‘Non-pandemic healthcare’ – Mom’s update by doc, smart help for no insurance walk-in, CBD

In a time before COVID-19, a maskless Thanksgiving with family wasn’t a concern.

‘Non-pandemic healthcare’ puts COVID concerns “over there” for a little while, because while all metrics show we’re leaning into another wave, https://carolinapublicpress.org/29967/coronavirus-in-north-carolina-daily-status-updates/ life goes on. Beyond ‘low grade depression,’ ‘cabin fever,’ or ‘just sick of it,’ concerns for elderly others, taking care of one’s own meds, and how an uninsured person pays for what’s necessary still constitutes healthcare .

“I have to leave here with meds” was the point of a recent office visit, and the essential question was, beyond a $75 office visit, how necessary was anything else to get those blood pressure pills? Recalling a 2019 appointment, when ACA coverage had a $740 tag for bloodwork and whatever (I paid $20 for office visit), I appreciated a helpful worker taking care of my “no insurance but a long time client” situation when I showed up.

While getting my meds from my regular doctor as a walk-in was relatively easy, the customer service skills of Loretta, a listener and ‘pleaser’ type, is worth mentioning. It turned out I didn’t need a physical at all, just to be SEEN by a doctor, to allow a prescription to renew. It was a small revelation to learn I could’ve been seen in July, I’d assumed everything stopped with COVID-19.

I used to think I was doing great when talking with senior center personnel; its as much their training to listen completely to seniors, who often can’t get straight to the point. Still, yay! for smart helpers like Loretta to make situations like mine just a regular thing.

After 16 months without being physically seen, an online service ($19) I tried could only renew my previous prescription for thirty days – its usually 90 day supply plus refills. While I got decent telephone support (and some sympathy), and the online version had only been up four months, there was a frustrating number of screens to view without seeing a choice close to my blood pressure priority.

There were more expensive options, where video connection replaced lower cost version, but it was an ungood surprise at pickup to learn all the effort only gave me a month supply.

It turned out I didn’t need a physical, just to be SEEN by a doctor, for my prescription to renew.Two hours and one blood test (kidney function check vs. med) later, Loretta rang up a satisfied patient for $115.

(Still way) Healthier than most

This was the first time I’ve been beeped for temperature (97.2) during the pandemic, and I’ve been hunkered down for seven months. I’m 63, 193 lbs. (same weight forever), and until an August bicycle accident, was riding thirty miles a week.

My BP was 132/82 that day, higher than normal by 15 pts., and I blame the first front person, at a different, earlier clinic operation I tried before Loretta (Novant). Person #1 was right in suggesting I could go elsewhere if the pricing ($99) answer she’d given for my visit, instead of Prescription Refill ($89) function from their web site wasn’t satisfactory. If she’d done as good a job explaining the difference, I’d have gladly given her my card without griping about it while driving seven miles and getting Loretta.

ACA coverage – better than I knew

Because its a big deal in the news, and will shortly be a case in the Supreme Court, I’ve appreciated having ACA coverage since it became mandatory, especially it handling most of a $6,900 bicycle accident and a knee replacement that rejuvenated my lifestyle at sixty.

I never needed to compare how much a $250,000 a year dentist covering a couple kids paid, but I lost my coverage in January because – after hoping a particular deadline falling on Sunday would work out – being a day late meant I needed to pay $970 for the first month of coverage. As for many Americans, having a large unexpected bill was a real problem, and the economics of food and rent overruled insurance.

That old “When you’ve got your health…” bromide still works, and millions are ‘skating,’ trying to make it through these crazy and stressful times. Seeing the worst kind of communicable health hazard appear without any coverage is a yikes! experience.

The “better than I knew” aspect was getting a check ($13 and change) from Blue Cross/Blue Shield because ACA had only used 79.1% (instead of mandated 80%) of premiums in 2019, so they split the difference among the masses. That’s got to change your attitude about all government programs as screwed up.

I’ve been “hunkered down” for seven months now, and had two bicycle crashes, one with actual injuries. That I paid a mere $8 for an anti-bacterial that a PA indicated I should get to handle what was a bit of infection in leg, doesn’t encompass how ugly the possibilites could have gotten.

People hear bike accident, they ask if you were wearing a helmet.

Yes, always, same for mask wearing, except when I’m moving 15 mph.

Ask questions, get answers

Things are more than a little confusing and scary right now, but there SHOULDN’T be any confusion about wearing a mask as worthy of doing for the good of all, and taking care of regular, non-pandemic stuff counts just as much. For many, that includes a loved one who needs extra attention, and speaking with people – ie. Loretta and my Mom’s doctor – who have specific information about specific situations, is still the best way to learn things.

Medical and nursing personnel know what’s going on, but they won’t just start providing a lot of “then this and then that” if you don’t ask. The people caring for Mom know she’s a ‘fiesty sundowner,’ but there’s no reason to think an elderly parent knows how they’ve reacted to a change of any kind.

Elementally, this is what my sales and journalistic training makes me good at, becoming a subject matter expert (SME) to the extent I can ask, “What about A, B, or C situations?” When two brothers and I had 15 minutes of discussion with the doctor regarding the course of my mother’s medications, the reason for reducing or adding particular ones, and his most recent – that morning – meeting with her, we all got the facts at same time. BIG chunk of good intell there, even if events since then haven’t been as positive.

According to her doctor, she was admitted with a bladder infection – UTIs happen more than it should, she just won’t drink enough fluids – and antibiotics in seniors often change personalities. Though she’d only changed meds four days to that point, “her lab work was good, and she’s still a little bossy, but not physical” was legitimate. They’re aware of not ‘bombing her out,’ and she’d probably need most of two weeks to adjust to what her body was getting.

trump says he was low-keying things (“its like flu”) to avoid panic about COVID. In real life, most of us want the straight up information.

There won’t be any visits where she is, although two of us can have an hour together at her senior community – only one vendor breaking total protection, which I trust – after she comes back. I relayed things to brother #4 in upstate NY, and particularly at this point, knowing what you can’t see or affect is being handled the best way possible, makes a solid difference.

Although it represents very different circumstances, before she moved to assisted living side three years ago, she was in the hospital with afibulation problems. Four oncology doctors (that’s cancer arena) told me that, after a “sugar scan” they’d waited three days to take hadn’t shown anything “we’d still like to get a snip from inside the lobe.” What seemed like an unnecessary step – with a rubber-hosed scope the size of my pinkie going down her throat – had me smiling though.

“Thanks for the explanation, I think I have enough information here to accurately pass it along to everyone else. I’m not sure I’d go for anything invasive like that, especially involving anesthesia, but Steve is the one you’re really going to have to convince.” (FYI – No.)

Legally and operationally, someone has the final say on higher order senior healthcare. Voting at times of high stress rarely satisfies everyone involved.

Social Distancing

Long, short, immediate COVID considerations (for me) start with keeping as close to home and always being masked for the last seven months (and yes, maskless clowns still tick me off), but I’ve decided to take care of what I can. They won’t go away after any election, but thus far, my steering clear of others has been successful.

We’ll see how that works out when I’m a poll worker for 15 hours next Tuesday.

Our church-related (St. Gabriel Men’s Club) community group had its first gathering since March in early October, a bring-your-own-chair with beers and brots, fire pit and comaraderie for a couple hours in the parking lot. We have a significant mix of much older fellows, so everyone wore masks.

We won’t have a Christmas tree sale (a 34 year tradition), the overnight Room in the Inn program (rated for 20 beds) for homeless is off, but we’ve still managed our furniture pickups for another ministry. It’s always done with masks on, and without doing the usual cooking and prep work once a month, paying for food at the Mens Shelter is the best we can do.

More immediate is my brother’s three days in South Carolina with his Mustang group this weekend – how many people can you trust when mothers send kids who have been exposed to school? I’ve been lax about wiping surfaces, but how many people might he be exposed to, was there a “less careful moment?”

With ZERO chance of attending a ‘super-spreader’ like trump’s Rose Garden events, and minimizing the moments here and there that become exposure, I’m doing the best I can.

The CDC changed ‘exposure’ from 15 minutes with same (tested or not) positive person to TOTAL 15 minutes in a day. That’s a legit piece of information, not to be discarded like trump’s continuing to hark back to “Dr. Fauci said no mask, now he says wear mask” like its sooo confusing. ‘Don’t’ was in March, not last week. As a current PSA points out, “This is a mask, not a political statement,” but we all wind up being at risk with non-maskers.

Being a good patient counts

Having $115 in checking account to pay for the office visit and a single blood test (checking for any kidney change) was a solid investment in my health. I didn’t have that available the week in August, when my bicycle tire torqued loose on a greenway ride, and as they say here in North Carolina, “I got tore up.”

A ‘skaters’ example of healthcare economics – A week after the accident, while doing a furniture pickup for that church group, when a PA who pointed to a gouged up leg and told me what I needed as an anti-bacterial to fight infection, THAT is a reason to use something. Within four applications, you could see results. Healthcare investment – $8, and thankfully, she was wrong about a possible torn ligament in my swollen ankle.

