What Happened This Week 03/03/2015

Mike_in_the _snow

I’m snowed in today so rather than doing needed but boring chores around the house, I thought I’d do some writing. Below are just a few things that have happened so far this week.

I am a retiree. I had pretty decent medical insurance until this year when my company forced me to change plans. The company supplied a brochure describing the plans that you could choose from. The brochure was understandable only to lawyers and doctors. I picked the plan that I guessed was most suited to me since I am single. I now get to pay premiums that are about 20% higher and my deductibles are WAY higher. Under my new plan, a routine physical exam, including the blood tests and the office visit with the doctor to review the results are covered at 100%. Someone told me that ALL medical insurance plans are required to cover this because it is now the law under the Affordable Care Act. What is NOT covered are any prescriptions that the doctor may order. I take Vytorin for cholesterol control. Under my old plan, it was mostly covered by insurance but my portion was pretty high….about $125 for 90 pills (1 daily). Under my new plan, prescriptions are covered at 0 until I meet my very high deductible ($2500 or $3000, can’t remember). If my doctor prescribes Vytorin after the physical exam, and he always does, I will have to pay the entire cost. I went to the pharmacy yesterday just to do some fact finding. 90 pills of Vytorin…..$879. No, that’s not a typo error. I think medical insurance, unless you want to pay $1000 a month in premiums has become, basically, medical catastrophe insurance. If I got REAL sick and had a 30 day hospital stay, for instance, I would meet my $3000 deductible and then a very large portion, or maybe the entire $50,000 estimated cost would be covered. If I went to the doctor’s office because I hurt my elbow tomorrow, I would pay for 100% of the office visit. If the doctor ordered a painkiller prescription, I would pay for 100% of that. If there was a follow up visit to make sure my elbow was ok, I would pay 100% for that, too. It would all be applied to my deductible, of course. Why am I paying $290 a month in premiums if nothing but routine preventive care tests are covered? Should I hope I get REAL sick so that I’ll feel like I am getting something for my money? Aw, man. See? Now, I’ve gotten myself all fired up ! Thanks for listening. It helps me to get it off my chest, so to speak.

I read Monday’s newspaper. In the sports section, it had a little blurb about Wilt Chamberlain. For the uninformed, here are some facts about “Wilt the Stilt”:

Chamberlain holds numerous NBA all-time records in scoring, rebounding and durability categories. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game or average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. He also won seven scoring, nine field goal percentage, and eleven rebounding titles, and led the league in assists once. Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, a feat he accomplished nine times. He is also the only player to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game over the entire course of his NBA career.   * writers comment: This is not a redundant statement. For those that care, there is an explanation posted at the bottom of this post.

The facts above are from wikipedia.org. This next fact I read somewhere else. The length of a pro basketball game is 48 minutes.

One year, Wilt averaged more than 48 minutes per game. He played every minute of every game and every minute of every overtime game. This is a record that will never be broken…..ever. OK….back to the newspaper. It just mentioned that Wilt’s 5 best scoring games were 100, 78, 73, 72 and 72.

This guy was 7 foot 1, and 275 pounds. He was the tallest player in the league but there were lot’s of guys that were 6′ 10” . Wilt was just incredibly talented.

Also, in the same sports section, it mentioned that a female Ultimate Fighting Champion (aka cage fighter) had accomplished something. Let’s call her Mary since I can’t remember her name. It seems, about a year ago Mary won the fastest fight in the history of the sport by knocking out her opponent in 16 seconds. Mary had a fight last week. At the opening bell, Mary’s opponent came rushing right at her trying to hit her and Mary grabbed her and flipped her over and got her in a position where she could have broken the opponents elbow or neck or something else if she wanted so the opponent started patting the mat real hard. This is known as “tapping out” which means” I surrender, you win, please don’t break it or kill me.” The time of the match ? 14 seconds. In the after fight interview, the opponent says she’d like to fight Mary again. “I trained for months for this fight. I am in great shape. I’m sure I can beat Mary. I’d like a re-match.” I hope she gets it because there doesn’t seem to be any other woman on the planet that wants to fight Mary…..nor should there be. I’m pretty sure the article said that Mary is undefeated.

Teaching can be personally rewarding. I can think of teachers that made a difference in my life either because they actually TAUGHT me something, or they were an example of how I’d like to be, or I just liked their style. As an adult, I have had a couple of friends that were long-time teachers and they told me that students from years ago went out of their way to contact them and tell them how and why they made a difference in their lives and to thank them. I had a public school teacher in 11th grade that I’d like to thank. I had an English Literature class from 2 to 3 daily. The elderly female teacher had a monotone voice and she used it constantly. She would have made a great night-time sleep aid. She taught me that there actually are places where time seems to go slower than when you are in a dentist’s chair. She also taught me to daydream imaginatively and constantly while appearing to look interested while she droned on endlessly about a book that I was supposed to be reading….a classic entitled “Jane Eyre.” I’m sure she’s gone by now so….Mrs. VanSandt, thank you and rest in peace.

Besides me, and my two sons, the 4th member my bowling team is Brian. Brian is a big guy with a good sense of humor and he is quite animated at times. He’s a damn good bowler and he is also a public school teacher which means he is underpaid. I don’t know what grade Brian teaches but I’m sure he will make a positive impact on some lives. I can just tell, you know? I hope Brian has a rich, unknown uncle out there somewhere that is going to leave him a bunch of money. I have the same wish for all of the nice men and women that are teachers in all schools. All of the above is true but, if you are wondering how this fits into the category of “what happened this week”, Brian told me this week that if I don’t mention him in one of my blog entries soon, he will stop reading them. I meant every word of this chapter, Brian.

So I bowl with my two sons and our friend Brian on Tuesday nights. I noticed my oldest son, Bob, yawning and I asked if he was tired. He said he was a little tired and didn’t get much sleep. I told him I felt the same way since I didn’t get my usual amount either.

Me: You tired?

Bob: Yeah…a little. Didn’t get much sleep last night.

Me: I know how you feel. I’m tired, too. I didn’t get my usual 10 hours.

A little while later:

Me: Oh, hey, can you do me a favor?

Bob: No.

(pause)

Me: You don’t even know what it is yet.

Bob: It doesn’t matter. I’m not gonna do it.

Me: Maybe I’ll ask you after you’ve had a nap.

Now, Bob had mentioned that some of the members of the bowling league were Facebook friends of his and they might enjoy playing the daily “lyrics game” that I post on Facebook. So, a little while later:

Bob: So, ok, you mentioned something about a favor.

Me: Yeah (handing him the bowling league average sheet) can you take this home and send me a list of the names that are your Facebook friends ?

Bob: (to my youngest son, Mike) Gimmee that pen.

He starts to make a mark next to certain names.

Me: What are you doing ?

Bob: Noting the people that are on Facebook.

Me: But I was gonna ask you to post something telling them I would be sending them a “friend request.”

Bob: Just send them a friend request.

Me: They’ll think it came from you.

Bob: No they won’t. We’re different people.

Me: But we have the same name.

Bob: Look…. Send them a friend request…if they think it’s from me, they’ll accept it anyway.

(pause)

Me: Hey. That’s a good point. You’re smarter than you look.

Me: (as Bob gets up to go bowl) Of course, you’d almost have to be.

Mike (my youngest son, laughing his ass off): Man, I wish I had recorded that whole conversation.

That’s it for now. Thanks.

* For those that care, here is the explanation of the “30 – 20 ” fact about Wilt Chamberlain. It says Wilt averaged 30 points and 20 rebounds for an entire season 9 times. It also says he averaged that for his entire career. Wilt played way more than 9 years so what it is saying is….during the 9 years that he did average 30 -20, he was way over those numbers. During all of the other years he played he was close to those numbers, say 27 points and 27 rebounds for the season so,after his career was over,and you look at all the points together, and all of the rebounds together, and divide by the number of games he played he averaged over “30 – 20” for his entire career. If you read and followed all that, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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