SECOND TIME IS A…

Unlike my previous columns, this article has taken more than a month to write. But it’s not because of fine-tuning the prose. It’s more about events that hadn’t yet reached a successful conclusion.

But let me start at the beginning…

Once upon a time, I would buy a brand new Mac every other year or so. Beginning in the mid-1990s, I added a PowerBook to the mix. In order to help finance the purchase, I would routinely sell my old hardware, and even in the dog days of Apple’s existence, they held their value pretty well.

That was then, this is now. I no longer see the value in upgrading so frequently. Most of the time, the new model is only slightly different — and slightly faster — than its predecessor. I also think of all the money I save by keeping 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro and a 2014 27-inch Retina iMac. When I had a weekly tech radio show, I was even able to trade out radio spots for a new Mac.

These days, I’d have to pay full price (or seek out a small discount), and I’ve grown to appreciate the longevity of Apple gear. Indeed one of the factors hurting sales these days is that people prefer to hang onto their existing devices far longer. So once upon a time, it was common for many people to upgrade to a new smartphone after two years, particularly in the U.S. This was the duration of the usual carrier subsidized deal, after which you could start all over again.

But even after you paid off the device, if you didn’t acquire a new one from the carrier, you’d still pay the same amount. Not such a good deal!

Now customers do buy their gear outright, so there is no compelling reason to replace it so long as it continues to operate. Indeed, with the end of subsidy deals in the U.S., largely because of T-Mobile’s “Un-Carrier” promotion that started in 2013, there are other ways to acquire your device without a big upfront payment. Indeed, some of those plans, such as AT&T Next, allow you to upgrade every year or every two years; you just have to return the old unit after receiving its replacement. Oh, and, typical of leases, you pay the sales tax up front for your fancy new iPhone.

Despite the alternative facts spewed by some cyberbullies, I do not continue to boast about all the brand new gadgets I have. As I wrote in the last issue, my wife has an iPhone 6S, circa 2015, and an iPad Air 2, circa 2014. She isn’t asking about the new models even though she’s not so pleased with the sound quality of her iPad’s speakers..

As you probably know, my MacBook Pro is stuck with maOS High Sierra, 13.3. Fitted with a 500GB SSD some years ago, it is fast enough in handling files, but its Geekbench scores are about a third of what current models can deliver.

It doesn’t sound very promising, but it does get the job done, since so much activity on your Mac is drive-related. Well, such actions as converting an AIFF audio file to MP3 take twice as long as on my iMac, but that’s still acceptable.

But I had to use it as my sole computer for a week recently when the iMac’s hard drive failed. It wasn’t a hard failure at first, just random bouts of spinning cursors, and some performance glitches. But one day, after a restart, it never made it past the startup process.

I couldn’t even get it to start from an external clone backup drive, because the system froze trying to load the internal disk. Apple’s built-in hardware test, however, reported that everything was working, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as an Apple repair person would run. I still suspected the hard drive.

After nearly five years of heavy use, it made perfect sense.

Now the current iMac form factor, which debuted in 2012, is, as many of you know, extremely hostile to home tinkerers. While RAM upgrades are quick, replacing anything else inside requires removing the display. The prior version required suction cups and care, but it was a workable process. But in its endless quest for thinner, at least at the edges, Apple’s designers opted to seal the display to the chassis with adhesive strips.

Yes, it’s possible to remove it, and you can even buy new adhesive to seal the unit, but enough was enough. Knowing I’d have to pay the piper for this one, I redirected some cash for less-urgent bills. I took the iMac to an Apple Genius at the nearest Apple Store, located in the Santan Village shopping center in Gilbert, AZ.

The “Genius” ran a more extended hardware test, and it came out OK, but he then ran a test that exercised the hard drive. Within a few minutes, the truth was displayed on the screen. Yes, the drive had failed.

Since it was part of a Fusion drive configuration, the hard drive was maybe twice as expensive as a plain old internal drive. But it was still much cheaper than an internal SSD of similar size. Performance would be noticeably faster than the Fusion Drive, which uses a small SSD for the system and frequently used apps and documents, and the hard drive for the rest. Unless you work with positively huge files, it’s good enough.

I told the Genius that I needed to think about my options for a few minutes, so he went to serve another customer while I pondered my situation. I contacted two authorized independent dealers to get a quote, figuring it should be cheaper.

