only needing circumstances to evoke them."
-Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities"
This sentence wouldn't have meant what it does had i read it last year.
This sentence wouldn't have meant what it does had i read it last year.
Here's the culprit to the left- the reason for my self-indulged worry. It's become slightly less noticeable now (or maybe I've just gotten used to it). The weirdest part has been the feeling of this thing from the inside- the muscles contract differently now when I swallow and for a while it was pretty sore.
It's a pretty stressful situation when you're scared for your health and feel like you have very limited options on doing anything about it. One can always walk into an emergency room if things get really bad, and a doctor is required to assist you regardless of your insurance situation. But at what point is that line really okay to cross? If I'm bleeding in the street, sure that makes sense. But what if I had H1N1 and thought I only had the regular flu? Moreover, even the shortest Emergency Room visits will invariably leave you with a hefty bill near or over a thousand dollars. And this was hardly an immediate life threatening situation (at least so I'd hoped).
I suppose the one thing that has really been eye opening about this experience is realizing just how in demand inexpensive health care really is. There is a free health care clinic in Los Angeles called the Saban Clinic- they're largely based in Hollywood but operate all over the LA area and they were the first place I reached out to for help.
It took over a week of calling to finally get a hold of someone- the number was literally busy every time I called. Then upon finally getting through, I was told that all of their facilities were solidly booked over a month out and that they weren't even able to offer me an appointment. Not booking appointments more then a month away seems to be a common denominator for free clinics, and I suppose it makes sense given the nature of some of their clientele.
The other option was to drive to a County clinic- there are a few around the LA county. County clinics offer low/no-cost health services for financially qualified individuals. This is actually how I ended up at the Venice Family Clinic.
There's a strange feeling of failure that haunts you at these places. No one likes a hand out, it makes you feel incompetent just being there. All of these internal conflicts weigh in on top of the stress of whatever brought you there. Add to that the difficulties of being unemployed and you really start to understand how much of a struggle times like these can be for honest people.
I hope you understand, I don't mention this to illicit sympathy. I just want to illustrate a side of life that most people are fortunate enough to never experience. It's easy to misjudge people if you've never walked in their shoes.
So I've made a note to donate as much as I can to the Venice Family Clinic- it's the least I can do for them considering all the help they've offered me. After some blood work and a CAT scan, the doctors are pretty confident that the strange lump in my throat is some kind of thyroid cyst that apparently 10% of people are born with- most take it to their grave without ever knowing they had it.
The doctors still want to perform a needle biopsy, which sound awful enough to make me nauseous. It's better to be safe then sorry I guess...Of course, the flip side is that this is I now have a pre-existing condition, so even if I were to acquire insurance today, it would never cover the cost to have this removed. So, apparently, I'm stuck with it.
A lot can change with health reform, but I know better then to keep my fingers crossed. However, my situation is rather benign compared to many others'. I've only struggled for a few months, and really I'm very optimistic of my future and always have been. But I've grown up fortunate enough to have parents and friends that have always supported me- had I not that kind of confidence, I'm not sure if I'd be able to cope with the eviction notices and the bill collectors on top of a medical scare. A lot of people don't have that kind of support. It was really important to me that I deal with this on my own. My father was almost outraged that I wouldn't come home to have him pay for a specialist, but really most people wouldn't have that luxury and I don't deserve any special treatment simply because it's there. It would have been so grossly hypocritical of me to rally against the health insurance system without the nerve to reap the consequences of my decision not to be insured- and it is a decision.
I do want to stress that point. I could have chosen to live in a different apartment, or in a different part of town and dug up the extra cash to insure myself, Many people do. And while I still don't regret that choice, it is all too easy to put off a potential problem until it bites you in the ass. So will I get health insurance now? It's hard to say. Frankly, I do really want to see where the health care reform debate ends up and my financial situation now isn't what it was a year ago- I have a lot of other bills to deal with now. It still is extremely hard for me to justify buying into a market that is literally built to screw you over without any method of recourse.
