Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Got Paid To Get A Flu Shot

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a job that provides health care insurance, and, as we all know, there's a huge battle raging among the politicians over the issue of accessible and affordable health care. My health insurance company is now called Florida Blue, formerly Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida. Over the past five years, I have noticed subtle changes from year to year that have brought health care to be more about preventive care and less about healing you once you get sick. I think you'll agree that it's a lot cheaper to prevent a person from getting sick than to provide medical care, pharmaceutical drugs and, in some cases, hospitalization after they fall ill.

So, last October I received a notice from my health care provider that if I got a flu shot at Walgreen's or CVS Pharmacy I would receive a $25 Visa Debit Card to spend any way I like. I found that to be a darned good incentive for getting a flue shot! Shortly after receiving the notice I stopped off at Walgreen's and got that flu shot. It took every bit of 20 minutes from start to finish. I got the band-aid on my arm at the injection site and a heart sticker for my shirt! And, honestly? That was the last time I thought about it.

Until January, when I got my $25 Visa Debit Card in the mail! I've been carrying it around in my wallet and one day, soon, I'll be spending it. Probably on that beautiful pink Michael Kors bag I've been lusting after ...

Here we are at the end of May, and, one would think the flu season is over. But, it's not. 75% of the people in my office have been out with a bad-ass flu for the past week. I, on the other hand, feel fine. {Knock on wood!} The people who have been or are sick with flu-like symptoms did NOT get a flu shot. They pooh-poohed me when I shared the offer from our health care provider ~ they had each received the same thing in the mail. They pooh-poohed me again in January when I announced I'd received my $25 Visa Debit Card. I'm thinking they're not pooh-poohing me now as they lay suffering on their sofas with the flu, missing out on life.

I can hear you now, asking, "And, your point is?"

My point is, get the flu shot. The Center for Disease Control has a comprehensive web site with answers to any question you might have about flu shots here. And, the research to support the effectiveness of flu shots is voluminous! Flu shots prevent people from getting the flu. I ask you: who needs fever, body aches, chills and sweats, nausea and vomiting, and all the complications that can occur as a result of the flu? I won't mention the 3,300 to 49,000 deaths that occur each year in the United States, though. I wouldn't want to scare you. However, flu CAN cause complications that result in death, so, why not get a flu shot? If you don't have health insurance, they are offered free of charge at the beginning of the flu season (October) or for as little as $25. I've decided I'll get it even if I have to pay for it. I really do think it's cheaper in the long run. Don't you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Animal Cruelty

I discovered this picture on Tumblr yesterday. I was so disturbed by it that I downloaded it so I could study it more closely. I know that mice and rats are intelligent, but I have to ask: is this real? And, if it is real, who taught the mouse how to hold onto the swing? And, is this the right thing to do?

I am a regular donor to the Humane Society of the United States because they fight animal cruelty on so many levels. I came to HSUS because of the Canadian seal slaughter each spring ... an issue that HSUS has worked diligently to end. Then, I learned about the other work that they do. Rescuing animals from hoarding situations (dogs, cats, birds, exotics, etc.) and finding them new homes. Lobbying for legislation to put regulations in place for puppy mills, as puppy mill owners are among the worst abusers of animals I have heard about, breeding dogs to make money, with no regard for humane treatment of the animals. There's the dog fighting and cock fighting ~ issues that HSUS has achieved success with recently. And, the treatment of farm animals ... chickens, pigs and cows ... working with professional farmers and legislators to bring about compromise for the humane treatment of animals that we use for food.

So, back to the mouse in the swing ... is this cruel?

I cannot say for sure. There's no question that it is a startling and adorable photograph, but I wonder about the little mouse. His eyes are dilated and his ears are tucked down. In most animals, this is a sign of distress. So, I ask you: is this a good thing?

I say, "Poor little mouse." And, I wonder what is wrong with the person who took the picture ...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Picture = 1,000 Words

Now, looking at this just makes you smile, doesn't it?
And, this one? Makes you smile. Right?
What would YOU think if you found a baby deer on your bed?
There's nothing cuter than baby ducks. And, when you're working so hard
to get your ducks in a row, an image like this can be a visual inspiration.

I have been social networking the past month or so, and not much blogging. Work's sort of had me in a vise grip, too, what with Earth Day and me being an environmental educator.

So, while I'm still musing on what to write about here, I'll leave you with some pleasant images to evoke a smile. I read somewhere that just looking at pictures of kittens can lower your blood pressure. I don't know if it's true, but it's a terrific idea!