TLDR: I figure this blog post is going to be a long one so I thought a summary might be in order for those who have time constraints or just don’t want the long schlog. I am looking back over the three and a half year journey of this blog. I especially want to talk about what’s been happening during my long absence. I also want to highlight much of the good things that have happened since I started the blog. (the good) I want to explain what has happened to me in the last six months and why it has impacted my ability to post. (the bad)
The ‘Ugly” section is a brief (I hope) rant about some of the circumstances that have led me to my difficulties and I will be breaking my vow not to ever get political on this page. But I promise it will just be this one time. “Globetrotting Grandpa” has been and will continue to be non-partisan and apolitical (or at least 99% of the time)
Tomorrow, I want to talk about where I hope to take this blog in the future and some other travel related enterprises I am envisioning.
I almost feel like this ‘TLDR” needs its own “TLDR”
Having gotten that long introduction out of the way: Let’s Rock and Roll!
I am the type of person when presented with the option “Which do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad will always say I want the good news first. I am probably in the minority on that one. But hearing the good news first always seems to cushion the blow of the bad. And quite honestly there is a a whole lot of good that has come from me starting this blog. I know I haven’t posted anything new in about six months. I had some reposts up until March and then fell completely off the map. But I am very grateful for the continued support I have had from readers. Even without new content, I have had several readers and likes every day. In fact. I never had a day with no activity. I have over One thousand follows on WordPress and over three thousand follows on the Facebook page. I am astonished and humbled by this.
On a personal level, this blog has been a real gift to me. It has allowed me to meld two of my favorite things: Travel and Writing. If I could find a way to include music the trilogy would be complete. While the blog is generally about travel. I have included posts about popular culture, my weight loss journey and even some original poetry. (More about that in my “Future Plans section). I have loved doing this blog and it has never felt like a chore or a duty. It has been consistently been a joy. I ‘ve had a chance to become acquainted with other bloggers from all over the world. I have had readers from over 130 countries. It’s crazy to think someone in China, India, Brazil, and South Africa actually reads this. I am amazed and deeply flattered. I am deeply grateful to every single person who has read “Globetrotting Grandpa” and am excited about the future. I have never once ran out of an idea for a post and have notebooks full of ideas for future posts and files of unposted pictures too.
So if I have all those notebooks full of ideas, where have I been all these months? And why no new content in such a long time? Well, readers, welcome to the “Bad”. This is stuff I haven’t even posted on my personal Facebook page. No one except my family and a select few friends even know. But it is something I feel compelled to share. I have not been well.
In December 2021, (Christmas eve in fact), I tested positive for Covid. Being a person with a compromised immune system I was trying to be extremely careful. I wore my mask, had a double vaccine and worked from home. (Thank you to my employer) I tried to avoid social situations and keep a safe distance. (If you are anti-mask or anti-vaccine you are entitled to your opinion. I made a choice that I felt was best for my safety and well being. I believe people should be able to make decisions based on what is best for them)
Despite my best efforts I got it. It was either a family reunion or the gym as those were the only tow gatherings I was at in the days prior to getting sick. My 101 year old grandmother also got Covid and was hospitalized but recovered. That woman has amazing genetics and has been blessed with great health and mental clarity even with a century plus one behind her.
The illness was fairly mild. I felt terrible for a week or so but it never found it’s way to my lungs (Thank God) and in about 10 days I was past it. Sounds good do far right? Well a few days after, I went to the doctor just to see if everything was okay. The doctor said I seemed to be on the mend and a nurse suggested I get a flu shot to get me through the winter. I have taken the flu shot for several years and have never had any issues so I consented. Leaving the Doctor’s office, I knew something was up. My arm burned and my shoulder where I had gotten the shot was numb. The next day my left arm where I had gotten the shot was completely numb. I figured it would pass but after several days it didn’t. I then noticed all the joints on my left side (ankles to shoulder) were all sore. I called the Dr’s office to see if I could get a revisit but I was refused. At my Dr.’s the phones are manned by Nurse/bouncers. If they don’t feel your ailment merits the doctors time, they can and will decline to set up an appointment. The nurse said “It’s your left arm, you’re heavy, you’re having heart problems”.
As a heavier person I am very mindful of my heart. I have no real family history of heart disease. I have had a scan done on my heart. (Zero percent blockage) No hypertension and low cholesterol. I also had an EKG a couple times in the past year and it was always normal. The nurse said I had to go to the ER and get cleared before the Dr. would see me. So I went to the ER they ran several tests and came to the conclusion my heart was healthy. As to the numbness they didn’t have a clue and told me to go see my physician. I finally got my visit with my GP and he said he didn’t know what was going on. He gave me a prescription and said if it didn’t get any better he would need to refer me to a neurologists.
