The Tenth Circle of Hell: Dealing with Insurance Companies

“In the years following my melanoma removal, I sometimes found myself without health insurance. This was before the ACA allowed kids to stay on their parent’s insurance until they turned twenty-six and my post-college temp job didn’t offer health benefits.

“When I did finally get a job that offered insurance, I had to pay twice as much as my peers because of my cancer history — and if it had been higher than stage II, they wouldn’t have covered me at all.

“I was appalled because I had been cancer-free for ten years at that point and I was otherwise very healthy. But they’re no dummies. I’m pretty sure they knew the cancer would come back before it ever would have crossed my mind and they weren’t about to put money on a horse they knew wouldn’t win.” — Lanie Brewster Quinn, Stupid Cancer Blog, May 14, 2017

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From Dante’s Circles of Hell to Academic Freedom

“The focus of Hindrik Mulder’s research is on the metabolism of insulin-producing beta cells. The question he studies is what goes wrong in type 2 diabetes: why do the insulin-producing beta cells fail? Why are they no longer able to release as much insulin as is needed to keep blood sugar levels under control?

“’The cells’ powerhouses – mitochondria – play a key role in this. The mitochondria give the cells energy and control their metabolism. However, if their workings are disturbed, the beta cells are not able to respond with sufficient insulin release when blood sugar levels rise, and this results in diabetes’, says Hindrik Mulder.” —  Tord Ajanki and Hanna Mellors, Lund University Diabetes Centre, December 10, 2018

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The Six Circles of Hangover Hell

1st Circle: The Ducked Bullet 
No pain. No real feeling of illness. Your sleep was deep and all those carbo-loaded beers have gifted you with a week’s worth of misplaced energy. During lunch you torture your less fortunate coworkers, bragging about how you can pound booze all night, drink warm gin out of a dirty ashtray for breakfast, and still show up fifteen minutes early for work. You crave a steak sub and a side of gravy fries.” — The Drunkard Staff, Modern Drunkard Magazine, August 5, 2018

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“Smoking Ban Hits Home. Truly.”

smoking-ban-hits-home-truly“BELMONT, Calif. — During her 50 years of smoking, Edith Frederickson says, she has lit up in restaurants and bars, airplanes and trains, and indoors and out, all as part of a two-pack-a-day habit that she regrets not a bit. But as of two weeks ago, Ms. Frederickson can no longer smoke in the one place she loves the most: her home. . .
And that the ban should have originated in her very building — a sleepy government-subsidized retirement complex called Bonnie Brae Terrace — is even more galling. Indeed, according to city officials, a driving force behind the passage of the law was a group of retirees from the complex who lobbied the city to stop secondhand smoke from drifting into their apartments from the neighbors’ places. . .
At a local level, the debate over the law has divided the residents of the Bonnie Brae into two camps, with the likes of Ms. Frederickson, a hardy German emigre, on one side, and Ray Goodrich, a slim 84-year-old with a pulmonary disease and a lifelong allergy problem, on the other. . .
‘I came around the corner, and there was just a giant puff of black smoke, and I knew I wasn’t going to last five seconds in that,’ Mr. Goodrich said. ‘It was like Dante’s inferno up there.'” [. . .]    –Jesse McKinley, The New York Times, January 26, 2009

“Where Sweatshops Are a Dream”

where-sweatshops-are-a-dream

“This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.” [in reference to a large garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia)] [. . .]    –Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, January 14, 2008