But it wasn’t, by a long shot. Labor charges were between $125-$150, depending on whether the replacement adhesive strips were part of the price. But Apple exacts a flat rate of $79 plus parts. No wonder independent service shops are complaining.

So you can see which choice I made.

Unfortunately, I had to wait a week for the repair. The store didn’t have replacement drives in stock, and had to order one. They were able to check the inventories of other dealers, and the nearest one that had them in stock was located in Tucson, over 100 miles away. And Apple evidently doesn’t exchange parts with other dealers, well at least one that far away, so I gave the go ahead.

Since I haven’t done much traveling in the last few years, that MacBook Pro hadn’t been used very much. When arriving at the home office, I took it out, and plugged in the accessories that I used on the iMac, including the clone drive. I didn’t connect the Time Machine backup drive, because I wanted to keep the files intact when restoring the repaired iMac.

I also had to download and install the last updates to High Sierra, and then install some apps.

Fortunately, most of the ones I use, including Audio Hijack, were fully compatible with 10.13.

The one good sign: The Levelator, a key utility I use for post-production, actually ran perfectly. On my iMac, running macOS Catalina, I had to run it from a Parallels Desktop Windows installation.

Overall, it took a few hours to fine-tune the setup for my workflow. I was able to manage with the smaller display and fuzzier text; the Retina MacBook Pro didn’t arrive until 2012.

After a week, and on schedule, Apple called me to tell me my iMac was ready. The unit was give an extensive test after the installation, and passed with flying colors. They also cleaned up the smudges on the screen, and vacuumed the dust from the interior. Per my request, the new drive came with Catalina preinstalled. Since I had multiple backups, it wasn’t necessary for Apple to waste time attempting to recover data from the broken drive.

Aside from the differences in the port layout between this iMac and the latest model, it otherwise looked identical.

With fingers crossed, I ran through the startup, and selected a Time Machine backup to transfer my files. It may just be that the external 2TB Toshiba drive was very slow, but it took nearly 10 hours to migrate my stuff.

CHAPTER TWO

For a few days, everything was all right, until a similar problem appeared. I was able to restart, but it ran dog slow.

So it was back to the Genius Bar on a rush basis. But rush to them meant a nearly one-hour wait since no appointments were available until the following day.

This time the diagnosis runs reported a defective SATA cable, so I turned it in for repair.

My request for a “rush repair” reduced the wait time by two days; so much for rushing. When I was notified that the iMac was ready to pick up, the repair person who called told me that they also had to replace the other half of the Fusion drive, the flash drive, in addition to the cable. Well at least they didn’t charge me for labor.

Yes, I did ask the obvious question: Is it possible that the entire problem was caused by the failure of the cable and the flash drive, that there was nothing wrong with the hard drive?  They insisted it wasn’t. Even more curious is the fact that my iMac was supposedly given a thorough test after the first repair, and no problems appeared.

But the excitement didn’t end there. When I got my iMac back, I discovered that they had it loaded with macOS Mojave, against my instructions to use Catalina. As a precaution, I wiped the drive, and used the Internet Recovery feature to get the latest version of Catalina to install, after which I restored my data from a cloned hard drive.

When I called to complain, the repair people gave me some gibberish as to why they felt I was running Mohave. They got it right on the first repair, so I assume they just screwed up but wouldn’t admit it.

So far, my iMac appears to be working normally, but I not happy with Apple. There is no excuse for their failures to get it right the firsts time. It’s not that defective storage devices should be difficult to diagnose. All told, I lost use of my iMac for 12 days between two repairs, and spent hours more doing my own troubleshooting before bringing it in for Apple to each repair.

Now that the storage system is brand new, I hope I’ll be free of hardware problems for another couple of years. Wish me luck.

 

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Gene Steinberg is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own. Gene hosts The Paracast - broadcast on Sunday from 3:00am - 6:00am (CST) and is the former host of The Tech Night Owl LIVE, which was on the network for ten years. The Paracast is still nationally syndicated through GCNlive. Gene’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter is a weekly information service of Making The Impossible, Inc. -- Copyright © 1999-2019. Click here to subscribe to Tech Night Owl Newsletter. This article was originally published at Technightowl.com -- reprinted with permission.

