Posts tagged: wellbutrin

We Need Healthcare Reform Now

The U.S. Capitol Building

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama’s speech last night to a joint session of Congress was amazing. He is such an eloquent speaker. From the beginning of  his speech to the end, he spoke directly and clearly to Congress and the American people about what was needed to reform health care in America. It’s time for our elected officials to get behind the president and enact health care reform.

All of the other major industrialized countries in the world can’t be wrong. Citizens of the United States shouldn’t have to go bankrupt or lose their home because they get sick. It is time for the Republicans to shut up and do the right thing for their country.

The idea that the Republicans would lie about and fight against health care reform so that they could “defeat” the president is despicable.

In an interview with the Huffington Post last month, Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California said, “I think they have made a political decision that their best chance to pick up the Congress and to get power again is to be able to run in 2010 and say that Obama didn’t accomplish anything. And they are doing their best to make sure that happens.”

I was going to call Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, who shouted “you lie” at the president at one point during the speech, a “little weasel”, but I’m not. Maybe he is taking Wellbutrin to help him quit smoking and it’s making him a little paranoid. I was trying to quit smoking a few years back and was taking Wellbutrin. It made me paranoid and sometimes I would yell things out. I stopped taking it. As far as I am concerned, it would have been appropriate for the Sergeant-At-Arms to have removed him from the room.  I would have loved to have seen that.  Where was Wilson when Bush was lying to Congress about going to war with Iraq? He is more worked up about health care reform and illegal immigrants than he was about war. From what I have read, we are already giving free medical care to illegal aliens. If you have a medical emergency and show up at a hospital, the doctors have to treat you.

Cell phones and Blackberries should be banned from the room when the president is speaking. Republican Eric Cantor from Virginia could be seen playing with his Blackberry during the president’s speech. How disrespectful.  What could possibly have been on his Blackberry that was more important than what the president was saying? What? He should start paying more attention to what Barack Obama is saying and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner.

John Boehner, a Republican Senator from Ohio, was sitting right next to Cantor. They are the dynamic duo of the Republican party. They just say no to anything the president wants to do.

It wasn’t always so. Republicans were not always obstinate jackasses. Republicans have actually supported some important pieces of legislation in the past. Eighty-one Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for The Social Security Act of 1935. Fifteen voted no and 4 didn’t vote. The Democrats voted 284 yes, 15 no and 20 didn’t vote. The Senate vote was Republicans, 16 yes, 5 no and 4 not voting. Sixty Democrats voted yes, 1 no and 8 didn’t vote.

Many Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The House vote was Republicans 138 yes, 34 no, Democrats 152 yes, 96 no. In the Senate the vote was Republicans 27 yes, 6 no, Democrats 44 yes, 23 no.

It actually is possible for our elected officials to do the right thing and vote their conscience and not their party.

I don’t understand the rabid hatred that some elected officials have for President Obama. How can Republicans like former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa spread lies about “death panels?”  It is the same mentality that allowed Bush and Cheney to start the war in Iraq. It’s obvious that lies are being told and that the emperor has no clothes.

The Republican party needs to come to its senses and support meaningful legislation to move this country forward in a positive direction. They can’t just sit back, do their best to thwart the president and hope he fails so that they can reclaim the White House in four years. They supported tax cuts for the rich. That was the first thing Bush did when he got elected. That is one of the reasons the deficit is so big today. They supported starting a war in Iraq that we didn’t have to fight. That was another unfunded, shameful, budget disaster. We can waste a trillion dollars on a needless war, but we can’t provide health care for our citizens. That would be too much like socialism.

Doctors today, with all of the  technology, drugs and knowledge available, can do some amazing things. I know. I have been a beneficiary of  some of that advanced care. I’m glad to still be here. At the time I worked for a great company that provided one of the best health insurance packages in the world. I don’t think I ever had to pay a bill except for small co-pays at the doctors office. I don’t work for that company any more and I buy my own health insurance. It’s not as good as what I had when I worked for the world class company.

If something happened to me again today, I know that I would have to pay out a lot of my own money. Perhaps if the members of Congress had to buy their own insurance and didn’t have a taxpayer paid plan, they would be more interested in reforming health care. Your health care shouldn’t be dependent on where you work or what you do.

Although I remember when they did, doctors don’t make house calls anymore. Health care has changed dramatically since Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Party Platform of 1912 mentioned it. Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to create a national health care system in 1935 when Social Security was started, but couldn’t do it. President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton tried to get health care reform passed in 1993. They were shouted down by the same mentality that is trying to shout down reform today.

Daniel Gross wrote a great article on Slate called, “The Private Option.” The subtitle is “Employment-based health insurance is in big trouble, but don’t blame Obama.” In it he says that 29% of Americans already get their health insurance directly from the government (people on Medicare, Medicaid and members of the military). That figure doesn’t include teachers, state workers, county workers, city workers, and town and village workers who get their insurance indirectly from the government, but still paid for by taxes.

On September 8, 2009 in the New York Times, Paul Krugman, one of my favorite writers, wrote a column called, “Why the public option matters.” The health care reform bill must contain a public option. Anything less will not be real reform.

It’s absolutely crucial that the reforms that President Obama outlined in his speech last night are implemented. The American public must win this fight over the special interests and lobbyists who want to defeat health care reform. Contact your Congressman and Senators and let them know that you support President Obama.

