FTDO: A Message of Peace

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The Heap presents a special edition of “From The Desk Of” since I really don’t have the chance to write from work anymore. It has gotten extremely busy these days, especially now that it is the end of the year! So I’ll tell the tale from the comfort of home!

I have stories upon stories to tell thanks to the vast array of interesting people my job allows me to help through the county’s patient assistance program. But this ONE story really touched me. I mean, it absolutely makes you appreciate the circumstances I was born into, how fate had it that I was born as an American during a relatively peaceful time, and how one of my patients was born into extreme poverty in what can be considered a third world country. He grew up during a time of political unrest and ultimately bloody revolution. He lives to tell of the atrocities he has experienced.

A lot of my older patients have a hard time understanding the general process of the program we run, and what exactly is needed. Now factor in that he can only speak and understand Spanish, and confusion reaches a whole new level. Both he and his wife are recent immigrants to the US mainland, so despite their age, they are not eligible for the mainstream government programs. Fortunately, they became citizens and are eligible for these other programs directly from the manufacturers of their medication.

Now let’s pause here and think about this. How bad must things be for someone to leave their country at an old age for a land where you don’t know the language and you have absolutely nothing. You are leaving poverty for poverty essentially, and I dare say that living in an impoverished state here in the US might even be worse than that of Cuba. Obviously, it’s not a question of quality of life. While poverty is not the ideal situation to find yourself in, the US has a rich history of community service and outreach programs. Americans are typically very generous.

The problem is that poverty and dependence on the government has such a negative stigma here (and in particular these days as fiscal policy is scrutinized seemingly every hour!). The situation MUST be dire to leave a place where EVERYONE is poor to a place where not only will you be poor, but you might even be looked down upon due to stereotypic generalization. (This is a rant for another day)

My patient takes a medication called Abilify. It helps with depression, but often causes “spaceyness” and forgetfulness. We’ve faced the same problem with the Abilify program for months. They require a state Medicaid denial letter in order to receive beyond the initial shipment of the medication. So of course, we have the task of calling to remind patients that this must be done in 90 days. Needless to say, there are a good number of patients who just don’t cooperate or don’t understand.

Our patient was one that didn’t understand. So he and his wife came to the office to see what could be done. His wife’s medications were simple enough, and we haven’t really had any problems with any of her applications. But for the patient, there were still some medications pending. To make a long story short, I offered to do the Medicaid application for him online.

So we went back to my office, and we just began to talk. My patient preaches a message of world peace. It’s on the top of his prayer list, as he told me. He grew up before and during the Cuba Revolution. He was deemed as a “government asset” and was assigned clerical tasks instead of being forced to be a laborer. Unfortunately, he lost favor with one of his commanding officers and he was forced to join the military, and was given the task of digging graves as well as digging up graves in search of precious metals. It was a period of extreme fear. He would come to work one day only to learn of the government executing a coworker.

He made it through, and somehow was allowed to immigrate into the US with his wife. He was able to bring his daughter and granddaughter over, and they are all able to get by together. They were lucky, and they know it.

This all happened maybe a month or so ago. What compelled me to write about this was that he called me today to with me a Merry Christmas! And again to stress the importance of peace among countries of the world. I was very touched by this.

How can we get to a state of peace here in this world where differences are grounds for war? Is it an attainable goal? It it plausible to even depend on God / religion as a cornerstone for developing peace among peoples? Especially with the issue of “God(s)” being the very issue that many go to war for?

Can society ever become “colorblind”? This is where John Lennon’s “Imagine” makes perfect sense. All possible categories of difference would theoretically have to be eliminated. Anyone have thoughts on this issue? Does religion have to be part of a solution, or would it further hinder the process? Why does the human race place figurative values on a human life according to category?

This Christmas, spread a message of Peace, Joy, and Love.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

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FTDO: An Angry Doctor

There are daily trials and tribulations at any job. But, when you have to deal with other people, these daily challenges become a bit amplified. Today my coworker was dealing with a pharmaceutical company. She had ordered some insulin for the patient a few weeks ago and it had yet to arrive.

Upon calling to find out the status of shipment, the customer service rep gave her some lame explanation as to why the order was cancelled. And then! They requested that the doctor had to write a letter explaining why we were ordering the insulins at a separate time! Uh, because the patient was just put on the additional therapy maybe?

In any case, as the resident English major, I get to write letters. I enjoy this because for those brief minutes, I am Doctor So-and-So writing you to SHIP MY DAMN MEDICINE. So today, I was feeling rather sarcastic, and wrote up this mock draft of what I really wanted to say. (Of course the real letter is much more professional… but saying the same thing!)

To Whom It May Concern:

 This letter is in reference to product requests for my patient.

 You have got to be kidding me. I’m a fucking doctor and I need to write a letter explaining why the hell YOU guys can’t get your act together. Why do I have to sit here and write a letter explaining why I gave this patient another insulin? Because he fucking needs it! Or in medical terms, his fucking pancreas sucks ass and doesn’t produce enough insulin.