Published in Technology
Thursday, 12 December 2019 19:06

Medicare for all facelift: The ugly is still there

Medicare for All (M4A) retained its prominent place on the stage at the latest Democratic debate. In its purest Bernie Sanders form, concurrent with abolishing private health insurance, U.S. residents would be enrolled in “Medicare.” The program would pay for unlimited “medically necessary” health expenses, including pharmaceuticals, mental health and substance abuse treatment, vision, dental, and hearing services, and long-term care with no out-of-pocket costs. Some supporters were scared off by the $32 trillion over 10 years price tag. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Warren’s “I’m with Bernie” plan comes with a $52 trillion over 10 years price tag including up to $34 trillion in new government spending. Our country’s entire yearly budget is a mere $3.5 trillion. For perspective, if your salary is $40,000 per year it would take 25 million years to earn 1 trillion dollars. As M4A’s dark side emerged, the candidates distanced themselves from Bernie-care.

Elimination of private insurance? Whoa, Nellie! Over 156 million Americans —half the country—are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance plans and another 23 million have private individual policies. And most of these folks like that arrangement. Then there was pushback from some unions who had excellent health insurance policies for which they had bargained and given up other perks.

In the June debate the candidates raised their hands indicating they would abolish private health insurance. Now Mayor Buttigieg wants to “unify the American people around, creating a version of Medicare, making it available to anybody who wants it, but without the divisive step of ordering people onto it whether they want to or not.” Vice president Biden, noting his desire to keep patient choice stated, “we should build on Obamacare … adding a Medicare option in that plan, and not make people choose.” Of course, Obamacare caused a rise in premiums, a decrease in choice of insurance coverage, and like any large government-run program was prone to mismanagement and waste.

Possible financing mechanisms were screaming for a deep dive. One analysis concluded that most Americans would suffer financially if M4A were implemented as proposed. An analysis by a bipartisan think tank estimated a 32 per cent increase in payroll taxes would be needed to fund M4A. Everyone—even the working poor—would have more payroll taxes extracted from their paycheck. The analysis concluded that most households would pay more in new taxes than they would save by eliminating their current spending on private health insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Senator Warren tries to hide the ugly truth by railing about the evil rich who would be taxed down to their underwear. Take the deceptively worded “2-cent” annual tax for households with more than $50 million in assets. If you have $51 million in assets, most probably tied up in your business, you’d have to cough up (.02)($1,000,000) or $20,000, not 2 cents. The devil’s spawn, aka our 535 billionaires, would be subject to a 6 percent annual tax on their assets. Who will be the next target when the government has driven the assets to a sunny island in the Caribbean? Finally, raising the corporate income tax back up to 35 percent likely would result in businesses paying lower wages to current employees or cutting back on hiring to compensate for the increased tax burden.

During the latest debate, Senator Warren retreated from her “all-in” approach, asserting she would first provide Medicare at no cost to “everybody under the age of 18, everybody who has a family of four income less than $50,000”—about 135 million people. Second, she would lower the Medicare age to 50 and expand Medicare coverage to include vision, dental, and long-term care. In the third year, “when people have had a chance to feel it and taste it and live with it, we’re going to vote and we’re going to want Medicare for all.”

Senator Sanders owns that payroll taxes would be doubled or tripled and proposes a 4 percent surtax on families earning more than $29,000. So if you earn $60,000, you’d have to pay (.04)($31,000) or $1,240, enough for a whole year’s membership in a private Direct Primary Care plan. Senator Sanders, staying true to his principles, is sticking with unadulterated Medicare for All with its financial warts.

Even those who are numb to government over-spending can see the broader problem of inviting Uncle Sam into their lives in exchange for a Medicare card in their wallet. Any remaining privacy is erased. Our medical records would be furnished to the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Physicians and patients would be robbed of their autonomy and choice by medical care policies set by the government monopoly. Lack of competition leads to lower quality and fewer services. Coverage becomes an illusion.

Medicare for All’s beauty is only skin deep and its ugly goes to the bone.

 

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Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is Immediate Past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Her opinions are her own. This is an edited column that originally appeared at www.pennypressnv.com, reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

For a long time, I have mostly written in this space about the ridiculous Democrats in the House who, tilting at left-wing partisan windmills, are heading in the direction of impeaching President Trump thus almost guaranteeing his re-election in 2020 since there is no chance the Senate will remove him.

