People like Mitt Romney don't have a clue how much fat has already been skimmed off the GM stew pot, how hard the company and union have worked to bring the labor costs per car down so they'll be competitive with foreign owned manufactures in the near future. With the 2007 GM/UAW contract they agreed not to give new hire-ins pension rights and starting in 2009 the UAW is scheduled to take over the health care costs. And older workers are being replaced at the rate of 20% per year. Getting rid of the health expense alone will save the company six billion annually. Meaningful restructuring has been going on at GM, contrary to Mitt's opinion. Great hybrids are in the pipeline ready to come out next year and the employee pay package per hour including benefits is on course to drop by 2010 to within a Starbucks cup of coffee to what the foreign owned car makers are paying in their North American workers. If Wall Street hadn't failed, drying up the credit market, GM and the other Big Three wouldn't have had to ask
As you can see, on top of the other normal caregiver woos and worries, I have another excuse to indulge in comfort foods in the wee hours of the night. "Fattie, fattie, two by four coming through the kitchen door." Do you think I should do some more measuring in the Blaze to figure out where I can put a small refrigerator to keep me supplied with mint chocolate ice cream? Or may old and obsolete people aren't allowed comfort foods. Oh, well, I've got time to chart out the dumpers in the area that have eatables. Maybe someone will take pity on the homeless and throw out some Twinkies.
On the good side, after eleven months, four rejections and a court hearing Medicare now has to pay for Don's "new" wheelchair---his first replacement since the stroke in 2000. It ticks me off that they gave us so much trouble when I know two guys from speech class who have had several replacement chairs in that same time frame and neither guy is 100% dependent on their chairs like Don is. The orthopedic place that fitted Don's chair said they are hassling one in six applications now. Typical government waste, in my opinion, because a ten minute appointment with one of their own disability doctors could have assessed Don and saved a lot of money. No, they'd rather force us into court. They went so far as to use a statement I made right after the stroke (and got recorded on his medical records) about how Don's house (at the time) was not wheelchair friendly. I had to get a letter from our builder to prove we built a Universal Design, totally wheelchair friendly house. That was rejection number two.
Don't get me started on rejection number three which had to do with Don supposedly not having a caregiver to help him get around in a chair. Hello, what am I? I think it's hurt us that I've never asked for or gotten any outside help to care for Don. Medicare assumes he doesn't need any. Rejection number four was because they said we hadn't proved that he had a stroke, a fact that was clearly documented on the same hospital discharge paper where it said his house was not wheelchair friend. Typical fun and game in the caregiver world of insurance and Medicare.
It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. Its neglect was not by design but rather through laziness. I do keep the dog's blog up once or twice a week. So if you ever wonder what we're up to, via the dog's view of our post-stroke world, check it out. He's the joy of our lives. It's wonderful having a lively little thing around to make us laugh. Stroke and speech wise nothing much has changed. Don is still happy and wakes up every morning singing, "Jesus loves me, oh, well" and generally singing nonsense syllables through out the day. If things go bad and money is tight, I'm going to have to cut Don's anti-depressants in half and that will probably cause him to cut his joyful 'songs' in half as well. So if you ever see an old couple in a Blazer and the guy is happily singing "Jesus loves" and the woman is cursing "Jesus, what are we going to do?" that will be us. Wave and smile, okay? ©