Really, I want a public option. Not because I want government-run health care, but because I'd really rather pay my money into a system that is designed to benefit everyone. I'm happy to pay for medical insurance for the rest of my life and never need file a medical claim again. But I want that money to be used to make other people's lives better by providing them with the insurance benefits they need, rather then going directly into the pockets of some insurance agent I've never met. We all have a collective interest to provide for and to take care of ourselves, why can't we work together to do so?
i am uninsured. That makes me a statistic.
As a part-time semi-self-employed individual, that makes me an "unfortunate." i am essentially depending on a welfare benefit- i'm on unemployment currently waiting in a free medical clinic waiting to see a doctor free of charge.
This wasn't part of the plan- i have always insured myself since college through my employer. But after moving 3000
miles from Maryland to Los Angeles with next to nothing to start a career where benefits don't always come with the job- acquiring another $200+/mo health insurance bill was not exactly something i wanted to do- i'm a pretty healthy guy, the last time i even saw a doctor was 6 years ago and it was only for a basic checkup (considering i hadn't gone before that point since early grade school). i've only had one fever in my life, never had the chicken pox (despite numerous exposures) and i haven't even caught a cold in 2 years (knocking on all the wood i have).
Moreover, my mother works worked for an group health insurance firm; after the fifth or sixth time telling me about how she'd just denied a surgery claim for a cancer patient, or how her company was waiting for someone to finally expire so they could re-ad the clientele from the company they dropped once the medical costs just got a little too "catastrophic."
It just didn't sound like a valuable investment- why add to an already serious financial hardship by acquiring coverage i'll never use when there's no guarantee i'll even be granted a claim on coverage i'd been paying into? Now, as i'm approaching my third hour of waiting in various rooms to finally see a doctor, i have plenty of time to reflect on that decision.
i'm a pretty healthy guy- i go to the gym regularly (that's a lie- i haven't been in 2 months), i eat pretty health- salads, home cooking, fish, rice (McDonalds sometimes because it really is cheaper). i don't smoke (cigarettes) and never have unprotected sex. But none of that mattered once i found a golf ball sized lump in my throat. i was sitting to dinner on a pseudo-date sharing a beer and a clove cigarette (which i gave up shortly after) when it literally just popped into existence like a demonic little Jack-in-the-box shouting "here I am! Reality bites!"
That was my immediate thought (and MANY subsequent thoughts during a number of sleepless nights). i dove into the Internet medical world like a hesitant swimmer unsure just how cold the water really will be. It was cold. But i took my time- i did not want to bog down some emergency room and i quite frankly had no idea where i could even afford to go. There are low/no cost options in California. A lot of busy phone calls and waiting and sifting through options finally brought me to the very clinic in which i'm now sitting. i've written all this just in a small fraction of the wait time. My first visit was a month ago. Apparently cysts like these are quite common and i was informed of a handful of potential suspects- none of which i could reiterate to save my life. One blood test and a CAT scan later and here i am awaiting to find out just what the hell is wrong with me and what happens next.
Regardless, i imagine there'll be surgery- is that even accessible for free? i have no idea and frankly i don't expect to get many answers here. These doctors are so over booked it's amazing they keep anything straight- children sick (or not sick), people convinced they have H1N1, a lot of poor Hispanics, there's homeless people, middle aged people who just can't afford to insure themselves and/or their family, unemployed people, the list goes on- i've only seen two people my age since being here- a young couple- a guitar toting kid and a pretty blond- both went in together. So it takes time to be seen. As i wait- i ponder my decision to remain uninsured. And i will continue to ponder it here.
As of now, i have no regrets but if i could go back, i would have gotten some form of catastrophic insurance for emergencies. But i didn't and whatever i have now is a pre-existing condition. Someone once told me they honestly didn't think the decisions made in Washington really affected anyone on a day-to-day basis. With health reform being debated nation wide right now, i for one can say that it does.
W hy is it that sometimes you just have this strong urge to throw your phone?
i threw my iphone to the ground- why? i was rather upset. Why did i throw my phone? You tell me! So the screen is cracked, rendering it useless. However, the alarm still works! Only i can't turn off the alarm because the touch screen doesn't work and for that matter i can't even turn the phone off- without the use of the touch screen, the you have no control over your iphone. So every 15 minutes, my alarm goes off like a nagging little kid shouting "you fucked up dummy!"
