Tag Archives: health

Being Stupid Outdoors

Somewhere around 10 years ago, I got into hiking, which is a more impressive way of saying walking outside.  The local terrain doesn’t really constitute what I would call hiking, since it’s just flatland.  But regardless, it is outside and it is on a trail, so I can say that I hiked trails.  I was a hiker.

I did that for some time and eventually it kind of stopped being a thing.  I just slowly stopped doing it.  But recently, I’ve decided I want to start doing the hiking again.  it was a tentative beginning, I wasn’t sure if I would still enjoy a physical activity and honestly, I didn’t see any way it would be fun.  It sounded boring now, but whatever I was or wasn’t doing around the house was as much or more boring, so I also didn’t have much to lose.  And anyway I needed to do something to take positive strides in my health. 

I was 10 years younger back then, and as you get older, that nice round milestone becomes more and more significant.  However, I never have seen myself as the actual age I am.  Maybe I’m deluded or stupid or something, but I don’t think I am my age.  I probably think and act my age, but I don’t perceive myself that way.  The point I’m trying to make here is, however I was then, that’s how I think I am now, and I’m probably not.  And that’s not smart.  My new experiences with hiking have been a collection of smart and not so smart things; mostly the latter.  So I will chronicle the most recent events.

A couple weeks ago, we had a tropical storm moving in.  This caused me concern, not because of the storm itself, but because of the coming rain.  All of the nearby trails have been flooded from the summer monsoon and it pisses me off.  If there’s a couple days without downpours, the flooded trails can turn into muck instead of lakes, which makes the hike more tolerable.  The first time I had visited this particular trail, I had left the house and a mile down the road realized I did not change into my hiking boots, I still had my sneakers.  "It’ll be fine," I said.  "This trail is not as low as the other one I go to."  When I get there, right past the entrance gate – lake.  I had to go back home and change into my boots.  I haven’t made that mistake again.

Since that time, I’d been back to that trail and the water had gone down, mostly.  But today I was trying to get in a hike before the tropical storm hit.  I checked the radar and it looked fine.  I did not consider, and I should have known, weather here changes fast.  So I get a mile or so out on the trail and I’m seeing some dark clouds forming.  "It’ll be fine."  Then it becomes obvious that it’s not going to be fine and I need to get back to the car, like soon.  The moment of my realization was captured by my fitness band.

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I suffered a few minutes of downpour, but I escaped the worst of the storm, and there was no nearby lightning, which was the bigger concern, since these trails are open fields.  Lesson learned?  I got caught in another downpour on another day and I was far enough out on the trail to cause me to don my rain jacket I carry in my pack.  So, no.

Last week, I decided I was going to do a bigger hike, which at this point in my redevelopment is over 5 miles.  If you think that’s weaksauce, remember I am doing this while the temperature and humidity are over 90.  To reduce UV exposure, I wear a long-sleeve sun shirt, but I’m still wearing shorts.  I need to get some water-wicking hiking pants.  I reset my GPS and set my exercise band and go.  And very quickly, the sweat starts to go too, because I’m upping my pace to cover more ground quickly.  10 years ago, I could cover 5 miles in an hour.  Based on past hiking records, I move about 75% of that speed now and I need to get that speed back.

I have a trail map and I refer to it frequently, but it’s disintegrating from being soaked with sweat in my pocket.  At some point, I checked my band to see how far I’d gone.  My sweat-soaked sleeve had impersonated a finger and cancelled my recorded hike.  That had happened about 1.5 miles in.  No idea how far I’d gone since then.  I checked my GPS and it said I was about 2.5 miles.  Ugh.  Onward I went, referring often to the soggy paper map for what path I wanted to take to loop me around and back close to the entrance.

