It’s been one of those days when a magazine article I read last night continues to unsettle me. I can’t let it go.
I got my April 2017 copy of Men’s Fitness magazine yesterday. In it, along with the handy hints for “losing your gut”, is an article extolling the virtues of cannabis in various iterations. Somehow it is the wonder drug for athletic performance. OK. I suppose. But tell that to the couch potato toking on the sofa and hitting the Domino’s number on his speed dial. I strongly suspect this article was produced by the public relations firm lobbying for cannabis legalization and planted in a compliant magazine.
Nearly a hundred years ago, the father of modern American public relations, Edward Bernays, had three women light up cigarettes on Park Ave one Sunday. Photographers were there to cover this manufactured event and photographs of these ladies lighting up appeared in print. Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and he used Freudian psychology in his work. In his Freudian imagination, he decided that a cigarette was a substitute for the penis and the ladies were envious. Since they didn’t have the “genuine article”, a cigarette was as good as ,uh, a pecker. I’m not making this up.
Well, for whatever reason, it worked. Women started smoking, and, ultimately, dying of smoking related illness.
Bernays was quite candid in his assertion that public relations and propaganda were synonymous. We now associate the word propaganda with monsters like Goebbels. To us it is synonymous with falsehood. Public Relations has morphed into “spin”. We are now supposed to believe that marijuana is a benign substance, at the suggestion and urging of the marijuana legalization speculators, advocates, and entrepreneurs.
Nevermind that marijuana can be and is, abused by its users every day. Somebody wants to make big bucks off the misery.
Last week’s little sagas continue. They are like a miniseries or those old “cliff-hanger” serials from the movies, where our hero(oine) is rescued from one near-catastrophe at the start of an episode, only to be ensnared in another by that episode’s end.
As our story left off, Mrs Celibateorchaste? was on her way to the dentist and physician to see what the deal was with the lump on the side of her neck. The dentist ruled out a tooth issue, but suggested that, by the way this lump swells when eating, a salivary gland below the jaw has a stone blocking the duct.
Who knew salivary glands can develop stones? Apparently, NOT medical doctors. Next came the visit to the medical doctor, who had no idea what the situation was, but if the dentist said it was a salivary gland stone, that sounded pretty good to him. He then referred her to the Ear Nose and Throat specialist. That appointment was yesterday and Dr Salivary Gland Specialist was NOT THERE! Dr Everything But Salivary Glands did think it was a stone, scheduled a follow up with Dr Salivary Gland Specialist and a CT scan three weeks into the future. Meanwhile, back at the neck, the lump seems to be shrinking. I suspect these stones pass through the duct, just as kidney stones pass, though much less painfully. Good news is, most likely, no cancer, and not a big deal. Whew! Another bullet dodged.
In the world of insurance, the hospitalization/medical carrier was presented with an appeal of their claim denial, for the hospital charges related to the wisdom tooth extractions. Not only did the oral surgeon’s patient notes clearly show the medical necessity of an outpatient hospital procedure under genral anaesthesia, but they also showed where his office called the medical insurance carrier and the peon who answered the call said no pre-certification was needed! So Big Heartless/Mindless Insurance Company said one thing and acted in the exact opposite manner when the time came to fork over the dough. Those of you who are surprised at this turn of events can gather inside the telephone booth in the lobby.
Insurance Drama #2, the Long Term Disability Claim Still Unpaid, has the claim still unpaid, but they are going to check with my employer and I should see my money in a week. Thank Heaven! I was getting worried that I would not be able to go yachting with the Vanderbilts and Astors in Newport this Summer.
Finally Asperger’s Bonehead #2 Son contacted me on Easter Sunday with this text message, “Happy Easter“.
Life does go on, like it or not.
My hunch is that we all go through the same things. I don’t care how you label yourself. You Tough Guys/Bitches can hide behind your personas for only so long before you break down too. Our loved ones are our loved ones and we care. Big insensitive and indifferent corporate bureaucracies will always procrastinate in their favor.
Right now, I’m working on one biggie, two medium-sized and and one small nagging chronic dramas. First, my wife has a hard knot on the right side of her neck, where fluid accumulates when she chews and swallows. I don’t know what the Hell it is but I don’t like it.
“Do you think it’s cancer?” she asked me, as if I were an oncologist. The little voice in the back of my head is saying, “I wouldn’t rule it out”, but I can’t say that. She sees a dentist this afternoon and a doctor tomorrow morning. The dentist can rule out a tooth issue. The doctor can maybe do a needle biopsy and get an answer, but I think he’s going to order a CT scan, which means more worrying. I lost a dear cousin to head and neck cancer four years ago. We shall see.
Dramas #2 and #3 involve those perennial nemeses, insurance companies. We have the health/medical insurer who is denying a claim, pending I show medical necessity for wisdom tooth extractions done under general anesthesia in a hospital OR. My oral surgeon, highly respected by his peers, deemed it necessary and I have his notes. I’m waiting for the policy exclusion clause from my dental insurance policy, a group plan to be furnished by my employer, since I don’t have a copy of the policy. Once I get the documentation, the appeal should work in my favor. It just means the insurance carrier can hold on to the money a little longer, collect interest on the reserve and leave the hospital and anesthesiologist standing there with open palms, as if they have no expenses to pay of their own.
Drama #3 involves the long term disability carrier who hasn’t paid on my disability claim since it began in November. I had been unable to work for the last six months previous to back surgery because I had a rotator cuff repair and my back pain, necessitating the surgery made work impossible. I can’t work now because I had a spinal fusion the week before Thanksgiving. This procedure has a high probability of failure if it doesn’t heal properly and completely, so I am not rushing back to work where any bend, lift or twist could send me back to where I was before the surgery took place. Pretending to be a fabulously wealthy billionaire who can live off his investments is fun, but I live in the Real World in Anytown, USA. I complained to the Bureau of Insurance yesterday and the insurance carrier promised they would deal with my claim today. We shall see.
Drama #4 is the continuing saga of Number Two Son, an Asperger’s syndrome patient, who hasn’t quite figured out that his father wants to know that he is safe, healthy and relatively happy. This would require a regular phone call or text, letting me know where he is and that he’s doing OK. The Prophet Elijah could fly across the heavens in a chariot of fire before he calls. So Easter is coming up, a family time and word from him would be nice.
I’m praying my wife’s neck knot is no biggie, the insurance companies will pay their respective claims and my son will call or text or visit.