Saturday, August 18, 2012

Updates 8/18/12 - Pension Prerogative

Hello everyone.

I've been pretty upset since yesterday afternoon. All is fine at school, for the most part. All is fine at home. My problem is with my medical care. See, I've been in pain my whole life, and every doctor I went to always told me the same things. I'm just trying to get attention. I'm faking it. It's all in my head. I was just trying to get medication so I could abuse it. Then I started school back in 2009 and got placed with a health center doctor I'm going to call Dr. Wall. Dr. Wall actually listened to me. He diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. He gave me medicine to help with my sleeping issues. He figured out that I had an anxiety disorder and sent me to a specialist. I could walk into his office and tell him what was going on, and he would just listen. He actually worked with me on my treatment, rather than telling me what I was going to have to do. He even gave me extra prescriptions to last me for the summer because he knew I couldn't afford to pay out-of-pocket for summer insurance. 

So imagine my surprise when I called to make an appointment and the nurse says , "I'm sorry, but Dr. Wall suddenly retired."

I cried. I actually cried from losing my doctor. Now I'm pissed off. What is going on in Illinois makes me want to slap the shit out of our government. Our government is going through a fiscal crisis, like many other states. Unlike many other states, our governor decided that one way to deal with it would be to fuck with everyone's pensions. If you didn't retire before a certain date, you had to start paying in something like double on your own pension, because the state wasn't going to pay as much as they previously had. The nurse told me that Dr. Wall's retirement was sudden and unexpected, even for him. He had waited until the last day before he could retire to make the decision. You can tell how much he cared about his patients because of that alone. 

So now I have to go to a new doctor, and I've seen most of the ones at the health center before. None of them believe me. None of them listen like Dr. Wall. None of them want to take the time to read Dr. Wall's notes. One of them almost got me killed because of that. (He tried to prescribe me a medication I'm allergic to, which would have caused kidney failure.) And now I have to pick one of them to take Dr. Wall's place. 

The psychiatrist also retired, and I don't know if they've found a new one yet to replace her. That means I may have to go off my anxiolytics (aka the medicine that stops me from having panic attacks in the middle of class and actually allows me to venture outside without freaking out) until they hire someone that can prescribe it for me.

The medical field of our school isn't the only one being affected by this pension 'grab-n-go.' My new department, Sociology, is fairly small as it is, yet we lost 3 professors to retirement. We also lost both of our administrative assistants, so we have no one to take care of sensitive secretarial issues but our already overworked and understaffed professors. We lost our department head to another state. So basically, we got screwed, like many other departments. 

Our university alone lost over 450 instructors and staff to retirement, many of whom did not want to leave. If I remember right, that's actually a double-digit percentage. 

Way to support education, you dumb fucks. Let's screw over all the professors who already have to teach and "publish or perish," the support staff who keep things running behind the scenes, and the medical professionals who keep the students healthy and sane. Yeah, it should all be just fine. 

Let's move on to the news before I have to punch something. I keep randomly starting to cry from all the extra stress this is putting on me.

-- [Charles] Milk and lemonade. These are two very common drinks in America, but in some cases, the government has deemed them contraband. Two activist groups, The Raw Milk Freedom Riders and the Lemonade Freedom Day supporters, have come together against the government's stance on these items. They are advocating for the freedom to have the choice of foods you want, not what the government says you can have. Raw milk has been declared harmful by the FDA, and lemonade stands across the country have been shut down by police. Want to know more?

-- [Charles] The Republican nominee for VP, Paul Ryan, told interviewers that his favorite band is Rage Against the Machine. Rage Against the Machine is a well-known band that takes strong stances against government action, and their politically-charged songs reflect their views. When Rage band members became aware that Ryan picked them as his favorite, it did not go over quite so well for them. Tom Morello, the guitarist, came out with strong words against Ryan, asking him what his favorite song was. "Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American Imperialism? Our cover of Fuck the Police?" He continues on, lashing out at Ryan several times in legitimate and understandable ways. This is a fantastic read. (It brought a smile to my face to see someone so willing to call him out on his crap.)

-- [Kate] In more global news, Chilean students are still fighting the government for their education. A recent attack on them by police, sanctioned by the mayor, led to the arrests of almost 140 students. Their educational system is failing badly, yet reforms are slow or nonexistent. The government is refusing to talk to or negotiate with students, and pressure is escalating on Parliament to make the changes that had been promised earlier.

-- This scathing article discusses the recent events in Oakland and Portland in regards to the groups of people attempting to free Bradley Manning. The activists have had sit-ins at President Obama's campaign headquarters, demanding that something be done to help the man who revealed some of the terrible activities the US military had engaged in. (I may, at some point, tell you my complete views on Bradley Manning. I will not do so today because it will take quite some time. In short, I believe that charging Bradley Manning with treason is simply a way to make sure that no one else tries to expose the horrible things that our military does on occasion. He is meant to be an example. If you tell me that he committed treason because what he released "could have hurt someone," I will probably laugh in your face. We do not remove the liberties of a person because something "could have happened." That is utterly ridiculous. I drive to school sometimes. I could have killed someone in a accident. Should I be in jail? If I am told a friend's secret, and it is harmful to someone else, I have an obligation to make sure that person is not hurt. Bradley Manning took an oath to protect the American people. Not the damned military talking heads. This is not the whole spiel that I have, only a shorter, irritated one.) Check out what's been going on here.

-- [Charles] Police raided the People's Library in Oakland just last week, yet it never actually stopped working. The library is now the only 24 hour library in the country, and runs with the help of not only activists, but families and other members of the community as well. They've cleaned up the area, and host a nightly potluck. They are also ready for their first community barbecue, set for today at two this afternoon. Police are still closely watching the group, but it seems that, for not at least, the People's Library will continue.

-- Pussy Riot is a band I had never heard of until this week. In Russia, the group led fans in a "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin back in March, and were sentenced to two years in prison each for "hooliganism driven by religious hatred." Marches in solidarity with the three-member band have sprung up in multiple cities and countries across the globe. Some of these protests have been interrupted by others demanding countries stay out of Russia, but for the most part, everyone agrees that the Russian government has gone too far. 


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