 

This week, however, I have stumbled into an equally ridicules situation which has no relationship with what is currently happening in Washington but could have a serious impact on America’s largest employer—small business.

 

You may have seen some TV commercials for a non-bank lender named Kabbage.  It features actor Gary Cole playing a spokesman from 10 minutes in the future talking to some small business people.  After they get the funding they needed, Cole pops in as even further in the future after they got the Gundelfinger Account.

 

My company has used Kabbage for something like three years.

 

It’s not a huge credit line but we have made every payment on a timely basis and they have never had any problem with us.

 

On December 2, we made our normal monthly payment.  A few days later, I checked to make sure it was recorded properly.  It was.  But there was a note on the app screen which said, “You are not currently eligible to take a loan.  Call us at 88xx-xxxx to fix this issue.”

 

So I did.

 

What they told me was that there was a 60 day hold on our account, the computer makes these decisions and there is no appeal because they don’t know the reason that the computer made the decision.

 

I asked to speak to an executive who authorized the computer to make that decision.

 

“Sir,” said the young lady, “That team is not customer facing.”

 

Seriously?

 

Not customer facing?

 

Now I need to make two points here. Nobody is obligated to lend you money any more that anybody is obligated to borrow money.  This is a business transaction.  You lend me money and I pay it back with interest.

 

But good business practice dictates that if you make a decision like that—which, by the way, you have every right to make—you pick up the phone and FACE THE CUSTOMER!  Maybe your precious computer got the wrong—or no—information.

 

Kabbage is part of a new group of financial institutions called fintech.

 

It’s the latest new thing.

 

They have a proprietary algorithm so they can evaluate risk and make loans fast.

 

That’s all well and good.  And, as welcome as that may be to help fund America’s largest employer, a lender you cannot talk to is nobody you want to do business with.

 

Suppose, as an example, you are coming up on a payroll and are just a bit short—something which is not unusual in the wide world of small business.  You know you have that available in your Kabbage line.  Only, when you go to use it, there’s a note, placed there by a computer for a reason nobody knows that you cannot use the money.  That’s the sort of thing that can break a small business.

 

What was point number two that I was going to make?

 

Only that I made it clear that I was not mad at the nice young customer facing lady.  I was mad at her company and then only because information is as important as cash in small business and if Kabbage can’t tell you why, it’s very difficult to want to continue to do business with them—even after the 60 day hold is over.  Resigning the Gundelfinger account is a real possibility.

 

Now, we can get back to politics.  But I’ll bet that Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein will see the logic in fixing this problem long before the Democrat morons in the House figure out that they are hamsters making the wheel go around.  And I mean no insult to hamsters.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

Among the various health issues that plague us during the festive holiday season; flu, colds, heart disease, hypothermia, pneumonia ...we add one more to the list ...Christmas Tree Syndrome.

Christmas Tree Syndrome occurs when one feels ill when they are in close proximity to their Christmas Tree.   True the average Christmas tree is a spruce or fir, which rarely should be allergenic, but researchers have found they still carry allergens such as pollen, picked up by nearby plants, and may house mold.

Researchers from State University in New York analyzed the bark and needles of multiple Christmas trees and found multiple cases of mold with their allergy producing spores. And since they are trees from the wild, they provide residence to thousands of critters…aphids, mites, bark beetles and even spiders.

Now we have been living with Christmas trees each season and harmoniously and symbiotically have lived with their crittery inhabitants without being attacked, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t free from symptoms.

Christmas Tree Syndrome includes any of the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Watery Eyes
  • Nasal Itching
  • Scratchy Throat
  • Difficulty Sleeping

Mold and pollen are notorious for being the biggest culprits in causing these types of respiratory symptoms, so the following has been suggested to reduce your risk of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

  • Hose down the tree and let it dry before bringing it back into the house
  • Utilize an air purifier in the same room as the tree
  • Avoid extended stays of the tree, i.e. put it up nearer to the holiday and take it down once Christmas ends
  • If currently suffering from allergies or asthma, or vulnerable to Christmas Tree Syndrome, delegate tree decorating to someone else in the family…maybe an in-law.
  • Consider having your gorgeous Christmas tree outside the house.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Health

Tis the season!! Unfortunately not for our hearts. A study back in 2004 found a 5% increase in heart attacks during the Christmas season. Then last year, a study published in the British Medical Journal found Christmas Eve to be especially risky for those who are prone to heart disease.  Let’s dissect why….

