The good old days of medicine

A cord of firewood. Photo from Van Beek’s.

I was thinking about how convoluted and expensive healthcare is these days. It wasn’t always like that.

When I grew up in a rural town in Washington state, I don’t remember people worried about their healthcare. People could pay out of pocket to see their doctor or dentist.

My dad was one of about four dentists in town. We would get unexpected gifts for payment for a filling or root canal. Once a patient drove his pickup truck to our house and unloaded a cord of firewood. Other times, we’d get fresh lamb, veggies or eggs. He also got ridiculously small monthly payments of $2 to $10.

My dad’s office had two dentists and two doctors. The doctors treated our family for free and my dad did the same for the doctors’ families.

I went off to the University of Washington and I went on the school insurance. It was peanuts.

When my husband and I were starting our family, we had excellent insurance. The company my husband was employed by was self-insured. There was a sliding scale for monthly premiums based on income. We could go to any doctor with a small copay. Premiums and deductibles were low. Having babies didn’t bankrupt us.

Today premiums are high. We’re lucky to have insurance through my husband’s employer though, so we are subsidized.

We tried to get a primary care physicians at a well known medical center, the Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately they have a three-year waiting list and refused to add us to it. I wonder if they’ve always been like that? Or is it the recent influx of Californians moving into Arizona? Everyone is looking for a doctor.

Finding a doctor who takes new patients and we can get an appointment quickly isn’t easy. Not to mention the costs.

What do you remember about healthcare when you were growing up? Why do you think insurance and costs have changed so much?

It’s about time

sunglasses and glasses with shoes.
My broken sunglasses, scratched glasses and sunglasses without bifocals I wear hiking.
I like the shoes on the temples. They’re essential don’t you think?

I’m finally going to the optometrist. I am horrible about taking care of myself as far as going to doctors. I have a fear that they will find something seriously wrong with me.

After years of taking my kids to doctors, I got in the habit of not going myself. My son had allergies and asthma and we were at his doctor’s office twice a week for shots. And that doesn’t count every time he got sick, which was often.

I finally went to an ophthalmologist right before COVID hit when my Rx for contacts and glasses lasted less than six months before my vision got blurry. While driving, I noticed a pyramid of three stop signs. I’d look at the moon and see three moons racked up like they were ready for a pool cue. And yes, did I mention I was driving?

I view my cataract surgery as a blessing. I have almost perfect vision after my adult life of 20/1600 vision, hard contact lenses and coke bottle glasses. My optometrist had me in a “piggy back” approach. Contact lenses with glasses on top for when I really wanted to see.

For the past few months I’ve been struggling with my vision. Post cataract surgery, I have a very small correction on my glasses with bifocals for reading. But there is a scratch on both lenses right smack in my field of vision. I have to push up my glasses and hold onto them to read. It’s beyond annoying.

The final straw was my Rx sunglasses with bifocals broke at the hinge. I decided to find an optometrist here in my new town and get new glasses. Maybe they can fix my sunglasses. We have a vacation coming up in August at the beach. My favorite thing to do is sit at the beach, watch the waves and read. That was what motivated me to make an appointment.

What is your vision like? How long have you worn glasses or contacts? Do you need readers now?

I’m envious of people who never have had to wear glasses.

blue shoes on sunglasses
My sunglasses with blue shoes.

Is it ok not to go?

swimming pool in Palm Springs
The 50-meter pool in Palm Springs that was one mile from our old house.

I have a reservation to swim in an hour. I don’t feel like going. I swam two days ago and I felt wonderful during and after my swim.

But today I’m weighing the idea that I don’t HAVE to go. If I decide to stay home and read a book in my back yard, I’m not any less of a person. But I’m torn. I feel guilty for not going. I know I should go. I remember I wrote about something similar years ago in a post “I don’t have to, I get to.” It was about appreciating what we have and that we are able to do things.

Every morning I walk, then I either play ping pong or pickleball a few times a week as well as swim. At my age is it okay to slow down and say no thanks, not today? Or should I say “I get to swim today” and just go?

What are your thoughts? What would you do?

Busy busy busy

Palm Springs swimming pool with clouds
Where I used to lap swim. My new pool has only three lanes.

Thursday I was stressing about whether I should go to coffee with the women’s coffee club or stay home and work on the newsletter. After all, I had lap swimming in a few hours. This is what I was thinking when I wrote about “saying no” earlier in the week. You can read that post HERE.

I decided to go to coffee after all. I needed to run some errands and the coffee shop we were meeting at was close to the Post Office, hardware and grocery stores.

I met a new person who made me laugh. She’s lived in our neighborhood for seven years, but I’ve never seen her before. She had never gone to coffee club. She didn’t know there was a book club, either.

This woman said she was going to Ireland with her running group to run trails along the coast of Ireland. I asked when.