How often have YOU gotten by so easily with a total body smack health issue like this? https://cdtalententerprises.com/2020/08/18/bike-accident-low-grade-depression-match-us-mess/

Having worn a helmet since (luckily) just before the first time I truly needed it years ago, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still a good way to look at things like COVID and masks.

That long-promised stimulus check was finally in the bank, and that’s an economic situation working out. I feel for the millions who don’t have even that much control over what’s coming next. I’ve worked from a depleted refrigerator and cupboards along the way, but I *could have* gone to get groceries; it hasn’t been a choice between the food and medicine, or rent. No insurance, I sure dodged a bullet on that score.

A primary personal healthcare habit

Two bike accidents since end of March lock down aside, I consider cycling a primary personal healthcare habit – it gets a major share of credit for my continuing good body maintenance. Regular shooting of baskets is a habit from way before any pandemic made solitary activities the rule, and after a week of lousy productivity, I recognized-rectified fact the CBD oil I neglected to order (300 mg) made a difference with ‘anxiety’ levels and focus.

‘A dark winter ahead’

Right now, the fact of 100,000-plus reported COVID infections daily should create some awareness among non-maskers that attitudes and actions need to be changed. The sheer math of projected 100,000 a day over 78 days from elections to when Biden (please God, give us a chance!) can put something in place instead of “herd immunity” nonsense, is going to be necessary for survival.

Healthwise, the entire Midwest – actually 41 states – are statistically on fire, and our healthcare front liners are already exhausted. Those aren’t resources we can replace like another box of wine in the fridge.

I have three brothers and a mother with underlying factors that make COVID exposure a real threat. Yesterday I brought flowers with a chocolate bar (cookies and cream) and a nice note to her senior community nurses. I don’t know if she still reads the paper regularly, but the note said she wasn’t going to get let loose for trick or treating, chew on this. Also, chocolate brings a similar reaction to being hugged, and this was best I could do because I couldn’t see her.

For any changes on COVID to begin will require many, many more people doing things they may not want to.

The only perfect healthcare solution available is petting the dogs or other pets. That’s always a freebie, an organic anti-stresser.

Westbrook, MLB, others won’t play with COVID, Reality says NY road trip not worth it either

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Editors Note: About 10 hours after I wrote this, I got a text from NY brother. Some places are a LOT more serious about COVID (in red, below)

The most up-close and personal examples of disaster almost always involve family, and one brother of mine repeatedly asking another to reconsider a three day car show as part of a 2,000 mile road trip to upstate New York and back, was such a toughie.

My decision last week not to accompany an older brother in his 57′ motor home, then just hanging while he shows off his terrific Mustang with all the trimmings in Carlisle, PA on the way back, still doesn’t strike me as worth the risk when the country is on fire with COVID-19. Sadly, this is a situation where votes – and fears apparently – won’t make a difference.

Mike, You need to reconsider your trip to NYS. EVERYONE in NYS takes this seriously (14 day quarantine in NY, NJ, CT from states with high COVID rates). Violators are fined and publicly shamed. We see it on the news every day and wouldn’t have it any other way.

We are self-quarantining through 7/22 because of the states we traveled through (going NY to KY and X-C to Wash. St.) NYS will *require*us to register you (for coming to NY) because your state (NC) is above 10%. Failure to do so is a $2,000 fine. For the 10 days you are here and TWO WEEKS after, Donna cannot see clients, Maria and Donna cannot work at the farm store, Maria cannot coach rowing, and Donna’s Mom can’t work in the office because you will need to use that bathroom.

These are our families livelihoods, and Maria’s final coaching stint before college. To give you an idea how bad your state is, NYS is below 1% and is VERY serious about contact tracing. Thus the hefty fines per violation. NYS system is working extremely well, stops the spread dead in its tracks. They deal swiftly against dissenters.

The safest place to stay is PUT. But, if you insist on going to show, I can send you trump wearables for the car show. 

While staying ‘in place’ together since mid-March, my getting out for sanity-saving bike rides and shooting baskets without facial covering is legit. Wearing a mask and gloves when going to the grocery store, doing a first church furniture pickup since February recently, and no dates/social life, its been a careful, not so onerous couple months. I’ve been a remote worker (and still available) as a content creation – writer for about a year, so the change wasn’t dramatic for me. Bro Mike just went back to his office last week, with only a handful of other workers around.

I still haven’t seen any $1,200 stimulus check, family has thankfully helped with some economics, and whether I’m a weenie because I don’t feel as free or – well, lucky – as the last road trip I made to New York. is a small but real pinprick to the mind. I’m not concerned about the NBA’s (in Orlando) or NHL’s (two cities in Canada) ‘bubble’ efforts to have playoffs as I am about his health, and my safety when he returns.

