Mechanics vs. doctors

A group of neighbors got together over the weekend and while a few of us were talking the topic of mechanics and doctors came up and I had an aha moment over something one individual said. We were discussing a plethora of topics, but this one comparing mechanics to doctors was so spot on.

Think about this. You take your car in to get fixed, whether for its regular tune up or because you heard an odd sound. They take some time to explore the issue, and then before they do any work they let you know what the issue is, what they will have to do (if it ever makes any sense) and how much it is going to cost. You know right then your doom. Do you walk away with the cost of an oil change, or is time to get a new car? You might need new brakes, a new engine, or some other strange part you have never heard of.

Juxtaposition that with going to the doctor. You go to the doctor for a check-up or because something specific is bothering you. They tell you they need to run a bunch of tests. You wait for the results (days) and you then wait much longer (often weeks to months) to find out how much it is truly going to cost you. Even with good insurance you often do not know how much the different tests will cost you. Additionally, it depends on who does the tests. I have found that some places charge vastly different amounts for the exact same test. I guess a mechanic is similar in that different mechanics can charge different amounts for the same work. However, if all the doctor or lab is doing is taking our blood, and testing it how can there be such a vast different in cost? A lot of the costs have to do with what your insurance company will pay, what your specific plan covers, or if you hit your deductible.

How is it that you can get your car diagnosed and you can get the price, but you cannot get the price for what it might take to fix you? There should be more transparency of costs. Sort of like when you go to a restaurant and they show the calorie and fat content, the cost details for tests and doctor visits should be available to patients.

Would a change in this process start with doctor’s offices or with the insurance companies? What do you think?

Full of love, never alone

I was talking with a colleague yesterday during lunch and the topic of giving back came up. How often do we sit in our own world and think about how hard our life is each day? What if we took time each week to help out another individual? I do not mean just to sit and listen. I mean something that we do with our entire body. We help out in a soup kitchen, donate our time in a homeless shelter, adopt a family, be a big brother or sister.

I spent many hours each week doing community service in college. There was a part of me that related to those in need. Obviously I did not relate to the incarcerated youth I worked with each week. I related to their need and desire to matter. I related to their desire to be cared for, loved, and respected. I taught a writing course one evening a week, and while there were times where I was absolutely out of my element (not on the writing portion) but on relating to teenage boys who did something in their life to be incarcerated. How did I have a clue what they needed? How do we ever really know what another individual needs?

Back to my lunch conversation. We discussed that many of us in our own ways want to support and give to others in our community.  At times when we might feel most alone in our life and might not know how to give to others is when our world has been turned upside down. Yet, maybe that is the time when we need to give the most. When giving pulls us out of our own mucky world and shows us all that we truly have each day. How do we do it though? How do we get out of our comfort zone and take the leap to get out of our own world and make the difference in someone else’s life?

I have always told Chris that whatever child/children we might have, community service, taking care of our neighbors, and giving back is something that will be integral to how we raise them. I want them to see the difference between the have and have-nots. I want them to know that the world is full of people who are very different. We should never take for granted where we come from and all that we have in the world. Sometimes our gratitude comes from seeing all that we have through the lens of another person. If we are full of love to give to others how can we ever feel alone?

Why can people be so gross?

I promised I would share stories of my trip to Shanghai, and I will – just not today. See my most recent memory of my trip is the airplane, and while I had a nice seat in business class, it was a bit ruined by the passengers around me. Let me explain.

I spent most of the flight shifting between readjusting the ear plugs and then putting the big headphones over them. When that did not remove the noise, I tried a movie and then some music at a pretty high volume. Why was I trying to tune out the noise? The man behind me cleared his throat, trying to clear the phlegm like clockwork every few minutes. After a great two weeks away, and extremely tired and exhausted — well, let’s just say I was more than slightly irritated. A few times I tried to turn in my seat to give him the evil eye in hopes that he would cut it out. I mean what do you say to someone you are going to spend the next 10 hours with: “Could you stop hocking loogies? The sound is horrendous.” I just was not sure how to politely do it. I even thought about getting the flight attendant involved, but what would she say? A few times I had to rewind: “Neighbors” (funny movie by the way) in order to hear what was said over the noise behind me.

Are people just clueless? I wondered if he knew he was doing it? I think the only worse sound I have encountered on an airplane is someone snoring. Hilarious, but quite annoying. On that flight I do remember the flight attendant waking the man up, I think someone complained. While I am on the topic of cluelessness, the state of the bathroom got increasingly worse over the flight. Why people think that it is okay to pee on the toilet seat and leave it is beyond me. See, I know we have all peed on the seat before. It is hard not to when you are in a shaking, moving aircraft and you are trying so hard for your pants not to touch anything, and you do not have much room to squat and make it in. However, if you do wind up peeing on the seat, WIPE IT OFF. How hard is it? Why should the flight attendant have to clean up after you?

Are we all slobs? You are in business class, have some class yourself. I am glad they give you the slippers to go to the bathroom so you do not have to put your shoes on each time. I loathe to think about the other passengers that I saw heading into the bathroom with only their socks. Gross. We are not savages. Stop being gross and clean up after yourself. While you are at it think of those around you–your fellow passengers and flight crew.

Apologies for the airplane rant, but hopefully we can all spread the word. Oh and to the guy that sat behind me for 11 hours, please go blow your nose.