Monday, January 31, 2011

[My Life] 30-Something

So last Monday, I officially hit a milestone, by turning the ripe age of 30 and I couldn’t be happier. I know it’s rare for someone to say that out right about getting older, but after the last couple of years of sorrow and misfortune, I really needed something to celebrate. As I begin the 3rd decade of my life (Well next year when I turn 31, that officially starts off the next decade, but hey humor me for a second), I find myself reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned thus far. Last year alone, I learned that there are people who I might have absolutely nothing in common with, can be the best of friends, while the people I might have the most in common with can become the fiercest of enemies.  Imagine the movies “Mean Girls”, “Boyz in the ‘Hood”, “Cruel Intentions” and “The Player’s Club” had a bastard child and THAT would be my 2010. Yeah…

Right now, I look at the world around me in amazement. I’ve lived through 2 wars (ironically the conflict has been with the same country), several national tragedies with the most heartbreaking being 9/11, the election of this country’s first President of color (I honestly do not believe President Obama was the first, but it’s not like he can deny it or “pass” like other presidents were able too but that is neither here or there) and the Age of technology which has transformed every aspect of America. I know that this is just the beginning and over the years I hope to experience much more.

Moving forward, I know I have to let certain painful imagery, actions and events stay in my past. I can not move on if I am still wondering why this happened or what could I have done to change this event when in the grand scheme of things, it’s is done and over with. I wasn’t prom king, wasn’t a guest on the “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” or in a porn movie with Paris Hilton and my life still turned out okay. As my future is not yet determine. I have to be more determine to go down that road to get to a level that I want to get to which I know will be hard and rewarding in the end.

When I was younger I thought by this age, I would have a whole lot of things accomplished, but reality and idealism often clashed with one another. I have these goals like that I started to focus more on like:
  • ·         Being more active in saving funds.
  • ·         Working out 3 times a week.
  • ·         Yearly check for any form of cancer (since it runs on my father side of my bloodline)
  • ·         Going back to school for a higher education and working towards my BSW.
  • ·         Opening an IRA.
  • ·         Investing in a stock portfolio.
  • ·         Making sure that one other person, either my best friend or one of my brothers, has a medical proxy for me just in case my mother is unable for any reason to any make medical decisions on my behalf.

As time goes on, there will be more goals for me to develop and mature, but I learned that in order for me to succeed, not only  do I have to plan well, but I have to make sure that each decision I make will be in my best interests.

Here’s to another year and another milestone with more to come!


Monday, January 17, 2011

[Lifestyles] Sickness at the Gate

Last year was crazy, painful and rewarding for me and when I was laid off in September, I thought I would take the time to evaluate my life while I was able to get unemployment. However most of that time, all the stress I had built up by over working myself those last few months had caught up with me and I spent most of October sick as a dog in bed. It was so bad that I had to go to the Emergency Room twice, because I could not take the pain. While waiting at Kings County Hospital, my main concern was not only the pain, but how I was going to pay for the visits. At the time, I was trying to get my unemployment cleared and I was no longer receiving any new checks from my previous employment so I only had a certain amount in my bank accounts to pay for things like rent, food and other bills. An ER visit was not in the budget to say the least.

In 2009, when I was in and out the hospital dealing with results of my grandmother accident, I would watch on the news about these town hall meetings where people would come out about health care reform, dubbing it “OBAMACARE” and how it was this total government takeover of our lives. You saw one political party pull out all the stops, and succeed might I add, to cause havoc concerning what healthcare reform could really mean to the populace. Even with the topic of “Death Panels” and “Pulling the plug on Grandma”, my mother and I had to make real decisions on the life of someone we loved dearly and did not want to see in pain, had to watch these people make a mockery of what we and millions of people were going through at that moment. I was disappointed with the Democrats constantly trying to appease the Republicans at every turn to only gain no votes and the disappearance of the public option further enhance my grievance. When I hear Republicans and Tea Party backed politicians say they speak for the “will” of the people, who are they speaking about, really? Not me I know that for sure. But atlas, by gones are by gones and crying over spilled milk doesn’t save the world. Just like the rest of the country, I had to move on. In the last two months I’ve had several doors shut in my face because my current income has me at a level where I am too poor to afford For-Profit health insurance like HIP, with the co-payments and premiums, BUT too rich to receive Medicaid. You see, when I started my old job last year, I just started to receive Medicaid and after my first check, it was discontinued because I made way more than allotted, which was fine, but kind of put me out there with no insurance. Of course I didn’t think about it while I was working. I was trying to get myself out of debt and make sure that my mother and I had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and light to switch on when either one of us enter a room… and that I did.

So currently, I go to a hospital clinic on a sliding scale. The co-payments are within my budget restraints for the moment, but there are some good and bad points to it. The good part is I get to see a doctor, however whenever I am there, it reminds me of the days where I had to take my grandmother to the clinic and spend hours upon hours waiting to be seen for 5 minutes and given another appointment to do it all again the next month. The waiting room would always be filled with people who were either elderly, mentally or physically disabled people with their handlers and children running amuck. There were times I had to put a few people in check because they had gotten way to close to my grandmother while making a scene… and when you add the mixture of impatience, frustration and mentally disturbed people in a closed environment, only brings forth the ugliest in some people. Now, when I sit in the clinic alone, avoiding eye contact with the crazy ass people crowding the area, I wonder how many other people are in my situation. Waiting for a doctor, well let’s keep it real, an intern who can’t say your name right even if it was tattooed on your forehead, see you for a few minutes to inform you that your test results are not back yet and they still don’t know what is wrong. Hell, how many people are out there who cannot even afford a sliding scale and have no way of acquiring any kind of coverage. But that is another story altogether…

A few days ago I ran across this video on Youtube of a People Court case where a woman was suing a eye glass place in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Here’s the case:

I was SOOO mad after watching this video, because while I have been struggling debating on whether or not I can afford to go to the doctor, this woman was buying name brand non-prescription sunglasses like D&G, while receiving Medicaid and because I make 100 dollars over the cap with unemployment, I get nasty looks like I am trying to rob the system! I would like to hear more people talk about Medicaid reform instead of the total useless repeal efforts of legislation. What’s done is done. When the opportunity to enhance reform came about, there was nothing but bitterness, lies and miscommunication being tossed around.

On the news when I see reports of people cheating Medicaid of thousands, sometimes millions, but I hear either nothing or very little about what procedures are going to implemented to ensure that it would not happen again. Maybe, just maybe we should ask our congress representatives to look at what is on the table now and put forth improvements and correct any loop holes that may occur. There comes a point where people need to come together and really iron out there difference to really enhance the lives of the people of this country. With unemployment still high, political tension boiling over and a struggling economy still on the rebound… there comes to a point where we have to say enough is enough let’s get it together…

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