I ended up on an unmaintained part of trail and worse, it was flooded.  I thought I’d be better off pressing forward than backtracking so I navigated the water best I could.  Luckily none was over ankle deep so my socks stayed dry.  Still it slowed me down.  I checked my GPS to see where I was, relative to the path I had taken so far.  The GPS battery is dead.  Right now, I have no idea if I am better off going forward or backward or exactly where I am on the trail.  I really have no idea how hikers survived without GPS units.

As luck would have it (because it ain’t been brains), I had purchased replacement batteries and packed them just before leaving for the hike.  With a quick swap of batteries, I had GPS again.  And I saw that the GPS had died some time ago.  So now, I had no reliable track from either my band or the GPS to tell me how far my hike was today.  Yay.  I’m done.

The trail continues to be flooded, so at the first sign of a cutoff path that would lead me back to my prior track, I took it.  Granted, it was not on my paper map, so I was making an educated (if that’s even possibly appropriate at this point) guess.  The trail dried out and and I also continued to dry out.  After a certain point, your body won’t absorb moisture quick enough to replenish what’s been lost, and I feel I was there, or close to there.  I was mouth breathing at this point.  My gait was unsteady.  I was walking with a forward lean.  None of this was good.

But as I’m not writing this from the afterlife, I did make it back to my car.  Not without getting bit by a deer fly, twice.  It’s almost been a week and I’m still suffering from the bite on my knee.

Despite the stupidity I’d accomplished so far and my knee still swollen and itching (but not sore or painful), I decided to grab a quick hike after work yesterday.  Again, I planned this as a 5+ hike.  I would go to the trail nearest me to start as soon as possible.  I got on the trail at about 5:30.  The first mile was a warmup pace, then I sped it up.  I didn’t have a trail map, but had a decent memory of the trails and the path I wanted to take.  After a short trail ended in a tiny loop, I doubled my path and ended up on the big loop.  I had been on the trail a couple weeks ago and it was totally flooded, so I hoped things had improved.  I was pleased to see that the area that stopped me before was dried out.  And I kept going.

Probably about 50% of the way through the trail loop – lake.  About 30 feet of water with no high spots and certainly more than ankle deep.  I had plenty of expletives to summarize the situation.  I had no choice but to backtrack my whole track, which was over 3 miles at that point.  Not only that, but the sun was going down.

Once I got all the swearing out of my system, I just resigned myself to my fate.  And no point in pretending to be tired, sun’s setting, gotta go fast.  And so I did.  I upped my pace to the quickest of the entire hike and went back the entire length of the trail.  And lets not discount the fact that mosquitos really love dusk, in a swamp.

All told, that hike was 6.75 miles, accomplished in exactly 2 hours.  So far, my dumbest hike this year.  But there’s still plenty of days left in the year, plenty of chances to beat that record.

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Aerobic training effect: "Improvement".  Fuck you.

The Race Intensifies

Still watching the races, much to my dismay and angst.  Last night I had a moment of disbelief.  All those people insanely claiming, "this is all hoax!" and "It’s all fake."  For once, those people almost made sense.  And the reason for that was the pure incredulous of the numbers I was seeing.  I mean, look at this chart:

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You see those tiny bars near the beginning around 6/1?  That’s 1,000 new cases a day.  Back then, that was an unbelievable number.  It had me shaking my head at the stupidity of my fellow residents.  These last few days, what can I say?  Well, we went through multiple 1k days, then multiple 2k days, then 3k days, then 4k days.  And then, things changed.  There was one 5k day, but there wasn’t a 6k or 7k day.  It went straight to 8k.  Then 9k.

What are you supposed to think when something like that happens?  If you follow the drama and opposing viewpoints, right around that time, it is claimed that the numbers are being inflated so that they can be reported lower later on.  But that doesn’t make any sense to me because you still have the record of the shit days.  You can say it’s better, but better relative to the worst?  The worst still happened!

And it just seems like there’s some sort of disinformation campaign going on, just like everything has been in the last three years or so.  But the data is still there and it’s just an argument over how to interpret that data.

While on that topic, in a previous post, I put up an image that I consider misleading.  Let’s revisit that.

Now let’s compare that to how things are right now.

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In that old post, I said the chart was misleading because there was a delay as to when deaths were reported, so the true numbers were at the beginning of the chart and because of the delay, it would always look like the numbers were falling.  Well, look at the chart now.  Looks pretty flat, except for the most recent days, where you can expect less reported deaths.

So what’s going to happen is, as the deaths are reported (later), it’s going to make the chart look like it’s climbing, but the chart only has 30 days to work with.  As long as there is a 2-week delay in death reporting, that should keep the numbers pretty low.  But even if not, it will still look better.  It makes you wonder what a chart longer than 30 days would look like.

Watching The Races

I’ve been keeping an eye on the COVID race for a few months now.  The players I watch are all standout players:  FL, TX, PA, and GA.  Those are the places that have people that I know, so I watch their progress.

I remember when FL was the star, I seem to recall it was in the top 5 for a while.  But PA put forth a massive effort and shot right up the charts.  TX was a slow starter, but it’s been doing pretty well lately.  GA has always been mediocre, which I suppose is a good thing, honestly.  But FL is recently finding its mojo and is climbing in rank again.  Go, FL!  Obviously, no one is going to take the crown from NY, and NJ is probably always going to be second to NY (in everything), so there’s only so far you can go.

For three of my players, I watch their personal progress dashboards.  Two of them, FL and TX, use the same software, so it kind of gives some equal comparison of the numbers.  But in both cases, they use graphs that are misleading.  Well, they aren’t if you understand the data, but for casual observers and those that don’t want to put the minimal effort into understanding, the response could be either, "this isn’t so bad", or "this is great" when the reality is neither of those sentiments.

Take a graph from FLs dashboard:

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Wow, that’s impressive.  Deaths are falling, and dramatically at that!  This is all behind us, let’s go party!

But there is a small disclaimer below the chart, for those that care to read: "Death data often has significant delays in reporting…".  That means that those low numbers in the near term are low because there’s no data yet.  Those numbers will rise as time goes on, but that’s just fine, because there will be newer, lower numbers to report as time goes on as well.

Here’s a graph from TX’s dashboard.

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This is just dumb design: plotting two values, one that will constantly increase, and one that will remain relatively constant on the same scale.  This will have two effects.  First, the number of deaths per day (in blue) looks like a really small value.  And comparing 20 to 1,698 does make 20 seem very small.  But as the total number grows, and it will, every day, the scale is going to eventually have to be adjusted, and the daily value is going to be insignificant.

TX does the same charting with the number of cases, with the same effects.

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Maybe its incompetency that made these charts, but in the current political climate, and judging that these two states have pushed very hard to justify their reopening plans, it might not be a stretch to think this is just propaganda.  The numbers don’t lie, they’re not telling you anything false.  It’s just being presented in a way that looks most favorable.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Last Friday I had to call off work unexpectedly because I was sick.  And when I say I was sick, it wasn’t like the usual can’t-be-bothered-to-get-up kind of sick.  This was the puking sick.

But also, it wasn’t that kind of sick.  First off, I don’t get sick.  Well, there was that one time I tried doing CrossFit and puked, but that was a totally different experience and reason.  Even when I had the flu, which is a really rare occurrence in itself (because I don’t get sick), I didn’t throw up.  Second, there was no reason for me to get sick like that.  I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary, in fact, I didn’t even really eat anything for dinner at all.  I had no warning signs, it just came up on me quickly.  I woke up with massive stomach pains.

Obviously, I’m not telling the whole story, because there is a probable reason why I got sick, but I didn’t put the two together until later that day and had to get some confirmation from a friend and later, online.

Normally, when I go to bed, I leave a small kitchen light on.  It’s a single bulb light and I’ve discussed the special wiring in the Casa blog when I was changing it to LED.  Normally, as I say, that light is on.  But you can read in many places that in order to get the best quality sleep, you should sleep in complete darkness.  Since my sleeping has been variable for quite some time, I decided Thursday night to leave that kitchen light off, which does leave my house dark.

