Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You got a better idea?

Woo! Progress on health reform! How much of a difference it will make remains to be seen, but unlike those of us whose insurance denied to fund the use of our iron lungs, I'm not holding my breath until I find out.

I got a press release from Walt Minnick today that included the following remarks:

Like most Americans and like the President, I believe that health care reform must reduce costs, rely on the private sector, prevent restrictions based on age or employment status or preconditions, and must ensure coverage for all Americans. However, this bill simply will not get us there.


Mr. Minnick, you're the congressman here - you have some kind of power to change things, and just saying "nope, not good enough" is a little half-assed in my mind. I thought the Democratic majority was supposed to do away with the "party of no" nonsense. But I was naive.

In my estimation, just about anything would be a step up from what we've got. As an uninsurable Idahoan, I'll take what I can get. The above list of things Minnick wants out of a health plan aren't necessarily feasible or desirable. I don't care what happens with "the private sector," since we've been relying on that to get the same level of care as anyone else at twice the cost. We don't owe them anything (except our huge medical debts).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Making an exception

At the feministing community blog, an author "rmanning" has an infuriating post about her difficulty obtaining a hysterectomy as a woman under the age of 21, even though she's got UTERINE CANCER. It just goes to show that regulating reproductive health decisions tends to be a "one-size-fits-many" thing that leaves some people totally screwed.

I thought it was kind of precious when Andrew Sullivan was astounded that people have late-term abortions for REASONS. He seemed to think he was the only person to ever figure this out. And he's thinking of compiling stories into a book! Never mind how exploitative it is for an outspoken anti-choice pundit to use other people's tragedies to publicly congratulte himself for being able to change his mind. Also, the book has been written many times.

I used to be a little apathetic about reproductive health regulations, but the bizarre and horrible things that can happen to people continually amaze me and have made it clear that such regulation can't be enacted humanely. rmanning mentions text in state law that explicitly says that doctors shouldn't perform hysterectomies on women younger than 21 so they won't make decisions they will later regret. She prudently doesn't mention which state she's contending with, but I suspect that working through the specifics would reveal that the reluctant doctors are being hypersensitive about things that are really more guidelines than laws. And anyway, how could an effort to preserve fertility apply to her killer uterus? I'm no doctor, but it's kind of hard to conceive when you've died of an operable and treatable cancer.

I'm sure that if she was 9, she could get this operation. But it's squickier to the doctors she's run into to yank reproductive organs out of a woman who is nearing what would otherwise be her childbearing years.

I was pretty well convinced that I wouldn't ever have kids when I was 18, 19 and 20, but it turns out I've changed my mind in the interim.

I only say this to illustrate the fact that an 18-year-old can make decisions about her reproductive capacities that she will later regret. But that takes living to "later," which is the primary purpose of her medical care.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Convenience food triage

I like fancy-schmancy food, but I also like junk food. I really like it. Day-glo cheese powder still feels like a fun treat no matter how much I eat it. Both Jezebel and Amanda Marcotte have addressed the issue of how people eat when they're alone, and I think it's a fun topic, but seems incredibly obvious to me. I've never developed a good cooking/cleaning habit, and have frequently opted to go grab some fast food instead of digging out my kitchen. Being hungry tends to make me panic: "I'll never get dinner done before I starve to death!" Knowing that I have this tendency, I've taken a triage approach to feeding myself. If I would otherwise eat a Big Mac for lunch, I figure it's cheaper and probably better for me/the environment to make some convenience food at home, regardless of how junk-foody and excessivley-packaged it is. When I was trying to shake a bad going out for lunch habit, I turned to frozen dinners to bring to work for lunch, and got hooked on the Ethnic Gourmet palak paneer. I load up whenever it's on sale at the co-op. It's all wrapped in plastic, but it's less packaging than you get at a drive-through window. It's also significantly less expensive. It may be yuppier than Lean Cuisine, but I eat it and I like it. Plus, who can argue with brown rice and spinach? My other lazy-food crutch is the avocado. Smoosh it up with some salsa, eat on chips, and there's lunch! It's also just good with salt and a spoon (but it doesn't quite add up to a whole meal). People always warn you about the high fat content and calorie-density in avocados, but they usually aren't taking two drugs that suppress appetite.

I know in my heart of cheap hearts that making the palak paneer myself would be healthier and less expensive and tastier (and more fun), but that's when I have to go back to the triage concept. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good has filled my belly with a lot of cheeseburgers over the years. Oddly, this has become a much more-functional operating principle since I've lost a lot of appetite and not had to contend with the hunger panic. I usually have to remind myself that I need to eat three meals a day, and I don't have my animal instincts to tell me to put that thing in my mouth NOW. If I am not likely to eat anything of substance during the day, I might as well put on some mac and cheese and knock down a few hundred calories so when I do get hungry in the evening I don't turn to quick, yummy things like popcorn and cookies.

Don't worry that I'm dying of a vitamin deficiency: I'm overstating the severity of my food-stupidity to make a point/joke.