Election Day 2020

Everyone I spoke to this week, save two or three people, brought up today’s election. I am trying to be positive, yet realistic. I am not telling anyone who to vote for because I don’t feel it’s my place. We all have different things that are important to us when we vote. I have a list of things I have to weigh in order for someone to get my vote; it’s important to me that I elect officials who’ve earned the spot.

I am an incredibly free thinker. My father used to refer to me as, “My daughter, the liberal.” The truth is, I see things differently than he did and I see things differently than a lot of people do. Also, I am not one for strict party loyalty. That’s not how I envision the future of this country. It would be hard not to see the obvious division.

I’m a registered Independent and have voted this and that way from day one. I remember my voting record from my first election until now. I have always tried to make a fair decision, even in primary elections.

I come from a family of predominantly staunch Democrats (My Mom’s side and my Dad’s. I don’t know the history behind why this became a generational thing.). Often, I avoid political discussions with them simply because they stress me out to the Nth degree. If they suspect you think differently from them, it can become a fight. Never argue with the lawyers in your family; they are determined to argue until they turn one color or another.

My cousin, Amy, represents the 88th Assembly District in the state of New York. https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Amy-Paulin I mention this because I feel the need to be transparent about it. I disagree with some of the things she supports, like gun control, but not everything. She’s clearly done great work for the past nineteen years. Her reputation speaks for itself. Don’t worry; she wouldn’t know me if she walked past me on a street corner anywhere, but my mother and Aunt grew up with her and her siblings. I try to be courteous and respectful about this. Trust me, she hasn’t seen me since I was under the age of six. But, I digress…

For me, as I edge closer to politics to help get certain things changed in various communities, I find myself having to hold representatives accountable. Many people have pointed out that I am the right person for that particular job. Having a strong voice is one thing; knowing how to use it properly is another thing entirely.

I’ve voted in almost every state I’ve lived in, but this morning, I tracked my ballot as it pertains to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the General Election. 😒 It was accepted last week and is ready to be counted.

After a lot of deliberation, I made a decision I can live with, one I know won’t harm my family or friends. It was not a, “red versus blue” scenario for me. I weighed so many things in my head. Mental health care was first, so that no one in this country slips through the cracks. I know how hard my own battle has been to find the right doctor (and I always make it clear that I am grateful to have insurance. My insurance has been a G-d send.), and to still be searching for a therapist after over a year of searching when my previous one proved to be way too flaky, and that’s putting it mildly. My doctor validated that I have done the hard work of introspection and healing on my own, without a therapist. He feels I’ve done a great job solo, but the truth is, I shouldn’t have to do it without an ounce of support, though he has been amazing.

Women’s rights are important all across the board, and especially women’s health care on every level. I am always going to be pro-choice. I don’t feel insurance companies should be allowed to dictate our care to us, nor should they drop patients with cancer or any high-cost treatment needs. I have never seen a man dropped from his insurance anywhere near as quickly as I’ve seen women constantly being cut off from crucial healthcare over the past ten years. Many women are losing their OB/GYN simply because they are on medication the doctor they’ve seen for 20+ years is not comfortable with them taking, so they are being let go as a patient with a letter of dismissal. The reasoning isn’t even valid, but I’ve seen the exact same form letter sent to hundreds of people all over the country, and I’m sure many more have not shared them with their pain groups or specific advocacy groups. Not a single phrase is different from one letter to the next. Don’t even ask me how pain patients are being treated because it’s getting worse every single day. My own doctor is playing games with my pain and the lack of treatment he is providing. I am angry as hell over how much money I have spent on CBD products in the past five months. Let me be clear; I know it is a privilege to be able to do it at all. I know it is a privilege to do anything to attempt to reduce my pain levels, despite the fact that my insurance fully covers medication I would much prefer to take. I don’t take that knowedge lightly at all.

Countries we give aid to was on the list, as well, because I take issue with how we help everyone (including a long list we should not be giving a penny to), but will allow our own people, many mentally ill individuals, even our own veterans to become homeless and/or to remain ill with no assistance at all. Not everyone who is homeless is an, “uneducated bum”. Let’s be clear about that because too many people say it without realizing how quickly it could happen to them. There are people on the streets with doctorates and truly brilliant, gifted minds. They were allowed to fall through the cracks of a broken system. That is not okay with me.

I thought a great deal about our entire healthcare system. I talked with two of my doctors, and friends who are doctors in this country (and in other countries). I have a few doctors in my family, too. They’re all quite furious with how Covid has been handled here. They’re still fighting for PPE all these months later. Many people were forced to purchase all of their own PPE materials, and they cannot afford to keep doing so.

I thought about all of the small businesses that were wiped out due to Covid. I see more empty buildings than full ones, even in bustling places like Boston, right near Fenway Park. I only know a handful of people who were able to keep things going, professionally downsize to one brick and mortar location instead of 2+, and many who created businesses during the start of quarantine which allows them to create amazing things from home.

I thought about all of the bigger businesses I never could have imagined closing their doors, including hundreds of restaurants which have been around for longer than you or me. I keep finding myself startled by the boarded up businesses that are no longer. It jolts me to my core because I don’t know how we get back to helping the working class, the middle class are the heart and soul of this country, and they have been epically failed. We MUST support our people with financial assistance until there’s a solid vaccine in place that is accessible to all, and we cannot allow them to be called, “lazy”, because there are far less jobs available now than there were this time a year ago. They must receive support until they are able to return to a job safely, and for millions, they will be starting over. No one who is able-bodied and healthy is sitting around not looking for work right now. People have bills to pay and families they provide for. Even if you’re single, you still need to be able to cover your expenses and food.

We must expand legitimate affordable housing and make homes more affordable to purchase. I have watched a lot of new construction go up this year and the prices are beyond ludicrous. Realistically speaking, most people cannot afford $5000 a month for an apartment, and even if they can, it’s beyond wasteful unless it is short-term. Many people can’t afford half that amount, even with roommates to help cover expenses. If you’re paying $2000 a month on rent, minus utilities, you just tossed away $24,000 in a year, and you don’t get any of that back on your income tax return. As a home owner, you are able to deduct a portion of your home each year, more so if you are working from home. Some people don’t make $24,000 a year, so when I say “affordable housing”, I am not saying let people live in disgusting conditions. No way. They should have just as much access to all the, “luxury apartments” that go up daily all across this country. The ultra rich should not be dictating real estate prices to the middle class, or to those who live below the poverty line. Everyone deserves a safe roof over their heads that cannot be taken away from them.

I grew up middle class, in one of the greatest cities in the world. I had no clue my father actually made a very good, often six figure, living and didn’t always make the best decisions with money. One decision he made cost his family a house that would be worth millions or tens of millions now. I try to make the most responsible decisions possible so that I don’t have to look back on regrets that large.

All too many people on the front lines have lost their lives to Covid, predominantly healthcare and food workers, simply by going to work and trying to help others. That is not something I can abide by, either.

I am thinking a great deal about the violence in this country, especially coming from police officers. A man was shot in Massachusetts today, all because one officer pulled his weapon while others tried to contain the situation with a taser, which failed to work somehow. They killed someone who was mentally ill. I am beyond outraged by how many mentally ill people are being murdered in cold blood by officers with itchy trigger fingers. I am equally outraged by police murdering people and judging them based on nothing more than the color of their skin. Racism in this country is at an all-time high, as are anti-Semitic attacks (New York City, take a long hard look at your mayor, governor, and some of your elected “officials”.), and attacks on places of worship from homegrown terrorists. I am all for peaceful protests, but not supportive of destruction of property or burning anything down. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel they have any other choice. 😦 This needs to be addressed, over time. There’s no quick fix for any of it.

Have you been shopping online more now than ever before? I absolutely have. In the ten years I’ve been an Amazon shopper (I might be off by a few years), I have never relied so heavily on any kind of service as I have with Prime this year. I probably see a dozen, or more, Amazon trucks each day. This doesn’t include all of the people delivering groceries in their personal vehicles. Oftentimes a vehicle is down the street and I am the tenth stop. They might be dropping off something minor, like when I had to replace a belt and saw that I was also low on socks, or they might be delivering roughly 80% of my grocery list for 2-3 weeks. Please, if you are using grocery delivery in any capacity, make sure your driver receives a tip. If you want to pay them in cash, put it into an envelope and let the driver know in your delivery instructions where it will be. Show them your appreciation because it is a true privilege to have your groceries brought to you. People in other highly developed countries have not mentioned this to me at all. The drivers may be going to tons of homes, but they’re working harder than you might realize. Be appreciative. Many of them are working for Amazon to make sure they aren’t stuck at home looking for a job right now that may not be available for another year or two. Many of the people who’ve delivered for me were genuinely shocked when I came out with a mask to make sure they got a tip (Sometimes, the credit card system doesn’t allow me to add it in and, obviously, it leaves me frustrated. I don’t want anyone to feel unappreciated.). One woman nearly cried, and I want to stress the importance of being courteous to those who are doing a service for you.

Please stay safe if you’re headed to the polls today. I’ve had people report long and short lines, among other things. I am concerned about people’s safety and the so-called, “poll watchers”. I’ve never rolled my eyes harder, or maybe I have. It will be hard to escape the news in the coming days, weeks, and possibly months. Please place your safety, and that of your loved ones, above all else. Cast your ballot and breathe calmly in the safety of your own home.

Side note: November is #NationalVeteransMilitaryFamiliesMonth. I’m repping #Green💚 for #MentalHealthAwareness and for our #Veterans.

I wore this shirt yesterday (The design has been discontinued, but you can find others HERE by looking for Mental Health Awareness. I highly recommend this t-shirt company. Their products are high quality and the shirts are really soft.) and my first manicure in eight months is Essie in Heart of the Jungle (lighter shade) and Sweater Weather on the ring fingers. Top coat is Nail-Aid Gel Xtreme Shine. Hand care is AHAVA (15% off right now) and Gloves In A Bottle. I will change up the color before Thanksgiving, but clearly, I’m showing my support. I practice what I preach, even if I do it a little more colorfully than others might.

My local Congressman is up for reelection. It’s my second time voting for him. He’s a Marine veteran, and a Scorpio. He’s a crucial component to the future of this nation. As a registered Independent, I proudly back him. No, he didn’t pay me for my endorsement as a #Writer.

G-d help us all. Again, stay safe. 🙏

copyright 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Telehealth and A Scheduled Appointment

After a failed attempt last month to have a discussion with my headache specialist regarding my migraines getting worse, today was my first successful Telehealth discussion, and it felt good. Really good.

If you have a doctor who actually cares, regardless of their field, this is not a difficult process. However, it has lead me to realize that my headache specialist has no patience and is a difficult person. I respect her, but I can’t work with someone who has no respect for me as a patient. I’m just a medical record number to her. There are many appointments where she spends a good five minutes reciting names, and the entire time, I know she’s looking for me, but since she doesn’t look at anyone, it’s good to wait until you hear some version of your name. She usually starts with Erica, and unless I see Erica there, because I’ve learned who is scheduled at the same time as me, then I immediately know she will eventually have a practice assistant approach her to read the proper name off the paper in her hand. She never seems to recall even the most basic info about me, so I wait until she logs into her computer. When a physician has said to you, on four separate occasions, “Is this your first visit?”, it’s startling that faces are blending into the woodwork for them.

Moreover, there is never a valid reason for a doctor to raise their voice and/or yell at you, but she felt perfectly comfortable doing so over the phone. If you’re going to yell at me and talk to me like I’m a moron, it will never get you the desired response. Not ever. I’m not an idiot and I am not new to any of what I am experiencing. Doctors who talk down to you aren’t doctors you need in your life. I feel the same way about regular people, too.

If you suffer from chronic migraines, you probably already know that enormous doses of vitamin B2 and magnesium aren’t going to fix anything. I can only take the magnesium once every few days. and B2 doesn’t seem to make any kind of difference. This is not my first migraine rodeo. She shouldn’t tell me it’s “perfectly safe” when she didn’t bother to see if I am vitamin deficient before demanding I increase my supplements. Instead, she placed blame on a myriad of other issues, and then tried passing the buck to another doctor. That’s not going to work with me because I’m an educated patient and her screaming at me did not garner a positive reaction.

What galls me even more is that she actually billed for a conversation that didn’t even last ten minutes. I contemplated a phone call to my insurance company about this, since their requirements state it must be at least fifteen to twenty minutes via phone in order for any of my healthcare providers to bill for Telehealth, but since they already paid, I’m not going to argue the point. Yes, we all deserve to be compensated for our time, but rules ARE rules and she dismissed me, as opposed to having an intelligent discussion. I am going to ask for a secondary neurologist (as an alternative opinion) as soon as things are safe to proceed medically because she doesn’t want to order tests or talk over treatment plans with me. She is the first neurologist who refuses to put an emergency plan in place into my chart. Every other neurologist handed me a note for any potential trips to the emergency room because every emergency room or Urgent Care finds it so much easier to treat you if they have instructions on how to do it. We are all different and what works for Patient A and Patient B probably doesn’t work for me. I refuse to set foot in an emergency room ever again, but even my last Urgent Care experience was poor care, and it didn’t even involve migraines. Poor care seems to be the status quo, but I am fighting to change that because I’m not the only person who has had enough of the bullshit.

This incident made me even more grateful to have a tuned in discussion with someone today, and to have the take away be that I am doing my best and that the things that are creeping up out of the woodwork are things we will address and gain control of over time. A collaborative relationship is so much easier, and calmer, than a relationship where a physician thinks they can dictate your treatment to you. I hope she doesn’t have children, grandchildren, pets, or even a plant, because I’ve found, over time, that the way the majority of medical professionals behave at work is also how they behave in their daily lives. Others are clearly living a duplicitous existence because they’re only nice to their family or their patients, not both. Yes, I speak from personal experience.

Today, I was notified that my headache specialist will be honoring my treatment for this coming Wednesday. Do I think it’s an essential appointment? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m sick and that I would likely get worse without it. Thanks to a cancellation, my appointment was moved up, so that helps a bit, but having to wear a mask and gloves into a medical building is anxiety waiting to happen. The mask makes me terribly claustrophobic. I’m agitated just thinking about it. A lot has changed since my last treatment in February. I am hoping this one works well and that I am not in the building any longer than necessary. If I didn’t feel the treatment was working, I would reschedule, but I’m going. The mask and gloves redefine “Mugger Chic”. 😉

I am not feeling anxious or stressed over Covid 19. I’m just more self-aware and mindful regarding everything, and I am sure many of us feel the same way.

I’ll be fine and I have another Telehealth conversation scheduled for next Friday, so if I’m not fine, there’s someone on the other end who gives a shit, and that is comforting to know.

© 2020 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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