So now i use the payphone across the street. Remember pay phones?
i literally swiped the spider webs off the keys of the payphone across the street from my apartment with a touch of irony. i haven't used a payphone since before Y2K was just a rumor floating around this weird thing called the world wide web.
It's crazy realizing how drastic the world of the phone has changed in just one decade and here i was with a dinosaur in my hand shocked to be even using it..
Believe it or not i actually had to wait in line to use the damn thing- NO instant gratification here!
This problem is confounded by my need to make an appointment with the Saban Clinic which is a free health center up in Hollywood to get this damn lump checked out. It's actually getting a little difficult to swallow, and i'd really rather not just walk into an Emergency Room with no insurance. So there's this number to call to make an appointment, but its always busy. Every time i call... ugh
What a great day
To Whom it May Concern:
Let me introduce myself- I am your new employee. I am writing in response to your ad for (any-job-that-pays). This position sounds very exciting, and is right up my alley. I am an extremely (pick one of the following: hard worker, dedicated employee, intelligent person). I have an extensive background in (whatever field helps me get this job) with strong references (a.k.a. any friend I could get to agree). I can make myself available at any time, so feel free to contact me at your nearest convenience.
I do hope that the redundancy of this- my hundredth cover letter in five days- or the urgency and desperation of my position have not turned you off to me as an employee. I really have received rave reviews from all my employers- I've always been told I'd was destined for success. Thus far I've been very successful in securing a deep financial hole for myself through my college loans- I wouldn't be where I am today without that degree! In fact, it has been so invaluable to me that it's even helped me acquire a number of really awesome jobs as a waiter/knife salesman/blockbuster customer service rep. I am able to stand proud with all the other millions of Americans whose lives are intimately invested in their declining credit.
My aspirations are to one day make as much money (if not more) then the idiots that I have worked for in the past. If you think you might be the next idiot to not realize my potential only to abuse my work ethic with mundane bullshit, please give me a call or email me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time, and I'll be awaiting your reply.
I am a twenty-five year old self employed producer naive idealist. i'm single and i live in LA (coincidence?).
i can't sleep tonight- or any night for that matter. It could be the constant stream of consciousness screaming that happens in my head when i finally stop moving. Or it could be the fear trying not to throw up when i wake up in the morning. i suppose i should take the unemployment issue with a larger does of maturity, but for now i'll have to settle for one or two generic antihistamines (i find they do the trick without the heaviness of your typical sleeping pill) and about two hours of waiting for my eyes to close themselves against my will.
i wanted to start writing something that's not political. If you don't know, i maintain a political blog (that's the last time you'll read me mentioning it).
i'd like to write about everything that's on my mind right now, but I've also come to find that realizing what is really on my mind is easier said then done. i think that's really my goal- to try and figure out just what the hell i'm doing. i doubt the writing will be that cathartic- i'm hoping that if i just spit out whatever comes to mind, after a few months (if i last that long) i'll be able to look back over everything and sift some notion of self out of the refuse.
Friday, October 30th 2008
You probably don't know my name, but I know yours. I've been working for you for quite some time now- often pulling late night hours. I've eaten pretty much every lunch and dinner at my desk for the last 5 months. But that's okay, you see, because I love my job. It is, in fact, the job I believe I was meant to do- it is everything I'd aimed for when I graduated from college. This job allowed me to make investments and to pay off much of the debt I'd accrued through college.
You see, that's how the employee relationship works- you make an investment in me for my work, and I make an investment in you.
Unfortunately, my job is gone because of a mistake. Of course everyone makes mistakes. However, your mistake cost our company five million dollars- my mistake was being naive enough to take my job security for granted- after all, hard work pays off correct?
I long for the day when the people who run their company take responsibility for their actions and their employees. You make a mistake, you take a pay cut. But instead, the current policy in corporate America is "You make a mistake, just let an employee go... shave their benefits (if they even have any)... make cuts to compensate." Fortunately, you'll be able to afford your health insurance- after all you do have a family. How is that new baby girl, by the way?
I wish I could say it was just me that was paying for your mistake, but unfortunately, you felt it was important to cut virtually half your staff. Really, what else could you have done? After all, if YOU stepped down, who would run the company? It's important that we keep you as the primary decision maker. Probably better to cut the people who have been making you money. That makes more sense.
What's that? The economy is making it difficult to run your business? Don't worry, if things get real bad, you can always lobby the Federal Government for money. They've been cutting spending on education and welfare, so they should have plenty of money to go around in case you play the wrong cards again.
I wish you the best of luck in all your ventures, and I hope you stay at the top so that you never know what it means to suffer the consequences for someone else's actions. It has been a pleasure working for you.
Oh and by the way, my name was Derek.
You'd stepped outside, away from the party to have a cigarette and I followed you. We stood in silence for a moment, and then began with the sarcastic small talk. I had wit on my side that night- it was one of those beautiful occasions when you say exactly what you mean to say, not even remembering how it happened.
You were always sexy. It was like some strange plague that took over at just that right time. There was only one thing I wanted and it was you; it was like a sudden affliction that resonated just the right chords that made me want to rip your clothes off and ravage you the first chance we were alone. Maybe it was the way your eyes kinda sunk in behind your bold black bangs, almost like a natural veil that covered your face with provocative intrigue; it could have just been the fact that you were a bitch. I'm not quite sure.
Fuck being alone, the porch will do just fine.
There was something about the utter disgust in your eyes when you called me an arrogant asshole that was oddly intoxicating... and then we kissed.
It was a scene right out of an old film noir. La femme fatale.
You're kiss was euphorically poisonous.
When I think back, I can only remember tid bits of "us." I remember refusing to kiss you when you tasted like cigarettes- I could never really date a smoker. I remember your naked body on top of mine, and how you said "we should do this more often" just before I came. I think that was actually the last time we had sex, though the lack of sex was purely my fault. For some reason, utterances of "I probably have more class then you" mixed with the melodramatic way you would utter the word "baby" when we were in bed together made me strangely uncomfortable. There was something in the way that we sat in bed, naked, facing each other using our hands on each other, pushing ourselves as close as possible, thrusting our bodies against each other, but never penetration. It was torture, but a true metaphor for our relationship.
Indeed, there was little to no penetration between us ever. I could never figure you out, and you could never figure me out. And for that matter, we had no idea what was going on in our own minds. It was like too loons who just didn't know any better. We'd hang out, get drunk, fool around.
I remember you looking me in the eyes and saying "I really like you," about a million times, and every one meant nothing to me. Simple "I know"s were all I could muster. Just remembering that puts a dull throb in my chest and a small wave of disappointment overcomes me. It wasn't that I didn't believe you, it was the way you said it. It was almost like a command- a duel. Well to hell with that! I wasn't anyone's.
But god damn did you look sexy in the dark.
I remember one time we were lying in bed, naked next to each other and I looked over and I think it was the only time I ever saw you smile. It might have even been a dream, but you smiled and suddenly it wasn't your face I saw, it was the face of an old flame I'd fallen for years ago. I saw her for a brief moment, and it was in that moment that I resigned myself to acknowledging the fact that I was not ready to do this. It was as bitter sweet as the comfort a relapsing alcoholic takes in his first drink after going almost a week and a half sober.
I'd like to think if things had happened now instead of then, I'd have treated you differently. But what the hell do I know? I'm no smarter now then I was then, I'm just older and a little more lonely.
Dark complexities. Realizations that only come to fruition years later when you realize that that dark bitter flavor in your mouth was actually rather pleasurable. After my first kiss when I was fourteen, I felt sic. It made my stomach knot up, and I brushed my teeth vowing never to do it again. I did it again the next day, and many subsequent days after that until I became somewhat of a pro at it. I drink a lot of wine now, but I don't have the balls to be an asshole. I envy that carefree attitude I used to carry- I would never have been able to date you without it, but I could never stay with you because of it.
That's why I never drink pinot noir.