Category Archives: senior citizens

The Battle Continues…

Thyroid 2

Two days ago I started to write about my experience with being treated, or not, for hypothyroidism. For some reason it didn’t publish.  Yesterday my blog was almost finished and in switching from one site to another, most of it disappeared. I’m definitely rusty at blogging the correct way.

Whether the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were separate issues in themselves or were a manifestation of problems with my thyroid, I’ll never know. I only know doctors were throwing anti-depressants at me, giving me shots of testosterone, and cringing when I even mentioned what I thought was happening (this was the mid 1980s) was fibro and CFS. Those topics seemed taboo. Could it have been my thyroid? Nobody paid enough attention to even try to find out.

That has been my story for almost twenty five years  with fibromyalgia and CFS. It’s been almost sixty years with questionable thyroid treatment. I have had periods of being just “ok” to having major flare-ups.

Since the title of this blog is “The Battle of the Thyroid Docs” I’ll get back to the topic. A big brouhaha has been happening between the “synthetics” and the “naturals” ever since the middle 1950s when Synthroid was developed.Those of the synthetics think that T4 of such drugs as Synthroid  are the only way to treat hypothyroidism. That was the drug I was placed on in the mid ’60s and stayed on for so many years. There was never any attention paid to what I said about how I felt as long as the TSH level tests were “normal”.

With the advent of the internet, I started doing my own investigating. You know, I was the kind of patient who started asking questions based on my research. It was through that research that I found an alternative in “dessicated  thyroid” which comes from the thyroids of pigs. Those doctors I call the “naturals”. The “synthetics” call them “quacks“.

When I had to find another  yet another doctor due to constant insurance changes, I found one who finally was willing to prescribe the “natural” thyroid. I felt better but year by year I started slipping. When that doctor died I found an endocrinologist who reluctantly allowed me to stay on the Armour. He kept telling me I was “normal” because my TSH level was 4. It was ten years ago that the thyroid physicians decided the range of normal should be .3 to 3. He’s using an antiquated scale! I have just discovered all of this since my last visit. My alternative doctor talked to me about all the symptoms I have been having and told me my thyroid medicine was too low. He recommended increasing my dosage. My feelings of well-being over the past month have been a complete change but that is another day’s blog.

In researching this topic I have discovered there are hundreds of articles about thyroid on the internet. There are pages of comments from patients who fought to gain the freedom to use desiccated thyroid over synthetics. It’s a very interesting search. There are major controversies on both sides.

As for me, yes, I am feeling much better but there are still road blocks. Medicare will no longer pay for desiccated thyroid. On top of that, newer recommendations are saying that thyroid medications should not be prescribed for those over 65. I can’t now find that web site to reference but I will continue to look.

I have already researched doctors in my new place of residence and found one who uses Armour in his practice. I know nothing about him but plan to make him a top priority in finding new docs.

There are millions of women out there who have been along the same path I have had to follow. Out of every ten thyroid patients seven to eight are female. Approximately one in thirteen people in the US have diagnosed or undiagnosed thyroid problems. Synthroid is the third best selling prescription.  The company heavily funds endocrinologists. The makers of the synthetics are banking on women to blindly follow the instructions of these doctors. I can only say to other women, be true to yourselves. How do you actually feel? Are you ready to question? Namaste Attic Annie


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Will an Honest Lawmaker Please Stand Up?

Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.

I do  find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.

There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.

This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying

“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”

It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.

The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.

And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds.  And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.

In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.

We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.

This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.

A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.

The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.

When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be?  Is there any hope?  Namaste Attic Annie

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Why so many train whistles?

As a child I would lie in my bed at night during the warm summer nights listening to the whistles of the trains delivering raw materials  to the local steel company or hauling away the finished products. I could clearly hear the cars coupling together, banging in the still of the night. Kind of a climatic haunting resonating sound. I would only hear the sounds a couple of times and then the night would be still.

The company was only about four miles from our house. As the wind blows, it was much closer, nearly straight up. Our house was on the top of a hill and the sound carried clearly on the summer breezes. Even the sound of the whirring fan did not mute the trains’ mournful tones.

I never knew the reason why the sound fascinated me. It  created in me a deep desire to travel, a deep sense of yearning…not so much for adventure but to escape the reality of the loneliness of my childhood. The sound seemed to mimic the desires of my heart to get away. Perhaps if I could ride the train it would take me to warmer places in winter and cooler places in summer where people would be friendlier and would grant to me the present of acknowledging my presence. They would welcome me into a loving family. Alas, that never happened. I grew up and moved on.

