Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Aw, Nuts!

This public service announcement brought to you by a food that is high in protein and an all around good snack, possibly even a meal depending on how veracious your appetite. Weight Watchers recommends them as do many other food plans. And yes, if you are a vegetarian it is completely OK!

Tips on perusing nuts
  • Per my unofficial Twitter survey (on twitter I am @menacingpickle) it seems Salt & Pepper Nuts are the way to go.
  • I was told that Macadamias are a "party in your mouth" too. The user experience was submitted by someone who was admittedly new to nuts. Having just introduced them into her diet about two weeks ago, she may have that new-nut feeling.
  • As long as you go with Salt & Pepper nuts in nice packaging they should be flavorful.
  • The salt helps offset the texture of the nut nicely.
  • A good Salt & Pepper nut has a ripe flavor and is attractive to look at.
  • Look for mature packaging as a sign of a well cared for Nut.
  • Try and stay away from dancing cartoon characters in the presentation if what you want is sophistication.
  • If it is well packaged it is more than likely not bruised or damaged in some way.
  • You can find nicely packaged nuts at many high end establishments.
  • I would stay away from nuts at gas stations and convenience stores. You never know how long they may have been sitting around, they could have a strange flavor and possibly even an odor to them.
  • Also keep in mind that nuts can be an acquired taste. They can drastically change texture the more you work with them, so if you find you don't like them at first you can try them a number of ways.
  • Try handling your nuts to achieve different textures from course to smooth. The more you handle them the smoother the texture.
  • You can also try mixing your nuts. Alternate between exotic ones and more run of the mill varieties.
  • Try acquiring nuts from different locations for a more extensive variety. Ethnic establishments are a great way to experiment with new nuts of varying types.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why I sound like a frog and other useful facts

Lately I have been plagued with questions about my voice. Possibly, I am hitting another stage of puberty in my 30's. More likely it is because I managed an upper and lower respiratory infection that seems to have rendered me Jessica Rabbitish. And so begins the reminder of why I hate health care.

Menacing Pickle now exists with two main purposes. One, to bring awesome, safe clothing to kids and parents. And two, to pay for my medical costs. The second, I am not currently achieving. I don't know that Trump could achieve it.

I am medicare-D eligible which means I can get my medications "paid for" through the government medicare program. I say "paid for" loosely because they don't pay for them. No, really. If you are taking a low cost antibiotic I think it is covered, but anything expensive and you can expect a big, fat rejection. Lupus medications are for the most part borrowed from treatments for other diseases because other than Dr. House there is no Lupus awareness. And because the medications are not dedicated to treating Lupus, Medicrap doesn't have to pay for them. It's in the fine print, trust me.

So I pay about $700 a month for the privilege of being a part of private insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Greater Hell) so that I don't pay out of pocket for these drugs. It enables me to be part of a standard tiered drug plan that I like to call; tier 1 pocket change, tier 2 a fine meal, tier 3 get the hell out, and tier 4 the price of human trafficing. Yeah, I have done the that means $700 is less than I would be paying out of pocket. So I do it.

Do they happily take my money and insure me? Don't be silly. Because I am eligible for Medicrap D I am being told they don't have to cover me. Because our fine government health care will pick it up, I am their problem. Even though they won't. So I can't get covered under Medicrap and I can't get covered under private insurance because Medicrap exists. Yay.

Even better, every time I fart at a medical professionals I get the privilege of paying between $20-$45 copay even though BCBS isn't paying a dime. Why? because as long as you have private insurance regardless of what they pay out you are legally responsible for the co-pay. Even if the co-pay is more than they paid the doctor, blood lab, nurse, or padded room rental I am going to need. And furthermore all involved who are collecting my money are not paying my doctor's, so don't think they are getting rich. They aren't. They get my co-pay and that's about it at this point. Only the health insurance is collecting the big bucks.

Where does this leave me? Aside from the tapeworm I am probably festering from eating so much boxed macaroni and cheese to get by, there's more. I like to make sure I have the ebola virus before I go to the doctor. I know, wouldn't it be easier to get the sniffles and have it checked out? No, it really isn't. So that I can save my co-pays which can equal hundreds of dollars a month when you have to see a bunch of specialists for management of a multi system disease I like to make REALLY sure I have a doctor worthy plague before I go see someone. I have now had the pleasure of hearing comments from them like "you waited 'til blood shot out your WHAT before you came in today?" and "you are aware the wheezing sound is oxygen unsuccessfully reaching your body?" I sometimes when I ask them if they could wave the measly $20 so I will feel encouraged to come to followup appointments for my various plagues, they do it. Because generally, medical professionals don't like to see people suffer more than they like to earn money. Even though no one has the right to ask that your services be given for free.

And enters patient assistance medication programs. Oh, you know them if you have ever seen television. After prescription ads talk about the side effects of "Happy Barf Pill" it quickly says "if you have trouble paying for your medications please contact Happybarfpill for help."
I called them. I figured if nothing else they could help name my tapeworm (he responds to Bill). Who is eligible for patient assistance? Only people who have no kind of insurance. So I tell them all about how none of the insurances want to cover me and they tell me to "cancel all my insurance plans so that I am eligible for patient assistance." In doing the math, I could probably take my $700+ monthly to a casino and come out ahead rather than pay for insurance. So I consider it. And I consult Bill who is now requesting ketchup on his Mac and Cheese. And then they tell me "if you are eligible for Medicare D you can't qualify for patient assistance." So who qualifies? I don't know. It's not me. It's not a lot of people I know. It's probably not you either if you suffer from a chronic disease because I could wallpaper my neighborhood in similar stories.

Additionally, I am kidding about the tapeworm but not the other horrors contained in this post.