August 6, 2011

The Individual Cost of the Lack of Affordable Healthcare

I started dating Johnny around 1995 when we both worked for a small cab company, as dispatchers. The company was small enough that they were not required to offer insurance to their employees. (Cab drivers here in AZ are all sub-contractors that are not considered employees) I knew that he had diabetes and thought he was controlling it. We eventually moved in together to pool our meager resources to make ends meet. At the time he was making $10.50/hr and I was making $6.75/hr. (He had been dispatching there for nearly 10 years by this time). He was also delivering newspapers on a route for extra money.

After a couple years of scraping by, he decided that he would go back to cab driving, where he wouldn’t have a limit of hours or money that he could make. After dispatching for that long, he knew the ebb and flow of the calls & locations of the better calls. At the same time, he continued delivering newspapers to keep the money from that job coming in as well. I used to wonder what people thought to see a cab driving down their street to deliver the daily newspaper.

I eventually found a better job that provided a higher wage and some medical insurance. Since we were not married yet, I couldn’t put him on my insurance, but at least my son and I were covered. One day we were visiting Johnny’s sister, and I asked if I could check Johnny’s blood sugar, since we couldn’t even afford testing strips. Normal levels are between 80-100. Johnny’s blood sugar level was 588. Yes, almost 6x the normal levels. He said “That’s not right, I feel fine.” I knew better and knew that it was going to mean rough consequences down the road. I also knew that he wasn’t “fine.” We got married on /17/1998 and I was able to add him to my insurance, but the damage was done.

As he started finally having access to doctors, we started learning about what the high blood sugar was doing to every single organ in his body. The worst part was having to tell a cab driver, who loved to drive that he had become a danger to everyone around him because he couldn’t see well enough to tell if a street light was red or green in time if he was going 40 MPH. He’d been a very active person, always driving, but ended up nearly a shut-in, other than to go to the doctors or the hospital. 

With the other health issues, he was seeing a lot of different specialists:

  • Ophthalmologist
  • Cardiovascular Specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Dermatologist
  • Pulmonary Specialist
  • Nephrologist
  • Podiatrist 
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Psychologist (being sick for years is depressing)
  • His Primary Care Doctor who could ONLY keep up with what all of the other doctors were doing because of my notes during the doctor appointments (which I let all of the doctors review each visit.) There was a point in time where he was seeing a different doctor nearly every single day of the week, visiting each one every one – two weeks, as his condition was steadily declining. 

The list of “Co-morbidities” was growing faster than we could keep track of them. I’ve probably forgotten a couple of them, as it’s been a decade.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Partial Paralysis of the Upper GI system
  • Hepatitis B  
  • Thinning of the Epidermis layer of skin.
  • Cataracts
  • Valley Fever
  • End Stage Renal Disease (Kidney failure / Dialysis
  • Stroke
  • Stage 4 Colon Cancer (discovered 2/5/2002)
  • Tumor removed (2/7/2002)
  • Released from hospital (2/14/2002) on Hospice

He Died 2/24/2002 at Age 46

End Stage Renal Disease alone costs $9,760 per person per month, according to Medicare (CMS) data. ($117,120/year or $234,240 for the last two years of Johnny’s life.) That’s after the $60,000 fistula surgery that connected a vein to an artery in

his lower arm, to make it easier to hook up to the dialysis machine. (Think Julia Roberts in Fried Green Tomatoes, when her character needed to start dialysis.)

Other people who have End-Stage Renal Disease live many years longer, and this cost is only one portion of the costs of being a Diabetic without insurance.

Friday’s Political Postings


Ok, so first off, I want to say that I had three root canals done this morning, I’m on some codeine, and spent most of the day cruising through my favorite political Facebook pages. It’s just after 3AM and I think I should try to sleep, but then again, I could probably stay up all night long if hubby wasn’t patiently waiting for me to end my tirade. So, in a nutshell, here are all of the things I posted in my Facebook wall. Maybe tomorrow, if I get organized enough, I’ll post links to my favorite political Facebook pages.

I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was THIS BAD.