“In two hours,” she said. “I have one hour until my Uber driver picks me up.”

I laughed out loud and said I was worried about going to coffee AND lap swimming in one day! I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Now it’s time to squeeze in some work on the newsletter before my swim. FYI, next this new friend told me about her trip climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Would you have coffee with your neighbors before you left for a trip to Ireland? How about swimming and coffee? Why do you think some people only like to have one event scheduled per day and others can do many?

Just say no!

roadrunner in the back yard.
A roadrunner outside the casita window.

A headline caught my eye about saying no. ‘

Boost Your Mental Health by Saying ‘No’

If we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and meaningful, we need to prioritize. Declining requests is crucial.

This was in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Elizabeth Bernstein.

Since we moved and things started opening up post COVID shutdowns, I find myself saying yes to everything. That’s because I lived through two years of doing nothing. As my life gets busier and busier, I long for quiet time alone to read or sit in the back yard listening to and watching the birds.

Recently, I said yes to writing the community’s newsletter. (I’m not sure that was a good idea.) I’ve said yes to book club and coffee club. I’ve said yes to neighbor’s invitations. I’ve joined the YMCA and go four times a week to swim and workout. We’ve had people over for wine and dinner. I can’t believe I’m missing the endless days of no plans. But I am.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“No” has never been an easy word to say, especially to the people we care about most. And after two years of pandemic life—with very few invites to decline—we may be even rustier than usual at delivering the bad news. et, many of us now are fielding more invites and requests than we have in years.

We’re eager to get back out there. We’re also burnt out on stress and schedules that often seem like all work and no fun. We know that if we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and more meaningful we need to prioritize. Learning to decline requests will be crucial to this effort.

Think of saying no as the ultimate self-care strategy.

“If we just agree to everything mindlessly, we are not going to be able to come up with the priorities to take us where we want to go,” says Vanessa Bohns, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

We sometimes say yes simply because we’re uncomfortable saying no. We’re social beings—we want people to like us. We feel guilty if we let others down or hurt their feelings, especially our closest family and friends. They’re the ones who often want us to say yes the most—and who may experience our “no” as a rejection of them, rather than of the request.

Bernstein, the reporter, offers five tips for saying no which include not rushing, start with thank you and standing firm.

What are your thoughts about saying no? Does it come easy to you? Are you getting more invitations to do things outside the home? How do you feel about it?

Our resident cardinal I watch while Im writing in the casita.

Too many emails

brother and sister photo
My brother and me before anyone had heard of emails.

Is anyone else suffering from a deluge of emails? I get hundreds every day.

I scan through them and delete them in batches of 100 or more. I can’t go through them one by one. It would take up hours each day.

Then I end up deleting the one or two emails that were important.

My son set me up with an email program that had folders that emails automatically went into. For example, all the WordPress emails ended up in the “Social” folder. My inbox would be small and manageable. Unfortunately, this savvy email program went belly up.

So, I’m back to wading through the dredges of advertisements. I find it annoying.

I feel like all the ads we get is defeating the value of emails. I unsubscribe, but the emails keep coming. I’ve never successfully unsubscribed from anything.

What are your thoughts on email? Do you have the same issue with too many and losing the important ones in the crowd? Any suggestions or solutions?

Motivated by bloggers

cat on SwimSwam magazines
Olive hanging out on top of magazines with my stories inside. She doesn’t want anyone to read them.

I literally dusted off two picture book manuscripts that I wrote 20 years ago — thanks to my blogging community.

I was motivated again by blogger LA for her leap entering a writing competition. In her comments section, I lamented that I had not fulfilled my dream of having a book published. Another blogger along with LA encouraged me to keep going.

Although I’ve won contests, been published by magazines, websites and newspapers — that elusive book deal hasn’t happened.

I realized that it won’t happen — because I quit submitting to agents and publishers two years ago.

When I said I dusted off two picture book manuscripts, it’s because I discovered they aren’t on my laptop, nor are they on icloud. They’re on backup devices that no longer work with my current system. It has been 20 years since they were on my computer or backed up. That’s a lifetime in nano years.

I wondered if I had thrown out all my manuscripts when we moved? If so, my work would be lost. After searching the house and garage, I found two notebooks that I used to keep copies of my manuscripts, a spread sheet of submissions and a bevy of rejection letters. It wasn’t sad to look at the rejection letters, some had personal handwritten notes and were encouraging.

Long gone are the days of the snail mail submission with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). I won’t receive hand written notes or form letters in the mail. Everything is done online and many publishers and agents don’t send rejections. If they aren’t interested, they don’t respond. Fortunately, some do reject via email, so I’ll know from those agents and publishers if my submission got lost in the ethers — or not.

I quickly typed the two manuscripts into my laptop and I’ll be off pursing my dream once again.

What are your goals or dreams? Have you stuck with it or did it go by the wayside?