Monday, November 27, 2006

Finally, Some Good News

I had an e-mail waiting for me when I got to work this morning. A new "explanation of benefits" document from my healthcare provider was ready for me to view. A quick hop over to their Web site revealed that they had processed the claim for the first of my two ambulance rides to the ER -- and my insurance covered the whole $495 (the most expensive taxi you'll ever find)! I work for a great company!!!

I still have three $100 ER copays to take care of, but if things keep going this way, I'll owe only that $300 instead of over $1200. Maybe this won't be such a bad Christmas after all.

(I made it through 30 years without seeing the inside of an ambulance. Then, over Labor Day weekend 2005, while visiting friends near St. Louis, I literally put another crack in my ass at a water park. Now, this year, two more ambulance rides -- both of them, as it turns out -- unnecessary: the ER doctors couldn't really do anything for me. I hope this isn't a trend.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I feel like I should say something about Thanksgiving, but what is there to say? At least I get a few days off work. And they're letting us go at 12:30 today, which is a great opportuniy for a nice sushi lunch.

I'll be spending most of my time off working on some freelance copy editing work, though. But that won't stop me from staying up late and sleeping in later.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Children, Birthdays, and Immigrants

My wife's birthday is coming up this week. It's interesting how a child's mind works. If you ask my kids what she wants for her birthday, they'll list a bunch of "girl toys" for people their age. My youngest thinks she wants Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony toys.

I am sometimes disillusioned by how much our opinions are guided by our own limited view of the world. One big controversial topic right now is illegal immigrants from Mexico. People gnash their teeth and beat their chests roaring that the end of our economy is near because these people come up here and use all of our tax-paid services -- fire and police and the like -- without paying taxes.

But why is it that we never hear a similar cry from Canada? Northerners often hop over to Canada to get cheaper prescription drugs and to take advantage of their socialized medicine -- which is paid for out of Canadian taxes, which those Northerners don't pay. There's irony everywhere you turn.

The other thing that gets my about these chest-thumpers is that they seem to equate "illegal" with "immoral," as if there is something ongodly about heading north out of Mexico in search of a better life.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Anxiety/Panic Update

After three trips to the ER and one trip to a therapist, I think I'm finally on a good road. I'm on Zoloft, which takes 3 or 4 weeks to kick in. After my last ER visit, I got a small prescription for Ativan, which gives more immediate relief (in the form of knocking me out completely). I've used the Ativan only once.

The most important therapy, though, has been knowledge. I bought a copy of The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook and have been reading through it from time to time. The important bits of knowledge: panic attacks can't kill me, they are limited by time, and they can't kill me.

Plus, I think I technically have a panic disorder, not an anxiety disorder. The big attacks have all occurred in the morning without any warning. (By "big attacks," I mean my arms and legs get exceedingly cold, and the cold tries to creep in my chest; I also get slightly nauseated and dizzy and very, very pale. Green pale.)

Sometimes I can feel them coming (I get slightly dizzy and hot-faced), and I'm doing a pretty good job staving them off just with some controlled abdominal breathing, happy thoughts, and occasionally singing in the car. Still, I could really use a "happy place" in troubled times. (I'm reminded of Meg Ryan singing "I Love Paris" before the plane takes off in French Kiss.)

A few more therapy sessions to learn some coping mechanisms and I'll gain my confidence back. That and making it through Christmas.

Oh, and thanks to my mom for getting me, among other relaxing things, some "Calming" Yogi Tea, which tastes and smells delicious but is the awfullest shade of green.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I had other things on my mind when I got dressed this morning, and here it is at 2 p.m. when suddenly I realize that I'm wearing my "Vote For Pedro" T-shirt on election day. (Will I be allowed to wear this when I go vote?)

It's nice to know that my brain continues to work, even when I don't ask it to.


Today is my birthday. I plan on staying in my twenties for as long as I can, so today is my twentitwelfth birthday. Eight more years and I'll be 20-20.

Birthdays mean less and less as I get older.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Copy Editor's Pride and Joy

The other day, when I was dropping off my elder son at school, he began a sentence with "Me and Jalen..." but then immediately and accurately corrected himself, "...I mean, Jalen and I...".

Not bad for a second-grader.

Of course (writes the prideful parent), according to the tests, he reads at a fourth-grade level.