Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care Reform Telephone Call

While minding my own business this week ( actually it was the day my PC crashed this week ) I received a phone call of a solicitation/pole taking nature. I will tell you right from the get-go here I hate to talk on the phone. I have joined the many that live by email, text messaging, and voice mail. I have even gone as far as several years ago disconnecting the home answering machine as I really despised the force that is placed when someone leaves a message, as to not appear rude you have to call them back even if you wished to not take the time to talk to them. I still have voice on my mobile phone. When my friends, colleagues, or family give me grief I always remind them, the people that need to reach can always reach me as they know how to find me if I do not answer my phones.

I absolutely lack the patience to contend with solicitation/pole phone calls as I added our number many years ago to a " Do Not Call List " for some reason that is disregarded by those that can't seem to find better use of their time in my eyes.

Back to point here... I was already having a horrible day ( as mentioned my PC had died unexpectedly that morning and I was not taking it well at all ). The phone rang and most irritating was that my caller I.D. came up as an unknown number. I only get phone calls from a few people that are registered as "unknown" to my I.D. service, they are all Law Enforcement Officials that have their number blocked to the public. I did not hesitate to answer the phone.

When I answered the phone a soft spoken women was the other end of the phone. She did not give her name nor address me with mine. She stated that she was with "The Republican Party Against the Obama Heath Care Reform Bill". In most cases a person calling my home under solicitation venues will if I am in a pleasant mood be told " please do not call here again" if I am not in a friendly mood they get....dial tone. I lack the time or a realistic understanding of what they are attempting to accomplish. A one sided/viewed conversation with a total stranger is not my idea of a productive conversation. Frankly, even if one takes the time to listen/converse, what is the actual outcome? Nothing has changed in the " real world" you just took your time to chat with someone on a topic they want you to listen to.

My mother had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she herself has received a call from, I am unsure at this time, if it was the "pro for" or "con against side". She mentioned that she said only a couple of sentences to them that went something like this- "I am going to listen to both sides and then
make a decision". That seemed to be the end of that and all moved on. I did however after listening to my mom mention this to me was to soften a bit and re-think how I would handle this call should it arrive at our home? As I mentioned I am unsure what side called her. I looked at it this way, I have a 25% chance of taking a call from the Republican side of this issue. Jim answers the phone in our home also so only a 50% chance I would take the call. Toss in the rest for both sides you have 25% of a chance.

Maybe I have been to harsh on people who call for a solicitation purpose, I thought? I should be willing to listen to the opinion of another and politely state to the person wishing to sell me new windows or a roof to my home " no thank you, have a nice day". It made me think I might be just a bit of a crab when calls came that I did not wish to have.

I made a decision a couple of weeks ago that if I got "the health care" call I would listen and be objective no matter what side it came from. To be bold, I have questions for both the "pro" and "con" side of this issue as I believe most do.

Back to the "soft spoken" Republican. I listened for the first couple of seconds and instantly was mad. I was having a crisis at this time with my PC crash and was in a dire panic about so many things, I did not have time for this "junk" ( trust me I used a kind word instead of the one I really wanted to use). As quick as the thought ran across my mind I firmly reminded myself that I have made a commitment to no matter what side called ( if they did ) that I would be objective and listen to what they had to say. I gritted my teeth and went to my desk to talk and take some notes.

I was an excellent listener for the first 2-3 minutes. She had what I have to assume is a scripted speech that each caller receives. I could tell she was reading something and only when out of breath, took another deep one to continue on. I continued to listen and was fine just being a "listener" to their cause. She ended her "speech" with quoting a dollar amount that "Obama" was going to spend of my
"American Hard Earned Money"? The way she presented the closing of her speech, most anyone is left with the only option to say "no". She presented it as if "Obama" himself was coming to my front door and would be demanding a personal check from me written out directly to him to fund the bill. She then said "you do not support the heath care bill and you are unwilling to be the one to fund it"? Again, one if left with only the answer of "no" unless you plan to be at your front door...check in hand for "Obama" when he rang my doorbell to "pick it up" and take it to Washington, D.C. for deposit.

