Veracity

V for veracity in the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

I am thinking about veracity and my father. Veracity is truth, faithfulness, accuracy, correctness.

I was frustrated about how someone was reacting to something and asked my father about it.

My father said, “Most people don’t want reality.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Most people work hard to avoid reality. They have a set of ideas and a world view and they get upset if something does not fit in it or if it is questioned.”

I have been thinking about a song that I learned as a kid. It falls into one of the “Dead Girl” songs, as my sister called them. I think of them as teaching songs. I am taking guitar lessons and my teacher says that he won’t sing those songs.

I will. I like the dark songs. And I am very ambivalent about this song:

There was a wee cooper wha lived in Fife,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo;
And he had married a gentle wife,
Hey, willy, wallacky, ho John Dougle
Alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.

She would na bake nor would she brew,
For spilin’ o’ her comely hue.

she would na caird nor would she spin,
For shamin’ o’ her gentle kin.

The cooper has gone to his wool pack,
And he’s laid a sheep’s skin on his wife’s back.

“I’ll no be shamin’ your gentle kin,
But I will skelp my ain sheepskin.”

“O I will bake and I will brew,
And think nae mair o’ my comely hue.”

“O I will wash and I will spin,
And think nae mair o’ my gentle kin.”

A’ ye what hae gotten a gentle wife,
Send ye for the wee cooper o’ Fife.

This is Child Ballad number 277 and has been recorded by Burl Ives and others.

Ambivalence. It’s a song about wife beating, I don’t approve. But it’s also a song about surviving. A cooper builds barrels. The job division was that the wife would bake and brew, card wool and spin. However, this wife is “gentle” as in gentleman, of “good birth” and rejects the work as beneath her. Does she expect to be served? In the stories of happily ever after, we are happy when the poor underdog poor person wins the love and admiration of the other person, but we don’t see what happens when they go home. In Disney movies, the girls are poor and win a prince. Or Aladdin becomes a prince.

Skelp is defined as “hit, beat, slap”. The song doesn’t say whether the cooper does beat the sheepskin tied to his wife’s back or only threatens to do so.

I love word play so I like the “alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.” Nonsense words delight me aside from the topic of the song and I like the tune.

I think that our culture has years of men dominating women and expecting women to obey. I dislike that intensely. At the same time, I don’t like it when people won’t contribute and when they avoid work, so I also have some sympathy for the wee cooper. And our culture spends too much time thinking “happily ever after”, trying to find just the right person. We do not enough time actually asking each other what “happily ever after” would look like. And anyhow, it doesn’t exist. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and health: that is the veracity. We all will have challenges and everyone will have illness and hopefully good times too.

I am thinking of the many people lost in the recent earthquake. Lost: killed suddenly. Enjoy each day and be kind to yourself and others. We never know when grief will strike.

Little Blue Pill

Little blue pill
Little blue pill
Help me help me
I’m over the hill

Don’t wanna have sex
Nope nope nope
Little blue pill
Gives my husband hope

Can’t make a pill
Til we define the disease
Doctors would you
Hurry up please

Little blue pill
Little blue pill
Help me help me
I’m over the hill

Thought them hormones
Would make me hot
Doc was right
They did not

Hot flashes make me
Sweat and moan
No help from that
Testosterone

Little blue pill
Little blue pill
Help me help me
I’m over the hill

Doctor this
Is really no joke
My husband says
He’ll slit his throat

Can’t make a pill
Til we define a disease
They’re trying hard
Those drug companies

I think we’ll know
If they define a disease
Drug companies will plaster it
On tv

Doctor I found
Just the thing
A brand new stimulating
Clitoral ring

Don’t wanna have sex
Nope nope nope
Little blue pill
Gives my husband hope

previously published on everything2.com

the mushroom is from the olympic peninsula. we didn’t know what it was and did not eat it.

Molting

I am growing
My shell hurts
It hurts it hurts!
I cannot shed it
I try and try and try
I fight
I seek allies and help
I fight
One year, two years, nearly three

I’m free
My shell suddenly releases and slides off
I can feel my soft body expand
To my real size
Bigger
Joy!