Baby it's cold outside…..

The cold has long been associated with heart stress. Cold weather causes blood vessel constriction and this adds extra work for the heart. Moreover, it causes less oxygen to reach vital organs, including the heart.

Snow shoveling has been infamous for inciting heart attacks for this same reason. The heart demands extra blood due to the increase in activity and the cold restricts blood flow.

Let’s toast…….

Alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, can put stress on the heart by increasing blood pressure, worsening diabetes, and causing abnormal heart rhythms. Moreover, it interferes with the metabolism of medications, hence many of these may not work at their best.  Which brings us to…..

Is there a doctor in the house?

Medical providers take vacation too.  And if a patient forgets to refill his medication he may go without during the two weeks of holiday season.  Moreover many forget to pack everything they need for a Holiday trip and without anticipating delays, one could be without crucial medication dosing.  The heart does not like this.

Stress…….

Holiday travel is never easy. Delays, long lines, the cold, traffic and then…..family. We may love our family but prefer seeing them in small doses.  All the family at once can be a little overwhelming for some.  As for coping with the in-laws…..well a guide is available for you all here.

Preventing Heart Disease

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Males over 40
  • Females who are post menopausal
  • High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore, secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

  • Maintain a normal blood pressure
  • Maintain normal blood sugar
  • Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Reduce stress
  • Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay active
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

So how to prevent the “Christmas Coronary?”

Plan ahead by doing the following:

  •  If you are running low on your prescriptions contact your medical provider early on.
  •  Pack prescriptions in two different bottles, so you can take some medication on your carry on in case the flight gets delayed or a suitcase gets lost.
  • Avoid getting sick, by getting your flu shot, washing your hands, avoiding sick contacts.
  • For tips on how to avoid getting sick on a plane to visit here. 

Holiday time should be a happy time. Let’s make it a healthy one!!!

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

A minister's wife came up to me after seeing my due diligence in seeking out the Scriptures and said, "You're so heavenly-minded that you're no earthly good.”-Bradlee Dean  

When I was first saved from my sins (Matthew 1:21) back in 1998, I remember how much the Lord had broken me down to nothing, and I mean nothing.  A man of God once said that until a man becomes nothing, God will create nothing out of him (Isaiah 66:2; Psalm 34:18, 51:17).   The Lord has definitely taken the time to show me this truth by showing me what I am not, by showing me who He is (Malachi 3:6).

During this breaking process, I also remember feeding on the Word day and night (John 6:35).  For me, it was like King David when he said:

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” -Psalm 42:1-2

I'm also reminded in Matthew 5:6 where Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

This is where I am after 21 years of working out my own salvation with fear and trembling and in studying to shew myself approved unto God (Philippians 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:15).

I did not want to have anything to do with the old man.

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” -Ephesians 4:22-24

This is what being born again means and looks like (John 3:3-5).

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” -Titus 3:5

We are new creatures in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 

I had new desires and my affections were set on Christ (Colossians 3:1).  I wanted His will; and how was I to do that if I did not know His Word (John 7:17)?

Now, in the beginning process of growing in grace (2 Peter 3:18) and being rooted and built up in Him (Colossians 2:7), this minister's wife tells me that if I was so heavenly-minded that I would never be any earthly good.  I almost fell out of my chair.  The first thing that came to my mind was that if I am not heavenly-minded, how is it that His will can be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)?

How was I supposed to give the answers to the world that they so desperately needed if I didn’t have them to give? (Matthew 10:8; 2 Timothy 2:6-7)

Furthermore, “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Our conversation is to becometh the Gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).

For anyone one to say, I care not for whom it may be, that if we are so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good, it is one of the most backward, as well as, unscriptural things to say (Galatians 1:3-12).

The fact of the matter is if you are not heavenly-minded, you will be no earthly good!

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, the will of God.” -Romans 12:2

After all friends,

“You can’t go on heavenly missions without heavenly fire." -D. L. Moody

 

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Bradlee Dean is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions are his own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the Genesis Communication Network. Bradlee's radio program, The Sons of Liberty, broadcasts live M - Sat here at GCN. This is an edited version of an op-ed originally published by Sons of Liberty Media at www.sonsoflibertyradio.com. Reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
Friday, 06 December 2019 18:24

How to tell when your “Flu” is turning deadly

This week the CDC reports a 5th pediatric flu death as we face a season, many have predicted, to be “severe.”

