Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day everyone! This year I thought it would be nice to reflect on all of the good things in my life.

I am thankful for:

1. Finding a caring wonderful partner to share my life with.
2. Our five silly and loving dogs.
3. My wonderful family and friends.
4. My overall generally good health.
5. A wonderful PhD program filled with fun and intelligent people.
6. Living a financially stable life.
7. Having the opportunity to travel often and to very cool places.
8. All of the good people who do selfless acts to help those in need, whether anyone recognizes them or not.
9. All of the little things I overlook on a daily basis that make my life as awesome as it is.

Don't forget to give your thanks today!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Something to chew on...

I've got some posts abrewin' about fat/weight/social commentary coming up, but until then and to start some thinking see this short message I got via the PostSecret community email this morning:

Hi Frank~

I attended your event in Kalamazoo, MI and I wanted to share a humbling story about that night. I was sitting fairly close and there was this overweight couple sitting in front of me that were hanging all over each other for most of the event. I was so distracted by all of their displays of affection I actually started to get annoyed. I think it was partly the displays themselves, and partly the fact that they were both on the heavy side and I was being judgmental.

When you asked for people to come up to the microphones, the woman stood up and was first in line. She said, "I have always had problems with confidence, but I have never felt more beautiful and confident than when I am with my husband." She then went back to her seat and sat beside him. He put his arm around here, whispered something in her ear and kissed her cheek.

Her secret resounded in my head, and at that moment, I wished I was her. I would trade my current 125 pound body with hers if it meant I could be as happy as she. I don`t know who she was and I will never see her again, but I want to thank her for teaching me a lesson that day.

Ponder that, and I'll get back to you soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


So I realize it's been a hot minute since I have done any real posting. Things have been crazy-crazbo lately and I literally have not had a moment to think, much less sit and write. I think that things will continue being crazy at least until the first of December. I was on such a roll, I had posted almost everyday for a month! Sad.

So to bring you up-to-date on the happenings of my life it will be best to do a bulleted update!
  • I've been working like MAD on dissertation funding applications. I recently turned in a Kinsey Institute research grant worth $750, and am plowing through my golden goose grant, Fulbright-Hays, which is due December 1st (see above for why I will not be posting much). The average award for the Fulbright-Hays is $43,000 so you can see why that is running my life at the moment. IU has a pretty good track record so I'm hoping that is good news.
  • We just got back from the APHA Annual Conference. It was crazy as usual and poor Ange got sick and stayed sick the entire time we were there. But it was still a fairly decent time.
  • This coming weekend is offical Ange is moving in day. She's been living here for about 2-3 months but still has stuff at her house on the eastside. Next weekend, it's all coming here.
  • School is blah. Lots of busy work to do and soooo little interest in doing it. It will be over soon.
  • Just found out that I get to teach Human Sexuality in the spring. Very, very good news. If I had to teach Personal Hell, I mean Personal Health, again I may have dropped dead.
  • My friend Phil-Phil and I signed up for a weekly yoga class. I find it very enjoyable and it gets me off my butt and away from grants and work for at least an hour a week.
Um, I guess that's not a TON, but believe me, it feels like it. Maybe it's because the first bullet point is CONSUMING MY ENTIRE BEING. I have to get some major funding. Have to, have to. If I don't, then my dissertation will either not happen the way I want it to, or majorly suck. So let's just keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More on healthcare...

From my personal archives: an Op-Ed that never got published in our crappy paper. They'd rather publish insane amounts of coverage on the Colts and other asinine issues.

Here in the US the major arguments against drastic healthcare reform are that people refuse to wait for healthcare services and lose the complete freedom to choose a healthcare professional of their liking. This is laughable to someone who has witnessed the extreme poverty present in the majority of the rest of the world.

When we discuss our rationale against universal healthcare in the U.S, we often leave a major point unspoken. By refusing to compromise on the care we currently receive, we, who have health insurance, are saying that our own access to healthcare is more important than our neighbors’.

I have just returned from my fourth medical mission to Nigeria and I am amazed at the dialogue surrounding the topic of healthcare reform in the United States. In Nigeria the disparity between the wealthy elite and the majority of the population that is poor is most pronounced in the realm of healthcare.

There is no Nigerian national health insurance and this leads to morbidity and mortality among the poor that could easily be prevented if only affordable care were available. The poor Nigerians assume that the US, the richest country in the world, does not have to worry about such primitive medical disparities. There are some legitimate economic excuses for the many injustices that the average African faces, but how long can we American pretend that our healthcare system is a model of justice?

In the Nigerian clinic where we work people will wait an entire year for our arrival, and then wait in line in the sweltering sun and monsoon rains for five days just to be seen by our team of American doctors. If they are not able to see us during that five-day window they have to wait another year for their only chance at professional healthcare. In the U.S., we feel that our rights have been violated if we are asked to make an appointment that is more than a week out.

I have spent much time in countries where the value of a person’s life is determined by the amount of money he or she has. This is not a value I wish to affirm in my own country. When we accept that some lives are worth more than others and that certain people deserve healthcare more than others I am ashamed to see that we Americans have made the same choice as the privileged elite of Nigeria: if you can afford healthcare, life is good; if you cannot, do not bother me with your problems.

In the US we are quick to celebrate and laud the sacrifices of our men and women in the military. We talk about the selfless giving of their comforts and even their lives so that we as a country may live better lives. And yet, when asked to sacrifice some of our “rights” so that our fellow Americans can have access to healthcare, we are quick to say no. Apparently sacrifice is only required by Americans fighting terrorists.

Am I willing to sacrifice my on-demand healthcare and curtail my choice of providers? If it means that everyone in this country can have access to care without the worry of bankruptcy, ruined credit, loss of home or other negative consequences that many uninsured Americans face I know I am willing to make that sacrifice.

I consider it my patriotic duty to my fellow Americans. I want to believe that my country has a stronger sense of patriotism and justice than the impoverished countries I have visited. We are good at lecturing other countries about these principles, but it is time to live up to the standard of justice we claim to represent.