Orange Gearle

family, friends, politics, music and technology... that's what it's all about

Thursday, July 19, 2007

weather...wet, windy and political

Last night our area of the nation was invaded by thunder, lightening, rain, tornadoes, and in my parent's case, straight line winds.

I love thunderstorms. When I was a kid I remember sitting in front of our picture window in the living room watching the lightening and counting how many seconds until the thunder arrived. Looking back I think it was something that my mother suggested so I wouldn't be afraid of storms.

Last night Scott and I sat in his dark, electricity deficient house looking a videos like this and this and this on my laptop (we borrowed a bit of internet access from the neighbors across the street that seemed to have the electricity required to power a router). Ghandi, the dog, was at our feet, concerned only about the fact that this was only his second day in the new house, not giving a hoot about the weather (Emmie would've been under the bed, of course).

My mom, dad, and sister were also in the dark....with a very large tree branch on their house.

As I woke up this morning, I heard Bill Clinton talking. I wasn't having a dream. I had left the TV on when I fell asleep last night, and Bill was on Good Morning America. The interview is here. I almost cried. Not because he said anything all that profound, or worth tears. I almost cried because I had forgotten what it was like to have a Leader that spoke intelligently. Bill Clinton, complete with southern drawl, used words other than uhhh.....ummmm....and hard work. Not only did he pronounce the words correctly, he also used them in their proper context, without whining or acting defensive. His tone of voice was that of a confident, intelligent, caring, man. He didn't talk down to anyone.....and he certainly didn't sound like he was power hungry. How sad that I had forgotten what it was like to have a Commander in Chief to be proud of (well, except for that little sex thing -- but at least he knew how to lead, well, and SPEAK).

There was another story on GMA this morning that I found quite disturbing. This story was about a woman suffering from cancer. Her insurance company refusing to pay for treatment. Video here. Story here. Mary Casey was diagnosed with a very rare sinus cancer, "so rare there are no drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat it." The article goes on...

"Despite surgery and months of radiation, the aggressive cancer spread to Casey's lungs. But doctors said her cancer was slow growing, and that there was hope in a popular cancer drug called Tarceva.

But when Casey went to fill her Tarceva prescription at the pharmacy, her insurer, Coventry Health Care of Kansas, denied her coverage for the drug, saying it considered Tarceva experimental in her case, even though Tarceva is FDA approved for other lung and pancreatic cancers."

The thing is, a different insurance company did cover it for another woman...with the same cancer....and of course her cancer has stabilized. You might think that I found this story disturbing because of the insurance company's refusal to save this woman's life. And well, yes, that is part of it. I became infuriated, however, when Mary Casey said she would just pay for it...and was told it would cost over $4000 per month. No wonder the insurance company refused.

Don't even get me started on pharmaceutical companies.

I called my mom. She had power by six AM, and was ready to clean up the mess.

Most of their little town was effected by straight line winds. When we drove into town this morning to help out, many of the roads were blocked off by tree limbs and even whole trees that littered the streets. Like many small towns after a storm, there were people driving and walking all around checking out the damage, and helping clean up where ever they could. The city trucks were out picking up the debris and the electric company was fixing the downed lines and poles all around town. There was a constant buzz of chain saws in the air.

My sister drove to the store to get some lunch. When she came back she was concerned because my first grade teacher, Mrs. Tooms, had a large tree down and there was no one helping her. We were lucky to have my brother's in-laws help us with the tree......with no chain saw of our own (an no business using one) we couldn't really help Mrs. Tooms.

We continued to work on picking up the many sticks and leaves littering the yard. Everyone was outside...all the neighbors were working....stopping only for a short recap of where they were when the big storm hit.

It was great to see everyone out and helping each other. With a president like ours, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies being like they are, sometimes I forget that people can be really, really good.

As we left town, we drove by Mrs. Toom's house. There were a half dozen people in her yard....working....while she and a few wee ones watched from the porch. I called my sister to tell her.

Sometimes I am very glad to live in Iowa.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

About your rant on the cost of life saving drugs...would you balk at the close to $100,000 cost of having by pass surgery? Not to mentiion all of the follow up cost?

What exactly do you know about biopharmaceutical drugs, how they are reserached, developed and manufactured? Another insurance company, Aetna, covered the drug for another person. It's our system as a whole that is the problem, not just one industry. An industry, I might add, that keeps many people ALIVE AND WELL. Think about that next time you have a bacterial infection. Or have to be treated for high blood pressure or another chronic disease. We are talking about saving, and in many cases, improving someone's life. Can you honestly put a price on that?

5:52 PM  
Blogger orange gearle said...

I agree that is our system as a whole that is a problem....and I believe I stated TWO industries here that I am concerned about....

There are many things in this world that are priceless. Saving and improving lives are two of them.

What do you know about pharmaceutical companies? What do you know about the waste that is a part of them? What do you know about the marketing aspect that is extremely costly? The lobbying? I'd much rather THAT money go toward lowering the cost of these drugs rather than lobbying, wining and dining of doctors, etc.

R & D is something that I am willing to pay for...but not the waste that goes along with it.

9:13 PM  

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