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation

Years after ALEC's Truth In Sentencing bills became the law of the land, its Prison Industries Act has quietly expanded prison labor across the country.

  • I absolutely LOVE this video!!!!

  • Are you getting Koch-Blocked?

    See the kick-ass video. Then join the campaign to push the Koch Brothers' money out of politics and bring democracy back in.

  • My step-daughter must have the right to marry the woman she loves and chooses, just as my son would have the right to marry the woman he loves and chooses.
    A same-sex couple and their marriage in NO WAY would diminish a opposite-sex marriage. If someone feels that their marriage is any less because of someone else's marriage, then they probably don't have a strong marriage to begin with. Who my children eventually ch

  • Say, "I Do" Mr. President

    Co-sign Freedom to Marry's open letter to the President asking him to support the freedom to marry.

  • Enough already!

  • Enough Is Enough! Demonstrate the True Will of the People by joining our virtual staging ground for.

    UPDATE AUG 5: It's time for August town halls with your representative in Congress. Town halls are taking place all across the country right now. America needs you to show up to the meetings and speak up!


  • ‎"It sickens me that businesses like mine responsibly paid taxes at the rate of 35 percent on millions of dollars in profits while companies like GE would pay zero percent on billions of dollars in profits. Even worse, they had so many tax loopholes and tax subsidies that Uncle Sam actually owed them money. From 2008 to 2010, GE had $7.7 billion in pretax U.S. profits and $4.7 billion in tax refunds, giving it a negative 61.3 percent tax rate, reports the tax experts at Citizens for Tax Justice.”

  • Yeah, it sickens the rest of us as well.

    Proud to invest in America

    I love America, and have proudly invested in America. I have invested by building successful businesses employing thousands of American workers.

  • Interesting article.

  • Shock doctrine and the debt limit

    Washington's recently staged drama of dysfunction over the federal debt limit sadly distracted attention from real crises occurring outside the beltway. These include unemployment, housing foreclosures, torched 401k plans that have stalled earned retirements, and college graduates struggling to begi...


  • Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress, Arizona

    Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress: It is time for a new vision for Arizona and for the rest of the country. We need leaders who will stand up for working people and the middle class, and who will restore our image as proud Arizonans.

  • NEW Uncensored E*TRADE Baby

    Liked on

    When it comes to the E*TRADE Baby, some moments don't get past the censors. Take a look at the gems that didn't make it into this year's Big Game.

  • E-Trade Baby Loses Everything.

    Liked on



  • Wealthiest Americans Dramatically Increase Income

    A huge share of US economic growth during the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans, who now make an average of $27 million

  • Eliminate the carried-interest loophole for hedge fund managers, and the Feds just gained $4 Billion annually.

  • Closing The Hedge Fund Manager Tax Loophole Would Raise $4 Billion Annually From The 25 Richest Mana

    During the negotiations regarding raising the nation’s debt ceiling, congressional Republicans have gone to the mat to defend all manner of unwarranted tax breaks, including those for oil companies and corporate jet owners. Despite the drain on the Treasury caused by these tax breaks



  • The writing is one the wall. We just need to read it and do something about it.

    The Beast Is Starved: Welcome to the Next Great Depression

    Since Reagan, Republicans have been on a “starve the beast” campaign – by which they mean eviscerate the government by taking away as much revenue as they can.


  • Matt Damon ‘disgusted’ by debt deal, says it’s ‘criminal’ that wealthy don’t pay more taxes (video).

    He also doesn’t care for people who suggest that teachers might be unmotivated.

  • Well spoken, Matt Damon, well spoken!!!

  • Matt Damon’s clear-headed speech to teachers rally - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

    Here is Matt Damon’s powerful speech to the Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C.


  • New Spider-Man turns out to be a biracial superhero

    David Betancourt marvels at how the superhero is now a half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales.

  • cool article, cool camp!

  • Camp Quest is atheists’ answer to Bible school

    Welcome to Camp Quest, the freethinkers’ answer to vacation Bible school.


