Monday, September 5, 2016


Is this the end of Fred?

As I sit here, I am typing mostly with my left hand, as my right arm is pressed against my side, an ice pack jammed in between. I feel as if a red-hot knitting needle has been stuck by Captain Ahab into the softest part of the upper arm. Nature sucks.

I was talking with a neighbor as the dogs peed, and suddenly felt this horrid shot of minuscule agony zing through me. It was centered in that tender part of the arm. I have only ever tested positive for yellow jacket sensitivity, but this seemed to have been a bee, since a stinger was left in me. One way or another, I got the sensitivity reaction. I had to excuse myself from the chatty neighbor so I could get the dog inside to howl. Me, not the dog.

No trip to the emergency department, though. Just little continuing spikes of pain at random intervals all night. Next day, the upper arm will turn into a large, hot welt, not generating enough heat to fry an egg, but enough to feel like a hard-boiled egg to the touch. The pain becomes dull, accompanied by itching. For the next three to five days, mostly itching, fading as slowly as an old actor who won't let go of the limelight. Basically, a week of discomfort, all because some little freak of nature got caught in my shirt and blamed me for it, when I didn't even see the aerial son of a bitch until it zapped me.

I know this is Mother Nature's doing. She is pissed at the piece I wrote about her stupid, stupid bugs. It's been what, three years, I think, since the last time one of these striped bastards got me, but Nature, who is a mother, suddenly decided it was time. Coincidence?

She reads my blog. I mean, I guess that's nice, but still.

I guess I ought to shut up while I'm still alive and not broke. Experience has taught me that the EpiPen doesn't really do anything to allay my reaction. I have one anyway, more as a security blanket in case my reaction has gotten worse since the last time.

Like everyone else I've been hearing about Mylan becoming the Worst Company in the World for jacking up the price of the EpiPen. Almost no one seems to have factored in the tax on medical devices that is part of Obamacare (no one but Kevin Williams), or that the FDA has all sorts of barriers preventing the sale of competing devices (no one but Megan McArdle), and no one seems to understand why Mylan and other healthcare companies have seen fit to do this---because the Supreme Court said insurance can be mandatory, that's why.

If you're covered, and we all have to be, the cost of the EpiPen will be covered to large extent and so the price hike is not so obvious when you go get one. So when your premiums skyrocket to cover these kinds of costs, you'll blame the insurance company, unless you read the paperwork (and even then you kinda blame the insurance company). So I'm surprised Mylan got caught on this gouging scheme, because it's going on all over the place and for the same reason---because government started screwing around with health insurance.

The old saw about subsidizing something meaning you get more of it doesn't apply to health as much as to health costs. Subsidize the cost of health care and amazingly, everything suddenly costs more. It is very much like the government giving money to colleges and students, and seeing a stratospheric rise in tuition.

So I hate everyone involved in this, but until the pain and itching go away, most of my hatred is directed toward the insect world. Some say Monsanto, a frequent winner of the Worst Company in the World sweepstakes, is killing honey bees and stuff with their chemicals. I urge them to focus on the wasps, but for the most part, kill all the bugs you want. I hate them. Momma Nature seems to always find a way to make more of the little creeps anyway.

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