The Lydster, Part 73: The Health Report


A bunch of pictures from last fall. The reason I don’t use a digital camera is the very real likelihood that I would lose it. I took these on a one-use camera, then lost it, then recently found it.


In any case, Lydia is 4’2″ (50 inches) and 70 pounds. She’s over the 97th percentile for her height and her weight. She’s very active. Not only does she take ballet once a week, but she dances in front of the TV to the music of her favorite TV shows. Usually it’s quite graceful, though the thing she was doing to one particular song from the Backyardigans looked more like thrash dancing.

She loves to run. In a 50-yard race, she will beat me because she has great acceleration; eventually, I can catch her, but it is by using maximum effort. She’ll race me up the stairs and always beat me, but to be fair to me, she usually has the inside track.

She has various and sundry allergies, some seasonal, others year-round. She takes Zyrtec practically daily, plus her fluoride and vitamin, and other medicines seasonally, as needed. She was tested again, and she’s still allergic to peanuts; she’s never been allergic to tree nuts, but we have to avoid them too, since they tend to be processed in the same location.

She lost her eighth (or is it her ninth?) baby tooth this week, and has one adult tooth (top center). I must say that the Tooth Fairy is WAY more generous with her than she was with me.

As I’ve noted she’s doing well in school. Initially she fretted that she wasn’t ready – the source of the glum look (above) is that this was the first day of school back in September – but now she loves it.

I generally help her with her homework. Recently, he had to add coins, two quarters, and she guessed 51 cents. I explained that if 5 plus 5 equal a number ending in zero, than any two numbers each with the last digit of 5 added together would end with zero. She hugged me and said, “Thank you for showing me that, Daddy!” She REALLY loves to learn. The curse of being the child of a teacher and a librarian, I suppose.

EDIT: Found picture.

ROG

The Health Report

Had my physical this week. Other than too much weight (no surprise) and too high “bad ” cholesterol, I’m OK. My last “annual” checkup was in November 2008. I took Lipitor for a couple months at the time, then forgot to get a blood test, which I needed to get befoe getting a refill, but forgot and let it slide. I’ll do better this time.

Even before this, though, I made a major change. I had become, if not addicted, then habituated to caffeinated soda, usually diet. It had the annoying habit of allowing me to go to sleep, but then had me wake up in the middle of the night, brain on overload, unable to sleep. Then I “needed” a soda while I was at work lest I fall asleep at my desk. Vicious cycle. But when I last gave blood, on March 16, and my blood pressure upper number was 138 – it’s always been between 110 and 125 – I becan to worry, and I quit the soda cold turkey. After about three days of utter exhaustion, I’m actually sleeping better.

I wonder if it was the soda, or merely SAD (seasonal affective disorder) that made me feel crazy in February. Someone said something that annoyed me greatly – and I had a right to be annoyed – but it seemed to have captured me for about a month, with me withdrawing from things, feeling melancholy and alone. It’s passed, even before quitting the soda, but it was very peculiar.

Thus endeth “true confessions”.
ROG

Politicking

Here are some issues I’ve been musing about,. some happened a couple weeks ago but are still in my head.

New York State passed a no texting while driving law that became effective November 1. While I’m very much in favor of people not multitasking in that fashion, I’m not all that excited by the passage of more legislation that can be routinely ignored. Perhaps those who always follow the law will abide, and maybe those who’ve decided even before the law that texting while driving is unsafe. But, based on the (non-)enforcement of the no cellphone law, the only benefit will be something to charge a driver with ifwhen an accident occurs, the authorities will be able to charge the driver with additional violations.

Racialicious had an interesting article I’m for gay rights, but…; the topic was also discussed on the podcast Addicted to Race, episode 125, which describes the “oppression Olympics”: essentially who is more oppressed, blacks or gays, and why that whole mindset is so wrong. In the episode, the panel discussed Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter’s recent declaration that her father “didn’t take a bullet for same-sex unions.” Meanwhile the late Coretta Scott King had shown support for the rights of all, including gays. As the show notes ask: “Why is it that marginalized people fight each other over scraps, instead of uniting to work toward justice for all?” Sounds like a reasonable strategy to me.
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Only recently did I get to watch the Sunday morning talk shows from two days before Election Day. It is very instructive to listen to most of the predictions in the House race in NY-23, which “everybody knows” was going to the Conservative. Except, of course, it didn’t. One Republican operative in particular was complaining how 11 Republican county chairpersons could pick a candidate, suggesting that it’s undemocratic. Well, it is, but it’s also the way the Democratic candidate was picked. When Kirsten Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton in the US Senate, the county chairs in her district picked the candidates, but the winner stands only until the next election, in 2010. (For that matter, Gillibrand also has to run in 2010, and if she wins, in 2012, when the seat would normally be up.)