And in previous years, once healthy children and young adults fell victim to severe circulating flu strains  prompting parents this year to fear the worse when it comes to theirs or their child’s flu symptoms.

Who can blame them. Flu symptoms can last up to 2 weeks, and most patients are told to go home and rest as antibiotics do not help fight the flu and symptoms will usually “resolve on their own.” This is true, but then why are some people..healthy people…dying?

What are the symptoms of the flu?

To understand why people are often misdiagnosed for flu-related illness when something even more serious is occurring, let’s first list the common symptoms of the flu.

  • Fever
  • Body Aches
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore Throat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

As opposed to a cold, in which symptoms are less severe and come on more slowly, the flu seems to hit you within hours.   The fatigue may be the first symptom, followed by body aches, scratchy throat, cough, runny nose and fever. The fever could range anywhere from 100 – 106 F.  The fever usually lasts 2 days and the majority of those affected by the flu will average symptoms from 3-5 days.

How can you die from the flu?

There are multiple ways to die from the flu.  The most common cause is pneumonia.  A secondary viral or bacterial infection can affect the already weakened lungs.  Pneumonia can be deadly, especially if untreated. Symptoms of pneumonia are very similar to the flu:  shortness of breath, cough, fever, fatigue, body aches, etc.

Respiratory failure from inflammation can be fatal as well. The flu virus affects the respiratory tree causing acute inflammation and distress of the tissues whose job is to bring oxygen to the blood. Additionally, other organs including the heart may become inflamed, impeding their duties.

Flu can increase one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. A study in 2007 found coming down with the flu doubled one’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Moreover, having the flu could worsen any disease states already being battled. Hence a diabetic, if suffering from the flu, may struggle to control his blood sugar numbers.

Rarely, some may go into multi-organ failure as a result of septic shock initiated by the flu.  This is what killed 21-year-old bodybuilder Kyler Baughman.

 

kyler-baughman-1.jpg

21-YEAR-OLD ATHLETIC TRAINER KYLER BAUGHMAN DIED DAYS AFTER FEELING FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS

But one risk that doesn’t get discussed as much as it should is coming down with an illness during flu season and being mis-diagnosed, a “guilty by association” picture.

Four days before her death, 12-year-old Alyssa Alcaraz was sent home by an urgent care with a flu diagnosis when in fact she had a strep infection in her blood that put her into septic shock.

 

VTD023579-1_20171226.jpg

 

12-YEAR-OLD ALYSSA ALCARAZ WAS DIAGNOSED WITH THE FLU WHEN SHE IN FACT HAD A STREPTOCOCCAL INFECTION.

How will I know when the flu is turning deadly?

Since symptoms of the flu start to resolve in a couple of days, any symptoms beyond those few days should spark suspicions.  These can include:

  • A fever that does not subside
  • A fever that returns, recurring fever
  • New symptoms forming such as weakness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Unable to keep fluids down
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain – could signify pneumonia or heart involvement
  • Bluish lips or skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Worsening cough

Understanding what the flu virus can affect and not underestimating its severity is paramount in preventing flu fatalities.  If symptoms start improving after 2 days it’s a great sign!!  However, any symptoms that either do not resolve, lag on for days, evolve into something worse, or recur are red flags that something more than the flu could be going on.

Most importantly, if one has not been vaccinated yet against the flu, they should still consider getting the flu vaccine.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health
Friday, 06 December 2019 17:58

The medical care Wheel of Misfortune

You finally get your dream and are selected to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. You get to see Pat Sajak and Vanna White! You win a vacation to some country that you don’t really want to see. You cannot get the cash equivalent. You have to take 10 days off of work to take the free vacation you did not want. You discover that you have to pay the tax on the free vacation.

Or you win a free car. You have a perfectly functioning 3-year-old car. The free car was not really the car you would have selected. You accepted it because it was free. Then you see that you have to pay tax on the list price of the free car. You also discover that the collision insurance and Department of Motor Vehicles registration for the free car are significantly higher than for the car you currently own.

These are examples of why nothing is “free.” This applies to medical care as well. You may have to see the “health care provider” the government program or private insurer makes available to you. You don’t particularly want to see a nurse, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles with free health care. Oh well, you convince yourself that it’s okay because, just like that car on the game show, it was free.

Here’s a new spin on “free.” Yes, your medical care should be free – free from the restraints of government control. Free from the government rules that have raised the price of insurance premiums. The Affordable Care Act mandated ten essential benefits that all insurance plans must include free of out-of-pocket charges to patients. Of course, this does not include the initial out-of-pocket charge: the insurance premium. Insurance premiums shot up over the post-ACA year because the insurance plan has to cover conditions that the insured persons may not even encounter in their own lives. A glaring example is obstetrics coverage in a menopausal female. Preventive and wellness visits are also labelled as free.

Moreover, a recent AMA study revealed that over the last four years the competition in the commercial insurance market has decreased. In over 50 percent of metropolitan areas, representing about 73 million persons, one insurer has half of the market. The more concentrated the market, the higher the premiums.

Remember that free car? We all know and readily accept that car insurance does not pay for the gas and basic maintenance. So why should maintenance medical care be covered by insurance? Car insurance would be unaffordable for most car owners if it paid for gas, oil changes, new mufflers, radios, and batteries. Most states require drivers to have car insurance. If people can’t afford the insurance, they lose the benefit of owning a car.

Similarly, if you lose your health due to long waits or delayed diagnosis because the CT scan was not authorized or poor medication response because you had to take the formulary drug that was not the doctor’s first drug choice for you, the care is not free, but very costly.

The underlying message of free “health care” is disempowering. The message is that we are incapable of taking care of ourselves. Empowerment is having control over our own lives. First, we take charge of our own health by thinking about the choices we make. We choose to not smoke, overindulge in food or drink, or engage in foolhardy behaviors. Second, we decide what is important for our own health. If you do not want insurance coverage for obstetrics or fertility treatment because you are 50 years old and do not want children, there should be a less expensive insurance product available to you. Third, we need to be free to choose our own doctor as well as the treatment the doctor—not the invisible third-party payer—recommends.

The promised free health care would increase the payroll taxes on all workers, even if that worker does not want that particular brand of free medical care. The next time you hear that medical care is free, just think about that “free” car that is the wrong color, is too small, has uncomfortable seats, inadequate headroom, and overall is not what you really want.

 

Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is Immediate Past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Her opinions are her own. This is an edited column that originally appeared at www.pennypressnv.com, reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
Thursday, 05 December 2019 19:49

State Government now threatens to run amok, too

When I was Nevada controller, my deputy James Smack had an inspired idea.

On the Transparent Nevada web site of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, he searched pay levels of state employees with “controller” in their job titles.  After eliminating air traffic controllers, he found he was ninth and I was tenth.

We knew his pay was higher than mine because our salaries were dictated by statute.  What was surprising was that eight state employees with a controller job title made more than us.  They were all employed in the colleges, universities and Desert Research Institute.

This illustrated that non-academic pay in Nevada higher education is above market levels, as we already knew.  Full-time academic pay is also high because it competes with only the bloated levels at other colleges.  Throughout academe, full-time faculty and administrative compensation is very high, while that for part-time (adjunct) faculty is very low.

I don’t raise this matter to complain that our pay was too low.  Even if it should be higher, no one forced me to run or James to take his job.

However, Nevada local government pay, especially in the two large counties and in public safety, is unduly high due to very powerful unions.  In higher education, the problem is the board of regents is as weak as local governments.  Thus, costs – and taxes – continue to rise due to ever-increasing staffing, especially in administrative areas, and very high compensation.

Total compensation for Nevada state employees is closer to private market levels and in the mid-range for state employees around the country.

Now, however, state employees can bargain collectively for compensation.  So, we can expect their compensation and staffing levels to soar too – unless governor Steve Sisolak and his successors make good use of their statutory power to restrain the results of collective bargaining.  I commend my former regent colleague the Governor for insisting that a gubernatorial veto be included in the legislation allowing state employee collective bargaining.

I also commend his two other recent thoughtful actions on related fronts.  First, reining in the excesses, overreach and illegal actions of state boards and commissions, especially those regulating occupations.  Second, taking on the use by such agencies and others of outside lobbyists to get more funding from the legislature, often contrary to the governor’s proposed budget and usually at very high fees.  (They also spend too much staff time lobbying an d on public relations.)

All these costs contribute to raising our taxes.

And to making state government ever more opaque and less accountable.