I have lived in my present home for almost thirty four years. I grew so accustomed to the whistles blowing that I paid no attention. It was especially easy in those months when the windows were closed against the blasting heat or the frigid cold. It was easier even than that when fifteen years ago I purchased double paned windows. I almost forgot there were trains.

April and sometimes May offer rare opportunities to sleep with the windows open and the fan on low to circulate the air. However, it also enables the sounds of the trains to carry in the stillness.

My home is located between two rail lines to the east and the west about three miles or less apart. During the day I don’t really hear the trains. Perhaps the engineers don’t blow the whistle as much or the TV blocks out the sound. But at night, especially with the windows open, I can not only hear the whistles, I can hear the rhythmic moving wheels of the trains on the tracks. Perhaps that is why I have the TV on so much. The house can really become still in such an almost empty house. It is at those times that even the sound of my dog’s toenails on the tile can seem loud.

I’ve tried several times the past few days to keep the TV turned off. It is then, even with the windows closed, I can hear the trains both east and west. There is a crossing about a mile from the house. I swear the engineer blows the whistle at least five minutes before it crosses the road and a couple of minutes more once it passes. A few minutes later the whistles blow again at a crossing about a mile further down the track. If it were just once a day it would not be noticeable. I seem to notice it four or five times during the night from one side or the other, maybe more. I’m even becoming more aware of the sound several times during the day. It doesn’t seem to matter if the windows are open or closed.

What used to create in me a childhood yearning and a sense of hope is now seeming to create a repulsion. If I sleep with the TV on, I wake up often usually because the commercials blare so loudly. If the room is quiet, I wake up hearing the incessant moaning of the trains. Whereas, as a child, I felt the trains calling to me, as a senior, I feel the sounds taunting me. It creates in me a sense of anxiety, an annoyance, like some day soon I’ll ride that train forever. It will be here to pick me up.  It is going places now that I will never go. All I can do is wait for it to come to me. What was once a comforting sound, symbolizing a way to get away, now mocks me.

Strange how the meaning of sounds can change with age.

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Congressional term limits? I hope so!

I have never been much of a political person. Perhaps that stems from my childhood when I felt much the outsider during most of my school life. I figured that those who wanted power could pretty much fight for it among themselves. As long as I was not physically or mentally affected by their antics, I let them go for it.

I am beginning, if certain Congress persons get their way, to feet mentally affected by proposed cuts just when I am eligible to receive them. Not that I am greedy. I, like millions of others, are no longer living on a “fixed” income. I am now living on a “diminishing” income. There are some days when stress raises its ugly head. What affects me mentally eventually affects me physically.

In my humble opinion:

People need to lead for a while and then step down. Organizations need fresh blood. I don’t see much difference between a local group and a national group. I no longer believe our leaders should serve as long as they are elected. There, to my thinking, is too much buying of elections by people (individuals and corporations) who want payback when their candidate reaches Congress. I feel that much of what is wrong with America today could be partially fixed by term limits.

I received an email today. I’ve seen it several times before. It concerns term limits for our national leaders. Although I consider myself apolitical, I must agree with most of what is said. I have forwarded this email many times but nothing seems to be done with it. It is time for people to step up and demand that a vote be taken on these ideas as a Constitutional Amendment. What do you think? Do you agree?

I decided to fact  check and eliminated those statements which were false.

“The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3

months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why?  Simple!  The people demanded it.

That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to

become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

I’m asking you to forward this email ( refer this blog) to a minimum of twenty people on your address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the

message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.*

It has been passed around for years. I wish something was now done about it.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*

*1. Term Limits.*

      *12 years only, one of the possible options below.*

       *  A. Two Six-year Senate terms* 

        *  B. Six Two-year House terms*

         *  C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms* I prefer this option the best. I think six years is enough. 

*2.  No Tenure / No Pension. *

        *Congresspersons collect a salary while in office and receives no pay when

         they are out of office.*

*3. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay

will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.*

*4. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the

       same health care system as the American people.*

This is misleading. However, I found this quote interesting. “On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.”

They pay Blue Cross $70.00 more per month for a family of four than I pay for only myself. For the HMO, I pay more than $100.00 more.

*5. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American


I learned something new today. The e-mail I received complains that Congress shouldn’t be an “elite that is above the law.” But that’s not the way the authors of the Constitution saw it. They worried that presidents might try to bully House or Senate members by threatening to arrest them on trumped-up charges. So to preserve the separation of executive and legislative powers, the founders gave elected lawmakers a certain degree of immunity.

U.S. Constitution

Article I, Section 6  They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

*6. All contracts with past and present Congresspersons are void effective

1/1/11.  *

I am not certain to what contracts this refers but I’m leaving it in anyway. I don’t believe Congress persons should be able to financially benefit from their positions if that is what is happening.

