Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007


The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

LIVING UNINSURED


I've been inspired by the pieces that have been written by our own Ms. Jochild on Meta Watershed to tell of one of my own run-ins with the health care system. For those who are convinced that socialized medicine is the worst thing that could ever happen to this country, maybe this will make you think again.

In 2005, my girlfriend and I decided to move in together. During the move, I fell down some stairs. Back then, I thought I had injured only my knee -- two years later I was told I had severely injured my back, that THAT was my real problem. But my knee hurt more, and everyone went with that.

I had surgery for a torn meniscus and a torn ACL. I was supposed to get better "in a couple of weeks"; it never got better, only worse. The summer that followed, my contract was not renewed with the school district, and with my job went my health insurance.


Without physical therapy, my whole leg was enveloped with pain. When I could stand it no more, I went to a community health clinic that would see uninsured patients. The clinic doctor told me I needed an x-ray, as she thought I had a blood clot. I was to go to the ER at Truman Medical Center (they see uninsured patients) and have this done right away.

When I arrived at the ER, I was shocked to find it chock-full of the maimed and bleeding. One woman sat in the corner, a bloody towel pressed to her face. Upon inquiry, I discovered her eye had been popped from its socket by an errant boyfriend. She had been waiting TWO HOURS. Another woman, unable to move her left hand, had been there THREE HOURS. I was in for a bit of a wait.

I called my girlfriend to let her know where I was. No, don't come down. Once I get in, I'll have my xray, and probably just end up coming home. Naw, don't worry about me.

Around 10 p.m., I was finally seen (I'd been there since 6). I was in pain, so I was given pain medication. A few minutes later, a beautiful, young, female resident came in my little curtained cubicle, full of questions for me. "You have pain in your leg, yes?" "Yeeeessss" I nodded and said. "And you have chest pain, too, is that right?" "Nooooo" I nodded and said. At least I think I did. Looking at her beautiful Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman-like face, I just might've said yes to anything. I was on painkillers, and by then was pretty baked. "Pos for cp" she said over her shoulder to the nurse. "Nooooo, Noooo for CP" I gurgled, but I think it came out "Og, og, erg og."

Two hours later, my girlfriend Cyndi came in. She tried to talk to me; I answered in gibberish. "What the hell's wrong with her?" she said. "She's having chest pains," said the nurse, "Sometimes they get like that. "I'm calling her kids," said Cyndi "NOOOOO" I cried out "MYFUCKING LEG IS THE ONLY THING THAT HURTS!!!" Apparently the only words that were understandable were "fucking" and "hurts" because then Dr Quinn said "Hear that? She hurts so much she's swearing! Give her another pain shot!"

"NOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Some time later, my girls arrived. They drove all the way from Lawrence, Kansas, about an hour away (they went to K.U. at the time) They were both crying, thinking I was dying. (Their father really did die, two years before, hence my concern). I tried to talk to them, but nothing came out right. They eventually returned home with Cyndi and left me to the mercy of the Emergency Department.

I have a dim memory of having my x-ray -- no blood clot was found. "But there's still her chest pain" they said. And even though by then I was beginning to be a little more understandable -- "My chest doesn't hurt!" -- no one was listening. I then spent the next 24 hours on a cot in the ER, waiting for a bed to open up.

The next morning I was taken to a no frills room. Next to me was the woman with the hand problem -- it seems she had had a stroke. The room was very cold, and I asked for a blanket.

"Ain't got no blankets. We out!" was the reply. Then our breakfast arrives, cold eggs on a paper plate with a hard roll. "Ma'am" I said, "Could I have some coffee with my breakfast?"

"Ain't got no coffee. This ain't a hotel!"

My roommate's doctor came and talked with her. "I just wanna go home," said roommate. The doctor told her to get out of bed and walk. Evidently, she didn't do it well enough to suit the doctor. "I'm sending you to a nursing home," she said. My roommate cried, and repeated her request to go home. The doctor turned on her heels and left. My roommate cried.

