Wednesday, January 28, 2015

tragedy

Last night my Facebook feeds were filling up with posts and newslinks from home, as there was another gas explosion.  I should say "gas explosion" and not "another" as the last one was almost 25 years ago when I was in high school. But I've not forgotten it. I still remember the blast, how our house shook, how we thought it was a train that derailed and crashed, and then the fear and concern as we heard sirens coming near our house, stepped out side, and saw the flames reaching up above the tree tops. An older couple died, one immediately, one later.  To this day gas makes me a little nervous.

As the night wore on and more details became now, I heard that three workers from Cordova's utility company were injured. Found out this morning one of them was a classmate from high school. The hospital kept him overnight for observation. The last time I saw him was at our one and only reunion a few years ago, and he was sharing his fears from the day the two tornadoes hit our small town.  As I look at the photo below, from www.abc3340.com, I'm reminded that none of us are promised tomorrow, or even the next minute.
Cordova Gas Explosion

Praying for my hometown today - for those who had not heat for a while due to gas cutoffs, for those living nearby whose homes were damaged, for the grieving families, for the injured workers, and the firemen who worked the scene. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

perspective

Two things I have always enjoyed doing are going to Estate sales and sorting through pictures. But lately both of those things are becoming not quite so fun.

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine didn't have a camera, and I asked her about it. (I was always taking pictures of everything and everyone.) She told me that her parents held an antique store and often were invited to sort through homes after people had died and the remaining relatives had taken all they wanted. Pictures were one of the things that often got left behind. She said you wouldn't believe the number of photos that got thrown away. I've tried to be a little more selective in what I take and what I actually print (printing and digital photographs...that's a whole separate blog post!) since that conversation, but I still take a LOT of pictures.

During Mom's surgery and over Thanksgiving, we tackled the boxes of photos Mom has, trying to sort them into ziplock bags by years. In four days of work, sometimes with three people working, we only emptied/organized three boxes. My sister and I tossed quite a few (when Mom wasn't looking). And now I'm trying to place some of the ones I had sorted years ago into albums. I've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot to do.

And estate sales...lately I'm finding the same thoughts running through my mind at estate sales as when I sort through pictures - this will be my stuff some day. I like to think that before I die I can downsize and sort through and give away or sell most of what I have, but the reality is that may not happen. And since we don't have children, there's not likely to be anyone who would really want what I have. I can hear my nephew now. She STILL has that television?! It's a 100 years old!!! Take that to the dump! Although there is one advantage to having a television that is over 30 years old (and still working fine)...thieves don't want it! :)

I know some of these thoughts came about when I helped a friend and then my sister move last year. It really made me think about how much stuff I have and what will be done with it when I'm gone. And that's not a bad thing. I've done a lot of cleaning and organizing since that time, and plan to do a lot more before the year is out. And I'm slowly tackling projects that I had put aside for "the future".  That time is here, and it is quickly marching past.

Monday, January 26, 2015

paperwork, heartache and headache

My cousin Rachel, in her early 30s and mother to two, is fighting with insurance...to have her reconstruction surgery. No one at that age who has lost her mother and grandmother to breast cancer, has faced a stage 3 diagnosis, has endured a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and is now dealing with the side effects from those treatments, should have to fight and refile paperwork just to have her ports removed and breasts reconstructed. Friday she found out that the insurance was denying the procedure for the 2nd time in five months. The first time they said her "application" was never turned in; the second time they said the paperwork proving her radiation treatments were over was not submitted. My heart hurts for her. Incompetence on anyone's part is not something you need to contend with while you are recovering from a cancer ordeal.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to our country if doctors refused to deal with insurance companies at all, and you paid a set fee for medical services, just like you would when visiting a grocery store or department store. My cousin who works on hospital equipment (he's a mechanic for MRI and other such machines) says the technology is so far advanced that no one would ever be able to pay for it. He's probably right, but I can't help but think there has to be a better way than what we are doing now.