Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Divorce...

Ha!! THAT got your attention, didn't it?!

I've never been married so my divorce had to do with my lunch a few weeks ago, while shadowing a doc for the day. Yep, replete with my suit, matching purse, and well heeled shoes, I also had a divorce work up in the making after the dab of cottage cheese didn't sit so well with the pasta salad.

Fortunately for me, the physician is everything I would expect one to be... kind, caring, courteous, genuine, and hilarious. I'm not sure who got a bigger kick out of me blacking out and "divorcing" - him or his nurse! Erstwhile, I sat and wondered if I'd be asked back again.

The med school process only begins with great grades and solid MCAT score. In between getting those there is the shadowing component and for some, like myself, it it critical. Finding those shadowing experiences, however, can be tedious and difficult especially in light of HIPAA regulations and tighter HR.

In my case, the school of choice has stated pretty clearly one thing I need is rural family practice shadowing in light of the fact that I have lived for the past 15+ years in a major metro area, no matter that the village I live in 30 miles removed from that metro and has maybe 1000 people in it. Suffice to say, the only noise I hear at night comes from the deer in the woods or the owl.

What came of a shadowing set-up via my own father was amazing. I was worried, however, that my brief time outside the patient room "investigating" the better plumbing of the medical clinic might preclude me from coming back and shadowing some more.

I need not have worried. I'm headed back again for another day. This time I'll make sure I eat properly before I get there, have a decent lunch, and wear comfortable shoes.

Honestly, it's the little "you can do this" nudges that help make a 9.5 hour physics lab write up seem worth it, or a 12 hour study session for biochem wanted not merely needed.

And just when I needed another "wth am I thinking" question answered, it came in email.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bane of My Evenings...

physics. Didn't see that one coming, did ya?!

The material is not hard, the math is not complicated but why did someone not warn me this little 4 credit class is about as much work as a 6 credit course? I really do like the course but dear God, the work load is kicking my butt... think the dogs even growled at me tonight as I tried to sneak into the house unannounced.

It is often said that organic chemistry is the gatekeeper to medical school. I think it is physics. Why?

Anyone who can manage to schedule around the multiple papers, quizzes, exams, pre-flights, pre-lab quizzes, problem work ups, predictions, essays, and lab reports for this one class, work a part time job, complete the work for other courses as well as take those exams, should be able to skillfully manage the work load for med school.

Drinking from the fire hose is the metaphor used for med school; drinking from five sprinklers is the metaphor for physics.

Thankfully, the professor is funny and well liked. Thankfully, I'm getting accustomed to the schedule (basically every night is physics sprinkled with some chemistry, with biochem for dessert).

Back at it...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

North Carolina

Spent many months in North Carolina taking a pharmaceutical company to IPO. Sitting at the board room conference table with the posters of the orphan drugs the company manufactured, I got lost completely blanking out the discussion. I think I "knew" then my path had to change directions. Not sure how or when or where but I "knew" and now on that path I dreamed of, I miss Carolina.

And here's to James Taylor who pays tribute to the beauty of this gorgeous state.

Manilla - Hope & Prayers

A few years ago, I traveled to the Philippines while building my audit group there. Not sure what to expect from this island country's people, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

The people are the happiest I have ever met in my travels throughout much of Europe, Canada, US, Asia, and Mexico. I found the Filipino people to be some of the most resilient under the worst of conditions: bombing of the mall in the central business district (something I was in hotel and felt but did not know what it was) to the torrential downpour of Typhoon Egay.

During the bombing of the mall, the wife of one of our employee's was killed. Six hours later, the people of Manila kept moving, kept living, kept... singing.

In looking back I remember vividly how the entire group would go out to lunch - all 40 of them - singing, and dancing. I wondered to myself if they were just happy to escape work and yet when they returned promptly 1/2 hour later, they were still singing and dancing and then they worked... quietly.

I remember some of the employees coming in with backpacks, clothes perfectly folded inside as they'd had to wade through chest deep water in light of the Typhoon Egay. They did not call in sick, late, lazy, tired or stuck. They came in.

It is my hope that same resilience that saw the Filipinos through those times will see them through the latest typhoon to hit their island nation. It is a gorgeous country made even more so by the people themselves.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Music Calms The Heart & Soul

Bobby Brexel wrote the music for this video specifically for the 9-11 firefighters who lost their lives that tragic and horrific day. After much research, I cannot find how to buy the song from iTunes so, I'm saving the entire video here.

While the song specifically addresses firefighters, it can apply to anyone, anywhere that saves lives: police officers, nurses, EMT, and of course, physicians.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Secrets

I hate to admit it. Really, I do. In life, I dress, eat, and talk like everyone else but deep inside, I have this major secret. Sometimes it comes out in little doses but not big enough really to put anyone over the top and me into the "geek-o-sphere." Until now.

See?

Secretly, I really like physics. Please don't tell anyone.

Tonight was the first exam of this new school year. A few things stand out about it, especially in light of needing beta blockers, Concerta, and diet coke (don't forget the diet coke!!).