Government at state and local levels, just as much as the federal government, has shifted from limited and enumerated powers, spending restraint, and resulting accountability to unlimited powers, wanton spending and tax increases, and an uncontrollable administrative state.

While state and local governments may not yet have developed the really sinister Deep State “intelligence,” spying and police powers now being exposed in Washington, they are working on creating such a nationwide swamp with extensive police powers.

None of this should be surprising, because it’s all in the nature of government and public employee unions.

The people who run and staff public agencies, just like those in the private sector, want more pay, power, perks and prestige.  And less work for each of them to do, less accountability and fewer restraints on their actions and prerogatives.  They’re only human.

This leads them to seek ever higher pay rates and benefits, more people to work with and for them, and higher expenses and capital budgets.  And especially less accountability to voters, taxpayers, governors and legislatures.

People in the private sector have the same instincts.  This isn’t a matter of better or lesser folks in either sector.

The difference is that in the private sector there are inherent restraints, especially on spending, pay and staffing levels.  Businesses can’t just raise their prices willy-nilly, as governments do taxes, because they’ll lose sales, customers and revenues.  And their powers are restrained by law and government.

That’s why, in general, the private sector works better than government, which keeps metastasizing and burdening us further.  Government and public employee unions are, by their very natures, predatory upon the public, interest and taxpayers.  And little restrained.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

Whenever I hear some left-wing wacko spewing moronic hatred for President Trump, I think, Wow!  If this President can make a whack-job like that hate him, he must be doing a pretty good job.

 

Think about it.

 

Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Jerrold Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Juan Williams, Chris Matthews, Joe Scarboro, Mike Brezinski, Rachel Maddow, Chris Cuomo, Peggy Noonan, George Conway, Peter Strozk, Lisa Page, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Hillary Clinton, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Michael Gerson, Bill Kristol, Peter Wehner, Trevor Noah, Tom Hanks, Shakira, Russell Simmons, Rosie O’Donnell, Ricky Martin, Miley Cyrus, Mac Miller, Louis CK, John Oliver, John Legend, JK Rowling, George Clooney, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Chrissy Teigen, Chris Brown, Joe Walsh (not the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, the phony politician Joe Walsh.)

 

Whew!  And that’s mostly the rookie league. (Maybe Pelosi is AA.)

 

We haven’t yet gotten to the Democrat politicos running for the Democrat nomination. (Triple A)

 

There, you have one billionaire (Tom Steyer) who called Trump a “failure” in a TV spot he’s paying for himself, hopefully to get past 1 percent.

 

Then you have another billionaire, a former New York Mayor who just “apologized” for the stop and frisk policy he inherited from his predecessor—Trump’s personal lawyer—but cannot otherwise explain the dramatic drop in violent crime during his term.

 

If you look at just the list above, there are some common threads.

 

First are the overstuffed Hollywood types—some of whom I’ve only briefly heard of—who just know so much about politics that we should be overwhelmed by their intelligence quotients.  Then we have the writers and TV personalities who fall into the category of “pundits”.  They are trying to make a living by badmouthing the President.  And, finally, we have the politicians who are green with envy.  They should have his political skills.

 

Why do they hate this guy so much?

 

Well, he stands for the concept that this is the United States of America, as my father used to say, and any little boy or girl can grow up to be President or accomplish anything they want to accomplish by simply putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

 

Contrary to what the clowns on the list above would have you believe, Donald Trump is not successful because his father was rich.  In fact, he went against the wishes of his father when he went into Manhattan real estate.

 

He’s successful because he took some giant risks.

 

Not everything he did worked.

 

His experience in Atlantic City as an example.  Hillary Clinton famously asked in a debate, “I mean, ask yourself, how can anybody lose money running a casino? Really.”

 

Of course, she demonstrated her ignorance of that business because she asked that question without knowing that one of the two largest casino companies in the nation, Harrahs, was almost two years into Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.  That’s right, the company now known as Caesars Entertainment because, yes, it happened to own Caesars Palace in both Las Vegas AND Atlantic City.

 

Caesars today operates approximately 47 casinos in 13 U.S. states and five countries, including the Caesars, Harrah’s, Horseshoe and Bally’s brands.  When stupid people ask stupid rhetorical questions, they often get they asses handed to them.

 

I mean, ask yourself, how can you take any of the clowns I have listed above seriously?

 

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Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
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