I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want to always fit in, cow down or blend in. But in the great diverse nation of America normal is what’s being insisted on in schools, workplaces and communities. So who decides what is normal? Normal is what the culture in a society says it is based on the majority consensus. Society’s influences plays a huge part. Where do most of these influences come from? Besides religious beliefs they primarily come from marketing and the media. Some of the most pervasive and influential ads come from the pharmaceutical companies. They make you reevaluate your physical and mental health by asking if you ever feel down, laugh too long, go to the bathroom too frequently or get a headache from stress. Then they show you the solution in the form of their pill or liquid that will bring you back to “normal”. Of course if symptoms lasts for more than a month or so you probably should seek a doctor’s advice but if it’s just a reaction to a crisis or upset and lasts just a day or two you could probably just use coping skills. And, they are not the only marketing schemes meant to bring you the ability to fit in with society. Manufacturing industries, cosmetic companies and fine jewelry also promote a “keeping up with the Joneses” solution by purchasing their cutting edge products.
I am not a rebel by any means, but it just concerns me what influences the society I live in to make the rules that conform to” normal” because it influences city ordinances, government guidelines and even education. The criteria to access benefits in your community is based on what that society perceives your needs are according to their perception of normal. Public schools try to be a little more flexible with things like clothing and hairstyles. But any individualism like tattoos, too many earrings, hair colors or anything else that they deem distracting to other “normal” students is forbidden. The workplace is worse because it is usually up to the management and their perceptions of normal as to the expectations of self-identity. Noncompliance could cost you your job.
Personally, I’m not comfortable with conflict and the stress it creates. I think most people feel this way and so we comply. Unless you are filthy rich, and eccentric, bucking the system of normal is too high of a risk and too easy to be ostracized. However, I believe we have more power than we know we do. The influence of marketing and media are based on profits. If they are pulling the strings of influence we have the ability to cut those strings. Not all marketing and media are negative though. Some ads can be very informative in ways that promote further research that otherwise would have been ignored. We can promote those marketing and media efforts and ignore or refuse to buy things that promise to fix us so that we “fit in”. We can live by example and become the individual accepting diversity and even promote it. We can produce a consumer demand from that more diverse culture. We have always had the power over big business but sometimes it can be too easy to be lulled by their persuasive melody.
Some little things that always make me smile –
- The way pine tree branches sway and bend in the wind
- A cat’s paws flexing in and out while they purr
- The smell of pot roast and carrots in the crock pot
- Christmas Eve night
- Snow falling right before bedtime
- Extra soft teddy bears
- Buying a surprise gift for someone
- Twenty candles lit around a scented bubble bath
- Starbucks coffee on a cold winter night
- Goose down pillows
- Camp fires
- Low rolling thunder
- Puppies playing
- Robin’s egg blue
- Lincoln Continentals jet black & fully loaded
- The stillness at 3:00 am
- Candy apples from the fair
- Roses, especially cream and white
- Shooting stars
- Hush puppy shoes
- Yellow rain slickers
- French braided hair
- French doors
- Huge gold jingle bells on a wide velvet ribbon
- Soft flannel shirts
- Teeny sweet pickles
- Happy people
- Deviled eggs with helmans mayonnaise
- Fresh washed hair
- A baby’s giggle
- Kittens spanking a shaft of light
- Leather journals
- The way a person’s butt dances while sharpening a pencil
- Shopping with a hundred dollars to spare
- Creamy soup in bread bowls
- Big wooden decks
- The scent of lavender
- Horses running with their mane flowing
- Singing to yourself
- Wind chimes
- Homemade tacos
- Doubly ply, extra soft toilet paper
- Deer grazing silently in a meadow
- Sweet cold watermelon
- Dogs lips blowing out while sticking their head out a car window
Guide your children with love,
Courage and strength
but remember it is their Journey in the end
Know that life has many storms
but also know it has many rainbows
Count your blessings every day
Forget your regrets
Honor nature and learn it’s wisdom
for it can teach you everything
Read and learn from books
but trust your own intuition
Go within yourself to find your way
but don’t linger there long enough to forget
Keep close to your family in good times and bad
for they are the Soul’s that have come here to help you
Live your life with purpose even if you don’t know what it is
Remember that others have a purpose even if
they don’t know what it is
Pray for strength to pull you through what is
Don’t pray for outcome of what is not
Remember you are only visiting Earth
Leave your essence so the Angels will know you were here.
I AM THE SEEKER,
I HUNGER FOR THE TRUTH,
I AM THE SURVIVOR,
I THIRST FOR THE CHALLENGE,
I AM THE WALKER AND THE WATCHER,
THE OBSERVER AND THE OBSERVED,
THE STORY TELLER AND THE STORY,
I AM ENTRAPPED AND I AM FREE,
I AM THE UNIVERSE
I AM ME.