*The American people did not make the current contract with members of

Congress.  Congresspersons made all these contracts for themselves**.*

*Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers

envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go

home and back to work.** *

*If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take

three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. *




There you have it. I took out the point about social security since members of Congress do participate in SS, but I doubt there are any persons presently in Congress who will have to rely on any payments from those funds in order to survive, unlike the millions who will suffer if it is eliminated.

I firmly believe in term limits for Congress. I never have understood why the term of office was controlled for the President and not for Congress. It is time lobbyists had less time to corrupt honest citizens (hopefully at one time they are honest) who desire to serve our country just for the sake of serving our country. Perhaps more of them can remain honest if it is only for six years. I surely hope so.

  …deserve to be served by a Congress interested in the good for the people, not themselves, not corporations, not the billionaires trying to buy our country.

 Namaste. Attic Annie

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Grandmas stealing jobs? I resent the implications…

This title of this video “Grandma stealing jobs?” REALLY pissed me off. Why? Let me count the ways.

My first thought was that it would incite teenagers in an age war. AGEISM is already rampant. Hormonal teens don’t need very much stimulus to go ballistic. The graphs show that as female workers over 55 increase in the work force, teenage workers are decreasing. If teenagers don’t stop to analyze why the grandmothers are working, they may start retaliating. “Hey, I’m supposed to be able to get a job!” In this overly emotional time, I can see verbal and possibly physical attacks when frustration levels peak.

No one can “steal” a job. Rather, in the case of older workers, in many cases in this economy a secure retirement has been stolen from them. Also, companies seek to find the most qualified person they can for the job. There is such a thing as dependability, reliability, knowledge, etc. that older workers may have that teenagers don’t exhibit.

Yes, some older women do obtain jobs for self-fulfillment, but they are far outweighed by those who just wish to survive. The recession with its loss of pension funds and retirement accounts are forcing women to do the best they can, even if it means talking themselves into low paying jobs if they are able to do it.

Seniors are being pushed out the door in ever increasing numbers because they are usually at the top of the salary scale after having been with the company the longest. It is many times suggested they take “early retirement”. Often to me, that is code for “You cost too much.” The older teachers in Dallas ISD just this month were offered incentives to leave their jobs for just that reason.

Companies are laying off, going bankrupt, etc. Once grandma is out of a job, “displaced women are 18 percent less likely to find a new job at age 50 to 61 than at age 25 to 34, and 50 percent less likely at age 62 and above.”

Also, “older displaced women who become reemployed also suffer sizeable wage losses“.

There was a couple about my age in my church over  two years ago who were in pretty dire straits. He was self employed in a field that was greatly affected by the economy. He did not offer a service that was absolutely necessary. Thus, people turned to other sources and his clientele and income shrank. Even though he did excellent work, he just lost business. At the same time, his wife lost her job. They were eking by for over eighteen months without any benefits before she was finally employed again. I don’t know what job she was able to obtain, but I know they were very thankful she found it. Should she be accused of STEALING a job? I don’t think so. It was a matter of survival. Nothing else.

Just yesterday on NPR I listened to a program on education where they talked of eliminating the older teachers in favor of young new ones. This is happening all over the United States and it is not just in the field of education or in Dallas.

When I first retired in 2004, I did so with the idea of getting a part-time job for several reasons. I was not yet ready to stop working, just to stop teaching. I still felt my services were of value. I obtained a part time job for a year then the job was eliminated. I soon discovered that being 1) over 55, 2) semi-computer literate 3) non-Spanish speaking, oh and 4) a woman were things that were not in my favor. I finally gave up. Finding a full time job would have been hard enough, but a part time job was even more difficult.

Grandmas aren’t STEALING jobs. They are participating in job searches just to survive. Glib analysts like Steve Liesman ought to choose his headlines more carefully.

OK…it’s not the coolest way to start a post by just printing a url, but I have run into another problem. The above video was aired on this morning’s CNBC Squawk Boxand I don’t know how to embed it into my blog. I know how to go to You Tube if it is there, but this is so recent, I can’t find it.  I tried to find information on wordpress help but what I found was like reading Greek. I asked a computer literate friend of mine how to do it. She suggested using Control-V but that did not work for me. If anyone knows the secret, please let me know.

In the meantime, this unemployed grandma-aged woman is going to make some hot tea and get off the computer now. No teenager is going to have to worry about me STEALING a job. I’ve just learned to live very frugally and pray that my pension lasts longer than I do. Namaste. Attic Annie

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