Category Archives: Personal stuff

How *should* I feel about the air?

You couldn’t get away from the smoke today. Up, down, east, west, wherever you went, it was there.
We really should spend more time being thankful that all we get to deal with is the smoke. Not the flames, not the wondering if our friends made it out, not having to think about rebuilding our lives. All we get is the smoke, and just that smoke is enough, by now, to make me feel angry. Like, why can’t something be done about this. Right. As if. How quickly I can go from thinking how fortunate I am, everyone here is, back to a more selfish, shallower version of myself that is so selfish, so shallow, I don’t even recognize that version of me from what should be.

People talk about the dangers of breathing the air, thinking it’s nuts to be outside in this muck, and wondering if it’s responsible of me to mention that I’d actually emailed my pulmonologist (lung doctor) who said there’s likely no long-term health issues from riding my bike in this stuff. But after this has gone on for day after day after day, I’ve given up on the idea that waiting makes any sense. I can’t put my life on hold waiting for the air to clear up. So I set forth on my bike, hoping I can get above it, or below it, or east or west of it. Maybe find a pocket of nice, clean air.

Thursday morning there were three of us, myself, Kevin & Kevin. And nobody else to speak of on the roads, certainly not on a bike anyway. We didn’t kill ourselves climbing Kings, riding casually enough I could actually carry on a conversation. To tell you the truth, I really haven’t noticed much breathing issues at all, but as the days wear on, my eyes are making their displeasure known to me. Thursday night I accepted a ride home from work with my daughter, and today, Friday, I hitched a ride both to & from work. That’s not normal.

I’m ready for normal. Hoping that Sunday sees a bit of a change. Not asking for much, just “better.” And still, I have to remember it’s not all about me, it’s not all about the SF Bay Area whose magnificent views have become, quite literally, a hazy memory. It should be about the many lives lost and many more that will need to be rebuilt hundreds of miles away.

Life Insurance guy tells me I’m in denial? That I’m going to die sooner than I think?

Still trying to figure out if it’s some sort of oddly-worded hard sell or the world’s most clueless or perhaps insensitive life insurance person ever. Here’s the story-

This morning, I get a phone call from my life insurance guy. Don’t ask me why I have a life insurance guy. He seemed to come attached to a former accountant for our business. Whatever, back in 2010 I bought a fairly decent policy, at a time my health was so good that the price seemed like something I couldn’t pass up. I would have been 54 at the time. It wasn’t for another two years that I picked up my first real health issue and started going to the doctor again and accumulating a medical record such that life insurance would no longer be a reasonable possibility.

Two items that, individually, might have kicked me into higher-cost premiums than I could rationalize (first Raynauds, a circulation issue that effects your extremities, and later my breathing issues that require meds for a type of asthma), but together would have likely made only the most-expensive policies available to me. But, no biggie, life goes on, already have the insurance policy, and figure it’s just money I’m paying into for which I’ll never see a benefit.

Well today I get to tell my life insurance guy that it’s a good thing I got the policy when I did because I’ve not got a very mild type of bone marrow cancer. Something that likely won’t shorten lifespan, so I’m fine.

He tells me, outright, no sugar coating, that “You shouldn’t be in denial. It will shorten your life.” What???!!! This guy knows nothing of the details of my particular cancer. I just got back from a conference on my particular cancer, in which a lot of time was spent on the expected lifespan and quality of life issues for the different variations. And, for me, things look pretty darned good. I’m really comfortable with that.

But what if this guy had said what he’d said when I didn’t have all the facts, when I was concerned about things going south much earlier? In other words, at a time I was really shaken up about mortality issues, where for a time, were quite a concern? I likely wouldn’t have reacted as benignly as I did on the phone this morning, that’s for sure. I was intellectually engaged and extremely curious about where he was going with this conversation, but fortunately, entirely detached from any sort of negative emotions.

I’d feel most comfortable about the conversation if I could figure out a purely financial motivation for his odd almost-lecture about my denial, but I really can’t. Maybe it’s part of his own self-rationalization, a way of proving to himself that he’s doing the right thing, selling people something they hopefully don’t need. But I think that should come, if it should come up at all, when you’re trying to sell someone a policy, not when you hear it’s possible they might need to actually use it. 🙂