Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform - Check It Off The List

Its a new day in America as we finally take a significant step forward toward a more universal health care. As many of you who read this blog regularly will recall, the first posting I wrote covered health care reform (not running!?! gasp!). I believe that there are certainly portions of the current incarnation that need tweaking. And, while part was hijacked by anti-abortion zealots who care more about the unborn than the living, all in all, it will be good for America as more people get under the umbrella of health care, and will not go to bed each night deciding between bankruptcy and breathing.

The Republicans came out of the debate looking like what they are, the party of NO. No other solutions offered, no change in the status-quo, no concern that millions go uncovered. During the debate, it struck me as odd, that the party that claims to be fiscally responsible (even though they racked up the largest national debt in history) would be against health care reform, when their own Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast that the new plan would lower the deficit by over a trillion dollars over time. Doing nothing, as the G NO Ps wanted, would have had the opposite effect. So why were they against it? Anyone with a thought on this can feel free to comment, and I'll try to summarize those in the next blog posting.

My take on all of this is that we should give this new plan a chance. Its weaknesses will surely show, but so will its strengths. I have one friend, in particular, who has worked mightily for the passage. He's one of the insured, but horribly under-insured who has dealt with a myriad of surgeries and health issues over the past year. On several occasions he has called me and actually cried over the crazy bills that he has had to deal with (and again, he is insured). So last night, as the bill was going through, I called him. He and a friend were having a watch party. And, while the passage will do nothing for him in the short term, In the long run, he feels that he, and others like him will be better off.

Now on to running. I popped a couple of 7 mile runs earlier this week. Both were good, with the weather in the 50-60 degree range, and light winds. On the second run, I felt a twinge in the back of my left calf but kept on running. It was still there the next day, but I decided to do a 4 miler and see if it completely cramped up, or if it went away. Luckily, the latter event occurred. I can count on one finger the number of times working out through an injury has cured it. But this past week, the gods of running were smiling upon me. In between the 7 mile runs, I did another 4 mile jaunt. Oddly, that was the run of the week. I somehow hit a zone where I was shuffling along at about an 8 minute clip with, not a little, but absolutely no effort. The feeling lasted the entire run. True, I wasn't going fast, but I had no sensation of anything other than effortless movement and flow. Ending the run was like waking up from a great dream. There's a bit of disappointment, and you wish you could just fall back into it. I took Saturday off because we had 8 inches of snow (it should all melt away be the end of today). Sunday I set out for a shorter run due to sidewalk and road conditions - no to mention the fact that it was fricken cold. I did 3 miles through ice, slush, and pretty deep snow. So it turned out to be a good workout. I saw no other runners, which made me feel that oh-so-common blend of studly and stupid. Great weather planned for this week, so I'll be out daily.

Finally, I went to the doctor's office to get a physical last week. I hadn't had one in over ten years, and figure that everyone should get one at least once a decade. The results were good. Resting pulse, 48. Blood pressure, low. Prostate, small. Doctor's finger, large. Discomfort, normal.

It turns out, that I'm probably better (for my age) than I've ever been in my life. And I think more and more of my friends are doing things to ramp up their own health as they get a bit more conscious of their lifestyles. I know of one who is making the effort to walk to and from work every day. Those three miles will probably add years to his life if he keeps it up (I'll probably drop dead on a run after writing this...). Others are taking up running, biking, walking, and swimming. 'Cause let's be frank; 40 is the new 40. We're not getting younger. But with age comes wisdom (I love platitudes), and we can certainly apply what we know to be true, to make our remaining years the most active and vibrant ones we have ever lived.

Finally, if you missed Indian Wells, you missed some great tennis. Journeyman Ivan Ljubicic took home the prize yesterday in two, close as you can get, sets against Andy Roddick - 7-6, 7-6. Along the way to the final, Ljubicic had to knock off Novak Djokovic and Rafa. So, while there isn't a great amount of parity in men's pro tennis (with Rafa and Federer running around), it is great to see someone else win the tournament that has been called the fifth major.

C U Next week.

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