Life in These United States

I was passing the time a short while ago by reading Yahoo News on my IPhone and came across an interesting story, titled “The 10 States With the worst Quality of Life”. The criteria for quality of life were employment rate, household disposable income per capita, health and percentage of people without health insurance. The 10 states were: 1.Mississippi, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. W.Virginia, 5. Tennessee, 6. Oklahoma, 7. S. Carolina, 8. Louisiana, 9. New Mexico, 10. Georgia.

The article described the poverty and quality of life in these ten states, without mentioning a word about politics. It did mention that in most of these states there was high voter turnout as compared to the rest of the country.  After reading the article I sort of thought there was something familiar with these states. All but Arkansas and West Virginia have Republican governors and all but West Virginia are Red states! Very interesting.

I can only draw one conclusion. With the high voter turnouts in these states, which support Republicans, maybe the electorate enjoys the poor quality of life! It makes no sense to continue voting for the party that keeps you in poverty!


Your Medications Could Kill You

When I was younger I didn’t know anything about medications and I don’t think too many other people did either. When you went to the doctor he gave you some medicine, which you hoped would take care of what ailed you. Most likely you didn’t even know the names of the medications and didn’t worry about side effects.

All of this has changed in the past few years with drug companies advertising their products. Every day we are bombarded by ads for medications for conditions including hay fever, ED, bronchitis, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and a myriad of other diseases. I think these commercials go right over the heads of most viewers, unless they are suffering with one of these conditions. So basically they are ignored by most of us. But what about those people who have a disease and may benefit from taking one of these advertised drugs?

The commercials always show patients,  who are supposedly taking the medications, as happy go lucky, smiling and sociable and without pain. The announcer suggests that you could be helped by these wonder drugs and tells you to ask your doctor about them. Then after you are told how wonderful the drugs are the announcer goes on to warn you of the possible side effects. These warnings include the possibility of stroke, heart attack, blindness and my favorite, “even death”. The announcer even warns you not to take the medication if you are allergic to it. How in hell are you going to know if you are allergic to it unless you know the patented scientific name of the ingredient or unless you give it a try to see what happens?

I have breathing difficulties and have seen ads for medications that might possibly help me, but I admit that the possible complications would be much worse than having some difficulty breathing. I would think that a lot of people would be terrified to try these medications, for fear of death. I previously wrote a post on the high cost of drugs in this country, I’ve Been Ripped Off  by the Big Drug Companies, which leads me to make a point on that high cost here.  Drug advertising is extremely expensive on TV, the Internet and in magazines. So who’s paying for this expensive advertising? We are, through increased cost of the drugs we buy! Every time you see one of these ads, just remember that even though you aren’t suffering from that particular disease, you are paying for that ad when you buy another medication! Now that should make you sick!

A Couple of My Pet Peeves

Instead of posting something about my experiences moving back home or about politics,  I have decided to post something about a few of things that really irritate me. I have been thinking about writing something about a couple of annoyances I have had for quite some time, but some of them really got to me these past few days.

Whenever I go shopping for new clothes I can’t wait to get home and try them on to see how they look. This excitement quickly fades into frustration. Why does every little piece of clothing have to have those plastic tags attached to the clothing? Often times they are inserted through the clothing so that when you attempt to remove them one end gets stuck inside the seams forever. You have to take your time to make sure you cut them so that both ends of the tags can be thrown away. Many times I have discovered the cause of an itch on my back or stomach was one of these lost loose ends! Why can’t they use tape, which can be peeled of simply and quickly?

Courtesy of

 Have you ever had diarrhea or needed to take an allergy pill quickly? You go to the medicine cabinet, find the proper medicine, peel off one of the blister pack sections containing one tablet and then the fun begins,.Usually there is a small perforation that says “cut or tear here”. Yeah right. Try cutting or tearing here, especially in the middle of the night, when you are suffering. You end up having to get a pair of scissors and cutting the pill out. I realize that this packaging is child proof, but it is also patient proof!

