Had the opportunity to go for a short hike today. This trail is one that I have posted about in the past. They actively manage this area with burns so it always has something new when I go. Hug a tree.
I felt an almost obligation to post something about my vaccine experience. Many people, especially if they have certain health issues, are worried about getting the vaccine. I was. The community in particular has lost a lot of trust in the CDC, IDSA, and the medical establishment in general. I have been fairly lucky. I have had some caring doctors/ARNPs/PAs that really did listen but once my heart and my thyroid tested normal, there was nothing else they could do. After I was treated by a LLMD/PA, most of the doctors I have seen seem to accept a general chronic fatigue type status and move on to the other normal blood work monitoring, testing, and advice. The only time a doctor was dismissive of Lyme Disease, in front of me, was when I was at a marketing lunch with a pain management doctor and asked if he ever treated patients with Lyme Disease. Of course, no one in Florida has Lyme.
This post is not to talk you into anything. It is to provide a little information and a viewpoint. Some of the Lyme community posts about the flu vaccine make people think suffering and death is the most likely outcome. I still have internal debates about the flu vaccine for multiple reasons, most are not Lyme Disease related. I don’t have the loudest voice. I am not trying to sell you anything. I am just trying to balance a little of what is on social media. Not everyone with a Lyme struggle thinks the same way.
I decided to get the vaccine for several reasons
- I am not in any acute stage of illness
- I work with COVID-19 positive patients
- I do NOT want any of the possible long term consequences of having COVID
- I do not want to get sick or carry the virus to give to others (still mask after, research is ongoing about being a carrier)
- I have had 2 flu shots (last 2 years), since being treated 7 years ago for Lyme, with no side effects
- To get things back to relative normal and to decrease the number of mutations, the more people that can be and are vaccinated, the better
- I do not have any known medication or vaccine allergies.
- The vaccine’s efficacy rate is phenomenal
How it went:
The location I was able to get an appointment at was set up for healthcare workers that do not work in hospitals. I selected an appointment time and showed up. They had a massive amount of volunteers and paid staff there to help move people through the process. The only waiting I did was the 15 minute recommended observation time to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. This was not a drive through site so I had to park and get out. They did have wheelchairs and people on stand by to help anyone who might need assistance.
The day after both the first and the second vaccine, my arm was sore. I did some gentle ROM of my arm to loosen things up and get the juices flowing and that helped a great deal. I did not have any of the other listed side effects. The young nursing student that gave me one of the shots said that she had every side effect on the list. She said that with a smile and was happy to have gotten it. I was a little tired for a couple days after the second vaccine. I had a busy week and the received the vaccine on a Friday. I was not able to distinguish between my normal run out of spoons fatigue and any sort of vaccine reaction. I rested over the weekend and was back to baseline.
Please be careful of what sources you use to make your decisions. Please do not share posts that may have disinformation.
If you have any thoughts or questions please leave a comment!!!
Over the past year, I have been using the stock market crash and subsequent volatility to make small investments. I have been able to pay my mortgage a couple of times thanks to cruise line stocks. As the market settled, I cashed out 50% of my holdings to keep long term. One of the stocks I decided I would park some money in was Black Berry ($BB). They have had some good news over the past month and the stock went up some. Last week it it made a huge jump over 2 days. I checked the news to see what the deal was and the only thing that I could find was that there were people investing in some stocks in hope of a short squeeze (hedge fund managers making bets that the stock would go down and when it doesn’t, they have to buy shares at a higher price and buying a lot of shares makes the price go even higher – my rough understanding). As I was researching the news, I placed a trailing stop on 50% of my BB shares so if it started dropping, those shares would sell. They did sell after a 16% drop from the high but my original position had gone up over 400% so, I have enough to pay some bills if I do not re-invest (the taxes will be high because I had held them < 1 year).
Bubbling anger history
In 2008 government bailed out financial institutions during the sub prime mortgage crisis. Too big to fail was bailed out and given much more support than individuals/families that were allowed to fail. I started to write a description but it’s worth a book so here is my experience during this time for ground level – where it started: I was saving to buy a home and would occasionally tour neighborhoods. After several months, it became apparent that I was not able to save faster than prices were going up and was getting priced out of neighborhoods. One of the first homes I went to tour, was in a neighborhood that had a lot of foreclosures. For homes that were only 1-2 years old, they were tore up. There was some anger in there and the homes were not worth what they were asking. The relator that had been involved in selling those, had given me a tour. She, later, took me on to tour another home. After the tour she took aside one of my friends that went with us and said that I was not buying a big enough home, that I should be looking at one more expensive. She asked me once, “well don’t you expect that you’ll get raises?”
The use of stock buy backs to boost prices and help share holders instead of using Republican tax breaks to help workers. Trickle down is a joke but when they are using turned up umbrellas, it is cruel.
More recently, in corona news, there was CNBC doing its job of letting hedge fund and investor bros come on and talk up/down whatever they are trying to manipulate. Here is a link to the almost 30 minute “interview” of Bill Ackman who made 2 BILLION from short positions (they were disclosed March 3 per site). If you have the patience, watch the ticker (including volatility index) on screen as he talks. Stocks were already declining and I would bet most people who had the ability to buy shorts, did to some degree when COVID hit but this brings up another point, there are algorithms and computers controlling huge volumes of trade and are able to act more quickly than a human can. If somebody says boo on TV, a particular stock could lose 200% before a human is able to hear and then react to the news.
There are a lot of sources of anger going back decades. There is enough of it that some supported Trump looking for solutions, and some are looking for answers in visions such as found with Bernie Saunders.
The remarkable thing about what was happening this week is that I saw multiple generations and multiple political leanings coming to together with a focus of their anger. Behind all of it may have been some heavy weight suits or new money, but I am speaking more to the online social media participants. For at least a moment, people stopped pointing fingers at each other and united against those that are happy to screw over anyone and everyone that does not have enough money and power to do anything for them.
The first primary target was GME. Hedge funders had shorted over 100% of shares. Seems lEgIt.
I trade the most with one of the more traditional brokers but I had a stock on Robinhood. A friend referred me and you get a free stock. I have had the account for about a year. When the crazy was really rolling, I decided to sell the one share. I used that to buy crypto currency. When you transfer money to Robinhood, they let use the money immediately, even though it can take up to a week for funds to be transferred from your bank account. They have stopped that feature for all of the suspect stocks and for crypto. They did also stop all trading of the volatile list at one point. I think part of their policy decisions have been based of their lack of available capital and server space. Like a website that suddenly goes viral and crashes. They are looking to go public soon and so may have been trying to keep financials a certain way. They may have also had pressure from some of their business partners would would be friendly to the hedge fund bros that are getting squeezed.
It will be an interesting week ahead as regulators and law makers decide on how much retail investors should be regulated while hedge funds due as they please. Does it matter who is doing the manipulating? I’ll be watching to see of there is a continued sort of class consciousness that has different political sides uniting against the real obstacles, instead of reacting to being told to hate each other.
Good luck, stay safe.
I am not giving any financial or investment advice in this post and have no expertise to do so.
Edit: Additional Thought: People with money and power seem to get away with all sorts of illegal things and that is if it has been made illegal. They also have influence over what laws are written and how how they are written. I once heard someone remark about how someone who committed a white collar crime should be cut a break and forgiven because the financial crime they committed was not violent and did not harm anyone. Sure, because screwing middle class and poor people out of money does not do harm??? It is too bad that financial crimes can not be found and prosecuted as easily as someone carrying some drugs and a pipe whose taillight is out.
This song is so stuck in my head.
Sorry if it gets stuck in yours. Especially if you follow me across other platforms.
In parking lots across Florida, there are those who are waiting. They are waiting for the promised check, the direct deposit, the life line that was promised amidst this horrible pandemic. They understand that this is a new thing. That it might take a little time. They are waiting. As they wait, they begin to notice that there are more people joining this open space waiting room. Weeks have passed and still they wait.
It began with one car. Days went by and I noticed that the car was there every night. When a second car showed up, I decided to approach and ask if everything was okay. The people in both cars were kind enough to talk to me. I was a stranger. On first meeting, my understanding was that one was just waiting for the stimulus and one had recently lost their job. They were both okay and hopeful. One declined any offer of help and had everything under control, they just needed that stimulus deposit and everything would be back to normal. One did ask for some cold water if possible. It is Florida, it has been getting into the 90’s and a car, even in the shade, can be very unpleasant after a short time. I took the ask.
A couple of weeks later and they are getting tired of hoping and waiting. Flashes of frustration, anger, sadness and disbelief enter the conversations. The stimulus check has still not appeared in the bank account. A bank account the federal government has used for direct deposits for years. The unemployment application is still “pending”. They both have plans waiting to execute. All they need are the checks that they have been told are coming. As the weeks have passed, more cars, trucks, and trailers have joined the back lot impromptu camping ground. They are teaching each other tricks. Park in this area. Get a cup of ice from this store so you can have cold water through the day.
I gave up my keychain pepper spray. You need to at least crack your window for some air movement when you sleep.
They still hope.
This is all new. I do not expect massive new programs or program expansions to be flawless overnight. Neither do they. What they need is the money or a way to expedite the process. Direction on what to do next. They are spending their days looking for answers on the news, on social media, during press conferences. At least one has reached out to their representatives. But the the only answer has been to wait. How long can they wait? The crack they have fallen into only seems to get deeper with every day.
(To be clear, this is not about party. I have not talked politics in the waiting room. If I had to guess from their comments, I would say one is Republican, and I have no idea about the other)
Not the new home office
Not home schooling
Not six foot taped lines
Not no contact deliveries
Not even “susceptible” and quarantined
It’s the cars in back corners of parking lots with windows blocked out by clothes and pillows
I am both a provider and a consumer in the world of healthcare. This story starts with being laid off and ends with me finding a new job. It’s a story with actors spanning all generations and illustrates how we are all in this together. Spoiler alert: it ends with me trying not to tear up as a member of the newest generation to enter the workforce prepared my lunch.
Late one Thursday afternoon in June I received an email: “please clear your schedule and come meet me tomorrow morning.” Some combination of new ownership restructuring and pre-positioning for next year’s insurance changes had led to a Baby Boomer and a Gen Xer sitting across from me and asking for my equipment and signature. Another person that I reported to (Xennial), remarked that I took it much better than someone else. I was thinking of it like a paid vacation. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I believe that one of the reasons I was chosen was because this Gen Xer met the company guidelines for severance and my younger cohorts did not.
Home health is an incredibly rewarding field that has benefits, like flexibility, not found in other care settings. However, it does seep into every corner of your life because there is more paperwork, and clinicians need to call each patient to set schedules and to check on status. Patients that require home health tend to have more acute issues. Increased contact frequency of patient, care team, and physician is needed to properly support these individuals. Just to compare EMS contacts in settings that I have worked: sports coverage over 4 years – twice because EMS was staged on scene and two additional athletes being driven to ERs by friends/family; outpatient clinics over 14 years – none with 3 being sent straight to their PCP and one did end up hospitalized; home health 5 years – at least 10 (3x for caregivers) with 8 resulting hospitalizations and a few more ambulances would have been called just by protocol alone if I had been unable to reach a nurse or doctor.
Side Note: Take care of your blood pressure, immediately report adverse medication reactions, do not miss PT/INR checks if you take Warfarin, if you are a caregiver remember to take care of yourself, report immediately if you have increased edema, weight, and difficulty breathing
I quite enjoyed my severance. I had time to develop my art and to complete inventions that I had been thinking about. I did feel this need or responsibility to make it productive. How many people wish, dream, and pray for a chance to take time off with pay? I felt pressure not to waste it. Back to the health system bit….
COBRA insurance was too expensive so I searched the ACA Marketplace. Ouch. I ended up with a short term plan that saved hundreds of dollars a month. These plans pack a year’s worth of deductible into six months and make you promise that you don’t have a long list of ailments, including an oven bun. Good thing insurance companies do not recognize Lyme Disease as something that can have lasting effects. [I think it just paid for my flu shot and PPD test, fingers crossed.]
Getting ahead of myself here. Back to the time line.
As the beautiful severance vacation started to wind down, I began to be less casual about skimming Indeed job listings. There were not as many postings as I had thought there would be, but enough. I applied to one position that looked really interesting. The phone and in-person interviews went well but was not quite what they were looking for at that time. They asked if they could call me in a few months because they anticipated that I would be a good fit down the road. I applied several other places with a couple of interviews that went well, but for several reasons, on both sides, things did not work out. About this time is when some skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) laid off clinicians. Job postings started to look a lot leaner and have more competition. Applying to SNFs became useless as there were enough people in the market with exact match experience to fill what few jobs were available. Home health companies were not really hiring, and good outpatient settings have always been competitive.
I’m sure every industry has shady companies and healthcare is no exception. I am not referring to the idea that everyone has to be ready to defend any decision that results in less billing than what e-suite thinks each patient should average. These companies may have found insurance loop holes or know how to do just enough legit stuff to make them look like good companies. I have run into these type companies over the years and avoid applying to them. I learned my lesson when a company was mishandling information (HIPPA violations). I expressed my concern and they told me I was wrong. I quit soon after and received my W-2 in an inappropriate way. I may have reported them if they had not gone out of business. That company was also really good at shifting risk to it’s workers. Some companies set up their business model so that their employees or contractors have to absorb risk. Examples: the clinician needs to provide most/all equipment including tablet with phone service, the patient cancels after the clinician spends time prepping their chart, talking to them on the phone, and driving to their home and gets paid nothing.
After a few months of looking around for a job, the company that said they would call me in a couple of months actually called. I now have a job and need to do all the things that are required to work in most healthcare settings. My fingerprints were still in the system and I was able to answer all of the security questions without needing to research or request documents. With the background check in full swing, I needed to get my PPD (tuberculosis) check and decided to get my first flu shot. I knew that I would be able to isolate myself relatively well for the next couple of weeks. To be clear, the flu shot will not make you sick. My immune system is a little weird. I worried that the couple weeks it takes for my immune system to respond to the shot might be risky when working with patients. Well, its other clinicians and office staff showing up to work with viruses that has always made me the most nervous. During cold and flu season, I used to show up in a mask because there always seemed to be at least one person in the room that should have stayed in bed.
I chose to go to a local pharmacy’s care clinic. It amazed me that that it was completely booked the first day I went and by the time of my appointment the next day, it was booked as well. I was a little sad that people were not seeing their PCP but then remembered that mine is no longer seeing patients and the doctor office I had transferred from was no longer seeing anyone under 65. I could not get price or coverage information from my insurance. Local urgent care locations did not have prices listed online but the pharmacies did. I have not been charged anything yet as it will be sent to insurance first.
I arrived to have the PPD test read (>48hrs after application) and had a nice discussion about how great their electronic health records were because each visit could be completed while the patient was there. No after hours paperwork! The clinician gave me the flu shot after explaining everything and even showed me the box.
The services I needed were recognized as new job stuff and we started talking about layoffs. The Millennial had a friend that had been laid off from a SNF. After seeing how busy this clinic was over the past few days, it shocked me when they said that they were also laid off and the clinic was closing. (This information only came up as a part of care planning as they knew I was still looking at jobs and PPD test is only good for six months). But its always busy and such a service to the community! Well, if it’s not making money….but what about all the people that buy things because they are there for a visit? It just all seemed so sad.
Subway felt like the least unhealthy convenient choice for eating my feelings after the visit. There were people there, but it was not busy. The Gen Zer behind the counter had such an easy smile and pleasant way. Nothing unusual or extraordinary happened. Maybe that is why I started to get a little emotional. The big picture of another generation heading into the pile of bullsht. Maybe it will start to get a little better. I just know I’m tired of it getting worse.
-Additional note: Just signed up for insurance through the marketplace. It is an easy system to use but the base price of plans has gone up quite a bit. There are plenty of reasons for this. It is worthy of a book, not just a paragraph at the end of a long post.
Sticking this post to the top to make sure that if your reached this page looking for my art blog that you can find it easily: https://activeartdesigns.com/
I wanted to write a quick update post. There are a lot of moving pieces at the moment. I just hope they can click together to form a pretty picture someday.
On the invention front: Continue reading
Yesterday I posted a new YouTube video demonstrating a painting.
I shot the video outside and I am pretty sure everyone in the neighborhood mowed their yard that day. Luckily, I was not planning on using much of the audio from the recording because I wear a mask for most spray painting. This was a fun project to put together and I am hoping that I have the technical issues all worked out. My plan is to post 1-2 videos a week.
I now have patent pending status on one of the products that I am developing. I have started to approach companies and manufacturers. I will fill in more when I can.
Do you have any projects in process?