Despite the small change to my sleeping ritual that night, everything else was kept the same.  My additional sleeping aids of the sound machine and 1mg of melatonin were applied and effective.  And, right on schedule, I woke up at around 3am to go to the bathroom.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

But was out of the ordinary was the extra darkness.  I’m not sure if it’s like this for everyone, but when it’s really dark, and sometimes with my eyes closed, I feel like I can still "see" the room.  It’s like an infrared vision or like an x-ray.  Maybe it’s just a memory, because I have never considered trying this special sight in an unfamiliar room.  But anyway, I made my way to the bathroom using my night vision, still half asleep.

And my vision failed me terribly.  I misjudged how far into the room I was and turned straight into a door frame, cracking my forehead on the corner of the molding.  After a brief pause and some self-deprecating comments, I continued in the correct direction and rested my skull in my hands while on the toilet.  The return trip to the bed was less eventful and I fell asleep again quickly.

About two hours later I woke up with the major stomach pains and wandered back to the bathroom, where I chewed up some Tums to settle my stomach.  I had made it to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water when I got the unmistakable, undeniable, certain feeling that there was going to be some puking soon.  And I was correct.  However, there was nothing in my stomach.  Well, some Tums, but nothing else.

I went back to bed and reasoned that if I was sick enough to puke, and I don’t puke, I should call off work.  Oddly, my manager didn’t answer the phone, and his manager didn’t either, so I had to go to the third in command to submit my request.  And afterwards, I fell asleep for another 5 hours.

The rest of the day I sort of wandered around in a daze.  Food helped and didn’t make me any sicker.  I didn’t really feel weak.  I had no more nausea.  But later that afternoon, I had a memory somewhere about concussions causing nausea and vomiting.  Well, that makes my head injury seem a lot more important now.  After confirming with my friendly paramedic, and later reading about concussions online, yeah, that’s probably what it was.  If I was being extra attentive and sensitive, I could note that I had brief flashes of headaches come and go.

As it turns out, I guess I did take the best course of action and rested for the weekend.  Everything was pretty normal by Saturday, and I got some extra napping in, too.  Am I going to be any dumber for the incident?  I don’t know how I would know.  Wait, is that a sign?

That Time I Could Have Died

Here’s a story from my past.  It’s the time I left my home town for a job in a new city.  I had secured an apartment and moved all my belongings there, now I was there for good and unpacking and assembling things.  I had the weekend to get as much accomplished as possible before starting my new job.

I had my cat, Mess, to keep me company.  He was a pretty chill cat and the change of environment didn’t really faze him.  He settled in quickly while I kept doing my work.  But something was really weird about the whole process.  I couldn’t tell if I was just tired from the move or just overwhelmed with it, but I was constantly wiped out.  I could work for a hour or so, but then I would have to rest.  That’s not the way I was in my 20’s.

Regardless, I pressed on, taking short breaks to rest up while I kept unpacking.  In one of the boxes, I found my CO detector.  Living up north with gas heaters, it was a fairly normal practice to have one or more of these, especially where I grew up – so many old houses.  Without thinking much about it, I plugged the detector in and kept right on going.

You can probably tell where this story is going already.  And sure enough, in probably about five minutes, the alarm started blaring.  I’d never had the detector go off before, so I was confused.  Before I yanked it out of the wall, I saw the digital display said 150, which is the parts-per-million of CO detected.  I thought the detector went bad somehow from the move (decreased mental function, right?) so I plugged it back in.  As a normally-functioning person would expect, the alarm went off again.  So I grabbed an extension cord and ran the detector outside.  The display read zero.  Well, now.