Where will I be when I’m 93?
Will I live with grace and dignity?
Will the world be at peace?
Will my struggles be gone?
Will love come with ease?
Will my journey be long?
Will the storm still excite me?
Will nature still sooth my Soul?
Will I live free?
Will my life be truly told?
Where will I be when I’m 93?
Will I still remember me?
Can the state actually take your home for medical bills? Under certain conditions the answer is yes and it targets the elderly specifically. This federal law has been a well-kept secret since its inception in 1993 when all states had the option since Medicaid began in 1965 to recover some medical cost from recipients after they die. However, it was optional and states could only recoup Medicaid costs spent on those 65 years or older. When Congress passed the 1993 omnibus budget bill it “required” states to recover the expense on long-term care and related costs for deceased Medicaid recipients at 65 or older. The affordable care act did nothing to change this existing federal law. It did however move the age backward to 55 years old after considering the aging baby boomer population on the horizon. That puts potentially more estates on the hook for Medicaid reimbursements after the beneficiary dies. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program and as in any other program receiving money from the federal government, can be penalized for not complying with federal criteria.
So what does that mean exactly? It simply means that if you or your parent or your grandparent owns a home or property and is over the age of 55 could find themselves in a position of a lien on their home to recoup Medicaid spending after they die. No one expects to be a user of the Medicaid program but long-term illnesses or severe accidents that can cap out the best insurance policy can land us there in a matter of days. The services that the state Medicaid program seek recovery for is nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services. There are “some” stipulations that could keep them from placing a lien on the individual’s home. The areas where states may not recover monies is if the individual is survived by a spouse who lives in the home, a child under 21, or blind or disabled child of any age living in the home. However, considering this age group that criteria usually does not apply.
The best advice of course, if you can financially afford it, is to talk with an Elder Law attorney in your local state. If you cannot afford one however here are some thoughts that might help you out.
- The “look back” period to transfer property in order to be eligible for Medicaid is five years. Most times people don’t have this option as a sudden illness appears unexpectedly. But if you think you have the time to put your home in a loved one’s name or friend before something happens that would be the best course of action.
- If there’s no one to leave the property to think of selling and using the money to sustain a lifestyle out of the nursing home and in your own control. You might be able to trade down to a smaller more accessible home.
- You might even look into the reverse mortgage programs. If you qualify the money can help you stay out of the system by enabling you to remodel accessible features and give you control and independence that would allow you to remain in your own home.
Being proactive is the only way to ensure your house and property goes where you wanted to. You can research Medicaid Estate Recovery and liens on the web to get more information. You can also go to the website http://www.swcil.org and request free information. This is a nonprofit Center for Independent living serving people with any and all disabilities. They have many resources available and are always willing to assist you free of charge.
Why is everyone in America waiting incessantly in waiting rooms? There is waiting everywhere like doctors, dentists, insurance offices, hospital procedures etc. In most of these waiting periods are not just a 10 to 15 minute wait but anywhere from 40 minutes to over 2 hours. To make things worse all waiting rooms look alike. Old magazines, a TV in the corner, chairs shoved together so you can’t move yours away from a sick person spewing cold or flu viruses on you. The TV is supposed to suck up our time but it does more harm than good by never having suitable viewing material for everyone’s different taste. The various ages alone is a barrier to consensus. The noise can be an annoying background to someone who just needs some silence and is in pain. Elevator music is not much better and will put most people to sleep.
All of us crammed in one room look like we are watching a tennis match as our heads jerk up every time the door opens and a nurse or a business person calls the next person. We sit and read, try to tune out the annoying game shows on TV and fidget in the uncomfortable imitation leather seats while anxiously imaging 100 things we would rather be doing with this precious time we will never get back in our lifetime. I’ve even tried to be proactive and outsmart them by getting the very first appointment in the morning at 8 AM and it can still take another 45 minutes wait before they finally call me. Really? The same wait occurs for outpatient procedures that they warn you NOT to be late for. A 7 AM appointment can often be delayed up to and over two hours. I don’t know what all the answers are but I have a few suggestions.
As far as improvements I think an update frequently from a “courteous” staff as to order of selection and how much longer it should be. Just acknowledgment of who you are and that you are not forgotten relieves the stress and anxiety. I also think they need a little incentive like for every 30 minutes past your appointment time 10% off of your office visit will be deducted. I bet when they see that 10% turn in the 40% they pay more attention to their scheduling and treat the customer with respect as they are the ones lining the pockets. And of course a variety of reading material that’s not just based on the physician’s hobbies and investments. Right now the burden is on the patient (the “consumer” if you will) and not the ones providing the service. In another area of business we would not tolerate this treatment in order to give them our money.