My headaches that normally come with exams were non-existent until the end of the test, then during the group discussion portion of the test, I was calm, cool, and laughing with my group mates about the Darwinian Award type problem we had to solve (yeay, for Kittie O'Miller).

The strong flight instinct that I've honed for 45 years, dissipated with each passing minute and instead transformed into something more positive - I wanted to be there, I wanted to be in class, and geekily enough, I want to stay in physics and might I say, "Ace it?"

Yes, I'm a bit geeky... probably more so now that I think about it. Physics, organic chemistry, and math oh my.

Another walking stone on my path to med school :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Is What Happens When 10# 4oz Babies Grow Up

He is my greatest gift. When I'm tired and stressed about an exam, he makes me laugh and gets me to forget the stress. When I'm crabby, he makes me laugh and gets me to forget. Basically, he makes me laugh, a lot and often.

Here's to my son! (BTW, I'm 6'1"...)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dental Care & Health

Many things are getting twisted, turned, re-routed and touted with ObamaCare. Some areas that have failed to get any attention whatsoever: dental plans.

Being a University student equates to excellent health insurance but with a crown that needed replacing (really, it happens at any age although about the time one needs reading glasses it appears to happen more frequently), I was unsure and this past week, I had to find out.

The temporary crown that got put in place "some" time ago, came loose. Thankfully, I can hop on over to the dental clinic on campus and have them fix it inexpensively. That got me thinking about how a bad tooth can and probably does, affect the other aspects of people's lives.

Simply doing a Google search on impact of poor dental care on health returned a blitz of entries. The one below is included in its entirety.

My question now is: ObamaCare going to include dental care as well? (No, I don't think so as everyone sees these as separate issues. However, I would say they are intertwined like DNA.)
---------------------
Aug 20, 2007
Impact Of Poor Dental Health

by SirGan/Healthy Living

There’s no need to point out how much our teeth are important to us, to both our physical appearance and our overall health. Eyes may be the window to our soul, but dentists often say that our mouth is the window to our body's health. Almost every disease, in addition to other symptoms
, will also cause some change in our mouth. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in your mouth. That’s why it is important to understand the connection between our oral health and our overall health.

Toothache – the most common symptom

Few of us have been so fortunate to never spend a sleepless night because of a toothache. Most people have a strange fear of dental work of any kind, and that’s why treatment often comes too late. In the end, the only solution in most cases is tooth extraction. Fortunately, the times are changing. When suffering from toothache, there are several options but only if you contact your dentist as soon as possible. Some of the most common procedures are dental filling, root canal, dental bridge, crown, or ultimately, tooth extraction. Today these treatments and procedures can be very comfortable, and teeth extractions are only done when necessary. There are also cosmetic improvements and dental implants available which may offer alternatives to traditional treatment.

Halitosis

Halitosis is also known as bad breath. In most cases, halitosis originates in the mouth due to open-air interaction with bacteria. In other words, a bad breath is likely a sign of poor oral health. Even some cases of nasal dysfunction can cause extremely bad breath. Also, all kinds of sinusitis, post-nasal drip, and allergies may contribute to the bad breath problem.

Poor dental health and increased stroke risk

A loss of teeth and gums that surrounds them can contribute to the increased risk of ischemic stroke. Until recently, experts couldn’t explain the connection between our teeth and hour hearts. But then Boston University did a study where the relationship between gum disease and history of stroke was definitely confirmed. This study has confirmed that older people, with a long history of tobacco use, almost toothless, were significantly more likely to have a history of stroke than those with teeth and no appreciable attachment loss. The chances of having a stroke is about twice as high in those with complete tooth loss then in those with healthy teeth. However, the exact connection still hasn’t been found! Later, a group of experts tried to explain the connection saying that every inflammation in the mouth is nothing more than a general inflammation. They have proved that a single periodontal treatment, such as scaling, can lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker known to be associated with heart and vascular disease. Therefore, we can now say with certainty that a chronic inflammation arising from dental disease can cause hardening of the arteries and atherosclerosis – a key risk factor for stroke.

Oral health and overall health status

Our mouths are literally filled to the brim with all kinds of different bacteria. This is completely normal because, with good oral care we can keep these bacteria under control. Oral hygiene is usually based on daily brushing and flossing. In addition to these “artificial” ways of handling bacteria, our saliva is also a key defense against bacteria and viruses. So in a normal situation, we shouldn’t have any problems. However, poor dental hygiene allows these bacteria grow out of control, which can lead to severe inflammation and gum infections. This can be extremely dangerous, because our gums are our first line of defense, and when bacteria pass this line the next stop is our bloodstream. We all know what happens then: bacterial attacks on all organs; it’s usually heart and joints, but the brain, liver, and kidneys could also be affected!

Dental (oral) health and other health conditions

Our dental health and oral health in general could be linked to a number of different diseases. We have already mentioned the connection between bad teeth and cardiovascular disease (heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke, bacterial endocarditis, etc).

Some other related conditions include:

• Pregnancy: Gum disease could be linked to premature birth. Bacteria enter the bloodstream via damaged gums, and end up in pregnant woman's placenta or amniotic fluid, which causes a premature birth. When pregnant, it is vital to maintain oral health.
• Diabetes: Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth, and a variety of oral infections; in return, poor oral health can make diabetes more difficult to control. That’s why all people diagnosed with diabetes must pay extra attention to oral hygiene.
• HIV/AIDS: One of the first signs of AIDS may appear in a patient’s mouth, usually as a severe gum infection. In most cases this is a fungi Candida infection, seen as a white layer over the tongue and gums.

Oral hygiene advice

Good oral hygiene is necessary for the prevention of dental caries, periodontal diseases, bad breath and other dental problems. The three main steps in maintaining good oral hygiene are:

1. Tooth brushing - the most important part of the process. Tooth brushing will remove dental plaque and other debris from teeth. You should brush your teeth in the morning, after every meal during the day, and before you go to sleep. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush, and also be sure it is the right size. Keep in mind that, generally, smaller is better. The bristles should be held at a 45 degree angle to the teeth. Front teeth should be brushed on the inside surfaces of the upper and lower jaws by tilting the brush vertically.

It is also very important to brush your tongue, which helps freshen the breath.

A good and effective brushing should last at least no less than 3 minutes. Be sure to be gentle, because brushing the teeth too vigorously could cause the gums to recede and exposes root surfaces.

2. Flossing teeth - Although most people don’t floss, this is an extremely useful measure which helps remove plaque between the teeth, in areas that a toothbrush can’t reach. Simply wrap about 18-inches of floss around the middle fingers of your hands - try to hold the floss tightly - and gently guide it between your teeth. Be careful not to injure your gums!

3. Regular visits to the dentist - Unfortunately, dental work is often expensive. In Australia, for example, a standard consultation costs around $100, while the bill for more complicated procedures such as root canal work can be as high as $500. If we include specialist treatment, the bill can easily go into thousands of dollars. Fortunately, private health insurance provides a partial discount for these costs, but still, the treatment can be extremely expensive.
Following all the procedures of dental health we’ve described above, you can avoid all these expenses, possible health complications, bad breath, and also enjoy a perfect smile. It’s definitely worth trying!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finally, I Got It

Acceleration while moving away from the Earth is going down, and coming back down to Earth acceleration is likewise going down.

THAT makes it easy to understand. The way it was described in class, not so much...

The looming physics exam is not giving me headaches like last semester's chemistry exams. So I have to wonder what the difference is. There are plenty. with two primary ones.

One: I've taken off the pressure on myself to get a perfect A. I think that extra pressure of 4.0 only, made me beyond nervous when I bombed my first exam (Abby dying the night before notwithstanding). In talking to the various medical schools yes, they will see my gawd-awful undergraduate GPA, they will see my MBA GPA, and finally, they will see my BCPM GPA. It is that BCPM GPA that will matter most and obviously, it will be stellar. All that plus a solid MCAT score and I will be fine, moreover, admittable.

Two: With two semesters under my belt, I've learned how to study for science classes (again?) and how to learn the equations given. It was never about the straight forward "PV = nRT" type equation it's how one could derive the "n" if given other information. In chemistry we are given problems at the beginning of lecture without help. This is for those of us who come early to settle in, get our heads centered on chem for the hour. I like it.

So, my first physics exam is on Thursday. Guess where your blogger is?!

Make it a great day!

More Controversy From Within Democrats on Healthcare

It would appear there is considerable discord within the Democratic ranks on the current healthcare plan put forth by President Obama - Baucus a more middle of the road Democrat has put forth his own ideas which a high ranking democrat from West Virginia opposes; and now Menendez says he won't support the current plan because essentially it leaves out illegal immigrants.

If illegal immigrants are not getting insurance because their employers don't pay for it then they are driving up costs by using the "emergency room" healthcare plan instead which drives up the goodwill/charity care line item costs on hospital financial statements. Those costs eventually get driven to other consumers and insurance companies. It is a no-win, vicious circle.

Now Menendez is holding up his support of the plan until concerns about immigration are resolved.

The latest is posted below in its entirety.

Senior Democrat turns healthcare debate into fight over illegal immigration
By Alexander Bolton - 09/18/09 06:00 AM ET

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is putting Democrats in a bind by seeking to let illegal immigrants benefit from the healthcare overhaul.

Menendez, the only Hispanic senator, has considerable leverage with Democrats because he may represent the deciding vote on the Senate Finance Committee set to mark up the legislation next week. He’s also the party’s campaign committee chairman, giving him added influence.

Menendez said he is withholding his support for the bill until his concerns about immigration and other matters are addressed.

His objections come one week after President Barack Obama staunchly disputed GOP accusations that the healthcare proposal would aid illegal immigrants — prompting the now-famous “You lie!” outburst from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).

The Senate Finance Committee bill, drafted by centrist Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), does not allow illegal immigrants to purchase health coverage over an exchange set up to create competition within the insurance industry and reduce costs.