That race was a perfect example of why Instant Runoff Voting would have been helpful, as I noted here. For that matter, IRV would have clarified the New Jersey governor’s race. One pundit noted that the third party candidate faded, “as they always do.” But the reason isn’t their qualifications, it’s their perceived win-ability.

Speaking of Election Day, Jason at 2political, among others, noted this peculiar trend in Virginia gubernatorial races. In the last three decades, when there is one party elected President, the very next year, the Virginia governor is elected from the other party:
CARTER 1976 (D); John N. Dalton 1977 Republican
REAGAN 1980 (R); Chuck Robb 1981 Democratic
REAGAN 1984 (R); Gerald L. Baliles 1985 Democratic
BUSH 41 1988 (R); Douglas Wilder 1989 Democratic
CLINTON 1992 (D); George Allen 1993 Republican
CLINTON 1996 (D); Jim Gilmore 1997 Republican
BUSH 43 2000 (R); Mark Warner 2001 Democratic
BUSH 43 2004 (R); Tim Kaine 2005 Democratic
OBAMA 2008 (D); Bob McDonnell 2009 Republican
So it’s difficult to see any repudiation of Obama in the Virginia race. Not to mention that the Democrats picked a lousy candidate.

Speaking of repudiating Obama, I was baffled that Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News were baffled by two recent polls. One showed about a 57% support for the public option; the other showed that the majority of Americans oppose Obama’s handling of the health care issue. They seemed to assume that opposition to Obama on the issue would only come from the right. In fact, if I had been asked, I would have said the same thing: that I oppose Obama’s handling of health care, not because it contains a public option but because single payer got taken off the table much too easily. And, absent single payer, I support the public option.

As for the bill that DID get passed by the House, what SamuraiFrog said, particularly with regards to abortion, applies to me too. And there’s no guarantee that the wuss of a House bill will even make it through the Senate in any meaningful way.

I got an important e-mail this week:

Become a Charter Member of the Bush Presidential Center
Dear ROGER,
I don’t have to remind you how America was tested time and again-at home and abroad-during the eight defining years of the George W. Bush presidency.
The difficult decisions President Bush made in the face of each challenge were rooted in the core principles he held throughout his years of public service—the fundamental values that have guided America since her founding: Freedom . . . Opportunity . . . Responsibility . . . Compassion.
Now President and Mrs. Bush—with the support of many patriotic Americans like you—are taking on a new challenge. They are continuing their personal commitment to advancing these enduring principles through the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
The Center will uniquely integrate the records of a national archive, the thematic exhibits of a presidential museum, and the intellectual capital of a research-based policy institute to transform ideas into action.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center will continue to advance the ideals and core principles that shaped his presidency during a defining period in America’s history.
Please accept this invitation to stand with President and Mrs. Bush by becoming a Charter Member of this vibrant, multi-disciplinary Center.
Thank you for your support.
Sincerely,
Hon. Mark Langdale
President
George W. Bush Foundation

“Principles”? Er, thanks, but no thanks.
***
A lot more pictures like the ones above can be found here.

ROG

Laboring to Put Together A Coherent Blogpost

This blog post started innocently enough, just noticing how different the United States is than most other places. Many countries have Labor Day in May, but we have it in September because of an event in our history; fair enough.

But what’s with our resistance to the metric system? And don’t use medicine or track as examples; they were more or less required for international competition. You COULD mention the ubiquitous two-liter bottle, but what else has cut through?

I asked Nik, an expat from the US living in New Zealand the difference between the two countries. On the plus side for the US: “friendliness (I find Americans, while they can be loud, are more open-hearted sometimes).”

I found this troubling, because I’m finding Americans a pretty unfriendly lot sometimes, biting off a finger, shouting down a lady in a wheelchair, pulling their kids out of school because the President’s going to “indoctrinate” them, etc., etc. One guy heckling the wheelchair-bound woman said he did so because he didn’t want to hear her opinion on health care. I can only wonder what he thought his own position was; the “facts”?