  • "Offensive Ideas" - Campaign for Free Expression PSA #1

    Liked on

    Video by Adam Isaak. Center for Inquiry's Campaign for Free Expression Video Contest has begun! The right to freely express oneself is vital in a modern society; we would like you to tell the world why. Participation is easy: create a short ...


  • Living Without Religion - A Campaign by the Center for Inquiry

    Liked on

    To hope, to care, to love. We have all experienced these powerful, fundamental feelings. They help define what it is to be human. These important elements of a fulfilling human life are experienced by religious and nonreligious people alike. Fi...




  • ‎~ Kids with special needs aren't weird or odd. They only want what everyone wants to be accepted. Can I make a request? Is anyone willing to post this and leave it on your status for at least 1 hour? This is in honor of all children, and all people who have special needs, whether physical, mental or emotional. All need our love and acceptance.


  • How many Atheists do you know? Here's a start - you know me. :)

    Dear religious Americans: How many atheists do you know? - On Faith - The Washington Post

    Humanizing those with different religious and philosophical worldviews is essential to ensuring that pluralism is upheld for all communities.


  • And people still think that climate change is not real or man made! Willful ignorance abounds.

    Polar bear kills British tourist in horrific attack by 'hungry' animal

    A British tourist has been mauled to death after a polar bear attacked a group of students on a remote Norwegian island


  • BREAKING NEWS: S To Downgrade U.S. Credit Rating; Blames Republicans

    ABC News has just reported that the federal government expects the pristine AAA credit rating of the United States to be downgraded. According to a government official, Standard Poors is goi



  • This pledge and the second one mentioned in the article is even scarier!

    The Christian Post

  • So, what about atheists and humanists?​p?rssid=411&item=http%3A%2F%2F​​Fdisplaymode%3D201%26id%3D2300​829%26device%3Drss 


  • Obama to unveil jobs push for veterans

    President Barack Obama will outline a new initiative Friday that aims to help former members of the military find private sector jobs, part of a renewed job creation effort focusing on unemployed veterans.


  • In depth description of what liberal means, and what it means to be a liberal.

    ^ Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2010-02-20. - Liberalism - Wi

    Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom")[1] is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights.[2] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutionalism, liberal democracy...

  • August 1, 2011

    A collection of relevant news articles from this week…

    Regarding the Debt ceiling deal that will be cutting way too much from social programs and not tax the people who really wouldn’t feel much, if any financial burden by paying their fair share. The top 1% percent of wage earners really need to pay the taxes they should have been paying before Bush instituted the Tax cuts for them instead of for the rest of us that are hard pressed to scrape by.

    Another article about the debt ceiling and the Democrats completely caving in to the Far Right Wing that even McCain was questioning the Teabagger’s sanity last week. 

    One more article about the debt ceiling deal

    Here’s where we are headed if we don’t start fighting back – A Banana Republic: 

    Here’s a sad statistic:

    Based on 1980 dollars and IRS data, this is how U.S. income has been redistributed since that time:

    • Incomes for the top 1% have gone from $148,000 to $450,000
    • Incomes for the next 9% have gone from $46,000 to $50,000
    • Incomes for the next 40% have gone from $17,500 to $15,000
    • Incomes for the bottom 50% have gone from $5,400 to $3,750

    Wow, here’s an interesting chart, I’m going to print this one out for my notes that I keep just in case I get into a debate with some right wing Tea Party disillusioned individual.

    image “The chart above, taken from US census data, shows productivity in constant dollars of private versus government funding, together with per capita GDP from the period 1929 to 2002. Republican administrations are marked with a red background and Democratic with blue.”

    Read the rest of the info on the bottom of the page where the graph was located.

    In the same website, I found Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. It seems that the top one percent wage earners believe that the majority of Americans only need to have the bottom layer of the chart maintained, somewhat, and not even completely.


    image They are the only ones that get to reach the top of the pyramid, just like the eye on the pyramid symbol on the back of the $1 bill. 

    Meanwhile, in other news, or is it really related? I believe it is related, and it’s close to my heart, since it’s my home state of Montana that is the subject of the article.  It is so disgusting to think that the beautiful wilderness that had largely remained untouched, is being assaulted by an oil pipeline full of tar-sands oil. The article also mentioned the fact that Glacier National Park, so close to my hometown, had 150 large glaciers in 1850 but only has 25 left, the rest have melted. The remaining 25 are losing ground every year.  The state has seen an unusually high amount of flooding and they believe this caused the oil leak, since the river over the oil pipeline was running at 4x the normal spring runoff. But, did the climate change from burning fossil fuels cause the unusual runoff?  “Put bluntly, do these dual disasters have the same root?” Personally, I believe that they are extremely interconnected, and the same root is Man’s greed and wanton use of fossil fuels like the oil spilling into the Yellowstone river – which feeds into the Upper Mississippi and will end up fouling all of the water down to the gulf.

    Here’s the newest information from the Office of Management and Budget regarding the budget for 2012 and Historical Tables that may provide insight for those curious enough to look at the 360 page tome.

    But if you just want an individual table, you can go here:   another debt ceiling article.

    and finally, something different, slightly, regarding the Religious Right’s war on Women’s rights. They are fairly close to adopting the Burka, they just need a different name for it first. 

    Oh, in the comments Rebecca linked to a BBC news article about the abortion study she mentions in the above video:

    June 30, 2011

    No Power in Mesa, AZ today.

    This afternoon the Electric Company had a transformer explode and catch fire. this caused a major power failure in Mesa on a triple-digit day. For some reason, our favorite hangout, Bookman's, still had power. that means AC! AND they are pet-friendly, so Hubby and Son brought Tara the Foster dog down and I went straight from work to Bookman's.

    Tara has done very well, even putting up with a snarky little dog that had been rescued from a puppy mill along with her pets. So, she's roamed the whole store, and I've walked her up and down the shopping center outside a couple times as well. She is laying behind my chair now in a quiet nook off to the side in the area near the dog books. I guess it smells the most dog friendly.

    The word is that the electric will be restored around 2AM tonight, and Bookman's closes in about 45 minutes, so it's back to our hot dark house pretty soon. sigh....

    Oh, and Hubby and son? They brought their laptops, so they are using Bookman's free wi-fi access to surf Facebook and wherever they go online. LOL Leave it to them to maximize their time here at Bookman's and prevent Technology Withdrawals... They brought my laptop too, but my cellphone was all I needed for my blog post.

    June 26, 2011

    What Ever Happened to “For the People, By the People”?

    It's been for the Corporations (financed) by the Corporations for the past 20-40 years or more. the great divide between the top 5 percent of wager earners and the lower half is getting wider and wider, the few that make tons of money are doing it at the expense of the people who work for them. My problem is that from what I see, the more “Financially Conservative” a person is, the more personal greed determines their personal responsibility. It isn't about how many chips are on the table at the end of the game, but how you played the game and whether you cheated by stacking the deck or by bottom dealing.

    There's not only the need for individual responsibility "bootstraps philosophy" but also the social responsibility that they never seem to remember. There's that Golden Rule that is the same in nearly every religion around the world, and it is NOT "do unto others BEFORE they can do unto you." Cutting social programs for those who are not as well off is unconscionable.

    Cutting education of our young is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. These kids will be the leaders of tomorrow when you are getting ready to retire. But if they don’t have the education necessary to be able to manage their lives, not to mention the lives of their elders. Being disadvantaged as a child does not mean that person does not have a high intelligence, indeed there are many cases of people with a high intelligence but without the formal training or a degree to back it up. With the proper education every child will have the ability to make the most of themselves. Without a proper education even an intelligent child can be stuck working below their potential.

    We already have young adults who may have graduated from High School, but are unable to form a complete sentence on an application or a form, they can't spell without using spell check, and are unable to determine whether they should use “to”, “two”, or “too” not to mention “they're”, “their” or “there”. They may have raw intelligence, but the school processed them through as if on an assembly line without making certain that each and every one could have the basics to be able to get into college without needing remedial college prep classes first, and that every teen that wants to go to college has a way to do so without having to either work two jobs at the same time and not get the full benefit of the education, just to pay for it, or have so many student loans that the Master’s degree they had at age 25 is still being paid off as they turn 50.

    Then there’s the infrastructure that we have not been maintaining properly since the CCC built them. Bridges in a dangerous state of disrepair, roads that are not designed to take the amount of traffic in a week with what they receive daily. How are the big Corporations going to ship their goods across country if the roads are falling apart, the railroad tracks are not maintained and bridges are crumbling beneath their trucks and trains?

    The truly fiscally responsible thing is to end corporate subsidies for companies that are making huge profits without those subsidies, close the corporate tax loopholes and adjust the personal income taxes for those top 1% of wage earners to be in line with the taxes that middle income wage earners pay. There are already responsible millionaires out there that receive these extremely low taxes on their income that practically beg to be taxed at a fair rate. Check them out. They know what the country is doing is wrong, they understand that the taxes that they would be paying in are necessary for the economy, and are disgusted at the extra tax cuts that they received without asking.

    I saw part of Van Jones’ “Rebuilding the American Dream” live webcast, and some of the statistics are very troubling. I knew they were bad, but I didn’t realize just how bad they are. Here’s the webpage:

    June 19, 2011

    Amazon Kindle 3

    Amazon's Kindle Facebook Page

    I've been telling people how wonderful Kindle is ever since I bought one for my husband, then a second one for myself. My mom (a voracious reader) wanted to try mine before deciding whether she wanted the Kindle or that other one from the big bookstore... After playing with mine, she bought one as well.

    Well, today, in a gust of wind, it fell from the small table where I was sitting and landed on the hard concrete. The eInk quit working. No more Kindle!

    Oh. My. Goodness!!!What am I going to do now?! I went to the Amazon site to see how long the warranty was and if it covered this kind of accidental dropping. A 1-Year Warranty? Most electronics have a 90 Day warranty. I called the Cust. Svc number listed on and it WAS Covered! Oh. My. Goodness! I will have my replacement in 4 days and the original is boxed and ready to be shipped.

    I couldn't be more impressed or happier with the selection of books, the prices, the awesome warranty, the size, weight, and everything else.

    June 18, 2011

    Voter Registration

    Tom and I just volunteered for 2.5 hours in front of the Mesa Public Library for AZ Dems to register voters. Typical Mesa Voters, most acted as if we were trying to get them to sign a petition. The ones that we did get to register to vote were mostly Republicans, and one former Republican that registered as Independent because he didn't like the Repubs or Dems. But we did get two Dems registered, so that's good.

    Thank goodness we slathered on some sunscreen, as there was no shade other than what we brought with us. Glad I keep an umbrella in my car! It was 100F when we got there and 102F when we left.

    I may be sweating like crazy, but I will be volunteering for Obama and the AZ Democrats again soon.

    June 12, 2011

    Dr. Who

    Demons run when a good man goes to war 
    Night will fall and drown the sun
    When a good man goes to war 
    Friendship dies and true love lies 
    Night will fall and dark will rise 
    When a good man goes to war 
    Demons run, a camp cost 
    Battles won but the child is lost.

    Dr Who - A Good Man Goes To War

    What an absolute brain-bender! And I've had a headache all day, so yeah it really sprained my brain.
    Even my son was shocked and he's more of a Dr. Who fan than I am and he didn't see it coming either.

    June 11, 2011

    Jessica's welcome back party...

    so, my good friend Jessica thought she'd try her luck out in the ATL and decided that she really missed life back in AZ, we are all so happy that she has come back, and are very hopeful that she can land a job back at the same company, just within a different department. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a very intelligent woman who has all of the necessary critical thinking skills to succeed in our rapidly growing company.

    I was so happy that she's back that i arrived at the welcome back dinner 15 minutes before everyone else and am sitting here listening to lounge chatter. It's amusing to say the least. Now, if Jessica and Allison would just get here! LOL More to come... maybe even with photos...

    May 30, 2011

    Good Without God - Epstein

    I have been defining myself and my beliefs more over the last few years, and especially in this last year. I wasn't too keen on the negativity in the Atheist books and certainly have been finding more and more reason to dislike the main stream religious people.

