Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Dream Reteriment

When I decided the doctors were right and I needed to retire and began working toward that eventual day ten months ago. I had definitive ideals as to what my retirement would be like. Somewhere along the way while ass deep in alligators I forgot the original goal was to drain the swamp.

It wold be easy to blame the government, big business, the medical industry and even you dear reader for my retirement not being what I intended. But the truth is it is my own damn fault.

The government did their part without hesitation and agreed that I was no longer fit to work and granted me disability on the first attempt. They could of strung me along for years as they did to my daughter in law. But I had paid in to the system for 45 years and therefore had earned the right to my Social Security.  My only wish is that I did not have to wait until June 2012 to be eligible for Medicare.

As to the medical industry well what can I say I always knew we didn't live in Canada or a modern European country so I should of not expected anymore than I received which in truth I am better off than a lot of folks forced to retire. I have a doctor who charges me minimal amount for a office visit and put any test he needs on a corporate account with a medical test firm. By the way surprisingly cheap makes me wonder about medical charges in general.

Ah but I am straying from what I expected of my retirement days.

When I was prepping for retirement I thought I would find myself living a full life. Days filled with a few productive hours in the shop making beautiful furniture reflecting dedication to craftsmanship. I would then do my three times a week at rehab in the pool. maintain what flexibility and muscular strength I have. I would meet with my wife a couple times a week for lunch. I would be Grandpa's to the rescue from day care on occasionally

I would spend a few hours a day reading, writing , working on my photograph, or simply spending time mediating on life in general while taking my coffee on the patio. But"life happens as you make your plans."

I could blame my family, I could blame the economic bust cycle we are in, I could blame the government for not passing a health care program that will work, in the end though I must blame only myself for becoming at times morose over what my retirement has turned out to be.

I knew a guy who was a list keeper. He would keep a list of things he needed to do that day, that week, that month, that year, and to before he died and would check it off as he completed a task or item he wanted to do.  At the time I thought what a waste of time. That it didn't allow for flexibility and I eventual asked hm about it.

I remember his response he said my list is written on paper in pencil not chisel in stone. It is constantly changing as my priorities change. The list he said keeps him focused and on task.

When I was working as a inspector I kept a short list of things I needed to do that day and would check them off as I  completed the task. By doing so I stayed focused and completed my work assignments I think it is time to start doing this again. To keep a list of things I need to do that day.

To get back on target as to what I expect from my retirement and quite whining about it. To make my to do list but remember it is not chisel in stone but written on paper in pencil. 

It is what I would suggest to anyone thinking about retirement. To think on what you expect. Plan out your days. Make you list of things to do. But stay flexible because life will be what happens to you as you make your plans.

Oh and don't forget to laugh occasionally at your sense of importance.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Like the Back of My Hand

The other day in church during a lull in the service I started staring at the back of my hand that rested on the top of my cane. I realized as I stared at the back of my hand that I didn't recognize it. That kind of threw me. After all aren't we supposed to know the back of our hand?

As often the case with me it led me to start thinking if I didn't recognize the back of my hand what else didn't I recognize.

Without question I recognize my wife, children, grandchildren but as I began expanding my circle of recognition that was when it began to get hazy as to what I recognized and understood.

The way things were when I was in my twenties are not the same way today. The times and what we value have changed and I don't think necessarily for the best.

When I began as a inspector in training, age and the knowledge it represented was valued. Not so today as evident by such articles from a recent article from the New Your Times that  if you are over 50 you are most likely the first to be laid off and  in today's economy the last to be put back to work.

I remember when I was in my late 40's and had applied for work with a private company the VP interviewing me commented outload that he really didn't like to hire us older guys because we expected more pay and were more difficult to maniuplate into doing things that were questionable. The biggest issue of course is the pay for if we have invested a significant portion of our life into a company we tend to expect more compensation for our loyalty. Again something that is no longer recognized our valued.

A lot of things have changed and I believe not necessarily for the best. As the old folk song goes "These times are a changing" and so they may but I haven't.

The world and the lay of the land I find myself I may not recognize but I will continue to try to understand it but without giving up the values I have always held to be true. Faith in my God, belief in the faithfulness of my wife, the value of a shared connection of family, loyalty of friends.

In the end I am still "just thinking it out."

Current Reading Material
A Fire In The Sun by George Alec Effinger,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Futre of American Health Care

Try as we might we can not seem to enter into a health care system similar of our trading partners instead we passed a incomparable health care bill that does absolutely nothing instead we stay with the health care for profit system that all were agreeing does not work.

Recently I watched a sci-fi movie called Repo Men. The premise of this movie was we were still in a for profit health care system and bio-medical had made significant advances as to allow heart, lung, limb just about anything you could imagine if it failed it could be replaced.

But there was a catch the product belong to the bio-medical firm until paid for and if you failed to pay for it then they would come and repo it. Laws had been passed to allow them to remove the item from your person without regard to your survivability. The laws also restricted your movements or travel so as to prevent you from leaving for a country that they could not repo their product from your person.

I highly recommend this movie made from the book "The Repossession Mambo" By Eric Garcia. Watch it for it's entertainment value then reflect on what the message was. It might get you to thinking.

A added thought the blog Smart Money recently reported that health insurance companies are reporting significant rises in the premiums. Funny I thought that was not supposed to happen.

When asked about it their response was when we are forced to add coverage that did not previously existed then our premiums have to go up. When the White House was asked about this their response was that regulation of premiums etc were the responsibility of state's insurance regulators and that they even gave money over the next 10 years (approximately $250 million) to aid them in doing this.

When the a poll of state regulatory agencies were made the general response was if the request is genuine then they can't see how they can deny it. Tell me you did not see that coming.

Anyway if you watch the Repo Men see if you don't catch the reference to a major pharmaceutical firm.

Currently Reading

I have started reading Annie Proulx "That Old Ace In the Hole". Not bad but reminds me of her book "Shipping News"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Still trying to figure it out?

I was thinking on what to write about and I realize that in some ways I have been in information overload. With all of the broadcast, radio and TV, combined with the blogs and written word you become addicted and fearful
Fearful you might miss some vital bit of news that will keep you from falling in the dark morass that we seem to be determine to enter. The best as I can remember that is called fear mongering. It becomes a case of stirring up the masses to make profit in the confusion.

I think it is time to remind myself of what I always knew but occasionally forget.

 KISS Principle

When I was a youngster my Dad taught this simple principle to me everything I started getting a project complicated it was that to Keep It Simple Stupid.

His belief was that everyone tends to have a natural inclination to complicate things beyond what seems possible. From that we end up with something we totally don't recognize. See the recent health reform if you doubt what I am saying.

In the case of information overload it boils down to one, questions everything. Just because a person of power and prestige says it is so doesn't mean it is. If it really bothers you then research it and see what the truth really is.

Second, use common sense and realize it is to there advantage to keep us in a uproar. When you are hysterical you are not thinking you will do something in haste that you will regret at leisure.

There is a old engineering saying that applies to this and well just to about anything when you thing about it.
It is "When you are ass deep in alligators it is hard to remember the original goal was to drain the swamp."
Don't let the information overload push upon us by the media and power brokers put you "ass deep in alligators."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Careful or they might just poison you.

Doctors are taught that they are "first do no harm" but sometime they get so caught up in prescribing they create a unbelievable nightmare. My Wife just went through this and the chemical hell it put her through as a result of adding meds on top of meds without thinking of the consequence.

It started with a elevation of blood pressure which she has to watch so she spoke to our family physician and they prescribed a med that led to headaches. But, it didn't address totally the blood pressure so an additional med was added this increase the intensity of the headaches.

Since they acted like migraines a typical migraine headache med was added to her meds but were not working so they added a second med that had been recently approved by the FDA for migraine treatment and it was here that things got out of control. 

It was this second med that originally prescribed for bi-polar and for seizures that created the even more of a problem, by the way drug was Tropimate. Somehow the marketing department had managed to get the med approved for treatment of migraines by the FDA.

If used for the original purpose or with people who were bi-polar the drug is fine but if not then the side-effects or another affair altogether. Beside destroying your taste buds it also creates problems in urination, energy levels, constant sleepiness, ability to concentrate but fortunately it makes you dumber than a box of bricks. All of these were side-effects that my wife was suffering through. By the way did I mention that the med was addictive.

The trouble is you expect your Doctors to have your best interest and when the system fails you it is a lesson you need to take to heart. So what are you to do?

First don't hesitate to ask your Doctor about the meds you are taking it's possible side-effect and if not satified don't hesitate to look up the side-effects on the internet then challenge the Doctor.

Remeber I said that the orgianl problem was elevated blood pressure. What I finally did in behalf of my wife who was becoming emotional and extrtemely distress at her state of mind was to do exactlly that. Reminding him what we orgially were trying to do and that the headaches were brought on by the blood pressure meds. Reluctanly he took off everything and said once the meds we should go to her cardiogist and if headaches reaccured to go the neurogist he had us going to. Which, by the way the neuroglis was not needed if the meds had not caused her headaches.

You have to have faith in you doctors but not blind faith. Challenge question and if they are offended then go find another.

In defense of doctors though I have to blame both the drug companies and FDA. The drug companies for markenting their products for things they were not intdeded for and the FDA for approving it without the apprioate studies.

Let's face it our medical system is totally screwed. basic medical for profit does not work.