First of all, we apparently have a new family member. This:
…is Skittles. G nearly ran over her in the middle of the street a few days ago and brought her home. She had a rabies tag, so we took her to the pound. They called the number, but the person who answered denied all knowledge of a little dog. They gave us the address which is MILES from our house. G went by there and the house was empty. She’s been all over the neighborhood here asking if anyone recognized her. No one has stepped forward and we’ve seen no posters or notices in the paper. So, yesterday we took her to the vet and she has an appointment to be spayed (and have a large growth on her side removed). She’s older than she looks (vet said maybe 6), and she’s obviously had several litters of pups. But her teeth are in really good shape and she’s smart as a whip and seems to have taken over the house already. G took her to visit the (strongly Catholic) neighbors down the street who have always included us in their family gatherings and whose granddaughters adored Peaches. The older girl took one look at Skittles and said, “I think Jesus sent you Skittles so she would help you not miss Peaches so much.” Well, what can you say to divine intervention? Yes, I suppose.
The visit to the vet was enlightening. I think I figured out the biggest stumbling block to any real health care reform in our country. While we were talking about what we wanted for Skittles, the vet tech brought out a very detailed pricing list. Just spaying would cost this much. Anesthesia this much. Sutures (yes, they price them by the suture) cost this much, etc. Now, when was the last time you went to your doctor’s office and asked, “How much will this 15 minute visit cost?” “How much do you charge to take vital signs?” “How much is that x-ray you want me to have?” Heh. They can’t tell you. If you even have the temerity to ask, they look at you like you’re insane.
Last year, when I was having trouble with my shoulder, I asked how much my copay would be if I decided to have an MRI. Not even the actual COST of the MRI, just my copay, which, since I go to the county health dept. could be hefty. No one could tell me. The “person who did that” wasn’t in that day, but when I called back, they never did seem to be in. Consequently, I decided against a procedure whose cost I couldn’t know, and for $35.00 went to my chiropractor who fixed me in one visit.
What other industry does not or will not tell you the cost of goods and services up front? People say, oh, it’s my health, I would do anything, etc. Maybe that’s true, and certainly in an emergency you’re not going to stop and dicker over the cost–at least for the immediate moment, but think about it. Would you REALLY have that not-so-critical procedure or test that your doctor recommends if you knew it would cost an extra, say, even $500.00? Would you maybe do some shopping around? Maybe find a place that did just that one procedure for, oh, $350?
A little up-front transparency in the medical biz might go a long way toward reform, but no one looks at it that way. They’re so hung up on “insurance” that they don’t see it’s the outrageous cost up front that’s the foundation of all the gouging. Back in the vet’s office, the front desk guy mentioned that his son plays lacrosse and he got whacked in the chest with a ball recently. Just to be safe, dad took him to the ER and had 6 x-rays done. Six. The cost was $2000.00 or $333.00 per film. But did they tell him up front? What do you think? Guy said, “If I’d known that, I would have x-rayed him myself here in the office.” Obviously, we don’t all have access to x-ray machines, but you get the idea. If he had been told up front, maybe he still would have had the six x-rays. Or maybe he would have just had one or two. We’ll never know because we don’t GET that option. I think it’s entirely crazy and upside down.
Moving on. I am liking this new split schedule. I roll out of bed and four hours later, it’s only 9 am, I can have coffee, breakfast, hit the gym or swim (pool open 11 am-2 pm), get things done and still have time for a lie-down during my lowest period of the day, anywhere from 1:30-3 pm. By 4, I’m getting my second wind and the last four hours aren’t so bad. The main downside is that I miss my favorite times of the day–dawn and dusk. I’m a big fan of the transition times. So much happens in those brief hours. So many changes take place. Guess I’ll just have to cherish them on my days off.
Something else–I’m putting in an application today for a job with the Public Health Dept. It could be a really good fit for my odd mix of medical, legal and admin experience. I haven’t filled out a job ap in a while and it was good for me to focus on my skills and what I’ve actually been doing the last few years. I’ll drop it off today and if I make the minimum cut, I’ll have to take a typing test on Monday. So, wish me luck.
I’m enjoying the gym. I’ve kind of fallen in love with the elliptical machine. It gets me going quickly. I break a sweat in about 30 seconds. Then I do my rounds with the weights. I haven’t been back to the Zumba class that nearly killed me. I liked it but 5:30 is just too late for me at the moment. I like working out mid morning when there are hardly any people there. I am liking the weights–free weights and the different machines. The weightlifting will definitely help with the swimming. I’m not snacking as much, but I’m finding that I’m often hungry–like now. I wake up stomach-growling hungry which is good–means I didn’t eat too much before bed. G has lost 5 pounds already. I don’t know about me, I’m scale-phobic and the scale in the gym is right in the front entry way. Sorry, I wont get on it. But my pants feel looser, so that’s good. Some days I’m sore, other days not so much. Today is a sore day–I really worked my upper body yesterday, but it feels good.
Havent heard from my daughter. Last week (or maybe the week before), she had GS2 call about school supplies. Like, how am I supposed to buy you school supplies when you’re in Denver? I wimped out. I didn’t call back, but texted her that I was too broke to buy school supplies (true) and that I was probably worth more dead than alive (not true, but how I felt at that moment). So, I haven’t another word from her or the boys since. Probably won’t. I have to not take it personally. I have to remember she is not up there thinking about me. Life goes on. She’s supposed to have her first doc appt for this baby on Friday. Maybe I’ll email after that. We’ll see.
The garden is winding down. It never quite took off as in previous years. I’m sure the awful heat in June was a big part of that. We still have tomatoes (regular and cherry), eggplant, beets, a few squash and carrots and some corn, but the production has been spotty. Next year, we’ve decided to turn the big, long section of the back garden by the street into a native grass/wildflower meadow. Once we’re done with the garden for good, I’ll rototill it and then we’ll spread the seeds we got from High Country Gardens, our go-to place for plants that handle this kind of climate. Hopefully, next year, we’ll have a nice field of lovely, low-water grasses and flowers that won’t require much work at all. That will help a lot. Then, we can decide if we want to do the same in following years or just stick a tomato or a squash here and there. It’s always a work in progress.
And, on that note, I need more coffee. Happy week.