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The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (review)
Mar 23rd, 2014 by Dr Karma

I did my semi-annual library order of new graphic novels recently and have been slowly going through them. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth has already been recalled by another patron, so I had to move it to the top of the list, only to find that it’s by far one of the best in the pile.

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Published last year, the book is by Isabel Greenberg, a London-based author. This is her first full-length graphic novel.

It’s not an encyclopedia–it is, however, a collection of myths and stories about “early earth”–a time before our recorded history (but with events and peoples much like we find in our recorded history. Some of the myths are familiar–we see them in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The book would have us understand that the early earth myths were first (the reader can decide if these stories survive in the Jungian collective unconscious or whether certain events repeat a bit)).

The book is about storytelling, but the real joy is that Greenberg is a master storyteller herself. I blew through this book and loved it all. The art is a great complement to the stories, with lovely lettering, clean lines, and a masterful use of color.

It’s so good, in fact, that I’m willing to forgive its small flaws–it has an appendix, for example, with some background stories. As this is actually organized as stories–with stories within stories–and not as a document, it doesn’t really make sense to have an appendix. Those tales could have been folded into the others. However, I was thrilled to see the appendix when I came to the end of the book today–it meant there was more to read!

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Highly recommended! I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’m also going to have to go find her graphic short fiction, for which she’s won an award.

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My Xolair’s In!
Mar 20th, 2014 by Dr Karma

Later today, I will finally get my xolair shot, only three full months after I was supposed to get the last one.

It took me being on the phone with several different people for hours. It took my shot nurse doing the same. It took my medical advocate doing the same. It took faxes and pdfs and tears.

Those of you who have been following the saga know that I used to pay $9/month for my xolair (thanks to Genentech’s xolair assistance). Blue Shield told me for over two months that I would pay $125/month + 40 for the nurse visit. Yet I couldn’t order the drug because BS was telling the pharmacy something else. Then BS told me that they had been wrong–all five people I’d talked to were just wrong–and that my copay was just under $1100/month (+40).

Here’s what we now know actually happened:

BS was wrong on their authorization form–they listed a pharmacy that was actually out of my network (“that was an error”); that cost me a week.

BS was wrong when many, many people told me to set up an account with the pharmacy and to order the drug. The letter they sent me, addressed to me, addressing me in second person (“your provider . . .”), was, they admit, “confusing” as it seemed to also tell me that I had to order the drug, when, in fact, the doctor’s office was supposed to do it.

BS was wrong when they tried to bill $1100–both because I was apparently not supposed to order the drug myself, but also because that copay would only apply to this drug if I had an out of network doctor. My plan is the UC Care plan, made especially for UC Davis Employees who use UC Doctors. My doctor works at the UC Davis Medical Center. When I get bills from there, I have to write checks to the Regents of UC Davis. When I got switched to this plan, I called BS to confirm that all of my doctors, including this one, were in my network. So how could I possibly expect them to get this right, even when the authorization lists this very doctor as being one of their providers? Silly me.

My copay is actually zero. I will have to pay $40/month to see the nurse, so under the new insurance plan, my cost goes up $31, which is, of course, fine. I just wish I were allowed to make this many mistakes as a patient/bill payer. I just wish my lungs hadn’t been hurting for a couple of months. I just wish I could get all those hours back.

And I wish they weren’t giving me more BS about a procedure I need on my neck, turning it down.

How am I supposed to trust them now?

 

(In other news: my students’ stand-up performance is here: http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/1bf40024 I’m the MC, so I do some stuff at the start and in-between. I was basically workshopping all new stuff, so it’s not polished.)

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