Oh!
They’re attacking!
Why why!
My brothers! My sisters!
No!
Your claws hurt!
They are cutting me
Ow ow stop why!

I run
Scuttle sideways
Soft and clumsy
Hide
In the mud

Why why?
Oh, my wounds ache
Stabbed
By multiple claws
Deepest pain
In my heart
At this betrayal.

I hide
I sit
I think

It was so hard
To shed my shell
Why would they attack?

Oh!
Their shells hurt too!
Their words
They were grabbing me
To try to see how I’d shed my shell
They were desperate
Oh they must be in such pain!

Can I forgive them?
Do they know not what they do?

I hide
I sit
I think
I heal

My shell is strong now
I am bigger

I will go forth
And see who is trying to shed their shell
I will try to protect the newly molted.

Fraud in medicine: Diabetic supplies

There is a subtle ongoing fraud in diabetic supplies for diabetic patients and especially medicare patients.

The fraud is in the paperwork. An order form will arrive for me to sign for Mr. Smith. I read the fine print and it says that all of the supplies on the form will be renewed for Mr. Smith, unless something is crossed out. It lists six supplies: lancets to draw blood, strips for the glucose machine, a new glucometer, a new lancet machine and control solution to check that the machine is working correctly.

This is all good and necessary, right? Maybe.

I call Mr. Smith and say, “What do you need?”

“I just need lancets,” says Mr. Smith. “That’s what I asked the company to refill.” He is wondering why I called, because he only asked for lancets.

I cross everything out but the lancets: because that is where the fraud lies. Mr. Smith only renewed his prescription for the lancets, but the medical supply company knows exactly what interval medicare and the other insurances will pay for all of the supplies. They want me to sign a blanket order and then they will send Mr. Smith a new glucometer every time medicare allows, whether he wants and needs it or not. So if you have visited a parent or family member and wondered why they have a closet or a drawer full of some medical equipment, that is why. The doctor did not read the fine print and signed a blanket order and the patient is getting more equipment than they need or want. This is waste and it costs us all money.

Another fraud in diabetic supplies is in getting the first glucometer. I was taught to send the patient to the [diabetic educator] where they would get a “free” glucometer. However, now I tell them to check their local pharmacy instead. The “free” glucometers have the most expensive strips and lancets, and diabetics are supposed to check blood sugar at least once a day. If the strip costs one dollar, that adds up. The pharmacy often has a house brand where the strips and lancets are less expensive. I give the patient the choice. Most of them choose the house brand.

One diabetic equipment company got a hold of one of my patients and wouldn’t let go. They sent paperwork to me saying that they needed every note back to the date that I had prescribed his equipment and copies of his blood sugar records. I wrote them a letter, saying, “I am sending the notes, but I don’t photo copy the patient’s blood sugar records. You are being unreasonable. My notes contain the records I made about his blood sugars.” The company is in Florida and the patient is in Washington. The company kept demanding the notes, all the way back to the first visit, every two months. After we sent them twice, we sent a letter saying, “We already sent those twice. We’re not doing it again.” They continued to fax renewals. I talked to the patient. He wanted them gone too, because they kept calling him and wanting to send him more supplies. I called them. They did not desist. I sent them a letter and tried calling medicare fraud. The medicare fraud department said, “Call the company.” Now we just shred anything they send us, including the threatening notes saying that medicare will be after me.

The diabetic supplies aren’t terribly expensive, but when there are millions of diabetic people, this adds up. Also, most physicians are so busy that they sign papers without reading all that fine print and don’t have time to check what the patient really needs. And the companies are targeting the frail, sick and elderly, though many diabetics are otherwise healthy. I think it is a shameful scam to have a person call a company and say “I need more lancets,” and then to try to send them more of everything. Isn’t that illegal? It should be, to fill prescriptions that have not been renewed. I am tired of seeing more and more clearly how our United States medical system is a system to make money any way possible, and morals don’t matter, and it has nothing to do with people’s health.

