Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Doctor, it hurts when I do this...

The recent passage of the Health Care Bill and all the accompanying news coverage has really made me think lately about the vast amount of resources spent on my own personal health and whether it is necessary or if I’m just a neurotic hypochondriac. I have a friend who says pain and discomfort are good for us and that we have no God-given right to good health. He contends that, if you are sick, you bear it until you get better. He kind of takes pride in enduring pain.

I sit, however, on the other end of the spectrum. I think that if modern medical science has a way to make me feel better, I’m going to use it. The question is, at what monetary cost? Every two weeks I get a treatment to keep me from getting infections. If I don’t get the treatments, I get sinus infections, and presumably, I’m at risk for other infection, too. The condition is actually called gammaglobulinemia. Isn't that a great word?

The sinus infections won’t kill me. However, they drastically alter my quality of life. I walk around in a sleepy haze with a pounding headache, blowing my nose and sounding like I’m in a well all the time. The treatments that prevent the infection is extremely expensive. I am very blessed that the private health insurance, paid for by my employer, pays for it.

I also broke my wrist a few years ago and it was set incorrectly and has never healed properly. It has continued to become more painful. How much pain is too much pain? At what point am I justified in having it repaired? It was my fault I broke it, is the chronic pain just the price I pay for being stupid or am I justified in having insurance pay to have it re-broken and repaired? By the way, this condition is called fallingoffaladdertryingtodosomethingstudipenemia.

So here is the question with which I struggle: Am I being wasteful, greedy, selfish, to ask insurance to pay vast amounts of money so I feel better or don’t hurt? I’m told I’ll need the infusions the rest of life. The arm surgery is expensive. A lot of money is spent in the course of a year to keep me comfortable and pain free. Am I worth it?

I’m not asking readers to comment on my specific ailments, but think about what we all spend on healthcare. How do we decide what is “too expensive” and how much pain or discomfort we are willing to live with? Who do we trust to make these decisions for us? These are tough questions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Will Work for Food

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to what I want to be when I grow up. There are several books out about “restarting” or “reinventing” your career. One that is on my “to read” list is Richard Florida’s book, The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity (Harper, 2010). I wonder if people really do “reset”. I guess I did when I quit working to be a stay home mom but I don’t think people who have tuitions and mortgages really do switch to new industries or even new areas of their current industry very often. I haven’t found a way to do it without taking a drastic pay cut. Here is what I need from a job:

*A sense of making the world a better place.
*An opportunity to be creative.
*Some sense of autonomy and decision making.
*Human contact.
*Intellectual stimulation.
*At least a little schedule flexibility.
*Enough salary and benefits that I don’t feel I’ve wasted the first 20 years of my career.
*Pride in the organization for which I work.
*AND it needs to be close enough to home that I don't feel I’m wasting too much time and too many resources getting to it.

I get much of this from my current job, but apparently not enough or I wouldn’t even be writing this. I've listed some of the careers I'm considering. They aren't panning out too well. If you have any contacts in any of these fields, please let me know. Networking is a powerful tool.

*Broadway diva (I hear Patti Lupone is retiring.)
*Famous artist (There are no famous Sharpy artists and I think it is about time!)
*Philanthropist and humanitarian (Bill and Melinda need some competition.)
*Supreme Court Justice (I sent my resume to the White House but no word back yet.)
*High school Show Choir star (I've been inspired by the tv show Glee and age discrimination is illegal.)

Am I asking too much to expect these things from a job? Do any of you have jobs that meet all the above criteria? Do you have any suggestions for what careers would let me feel these things? Have I left off any criteria that you think are necessary? Let me hear.