I took a deep breath and began to ask a few questions. I was as soft spoken as she was to me. My first questions was "will I loose the options to keep my current health care, that I am pleased with"? Her answer was "Oh, absolutely Yes, you will loose what you have, happy or not with it" "they are going to take that from you and force you to receive what type of care "Obama" thinks you should have and if you are entitled to receive that care". Her answer lead right to my next question like a bee to honey. "Can you explain to me what these "death panel" statements truly mean to the public? Her answer was "sure, I can explain that to you". She skipped the explanation and jumped right to a question for me. "Do you have a loved one over the age of 70 years old"? My answer was "yes" I do. Her response was "Obama is going to decide after a person reaches the age of 70 years old, if certain conditions and illness are realistic to the nature of the person's age to obtain medical treatment. Many people after the age of 70 will be denied health care and will die at a time when they need the health care more then anyone. How do you feel about that? You do not want to see your loved one suffer and die do you"? I then brought her back to my question that she said she would answer. I again asked, will there be so called
" death panels"? Her answer to me was " if Obama gets this bill passed Americans are going to start to die because of him".

I again brought her back to the "death panel" statement. I really wanted her to say the words, not just dance to the implication's of it- rather take the bull by the horn and say it the way Republicans are stating it to the public. She did not. In her defense, say the words "death panel" once in our conversation.

My next soft spoken question was "what about the Americans who can not afford the high cost of health care coverage or are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions? What about all of the American children who do not have health coverage"?

All of a sudden my soft spoken Republican had a change of heart. She hung up on me.

I can not say I am surprised. I was not angry either. I have hung up on enough pole takers in my life, I was due this as payback.

I took a bit of time to reflect on my conversation with my soft spoken Republican. What I have to say is this.

When referring to "My" President of this United States of America you will address him as President Obama, not "Obama" as was done countless times in this conversation. He is the Commander in Chief of our country. Show some respect.

Secondly, get your facts strait. It just amazes me how ignorant the Republican Party has become. If you cry wolf as you have been, a time will come when you have as a party some actual truth to tell, no one is going to believe you. Democrat or Republican. Have some respect for yourself, and the party you support. It appears that respect is more then lacking across the board with the Republican Party.

In closing, for all of the Republicans in US Government whom voted "Yes" for the end of life counseling and now have named it a "death panel". You supported it - yes that means you- to the now former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin". You have two options to the intelligent American here Republican or Democrat.
Did you not have a clear understanding of what you voted "yes" for when it was "end of life counseling"? Have you re-written in your mind what the definition now is? As I understand it nothing has changed, only a Democrat in office not a Republican.

I understand more and more each day why former Governor Palin quit. She cried wolf to many times and no longer holds any creditability to her state, party or the American people. She knew when to put those running shoes on once again. Aside from her social network "Facebook" where little posts by her are made, she has all but disappeared from the public eye.

I have discovered by writing this I do have something connected to the Republican Party to be thankful for....thanks Sarah for the disappearing act.

I have to assume that I shall receive more calls from both sides of the health care issue. I will be fare to both sides and ask the same questions. It really is not about what party you support it is about quality of life for all Americans. If a time comes that I or a loved one is face with an illness, life and death could be at stake not what party I support. I support America and the people who are citizens of America. I want people to have a good quality of life and our health is at the top of that list. As my father said to me after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 54. "I look around at all I have worked for and have - it means nothing to me without my health" " I would give it all up for time and it is something I do not have".
My father died shortly after this conversation and had great health coverage and the best of care. It is now 10 years he had been gone. It was the hardest thing outside of Mike's autism I have had to face in my 40 years. As awful and heart wrenching as it was, I can not comprehend what it would have been like to watch him suffer because his country did not find him, my father, an American, worthy of dignified, quality medical care and would rather have watched him, an American Citizen die a painful death because he was not worthy of health coverage he could afford let alone compassion. I am so thankful for his health care but think more and more about the daughter who watched her her father die without it. I pray for those families and our Government as a whole to find a better way.

In my 40 years I have never not had health insurance. I have never been denied anything where health care is concerned. I have had the best care when I needed it that was available. As all of have learned these past few years more so now then ever. What you have today, you may not have tomorrow. It will come without warning, it will just be gone. I am wise enough to prepare for what may happen to myself or our family. One illness and I or my family could be dropped and without coverage. Then it will all change and I the insured will become one of them, the un-insured. I am a consummate planner, always have been. I am wise enough to plan for what my life and my families future could bring.

As Americans we deserve better. We need to demand it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Just Another Monday in Paradise

Today started out with a bit of a bang- the bang of the death of my laptop computer. This is not the first death of a PC that I have had and I am sure not the last, still it is a death. I am a stress er' given the chance and I jumped in neck deep today first thing. Like all of us I have a routine. Mine is simple. When I awake the first thing I do is turn my laptop on. I walk away and do my morning routine, grab some coffee and head for my desk. I start by scanning several newspapers and websites. I read the highlights of several newspapers, taking notes on the way so I can surf a bit more to return and read articles later that morning. Again...not today!

We had a lightning storm last night and I think that was the issue. I had chest pains when my last PC died and what I can only describe is my first (and only ever) panic attack when my last one died. This was not as bad as I learned from the last one that my anxiety and stress did nothing to fix the situation. I paced around the house for a bit with anger. I continued to monkey with it- by chance that it would revive and come back to life. Little luck there. I found myself taking out loud to only dogs in the room who followed me when I walked as my talking they took as chatting to them.

I went as far as firing up an older laptop of about three years. It crashed (some what) a while ago. I could not bare to toss it as I had done some great work on it and it was like a dear friend. I turned it on and to my surprise after at least two years, it came to life. It still sat on my desk since it crashed neatly closed and I dusted it every so often. What I discovered was a true blessing.

I spent several hours reading old emails and looking at an array of photos from at least three years ago. It was a trip down memory lane and I loved it. I also took some time to go into files that I had not looked at in a very long time.

At about 3 P.M. I could take it no more. I jumped in the car and headed for Best Buy. I was an easy sale for them and got what I wanted and even treated myself to a bit of flare to go with my new laptop. I have enjoyed the extra speaker system that I purchased already. My laptop is now stereo central- we've got tunes baby and serious sound going on here. Most laptops have horrible sound quality to them, not anymore.

I discovered many things in the old laptop that I had forgotten. Little did I know that I still had a sizable amount of cash in my old itunes account ( I also have on the one that died today ) . I also have a ton of tunes on itunes that I never put on my ipod ( also the same for the dead one today I am sure ). It helped to find a few positives today's instead of the all the negatives of today. I lost some work and most of my email addresses. My favorites list - gone and several movies that I purchased ( I found some of those on the old PC too ). It let me know that it is so easy to have unfinished issues that still need resolution that are just hanging above our heads much of the time. I am determined to somehow get the old itunes, movies and the cash account that I have on both other laptops onto this new laptop.

I went to the safe today and reassured myself that I did backup the seventeen chapters of my novel that were on the computer that died. I lost a bit but have the base still intact. I have no one to blame but myself that I lost things.

As to the new laptop. It looks beautiful and has all the bells and whistles on it. Still it is not what I had and I hate change and fight it every step of the way. This I know will be no different. I also know this. In a bit of time this to will become a new friend and I will mourn the day that it to dies. I also know that I will replace this at some point and feel the same way.

I try so hard to find a positive within a negative, learn from it and apply it to my daily life. Today was no different. I lost a friend and met a new one. My past work was done on 2 former laptops and my future work is on this one.

I need to close this and move to the night groove for Mike. He had a great day also. He loves to shop at Best Buy. He got a few things also. He was pleased and I took him out to dinner.

Jim has been working out of town. I was the best wife ever when he called this evening to check in. He asked how our day was and I said it was great. I spared him the drama of my day let alone the amount of my purchase on my new friend. I believe that a few things left between friends is more then acceptable.

Enjoy the evening-


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Where has summer gone?

I can not believe that it is the middle of August and summer is almost gone already. My only guess is that I have been so busy that I lost a season here.

The new book is out and is doing FAB- I have been busy doing PR for the new book "Autism is a Four Letter Word: LOVE". Between book signings,interviews, conferences and scheduling for this fall --radio & TV talk shows life has been busy. Keep in mind that Mike is home for the summer and we have no help. Jim and I work opposite schedules so one of us is home with him at all times. Summers are stressful for all of us in our home...Mike included.

I had a fantastic time at the Project Lifesaver International Conference in Indianapolis, IN in July. They laid out the red carpet for several of we speakers. What I can say is this- what a top notch group of dedicated people. The Project Lifesaver International group leaves a lasting impression on all who are fortunate to meet them and learn from them. To the many members of Law Enforcement that I had the distinct pleasure to socialize with-- my hats off to all of you!! Many doors of opportunity are opened while chatting in a small group. I meet some very "grand" women and men who save lives everyday. To the helicopter pilots to the instructors to the men who organize the equipment to those that develop special relationships with those that are vulnerable, those that put on that uniform every day and search for our loved ones- thank you for your time, talents, dedication and patience. I find that thank you seems so small with the large scope of what they do everyday. I also am reminded over and over again from them is this.......they ask for nothing in return...a heartfelt thank you means just that- it touches their heart that we are grateful and love them for what they do. With that said-

To the kind man who followed me outside and shared a special story and gave me 2 law enforcement pins from his county- 1 for Mike and 1 for me. Thank you- I enjoyed your story and Mike loves the pin.

To Bob from Florida, you have your hands full, and in the brief time we spent talking, you are the man for the job. I would love to come to Florida and see your team in action. Let's set that up.

To the many, many people who stopped to talk, have a book signed or a photo taken. It was my honor, not yours. My web man will be adding some of the photos. My assistant only took a few for me and I know many were taken with people. Feel free to email them, I would love to add them to the website.

My website is having another overhaul this fall. I am contacted so often by parents of special needs children about the tracking devices. What states and counties have them, who to talk to... I plan to have a page on my website with as much information that I have and can obtain for them. We will be breaking it down state by state and then the counties. We will add connecting websites, contact names and info. I have so much and got even more in Indianapolis from law enforcement agencies that wish to be added when complete. Please feel free to send me yours also to add. It will take some time to get it all together but we plan to devote much time this fall linking everything me or my assistant Susan via my website if needed.

I wish to say a quick "shout out" to Davey Hamilton from Indianapolis, IN. Davey is a INDY 500 racer that I had the chance to meet and chat with. Please get that book to your people from HP (his sponsor). I think about our chat everyday and am waiting for the phone to ring and open a door to new and exciting things for the autistic community.

Mike has had a great summer but is ready for school to begin again. He misses his friends and special teachers after this long break. Ryan our 20 year old has moved to Duluth, MN and will start college in a week and a half. He is living with several other young men in a big house off campus. We look forward to making many trips to see him this year.

Time continues to fly by and with that said, I must close this. It is a rare Sunday that we are not running or hosting guests. We live on the water and during the summer most weekends include house guest. We love to have them but it was a perfect time for a weekend alone. Dinner guest shall arrive in a few hours and I have much to do.

I thank you all who keep us close to your heart and continue to share your stories with me.

All my best to you until we chat again. Sooner then later, I am getting this blog thing down now and Mike shall go back to school and I will have a bit more time to give it the attention that it deserves.