I called the apartment office and explained the situation.  They told me that was normal because I was in a corner apartment next to the parking lot and car exhaust fumes would collect there.  I pushed back and said I didn’t think these numbers were normal.  Even if that was normal, WTF?  With resignation, they said they could have the gas company come out the next day and test it.  That’s about as good as I was going to get, so I went to bed in my oxygen-deprived apartment.

The next day, the office manager came over and we waited for the gas company.  When the worker showed up and knocked on the door, he had his testing device in his hand and he was pissed – legitimately angry.  “Do you see these levels I’m getting on my reader?”  I didn’t, but I took his word for it.  He came into the apartment and tested the different rooms and declared the apartment unsafe.  The apartment manager was highly embarrassed and immediately set me up with a furnished apartment until they could resolve the issue.

It turned out that the hot water tank in the apartment above me had a leaky flue, which was sending CO into my apartment.  So, problem solved and life went on.  But I always felt terrible for Mess.  I was able to leave the apartment for meals and whatnot, but he was in that CO environment 24 hours a day.  Cats sleep most all day anyway, so how could I tell the difference?  I guess he was probably lucky to even survive that incident, but he probably lost a lot of brain cells.

I live in an all-electric environment now and have always retained a slight distrust of gas-powered devices, despite the benefits they might offer like being cheaper or more efficient.  I also have a slight paranoia about CO.  This story came to mind because I recently just got my garage back at my house, so I can park my car in it, but I’m finding I’m (probably excessively and irrationally) spooked about the exhaust fumes from the car.  Maybe it’s time to buy another CO detector.

Changing My Tune With A New Band

I posted before about the recent death and dismemberment of the Microsoft Band.  I had pretty much given up on fitness tracking and fitness in general about a year ago.  In that time, as you might expect with someone not as young anymore, with more health issues than none, it had a detrimental effect on my wellbeing.

Without dwelling on the negative aspects of that situation, I powered back on again.  With a new blog tagline to lead the way, I began mentally preparing myself for change.  Positive change, I mean.  I’ve had plenty of other changes already.  Along the way, I happened to see something about a high-feature, low-cost fitness tracker, the Huawei Band 3 Pro.  Very interesting.

In my mind, I was just imagining it as the next version of the MS Band (which stopped at v2), but the design was more standard – no extra bits in the strap and clasp.  But, it did have the one feature that kept me from immediately replacing my MS Band – built in GPS.  And the price was about 25% what I paid for my last MS Band.  And it’s waterproof, which doesn’t mean much to me, but might for others.

I bit the bullet the other day and ordered one, in blue of course.  I’ll be able to use it this weekend.  In the meantime, I’ve begun walking on work breaks again, which is something that ended with the departure of AK, right around the time I gave up on my Band.  Of course I would begin this just as the furnace of summer heat is kicking on.  But a start is a start; building momentum and all that shit.

So, to remember a little about my last post, I’m putting my trust in a new company to let me use their hardware and software for as long as I can.  Will the hardware outlast the software this time?  We’ll have to see.  At least I won’t have paid too much for the experiment.

Parenting

Anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t have a fondness for children.  Those same people probably know that I have a great fondness for my own children, who happen to be feline.  Some people think it’s cheating to consider yourself a parent to pets, because animals are somehow less worthy of love and care than humans.  I’ll be honest, it is easier to raise pets than humans, which is why I do it.  However, this last week or so has leveled the experience between kids and pets for me.

One of my kids had the shits for an extended period of time and the other one needed caught up on shots (no anti-vaxxers in this household).  So I took them both to the vet and left them for the day for their procedures.  When I picked them up after work, I was given a prescription and a special diet for shitty.  Yay, we get to spend $50 for a bag of cat food now.

As soon I got them loaded in the car and we started moving, the big boy sneezed.  I was like, “no fucking way.”  Little girl had an upper respiratory infection early in her life, so I knew what a sneeze means.  Over the next couple of days, he seemed to be fighting it off pretty well.  However, little girl did not.  I took her back to the vet and got her diagnosis and a prescription.  $100 for meds!  And that’s where I felt like a parent.  I took my kid to see you and you got her sick and now I have to pay all this money for drugs and I have to dose her 2x a day and she’s going to hate it and what the fuck cat wants to eat berry flavored medicine?

