Cookie Monster and Elmo in Wonderland

I don’t know about you, but I need something cheerful to look at lol. With the Coronavirus apocalypse upon us, I want something that will make me smile and remind me of the cute, simple things in life. So today I’m sharing a couple coloring pictures from my Sesame Street Abby in Wonderland coloring book (by the way, coloring is a great relaxing activity if you find yourself stuck at home in quarantine!).

First, we have the Cookie Monster starring as the Cheshire Cat:

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And here we have Elmo starring as the white (er, red?) rabbit:

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Medicare Fees Mini Rant

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Am I the only one that thinks it is kind of messed up that you pay into Medicare all your life, and then, when you finally get coverage (either through age or proven disability), you still have to pay monthly plan premiums, deductibles, and don’t receive even basic care like prescription coverage without buying additional plans?

I know if you are impoverished enough, some of these fees can be waived or you might qualify for Medicaid to help out, but since I am married and my husband brings home a lower, middle class income, we don’t qualify for any of that help. I can understand why some benefit recipients choose not to get married! They pretty much penalize you for it.

I’m not complaining because I am the worst off in the world (I know I’m not). I guess I was just surprised to find out what the reality of receiving Medicare coverage is actually like. It honestly isn’t much different than commercial insurance in all the ways they find to charge you more for necessary healthcare.

Poetry – Astaroth

Astaroth
Astaroth:
guidance counselor
to the fallen –
because, hey,
even demons
get discouraged.

(Note: Lately I have been reading a book about fallen angels and their mythology. I had to write something about it when I came across the information that the demon Astaroth supposedly fulfilled the role of “guidance counselor” to the other demons in hell lol.)

At Home Medical Testing with LetsGetChecked.com

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My blog gets many offers to partnership with various companies, but I am always very picky about who I will partner with. I have two important guidelines I always try to stick to. First, I will only consider partnering with companies that promote things I would actually want to use myself. Further, I want to use their product or service myself to know the quality of what I am sharing. Secondly, the product or service has to be something that fits the themes of my blog and that I believe may genuinely be useful to some of my blog readers.

Recently the home medical testing company LetsGetChecked.com reached out to me. I liked how they offer a wide range of affordable, at-home medical testing options for sexual health, both men & women’s health, and general wellness. When I saw that they offer a women’s female hormone test, I decided to give it a try since I have been wanting to get that test done but my insurance won’t cover it and it is far more expensive if I get it done at a medical center. I have the test now and will do an update post once I get the results. I am hoping the test may reveal if I am indeed dealing with early menopause as I and my doctors have suspected.

I was curious about how an at-home blood test may work, as I am no phlebotomist, but it turns out they use lancets, similar to at-home diabetes testing, so it isn’t scary or complicated at all. I am excited to get the results of my test (which will be available online within a number of days after the test is returned). All of the testing is confidential of course, so there is no need to worry about your privacy being invaded.

In the future I may try their cortisol test as well, as I have always wanted to see how high my cortisol levels are. Other tests available include STD testing, hepatitis testing, fertility/prostate tests, a variety of vitamin/nutrient testing, tests for organ function (like liver and kidney), and colon cancer, lyme disease, diabetes, and celiac testing.

I personally feel that services like LetsGetChecked.com are most beneficial for people who have had certain tests turned down by their insurance, but still want to get those tests done, or people who have no health insurance at all and can’t afford the high costs of testing at hospitals and medical centers. Additionally, some may prefer the convenience of doing it all at home and not having to deal with insurance forms, waiting rooms, and medical personnel.

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

Are You Worried About Coronavirus?

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I was just curious how many of my blog readers are concerned at all about the Coronavirus (or Covid 19 as the WHO named it). I am moderately concerned. It certainly spreads rapidly (54 countries last I heard), has a very high rate of transmission from person to person compared to many other viruses, definitely seems to be airborne, and is more serious than the flu, no matter what Trump says (the flu has a fatality rate of about .1%, where Covid 19 has at least a 2-3% fatality rate and about a 15% pneumonia/serious complication rate according to present data available).

I think what concerns me most is that America is barely testing for it, so it is hard to know how widespread it actually is. Until recently, only 3 states had test kits that actually worked, and the requirements to be tested were strict. With all the business and student travel we have back and forth from China, you have to think there were likely many missed cases. It is made worse by the fact that the illness has a long incubation period and can cause no symptoms in some people who are still contagious.

So far, all the countries who have decided to test rigorously have had rapidly rising rates of infection, usually doubling or even tripling every 2-3 days. To make matter worse, the economy is definitely being affected, with supply chain issues abounding in many industries due to reliance on Chinese production. Here in the US, we get almost all of our prescription medicines from China, which explains why CVS has already sent me “low supply” warnings on several of my meds. Luckily, I can survive without my meds for a time, but I worry for those who need certain meds to survive.

I certainly hope this concern is overblown and nothing bad really happens, but I don’t think it is a bad idea to be a bit prepared in case there are some disruptions to daily life due to this emerging pandemic. Make sure you have plenty of food and other necessities on hand in case of shortages or quarantines. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

A Couple Political Thoughts

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1) The Trump phenomenon has made me come to a rather depressing conclusion. I honestly do not think Trump is inherently more racist than many others of his social class and age, but the strong narcissist in him would do anything to please his adoring fans and many of them seem to WANT the racist rhetoric. They want someone to blame for the situation the country is in, and as always, the poor immigrants are an easy scapegoat.

It makes me rethink my own feelings about Hitler. Was he really that racist to begin with, or like Trump, was he simply a narcissist that wanted the adoration and noticed that the crowds cheered louder when he would scapegoat the Jews and other minority groups? I’ve seen some of Hitler’s speeches, and indeed, some of the loudest cheers seem to be for any kind of hatred toward the “others” as they saw them.

Is the real villain the narcissistic leaders who feed off the hate, or the cheering crowds who WANT the hate in the first place?

2) Also, as a Bernie fan, I really like Bernie – both his policies and his old-grandpa-get-off-my-lawn personality lol. BUT we must remember that it is the policies that matter most. A movement should never be about one person, it should be about ideas and goals. If we make the progressive movement about one person, or even a few people, then we risk the danger of the movement dying when those people die, disappear, or let us down in some way as most humans eventually do.

(The above are my personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I welcome discourse and even disagreement, but please keep it respectful! No name calling or personal attacks on other commenters either please!)