The Newsletter: Issue #15

A week ago, a friend messaged me late on Friday. She said “we made it through to the weekend!” And I was like “I mean yeah except those pesky kids and all their bullshit.”

Well folks, here we are on a Friday: you made it. You made it through the week. That is if you aren’t a parent, or you aren’t working odd jobs, odd hours, or multiple jobs.

But nevertheless… you made it. So let’s get to this week’s newsletter.

Around the World

Fascism is on the rise, folks. So much so that I talked about it in my podcast next week (you can preview it on Youtube, or below). I’m really starting to feel like I belong to Fox News though on this topic, because the more cancel culture grows, the more I feel that Democrats have just as much a tendency to fascism as Republicans do.

Think of it: every time they try and suppress viewpoints, suppress information, cancel someone for being against the “vote blue no matter who” mantra, or claim that anything they simply don’t agree with, don’t like, or haven’t read the up-to-date information on… they call it misinformation, or a threat to democracy.

But do you know what the biggest threat is to democracy? Suppression. Censorship. Cancel culture.

What is most disturbing to me is in the case of local media, at least where I live. There is an argument afoot that “both sides-ing journalism” is harmful to democracy because it gives a mouthpiece to an objectively grotesque underbelly of society. But at the same time, if journalists do not offer the perspective of all views, what is to be gained?

One, singular, view that then becomes suppression of other whatever-it-happens-to-be out there. This is not a reflection of America, as a whole.

And I hate this with my whole being, because it offers the perspective that racists should be allowed to spew their racist hatred; transphobia permissible in the public space… and so on. Is what they say right? No. But the principles upon which this country was founded allow for those hateful things to be said, no matter how grotesque or abhorrent.

The Constitution does not save anyone from consequences from their words and actions, this is for certain. So consequence-away. Combat with love, sue people… whatever.

But outright suppression? That shit is wrong. It is anti-democratic. It is fascism, defined.

More on my perspective in next week’s pod, again you can already listen to it in its entirety here:

Around My World

School is back in full swing over here. I’m taking a course in Public Governance, and growing more skeptical of the concept of the “national deficit” by the day as a result. My kids are back at it too. I designed three, entire curriculums over the summer for my five year old, all based around projects in history, STEM, and art. My high schooler is at it, and also dual enrolled in classes at the community college. And my oldest daughter deferred a year to have surgery later this winter, but is taking classes at the community college as well, and playing tennis for their team.

As it turns out, my kids are taking two of their classes at community together, and they invited me to take their painting class with them. Of course, they were probably just being polite; but I graciously accepted, and let them turn my office into their painting space for these 15 weeks. Because wasn’t that nice of them to humor me like that?

You Can’t Unsee This

I mean… is it entirely wrong?

STFU Fridays

My big pet peeve right now are people complaining about the ongoing availability of Telehealth services. I’ve heard it from a couple doctors, some family members that are nurses, and a hell of a lot of people on social media that work in a variety of areas of healthcare.

The complaints run the gamut, but very few of them have actually boiled down to actual serious reasons related to health. Most of them are things like “the wifi never works,” or “I cannot figure out how to do audio,” or – my favorite – “patients take it as an opportunity to spend too much time discussing their issues, because they’re in the comfort of their own home.” The audacity. The audacity of patients wanting to actually be able to have conversations with their doctors without being herded out like cattle.

The. Audacity.

I can certainly see there are some issues that are harder to address over Telehealth, like a rash or something that really does require a hands-on, fingers-up approach (barf). But there are so many things that can be addressed over Telehealth, and with the rapid expansion of it due to COVID it not only makes it safer for people while the pandemic still rages, and it gives access to people to see their doctors that otherwise do not always get to go.

For myself, I am a mom with very little support system, at times (most of the time). Because of this, I am rarely able to see my doctor; once a year if I’m lucky. The pandemic opening Telehealth, though, has allowed me to have regular visits with my primary care physician and really start addressing my allergies and asthma in ways I could only dream of doing with my 5 year old in tow at the office. Both issues are now much better off in terms of their management than they have been in over a decade (think about that for a minute), and I am able to see my doctor more frequently to do this simply because all I have to do is log in to Zoom. I don’t have to fight with my kid to wear his mask or stop opening and closing drawers, I don’t need anyone to drive my older kids to their school and sports activities… I can literally do the appointment from anywhere. This has been an absolute game changer for me, and I am certain it has been for others.

