Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Doctor Will See You Now

I have a question. Or two...well, more. Sorry! First of all, the History Channel now has "History 2." Why do they call it that, and not "The Conspiracy Theory Channel?" I've watched it a few times to help me fall asleep, even though the titles of the programs appealed to me, which might have meant that the programming would actually have kept me awake. But the narrators and the story lines seem to be full of inflammatory conspiracy theories,. and there is so much earnestness in the narration that if I weren't a natural skeptic, I might actually be convinced that there is "no other logical explanation" but that there were aliens landing on earth thousands of years ago, driving human history and evolution. Speaking of which, if there were advanced civilizations landing on earth thousands of years ago, why aren't they even more advanced now, and making themselves known?

Another TV question; I now have "National Geographic Wild" on for background noise as I write, and I just saw a commercial for "Fish Tank Kings." Do I really need to ask this one? How do guys making pretty fish tanks fit in with a channel supposedly devoted entirely to wildlife?

Secondly, aren't crackheads supposed to be skinny and emaciated? They are now saying that marijuana smokers tend to be thinner, which begs the question, how is that possible with the stereotype of getting the munchies and heading to Jack in the Box or the convenience store in the middle of the night for Ho-Ho's and Twinkies? Sorry, in case anyone reads the blog today...the first question is a reference to the mayor of Toronto being caught allegedly smoking crack with some alleged drug dealers. He's a hefty fellow; definitely not like the stereotype of crackheads.

There has been a lot of talk in the press lately about the persecution of whistleblowers. members of the media have been investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) as "co-conspirators" for being given "leaks" by government employees. My question is, is it only liberals who consider "whistleblowing" a good thing? My impression of that word is someone who sees wrongdoing going on, unchecked, and tells someone who can get the story out or get something done about it. I'm not sure when it became a bad thing to do/be. In fact, can anyone tell me why we wouldn't want to keep people safe who report on the laws that the government doesn't want us to know it is breaking?

I have a really good doctor. I don't remember the last appointment I had with him that took less than an hour, and the first, oh, third, of the visits usually consist of political discussion, (he's a conservative/libertarian, as far as I can tell.) Of course, his profession is pretty political these days, and he knows I occasionally broach political topics on my blog. One of his other patients told me that if he ever retires, this patient would probably stop going to the doctor. And he has swayed me scientifically on some questions, for example regarding vaccines. But in conversations about The Affordable Care Act, he has made some really (in my opinion) important points. His primary point has been that the focus was far too deep on the uninsured. Which is true, and truly matters! We all pay more because of the uninsured, and those who have no insurance and go to the emergency room for basic healthcare, and then can't pay the bill, get very poor care. That's because the "emergency" part of the name "emergency room" really is correct. If you're shot, or having a heart attack, or break a bone, you need the emergency room. If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, joint pain, or something simple like a cold or persistent digestive problems, it is most definitely the WRONG place to go, and you will likely be given something for pain and sent home with the instruction to see a doctor or specialist. Then we all pay more for health care and health insurance because of that person's unpaid debt to the hospital. But my doctor says that not enough attention was paid to reducing the cost of health care by providing for competition, which he says could lower the cost of basic testing. The way it is now, we choose a primary care doctor or specialist in our neighborhoods, and they send us to a certain place to get tests done. If we could choose a less expensive place to get, say, a colonoscopy, X-ray or MRI, it could drive down the cost through competition. There have been a few stories recently comparing the prices of basic tests in certain cities. It seems that they are based on the city, and not on a reasonable charge for the test. Of course, business has to make a profit, so please don't accuse me of communism or socialism-I'm not!!! But in a true capitalist society, competition serves the consumer, and companies that choose to serve the consumer survive by greater volumes of business. I'm not an economist, but it makes sense to me!

