I couldn’t reach my dad to wish him Happy Father’s Day. Calls kept coming up “User Busy” on my smartphone screen. One of my sisters shared similar problem, and we mutually expressed hope that perhaps […]
Apologies for going dark, letting Flickr a Day run on automatic (as I keep about a week’s worth of advanced photos primed to post). Wednesday afternoon, May 6, I picked up my first new pair of eyeglasses in six years, resulting in downward spiral of my vision rather than upwards. I couldn’t much read or write, which is why the absence. My wrong assumption: Customary adjustment period for aging eyes that require severe astigmatic correction and progressive lenses with bifocals. Wrong guess.
I have returned to using my old eyeglasses while the others go out for redo. I see so well, the temptation to demand refund and keep the aged pair is almost overwhelming. Almost. 🙂
Following my embarrassing confessional comparing photos of me in 2004 and 2014 comes another: 2005 vs 2015. Midday, my wife and I sat inside the local Panda Express, where she commented how I look like a different person from what I used to.
I’m lighter. In the photo on the left, from a decade ago in March, I weighed 95 kilos (210 pounds). Anne snapped the right pic while she ate lunch when today I weigh 63.4 kilos (139.8 pounds). That’s down from 70 kilos (152 pounds) in August 2014.
I am supposed to be sitting in a movie theater watching Interstellar. The plan was in place for months. Instead, I write this post, which is commentary on health insurance in America. The two things are strangely connected, if in this or any other universe such seemingly disparate relationships are random. What’s that saying about a butterfly flapping its wings?
Here’s a nut graph, so you can decide whether to read further or stop here: America’s healthcare system is broken. Free-market forces cannot work. The 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act laid the framework for healthcare monopolies, which nearly 70 years later act like cartels, in defiance of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. The Affordable Care Act raises healthcare costs, while managing the monopolies rather than eliminating them. As such, the free-market forces that should stimulate competition and drive down prices are stymied.
What do two forts share in common? Kaci Hickox, the 33 year-old healthcare worker from Fort Worth, Texas, taking refuge in Fort Kent, Maine. Surely you know of the so-called Ebola nurse and the legal scuffle about quarantining her. As an Aroostook County native born about 70 kilometers (okay, I rounded up) southeast of FK and having traveled widely across the Lone Star State, I know something about the character of both regions. Think independent-mindedness times two, which equals “Don’t tell me what to do”.
The simple story: She volunteered in Sierra Leone, where the disease rages. She returned to the wrong state, New Jersey, which put her in isolation. She fled to one of the most rural and remote areas of the Northeast. Maine’s governor demanded voluntary quarantine. She defied it. A federal judge ruled against the Gov. News reporters who couldn’t find Fort Kent with a Google Map ruined the autumn tourist trade by filling up the only hotel. We all wait to see if she stays symptom free through November 10. Pass the popcorn. The suspense is thicker than a horror flick.
The world is at war. Ebola is the enemy. Not Islamic State. Not Russia, Israel, Palestine, the United States, or any other nation or peoples you would like to insert here. No country—pardon the word choice—is immune to Ebola. The disease doesn’t care about cultural, political, racial, or religious differences that divide people. The disease indiscriminately attacks everyone.
Ebola should unite us—a global community rallying against a common enemy. But the disease can, already does, divide us. Fear, not infection, is Ebola’s great weapon of mass destruction. In parts of West Africa, farmers abandon crops for fear of infection; yesterday, I heard a BBC radio report claiming as many as 40 percent of farms in some countries. Fear. Fear of infection will divide us unless we unite first.
The photo left greatly embarrasses me, but I feel compelled to contrast it with the other. The heavyset me weighed 95 kilos (210 pounds), in September 2004. The other is from August 2014, when I weighed 70 kilos (152 pounds). I’ve lost another 2.5 kilos since my wife snapped the pic of me holding our cat, Neko. The change is dramatic.
Moving to California seven years ago on October 15 precipitated initial weight loss, which with increased activity occurred gradually to 82.6 kilos (182 pounds) early last year. The other 15 kilos (33 pounds) is result of massive dietary change, which is topic of my forthcoming book How I Beat Diabetes. Simply stated: I cut carbs and portions, switching to a diet high in protein, berries, nuts, and leafy veggies.
I am working on a new ebook based on a personal, health crisis and will start taking preorders this week at Amazon: How I Beat Diabetes, qualifying repeatedly that Joe Wilcox is not a medical professional.
On July 13, 2013, my doctor called frantic about my glucose level. Day before, she drew blood for routine check on something else, and the lab ran the full panel. The number: 212 mg/dL Anything below 100 is safely normal.
The difference taking care of an elderly relative versus a child? In one you see your mortality, and in the other your vitality. Joe Wilcox
There are some things that really go oddly together, like sleep and intelligence. This week I saw several blog posts and tweets referring to Psychology Today article “Intelligence: The Evolution of Night Owls.” That people are talking about the article demonstrates the distressing power of the social Web. The article posted on Nov. 1, 2009, so it’s not exactly new. Matthew Hutson recounts—and without substantive details—a sleep and intelligence study.
As a science geek, college biology major (decades ago) and pragmatist, I am appalled that any person or company is granted patents over genes. It’s simply unconscionable to grant ownership over laws of nature, which allowance defies centuries of sound legal prudence. If the Obama Administration and 111th Congress want to do some more meaningful health-care reform, abolishing gene patents would be the right place to start.
There is something so oddly together about where genes started and where they are today. In February 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson uncovered “the secret of life” when identifying the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, more widely known as DNA. Their pioneering work later led to the Human Genome Project, which when completed in 2003 identified “the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,” according to official information.
I voted for Barack Obama and still have much hope for his presidency. But from my humble perspective, his priorities were out of order coming into office. Healthcare should have been second to financial reform. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearings now underway started more than a year too late.