Baseball begins a sixty game season July 23rd, hockey is restarting in August, and nobody will have fans in attendance.

Considering how much TV I’ve watched – although not F-1 or NASCAR racing , Australian rules football, and only a smidge of golf – I suppose I should be grateful for all that high-priced talent putting real sports back on the menu.

Luck, control, dangerous heat

Is it dumb luck that makes the difference during a pandemic? Perhaps taking the words seperately is more accurate: Both the prez (valet) and his son (girlfriend) have been very close to people who have tested positive without becoming positive themselves.

On the other hand, the 30-year old who admitted going to a COVID party, where the host is *known* to be infected and people were apparently willing to find out if being there would bring on a truly negative result – DEATH – instead of being a hoax, that’s dumb.

Recognizing that several employees have been shot by shoppers who reacted VERY badly to being told they couldn’t be in the store without masks, its made me (somewhat) easier on the stores who tell employees NOT to try changing things. Shooting baskets near a father with son and daughter also shooting, I was glad to hear HIS kids wouldn’t be going back into schools “just because” trump or his Education Secretary, the reprehensible and equally incompetent Betsy DeVos, threatened school districts with funding cuts.

In Charlotte, this will be a second straight week of definite 90 degree weather, which certainly isn’t too crazy for July here. Looking at the weather map, the entire middle of the country is blazing (100+), and its doubtful you’ll hear that usual “But its a dry heat,” out of many Arizonians.

Of all the things America has to be concerned about, including a new name for the NFL’s Washington team since sponsors like FedEx really put the wood to owner Daniel Snyder, Roger Stone, Russian ‘bounties’/payments to Taliban members for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, or whether the Repubs get more delegates to their Jacksonville convention than the mere 6,200 who appeared in Tulsa (and VT cancellation), some things come across as more important. Pay attention to those.

I know “my people” are safe, at least for now. I have a significant supply of quality CBD oil to help keep things on a relatively even keel, and I hope that despite wicked temperatures, we can keep our collective mojo from boiling over regarding dumb and/or criminal actions by our “leaders.” 

President Kennedy said we – meaning the country called the UNITED STATES – didn’t have lofty goals, like putting a person on the moon AND bringing them back safely before the end of the decade (1960s), because it was easy, but because they were hard. If it was easy to believe my brother, your nephew-elderly aunt-Dad-best bud-neighbor can stay safe, that wouldn’t be the hardest thing, keeping it True might be a bit tougher.

See you in the streets if our “leaders” try to EXTORT the behavior that will put your kids in schools that aren’t truly safe (DeVos got *nailed by CNN on “whats the plan IF…” but don’t forget that Black Lives Matter just because six weeks have passed.

(Ed. Note: Bottom line, bro is not doing NYS, but still on track for 3 days at car show.)

 
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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

Dad’s ‘Good Death’ had finality of “rest in peace” – COVID families won’t get that

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Mom and Dad’s 25th annniversary, with a gym full of friends and family at St. Helen’s. Best buddy Al Loffredo’s wife and Mrs. Kline kept it a total surprise.

That Monday “Would’ve been” Dad’s 91st is the way some people represent a loved one’s passing, adding the years since to their chronological age at the end. In Waldo Fitzgerald Shorkey’s case, that was the end of January, 2013. He was laid to rest on Groundhog Day, and unlike many of the 70,000-plus Americans who have died in this pandemic over just the last three months, there were friends and family joined communally close afterwards to recall a man’s life well lived.

Congestive heart failure was the end reason – Dad was down to about 15% function, on straight oxygen – and his youngest brother, Donnie (USAF) died in the same Tampa hospital two days before from the same thing. I mention Donnie’s service because Memorial Day is close, and all four guys in Dad’s family served – Howard was a Marine trigger-puller during two Pacific island assaults, Harold was a tail gunner on a Corsair (USN), Dad was also Navy.

That’s when one nurse said, “I can’t help that guy, but I don’t like the looks of you either” to Dad. He got checked out and they kept him. Monday afternoon, Mom said she really didn’t know why, “he didn’t look that bad to me,” and the doctor who came in shortly after I arrived said small declines or changes over a long time are often not recognized by those who see it every day.

“He looks a lot better than he did yesterday though.”

That’s when Mom stated again that both of them had agreed anything like this would be a DNR situation; no extraordinary means, no ventilator. No sense cracking an old man’s chest, or putting him on a machine he’d never come off was Mom’s position, so the end was only a matter of time.

We weren’t in control, but things moved in a steady, reasonable, end of life way. No ugliness or unknowing stress and foreboding by families, seperated much earlier by the rules COVID creates, not witnessing the suffering of their loved one’s end.

I took Mom to the retirement house they’ve lived in since 1988, just a block and a half off terrific Bayshore Boulevard, and came back to sit with Dad, lifting the mask and giving him occasional ice slivers until after 11:00.

It seems a good death because they got to follow through on choices made long before, not hasty decisions violently thrust on them. Dad was only in the hospital two days; there was no pain, no emotional roller-coaster wreck for Mom, no expensive treatments totally dismantling the safe economic future they’d worked on for her to go forward with.

Compared to most COVID-19 families, Dad’s passing will sound like a fairy tale. It might be close to how you’d imagined those final circumstances for yourself though.

Being there for even a day of service to my father, Gratitude is the word. I was there for Mom, knew he went in peace, that he wasn’t alone and unseeable, or just an image on a screen. Ask those 70,000 or so families if events like that came together so well in the time of COVID-19, the ability to gather a family worth of support. 

He had a good death, being there counted

We didn’t get to the hospital until almost ten on Tuesday, and I went to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. Waiting to be buzzed back into ICU, I met two communicants from my folks church, and I put Dad on their list for delivery. When we had to leave so they could “do hospital stuff,” to the phone call, and the final breaths after the oxygen was turned off, was about ninety minutes.

Almost like the movies good timing, I walked in the back door and Mom’s phone was ringing, the hospital saying there’d been a turn for the worse.

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“The Dad Project.” Hand tools and famous blue level as apartment ‘homage.’

Mom had actually dropped me off at the house to go shop, I got the message just as my cousin Debbie arrived. Sending her after Mom I rolled, making calls to three brothers on the way back. One left Albany, NY with the clothes on his back; I caught Mike just as he started driving from Charlotte to Tampa, and he made it back to the airport, catching the same flight as brother Steve.

Dad received Last Rites by the time I got back to the hospital, and Debbie delivered Mom – Dad passed at 2:00. Not too long after he passed, we drove two blocks to the same neighborhood funeral parlor that had served Mom’s parents, and my Aunt Jo’s and Uncle Frank’ s funerals.

We had to made arrangements to move Dad, because the small hospital didn’t have facilities for keeping bodies overnight. It wasn’t the piling up of bodies in refrigerated trucks in NYC we’ve seen on TV though.

My three brothers all arrived at 6:00, just one trip to the airport for me, and eventually a week together for the mourning. I got to fill them in about how things went down early in the process so Mom didn’t have to remember. The next morning we all went to the funeral parlor with the right paperwork – Yes, a veteran funeral, left or right location relative to her parents, do you want the $350 inset vase, or just what the VA provides?

There was a roomful of people at the wake, and a good-sized group at the funeral service the next day. Cousin Pam and her husband had another funeral in upstate NY Friday, then made it to Tampa. I took a couple random pieces of wood from Dad’s scrap barrel and quietly put several hand tools into my car – ‘The Dad Project’ pictured represents how he always kept his work area neat.

Mom told Mike he hadn’t spoken very loudly during his eulogy, he said he’d done the best he could. I got through some words at graveside, using ideas from the takeaway piece I’d produced for their 50th anniversary in 2005, a thank you to people who had loved them from the beginning, had shared joy with them for so long. At the top is my favorite picture, Christmas, 1983 I believe, and some forty reasons why it made a difference to be part of their family.

Having always believed that listing was a feeling I wanted to share at the point of their greatest joy, I knew it would stand the test of time, be true to the end. That idea of not saving the thoughts till the end when someone can’t hear them guided me, and its got to be a lousy thing to miss saying final goodbyes to someone dying from an invisible monster.

At some future time, a great many Americans will have a collective time to mourn our dead. Yes, I’m grateful for the difference of being there for Dad, and Mom, made. If its possible to convey that simple caring for someone resting in peace to any readers, consider it sent.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

“In-place” Sunday on greenway, a moral lesson from bike accidents

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Sunday’s accident was a scraped knee, it could have been worse, like Memorial Day, 2016

Because the parks in Charlotte are blocked off to traffic, brother Steve came by Sunday with his carbon fibre bike, but he zoomed away as soon as we got to bottom of the ramp for the greenway behind the Hindu temple.

He’s considered essential with Wells Fargo, is looking for a workout when he gets the time, and using other brother Mike’s knobby tired, 21-gear mountain bike instead of my usual Miyata, I wasn’t worried about matching any training pace.

Sunday was an optimal day though, LOTS of people on the greenway, and whatever medical ungoodness is a fact of Life in America right now, being grateful for family and Carolina sunshine was working to lighten the load in a big way. Getting out again today, with mid-70s possible, has been part of a regular routine built around remote ‘gig’ work for most of two years.