Menendez is troubled by that language and has joined Hispanic advocacy groups in criticizing the bill for placing too heavy a burden on legal and illegal immigrants.

Immigrants are not required to show proof of citizenship or legal residency to buy health insurance. If they were prohibited from participating in an insurance exchange, they would be forced to buy coverage at a significantly higher cost than legal residents.

Hispanic advocates argue that companies employing illegal immigrants would be tempted to opt out of the national health insurance exchange to avoid having to verify the immigration status of all their workers. Nearly half of illegal immigrants receive health insurance from their employers, according to one estimate.

“We’re not very pleased with the provisions in the bill,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “We think it goes far beyond what is necessary to prevent undocumented immigrants getting tax-subsidized benefits.”

Menendez and the Hispanic advocacy groups are also concerned with how Baucus would treat families made up of both legal and undocumented residents.

“I have a series of concerns about the bill,” Menendez said.

Satisfying Menendez’s objections to the immigration provisions will not be an easy task. Any concessions making it easier for immigrants to buy insurance could be seized on by opponents who have accused Democrats of planning to subsidize health plans for illegal immigrants.

But Menendez has more power on the Finance Committee than usual because the second-ranking Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), has said there is “no way” he will vote for the healthcare reform package assembled by Baucus.

The Finance panel has a 13-10 Democratic advantage, and while several Democrats on the committee have raised concerns about the bill, Rockefeller and Menendez are the most critical.

The New Jersey Democrat is also concerned about whether low- and middle-income residents of his state would receive high enough federal subsidies to afford coverage, and is skeptical of a proposal to tax high-cost insurance plans. New Jersey’s healthcare premiums, on average, rank among the costliest in the country.

As chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Menendez understands the importance of Hispanic voters, a fast-growing electoral bloc that overwhelming supported Obama in the 2008 election.

Prohibiting immigrants from participating in the exchange is not a point Baucus can easily concede. He is following the lead of the White House. Obama declared in a speech to Congress: “the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

One Democratic aide said it would be difficult for Menendez to win the inclusion of illegal immigrants into the insurance exchange. But Menendez may have more success increasing subsidies for those mixed families that include illegal immigrants.

Under Baucus’s plan, a family that includes illegal immigrants would receive lower subsidies than those without but earning the same income.

For example, the plan would count the income of illegal immigrants in a family when assessing how much federal aid a family could receive; families with higher incomes receive lower subsidies. But the illegal immigrants in a family would not be eligible for healthcare subsidies, even though their income would be counted to determine the level of federal aid to the family.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Under Consideration - Private Loans Being Disbanded

This was not welcome news for many students who have exhausted their federal loan limits or already have a bachelor's and/or master's degrees.

I'm one of them. Wanting to be a rural family physician could come to a screeching halt.

Stay tuned - will post more later.

"Posting Later..."

It is entirely possible without a private loan, that I may not finish my pre-reqs for med school. Fully aware of the interest rates also tacked onto private loans and the repayments that start immediately, private loans are my only means of finishing (or selling house).

I hope the Senate shoots down the idea.

First, the US government has enough control over our lives as is and under Obama is continuing to get its tentacles in other places. MY education need not be one of them. MY ability to continue at some point to pay exorbitant taxes need not be one of them either.

Second, if those of us who are able, capable, willing and WANTING to serve the needs of the United States citizens for more family doctors, then there needs to be means for us to get the education required. Either raise the limits on federal subsidized loans or LET US take out our own private loans to do so.

Third, private loans for students alone means they have excellent credit. Excellent. Not fair, partly cloudy, mediocre, substandard. Excellent. IF they do not have excellent credit, they MUST have a co-signer. If those students who have poor credit are able to obtain someone with excellent credit, willing to sign on a dotted line and be responsible for these loans, then I believe there is limited, if any, risk. Someone will be paying them back.

Here it is from the Chicago Sun - Times:

House moves to cut back private student loans, expand government grants

September 17, 2009
Associated Press


WASHINGTON — The House is poised to vote to push private lenders out of the federal college loan business and massively expand the government's own lending program.

Following a day of debate, House lawmakers were expected to approve on Thursday a student aid bill that has widespread support, including from the White House. The measure will then go to the Senate, where its fate is somewhat less certain.

Putting the government in charge of all federal loans would save taxpayers an estimated $87 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO says the figure could be much lower, $47 billion, when administrative costs and market conditions are considered.

The money would boost Pell Grants for needy students, increasing the maximum grant by $1,400 to $6,900 over the next decade. It also would pay for a new college completion fund, community college reforms and more college aid for veterans.

"No student in this great country of ours should have to mortgage their future to pursue their dreams," said the bill's sponsor, California Democratic Rep. George Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Yet the money also would be spent on things that don't help pay for college, such as construction at K-12 schools and new preschool programs.

And while the measure would increase Pell Grants, it would do nothing to curb college costs, which rise much faster than Pell Grants do.