So to the people complaining about Telehealth without understanding the circumstances under which it really and truly has changed lives, and possibly lengthened them? Well y’all just need to shut the fuck up. Quit being lazy, quit being stubborn, and start remembering why you got into healthcare to begin with.

(And again, I recognize the instances where a hands on approach really and truly is needed… this is why both modalities need to be available.)

…on that note of availability, I do have to say that if appointments were more readily available in person, Telehealth may not be so widely needed still. Four times in the last couple of weeks I have called and been offered in person appointments literal weeks from the time I made the call. The Telehealth visit over Zoom? The next day.

Have a good weekend, everyone! That is… if weekends are a thing for you…

A Day With the Doctor

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Cold and flu season is in full swing (actually, it has been for a little over a month), so naturally this means our annual trek to the doctor when actually sick inevitably occurs. Because we homeschool, we don’t have quite all the health snafus that other families do; however, it still crops up.

This brings up a whole other set of pet peeves that I have, though. Being a hypochondriac, I naturally have a number of issues with matters of health. But then there is an entire other set of things that just drive me absolutely bonkers when it comes to getting sick.

Pet Peeve #1: When People Hang Around You Ill

Fucktards is what I like to call those people. No offense or anything if you are one of those people that is so inconsiderate that you think it is totally OK to go to a party or to work or to pretty much anywhere ill, but it’s not. I understand people who are given a hard time by their employers, but then it’s the employers that are the fucktards because – for real – sickness spreads when people don’t stay home.

When you or your family is sick, they can get other people sick. And who the fuck are you to get people sick against their will?

Say you go to a party and your kid is sick. Say he has the flu (ahem … that is how we got sick over a month ago at this point …). Say there is a senior citizen at this party that has a compromised immune system and a heart problem. You obviously don’t know that he does, but you also don’t know that he doesn’t. He holds your little bag of disease and then the old guy dies of the complications from the flu two weeks later.

The point is that no one knows what health issues others have but them. Which means as a decent human being, someone sick should stay home. It may not be a big deal to you, but it can always kill someone else.

Pet Peeve #2: Patient Care Is Our #1 Priority

Every time I walk into our doctor’s office, I see this sign that says “patient care is our #1 priority.” It’s a wonder my blood pressure readings always come up low, though, for this is the biggest annoyance to me, probably on the entire planet.

If patient care is your #1 priority, then why is it that four weeks ago I was told to go to the emergency room because you couldn’t fit me in for a week? If patient care is your #1 priority, then why is it that no one ever called me back after I phoned four times? If patient care is your #1 priority, then why did you never call in the prescriptions you told me you were calling in the minute you walked out the door?

I recently read an article that reported a study the CDC recently did, which stated that the majority of doctors in America right now are going to visits, not treatment. What that means is that doctors could care less about treating their patients,  and keeping people healthy. What they care about is getting copays.

Pet Peeve #3: Doctor Time

Have you ever been told that it was going to be five or ten minutes, only for it to wind up to be an hour and a half? That’s what happened to us today. Our appointment was at 12:50. I checked in at 12:30. She told me 5 minutes. At 2:15, we were finally taken in.

There were two other people in the waiting room.

A little known fact by you faithful blog followers is that for six years while in college, I was a full-time pharmacy technician. For 40 hours a week, I schlepped drugs, wrote employee schedules, argued with insurance companies, and handled all the other random crap the pharmacy manager didn’t want to handle.

I never once told a patient it would be 5 minutes.

Nothing makes someone that is tired and sick and feeling awful more frustrated than being lied to. I’m sure that enough people at our doctor’s office have been outraged when told it was going to be 30 or more minutes to make these horrible women lie and say it would be 5 when it was clearly going to take longer. That doesn’t make it OK for them to lie in such an egregious fashion.

I suppose I’m just a little turned off right now because we have all been sick for going on four weeks now. We were sick through Christmas. We were sick through New Years. When I called to get in a few weeks ago, I was told “tough shit.” What kind of a society do we live in where we can’t get ahold of our doctors when we need them? What the fuck is the point of even having a doctor, then?

We are one of two days worth of doctor’s appointments down and I am hoping this is the end for the season. Unless, of course, we picked up any other manner of illnesses from the doctor’s office while waiting to be seen, which raises a whole other set of pet peeves altogether.

Dear Biological Parents,

I don’t blog on this topic very often, mostly because it is far too personal and complicated, and more importantly the thought of some numb nuts commenting in a way that offends me is too much for me to worry about to actually put it out there.

Today is different, though.

Without getting into all the sordid details of my life and those of my little chitlins, I will just say this: for a few years, now, I have been trying to foster some sort of a relationship between my Pookie and her biological father for her own sake, and because he seemed to want to – at the very least – know her. He has not had her in his life much since she was a little baby, and quite frankly this is a good thing. He is very irresponsible, he does not have financial security, and he did not really want to have kids. He lives with his parents, has a wife, and loves his hobbies. I am fine with all of that, really – I am happy to try and facilitate some kind of relationship with her, since he actually indicates he wants to (which is more than I can say for a lot of other people that have been involved in her sweet, little life).

But there comes a time when I have to look at the situation and say exactly what the courts say: is this really in the best interest of the child?

This weekend we let her go to her biological father’s house for a couple of days, at which time she was exposed to cigarette smoke, things they are aware she is allergic to, and fed nothing but crap. When I asked him what she ate because she had an allergic reaction to something that caused her to break out in hives yesterday (upon getting home), he said: spaghetti, cocoa puffs, lucky charms, frozen pizza bites. What a diet, right?

Today I took her to the doctor because hydrocortisone cream and her regular allergy pills didn’t cut it on the hives. The culprit was that it’s apparently a fucking zoo over at their house. Not only does grandma smoke regularly, but they have two cats, two dogs, some wild rat in the back, and a shit-ton of fish. At the very least, she is allergic to the cats. The doctor’s bill, in the end, came to way more than we had budgeted or intended on – of which we will see not one bit from him – and which she admitted was because they let one of their cats bother her repeatedly through the entire visit, despite the fact that she is terribly allergic and they know.

Then this evening, Pookie informed me that they told her over the weekend that her biological father and his wife have decided to have a baby. This boggles my mind in ways you faithful blog followers could never understand. Boggles my fucking mind.

So I’m a little mad. And tipsy, because I allowed myself more than the standard “glass of wine with dinner” tonight. If I were to write a letter to biological parents that aren’t really parents, it would look something like this:

Dear Biological Parents,

Just because you can’t keep your dick in your pants or you spread your legs so wide people think you might be in the circus (with that flexibility and all), does not mean you are a parent. There is much more to being a parent than just creating a zygote. There is much more to being a parent than squeezing that thing through your chachi, or standing by while it all takes place and calling out “I’m a dad!”

If you don’t pay your child support, you are not a parent. If you believe a steady diet of Cocoa Puffs and chocolate chip cookies is adequate, you are not a parent. If you do not know the difference between toxic and non-toxic, clean and unclean, safe and unsafe, you are not a parent.

If you think it’s okay for your kid to have cigarette smoke blown in her face, you are not a parent. If your kid has a very serious allergy and you just blow it off because you are too busy or lazy or tired or stupid to limit their exposure, you are not a parent.

Being a parent is so much more than sticking your dick in some ho and calling it a day. Being a parent is staying up all night because your child had a nightmare and can’t get back to sleep. Being a parent is sacrificing your trip to Sephora for makeup so that your kid can have her allergy medicine. Being a parent is never making a food again that your kid is allergic to, unless they aren’t home. Being a parent is ensuring your child eats healthy and has a fruit or vegetable first every, single fucking goddamned time they have a snack. Being a parent is doing homework with your kid, and sitting with them while they read for a minimum of 15 minutes a day – because you know that’s what they need to succeed in life. Being a parent is sacrificing day fucking in and day fucking out.

Being a parent has nothing to do with your dick or your hoo ha, or a zygote that happens to have the same DNA as you. Being a parent is everything that happens afterwards – from the first time your kid wakes up and says “mommy, I had a nightmare,” to the minute they tell you “momma, he asked me to marry him.”

I am so fucking sick and tired of these worthless scumbags that don’t have the slightest idea of taking responsibility for the actions they choose to make. I’m tired of it in every walk of life, but today I am especially tired of this. Biology has nothing to do with being a parent. All this other shit does. As I slather cream all over my sweetheart’s hives, sit up with her all night because she is upset about feeling sick, and then wake up tomorrow to no make up because I had to spend all my make up money on this unintended visit to the doctor.

I sometimes wonder why  some people don’t take on their responsibilities as parents, though. Because despite how upset I am about it now, and how much I complain, it’s so worth it.