Jan 19, 2010


It was in September of 1999.  I was staying with my father, helping him, and him helping me, when I developed what we used to call women's problems.  I had just had a DC and came home.  Lying on my bed, my sister Geraldine stuck her head in the door, and said, "Do you want this?"  I said, "What?" and she placed a small grey kitten on my chest.  Of course I went crazy over him, and said, "Yes, yes!!"  She had found him in the FasChek parking lot.  I looked at him and decided I would name him Roscoe.

He turned out to be one of the smartest cats I ever seen.  He was adventurous, but cautious in his own way.  He soon became the king cat in the house.  My father's cats, Barney and Clyde, and LuLu Bell looked at him with disdain.  The outside cat, that one one else could touch but Daddy, chased him whenever he went outside.

I remember the day he came running in the house, meowing his head off, covered in cobwebs.  Evidently the outside cat, named Kitten, had chased him under the old smokehouse.  I laughed and wiped the cobwebs off of him, calling him my little Roscadoodle.  Daddy, who couldn't hear at all by this time, listened as I told him I named him Roscoe, and immediately said, "Let's call him Cedric."  I said ok.  So for about two years, Roscoe had two names, Roscoe and Cedric. 

He was fascinated by the Racoons that used to come up on the back porch at night and eat whatever they could find.  I would chase them off, as we left out trash cans out there.  We finally devised a way to racoon proof our trash cans, but they still visited the porch.  A few of them I got to know.  The huge mail, beautiful, unafraid.  The wiry little female who always seemed ragged and worn.  Sometimes she would bring her babies with her, and they we absolutely the cutest things in the world.  Roscoe hated them all.

One night I heard a commotion and looked out to see the whole freaking family out on the porch.  They got in a fight and ran under the porch, and Roscoe ran right under there with them.  I figured that was the last of Roscoe, but, no, he just went under to watch. 

He would spy on my brother Buddy, who he disliked, for hours.  Just sitting outside his tool shed, peaking through a crack, while Buddy went about his mechanical business.  He liked my sister-in-law pretty well, and Geraldine.  But he was really my cat.

He was so attuned to my moods.  He knew when I cried, for he would come to comfort me.  He knew when something was different, for he would come to me and tell me.  Many is the morning I have woken up with him sitting on my chest, touching my face with his paw. 

When I left West Virginia to move to Virginia I left him with  my sister for a year.  Shortly after I moved here in 2005, I lost my son, and I went back to WV when my sister died, in 2006.  Roscoe was still there, and felt so bad for leaving him there.  He was skinny, but I knew my sister had done the best she could for him.  I brought him back to Virginia with me, him in his cat carrier, meowing his head off for 6 and half hours.

He quickly established himself in the house as the top cat again.  Though much smaller than the cat my son had given me, Sasha, he bossed her around as much as possible.  Like before, if he didn't want her on the bed at night, he picked a fight with her, and ran her off.   Sometimes, though, he would spend a lot of time grooming her. 

My neighbors soon learned that Roscoe was my "little boy", and he was here for me again.  He began getting sick about three months ago.  He had stomach cancer.  I cried when he died, and I still cry when I think about him.  He was so very, very special to me.  Sometimes I still think I here him at night, but I guess that's to be expected.  When I go to the kitchen, I expect him to follow me, and watch what I'm doing. 

There are many, many more memories of Roscoe.  Such as the Christmas he spent jumping in and out of the Christmas tree, until me and Daddy had to secure it to the wall.  Actually, Daddy's last Christmas.

I love you Roscoe, and I think there must be a special place for you somewhere.

Roscoe Cedric

September 1999-January 2010

Jan 16, 2010

Health Reform Subsidy Calculator -- Premium Assistance for Coverage in Exchanges/Gateways

Health Reform Subsidy Calculator -- Premium Assistance for Coverage in Exchanges/Gateways

Here's a handy little tool to help you figure what coverage you would receive under either the Senate bill or the Congressional bill. Hopefully, something will pass, and become a reality for all the people who cannot afford health insurance, or can't get through their employers.

My friend Roger's hospital bill, just one of them, for his stay in Sentara Hampton Medical Center was for 210,000. It was paid for him by a state program for uninsured people with little or no resources. But think of that bill...kind of frightening.

Jan 15, 2010

New from the home front ( Or how I spent Christmas in the hospital)

I woke up about 4:30 am Christmas morning with chest pains.  I have angina, due to a blockage in my arteries, that my insurance does not deem severe enough to mess with.  Anyway, I went through the drill, one nitro under the tongue every five minutes until the pain stops, or call 911.  I called 911, mainly because I was getting sick to my stomach.

At the hospital, I got to a room pretty quickly, and everything seemed normal.  I had a stress test on the 25th, and I guess I passed it, for I went home that evening.  I understand that during the holidays the staff is reduced, and sometimes the best you can do is give everyone a slap and tickle, but I kind of felt there was a rush job in my case.  The doctor I saw gave me some more blood pressure meds, and sent me on my way.

I saw my regular doctor on an unrelated matter, and when I told him I had been to the hospital he got a little pissed because he had received nothing from the hospital, said hospital not being part of his medical group.  So, he ordered his own tests, a little more complex this time, involving nuclear medicine. He also gave me another blood pressure pill.  Now I'm taking three.

I had that test done on the 5th, but haven't heard anything from anybody about it. Maybe its just me, but I think a patient has a right to know as soon as possible if their heart is ok or not. It really helps with the stress factor.  I also don't understand that if these hospitals are HIPPA compliant, which they both claim to be, then the information is supposed to be easily accessible. You know, the "portability" part of it.

I'm still alive and kicking, but I'm scared to do my exercises.  No, really, I am.  I was really pushing myself, and was getting chest pains afterwards.

Here is another problem I see in this. If a man walks in with heart problems, or chest pain of any nature, he will have test after test to rule out a MI (myocardial infarction [heart attack]).  A woman, on the other hand, could very well have just eaten the wrong thing, or, perhaps she is of a nervous nature. I don't know if more men die of heart attacks than women, but I know heart disease is the number one killer of women.  Of course this number is based on all women who die of heart problems, from 1 to 100 in age. So, the statistics are a little flawed from that standpoint.

In the same way that breast cancer deaths are based on all women, from ages 1-100, noting that breast cancer becomes more prevalent the older you are. We still on the same page?

Anyway, I am alive and well, thus far, but getting used to the new meds.  I did a drug interaction search at, and found out that SSRI's are prone to inhibit the elimination of blood pressure medicines because they are both metabolized through the P450 pathway 2D6 in the liver.  Meaning, they stay in your body longer.

I'm going to get maybe some angry comments from men about how they are treated differently in regards to heart problems.  But it is not my intention to negate in any way the treatment they receive.  I just wish more women were treated the same way.

For example, my young friend, M., went to the emergency room, as she could not get her breath.  Her heart rate upon arrival was 43. Of course they started scrambling, as this is unusually slow.  There course of treatment?  They gave her a shot of addrenaline and sent her on her way.