17 December 2009

so great.

seriously. how cute is this?! my mom was making faces at the baby and she obviously thought it was pretty great.

7 December 2009

a day that will live in infamy

on december 7, 1941 the course of united states history changed forever. in the early hours of the morning, the air force base at pearl harbour was attacked by the japanese. the raid officially forced america into the already waging second world war. until september 11, 2001 it was the single, deadliest attack on american soil.

on december 8, 1941 President Roosevelt gave a now famous speech that began with the words "yesterday, december 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the united states was suddenly and deliberately attacked...." thirty three minutes after he finished his speech, the united states declared war on japan.

today is the anniversary of that horrific day in our history. its not a national holiday, or even a widely recognized memorial day. and veterans day has come and gone. but those courageous men and woman who fought so bravely to defend our soil that day deserved to be honoured. us, of the younger generation, need to stay abreast of crucial times in our history so as the survivours slowly pass on, their memory is not lost forever.

let us take a moment to remember that fateful day 68 years ago. and to remember the courage and bravery of our service men and woman. some veterans feel that as their numbers decrease, so does the nations awareness and understanding of pearl harbour. and whilst none of us can truly understand what it was like that day, let us be the ones to show our veterans that we have not forgotten them.

so today, december 7, 2009 let us remember and honour our world war II veterans, both those who are still with us, and those whose memories will live forever.

4 December 2009

in the land......

that sentence has many endings. however two endings in particular are standing out to me at the moment. "in the land...where people say excuse me" and "in the land...of good food."

for some reason people always associate brits with great manners. i can not speak for the entirety of the UK, but people in London are not really polite. well perhaps the queen is polite, but she is not your everyday, average joe on the street. those people are more than happy to run you over and never look back. i was surprised at how quickly i forgot that in some places people say hello and wave for no reason; even if you are a complete stranger. i am so used to people reading as they commute, walking as fast as they can to their next destination and having no superfluous conversation that i forgot it even exists. and then i came back to oklahoma. people say excuse me when the bump into you. they stop and let you pass if two of you happen upon a junction at the same time. people randomly start conversations with you in stores, at cash registers. its crazy. people are so friendly. and i didnt realise just how much i missed that until this week. its so lovely to say hello and smile at complete strangers. and i cant get enough of the "excuse me" Sure brits can queue like there is no tomorrow. make no mistake about it, if something has a wait, there will be a quiet, orderly and tidy queue. but, in london at least, a queue is where the manners stop. and to be honest, i am really loving the friendly down home feeling that middle america has. i just cant get enough.

but its not just the manners that has acted like a comfort blanket for me the past week. its the food too. and it has been amazing. so much for my diet and the last 10 pounds of pregnancy weight. i miss my american food SO MUCH in the UK. and now that i am here, i just want to eat whatever i want. so far i have had real mexican, a party taco from taco bueno (not quite as authentic but just as yummy), chick-fil-a, sonic, real ice tea, panera (oh how i miss the bacon turkey bravo) colby jack cheese and more gold fish than i can count. oh, and of course thanksgiving food. i am still looking forward to some fantastic dishes my mom makes like sloppy joes and her chicken casserole, plus los cabos, cheddars, bbq and of course, many more trips to chick-fil-a.

ah, its good to be back.

2 December 2009

stuck in the middle

the post about the flight is coming. promise. but something else is consuming my thoughts. health care. i know, i know, i just wrote about health care. talk about beating a dead horse. but a situation arose today that really caused me to question everything.

as you all know, i have never been a huge fan of nationalised health care. i think it sucks. but i also think its about time i pointed out some of the strong points of the system i live under in the UK.

the main one being that is free.

i dont pay to see a doctor. ever. the NHS has a flat rate of 7 pounds for prescriptions. and well, everything else?...its free. i didnt pay a dime when i had eleri. we just walked in and out of the hospital; no insurance card, no paperwork, nothing. ok, sure we had to stay on a ward with lots of other people. and bring our own blankets...and pillows...and sheets. and yeah, the bed was all metal, with a metal headboard and it was built in 1950. and ok, no air conditioning. but it was free. according to the american association of pediatrics, the average cost of having a child in 2008 was $3475. that cost was what people had to pay in addition to the costs covered by their insurance companies. ok, so those americans didnt have to bring in their own sheets and pillows; and they probably had a nice padded bed that could be adjusted. but they had to pay. and i didnt.

and whenever i have to go to the pharmacy. its only 7 pounds. no wondering how much it will be and if my insurance company will cover that particular prescription. its a flat rate.

my cancer removal/treatment? free

rhys' x-rays for rugby injuries? free

doctor visits? free

and that is nice. i realise the flip side to that is the HUGE waiting time to see a doctor or a specialist. the way the NHS judges procedure on a cost basis, refusing treatment if they feel it is too expensive. and that is not ideal either. but you know what really sucks? being in america without insurance. it sucks even more than i remembered.

a few days before we left for america, eleri seemed to get a bit of a cold. but that happens in the winter time, plus some of her little friends had colds and we had been around them recently. so no big deal. since we were flying for so long, i figured i would take her to the doctor and see what he said. i assumed he would say it was just a cold. and i was right. his exact words were "she has a cold. it happens. enjoy your flight" fair enough. on we went.

its now been a week and she has the same cough that she did before we left. and since my mother HATES nationalised medicine even more than i do, she really wanted eleri to see an american doctor. so we went to the doctor today. and the american doctor said that she had a chest infection, probably asthma, and needed a breathing treatment. she did one in the office and then gave me 3 different prescriptions. i was told to give her the antibiotics for 5 days so she doesnt get pneumonia, do one type of medicine in a breathing treatment 4 times a day, another type of medicine 2 times a day and come back for a chest x-ray in a week if she is still coughing. wow. know how much that visit cost me without insurance? $437. and that doesnt even cover the prescriptions. just one of the prescriptions she gave me is $207. and i have 3 to fill.

there was no change in eleri in the week that passed. but those are two VERY different diagnosis. one was free. and one cost me nearly $500.

so i am stuck in the middle.

i dont think the NHS does enough. but does american health care do too much? is that too extreme? before you all go thinking that i am bad mother, i filled the prescriptions and i will give eleri the medicine, but i am still questioning the necessity of it all. there has got to be a middle ground. there has got to be a system that checks people out thoroughly, doesnt over medicate and doesnt charge so damn much. because as it is, i cant afford it.

the american health care system leaves people like me out. i cant afford those kinds of bills. its just too much. i buy a lottery ticket every week hoping to cash in on my share of the millions of pounds up for grabs, but until i win, i am poor. too poor to be paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars in medical bills just to see a doctor. something in me says seeing a doctor is a basic human right. am i starting to sound a bit like a socialist? perhaps. but the system has some major flaws.

unfortunately, so does the UK system. which leaves me in the middle. i am not a fan of having to wait over 3 months to see a specialist for eleri. i want her to be seen straight away. but when i see said specialist, it wont cost me a penny. but it may be to late to correct her problem. flip to america, and i got to see a doctor straight away who took immediate action. but i cant afford to pay the bill as a result. i really am stuck. people need to be taken care of. but they need to be done so in a way that is affordable. i dont have the solution. i am not sure that it is nationalised health care. i have lived in that system and it lets people down. but i am not sure that private insurance is the way to go either. i have lived in that system. and it lets people down too.

so for now i will stay stuck in the middle; forced to live in the pros and cons of both systems.