Greedy Doctor

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Our family physician who has treated my Grandparents and Parents for more than 30 years and me for a brief time, has changed his practice a bit. He sent out a letter detailing this change and I find I’m pretty grossed out by the whole thing. In my opinion he is getting greedy in the face of retirement and wants some cash.

He has decided to downsize his practice to only 600 patients. For an annual fee of $1,500 to become his patient, we will have access to him 24-7 via his home and cellphone numbers and “enhanced coordination of care with specialists”. We are guaranteed on time, unhurried same or next day appointments. In his letter he simply states that studies show this is the best way to deliver personal care and that this will enhance our doctor-patient relationship. I’d like to see these studies that say I should shell out $1,500 annually for a doctor to accept me as his patient.

Here’s the thing. Right now we don’t pay an annual premium and we have access to him 24-7 including his cell number and all of the specialists he refers. He visits my family members in the hospital and is the only medical doctor who has not kept ever me waiting. I mean not once. So now he wants almost a MILLION dollars in cash from 600 people to stay in business?

He is a good doctor, I won’t deny that. But this feels a bit like extortion and that really doesn’t enhance our doctor- patient relationship. It just pisses me off and makes me feel used.

I’m guessing that if his plan works, he will retire in a year or two. I think it’s a better idea for us to just move forward and build a relationship with a new doctor who isn’t going to demand a cash retainer like a lawyer.

The Reluctant Vegetarian.

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Diesel will remain a carnivore.

I love meat. The bloodier the better. Hell, it could probably still be moving and I would love it. Cow, lamb, pork, chicken and whatever my Daddy shot last weekend, they all make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore vegetables too and eat them all the time. I just really love bloody, red meat and prefer it. But then a few weeks ago during one of my insomnia bouts I watched a movie on Netflix called Forks over Knives and I find myself attempting to live life as a vegetarian.

Forks over Knives (quoting their twitter bio) examines the claim that most degenerative diseases can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. It was fascinating. And terrifying. Clogged arteries are a huge contributor to many things including Alzheimer’s. That scares me a lot as I have had a traumatic brain injury, but the part when they described what happens during a bypass surgery made me cringe. THEY CRACK OPEN YOUR RIBS WITH A SAW. I want no part of that thank you very much. The film is very pro-vegan, but I like cheese and eggs and yogurt and bread too much to ever actually go vegan. Also the vegans I know do strange things like make their dogs eat a vegetarian diet and wear hemp shoes which baffles me. I am weird enough as it is, I don’t need any more help.

The next day I decided to start eating a primarily plant based diet, give up caffeine and cut down on processed foods (packaged). This isn’t a really foreign subject to me, in 1987 I was a vegetarian for 14 months during my infatuation with River Phoenix. His whole family were vegetarians and I needed to make sure I was as well when he realized I was his soulmate.

This time around I find things to be a bit easier. Many restaurants offer actual vegetarian options. My favorite Chinese restaurant will even make their dishes with soy “meat” that is actually pretty good if I ask. Grocery stores have tons of vegetarian products readily available too. The setbacks are still limited entree choices and restaurants’ heavy hand with salt. I have a salt sensitivity (read: crazy high blood pressure) and I’m still not sure why they load up everything with salt.

It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve noticed a few positive changes. Food seems to taste better to me. My insatiable sweet tooth that use to demand cake and frosting now screams loudly for pineapple chunks and dried cherries. My appetite is a little bit smaller too. I use to snack a lot in between meals and while I still do a little bit, it is not every day. The plague of insomnia isn’t gone, but when I actually fall asleep I am staying asleep much longer than before.

I plan to eat meat when I really crave it or just want some as life is about balance and not the extremes but eating primarily plants seems to suit me. Hopefully it will keep my arteries healthy so I never need my chest cracked open!

I’m a 38 year old Empty Nester

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It hit me today. Even though my son is a Junior in high school now, I finally realized what’s wrong in my world today. It hit me like a ton of bricks as I left work and all of my friends had plans. I’m lonely. I didn’t want to go home to my big empty house with no one to talk to. I miss him and I miss being the hands on Mom I’ve been for 17 years.

Because I’ve been recovering from my car accident and caring for some pretty sick family members I didn’t feel this way during his first two years at a local boarding school. But tonight as I headed to dinner alone it hit me. I’m suffering from empty nest syndrome. I googled it, it’s an accurate self diagnosis.

I don’t know anyone my age who is going through this. Most of my friends are having their first or second babies, re-marrying post-divorce or looking for love after a wonderful career. I’m completely in limbo. I date someone wonderful but we live pretty far from each other and it only takes up one night every other week in my life for the most part. I’m back in school taking three classes but that just exhausts me and gives me homework I have to do alone at home. Not helpful. I’ve grown tired of partying and going out drinking or dancing every week. I have two amazing dogs that get me out of the house but the dog park scene makes me feel quite stabby.

I honestly don’t even know where to go from here? Most of the empty nesters I know are well into their fifties and facing a happy retirement. Being a young Mom was the best thing that ever happened to me, but now I find myself a thirty eight year old empty nester. Google produced some great support groups. Maybe my next step is to read message boards and self help books.

The Teenager and The Summer Reading.

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DISCLAIMER: the teenager in this tragic story is the very same child who fell asleep almost every night when he was little with a book in his hands, even after I read to him for an hour or more. Some mornings I would find clear evidence that he dragged a big flashlight to bed so he could read illegally after I fell asleep.  This is the same child who would cry when I told him we couldn’t read his favorite book a FIFTH time because he had to go to bed. This is ALSO the teenager who picked up Dante’s Inferno this year because he felt like reading it. MY KID LOVES TO READ.

What I keep asking myself is, where did I go wrong here? (This comes shortly after wondering if one can start spanking when one’s child is almost 17)? School starts again in three weeks and there are two summer reading books sitting on my son’s shelf that have yet to be cracked open.

We have had TWO 6+ hour car rides in the last few weeks along with hours of blissful laziness on the beach and long naps in a hammock on the beach house porch. Not one page was turned. I have brought it up many times. He has been asked nicely to read, he has been told loudly to read and finally he has been threatened within an inch of his life to open those books!

There is some magical teenager-repelling forcefield that puts itself around a book when the words “summer reading” are uttered nearby. I finally put my foot down and forced him to start reading today. This was not an easy feat. It ended with me removing the battery of his phone and taking his laptop which lead to him calling me crazy. I mean, I may be crazy but there is no need to remind me of it.  Teenagers are SO good for their parents’ egos.

Summer reading lists are something I don’t agree with.  Maybe there should be a suggested list but my kid goes to one of the finest high schools in the country and works really hard all year long. A break should be a break. Summer should be ours to enjoy with no responsibilities.  We are responsible for teaching our children how to excel in school but we also need to teach them to savor life and relax.

I have no solution here. In the end I have to force him and he will hate me for it. Next summer, his last summer in high school, I think I may lock him in his room for 24 hours when school ends until he finishes his summer reading. We will just rip off that bandaid first thing and quickly.

Forever Love.

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I grew up knowing I was my Grandfather’s favorite. He treated me differently from my cousins and most other people. He spent so much time teaching me everything he knew, from how to cast a fishing line to the finer points of plumbing. He took me all over the world and told me the stories of his childhood that he never shared with anyone, not even my Mother or Grandmother. I loved him so much and was blessed to have him well into his ’90’s. I’m more like my Grandfather than either one of my parents and will never stop being proud of that.

He taught me more than how to install a lock and change the oil in my car. He taught me to savor life, cherish my family and to be fiercely loyal to my loved ones. He taught me to always be curious and to do things for myself. He taught me everything really.

This is my Mom and my Grandpa, whose nickname was Hooie on Wrightsville Beach NC. I don’t know what year it was tken, but I love the picture. Tonight I am writing this blogpost from Wrightsville. We come every year, as Hooie’s family has for 11 generations and spend a week or two soaking up time with our large batch of cousins.

I miss my Hooie more when I am here than anywhere else. We drove together every year and when we crossed the Virginia line into North Carolina he would burst into song and start telling me stories. He loved this beach. He loved his family at this beach and today I found myself tearing up thinking about him and our many many mornings fishing when I was a little girl and again when my son was a little boy.

I spent most of today with two of Hooie’s first cousins. They are 89 and 94 respectively and we were together with many other family members from morning till night. They were close to each other growing up and always have a new story or two for me from Hooie’s childhood.  After a happy day we sat on the back deck of the beach house overlooking the ocean, “sittin and sippin and visitin”.  They have been fascinated by my ipad and I pulled out my “words with friends” game to show them how scrabble has evolved. When I opened it, clear as day… my tiles spelled out my Grandfather’s nickname “Hooie” and we were all a little speechless.

Sitting on his beloved beach, surrounded by the family he dedicated so much time and energy to and thinking about him all day, it felt like a little “hello” from above.

Om this!

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I started taking yoga classes when I was 14 in 1987. Yoga wasn’t popular, cheap or advertised on every corner of the city. It was taught by people who had studied in India for years, sometimes decades who used words no one had ever heard. It was straight forward, holistic and weird. Things like chakras were a completely foreign concept concept to me and many of the studios had strange little altars with photographs of a man in a turban with a very long beard surrounded by candles.

I liked it because of the weird, foreign factor and it made me feel fantastic afterwards. When I went off to college 4 years later I stopped my sporadic practice and focused on partying, I mean studying.

Fast forward eight years, a college degree and one baby later. I was ready to find another incense filled studio and om my way back to serenity. I was shocked to discover there were now three studios within walking distance from my house!

Enter the spandex.

My yoga was gone. It had been absorbed and bastardized by the fitness industry. Everyone now wore spandex and had gear marketed to them by said fitness industry. Gone were the loose fitting cotton clothing, the candle lit night classes on the full moon and worst of all the truly knowledgeable instructors. Now every aerobics instructor could take a 6 week course and teach something called “power yoga” which didn’t resemble my old classic yoga in any way.

I tried to seek out the more hippie, traditional teachers and once ended up in a class where a woman I structured me to breathe through my vagina… Surely all of India was laughing hysterically at how the Americans and McDonalds-ized yoga.

No matter what, yoga was something I loved before it became lululemoned and today I went to a Hathaway yoga class at my gym. My spine and hips have never fully recovered from my accident and I thought I would give it a shot. I was thrilled to find a woman teaching it who was wonderful! And more importantly she didn’t say vagina once. Maybe I will go back and see her again.

Baffled. But I like it.

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This is my newest blog. I am an opinionated girl. Something I only recently have loved about myself. Wishy-washy doesn’t fly in my world these days. This leads me to why I am sitting in my bed blogging for the first time in a year and feeling completely baffled.

I had the loveliest day. Truly lovely. It started with wine tasting in Virginia wine country with people I absolutely adore. I laughed so hard my ribs are already starting to ache. Then sent my son off for a week long adventure with his Grandparents and cousins. Bittersweet but good all around.

Then a man I loved for a long time told me he was going to propose to me.

He wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t high.

I haven’t dated this man seriously in more than 2 years. I don’t even speak to him really. When he called me, I didn’t know who was it was because his phone number wasn’t in my phone.

I am quite seriously baffled. Not sad, or wistful or happy that he finally figured it out. Just baffled. I don’t understand how he came up with this idea? Maybe remorse? Maybe loneliness combined with remorse? I got over him a long time ago and am I grateful I did.

This is the man that didn’t seem to care that I had been in a pretty bad car accident a few years ago. The same car accident that made me want to re-visit my relationship with him. He was thrilled to have me back in his life, but didn’t want me “whining” about my accident. One that left me with a Traumatic Brain Injury and a rearranged skeleton. This is the man who never wanted to meet my family or introduce me to his own.

People baffle me. I guess that is one of the many things that keeps life interesting, isn’t it? What strange hell will tomorrow bring? I can’t wait. The universe really does keep me guessing.

Oh, and the flowers? Someone lovely gave them to me a and I haven’t looked at them in a while. Pretty, no?