I support Barack Obama and I commend him for fighting for health care reform. You should too.

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote a column for the New York Times called, “Let Congress Go Without Insurance” on October 7, 2009. Take a few minutes and read what Nicholas Kristof has to say.

How To Quit Smoking Today

No Smoking Sign

I quit smoking on January 8, 2001. I smoked for 31 years. I am going to tell you how I did it so that it might encourage or inspire you to quit too. Sometime in December of 2000 a co-worker asked me if I wanted to make a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking. I said yes, I’m ready to try to quit again.

He picked January 8th as the quit date. It was the Monday after the first of the year. I bought a box of patches. I also had two people in the office who encouraged me to quit.

On the morning of January 8th, I put a patch on my arm and went to work. My fellow quitter continued to smoke and did not make any attempt to quit. As far as I know, he still smokes. I just stuck with it. In the office, my two friends kept encouraging me and congratulating me on how well I was doing. After two months, I decided that I could stop wearing the patch.

I’m not sure how I knew that. I just thought that I was ready. I saved the last one and carried it around with me wherever I went. Just in case. I never used it and eventually stopped carrying it around.

I am so glad that I finally quit smoking.  I always thought that even if I could quit, I would always want a cigarette. That has never been true. I have no desire for a cigarette at all.

Every once in a while (once a year?) I think about it and it passes in a few seconds. I am around smokers all the time and it doesn’t bother me. I wish I had never smoked that first cigarette. You don’t need cigarettes and they don’t do anything good for you.

Smoking is just a terrible addiction and you don’t really understand that until you quit. If I can quit smoking, you can too. I smoked constantly. I never went anywhere without my cigarettes. They ruled my life.

At one time, some people thought that going “cold turkey” was better than using a nicotine substitute to quit. I just suspected that or sensed that from some people. They thought that you were somehow a better person if you quit “cold turkey” and less of a person if you used a substitute. That’s a bunch of nonsense anyway. It is perfectly acceptable to get help to break your addiction. Six months after you quit, it won’t matter anyway.

I started smoking in 1969 when I was 16 years old in high school. I had very bad acne in my teenage years and thought that if I smoked I would eat less candy. That was pretty stupid logic, but I was a teenager. I didn’t inhale the smoke when I first started, but eventually someone taught me how. I still remember where I was when I learned that. Also, when I first started inhaling, I got dizzy from the smoke. I guess I thought that was a good thing at the time. My school actually had a smoking area in the parking lot where you could go and smoke. I remember being dizzy for the beginning of my first class after lunch.

My first attempt at quitting came when I was in my twenties. My father always encouraged me to quit. He read about a Dr. Funk in Philadelphia who had been to China and brought back a form of acupuncture to help people quit smoking. A group of us, including my father who didn’t smoke cigarettes, went to the hospital in Philadelphia. We listened to a short lecture and then had a surgical clip placed on our ear. It lightly pinched for a second while going on, but all in all it was relatively painless. For me, it was quite amazing. Wearing that clip just killed my desire for a cigarette. I did not want to smoke anymore.

I wish I could have left it on forever, but I went back to the hospital to have it taken off after a week. That was the prescribed amount of time to wear it. Supposedly, the nicotine addiction was broken after a week and the device was no longer useful. The first time I ended up quitting for a couple of weeks. This stop smoking technique was soon offered at other hospitals. I tried this method two more times over the years. It was always a good way to kick start a quitting program. I knew that I wouldn’t want a cigarette for the week that it was in my ear. The rest was up to me.

I tried cold turkey a few times too. Merriam-Webster defines “cold turkey” as the abrupt complete cessation of the use of an addictive drug. Once I quit for three months and I thought I had my smoking addiction beat. I really felt bad smoking again after quitting for three months.

I chewed Nicorette gum for a while too at some point. I don’t remember how long I was on that. It was probably at least a month.

When I finally quit for good using the patch, I also took Wellbutrin for the first week. I talked to my doctor and he wrote me a prescription. I was a little crazy on Wellbutrin and stopped taking it after a week. It made me paranoid and I would occasionally shout things out for no apparent reason. That wasn’t good and I stopped taking it.

I was a little angry at the fact that I had to pay so much for the patches. I figured that I had paid so much in cigarette taxes over the years that the patches should be subsidized by the government or the tobacco companies. No such luck. The Marlboro Man wasn’t going to help me quit. I’m glad I invested in the patches though. I have saved a lot of money over the past eight years. At $4.00 per pack, 365 days a year times 8 years, I saved $11,680. I smoked more than a pack a day though usually, so I saved even more.

Some friends of mine have used Chantix to quit recently. I have never used it, but they recommend it. It’s worth looking into.

A recent story in the New York Times says that most people attempt to quit 8 to 10 times before they are successful and that 21% of the U.S. population still smokes. That is way too many. If you have tried to quit before and failed, it is worth it to try again.  Do it today. Right now. You don’t want to be the last smoker in America do you?

Decide which nicotine replacement method you want to try and get a supply of them. Find a friend or co-worker and ask them to support you. Throw those cigarettes in the garbage where they belong. Let’s put the cigarette makers out of business due to lack of interest in their evil product.

I didn’t know that my last attempt to quit was going to be successful. I just knew that I wanted to quit because it was so bad for my health. Keep trying. You can do it.

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