Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Health Care

Via Pandagon, I discovered that Mexico has been implementing socialized medicine to impressive results (and hopes to be fully socialized by 2010). This is good for Mexico, and an embarrassment to the United States. Mexico has a less developed infastructor, fewer resources, more poverty, and still has better health care then we do.

This is especially biting (pun intended) to me. You see, I have a toothache. A very bad toothache, that I've had since last Friday. If I don't take ibroprophen every 4-6 hours, I have a pain that starts out as a low throbbing centered around my tooth. It then goes to an aching around the side of my jaw. If left to it's own devices, I starting getting pulsing pain around my tooth, an aching jaw, and shooting pain by my temple.

I know this, because every night for the last 4 nights I've been woken up by this. I then have to take more pain killers, and wait for about an hour for the pain to receed why they take effect. I suck on ice during this time to numb the nerve endings, and that does a little to stop the pain.

I have no dental insurance. I was covered under my parents dental insurance up until my 22 birthday (which was less than a month ago). I didn't know this until it was almost my birthday that I was losing it.

I've made an appointment, and they can't fit me until next Monday. They've already warned me that it's going to be about 145 dollars just to find out what's wrong.

I can't afford this. I'm swimming in debt and there doesn't look like there's anyway to to get out. My parent's won't help me: they think that I should have gotten a dental appointment in the week that they discovered that I was losing it (which was impossible), and they can't afford it much more either.

I don't know what to do. I can't keep taking pain killers forever, and if it's a root canal or something I'm completely fucked. It makes me want to weep, out of pain and frustration. My credit card is maxed (textbooks) and I already owe my friends 650 dollars (Not that much when you factor in that flying is about 230 dollars per hour).

I'm mad at everyone and everything. I'm made at my parents for not even having the decency to fill out the goddamned FAFSA so I can get some financial aid. I'm mad at them for not trusting me enough to co-sign for student loans so I have a lovely 14.75 intrest rate. I'm mad at the weather for making me so far behind flying, and at my body for not being healthier. I'm mad at UND for serving us food that's all starchy and sugary shit. I'm mad at a country that doesn't give a damn that most of its citizens have no health insurance.

I work, but I don't get paid much and I can't work that many hours because I have to have an open schedule for flying. I wish there was a job I could that had flexible hours, but there isn't. I don't get health insurance on my university job.

Worse, I'm exhausted and in pain, and if I don't get weathered, I'm flying anyway today. I'm so far behind that I don't have a choice.

I wish there was something I could do. But I guess I'm just going to have to borrow more money or something, because I'm all out of ideas.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

UND: bloodsucker

I think that the University is trying to leach every last cent of future money they can from me. Specifically, I think they are trying to punish me for hanging out with my boyfriend.

Let me explain: here at UND we have a parking problem. That's nothing new or unique; from what I understand most universities have a parking problem and this has been a topic of contention since I've been a freshman (and according to my cousin, for a lot longer).

For the most part, I haven't complained. I tried to go my freshman year without buying a parking permit, but it was impossible (and of the streets anywhere NEAR here you can't park on 7 days a week). Yes, it was a bit annoying to have to walk 4 blocks away to get to my car at night, especially when it's so freezing here for half the year, but you deal.

But it's becoming too much. I've already racked up 190 dollars worth of tickets, and I've had enough (and only half of which I "deserved").

First and foremost, parking permits are 50 dollars this year. My freshman year (3 years ago) they were 43 dollars. (As a side note, my raise as a student employee during that time has gone up 50 cents an hour). But, aside from the fact that the price has gone up at much higher rate than my paycheck, the number of parking spaces has gone down, and I haven't seen the parking areas being maintained. They are building a parking garage on the east side of campus, which will hopefully help this (in a few years). HOWEVER, they put this parking garage in a rather silly spot (it would have made more sense to make it centrally located: behind Tabula would have been nice) and this means those of us who are shelling out 50 bucks have LESS parking spots than what we did last year, for more money. The parking lot behind Tabula is still not paved, and if you live at Johnston/Fulton/ Smith dorm you have to go through an unlit area to get to your car.