    Then my husband forwarded this article:
    Good without God: Why Nonreligious is the Fastest Growing Preference in America

    I read the first part of the article and realized that this was exactly what I was looking for: Positivity. Positivity about Humanism, positivity about the ability to be good without the belief of a God-like figure watching everything we do, invading all of our thoughts to then decide whether we are good enough for whatever afterlife that belief prescribes to.

    The teachings in the bible, especially the new testament, with it's "turn the other cheek" and "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" pacifist teachings were all well and good, but in real life, the people who identify themselves as Christians do not seem to believe that this applies to anyone who is not a believer in their same god.

    If someone is a non-believer, skeptic, or follower of a multitheistic religion, or as of 9/11 anyone who is a Muslim, then apparently this doesn't apply. Why? Why are people who identify themselves as Christians so hostile toward people who are not Christians, and along these lines, why are people from any of the three main monotheistic religions so completely full of vile hatred toward non-believers? Why is it so inconceivable that someone could possibly be a good person and not believe in their god? To which I have to wonder how there could be so many people who do believe in one of those three religions end up so very evil? There are the child-predator Catholic Priests, the Taliban, etc.

    So, to equate religious with goodness and non-religious with immoral heathens who will sooner murder you as look at you is invalid. There are a lot of good people who don't need a god threatening to send them to purgatory if they screw up or if they proselytize enough, will be allowed to go to heaven or valhalla after they die. There are a lot of people who believe in a god that are good people, there are immoral people who don't believe in god. 

    To break it down visually:
    Red = Bad People         Green =   Good People
    Apples = Atheist/Humanist/Agnostic/Non-Believer/Secular
    Pears = Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Believer/Religious
    There are red apples, green apples, red pears and green pears. But they are all fruit. We are all humans.

    But - there are more people who do good than who don't. Period. Whether they believe in a deity or not is immaterial to their desire to do good for their fellow human.

    This is what I have faith in - the core goodness of humanity.

    I had saved a part of an ad for something (don't remember what) that really broke it down nicely, and I will add my two cents in there:

    On this planet, it is estimated that there are:
    6,554,526,725 people,
    193 countries, 
    +6000 languages,
    21 major religions (Nearly 400 religions and mythologies) Per and

    Roughly 1 billion people do not profess belief in any religion.

    We are all stuck on this rock together we need to learn to be less fearful and more accepting that other groups of people, learn what makes them kick, accept that what may be right for one person is not right for each other.

    Opinions Vary. Beliefs vary. That's why there's over 400 different religions / mythologies, and over 6000 languages. We cannot all be the same. (How horrid that would be!! What if everyone has the same white minivan, same color hair, same skin tone, same Monday night dinner, same single restaurant type to go out to eat at, with only one choice of meal, same Friday night movie. Thankfully this is NOT our world. There is a beautiful biodiversity, not only with the other species of plants and animals on the planet, but also a biodiversity within the human race.... Still only one human race, but different skin tones, hair color, height, weight, hair type. Amazing Variety!!!!! the same is true with our beliefs! Beautiful Variety!

    I will accept your beliefs as your own without trying to convert you to my humanist beliefs, as long as you don't try to convert me to your beliefs. I will respect your beliefs as long as you respect mine. That means - no pity "You don't believe in god? Oh I'm so sorry." NO MY DOG didn't just DIE, I willingly made an informed choice after going to several different churches of different Christian sects. None of them fit my views, my values, my moral codes, so therefore don't pity me, don't give me that look as if I'd just told you everyone in my immediate family died suddenly. Seriously.   I won't pity you for your blindness, your sheep-like herd mentality, or closed mind.
    Just accept that I can be good without god, just as you can be good with god.

    May 1, 2011

    Lizard fuel...

    This is Desi, my Desert Iguana. He was looking just to cute with the Palo Verde flower hanging out of his mouth. We were at an education event, and as a special treat for hanging out, being a good lizard, he got a pile of Palo verde flowers to nom...

    I also spoil Charlie the Chuckwalla the same way: