Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Take On The Great Health Insurance Debate

Ok, first of all, let me make something totally clear here. Politics just doesn't interest me. This could be because being socially liberal in Alabama is bloody useless or because I'm just too lazy to care. More likely the latter.

However, as I am poor, fat, and self-employed, I do have thoughts about health insurance. And I mean thoughts beyond "I haven't had any since my father's plan dropped me off in 2006."

I read somewhere that uninsured people are more likely than insured people to Google their symptoms and self-treat, sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly. Nah, really? *Gasp* I couldn't help but laugh because, hey, I'm guilty of it. MASSIVELY guilty of it. I haven't been to the doctor since November, and only then because a certain someone wouldn't shut the hell up about me going to the doctor, and I got tired of listening to it. (Ok, so he was right: I had bronchitis and asthma that was, up until that point, completely undiagnosed, and I was slowly dying from hypoxia. My lips might've already been turning blue. But that's not the point, dammit!)

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, yes, Google diagnostics.

I've pretty much felt like death warmed over since...March? But when the choice is between food or lights or rent (or all three) and going to the doctor, well, I guess you can imagine which one wins out. So I've been Googling--Wiki-ing would be more accurate, but whatever--all my symptoms in hopes that I can figure out WTF the problem is.

I've been ruling out things that require prescription drugs I don't already have in my medicine cabinet to treat. Which, of course, narrows down the field a LOT, but we have to be practical, yes? No point in saving the money it'd cost to go to some shitty walk-in clinic (where they don't even listen to what's wrong with you because they think every poor, uninsured twenty-something is a drug-seeking hypochondriac) and then having to turn around and use it to order prescription meds on the Internet, which cost 14 times what they normally do just because your broke ass doesn't want to go to the doctor.

So, anyway, somehow, I managed to alight on "B-vitamin deficiency" as the cause of at least some of my woes. More specifically, B6 and B12. I've got several of the symptoms, and I damn sure don't eat a lot of liver to get my daily dose of B12. Also, there's a family history of both impaired ability to absorb B12 and Alzheimer's (which is correlated with low B12 levels). Plus B-vitamins are water-soluble, meaning you're not too likely to overdose on a pill a day. So since a B-complex vitamin is cheap, AND since I'd give my right arm not to end up crazy like my grandmother and mother, that was the basis for my diagnosis.

Are you impressed with my brilliant scientific mind yet?

Anyhow, I started taking the damn things a few months ago, but I rapidly figured something out. I've always had crazy dreams, some of them creepily vivid, but B6 apparently causes the most amazing, insane, Technicolor dreams. I felt a lot better during the day, but once going to bed got to be like a bad acid trip, I had to stop taking them.

After I moved, I started feeling like crap again. Also, I guess you could say I was a little crazy instead of just merely unwell for a time there. (B12 deficiency can cause mania and psychosis. I've never been manic, but psychotic? Maybe. Just maybe.) So, despite my initial reservations, it was back on the B-vitamin complex for me.

The first couple of days passed without incident. Then, one night a couple of weeks ago, I laid down to sleep and was transported to some post-Apocalyptic hell that I doubt words can accurately portray. But, being the narcissist that I am, I'm damn sure going to try.

I dreamed I was walking down one of the streets downtown with my best friend. Only instead of it being just a window-shopping jaunt, it was apparently a trip through an epic battle between good and evil. Or some shit.

The place looked like a ghost town, but for the various throngs of people and creatures locked in Ye Olde Eternal Struggle. For some reason completely unbeknownst to me, hell-horses roamed the streets and attacked humans at will.

Yes. Hell-horses. You know, kinda like hell-hounds, only of the equine variety. (Don't ask. I really don't WANT to know where my brain gets this stuff.)

So my BFF and I were walking down the street when one of the hell-horses comes charging at us. I looked at her and was like, "Uh...shouldn't we be, like, running now or something?" Somehow, a large spiked club materialized in her right hand, whereupon she HURLS this fucker at the fast-approaching hell-horse.

Mind you, it wasn't like throwing a rock at a dog, which either scares the dog and makes it run away or enrages it more. No, she threw this club and hit the hell-horse on its side. It didn't draw a little blood or bounce harmlessly aside or even stick there in the thing's ribs. No, she slung it so hard that the club goes completely THROUGH the hell-horse, essentially exploding the damn thing in half. Its front end went one way, and its back end went the other.

Now, what you have to understand is even though I've never been able to master the art of lucid dreaming (that is, being able to take control of the dream and turning it the way I want it to go), sometimes, my conscious mind will insert a comment of some sort mid-dream. Usually, it's something smartass, but I suppose the shock at seeing a blonde pygmy sever a hell-horse in half by throwing a stick at it removed my conscious mind's ability to make witty, acerbic commentary.

Dream me turned, as if looking into a movie camera, and said, "That is the most DISTURBING thing I've ever seen," and then I woke up.

The really amazing thing about this is that I'm STILL taking the damn vitamins because a.) they're cheap, and b.) in spite of the dreams, I'm actually feeling better.

Google, vitamins, and hell-horses: 1
Doctors and insurance companies: 0

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Because I'm A Flaming Narcissist...

...I actually believe people are interested in my problems, thus this blog.

The name, in case you've been under a rock for the last 125782936592350y7435 years--yes, please notice that the "y" there near the end means "times a zillion"--, is a reference to "Unwell" by Matchbox 20, one of the greatest bands of all time. Also, I'm not sure if putting a comma after a dash is grammatically correct, but because of the clause that precedes the part between the dashes, I feel a little antsy leaving it out.

And because YouTube sucks and doesn't give an embeddable version of the "Unwell" video, I'll give you a link, so you can play the awesome in the background while you read. I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just A Little Unwell. Behold the musical genius that is Rob Thomas.

Also, did you know they're working on a new album? Faboo!

Anyway, I started this blog for a couple of reasons. Partly because someone actually had the balls to call me crazy the other day (yes, I'm still bitter about it) when I know that I'm merely only a little unwell. And partly because my work-at-home job and being all alone my apartment in the 'burbs during the week doesn't give me a whole lot of time to interact with people anymore. At least, not with people I actually LIKE, anyhow.

To play devil's advocate for a moment, here's a handy-dandy list of reasons why one might think I am, in fact, crazy, rather than just a little unwell.

~I haven't taken the trash out in like a month. It's piled up in my kitchen in boxes I used to move into this place. (In my defense, though, it's not rotting food or whatever. It's mostly empty Powerade bottles and paper plates.)

~The trash can in my bedroom overflowed a long time ago with Powerade bottles and empty bags for Rold Gold cheddar cheese pretzels. Rather than get another trash can or, even better, take out the trash like a sane person, I've just continued hurling empty containers in the general direction of the trash can, and now there are enough empty Powerade bottles to construct a pseudo-igloo piled up to the right side of my bed. Oddly enough, the left side of my bed is relatively clutter-free. But that's only because I sit on the right side when I work or just fuck around online in general.

~In the previous item on the list, I swapped the words "left" and "right" out several different times because I couldn't decide if one should refer to right and left sides of one's bed when one is lying in said bed or when one is standing up, looking at said bed. I ended up going with the latter. But feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

~I have practically no groceries and no desire to go shopping. (I'll refer to the reason for that in a moment.) So last night, I decided a bag of popcorn and a pint of Blue Bell neopolitan ice cream were perfectly acceptable as dinner. Then, I bitched because I was hungry again in two hours. See also: Fat, why I am.

~I spend so much time completely isolated from the world (job, apartment in the 'burbs, closest friend some 20 miles away, a roomie who's only here on weekends) that I feel like someone from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when I actually go out in public. I actually started this blog as an excuse not to pay my rent yet. My previous excuse was "5 o'clock traffic," but since it's 6:10 now, I think that one's expired.

And, yes, I COULD mail my rent check, but that'd require a.) being awake when the post office is open, b.) driving some 6 or 8 miles to said post office, c.) actually having to talk to someone at the post office (because "I need a book of stamps, please" is so strenuous on the vocal cords), and d.) remembering to actually mail the thing once I get the stamps. Instead, I'd prefer to drive to the realty office after hours and leave a check in the box outside because it's a shorter drive AND I don't have to talk to anyone.

~I haven't paid the power bill for the same reason. I've never been in that particular power company location before, and I don't want to make an ass out of myself pushing the door instead of pulling it or turning left instead of right or bringing in a a credit card to pay when they don't take credit cards in the office (the old location didn't). And, yes, I could set it up to pay it online, but you have to have the bill to do so, and, of course, I've lost the damn thing.

~I stay awake until daylight pretty much every night (morning?) because some horrible, perverse part of me is terrified somebody's going to break in while I sleep. This is partly reasonable because someone actually DID break in at one of my old places, but I was upstairs asleep, and my ex-boyfriend, now-best-male-friend dealt with it. However, it DOESN'T really make sense because I never had this fear when I lived in the crappy college town I used to live in, but I have it now that I live in this quiet suburb by my damn self.

Also, I have a gun. And I'm a redneck. Which means I'm not scared to use it. However, the problem is, the clip is fucked up on my Redneck Shotgun (TM), so you can only load one shell at a time. Now, a logical person would conclude that even if there were more than one person coming in, or if you managed to miss at point-blank range in closed quarters, no burglar with a modicum of self-preservation is going to hang around and wait to see if you've got another shot in that bitch.

Then, there's the fact that if someone did try to break in, I'd almost definitely hear them, considering the only type of person who'd even try would be some crackhead from a few miles up the road who's never stolen anything but welfare money out of his mama's purse. So, an amateur. But I've read too many books where the heroine is being pursued by hitmen/the mob/the government, and I'm just waiting for the day where I wake up to the lock on my bedroom door gently being picked while I fumble with my shotgun in the dark (which is stupid because I never sleep when it's dark) without my glasses, partly terrified that this is really happening to me and partly filled with an inexplicable sense of Barney Fife-like excitement that I FINALLY GET TO SHOOT SOMEBODY!!!!!!

So, yeah. I can see where you might think I'm more than slightly unhinged. But, really, I swear I'm not. Though I can see where you'd make the argument that I have no business going unsupervised for any length of time. 

No, seriously, I'm just a little unwell.

I think I'll go pay my rent now. No, wait. Maybe I should shower first....