I had an accident at the furthest point of my ride Sunday, right at Providence Road, and while I took some skin off a knee, kind of jammed two fingers, and heard my helmet scraping on the concrete, it could have been a lot worse, so lets talk health care.

2017 and ACA is the Standard

Cycling is more recreational training than a separate sport for me, I’m not even sure about the mileage of several urban routes I’ve used for years. I’ve had a couple glorious rolls in a peleton during three MS 150 Bike to the Beach fundraising rides with the Mojo Riders, and two-100 miles in a day (with a mountain in the middle) rides that required some extra training time to not get embarassed.

Since the earliest days, biking has been part of freedom, and it also gets most of the credit for keeping a solid fitness level (194) all those years of having a bum left knee. Biking meant I’d regained full range of motion after a late 2017 knee replacement, allowing me to walk versus have to skip across the street to avoid getting run over.

On Saturday of Memorial weekend, 2016, I was enjoying a ride like Sunday’s, when I became too enchanted looking at *something* and crashed into a curb, catapulting over the handlebars and face-planting on concrete. Everyone asks “Were you wearing a helmet?” but its not as helpful when your face is the contact point.

Four people stopped to ask if I was all right (I was bleeding, but not gushing), the EMTs arrived shortly thereafter, eventually there was an ambulance ride, and several nurses at Novant mentioned my good humor for a guy whose face was kind of messed up from sunglasses and concrete scrapes. (No, the nose was like that long ago)

The puncture wound – deep but not long – in bony (protective!) area over my right eye took six stitches, but the fact I was still using BOTH eyes to see was a great reason to be excited.

The two times I’ve really needed fixing up, the Affordable Care Act worked for me. On the top line, that bike accident was $6900 – I paid $325 for the $900 ambulance, and my $100 deductible. 

Knee replacement and rehabbing,   with a top line of $28,700 changed my physical trajectory for a small fraction of that from me, and no one will ever convince me “Obamacare” didn’t work exactly as I needed it to. A huge difference maker, you betcha .

There is zero respect for the social club member who pooh-poohed it every step of the way, but got HIS knee worked on with explanation that, “He shouldn’t be only person who didn’t take advantage of the (terrible, over-reaching, Democrats forced on us) program.”

CHOICES and Reality

What seemed like a legitimate analogy, even a moral, came with a two-beer examination of just how lucky someone can get while putting a bicycle into some rocks.

Maybe its germaine that having missed a deadline for submitting a simple tax form by one day several months ago, I’ve been “skating naked” insurance-wise. Not that the premiums were exorbidant for me as a 63-year old single, but just ONE MONTH I’d be required to pay almost $1,000 before ACA coverage kicked in was more than I could handle. Statistics indicate a lot of people are that close to similar lines.

So nobody else was going to pay for an emergency room visit when, in the moment I asked two ladies “How much further to the end of the greenway?” my foot slipped off the flat pedals of the clunky mountain bike, I lost my balance touching down, different brakes, boom! I’m down.

The two ladies come over to check on me, and I’m smiling from six feet away, feeling lucky there’s no real problem. The bike isn’t damaged, I tell them the same story about last accident, and away I go.

Community spread –  my biking example

When I needed first responders for that 2016 accident, the number of people involved:  4-6 drivers with passengers who stopped to help, with thanks again for the gent who delivered my pretzeled bike to the house. Plus two EMTs checking me out, two ambulance people, probably 4 nurses along the way, a doctor, and my sister in law who picked me up.

That’s 16 people, minimum.

It only took one instant, with the right answer directly in front of me, (“duh, the new section ends at Providence) and a flat pedal situation almost got me messed up. I don’t know how I’d handle a major economic hit for that.

Watching this situation about a renewed spike with COVID-19, protesting in-place regulations as tyrannical, and I think of elder care, where it truly only takes one careless moment for someone out and about at a protest among often unprotected others, to kiss their favorite aunt or grandmother, to touch a child, and THAT triggers “more.”

Freedom of speech, “except for yelling fire! in a crowded theater” was the theory I heard growing up. What’s righter about that gridlock stuff? 

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This scene at Whitewater Center isn’t the way of the world in April, 2020, but social distancing is going to be a byword for foreseeable future.

And for God’s sake, that old expression about “If you can’t be part of the solution, at least don’t contribute to the problem,” still works. Causing traffic jams that prevents those front line people from getting to where they’re needed, that is SUCH a negative.  That nurse blocking a pickup from jamming up a crosswalk, that’s an American I’ll shake hands with – well, at some point.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

A rugby – COVID-19 analogy for a lack of sports Wednesday: Gotta make the catch

man of match jerseys-kutz

Having used the analogy several times over years of writing, the ultimate factor as the receiver of a downfield kick-punt in rugby, a game everyone knows is rough, is you can’t whiff on it or let it go, you HAVE to catch it. That high, hanging up there one especially.

You’ve seen it dozens of times in football, “the bomb squad” guys who pulverize a punt returner who doesn’t wave his arm in a fair catch signal.

Now take out the pads and helmet. And the fair catch signal. Yeah, crunch time, pal.

Well, actually you can TRY fair catching it, by simultaneously catching the ball, digging a heel into the turf, and shouting, “Mark!” but most experienced players will tell you to run even if you do it right, because not everyone knows the rule.

I sure didn’t back in 1981, when I went *through* a guy who invoked it. I learned about it at the keg later, when the guy – who was a referee and certainly did it right – told another guy about running and not everyone knowing the rule.

Part Two of that is being on the receiving end of getting railed, where you can SEE that ball and different colored jersey are going to arrive at the same time. Whether or not you’ve been clobbered at such a moment, that very short moment of impact, your life gets changed.

It’s going to be a problem (challenge? pssshhh!) either way.  If you try to avoid the blast and let the ball bounce, and bing, bang, boom! they score, thats a mark (soft?) you’ll have to carry for a while.

Otherwise, when they peel you off the turf, there are only a couple questions that make any difference. The primary one related to potential concussions is supposed to be “What’s your name?” with the expectation you don’t know that, fuggidaboudit. After taking the abuse, many want to know if their team kept the ball.

If you say something about, “But I don’t wanna go to school, Mom!” they put someone else in the game.

The Analogy

Lots of Americans, and people around the world, are “sheltering in place” now, WAITING, as a rugby fullback often does, for the ball to finally get there. Nobody else can make the play, and whether people think differently about you at this specific time, will count on how you handle the opportunity.

We’re not talking about taking the kick all the way back for a score, we’re not talking about the ball bouncing off you, and everyone scrambling while you hopefully have the ability to choose between covering your head or curling in a ball to protect yourself, and will someone PLEASE get that telephone!

It’s absolutely about making the catch. Not doing anything crazy, but nooo, its not going to be easy either way.

Staying in place is making the catch without sweating a different colored jersey in your peripheral vision. There’s no “Whats your name?” factor either. You cannot hurt the team by hanging out around the home work space right now, maybe even have a beer during work hours. 

Need another rugby analogy? So, this THICK, Samoan-looking #8 guy (and yes, the tats are part of it) picks up the ball and comes around the scrum, motoring right at our captain, and from inside center position, I swear I heard him gulp.

Captain sat out the previous season after a broken collarbone, and having this ever-lovin’ chunk of humanity coming full steam ahead, he knew somebody had to stick their head in there and stop that bowling ball.

Which I did, taking him low, because otherwise you bounce off, have no effect. I’ll remind any readers that, in rugby tackling, there’s no roll blocking someones feet,  so a legal tackle involves circling your arms, which means having to put your head in near knees and feet.

Doing whats needed

That’s what “somebody” needed to do about stopping that situation, it didn’t have to be Davey at that point though. We need LOTS of somebodies doing whats needed to get “real life” back any kind of sooner. Like rugby, this COVID-19 isn’t a one shot situation, more like Spring and Fall season. Sports-wise, its going to be more of a marathon-like survival than a win-loss on any scoreboard.

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AME Zion Church during Sanders rally for environment

If I stay in place another couple weeks, doing leadership thought blogs, and working on another book instead of deciding to pack a church next weekend,  that’s making the best choice, given the alternatives. Even here, in the Buckle on the Bible Belt, I don’t believe we’re going to break on what needs to be done even at a holy time on most calendars.

I’m for sure not planning on taking COVID-19 straight up, but I’ll make the catch or right play when its needed. I can certainly feed myself without any problem, my last expedition to neighborhood Aldi, had no problem getting everything I needed to batten down, including a couple bottles of 3-buck chuck. Here’s hoping we can rely on “the other guys” to do their part as well on the best practices front.

And yes, the people working smile when you ask if they’re getting enough props.

A high caliber nurse in this arena offered to make me two masks, which makes me sure its going to be of a quality those brave people wear, ones for my brother. She and a couple others are cranking them out besides doing 24s and a couple 12 hr. shifts a week. I’m doing the bandana and gloves, and hell yes! you take your gloves and whatever garbage with you after shopping or whatever.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

 

 

 

Boost to best practices was time well invested for Week Two of COVID-19 “in place”

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Brother Mike was originally going to be at home on two-week rotation – now kitchen is his office.

The premise of “picking against homeys” question on my landing page, with a Final Four date in April for CDTalent Enterprises to write 1,200 word Leadership Thought blogs for two readers, has been extended. If you still want to leave a comment, feel free.

As a mostly remote worker, and someone who does a number of physical, outdoor activities solo, this world-event virus hasn’t changed that level of lifestyle, nor my operational effectiveness on a contract basis. Personally and professionally, there are still any number of effective projects to go forward with. Case in point:

During Week Two of “staying in place,” I edited a 73,000 word previously self-published book onto the wattpad application over six days, and adding pictures! I pushed my favorite project, CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent into a much better orbit.

What would jumping awareness of your corporate being 500% mean for your “operation?”

Work at home, THAT’S legit “Deal with it” bone

Saying it didn’t affect my active lifestyle or professional effectiveness, which has been primarily an electronic vs. site specific operation for several years, there’s still no doubt that COVID-19 is the overriding topic of the times. (Mulvaney who? but yes, deal with it.)

While often quoting Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) about how much energy we spend on worrying about things we have no control over, I’m believing that doing what you can, worrying can’t be 24/7.

I’ve done the plan on wash, wipe down, minimal contact-no crowd events, have food in the house, gas is like a buck-eighty, but the whole country is about to be in semi-deep freeze. Speaking for myself, I’m informed and still worried. That stock market screaming in the background, I don’t have a dog in that reallllly serious fight to worry about.

Please, I have toilet paper, but those front line medical people need protective gear. Things do not work out well if there’s less personnel.

I’m generally considered very fit, a Boomer who decided to keep on right side of Nature with eating and exercise. Might not get to show that off at 45th reunion, scheduled for October, but it also means being in upper age group most effected by virus.

I’ve relied on ACA for two major events – bicycling accident, knee replacement – and am beyond satisfied with the health care I’ve received. Part Two, yes, I’m worried about whether this bringing down the curve will help as much as necessary.

Doesn’t it sound like any kind of success when all sports leagues, the NCAAs, NASCAR, (eventually) the Olympics, *CHURCHES* in Charlotte, the buckle on the Bible Belt, two of the most populous states, have said “stay put,” and have the political will to do what’s best ASAP?

How many people KNOW Cuomo is doing a helluva job, or that Trump won’t allow that Dr. Fauci to say he was wrong too many times, even when Trump spreads mis-information in the most dangerous ways. World pictures show famous places with nobody in sight – so we’re maybe doing something right?

Yeah, I know, and then there’s Spring Break. That the Spanish Flu was primarily spread by all the soldiers coming back from WWI is a fact, and another is that a LOT less concern for social distancing on the beaches by millions of relatively young, is going to be equally dramatic in terms of the communities they return to.

First shot at tracking

One company tracked the location of cell phones in use from ONE beach during that period, and how those blips redistributed across most of the East was enlightening. Somewhere along the lines, you’re always taking a chance. Early scourges for my generation were herpes and AIDS, and certain behaviors mattered. Right now, almost nothing does. Not apocalyptic, but LOTS to think about, right?

Will that invalidate the safety factor I tried for by staying close to home for over three weeks, or how much longer beyond 6-8 weeks? Puts a dent in the idea for sure. A certain poll shows 81% to 8% NO WAY people go back to work “just because.”

Back to the idea of The ONE Thing

Recognizing that I accomplished the rejuvenation of a major project, elevating ‘Cards’ from bargain bin status to a platform with a terrific array of potential outlets – links with publishers, movies! – is still only two-thirds of an actual achievement. Admitting the look and feel of the online product surpasses even having first 60 copies in hand a while ago, is easy though.

Its also important to me, because the days after I put everything right on that site as a “creative,” the What’s Next? marketing persona took over. A number of options have been uncovered, one of which requires having a second 50,000 word book completed on the site. Long-form informational blogging and time on creative all put Writing back in prime slots of my schedule.

Which is an essential part of ONE Things – While you do an array of tasks in pursuit of the overall plan, your effort is on the result, not just movement. Putting minimal spin on the idea of “in place,” sending request for proposals information is part of the remote worker process, and time on task (creative) moves the overall project as well.

I don’t actually need to get out of the house for food, and I just picked up another video interview. Cap’n America slugging it out with Iron Man, “I can do this all day”? Might have to.

There’s been an immediate, dramatic change in these United States. We’re going to find out about having flattened any curves pretty soon, and no, not everyone is going to make it safely to “the end of this.” Realistically, the Spanish Flu was even more deadly when it came back around the winter of 1918-19.

But, just in case you haven’t got anything great to read socked away, come on back here, or check out that link. For now, my ONE Thing can be good for both of us.

   
Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704)502-9947