The Young Invincibles (or, does anyone have Imitrex to sell me?)

Sorry, New York Times. I know you’re holding on with the good journalism and all despite the Uwe-Boll level slasher movie that has become the rest of the industry. But, as I’m fighting off my turn at winter sickness this week, I just can’t bring myself to listen to your completely objective, fact-based analysis this time:

Coughing and sneezing generated little if any pressure in the

bull snot?

bull snot?

nasal cavities. But nose blowing generated enormous pressure — “equivalent to a person’s diastolic blood pressure reading,” Dr. Hendley said — and propelled mucus into the sinuses every time. Dr. Hendley said it was unclear whether this was harmful, but added that during sickness it could shoot viruses or bacteria into the sinuses, and possibly cause further infection.

Read more evidence of the Times’ anti-human nature, pro-sinus bias here.

This next story, however, I have a lot more sympathy with: For uninsured young adults, do-it-yourself medical care (NYT, 2/17)

The nut:

the “young invincibles” — people in their 20s who shun insurance either because their age makes them feel invulnerable or because expensive policies are out of reach. Young adults are the nation’s largest group of uninsured — there were 13.2 million of them nationally in 2007, or 29 percent, according to the latest figures from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group in New York.

Of course, I identify with it because at the end of November I became one of those 13.2 million uninsured young people for the first time in my life. I know other friends in similar situations who sought out health insurance on their own or chose the COBRA option after leaving jobs. I looked into getting it briefly, then fell over in my desk chair laughing at the absurdly high costs of insuring yourself (subsequently was taken to the emergency room, splashed with a bucket of cold water, and handed a bill for $15,000).

I also had general faith in myself enough to presume I could get a job with insurance again before too long. I’m currently one month away from qualifying for health care now and looking good so far.

Let me clarify: this is not a badge of honor in anymway. It is goddamn terrifying.

I consider myself in fairly good health with little need for frequent doctor’s visits, but I have no delusions of being invincible. All the evidence I need to support that is the $500 bill I got from the ER in a Boston hospital on the one trip I’ve had to take to the hospital in 15 years. The ailment? A throat infection. A throat infection. AND I had insurance at the time. The thought of what something even moderately serious (open-manhole calamity, Manhattan syrup-smell poisoning, femoral artery explosion due to jeans-tightness maxout in Williamsburg, etc.) would do to any hopes of financial stability is enough to make anyone feel every brittle inch of their feeble, creaking human bones. Worse yet is the thought that entire families out there in the cold, brutal city go through this for years at a time.

Before I moved to New York, I stocked up on as much migraine medicine and asthma inhalers as law would allow and hoped 2009 wouldn’t be the year my body would decide it would make overtures for constant check ups. A few more weeks, however, and I might start putting up ads looking for black-market Albuterol inhalers on Craigslist (or if anyone reading this has some they want to sell….).

That said, here’s my contribution this week to the DIY healthcare industry:

The Zicam Martini


2 Yogi Tea Wellness tea bags

feed a fever, drown a cold

feed a fever, drown a cold

2 shots 90-proof whiskey

Hot (not boiling) water

Honey (to taste)

1 canister Zicam oral mist spray mint flavor


Mix ingredients in large coffee mug. Let tea bags sit in whiskey infused water for 5 minutes before removing. Spritz surface with three to four sprays of Zicam cold remedy. Drink.

[Warning: Medicial benefits of Zicam Martini are uncertain at best and may actually make your cold worse. But don’t act like you’re going to stop blowing your nose either just because it’s bad for you]

Final note, from the NYT story about the Young Invincibles, which I’m pretty sure is also a Marvel comics series my roommate has been editing — we should probably feel the worst in this story for Robert Voris, not because of his diabetes and lack of health insurance which forces him to inject insulin with a syringe instead of buying the$900-a-month tubing, but because of this:

But Mr. Voris, 27, a journalism student at the City University of New York who works at a restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is constantly worried about diabetes-induced seizures like the one that sent him to the hospital last summer.

Better stock up on syringes while you can, Rob.

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