An Odyssey in the U.S. Healthcare System

•24 June 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’ve spent the past two weeks in hospital for various reasons, none of which I’m going to discuss publicly — not for fear of leaking personal information, but mostly because I don’t feel like going through it again — but which I will gladly respond with said reasons in response to any personal requests. So.

My doctor prescribed me 300 mg/day of a certain medication; 100 mg in the morning, 200 mg before I go to bed. This particular physician (understandably) wrote a script for 3x100mg tablets, one in the morning, two before bed. Three tablets in all. As it turns out, my local pharmacy where I’ve had all my medications filled since childhood tells me, my insurance won’t cover any medication that involves more than two tablets. Tablets, mind you; doesn’t matter if they’re 25mg or 5g, two *tablets.* What this means is that the pharmacy has to call the prescribing physician, who has to then write out two separate prescriptions, one for 100mg and another for 200mg. The same mass of this medication — 300mg in toto — yet, because the latter configuration means only two tablets, my insurance will cover it. How asinine.

If I Dream

•22 April 2016 • Leave a Comment

Where is light?

All I can try to see is darkness.

Oblivion is my future.

That’s all I can see if I dream.

Darkness spreading like a failed star,

An endless road of nothingness,

Spreading into, well, an eternity of that.

 

I don’t want to take that road,

Yet no other opens its way to me.

 

 

To MeiLu

•17 April 2016 • Leave a Comment

Beauty is the silence of an unbroken night. 

Beauty is that page not yet turned. 

Beauty is that perfect cross you know Wambach’s heading in. 

Beauty is that boy you’ve never met, but glances back at you after you get you morning coffee, and you just know. 

Beauty is Christmas lights in April. 

Beauty is Seurat up close. 

Beauty is the sand between one’s toes as Lake Michigan rolls endlessly in the foreground. 

Beauty is a cat’s plaintive cry when it’s clearly bedtime. 

Beauty is a bookstore’s smell when you first unlock the door. 

Beauty is that first kiss when nothing seems possible, but then everything is. 

A Four-Way Race?

•17 March 2016 • Leave a Comment

It’s conceivable; if, as is certainly possible, if not probable, the Republican nominee is selected at a brokered convention, and if, as is almost certain, Hillary earns the Democratic nomination, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have the financial resources and committed supporters to mount effective independent campaigns. What would result would be complete chaos and is entirely unpredictable. The question is, would Bernie do it? (I think most politicos would agree with me that it would be entirely unsurprising were Trump to do so).

Or could it get even more complicated if, say, Mitt Romney were to jump in and make it a five-way race?

Water and Transcendence

•12 March 2016 • Leave a Comment

It was mid-May of a warm spring; senior spring for me at my alma mater, and I wasn’t taking classes. I already had the required number of credits, and was mostly there just to be there a little bit longer. At that point, I hadn’t been living at my fraternity house for almost a year, though still spending time there. Any way, a day came in early May, shortly after I turned 22, that was a gift from the gods in New Hampshire. I had been feeling sluggish from a long winter spent reading the Frankfurt School, Jameson, Benjamin, Zizek et. al and needed an escape.

So I ran; past the well-kept brownstones, the looming Greek houses, the perfectly groomed dogs and -maintained BMWs and Audis. I was out of shape then, but managed about five miles (8 km) until my body did two things: 1) it told me “Benji, we’re done mate” and 2) it led me to the Connecticut River. I knew the river wasn’t warm enough to swim in, but at 12º or so, warm enough at least to wade into. So I did; exhausted from running, slightly out of my senses, I stood in a 12º Connecticut River, raising my arms like Rocky Balboa knocking out Ivan Drago. It’s hard to describe, but in that moment I *was* the champion of the world. The river rushing on my left and right, the early spring sun kissing my ever-browner temples, telling me “You’re the champ Benji!”

On Feminism

•10 March 2016 • Leave a Comment

(Full disclaimer: this is a piece written by my friend Mei-Lu McGonigle, which I have asked for and received permission to share; these are her words, not mine; I thought them important to share, and am grateful Mei-Lu has given me permission to do so):

“I firmly believe that there’s enough material to write two strong position papers: a feminist defense of Kim Kardashian West AND a feminist critique of Kim Kardashian West. But the critique would not address her appearance or her taking selfies.

When a woman panders to male gaze as Kim Kardashian West does, for enormous financial reward, the enemy is not the easy target (KKW & her vanity), the enemy is patriarchy. Sisters and brothers, let’s keep our eyes on the prize. When we attack KKW we’re feeding into the myth of female competitiveness, “cattiness”, shrillness, and we replace one culture of control over appearance with another. It’s a great way to keep feminists fighting amongst themselves rather than focusing our energy on the real enemy: patriarchy.

As females, we grow up in a culture of intense judgment and scrutiny, where any excuse to bring us down is routinely used on us by authority figures, even the ones whose jobs are to enable us to grow into the best versions of ourselves possible. We have to be absolutely perfect in order to be considered peers with men and when we fail to be perfect (because, like the challenges set to Cinderella by her stepmother, the perfection we’re expected to achieve is unattainable) by being too fat, too thin, too beautiful, not beautiful enough, too fashion & beauty obsessed, too dowdy, we are mercilessly pilloried for it. Just take a look at the Democratic nominees. If you’re anything like me, you’ve internalized this culture of female disempowerment so deeply that you find yourself internally criticizing Hillary with an intensity that you don’t extend to Bernie, even if you are rooting for her. (Even when people criticize Sanders or Trump’s appearance, it doesn’t have the force of the criticisms leveled at Clinton. Unlike Sanders & Trump, Clinton does not have the luxury of presenting herself however the fuck she wants & still be taken seriously.) This is the deepest, most insidious, most difficult form of sexism to combat because it has been reinforced in us so deeply.

So I ask you, with respect, whenever you’re about to make a statement in judgment of a woman’s choices, please consider not making it. And please know that, even if I don’t agree with you on this or any other issue, I still respect you. Because I believe diversity of opinion makes us smarter and makes our society so much more interesting. Peace out!”

(via Mei-Lu McGonigle)

Supporting the Trans Community

•9 March 2016 • Leave a Comment

For non-trans individuals like myself, it’s often difficult to know how best to support the trans community. When it comes to the LGBTQ acronym, I’m part of it — the “G,” though I have many friends in the “L,” “B,” “T,” and presumably “Q” part. I try to respect each and every person and their sexual orientation, but I often fear that my comments or actions toward the “Ts” is unfair. I want to treat each person with the respect due them, regardless of their orientation. They are who they are and the person that is is wonderful and excellent as is; I just to want to make sure I am the best ally I can be, and would love to hear from transpeople how I can do better. I try my best as is, but I know I can be a better ally. As a gay man, I know how important it is to have allies of a different orientation; I want to support my trans friends as best as I can. Please let me know how to do that better.

 
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