In came Dr. Quinn, with a bevy of other comely residents. But this time I would not be swayed.

"I want to go home" I said.

"How's your chest pain?"

"I never had any. What's wrong with my leg?"

"Well we aren't sure. And you said you had chest pain down in the ER".

I argued with them over this point for about five minutes, then gave up. I just wanted to go home and told them so.

"Let me see how well you can walk, before we do that."

Remembering my roommate, I girded up all my strength, and stiffened up, determined not to wobble. Hell, I practically goose-stepped, but it was sufficient enough to past muster. And they let me go home.

Later that year, the county adopted a domestic partner registry. Since Cyndi was a county employee, if I became her official "domestic partner" I could get on her health insurance. (BTW, for this privilege, we pay extra taxes, something married straights don't have to do). And so we became "domesticated".

With health insurance, I got better medical care. I finally found out my leg pain was actually sciatica, now called a radiculopathy, and was caused by a back injury no one in Truman or the clinic had picked up on, and I am now being treated for that.

I often think about the other people in that ER. I hope one day they somehow get a new job, get married, or partnered up, and get some health insurance so they never have to go back there. I figure that wish has more of a chance than wishing for universal health care for all of them.

36 comments:

shadocat said...

I just wanted to add the caveat that the main reason Cyndi and I became "domestic partners" was not so I would have health insurance; that was just the icing on the cake.

silvio soprani said...

Shado,

thank you for telling your story. Also,thank you for directing us to Maggie's story on the meta watershed.

For years I hung on to jobs because I was terrified of not being insured.

then in 2003 I had the opportunity to move to Arizona because a friend offered me the chance of a place to live while I hunted for a job.

I loved the desert of Arizona and the hot hot heat of 108 Degrees. i loved the aroma in the air-- sage and ozone and other scents... it was so completely different from the East Coast.

The only permanent full time job I could find as a teacher was in a boys' detention center. (a jail.) Great pay, great benefits. But the atmosphere was so angry; so violent; so despairing. Teenage boys pissed off and definitely not interested in English literature. Bummer.

I lasted 6 months. I lost 30 lbs because it all was so horrible that I could not eat or even drink my beloved coffee.My stomach was permanently sour.

So I moved back home to Baltimore and my old community college took me back, to teach as an adjunct. The biggest ripoff of sincere people in this country. Mostly female instructors who love what they are doing and are in no position to bargain for health benefits. Everyone is so busy being happy and giving and upbeat that nobody can even consider confronting the college and saying "hey! I need healthcare."

Plus most of the instructors are married women with husbands who have benefits, so there is absolutely no incentive to agitate for this cause.

the single women, just out of undergrad, or maybe even masters' programs hang in there for a couple of years and eventually go to Korea or Germany or China to teach ESL because the pay is great and they pay transportation and health benefits.

Where does this leave a middle aged single women with children in the area who does not want to move to KOREA and just wants to teach and have health benefits?

Well in my case,, Baltimore City has a nice clinic with sliding scale. So if you time it right and show two paychecks during the summer when your pay is low, you can get by for 6 months with a $20 or $30 co-pay for a medical checkup. You can get a free mamogram.

But you can't get lab work, or radiation, or any kind of sonogram, CAT scan, or MRI should you need one.. You can't get eyeglasses or dental or chiropractic or a foot doctor or (god forbid) a dental surgeon of any kind.

If you time it right, you can get your prescription meds free or cheap from a Pharmaceutical company charitable program. But if your prescription is for an odd amount of micrograms, you might not be able to get it.

In my case, I was pretty lucky. I just needed follow-up radioactive scans from thyroid cancer 10 years ago. It was not a major problem to skip the scans for 4 years, but it could have been . I was just lucky.

One of my fellow teachers sprained her ankle. She was unable to get x-rays or medication. She ended up just taking a lot of aspirin.

This whole situation is just wrong.
everyone in the country should qualify for coverage without having to jump through hoops. Children, adults, whatever.

Maggie, your story on the meta web site reminded me of something that happened to my son about 15 years ago. He was very upset and unhappy and was throwing a tantrum at the age of 5.

My late,very dear, gay friend Ted, who was a therapist, happened to be nearby when this happened.. He very kindly said to my son, "You seem very unhappy. Would you like to draw a picture with these markers?" And miraculously, my son calmed down.

It made me realize how rare and how powerful kindness is. We really notice it when we have been lacking it.
Maggie, I am glad you found your theater group.

Shado, i am glad you have a partner with health insurance, and I know that's not why you both got together but it is an unintended perk!

This is a very important topic; thanks for bringing it up!

Love to all,

Silvio

shadocat said...

Silvio,

Thanks for sharing your story! I really think this business of being uninsured hits women (and their kids) the hardest. I too, work at a place where we have NO benefits--95% of the people who work here are women. I honestly think the administration has it in their head we can just go out and find some guy to marry and get his insurance, so they don't have to pay it for us. Thank God I have my partner---but if anything should, God forbid, happen to her, I'd lose my coverage right away, unlike married straight couples.

kat said...

Sounds like we're all in the same boat....My job doesn't offer benefits, either. This was really fun a few months ago when I had an awful UTI and the county hospital could only offer me an appointment more than a week away...
That's been my only problem, so far. I'm crossing my fingers and knocking on wood and all that.

shadocat said...

Kat--as I get older, it's the "little" things (like UTI's) that worry me. If you can get treated right away for them, you're fine, but if you can't, the consequences can be devastating. Remember that little boy in Maryland that dies from a dental infection?

shadocat said...

Okay, this is totally off-topic, but I read this today, and it reminded me of my other post awhile back:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071011/ap_on_re_us/high_school_racism

What the hell is wrong with people?

kat said...

fucking hell.....and the Columbia prof who found a noose hanging outside his office door?
Maybe Americans will finally realize that there's a ridiculous amount of racism in this country.

You know, I've always heard Americans go off about how the French are so racist. No one ever believed my response, which was that the French aren't any more prejudiced, they just tend to be more honest about it. Americans claim to be so welcoming and tolerant and whatever, but nasty horrible things are happening all the time.....

ugh...

Maggie Jochild said...

I hadn't seen that article yet, Shado. And sure enough, at some point in it, they claim the overt racism is "new" and blame it on a "higher" minority percentage (currently 5% Hispanic, 2% black). This is what I mean when I (and theorists) try to explain that the CAUSE of racism is never explained by the rationalizations for it; these are tacked on after the fact, as if racism is some sort of given.

The cause of racism in that community is, in part, the fact that it was ever a white place at all. Why do we assume that's normal, in a nation that was originally 100% non-white, when all Europeans are invaders, when 20% of the population nationally is Hispanic (and growing) -- why do we ever see an all-white town as anything other than a choice to be racially segregated, based on fear and hate?

What I did read in the news today was the article about Dr. Madonna Constantine, the brilliant NY professor who discovered a noose hung on her door. I'm glad she's making a stink about this. I hope folks continue to express their outrage.

Ditto about Ann Coulter with her profoundly anti-Semitic comment on a major news show today that Jews need to be "perfected". This is language lifted directly from the Right Wing Christian ideology, about how Jews need to either be forcibly converted (often called "perfected") or killed. She was playing to a murderous base, not just hate speech.

It's got to stop. And the thing is, I think people are ready for it to stop. More and more folks are insisting on a different kind of communication and behavior. The problem is, the 27% is not going to give up their crusade (intentional use of language there). They believe if we cannot be forced to obey g*d's law, we should be killed. It's real, folks.

I read Orcinus blog every day, following their excellent tracking of Christian-based activism in this country. I also read Group News Blog, and Sara Robinson (who writes for both blogs) was quoted yesterday in a post by lowermanhattanite as saying: "“I do believe there's a good deal of civil violence, and possibly a civil war, looming in our future -- probably within the next 5-7 years. Either the right wing makes its move to consolidate power; or else they get so furious over a Dem win in 2008 that they revolt. They never thought Clinton was a legitimate president -- and it's not a coincidence that militia activity exploded immediately after the '92 election. Dave Neiwert has expressed some worry that a liberal victory next year will send them to the barricades and trenches; his sources are already picking up chatter to that effect. It's something we need to anticipate, because it could get very ugly very fast. Right now, I think this is a more credible threat to domestic order than 9/11 2.0.”

They're gonna push, as we reclaim American decency, honor, separation of church and state, and --

It's not off topic to your post, Shado. The refusal to see health care as a basic human right is economically inextricably linked to fostering racial and class hatred, to keep us all struggling so hard we can't insist on more. This isn't being done by a small group of evil men, it's an entire system kept in place by our silence, our confusion, our fear. Which is where hope resides, thank goodness.

I'll respond more to your post directly, still percolating. Plus -- dealing with health issues (grin), what else is new?

Ginjoint, if you're read this, oh, darlin', I am SO SORRY for the loss of your wonderful boobies. And what turmoil you must be in right now. Please come here or Meta for any kind of support you can imagine requesting. I mean it. If you want my home phone number, write me at the address in care of my profile e-mail and I'll send it to you. Love to you, woman.

silvio soprani said...

Ginjoint,
Let me add my love and affection to you as well. I certainly do enjoy your usual attitude and humor, and so I hope you keep a bit of it active for your own nourishment throughout your experiences with doctors and hospitals.

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1670210,00.html

After reading about "The Swift-boating of Graeme Frost" (the Baltimore family whose child spoke for the Democrats to support the CHIP child health insurance program), I realized they live a few blocks from my neighborhood. And it made me think about how being of middle class culture does not guarantee that you live an affluent lifestyle.

But being educated, artistic, and family-oriented looks so high above the economic scale of "the poor," to whom we (begrudingly) accord services from the government. But someone not of that ilk should not "deserve" them, even if they truly need them, because their opportunities are so far beyond the uneducated, racially discriminated against, reviled-by-society "poor."

I used to think about this a lot sitting in the waiting room of the clinic where I qualified for sliding scale services as long as my last two paychecks did not bump me over the limit. When you are a contract adjunct instructor, this is do-able because in the summer you may only teach one course as opposed to four courses during the regular semester. They divide the contract amount by how many pay periods in the semester, so sometimes I would qualify.

But another factor, in my case, is that I live alone. I pay the whole rent, the whole utilities, the whole phone bill. Two people in a relationship could live quite comfortably in my one-bedroom apt, but two "roommates" could not.

I don't like sharing my space,(at least I have not met anyone I would like to share it with) and so this is my form of luxury, I suppose; I pay twice the amount each person in a couple would for the privilege of privacy.

A lot of poor families live squeezed into a small space, but if they are all working or getting some kind of check, they can cut down their expenses.

But the sliding scale system does not take any of this into account. It just goes by the amount of the paycheck.

Some might feel that I don't deserve services because I am too selfish to share living space with others. I suppose the space is higher priority to me than having enough money to pay the bills comfortably. And the rents in the safe neighborhoods kept rising all the time.

I have never reached a satisfactory answer to all this; I just know that I am always broke and in debt, and all my money goes to bills, never to vacations or a better working vehicle, or nicer clothes.

It must work for me because I have never had the incentive to change my lifestyle significantly. Must be the old hippie in me.

shadocat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shadocat said...

Sorry---goofed up my last post. As I was about to say, I just read this nifty article that might have a solution to the beginning of the end of our problems...

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/10/12/electoral_college/?source=newsletter

silvio soprani said...

shado,

On my screen, the links (such as the one you just offered and the one I put in my last post ) get chopped off by the single column width of our posts.
Does this happen to everyone else's screen?
What to do?

Silvio

Maggie Jochild said...

Silvio, I've wondered about your take on the Frosts' neighborhood there in Baltimore as I've read the smear campaign against this family. For a somewhat more accurate account of the store, check here.

The facts are that after a horrific car accident which left two children deeply injured, one of them permanently disabled, the medical bills were paid for by Maryland. Otherwise, every single asset the family owned would have been sold off and they'd likely be homeless. The children attend a "private" school that caters to children with disabilities, on scholarships for all but $500 for Graeme. The combined family income is around $45,000.

When the parents don't have full-time work, it's either because the jobs are not available (Hello? looked at the economy lately?) or because they have two disabled children to care for. Neither of them has insurance through their jobs, and now could not qualify without a pre-existing conditions clause. The cost of private insurance would be about half their annual family income.

You know, Tony Snow's stated reason for leaving his $183,000 a year job as press secretary for Bush was that he couldn't afford to sustain his family on that income, not now that he has cancer. But he's retaining his government-sponsored health insurance nonetheless. Where's the outcry about his choices?

Silvio, we don't owe anybody explanations about our income choices. The Frosts had to show their tax returns to qualify for SCHIP, and that's enough. The moral judgment passed on working class and poor people, that somehow it's "lifestyle choices" that make us low income, is a canard that has to be interrupted instantly and definitively. This lie is designed to shame us into not noticing, as the IRS reported yesterday, that 1% of the population pocketed over 21% of U.S. income last year, the highest percentage ever.

Last week I read this quote from Kathy Shaidle (I'm not going to link to it, I hope she rots in hell): "The so-called poor have cars and cable tv and free medical. They live in America in the 21st century, where school is free and libraries are free and a bus ticket to a better town costs less than a bag of crack. If they’re 'poor' it’s because they were too lazy and stupid to a) finish high school and/or b) keep their pants on. Jesus had something to say about folks who didn’t properly manage their money or other people’s, and who squandered free gifts and good will. He told the adulteress to sin no more, not to find herself another baby daddy."

For me, the real story is that people think they can say such hate-based speech without consequence, and will still be asked their opinions on news shows as if they have not just proven their alienation from all that makes us human. PROTEST this, folks. Don't go down in silence. E-mails to media outlets take at most 15 minutes. You'll gain energy from reacting, I promise.

And back to the Frosts for a moment -- the worst part of it all is, concentration-camp advocate Michelle Malkin on Fox News did a segment where a reporter went to the Frosts' home and snooped around, showing where they live and what car they drive, interviewing a neighbor (who said the family was "struggling", but they brushed him aside). They've given enough details for any unbalanced right-winger to find the family (at home, work or school) and do serious damage to them. And, as can be seen in the blog comments quoted in the Baltimore Sun article, people are being encouraged to "take action" against the family for daring to accept health care for their children. The threat is real.

To answer a completely different question: Silvio, URLs that are just copied and pasted in here, without giving them an HTML tag, will be too long for the space and not links you can click on. I encourage all of us to learn the 16 characters used as prefix and suffix to make a friendly link for our readers.

I cannot give you the instructions here because within them is active HTML code and it confuses the comments box. However, for any and all questions about Blogger, go here.

To learn basic HTML, go here.

silvio soprani said...

Maggie,
As usual, you are a wealth of information and an inspiration to any of us still insecure enough to forget that the world should be grateful that there are still compassionate, kind, smart, funny people like us doing no harm and probably a hell of a lot of good to this old world. THANK YOU AS ALWAYS!

Believe it or not, I am on my way to the opera. HOW? you may well ask.

A week ago, a co-worker whose son works at the local opera house gave her two free tickets to La Forza del Destino. She invited me, since apparently most of her acquaintances do not intuit the amazing psychic good to be acrued from sitting through the Opera.

I went. It blew my mind. It was so beautiful I cried. (I have elaborated upon this earlier in the thread.)

I could not stand NOT to hear Antonella Palombo sing his enlightened tenor once again. I advertised on the "wanted" section of craigslist.

A lovely fellow offered me two tickets today. He works at the Verizon store and someone gave him these tickets as some kind of promotion. he passed them on to me.

These tickets cost somewhere in the 100s of dollars. I am recycling them. I am most happy!

Anyway, later in the weekend I will return and talk more about the Frosts, who most definitely have done NO WRONG! It is criminal how cruel and vindictive these asses are. Obviously they have NO LIFE.

Love and Music to all! (Can you tell I am BESIDE MYSELF? I am about to hear beautiful note FILL the room and VIBRATE my spine.)

I must say, the culture of craigslist has begun to teach me to share.

xx

Silvio

kat said...

ooh, Silvio, do tell me how it was....
In college (because it was a music school) we would get free tix to the opera and symphony pretty frequently. Patrons or ticket holders were given the option of donating seats they couldn't use.
I don't have that hookup anymore, and it makes me sad.....

kat said...

I just read an interesting article in the SF Chronicle. It's about Reese Witherspoon and her role in the movie "Rendition."

The images of women that Hollywood sends us are pretty depressing, but it seems like Witherspoon is really trying to counteract them. She's been in some not-so-great movies, sure, but she's been in some good ones, and says things like this:

"Listen, there's sort of an interesting influence of pretending, as a woman, that you're not very smart," says Witherspoon. "There's a lot of young women who aren't valued for their intelligence and what they've achieved; they're valued for what they wear and they're rewarded for behaving poorly. As a mother I have to see how my daughter might be influenced by those things and hopefully guide her in a different direction. I was telling her there are countries where women don't get to vote, don't get an education. I think it's very important to understand the very short history of civil liberties that we have. It's important in order to maintain them."


Interesting, huh?

Anyway, sorry it's off topic, but it was an interesting article, and she seems to be a really grounded person in the sea of LA disasters....

silvio soprani said...

Kat,
I have always thought Reese Witherspoon had a definitely subversive subtext, even in movies like LEGALLY BLONDE I & II. Some people may see those movies as fluffy and Barbie-esq, but I liked the message: "Just because you look good does make you guilty and does not relieve you of the obligation to use your brain!" Also, there were definitely messages of loyalty to one's sisters.

And I loved her interpretation of June Carter Cash in WALK THE LINE.

I really loved going to this particular Verdi opera (La Forza del Destino.) It was so sad and tragic; themes of how men are so bent on "avenging their family name" that it makes them blind and uncompassionate to the ones they love. Plus it reminded me of all the worst things going on in the world today in the name of avenging one's family/tribe/etc.

The most moving aria was when one man begs the brother of the woman he loves to forgive him (even though he didn't do anything wrong), and the second man is unwilling. The music is really beautiful, and situation is so heartbreaking. I must find the cd in the library and listen to these songs again.

silvio soprani said...

OOPS! I meant to say, "Just because you look good does NOT make you guilty..."

kat said...

gotcha!

yeah, I loved her in Walk the Line. I never saw the second Legally Blond, but one of my favorite movie lines was in the first one, when the guy acts all surprised at her lsat score or something: "What, like it's hard??" That cracked me up.

I also liked an interview that I saw with Witherspoon when some buffoon commented that she was "bigger" than she had been when she was younger. Of course, she's still teensy, but her response was "I've had babies! You're supposed to get rounder when you have babies!!"

I have to admit that I don't know Forza super well. I specialize in works from before 1800, so the big Verdi operas are a little foreign to me. Sounds really interesting, though. I'll be sure to find a good recording to re-acquaint myself.

silvio soprani said...

Kat,
Glad to meet someone who shares my admiration of Reese Witherspoon!

Regarding La Forza, I don't know if a recording would be enough. The staging of this opera tells the story. I thought it was particularly interesting because the lover tries to elope with his beloved, acidentally shooting her father, which pisses off her brother and starts a blood feud. (does it sound like opera yet?)
Later the two men are both in disguise (having never met) and befriend each other. Eventually they learn each other's identity, and this is where male bonding and friendship clash against old patterns of defending family honor. Some of their conflict scenes are so tender they almost look like love scenes (if you didn't know the translation.) In fact, the female character is kind of a whiny victim until the end, when she gets all spiritual and transcendent. This was not really a story about her. (Some things never change.)

With my scant experience of opera I was surprised to see such profound themes (racism, violence vs forgiveness, male loyalty) dealt with in such an interesting manner.

I suppose it is a bit like the slogan the Baltimore Opera Company was using last year:

OPERA. It's better than you think. It HAS to be.

Who knew Opera had a sense of humor?

kat said...

That's a pretty cool slogan for an opera company, even though it makes me all mad that most people who say that they hate opera have never actually seen one. or heard one.

And that's just it, Silvio. Most operas deal with really interesting, relevant themes. Making opera "relevant" to our lives is something that a lot of directors are obsessed with, lately. What some end up doing is changing the scenes and costumes to modern ones, and even, in a production here in Berkeley about a month ago, hanging a banner onstage that said "Mission Accomplished."

It's so unnecessary, though, because when you're dealing with questions of loyalty, forgiveness, racism, classism, etc. it's impossible for it NOT to be relevant. Sure the costumes are lush, the skirts are enormous, the men may or may not be in tights, but that's reflecting the time and setting of the story, not its themes.

Anyway, glad you liked it. For the future, does Baltimore do standing room? If there's something good on, and you can't find inexpensive or free seats, it's usually a cheap way to get into the opera house. Then by the first intermission, if no one has taken some of the seats, you can sneak into an unoccupied one. At least, you can if the usher is looking the other way!

silvio soprani said...

Kat,
I'm not sure about the standing room policy, but I am still totally psyched at how easy it was to ask for a free ticket and have it work out!
In the past I have scored a free upright piano and a free lawnmower just for asking on craigslist.

And one time I had an upright piano on a 2nd floor walkup apt that I needed to move out. I had two people to help, but we needed a third, so I ran into the street around quitting time and asked the first burly guy I saw to help, and he did. (If I'd seen a burly woman I would have asked her too; it just worked out that way.)

One time I was booked to sing at a music festival in my town; then I had throat surgery and could not sing, so I asked about 8 of my women friends to learn the songs. I played the accompaniments and in turn they all came up and sang the lyrics. I would not have asked for collaboration if I had not been in need, but it was the best thing I ever did.

Change of subject:
Hey Maggie,
Your comment about the reason for boarding school (on DTWOF blog) was interesting. Private school is boot camp for the ruling class, huh?

It reminded me of discussions we used to have when I was in grad school to get my education degree. We talked about how grade school as we know it today was invented so adults could get on with commerce, since we are for the most part not an agrarian society anymore and we can't bring them to work the way people did on the farm.

Thus we warehouse our kids all day long when they would be better off getting exercise, solving problems, reading, or whatever instead of being forced to sit and behave.

Of course, in private school the kids have a much more interactive day, but in most city public schools, it is mainly crowd control.

Remember that book, SUMMERHILL by A.S. Neill? What a shock I got when I finally began teaching in a high school. I kept yearning for the top of mountain somewhere where my students could just hang out and teach themselves car mechanics if they so chose.

kat said...

Silvio,
I have yet to acquire wonderful free things from craigslist, but that is how I got my wonderful apartment. It's an improbably great story....

I'm pretty sure that there's a certain amount of "upper class women shouldn't have to get their hands dirty on that parenting business" to the british boarding school tradition, as well as the horrors that Maggie detailed over at DTWOF...I know several brits who readily admit that children aren't much use until they're old enough to have proper conversations with, or whatever. I think that's left over from the tradition of having Nanny deal with the babies, then ship them off to boarding school, so that you only have to deal with your kids when they're nice, tidy grown-ups.

Please don't lump all private schools in there with those mores, though.
Private schools exist for all sorts of reasons with all sorts of goals.

"getting excercise, solving problems, reading"? That type of school day is most likely to happen at private schools with values like Montessori or Waldorf schools.

Yes, private schools contributed to a lot of my angst (particularly as a teenager), but I also got an incredible education. I just wish that everyone was able to have what I did.

Ginjoint said...

A very quick note here to say thanks for the good wishes, and after a very busy coupla weeks, I'm trying to catch up my reading here at MOC and at Meta. Last night was another long night, but I did have some strong dreams in which I vociferously stood up for myself. More comments later...

silvio soprani said...

ginjoint,
I can't remember what part of the country (world) you live in--could you tell me again, because it helps me visualize you better and send good energy.

In spite of my various babblings, I am holding you firmly in my heart and wishing good things your way. But in which direction should I wish them?

xx

Silvio

Maggie Jochild said...

Silvio, I'm pretty sure Ginjoint is in Chicago.

silvio soprani said...

Thanks, Maggie!

Speaking of Chicago, I saw an unusual Mafia movie set there last night.

Has anybody seen THINGS CHANGE with Don Ameche? It is a sad but funny cinderella kind of story, perhaps best summed up by the phrase "Clothes Make the Man."

kat said...

oops, I never responded to Shado.

You're absolutely right about the "smaller" issues. For my generation, that's the biggest problem with the whole insurance fiasco, I would think. 20-somethings are less likely to need treatment for the biggies, but what's going to happen if something small ends up untreated and becomes a huge issue....

In my case, I was saved by my mom's next door neighbor. He's a young, idealistic doctor, from a working-poor background. We told him what was up, and he ran inside, grabbed his precription pad, and handed me a script for antibiotics.
I can't count on this method, though.

shadocat said...

Kat, I almost forgot about the "smaller things" issue.Part of the reason those in power say universal healthcare won't work is because the costs would be prohibitive. Initially, yes, costs would be great. but as the system settled into place, preventive medicine would become second nature, as one would not need to worry about paying the doctor to treat that UTI or ear infection, keeping it from turning into something worse.

Ginjoint said...

Yup, I'm in Chicago. I found out today that my double mastectomy is set for this coming Monday. I want to comment on this topic (living uninsured) but I need to go to bed now...I have to go to work early tomorrow, and shockingly enough, I've not been sleeping well lately. I'll try to post Thursday or Friday. Thanks for all the good energy...you have no idea how it lifts my spirits.

shadocat said...

Sending lots of love and positive thoughts to Chicago tonight, Ginjoint--having my m-gram tomorrow.

Sleep well

kat said...

Likewise, Ginjoint. Wishing you luck and love and health.

Did anyone else see The View today (dear lord, I've been coming across like such a pop culture junkie lately)?
Dr. Susan Love was on, and the whole show was on breast cancer. One of the women asked her about whether the greater medical community is really committed to finding a cure. Her response was that there's such a business around cancer, but that universal health care would make it possible to prevent the disease from ever occurring, instead of the current focus on curing it once it's there.
Interesting take....

Anyway, lots of thoughts and good vibes, Ginjoint.

shadocat said...

Yep, kat, I saw it. Actually a pretty good show. I was suprised to learn that a breast doesn't "mature" until it has produced milk, and somehow early motherhood makes breast cancer less likely...which makes me think god may be male after all...

kat said...

yeah, I had that same reaction.
what, the universe thinks I'm just a baby factory? screw that....

anyway....

It was really educational.

Incidentally, Susan Love's partner was one of my mom's best friends in high school. They were one of the couples involved in the landmark case in Massachussets that allowed the non-biological parent to adopt a child in glbt families.

that sentence is all twisty....can't. get. brain. function. working!!

shadocat said...

In view of recent events (deaths among several young children of MRSA unfections) I'm doing some more ranting and raving on my own little blog,

http://mavieinkc.blogspot.com/

if you'd like to come and take a look.

silvio soprani said...

I think it so apropo that the Ogden Nash poem about the germ was posted in this week of hearing all about those killer staph infections.

Or perhaps it was no coincidence?

Lots more love, Ginjoint. Will be thinking of you Monday.

xx

Silvio