As consumers, college students probably wouldn't notice much difference in their loans, which they would get through their schools. Broadly speaking, the bill doesn't do much to make loans cheaper or help pay them off.

It does keep interest rates for need-based federal loans from jumping from 3.4 percent currently to 6.8 percent as scheduled in 2012. Rates for most other loans would remain at 6.8 percent.

Still, the bill's changes to federal college aid programs would be the most sweeping since their creation in the 1960s and would fulfill a campaign promise by President Barack Obama.

The measure would end the subsidized loan program under which private lenders made $56 billion in government-backed loans to more than 6 million students last year, compared with $14 billion in direct loans from the government.

The bill would also shorten the labyrinthine college aid form, which Obama proposed to eliminate altogether when he ran for president.

Republican critics argue it is wrong to put the government in near-total control of student lending.

"Ask yourselves whether another government takeover is what we need right now," said Minnesota Rep. John Kline, senior Republican on the Education Committee.

Many also worry about job losses in their districts. Private lenders employ more than 30,000 people whose jobs depend on the subsidized loan program, and the industry says many would be laid off.

Employees of Sallie Mae, the biggest student lender, have been trying to involve local leaders in the issue and recently held a series of town hall meetings and petition drives in Pennsylvania, Florida, Delaware, New York and Indiana.

The Reston, Va.-based lender has about 8,500 employees in the program and probably would lay off about 30 percent of those workers. It still will have contracts to service federal loans.

Democratic Rep. David Wu of Oregon said lenders still could make all the loans they want. "What will not happen anymore is making those student loans with taxpayer subsidies," he said.

Under the measure, Pell Grants would rise slightly more than inflation over the next decade, increasing on average by about 2.6 percent yearly, according to the bill's sponsors.

However, the grants would still depend on annual spending bills and could rise less than promised, as has happened in the past.

Obama originally proposed to take Pell Grants out of lawmakers' hands entirely, making the program an entitlement like Social Security and Medicare, which would have cost an estimated $117 billion — more than lawmakers have to spend.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Procrastination - The Bane Of My Existence

When I was younger, school came easily for me. Never studied, never read the text books, hardly even stopped to think about papers I needed to write so when I got to college the first time around, I took the same approach.

HA! That didn't work out so well for me. Thanks to the generous registrar and some other notables, I did receive a degree. If they'd had a degree for "we-are-tired-of-you-being-a-continual-student-go-work" degree, I'd have graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Fast forward to now: I read, I study, I do word problems until my eyes bleed. In my tiny little calendar replete with University of Minnesota emblazoned on it, I have all my tests noted - day of and a week before reminder - however, I seemed to ignore that this week.

In 11 hours my chem pre-lab quiz needs to be entered and passed for me to enter the lab in 12 hours. I'm anal about getting all these points. There are only 10 but it bothers me to get a 9... so I make sure they are correct.

I started it last week when it was available online. I even went so far as to make the equations and plug in some numbers... then stopped because I "had all this time" and a son who needed my attention, and the lawn needed to be mowed, and the laundry needed to be done (HA! didn't say "hung up" as well), and the dogs needed to be groomed, and ... procrastination.

It is the bane of my existence right now. So on top of chem pre-lab quiz, I have pre-flight for physics, physics homework, and biochem to read.

Procrastination is biting my butt - you'd think I'd have learned my first go 'round at the U... my head is thick as a plank!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chatty "Cathy" In Lab

Someone who actually talks as much as I do, if not more. :D

Love it - and SHE is smart as a whip, funny, kind...

Nice to find other women are not afraid of the sciences and getting great grades.

Oh yea, there was a 3rd person in our group who was so meek and mild, I think she fainted when asked to go write our equation on the board.

House Republicans Questions President Obama on Health Care

On the record, I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. Having volunteered 1000s of hours for the Grand Old Party, I gave up my card toting days and vote for whom I think is best. That is sometimes not an elephant adoring individual.

Politics aside, the current health care plan under heavy discussion within town halls, private family circles, and other external outlets, stinks. Like bad skunk, or wet dog, or unwashed, dirty socks... it just stinks.

Having volunteered and led an event for the poorest and most vulnerable of them all (impoverished children in inner city St. Paul, MN), having seen what they and their families must go through to have a decent life let alone get decent health care, having myself been treated with disdain as a single mom while carrying EXCELLENT INSURANCE - I well know how important health care is for ALL United States citizens.

However, the current plan falls far short in many areas. Scare tactics of death panels aside, the plan is horrid at best and deceivingly ghastly at worst.

My first thought:

Why does the plan only take effect in 2013? Duh, that's 4 years from now AFTER President Obama's his own assumed 2nd election and long after any ability for anyone else to stop this charade of his.

Below, in it's entirety from another site, questions raised by the House Republicans regarding President Obama's assertions and claims in pontificating his plan.
---------------------------------
House Republicans on Thursday issued ten “common-sense” questions arising from President Barack Obama’s Wednesday-night speech plugging health care reform.

