Monday, November 25, 2013

Conservative 'logic' on Obamacare

A relative has been going off on facebook for weeks/months about Obamacare.  I've stopped engaging because he is always changing the subject and is so over the top that I just got tired of it.  However, I'd really like to understand the logic, if there is any.  So, based upon his posts, this is what I understand is his thinking.

The fact that people under 27 have an option for lower price insurance under their parents plan is bad, but the fact that they don't buy insurance when they are young was okay because they shouldn't have to buy it and their irresponsibility is their problem, even though those of us who bought insurance were covering those who didn't in the past because they would usually skate on the bills when something did happen. You are also okay with the fact that if young people waited to buy insurance, they would not be able to after the fact because of the no-pre-existing conditions clauses or they often were buying cheap insurance policies that would drop them at the hint of filing a claim because of some technicality the insurance carrier found or they'd often reach their lifetime max just when they'd need their insurance the most.  
The biggest issue to worry about with respect to access to insurance is that a website doesn't work from the get go, even though folks have three months to sign up and statistics have shown that historically younger people wait until the last few weeks to sign up.  And the costs are way too high, even though the CBO, a non-partisan entity, has shown that the ACA will actually reduce deficits.  And the fact that most of the dropped policies are irrelevant to the 90% or greater that do not buy insurance on the individual market and 75% of those who buy on the individual market are eligible for subsidies does not matter because one anecdotal story or even 100 anecdotal stories are more important than the millions who have already seen the benefits of the ACA even if they are one of those anecdotes.

Am I missing anything?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I will never buy a Kenmore appliance or any other appliance from Sears again

We bought our Kenmore dishwasher in 2010.  It has now broken for the fourth time.  The interesting thing is, the same part keeps failing; however, Sears still wants to charge me for my fourth Control Panel to install myself.

When it broke the first time (13 months after we bought it, one month after the warranty ran out) in December 2011, we had an appliance repairman, whom I found on, come out and fix it because he charged $35 for the visit plus parts, while Sears wanted much more.  The other thing the repairman did was show me what he was doing so I could fix it myself if I had too.  I have degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, so I am able to understand how to fix appliances when shown.

Low and behold, eight months later,  in August 2012, the same part goes out.  I went on and found the part and ordered it myself and did the install as instructed.  It then failed another 9 months later in May 2013, so I ordered and replaced the same part again.  These dishwashers are the same as Whirlpool and Maytag brands as well, and if you do a google search on control panel failures, you can find a huge number of people with similar issues.

This brings me to last month, when for the fourth time, the control panel failed again.  I called Sears, including their executive helpline, and explained the situation, including the providing the order numbers for the multiple control panels I had ordered.  I was told, that earlier this year, Sears changed their parts warranty and instead of one year, it is now 90 days.  Hmmm, I wonder why?

The dishwasher itself cost less than $400.  I have now spent over $300 in parts, and Sears wants to charge me another $112 so I can fix it again.  My wife and I decided that even with Thanksgiving coming up and 15 people over for dinner, we can do without a dishwasher for a while.  Sears sold me and I suspect a lot of people a lemon of a dishwasher and they will not get another cent from us.

UPDATE: Sears noticed my tweet of this post and called me to offer me a brand new dishwasher at 25% off.  Wow, what a deal.  That only puts me another $200-$300 in the hole to Sears.  Are you kidding me?  I also have no guarantee that this one won't fail and if I buy a more expensive dishwasher to make sure it does not fail in the future, I will be out even more money than I paid for the original dishwasher 3 years ago.  I told them that their deal was not acceptable and I would now no longer shop at Sears.

Friday, November 8, 2013

It might not be Parkinson's causing all your symptoms

I've expressed my frustrations with my DBS not really having much affect on my gait issues.  I'm still taking my entire regimen of medications and while my tremor disappeared, I've not seen much gain in any other aspects of my symptoms.  This lead me to look at other possibilities, and low and behold, I might have found one.

About 5-6 years ago, my General Physician, found that my Thyroid function was low.  He put me on a steady regimen of Levothyroxine and checked my Thyroid levels once a year when I went in for annual physicals and basically let it go at that.  About two years ago I stopped taking the Levothyroxine.  I can't really say why, just I never really felt different taking it or not taking it, or so I thought.

I went to my GP again last week and he had my blood work done and my thyroid TH level had skyrocketed.  I had done some research before the appointment and asked both him and my neurologist if thyroid function could affect gait.  Both quickly said, "Yes!"   So, there you go, my physician re-prescribed me the Levothyroxine and I am now taking it.

The problem now is that the dosage I was prescribed was what I was taking 2 years ago.  I didn't titrate up and I am actually a mess the past two days.  However, my doctor prescribed me a lower dose today to titrate up to my old dosage and told me to call his office next week.  Why am I confident that this might be a missing link?  Ever since I started the Levothyroxine, my tremor has reappeared right after I take a Sinemet and my walking gets even worse for about 20-40 minutes.  While most folks would say that's bad, to me it says, the Levothyroxine is affecting either the function of the Sinemet or what I thought were PD symptoms but are actually Thyroid ones.  So, I'm going to switch to the titrating dosage and have my programmer readjust my program more for tremor than the gait that she was working on with me (according to her, this usually involves raising the frequency of the electrical stimulation).

My programming appointment is Monday and hopefully I'll be able to function a bit better by then, especially because I've only run twice this week and I have to run twice this weekend to keep up my training schedule.  I'll report back over the next few weeks how this new med regimen is working.