I didn't (and still don't) have 50 bucks for a parking permit. "Shoestring" budget doesn't begin to cover it. Here's what I have received tickets for:

15 dollar ticket: Service vehicle area for longer than a half hour. This ticket was at 6 PM, and I was unaware that it was timed after that. This is an unmarked parking spot.

5 dollar ticket: Parking over a half hour at half hour zone. I had my car in the Memorial Union Parking lot to talk to student government. This took me longer than a half hour, so in that time, I went and moved my car to another parking spot in the same parking lot. I was still ticket

25 dollar ticket: no permit shown in a G lot. This was Saturday at the airport: I missed the shuttle to the airport and was running late. I didn't have the permit because I couldn't afford the permit in the first place.

Three 25 dollar tickets: For being in the visitor's lot for more than 3-days. The visitor's lot in question is my boyfriend's place (he lives at on-campus apartments). At no point have I ever been in that visitor's lot for 72-consecutive hours.

Of those tickets, the 5, 15, and two 25 dollar tickets have doubled because I couldn't pay them within 14 calendar days. 190 dollars total (to date), and will probably continue to go up because I don't get paid.

I'm appealing all of these tickets: even the ones where they have me to rights (such as the one at the airport). Not that it makes much of a difference: there is no clear procedure for appealing the tickets, and it's highly subjective: there are no precedent for whose tickets get overturned and those who don't. I also am getting the distinct impression that the parking enforcement officers are following me: I see the same parking officer at least 3 times a day.

I can't pay for the permit, I can't pay the fines, and I sure as hell can't pay the doubled fines. I don't know what the university expects from the students: we pay through the nose to not be able to have a parking spot anywhere near our actual classes in one of the coldest universities in the world, and then charges us extra when we're strapped for cash.

This has to stop. The parking areas should be clearly marked and the fines shouldn't double; or at least there should be some way for someone who can't pay the ticket right away to defer it with out the price increasing. I've decided to write an article for the Dakota Student, and pick a whole bunch of appeals forms. Every time I see a ticket on someone's windshield, I'm going to put an appeal paper underneath it with instructions on how to file for appeal. There needs to be some sort of written protocol for the appeal's process, and one should be able to file them online. Until that happens, every single student should file an appeal. If they are going to waste our money, we should waste theirs.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Asshole Doctors, a Conclusion

Last week, I talked about my misadventure with an Asshole of the Medical Profession. This doctor, instead of listening to me and treating my problem, was much more interested in a (non-existent) fetal life and berating me for having sex. The nurse was much more helpful, helping me get my medication and telling me what would happen.

After I got my medication, I walked out to my car and found my boyfriend, looking worried, who ran up to me and hugged me really tightly before chewing me out for not waking him up. I told him what happened, and he got even more upset.

"I've had a UTI before" he said. "I could have told you what it was, and then you wouldn't have had to worry about it".

I was too tired to argue with him, and he was right anyway. I bought some cranberry juice (*sidenote* The nurse had recommended it. I still don't like cranberry juice), took my medication, and started calling up TAs to let them know I wasn't going to be in class (or lab). After I stopped feeling like I was pissing mustard gas, I did go and get a pregnancy test (that was, of course, negative).

The point of this little rant, besides to point out a particularily hideous kind of asshole, is that this wouldn't have happened if the doctor didn't think that shaming me about my sex life was more important then my health. This should have been a 10 minute, minimal stress process. Instead, it was long, humilitating, and high-stress, that still ended up showing more concern for a fetus than for me. I don't know if the medication I got was worse for me or not, but I do know that I was experiencing pain longer than the nurse said I should. I suppose, in the long term, it didn't really matter, but it still bothers me that I didn't get the normal medication.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for doctors. I have two friends who are going through the medical programs, and I don't envy the sheer amount of knowledge they must have. BUT, I still wish that some doctors would get over their god-complex: you're supposed to heal me, not moralize to me. You aren't the moral authority in my life, and it isn't your job to be. If that's what you wanted, you should have become a religious leader (and even then, I'm very free to ignore you).