Surprisingly, she bounced back after only about 3 dosings, which I think is impressive.  But, while she was improving, big boy was failing, hard.  I called the vet to get a second prescription for him, and unfortunately, I lost a full day in getting the new drugs.  If they could have told me the dosing for his weight, I could have just used some of my existing medication.  But whatever, my cat is miserable.

Having a sick, miserable kid makes you sad, which is my next parental experience.  All you want is for them to get better.  And his little sister wants him to get better, too.  I could tell by the way she would constantly check up on him.  And he was in really rough shape.  He wasn’t responsive to any stimulus.  For a couple of days, he didn’t want to get out of bed at all.  He stopped eating wet food because he couldn’t smell.  But he still had the energy to resist medication.

This cat has a big fucking mouth.  In fact, one of his potential names when he first came to the house was “mouth”.  It’s like a bear trap, and like a trap, he can clamp it right down and refuse to have any medication shot in.  My eventual success came when I switched from a 10cc syringe to a 3cc syringe.  He needed 12cc dosings, so 4-3cc shots was much easier with a skinny syringe than working with that fat one.

Big boy did not bounce back after a few dosings like little girl did.  It took a few days and the improvement was really slow, but faintly noticeable.  Yesterday, he turned the corner and I knew it when I went out on the patio to check on him and he came and greeted me with his tail held straight up.  It was a pretty joyous moment to see him happy again.  He still sniffled and sneezed, but his mood was improved and that was a sign that things are going to be ok.  Later in the evening when I checked to see if he was ready to come inside, he bounded away with his tail up.  After a couple of days picking up and carrying a limp and listless bag of fur, it was a wonderful sight.

And that’s the last parental similarity.  You want to see your kids happy.  I’ve been very lucky in my time to have not gone through the experience of having sick pets.  This last week or so has been revelatory in how much emotional investment you have in your kids and what they mean to your own happiness.

What Happened?

Um, hi again.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted anything here.  Things kind of went weird for me a while ago.  I’m not really into exposing a lot of myself online, but I’ll summarize my radio silence as collateral damage from the combination of worry of my health, sadness of current events, and fear about work performance.  It’s been an eye-opening experience in the sense that I understand some things now that I could not understand before.

I have a small backlog of drafts that I wrote during the time I did not feel like “talking” to anyone, so I can have a little content to wrap up 2018.  I can say that 2019 is going to be a very interesting year.  Maybe it’s premature for me to make any claims of success on a few good days in a row, but optimism has to be better than where I’m coming from.

Falling From Grace

In this here blog, I have alternately praised and condemned Burger King and their food.  And for the longest time, I didn’t eat there.  A long time ago, I might randomly drop in to remind myself why I hated it so much.  Wendy’s is another place I stopped going to regularly, also documented in this here blog.  I would rarely stop in and when I did, I would leave full and disappointed.

These two places are what I consider third-tier dining.  Over time, I elevated myself to places I consider second-tier.  Conveniently, in the current economy, you can simplify this scale of mine into how many $10 bills it takes to get a meal.  Third-tier meals typically cost less than $10.  Second-tier is $10-20/meal, and first-tier is over $20.  So, yeah, I suppose my business-class, expensed travel meals that were something like $70 rate about the same as a meal at Kobe.  That kind of sums up how refined my palate is.

But anyway, it was early sometime this year that I had made the comment, “I’ve eaten at Wendy’s more times this month than I have in the last few years.”  I can’t really say why Wendy’s fell back onto my list of viable dining places.  I think it was an alternative SadMeal™ at the time and it kind of stuck with me.