Letters of comments have gone from expressing differences of opinion to becoming bile-infused rants. Jon Stewart joked recently that we used to feel apologetic to the rest of the world for our President. And now it’s our President who must apologize for us.

Oh, sure, the crude behavior doesn’t represent everyone. But I can’t help but wonder how we went from being a country that would watch Jerry Springer on TV to one that has brought Springer-Show tactics to the public debate. Perhaps race is part of it, and that GQ got it right.

WAIT a minute…GQ?

Well, specifically Jim Nelson’s editor page comment: Remember a long, long time ago – it almost seems like a recession and a half ago – when Barack Obama first came (via Kenya, of course) to power? Remember how certain hope-doped commentators predicted that his election would finally allow Americans to have a frank discussion about race?

Something different and less hope-inducing has happened. His presidency has allowed us to talk around race, to talk about it constantly and subliminal, without ever truly discussing it. And by doing so, we’re proving how much distance we have to grow up.

And my favorite:

“Everywhere you look, people keep making bats***-crazy comments about race and ethnicity, stream-of-consciousness-style, as if the election had unleashed some Freudian anxiety in the cultural air.”

And how did #uknowurblackwhen become the leading trend on Twitter yesterday? For every interesting note, there were five dreadful ones. Well, as far as I know; I’d read 20 and 75 more would be waiting.

Again, I know it isn’t everyone – I’d vote for the Roberto Clemente award for MLB community-minded players if it didn’t take so long to load – but I get the feeling that the fall will be as disheartening as August was.

ROG

Teddy/Ellie


I have had on my bookshelf for the longest time a book called “In Critical Condition: the Crisis in America’s Health Care” by Edward M. Kennedy.
Chapter I: Sickness and Bankruptcy – A Double Disaster
Chapter II: What Price Good Health?
Chapter III: No Money, No Medical Care
Chapter IV: Where Have All the Doctors Gone?
Chapter V: The Medical Maze
Chapter VI: Good Care, Poor Care.
Chapter VII: Businessmen or Healers?
Chapter VIII: The Health Insurance Trap
Chapter IX- Better Health Care at Lower Cost in Other Countries
Chapter X: Good Health Care: A Right for All Americans
The book was published in 1972. Does any of the discussion sound at all familiar?

There is little doubt in my mind that Ted Kennedy was one of the greatest United States Senators ever. Just this past weekend on ABC News, John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated that the current health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend, the “Lion of the Senate”, wasn’t able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy was an “old-time” senator who really DID work “across the aisle”.

I believe his greatness in the Senate was fueled in no small part by the fact that he never became President. like his brother Jack did and his brother Bobby likely would have, had he not been assassinated in 1968. And I think it’s because of a tragedy of his own making, Chappaquiddick, in 1969.

I supported Ted Kennedy when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Yet, at the same time, I was scared to death for him. Every President who was elected, or re-elected in a year ending in zero, going back to 1840, had died in office. Moreover, all of Ted’s brothers had died violent deaths, including his brother Joe in World War II.

(I always thought the 1980 primary season felt like a conversation among Carter, Kennedy and Jerry Brown to a Lovin’ Spoonful song, It’s Not Time Now.)

So Ted Kennedy’s sad but unsurprising death would, in the movies, stir both sides to open their hearts, work together for comprehensive health care reform, and we’d have a nice warm, fuzzy feeling in our bellies as the end credits rolled.

I’m not counting on that.

I do think it would be a fine legacy if the Congress could get together and pass some meaningful reform, and if EMK’d death becomes the prompt, then so be it.
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The Brill Building composers and producers held sway over popular music in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among them were Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Greenfield and Sedaka, Pomus and Shuman, Leiber and Stoller, Barry and Greenwich. The latter were Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, partners both musically and otherwise (they were married for a time).
Here are some songs written or co-written by Ellie Greenwich, who died this week:
AND THEN HE KISSED ME
BE MY BABY
CHAPEL OF LOVE
CHRISTMAS BABY (PLEASE COME HOME)
DA DOO RON RON
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
HANKY PANKY
LEADER OF THE PACK
RIVER DEEP. MOUNTAIN HIGH
and a whole bunch more.

She also produced a number of artists, notably early Neil Diamond. Somewhere in my vinyl I have the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Leader of the Pack, in which she starred in the 1980s.
ROG