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/2014statisticsreport.html
29.1 million diabetics in the US
21.0 million diabetics diagnosed in the US

published on everything2 on November 26, 2014 and on Sermo today

Lammily doll

Barbie has competition this Christmas.

Nickolay Lamm took measurements of the average American 19 year old female off the CDC website, made a 3D model and then dressed her like a Barbie.

The images went viral and he used crowdfunding to fund making the dolls, which will hit the stores for 24.99. Right now my QFC grocery store has a small pile of Christmas offerings, including a Barbie dressed in pink, all gussied up for breast cancer treatment fundraising. My sister, who died of breast cancer in 2012,  was hugely frustrated that most of the breast cancer money goes to treatment and not prevention, so I haven’t bought one. But the Barbie costs $19.99, so 24.99 is reasonable.

And second graders like her. A video of children at a private school responding to the doll shows them saying that she looks like a family member and that she looks real. Her hair is softer than Barbie’s too, judging by the video. I wondered why a private school was used, but perhaps it’s about permission. Or something.

It is interesting that Mr. Lamm talks about average being beautiful. “She is fit, strong and wears minimal makeup. She promotes a healthy lifestyle.” We could argue lots about Big Brother pushing everyone to be average, but I like the message that the average body is fine and can have fun and can be a doll. Barbie is impossible, everyone knows that. I cut out the article from the AARP magazine about Barbie turning 50. It contains a very interesting list of when the doll got to do different jobs. Teacher, nurse, doctor, multiracial, Army Barbie, astronaut….. It made me feel better about Barbie: her body is ludicrous but she has quietly moved into different careers over the years. It made me proud of her.

There have been other attempts to create a more realistic doll than Barbie… I have one of the Get Real Girls, the camper. She has a back pack, a sleeping bag, a camp stove, a GPS, socks and hiking boots, shorts and a t-shirt. I like her but she is still not the average American female. She’s more privileged. We had the basketball one too but apparently the evil introverted thinker and extroverted feeler blew up a lot of dolls with firecrackers one Fourth of July….. only the camper has survived. She was mine. Also the Barbie twin babies, now orphans, and quite a lot of pink furniture.

The male dolls, that is, action figures, got blown up too. If Lammily is successful, will we have a male average doll? I will bet that that takes longer. I have enjoyed the action figures such as the librarian action figure and the Sigmund Freud action figure. For his graduation from nursing school, I got my Ex a male nurse action figure. He thought the doll was ridiculously great.

And me? I want a Lammily doll for Christmas. No, really. When Demi Moore appeared very pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, I went to buy one. I wondered why I wanted one, until the man at the checkout spoke up: “Women shouldn’t be seen like that.”

“Like what?” I said.

“That.”

“Pregnant?”

“Yeah. They should stay inside. They shouldn’t be seen like that.”

Oh. That’s why I wanted to buy it. Images of women pregnant and a beautiful woman pregnant are evil. I still have it, that evil magazine…..

Lammily: https://lammily.com/
Mr. Lamm: http://patch.com/new-jersey/oceancity/barbie-gets-competition-bruised-and-scarred-lammily-watch
Get Real Girl: https://www.behance.net/gallery/3590013/STARTUP-GET-REAL-GIRL-ACTION-DOLL-LINE
Get Real Girl Nini: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Real-Girl-Backpacking-Adventure/sim/B0018L29NG/2

Barbie turns 50:http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/bulletin/interactive/barbie/index.html

Librarian action figure: http://mcphee.com/shop/librarian-action-figure.html

Sigmund Freud action figure: http://mcphee.com/shop/sigmund-freud-action-figure.html

male nurse action figure: http://www.amazon.com/Nurse-Action-Figure-Stethoscope-Clipboard/dp/B0006FU9ZK

first published on everything2 this morning.

Painting Angels

You were an artist
You are an artist
You said that you’d have to live to 120 to finish all your projects
And died at 61
I keep wondering
what the art supplies are like
and if you work on sunsets
or mountains
or lakes

Trey, 9
made a clay fish last summer that I admire.
He said grumpily “It’s too bad Grandma Helen died before I could do clay with her.”
He tells me he’s ready to make raku pots for fire in your ashes as you wished
I ask what he’d make
He considers and says, “What was Grandma Helen’s favorite food?”
I can’t think and say that she liked lots of foods
At the same time wondering squeamishly if maybe
he should make a vase and then being surprised
that I am squeamish and thinking of blood and wine,
too, I wonder if my dad would know. “Maybe guacamole.”
I need to find a potter to apprentice him to.

Camille, 4.
asks how old Grandma Helen was when she died.
I explain that she died at 61 but her mother died at 92.
Camille asks how old I am.
40.
When are you going to die?
I say I don’t know, none of us do, but I hope it’s more towards 90.

Camille studies me and is satisfied for now.
She goes off.
I think of you.

I perpetuate
the Christmas cards you did with us
upon my children
They each draw a card.
We photocopy them and hand paint with watercolors.
Camille wants to draw an angel
and says she can’t.
I draw a simple angel
and have her trace it.
She has your fierce concentration
bent over tracing through the thick paper
She wants it right.
The angel is transformed.

My kids resist the painting after a few cards as I did too.
Each time I paint the angel
to send to someone I love
I think of Camille
and you
and genes
and Heaven
I see you everywhere

published in Mama Stew: An Anthology: Reflections and Observations on Mothering, edited by Elisabeth Rotchford Haight and Sylvia Platt c. 2002

written January 19, 2002

Fraud in medicine: oxygen

My father died of emphysema in June of 2013. I found him dead on the floor of his house. I expected this because he was nearly a hermit, but it was still hard.

He was on oxygen. It was prescribed to be continuous.

I started cleaning up the house and trying to find his will. I lined up oxygen tanks and called the oxygen company. There were ten tanks.

The oxygen company picked up the tanks.

I found eight more. I was very busy with a large house, a complicated estate, two years of unpaid taxes, he paid bills on line but had not updated the payments when costs increased……

I hired a local estate sale group. They did an excellent job. The house was sold. I picked up the last few things, including the oxygen tanks.

I called the oxygen company. “Why did my father have 18 oxygen tanks?”

They said, “We delivered them as needed.”

I said, “He didn’t need 18 tanks.”

They said, “They are paid for.”

Oh! Medicare paid for the oxygen. No, not medicare. You and he and I paid for it, because we pay taxes to medicare and medicare pays the oxygen company. Well, 80% and then my father paid the other 20% unless he had a medicare secondary insurance, which he also pays for…. Oh, are you under 65 and thought medicare paid for everything once you got it? Sorry to disillusion you…..My father  was supposed to be on oxygen continuously. So the company kept delivering it at the intervals covered by medicare, even though he was not using it all. He sometimes didn’t wear his oxygen and he also had bought his own oxygen concentrator, smaller and easier to move than the one from the oxygen company.

I was furious. “So you kept delivering oxygen even though it was not all being used. And kept charging.”

They said, “We delivered it when it was needed.”

Liars. They delivered more than was needed and I gave some back to them, after medicare had already paid for it.

I still have 8 tanks of oxygen. After all, it’s paid for by medicare, by my taxes and by your taxes. The oxygen is paid for. The tanks belong to the company. I’ll return them when they are empty….. I don’t think the corporation should be able to charge medicare for it twice…..

I should check to see if the company reimbursed medicare and my father for the oxygen when it was returned. If not, I can check into filing a fraud complaint with medicare against the company. But even if they reimbursed medicare and my father’s estate, I am still angry that they kept delivering it when they knew darn well that he had tanks already. Or maybe they don’t even keep track of how many tanks they’ve given out. It’s all about money.

Fight back against corporate greed and fraud. Ask questions. Do not give the oxygen back if it’s been paid for….. give it to someone who needs it instead.