 So I’d appreciate if all of you at Novo would just back the fuck off and stop wasting my time making me write letters explaining decisions that are based off of a 250,000 education, not to mention the 10 plus years I have in the field.

 Anyway, I need to get back to actually saving peoples’ lives. Send that medication, or I will cut you.

 Please accept this letter as a valid explanation of the discrepancy, and ship the patient’s requested product upon receipt.

 

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

 The Doctor

Gets the point across rather colorfully, don’t you think?

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

 

FTDO: “Summer Days”

The first afternoon thunderstorm of the season is rolling in. I am watching it here from my office. It is absolutely magnificent. The sky grays gradually, gradually… until it is frighteningly dark.

But right now, there is only a slight, but continuous breeze, and the sky can’t decide if it really wants to aquiesce to rolling clouds. It’s bright for a second, and then dark, only for the outside world to brighten up again. I think the storm will win this battle, as it will for the next few months.

But only for a 15 minute window. The sun always makes a comeback.

I never try to run through the rain… unless lightning is striking 10 feet away. What a serene scene. The snow amplifies this feeling exponentially.

So welcome to the first T-Storm of the Summer. I’ll be watching and listening from the inside.

FTDO: “It’s Never Too Early”

To start campaigning for the next presidential election. While at The Heap we wouldn’t endanger our country by actually voting Sarah Palin into office in 2012, we would love to vote for whoever came up with the sign.

FTDO: “Wait Till I Get My Money Right”

Pandora: The Music Genome Project.

Perhaps one of the greatest cyber-inventions available on the internet, Pandora allows the average Joe to expand their musical horizons. To those who aren’t familiar with this revolutionary music player, the process is quite simple. After registering an email account, you pick an artist- any artist, and more often than not, the first song is by your chosen band. After this, Pandora (as it actually explains this to you) plays artists of similar music style! As you like stuff, you can hit the like button to ensure it stays on your “station” or dislike to ban the song (and even artist) alltogether. The online software then learns your preferences and chooses songs that you might enjoy.

My favorite stations are the “Gym Class Heroes” station, playing an awesome mix ranging from Kanye West to Lupe Fiasco and reaching as far out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the “Maroon 5” station. Also, if you are into rock/alternative stuff, the “My Chemical Romance” station is pretty sweet as well. Bachata lovers will enjoy the “Aventura” station.

The songs do end up getting a bit repetitive, and if you listen on different days, you end up hearing a lot of the same songs, just in a different order. But free music is free music. Anything is better than hearing the constant ringing of phones and the resounding clacking of keyboard strokes.

Register at Pandora so you can experience this! Feel free to share your favorite stations so that I can give them a listen. Be on the lookout for the Pandora Widget on the sidebar soon!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

FTDO: “Talking the Talk”

I just took a quiz on Facebook because I am that BORED here at work. Quizzes are much more fun than calling to enroll a patient in a patient assistance program. The results are in for my “American Accent”

Your Result: Northern Accent

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Your accent is specific to New York State, the Great Lakes Area, and Western New England.

Even more proof that Florida is the New York (state) of the South. I’m kind of glad about this. I don’t like Southern drawl at all. It annoys me. I guess that’s because I hear it at work all day.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

FTDO: “Do You Believe in Magic?”

I found this on my daily (hourly) perousings of Yahoo sports editorials and blogs.

Magic pull off cruel, nay, crafty April Fool’s joke

The Magic’s PR and Marketing team sure had some fun with April Fools’ Wednesday in Orlando. Let me try my best to explain.

Giddy with whoopee cushion excitement all night long, the Magic pretended to “trade” Dwight Howard to the Oklahoma City Thunder, “re-sign” former great Penny Hardaway, and “play professional basketball” exactly like the Washington Generals. (They nailed that last one flawlessly, falling 99-95 to the sub-sub-sub-.500 Raptors.)

But the best prank of the evening came during half-time when the Magic staff appeared to crush the hopes and dreams of one poor, unsuspecting lad. Keywords here: “appeared to” …

Similar to CollegeHumor.com’s epic prank, a blindfolded fan heaved a half-court shot that he thought was worth $100,000, and the crowd — in on the gag — went bonkers. Convinced he had just hit the shot of his life, “Mr. Lucky” celebrated wildly before addressing the crowd on a mic. “I actually just got laid off from work,” he said, “but we’re going on a trip.” (To Disney World? I don’t know.)

And then they told him it was all a joke.

Abrupt record scratch!

Jaws dropped.

Horrible, right?

Well, not really.

You see, the blindfolded fan was actually a hired actor and the joke on the guy was really a joke on the crowd, which never realized it.

Magic PR and Marketing team, 1. Fools, 0.

Upon reading this, I laughed out loud here in my office- that is, when I got to the end and realized what the deal was. Before laughing, I was saying in my head… wow, that is pretty messed up man! How could they actually do that to someone?!? There had to be some sort of settlement by the Magic if this was for real.

And then it wasn’t.

A practical joke on 20,000 people. Well done Magic, well done.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser