Friday, August 14, 2009


August 14, 2009

Have you noticed I don't twitter? Impossible. Nothing I could possibly say comes out in less than 140 characters. For one thing, I don't like to abbreviate. I can abbreviate, I just don't (NOTE: I'm not making a veiled reference to long-windedness here, which is another trait I hold in spades). Look at my class notes from college (didn't you save yours in the attic, just in case?). I write out all the words, not even an ampersand (&) instead of the word "and." Sometimes you will even see "United States," as if I might get confused about what I meant by "U.S." when I took my American history notes. My grocery list has toilet paper, not T.P. I sometimes believe I am just preternaturally disinclined to shorten words. Not a very good fit with twitter.

You may also note that I have a tendency to digress--another strike against twittering. Oh, well, as the twenty-first century passes me by, I'll just sit here with my buggy whip and manual typewriter and entertain myself.

If I did twitter, however, I would have had a lot to tell you this week. First, you need to click over to The Davhee Repore. He has issued a sudoku (speaking of digression, I have never spelled sudoku correctly the first time. I always write soduko, then look at it, pronounce it silently, backspace over it, and get it right the second time) challenge. Give it a try. Those of you looking for more photos and/or information about EVI, I'm sorry to disappoint. She was a lovely person and the perfect house guest. I hope we visit with her again soon, but you'll have to take it up with Davis or EVI if you want more information.

I have also had a lot going on within the health care arena this week. I have been frustrated with the rumors and misinformation that spread so fast. Just like I go to when I hear claims that I suspect are urban legends or old wives tales (for example, click here if you want to know whether your mom told you the truth when she said, "it takes seven years for swallowed chewing gum to pass through your digestive system."), I needed to find a place where I could check out assertions about the pending health care legislation. I have found the website, run by the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, particularly helpful in deciphering the truths, half truths, and misconceptions that abound. I have added a link on the left of a few sample issues they have addressed. Walter used this site when he responded to an unresearched letter in The Eagle from earlier this week. I'll link it here when The Eagle updates its website.

I would have also twittered about finishing a draft of
the report I have worked on this summer thanks to the help of many Erin Home Page readers and their friends. If you are interested, leave me your email address in the comment section and I will send you a summary draft of U.S. Health Insurance Issues According to Parents and Families. Here's the gist of it, or what I call the Big Five:
  • Most people have insurance. Some people love their policies; others wish it covered more and/or cost less. No matter how bad their policy is, they would not consider doing without insurance.
  • For insured families with catastrophically or chronically ill family members, insurance seems to work for treatment issues, though not necessarily for drugs, devices, or ancillary services like physical therapy. Inadequate policies scrimp on comfort expenditures, like anti-nausea medicines or hearing aids. The need to maintain coverage creates enormous pressure on these families because loss of coverage would be devastating.
  • Costs are going up in every area and for everybody with no sign of slowing.This concerns most people.
  • Medicaid works for basic care, but has extremely weak record keeping and a difficult-to-navigate set of rules and forms for eligibility. Many doctors will see Medicaid patients once, then refer them elsewhere for follow-up. This makes continuity of care difficult, particularly for complex cases. Medicare seems to work better.
  • The uninsurable have few options. Most without insurance avoid investigating their health issues until they can no longer ignore them. They have poorer health outcomes.
We also launched a Facebook Group called Erin's Dream Lanyards (and Manyards) to spread the lanyard initiative a little further. September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and we would like to use lanyards as a way to raise awareness and donations for the cause. Of course, we will continue to have lanyard workshops at my house on Friday afternoons at 3:00 for a while (though we may make a new plan once school starts). We have a couple of very large orders to fill and perhaps even larger opportunities on the horizon.

I am definitely available to come to your scout troop, service organization, youth group, or happy hour with friends to run a private lanyard workshop, or I can send you a powerpoint that shows you the steps to follow. I can also provide samples to you to show at your school or workplace if you think you know people who might like an artful or whimsical lanyard and who would like to support a good cause.

Finally, I have fielded some questions this week about the split between the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation and Lunch for Life. I have always thought of them as practically interchangeable, and it has saddened me greatly that they will not continue to work together towards the goals they share. I think they are still mired in the details of how to separate the two entities. In the meantime, I have linked the lanyard order process to the CNCF online donation system.

Well, I shouldn't have began the last paragraph finally, because here's another "finally." I have a secret that is currently on a boat from Asia headed my way. She is a new, Barcelona red 2010 Prius. It is the car Erin and I dreamed of and plotted to get since last summer. I'm trying to think of a name for her.


  1. Hi Vickie,
    I'd love to check out your report.

    Good work!


  2. i am jealous about your prius! they are all over logan - the blue ones.. i've not seen a bright red one! sounds beautiful. i'd be interested in reading your health care report too.

    enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer vacation :)

  3. That remote AC button is going to come in handy during a Texas summer (spring, fall). Thanks for telling us your secret.
    Oh, you probably would not abbreviate AC. Air conditioning.

  4. Is the new car for you or for Davis? How do you know she's a girl car when you don't have it yet? I have driven a few boy cars in my life (the current van is a boy named Smokey Joe). A good girl name would be Scarlett or Rosie. Would she need a middle name or nickname as well?

  5. Hi there- I just wanted you to know I have been thinking about Erin and your family and hope you are all doing well. I have been getting ready to go back to school and pulled out the lanyard Erin made for me. It is strange how a simple thing such as a lanyard can bring on such a wave of emotion. I had a friend over and was able to tell her about what a wonderful girl Erin was. I wish you all the best. Please don't hesitate to ask if there is ever anything I can do to help.
    -Carol Morris
    Erin's 6th grade Art teacher

  6. Yes, of course!!

    Ps. I had a dream about Erin two nights ago, but I'll email you in fuller detail. :)