Speaking of socialism and trendy movements, I have a question about Small Business Saturday and the locavore movement. This one came to me as I was driving to a chain store yesterday to get some trash bags and a bottle of wine. I drove past many, many chain stores, some selling basically the same stuff-whatever their specialties must be. And it struck me that all this commerce thru chains is very bad for capitalism. The reason is that all those stores, Target, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Pier One, etc, etc, do not set their prices based on competition within the communities in which they reside. Prices and percent off sale prices and set by the corporation, not by the consumer. This is something that these giant corporations have lobbied very, very hard to do; squelch regulation that helps prevent monopolies. So they stop local stores from being able to compete, and then they don't even consider their close neighbors when setting those prices. So, Federal Trade Commission, Sherman Anti-trust legislation, congress, Mr. President, when do consumers get some help here?

I have seen many (I wish I had a way to emphasize how many without just typing the word "many" again) criticisms of the Chinese government's "one child policy." Now, a generation is defined as twenty years, and the Chinese policy went into effect in 1978. Theoretically, their population should have halved over just one generation, if I'm getting the math right (which is always an iffy proposition.) But it has not. And now there is a giant problem in China of too many men, and many of these men cannot find wives. This is going to create a real population crash in the near future. But I disagree with those who blame the one child policy for this. Normally the birth rates for girls and boys are roughly the same...well, actually a little higher for boys, because boys are slightly more likely to die in infancy. The problem in China is the appallingly antiquated notion that it is more honorable to have boys than girls. Girls are sometimes aborted, there have been stories of girls being abandoned to die, and there was a time, not terribly long ago when parents would give up their girl babies for adoption so that they could have one other baby that might be a boy. A cousin of mine was able to adopt her precious daughter from a Chinese orphanage about eight years ago for this reason. But didn't anyone in the government consider the cultural notion of the "betterness" (if it's not a word yet, TRADEMARK) of boys?

Lastly, I read an article this week by an awesome mom. Her name is Jackie Morgan MacDougall, and I saw her article on Huffington Post entitled "What I Finally Let My Daughter Do With Her Hair." Ms. MacDougall wrote that she grew up hating her hair, and when she had a daughter who had "perfect, shiny, black Asian hair" she was determined that her daughter would grow that hair long and proud. But her daughter wished a different statement, and wanted to cut her hair short, and perhaps even in a Mohawk. At first Mom said, "No way." But after thinking long and hard about it, and reading an article by Jada Pinkett Smith about HER daughter wanting to keep her hair short, and Pinkett-Smith's belief that girls and women are not allowed to own their bodies and their looks in this country, she decided that her daughter could wear her hair any way she chose. So Ms. MacDougall decided to allow her daughter to cut her hair short. As I read the article, I thought about Pinkett-Smith's comments about women not being allowed to own our bodies, even as young as seven-years old. We can't be fat, we can't be too skinny, we should have long hair, we should have curls, we should not need glasses, etc, etc. Girls are made fun of for being the slightest degree off from society's definition of "beauty." And it goes on and on, all the way to owning our uterus as adults. I've spoken before about how it always seems to be old, white men who make the laws, and the ignorant comments about rape and abortion. It is old, white men who make ultrasound laws for women in early pregnancy. Women are subject to abuse and mutilation, rape and death because we are not allowed to own our bodies, and the physical strength of men, and our having stood by and not used our voices for so long, allowing men to "run things" alone for so many years, we have somehow given up on our ability to control our destinies. It even goes down to not owning our looks; we look so fashion magazines to tell us how to dress, fix our make up, wear our hair, and what surgeries we should have in order to keep our looks longer. We let male doctors determine that, because we might get "moody" during menopause, we should take hormones that create greater risk of heart disease and certain cancers. I've seen articles and ads from the late 70s/early 80s, by male doctors, that actually said, straight up, that taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) would keep women "likable." We can't even own our own process of aging? And so, I am middle aged, and wear my hair super short, and spiked. I will never again have long hair or a bun. Nor will I buy clothes I don't like because they are "age appropriate." I'm not trying to look like I did as a teenager, I'm trying to be happy.
I have never taken HRT, and never will. If I'm moody, consider this: Perhaps it's not menopause making me moody. Perhaps I've lost caring if you think my mood is hormonal. Maybe it's you! Either way, it's MY HAIR! And my body. Oh-I need a question don't I? Okay. You got a problem with that?

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