The questions – and the words that prompted them – appear here verbatim: (emphasis added is mine, italicized comments mine as well)

President Barack Obama: “Our collective failure to meet this challenge – year after year, decade after decade – has led us to the breaking point.”

Common Sense Question: If we are at the “breaking point,” then why doesn’t your government-run insurance plan start until 2013?

President Barack Obama: “There are now 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Common Sense Question: On August 20, you said 46 million Americans were uninsured. What happened to 16 million Americans?

In another three weeks will it be 15 million citizens? It doesn't matter. ALL should be able to obtain health care without using the emergency room as their primary care.

President Barack Obama: “And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage.”

Common Sense Question: Does that mean 15 million Americans will lose their health care before your government plan starts in 2013?

Given the continuing trend for companies to dump employees, COBRA being far too expensive, and an inability for individuals to get coverage without lengthy paperwork documenting all illnesses, vaccinations, prescriptions, and surgeries since birth and even then being denied, that figure does not seem so outlandish.

However, that figure does not take into account for all those getting dumped one day, and picked up shortly thereafter on another company's insurance plan.


President Barack Obama: “We spend one and a half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren’t any healthier for it.”

Common Sense Question: Then why do people travel from around the world to receive health care in the United States?

People come here from all over the world because our health care practitioners are some of the very finest, the individuals can get in to see the providers, and those that travel here can afford to pay out of pocket for the health care they receive. All one has to do is Google, "Sheik" of Saudi Arabia and Rochester, MN to find out the family spent close to $2 million in that little city during his stay at Mayo. He is not an exception to the international patient.

Why are we not healthier? Because Americans have become lazy - lazy in educating themselves on many subjects preferring instead to rely on the internet/news/gossip magazines/etc, lazy in making sure they eat right and of the right quantities, lazy in making sure they are accountable to themselves preferring instead, some very well spoken, polished person do it for them.

We are not healthier because we rely on corporate America to feed us ala McDonald's, Wendy's, BK, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and more - which by the way, I eat at often BUT I limit my intake.

We are not healthier NOT because of the quality of the care received in hospital and clinic settings, NOT because of a lack of insurance (although that probably does not help either) BUT because of our own choices in taking care of ourselves first.


President Barack Obama:
“Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

Common Sense Question: Didn’t the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office say that the health care plan you have endorsed will add $239 billion to our annual deficits over the next ten years?

I have yet to see where health care and insurance company CEO pay is limited to what a top physician makes at that site. NO CEO is worth more than the individuals saving lives. None.

President Barack Obama: “Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan.”

Common Sense Question: If we can pay for “most” of health care reform by controlling waste and inefficiency, then why does a $900 billion health care plan include $820 billion in tax increases?

My fear: how the reduction in Medicare? Certainly, the plan is not going to take away from MY aging and elderly parents and force them to decide which medications to stop taking. If so, I believe that's called government sanctioned genocide.


President Barack Obama: “…no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”

Common Sense Question: Do you object to House Democrats defeating an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee markup that would have explicitly prohibited federal funding of abortion under a government-run health care plan?

President Barack Obama: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.”

Common Sense Question: Do you oppose the House Democrat health care plan, H.R. 3200, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said will add $239 billion to our annual deficits over the next ten years and “would probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits” thereafter? If so, which Democrat plan are you going to support?

President Barack Obama: “Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan…the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over the next 10 years…”

Common Sense Question: If there is so much “waste and inefficiency” in Medicare and Medicaid – two government-run health care plans – then won’t further government involvement in health care lead to further “waste and inefficiency”?

I like the word "around" as an adjective for $900 billion... kind of like when the AIG CEO and other well known public companies said they were missing "around" an exorbitant amount of money. Think those guys are in jail... 'nuff said.

President Barack Obama: “And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen.”

Common Sense Question: Will you agree to meet with House Republican leaders to discuss health care reform, as they requested almost four months ago?

I think the question begs, do House Republicans have a plan?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

If Lawyers Are Going To Regulate Medicine...

I found this ironic, funny, and sadly true. In going back to school, I find the science people are generally more direct and precise in their words; wordy types who end up being lawyers twisters, using abject truth to fit their current need.

ObamaCare - a lawyer, twisting the words of truth to fit his own needs and encouraging this country to head down a destructive path.

In my own life, I was friends with a woman from a Canada who was battling her second round of breast cancer. Her only hope for life was to get to U.S. healthcare facilities stating that Canadian health care is deplorable at best, and deadly at its worst. She went on to say that it was not because the Canadian doctors were somehow worse than those educated in the U.S. but because the patient COULD NOT GET IN TO SEE ONE. She attributed it to the Canadian socialized medicine plan and hated it. Sadly, my friend with whom I volunteered, died. R.I.P. Shahna.

My uncle is married to a Canadian and loved living in the gorgeous province of British Columbia. Throughout his life, however, he came to the U.S. for healthcare. As his health began to fail in his mid-70s, he and his wife moved south. Again, not because the doctors themselves are somehow substandard - Canadian doctors are not - but because there simply are NOT ENOUGH doctors to treat all the patients who need help on a more immediate basis.

As President Obama moves toward socialism, I have to wonder where all these extra physicians are going to come from. Substandard undergraduate students? How about those licensed in other countries (ala Europe) who cannot pass the USMLE Step 1, 2 or 3?

And if we are going to socialize medicine, then let's socialize attorneys. Because in all honesty, the lawyers I've chosen to work with caused more stress and more mind numbing pain than any doctor visit I've ever had.

The article below was in the Wall Street Journal.

A Doctor's Plan for Legal Industry Reform
By RICHARD B. RAFAL
Since we are moving toward socialism with ObamaCare, the time has come to do the same with other professions—especially lawyers. Physician committees can decide whether lawyers are necessary in any given situation.

At a town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., last month, our uninformed lawyer in chief suggested that we physicians would rather chop off a foot than manage diabetes since we would make more money doing surgery. Then President Obama compounded his attack by claiming a doctor's reimbursement is between "$30,000" and "$50,000" for such amputations! (Actually, such surgery costs only about $1,500.)

Physicians have never been so insulted. Because of these affronts, I will gladly volunteer for the important duty of controlling and regulating lawyers. Since most of what lawyers do is repetitive boilerplate or pushing paper, physicians would have no problem dictating what is appropriate for attorneys. We physicians know much more about legal practice than lawyers do about medicine.

Following are highlights of a proposed bill authorizing the dismantling of the current framework of law practice and instituting socialized legal care:

• Contingency fees will be discouraged, and eventually outlawed, over a five-year period. This will put legal rewards back into the pockets of the deserving—the public and the aggrieved parties. Slick lawyers taking their "cut" smacks of a bookie operation. Attorneys will be permitted to keep up to 3% in contingency cases, the remainder going into a pool for poor people.

• Legal "DRGs." Each potential legal situation will be assigned a relative value, and charges limited to this amount. Program participation and acceptance of this amount is mandatory, regardless of the number of hours spent on the matter. Government schedules of flat fees for each service, analogous to medicine's Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), will be issued. For example, any divorce will have a set fee of, say, $1,000, regardless of its simplicity or complexity. This will eliminate shady hourly billing. Niggling fees such as $2 per page photocopied or faxed would disappear. Who else nickels-and-dimes you while at the same time charging hundreds of dollars per hour? I'm surprised lawyers don't tack shipping and handling onto their bills.

• Legal "death panels." Over 75? You will not be entitled to legal care for any matter. Why waste money on those who are only going to die soon? We can decrease utilization, save money and unclog the courts simultaneously. Grandma, you're on your own.

• Ration legal care. One may need to wait months to consult an attorney. Despite a perceived legal need, physician review panels or government bureaucrats may deem advice unnecessary. Possibly one may not get representation before court dates or deadlines. But that' s tough: What do you want for "free"?

• Physician controlled legal review. This is potentially the most exciting reform, with doctors leading committees for determining the necessity of all legal procedures and the fairness of attorney fees. What a wonderful way for doctors to get even with the sharks attempting to eviscerate the practice of medicine.

• Discourage/eliminate specialization. Legal specialists with extra training and experience charge more money, contributing to increased costs of legal care, making it unaffordable for many. This reform will guarantee a selection of mediocre, unmotivated attorneys but should help slow rising legal costs. Big shot under indictment? Classified National Archives documents down your pants? Sitting president defending against impeachment? Have FBI agents found $90,000 in your freezer? Too bad. Under reform you too may have to go to the government legal shop for advice.

• Electronic legal records. We should enter the digital age and computerize and centralize legal records nationwide. All files must be in a standard, preferably inconvenient, format and must be available to government agencies. A single database of judgments, court records, client files, etc. will decrease legal expenses. Anyone with Internet access will be able to search the database, eliminating unjustifiable fees charged by law firms for supposedly proprietary information, while fostering transparency. It will enable consumers to dump their clunker attorneys and transfer records easily.

• Ban legal advertisements. Catchy phone numbers such as 1-800-LAWYERS would be seized by the government and repurposed for reporting unscrupulous attorneys.

• New government oversight. Government overhead to manage the legal system will include a cabinet secretary, commissioners, ombudsmen, auditors, assistants, czars and departments.

• Collect data about the supply of and demand for attorneys. Create a commission to study the diversity and geographic distribution of attorneys, with power to stipulate and enforce corrective actions to right imbalances. The more bureaucracy the better. One can never have too many eyes watching these sleazy sneaks.

• Lawyer Reduction Act (H.R. -3200). A self-explanatory bill that not only decreases the number of law students, but also arbitrarily removes 3,200 attorneys from practice each year. Textbook addition by subtraction.

Enthusiastically embracing the above legal changes can serve as a "teachable moment" and will go a long way toward giving the lawyers who run Congress a taste of their own medicine.

—Dr. Rafal is a radiologist in New York City.

Gunners, Snipers, & Others

Cheaters and thieves come in all forms, even med school students. What makes this especially sad, is the med school students no longer need to compete with their undergraduate, not-admitted brethren. They've already attained the holy grail of what we pre-meds are striving for.

Ideas stolen are not original and while flattering, is also rather disingenuous. Will you be like that as a doctor? I imagine so and become vilified and distrusted amongst your physician peers.

I hope you find the reason for your need to steal and thieve, run and gun. Life is short and paradoxically, long as well.

Good luck to you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Days Like These...

First day back in almost 4 months... was I nervous? Excited? Anxious? Or none of the above? Probably a whole lot of mixed emotions were running rampant through my head without me even really recognizing it.

Biology was a bit odd. That's the word I'll use for today, "odd". Great instructor, can tell he really likes being around students (hence his various and repeated awards for outstanding instructor) but it was odd. One minute talking about protons and neutrons and why electrons are important (at least he didn't call them "proteins" as another instructor did... an enlightenment I'll save for another post) but I'm not sure why organic chair structures are needed so early in a course when organic chemistry is not a requirement. Anyway, I really like the instructor and can tell he really likes teaching. We'll see if I stick in the class as my schedule really is dependent upon chemistry at this time.

So, then onto physics. Running from the parking lot to the class nothing interesting seemed to happen. Class was completely packed so I pulled up a piece of "real estate" on the dirtied carpeting. The instructor for that class more than made up for my time being one with the floor - he's funny, incorporates real life meaning into physics material. This class is going to be awesome!!

Then to physics lab... oh, and the exam they failed to warm anyone about. My earlier posts document my overwhelming test anxiety which is being treated, as long as I know when the exam is. I tried my best to take it; I tried my best to get through the material and despite that it doesn't affect my grade in any way, the thoughts racing through my head were, "Oh no, they're going to boot me out of this class and into remedial math" and from there it went downhill fast.

Never mind that when I took the math placement test, I placed into calculus. Never mind that I more than understand sin, cos, tan, sec, cosec, and cotan. Never mind all that... my anxiety at having a white test booklet with little bubbles...

I didn't finish the exam.

By the time everyone else had left, I was a sweaty mess replete with a headache that would not subside. Too late for the beta blockers I am prescribed for exams, too late for Concerta to kick in to help me concentrate, I was simply exhausted.

In explaining my situation to the lab TA he could not have been more professional. What a great teacher he will be someday. At his young age he understood and didn't judge, rather helping me understand how to study physics, what it takes to be successful in the course, how to best prepare for labs, and again, not judging me.

What relief!

Headed from that lab for my parked car and promptly found out, my purse was missing.

It still is.

Day one score: -2

So, how does a lady like me cope with that? For a brief moment I thought it a sign, I should quit school, stop pursuing my new path, and become a Zamboni driver for the MN Wild (just kidding).

Actually, I count my blessings and hug my son. It is the only way for me to keep moving forward when the days come like this that make me shake my head, suck down a diet coke and some Tylenol, and hit the sack.

Did I mention my car accident today!? :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

1st Physics Experiment

Some years ago I was driving in a car with my then boyfriend. Tall, charming, good looking, dashing, even hot some might say, and a tad over the top if you get my hint :)

Anyway, because of his outward know-it-all attitude toward any and all subjects, I quickly argued with him on a physics discussion we had. It was heated. I KNEW I was right and he was wrong, dang it anyway. This one time, I HAD to be right...

I was wrong. It sucks. I found out last night while trying it myself. What was it?

In a small SUV driving 60 mph down I-94 a person tosses up a coin, how fast is the coin traveling forward (NOT up and down)?

In my ignorance, I said zero because the moment it would leave my hand, it would stop moving forward (momentum be damned). Of course, if that were true, the coin would flip through the back window of a truck and make quite the hole as the truck's window kept moving forward.

So, I learned last night, "he" really did know-it-all (or not) and I learned my first lesson in physics.

I think I'm really going to love this class as it turns everything I've ever thought about motion, distance, travel, space, etc on its head.

Here's to starting school in two days!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stress

Real life, outside of the blog, and my life has a tad bit 'o stress... the house, my son, school, finances, working, volunteering, "fitting it all together", and then some. I've wondered how much easier school would be without the major distractions I've had and then realize, I can't change, fix, or control the outside factors - as I've continually tried with limited success - just how I deal with it.

So, I run. I hate running. Let me be crystal clear: hate it. However, once I put the iTunes and iShuffle in my ears, tie on Asics Air Nimbus running shoes and zipper the cute pink top the world seems to slip away. In no time, I've gone 2 or 3 miles, listened to my favorite songs, probably even hummed along with them (sorry to those who've since learned I'm tone deaf), and I'm energized. And relaxed.

I also swim. Started with 10 laps then thought myself a wimp and moved to 14 and finally up to 1/2 mile at a time. Even better when I run first for 30 minutes, then swim for another 20. All of that followed by a hot shower and things are pretty easy to live with.

The stress of life + the stress of trying to do the insane (med school at 45) = running & swimming and ultimately, less stress and no headaches.