My pain management appointment, which I had to fight for three months (In pain) to even get, cost over $350 . And I have to see them regularly, for, oh the rest of my life. Insurance covered less than $100 of this appointment.  My daily meds add up to about $70 a month,  after insurance, and before you add in the stuff I am not taking because I can’t, while pregnant.

But without the insurance we would be even more screwed because of the insane cost of health care.  So we pay, through the nose, because without it we wouldn’t be able to afford food, or our home. We can’t save any money, no kid has a college fund, we keep going deeper and deeper into debt on the credit cards, it’s slowly eating away at us and its only going to get worse as I get sicker.

And we are the lucky ones who even HAVE insurance.

I’m not asking for someone else to come pay all my bills. I don’t want handouts. I’m not asking for doctors to see patients for free.

I’m just asking for someone to seriously consider the real, hardworking people out there who need care in order to live. People who also need to feed their children and pay their mortgages. This isn’t about some company’s bottom line, or about turning this country into a socialist empire. This is about people. Real People who need a better answer than, ” Lie to get medicaid” or ” Run up thousands of dollars in debt you can’t pay just to get life saving medication”.

We need something. Something has got to give. the cost of health care is literally breaking people here. People are dying because they can’t afford  care. There has to be a way to make this realistically affordable for everyone. Like Loralee said, it’s not our jobs to figure out the answer, but there has to be someone out there who can.  Because people need an answer.  Now.

~~~

While I’m on the topic: I learned this morning that my mother’s house was broken into yesterday, and someone stole ALL their medications. Fortunately, the $4,000 chemo pills  for my step-dad’s brain cancer were still at the pharmacy. But his doctor won’t help with samples, and so they have to pay out of pocket  to replace all of his very expensive medications. because, guess what? Insurance won’t pay for meds more than once a month.


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Filed under Rants, Rambling, and Musing., Things That Suck

My brain will come back, right?

I’ve written before about how growing a human being has an uncanny ability to suck out my ability to write coherent blog posts and think coherent sentences. And that hasn’t changed. I have things to write about, sure, but actually getting them written? I sit down and try and my brain says ” Fuck this, lets have pie instead”.

Add to the fact that my laptop is officially dead, at least to the internets, and the chances of me waddling my ass upstairs daily to write posts that won’t make sense to anyone but me are pretty nil.

Seriously, I can’t even play videogames, and they do all the thinking for you. (and we know how much I love my videogames.)

I’ve been reduced to playing with an imaginary farm, and even that, I’m doing in the most uncreative way possible. I plant the same crops on the same field at the same time, every day.  And that’s all I can handle right now.

So when recently prompted to play pretend with my children, the best I could come up with was this:

Sheet house.Here kids. It’s a sheet house.  Yes, I know you have to army crawl to get inside of it.  Yes, I know all I did was tuck a sheet in to the corners of the couches. Why didn’t I at least get a kitchen chair, you ask?

Shut up, that’s why. And bring me pie.

Fortunately the little kids, and a dog, were amused for awhile by this sad attempt. The big one, however, was not fooled, so I turned to my handy dandy parental attention backup.

Rock star in the making.

Go-go-gadget Rock Band.

Thanks to whoever made Rock Band 2 with a “No Fail” setting.  Just… seriously, thanks for that.

Insert creative snarky comment here.

When video games lost the power to amuse, we pulled out the big guns. Amusement parks:

IMG_4455Alright everyone, try not to look like it is 104 degrees. And can’t we put a bigger kid in front of Mommy?

Five minutes later:

IMG_4484Fuck it, it was hot. And getting splashed by people going on the ride is actually wayy more fun than actually going ON the ride, right?

Well, almost: Whee.

If you can, note the facial expressions here.

I spent the entire time waiting for them to get done in the splash zone myself.

Pay no attention to the wet, waddling pregnant woman with the pie.

We didn’t even attempt to do Disney this time around, which is probably a good thing as this was all the lines and people and hotness I we could take.

So then, I used backup number two: Grandma. Grandma took them shopping, and we all trekked to the beach. But since most of those pictures involve me in a swimsuit, which no one needs to see, I will spare you the experience. Suffice to say, it was also hot, plus sandy. And there were some warnings about not swimming, but who listens to warnings?

Obviously not the girl being rescued after having been swept away by undercurrents, as we trekked to the bathrooms afterward.

Despite that, we did have fun.  Despite many conversations that started: We all have sand in our crotch, dear. Just accept it as a reality for now. Think un-sandy thoughts.

When we ran out of money, we resorted to one of the best investments we have ever made, the 99 dollar kiddie pool:

IMG_4514

Hmmn. what was I talking about? Oh yeah… pie.

More later.

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The Forest (Or: Don’t analyze my weird pregnant dreams)

Once I lived in a beautiful young forest.

Lush and green and teeming with life and possibility, the forest was a lovely place to be, and I was happy there.  But as the days passed, the forest grew in ways I did not expect. Strange trees grew too tall and eventually, they blocked out the sun. I could no longer feel its warmth on my skin, which made me sad.

Then, the bushes and undergrowth started to become overgrown and no matter how I tried to cut them back, soon I was unable to move around the forest by my usual paths.

Eventually I was confined to a small, dark corner of the forest.  And strange vines crept towards me, inches further every time I opened my eyes. The oppressive weight of the darkness and the forest itself became too much to bear, and I struggled, but the vines had thorns  pierced my skin when I tried to push them away.

In fear, I closed my eyes and hid.

But when I opened them, I was still trapped. And one day, I simply ran out of room. The vines were upon me, and they had wrapped around me in my sleep, entangling my arms and legs. I woke up to the feeling of them upon me, thorns delving deeper into my flesh as I struggled, the vines inching towards my mouth, trying to completely take me over.

And panic welled up inside me and I screamed. And into that scream, I put all of the fear and helplessness of the past years.  But also, in went all of my rage and anger at having been denied the beautiful forest I had once known.

And every where my scream touched, the forest burned. Fire erupted in all directions, and the vines crackled as the flames engulfed them. I shouted in glee at that, but then realized the flames were burning parts of me as well.

Having no escape, I dug myself deep into the earth and waited.

Days passed, and it was if time was moving sideways instead of forward.  I raised my head from the earth and watched, still nursing my burns.

All around me was silence and death. The trees were almost completely gone, reduced to charred stumps in most places. One large plant remained intact in front of me, but for the fact that it was completely black, and I freed an arm and cautiously reached out to it, but as I did, it disintegrated, crumbling to ashes and dust, joining most everything else in the forest.

Frightened, I buried myself once more and let the earth heal my wounds. The next time I looked out, I saw something strange.  Small tendrils of green were appearing. New life was growing somehow in this desolate wasteland. And then I realized that the sun could once again see me. I arose completely from my hole, and basked in the warmth, laying in the ashes of the ruined forest, I let the sun feel my skin, let it warm my wounds which were slowly becoming scars instead.

I don’t know how much time passed like that, perhaps years. Around me, things grew as inside me, things healed. I was shocked to see that the plants that formed from the bits of green were different. Not at all like the forest I’d lost. New trees and vines and bushes made their way up towards the sun. the new growth surrounded the burned  remains of the old almost completely, but I could still sometimes see the charred outline of a tree peeking out from underneath the vines.

As the forest I grew, I began to fear that it would, once again, take over and try to consume me, but these trees were different, they let the light filter through so the sun could still reach me. They kept my paths clear, and gave me new ones to explore.  I was safe here.

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