Well by now it was the end of January and no relief in sight. The pain was making it difficult to walk and my arm was constantly numb. The Doctor referred me to a Neurologist whose receptionist said would see me on the 28th of march. (two months later) I said that was awful and I was told I “should be lucky only have to wait that long” In the meantime, I got my ER bill it was nearly 2 thousand dollars. (I work full time and carry health insurance) I was overwhelmed with depression and fatigue and now debt. I got up everyday and was on my computer at the start of my work day but by my shifts end I went straight to bed. February and March were very dark times for me.
So I get to the end of March and finally get to see the Neurologist. After a brief exam, I am told there’s “something’ happening most likely a mild stroke or brain lesion perhaps. She said she wouldn’t know without running some tests. She said it would be a ‘miracle’ if insurance were to cover it. I was told it would be Autumn at the earliest IF at all before they could do the tests.
I was later told the insurance company would not pay for the tests but would help cover physical therapy. “Physical Therapy for What???” I thought. We don’t even know what’s going on. Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? I went for about two months. It cost me 200.00 a session WITH insurance and I had to go twice a week, Which added about 3 thousand more to my debts. Which brings me to the end of June. My energy is better, my arm is still numb and I can walk ok most days but have some really awful days still pain wise. I tried to get some help with the pain, but have been told continuously I won’t get help with the pain until “they figure out what’s going on” but don’t seem to be in any kind of rush to do so.
As far as the blog goes, it has broken my heart I have been so tired most days to even write anything. I had lost about 50 pounds working out in 2021 and it all came back as most days I didn’t have the energy to go to the other side of the house. And with all the pain I couldn’t hardly walk anyway.
If you have read this far, then you can probably figure out what my “Ugly” rant is going to be about. You may disagree with me and what I am going to say and I do respect that right. In fact, if your life experience has enabled you to draw a different conclusion, I am actually grateful for you. (I mean that without any sarcasm. I wish I could see things differently, but I just can’t)
“Healthcare” in the United States, Just. Plain. Sucks. It is expensive even with your so called “Health “Insurance”. It is criminal that a person’s health lies not with themselves but with a corporation that doesn’t give a rat’s rump whether you live or die. A person could have a life-threatening illness and it takes a back seat to “creating value for the shareholders”. Profitability is more important than taking care of people. I truly believe every health Insurance company should be burned to the ground. They provide nothing. Every country in the first world has National Healthcare except the US. I am just one horror story out of millions and yes, mine is relatively mild comparatively. If you are unfortunate enough to be at a church, elementary school, shopping mall or movie theater at the wrong time and someone walks in with an automatic weapon, pray to god he kills you otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life crippled with a medical debt you will never be able to pay. Medical Bills are the number one source of bankruptcy in this country. The life expectancy in the United States is 26th in the World. The United States ranks 33rd in the world for infant mortality.
It’s not the fault of the Doctors or Nurses. They work hard to provide compassionate care under very stressful work environments. It’s more of an issue of the bureaucracy we have created. My Neurologist told me candidly she’d treat me that very day if insurance would have covered the tests and there were openings at the hospital which was backed up for weeks due to Covid.
Would National Healthcare solve all our problems? No. But studies have shown it could save money and increase the quality of life. According to a study at Harvard University Nationalized Healthcare could save nearly 45K lives annually. Today due to the exorbitant costs, many people will wait until they are no longer able to withstand their misery before visiting the Drs. Then the go to the ER (which is NOT what an Emergency Room was designed for) to seek help. Often by then whatever ails them may be too far gone for preventative care. It creates more burden, more debt and runs costs up even more. National Healthcare isn’t perfect. I am sure some of the international readers to this blog can attest to that. But I dare say no one in the industrialized world envies the “system” we have here. And yes, I have an axe to grind because I am so angry at the way the Insurance company has let me twist in the wind over this. But I truly believe there is a better way. If there isn’t we can surly come up with one. I mean, we put a man on the moon right?
As far as this blog is concerned, I am grateful for ‘my good days’ and hope to resume writing regular travel related blogs again as early as next week. I wanted to include a section on my future plans for “Globetrotting grandpa” and beyond but am afraid this blog has already gotten too long and will write about my future plans tomorrow. Thank you to anyone who has gotten this far. I am deeply appreciative of you all.