And last, but not least is one of my favorites.I love buying light bulbs or other gadgets and items which are vacuum packed in plastic. You can’t tear the package apart. You need to get a pair of scissors and perhaps a crowbar to pry the item free. This usually takes a bit of time and can become dangerous. On a number of occasions I have cut myself on the jagged plastic edges. I also have had friends destroy the item they are trying to get out , while the package is being opened. There must be a better way of packaging some items that would be more environmentally friendly, less dangerous and cheaper!

Well that’s it for now. I am sure I will be annoyed at other things in the future and will be sharing them with you.

I've Been Ripped Off by the Big Drug Companies

A short time after moving back to New York State I visited a doctor to get a couple of prescriptions I needed. This was in April and I was not as yet receiving benefits from Medicare Part B. Since I was living in a foreign country, Medicare pays no benefits even though I had been paying into it my entire working life. I take medicine for high blood pressure and I use an inhaler for shortness of breath. In Malaysia I would simply go to the pharmacy and ask for the drugs, as these were not controlled prescription drugs. The BP medication was about $6 and the inhaler was $3. I used to buy more than one inhaler, so I could keep one in the car, keep one in the bedroom and carry one.

Well I went to the doctor and wasn’t too upset at having to pay $75 for a visit which I was used to paying $15. I sort of expected this. The shock and anger came went I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medications.The pills were $30, but the inhaler was $50! I was used to paying $3 and now I have to pay $50! I was outraged. 
When I got back home I did some research on the inhalers. It appears that a couple of years ago our less than benevolent FDA banned the use of CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) in asthma inhalers, thus dealing a serious blow to everyone who suffers from asthma. This allowed the drug companies to find a replace for the CFS’ to propel the medicine into the lungs Naturally the drug companies found a method and promptly patented it. So for the next 15 years or so the American public has to pay exorbitant prices if they want to alleviate their suffering. 
While I was really pissed of by this I wondered how many people, children and adults, are held hostage by these guiltless drug companies, who want to protect their profits more than help the sick and suffering. I used to work in the Longwood Medical area of Boston and saw the magnificent towering structures erected by the major drug companies. I saw the elaborate facilities serving 5 star cuisine and offering the employees every amenity imaginable. I can remember reading about  the enormous salaries of the CEOs. That’s why our drugs are so expensive, as compared to our neighbor Canada and the rest of the world! This is only going to get worse in this county as the drug companies have one of the largest and most powerful lobbies in Washington. In other words our useless politicians work for them, not us!

My First Medical Emergency – Strong Memorial Was There

For quite some time I have been suffering from occasional sever upper abdominal pains that lasted anywhere from a hour to several hours. The pain was excruciating and nothing eased it, except for a shot of painkiller at the emergency room. When I first experienced this pain in Boston I was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) for which I was given medication to take, probably for the rest of my life. The medication didn’t exactly work perfectly, as I still had occasional attacks. I had a few attacks while living in Malaysia, which brought me to the ER, where I was given a shot of morphine and a diagnosis of gastritis. Last month I had an extremely bad attack one Thursday afternoon, which I tolerated until the next morning when Kevin brought me to URMC (University of Rochester Medical Center)-Strong West Emergency Room nearby in Brockport. Within minutes I was told that I had pancreatitis and very high levels on my liver function tests. Since they do not have inpatient beds there I was transferred by ambulance to URMC-Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

A short time later I had an ultrasound which showed I had an inflamed gall bladder full of gallstones, to go along with the inflamed pancreas. I was put on antibiotics and waited for the inflammation to subside before anything else was done. For 2 days I had nothing but IVs and pain killer. The third days I had water and jello, which tasted wonderful. On Sunday evening I was taken to the OR and had my gall bladder removed. The next evening I returned home, a bit sore, but minus my troublesome gallbladder.

I have to say that the doctors, surgeons and nurses at both Strong West Emergency Room and also Strong Memorial Hospital were fabulous. Everyone from my surgeon to the people who cleaned my room were kind, friendly and attentive. I can’t thank them enough for making a bad situation a lot more bearable and even pleasant.I feel very secure now that I know we have such wonderful medical facilities so close to us.