Today marks the second time within a week that I’ve eaten at Burger King.  One of my biggest gripes with the place is that the double cheeseburger is hardly worth the effort to eat.  But on the random decision to eat there one day, I saw on the menu (which was totally different than I last remember it), they had a thing called “Double Quarter Pound King”, which looked essentially like a double whopper with cheese, or, to my excitement, a larger-than-old-times double cheeseburger.  And I bought it right away.

The taste of the burger was awesomely nostalgic and the fries even seemed to be better than I remember, too.  I left that day with a surprisingly positive impression.  Today, when I went back for a repeat visit, the smell in the restaurant took me back to my hometown.  (Fun fact: When I was much younger, I worked at that BK for two weeks and two days.  On my second day, I decided I didn’t like working there and put in my two-week notice – and fulfilled it)  Today’s experience was slightly marred by an undercooked patty, but I ate around the pink (heh) and was still satisfied at the end.

Despite the unmistakable smell of a Burger King that surprises me when I get inside, the other thing that surprises me is the way the place makes me feel – sad.  For a very long time, I’ve held the impression that BK is probably about as low as you can go in the burger world.  I know that’s not absolutely true, because I’ve been to a Krystal once, which resulted in me coining the term, “meat pringles” to describe their burger patties.  But anyway, watching people buy and eat BK food fills me with pity, that they may not have better options available to them.

I’ve always thought the only reason I’m still alive today is because I was able to elevate myself to eating at second-tier restaurants, where the quality of food is higher (possibly only marginally).  So, with that personal impression, maybe it’s a little weird to regress and start eating less healthy options.  But, at the same time, as I get older, the more I want to just enjoy the current moment.  (Fun fact: when I was much younger I always thought going to the bathroom was such a waste of time, like I had so many other things I’d rather be doing.  Now, going to the bathroom at work is a chance to actually relax and savor.  It feels like the only time I can be alone with my thoughts)

The non-point of this post is just to document a moment when I might just be slumming it in the dining department, or it may retroactively identify that 2018 was a turning point in my dietary standards.

As Usual, All About Me

I have regrets delving into potentially politically topics, but then again, I have had posts about libertarianism and extreme ideologies before, so I’ll give it another attempt.  My regret is that it’s so easy to bitch about hot-button topics.

I follow a “news” site that sort of straddles the line between hard-right and anarchistic.  I think it’s a good idea to at least read opposing viewpoints, despite how much it might piss you off or baffle you.  This site could be considered a news aggregator, although they do have some original authors on there.  A lot of times, what you get is an opinion piece with quotes from news articles.  And this one was no different.

Typically, the postings on this site are using news articles and other sources to promote their ideology, which is free-market capitalism and very anti-government – essentially extreme libertarianism.  This particular article I found was on health care costs and how it is cheaper to go to Mexico for surgery, on the order of ten times cheaper.

Naturally, the article invokes the trigger word, “socialism” as in “socialized healthcare” and their applied synonym, “ObamaCare”.  The belief is that if we stop the subsidies, the prices will come down to reasonable levels.  And to bolster that argument, the article compares a $30k procedure in the US to the same procedure in Mexico, which cost $3k.

Let’s pause for a moment here and realize there are quite a few Americans who do not have $3,000 readily available for an emergency.

Now, let’s also consider that the exchange rate.  Today, $1 is nearly 19 pesos.  Another potential cost of living metric is that bread in the US costs $1.40, which in Mexico it costs 15 pesos.  So then, sure, things in Mexico are typically ten times less expensive and our American dollars get us much more in Mexico.  So, you could just as easily have a Mexican version of this article wondering why a medical procedure costs 57,000 pesos.

So, let’s play along and embrace the libertarian dream.  Now, there is no insurance and health care is a cash-only option.  Because the health industry can’t exploit insurance, prices drop to $3,000 for a particular procedure.  So, who’s going to have trouble paying for this?  Hint: It’s the same ones that couldn’t pay $3,000 before.

As usual, this just reinforces the standard position of not caring about anyone but yourself.