More Retirement Income Ahead!

Total individual life insurance policy sales increased 11% in the first quarter, compared with first quarter 2020. This is the highest growth in the number of policies sold in a quarter since 1983. New annualized premium also experienced significant growth, up 15% from prior year, according to LIMRA’s First Quarter U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.

LIMRA: First Quarter U.S. Life Insurance Policy Sales Highest Since 1983 — https://www.limra.com/en/newsroom/news-releases/2021/limra-first-quarter-u.s.-life-insurance-policy-sales-highest-since-1983/

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson in the film Taken

I had my annual wellness visit earlier this week.

5.10 168 130/84 BMI 24.14 O2 sat 98%

CHOLESTEROL 175 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 69 mg/dL
HDL 65 mg/dL
LDL CALCULATED 96 mg/dL
NON-HDL CHOLESTEROL 110 mg/dL

All of my other labs were normal too.

I have multiple relatives who have lived well into their 90’s. My maternal grandmother lived to 100. I’m going to need another source of retirement income. And for all of my friends and colleagues who never thought I would make it this far…

AST 23 U/L

ALT 7 U/L

GGT 36 U/L (12/2015)

PSA 0.7 (9/2020)

Sunday Morning – 05.23.21

I’ve finished looking at the newspaper. Afterwards, I started browsing my RSS feed and for some inexplicable reason I read an article on whole bowel irrigation at https://emcrit.org/toxhound/the-purge/.

Memo to My Life Underwriting Colleagues:

Retire before you get to this point in your career. Reading articles like this will not facilitate advancement in your chosen profession. Get out. Get a life.

Showing Cajones in the Obesity Wars

In Mexico obesity reached epidemic proportions after it joined NAFTA with the United States and Canada in the early 1990s, making processed food more easily available. Diets quickly changed as many people, particularly those on lower incomes, replaced largely healthy traditional staples (corn tortilla, frijoles, Jamaica Water) with highly processed alternatives (hotdogs, nuggets, sodas). Sugar consumption soared and waistlines exploded. In the past 20 years the number of obese and overweight people has tripled, with 75% of the population now overweight.

Mexico also has the sixth highest mortality rate from Covid-19, which has spurred the government to escalate its war against obesity.

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Global Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/04/13/mexicos-war-on-obesity-sends-global-junk-food-sugary-drink-giants-scrambling/#comments

Dumb and Dumber – Noncompliance with Colonoscopy Post Positive FIT

Results Some 88 013 patients who were FIT positive complied with colonoscopy (males: 56.1%; aged 50–59 years: 49.1%) while 23 410 did not (males: 54.6%; aged 50–59 years: 44.9%).

The 10-year cumulative incidence of CRC was 44.7 per 1000 (95% CI, 43.1 to 46.3) among colonoscopy compliers and 54.3 per 1000 (95% CI, 49.9 to 58.7) in non-compliers, while the cumulative mortality for CRC was 6.8 per 1000 (95% CI, 5.9 to 7.6) and 16.0 per 1000 (95% CI, 13.1 to 18.9), respectively. The risk of dying of CRC among non-compliers was 103% higher than among compliers (adjusted HR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.68 to 2.44).

Conclusion The excess risk of CRC death among those not completing colonoscopy after a positive faecal occult blood test should prompt screening programmes to adopt effective interventions to increase compliance in this high-risk population.

Non-compliance with colonoscopy after a positive faecal immunochemical test doubles the risk of dying from colorectal cancer — https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2021/03/30/gutjnl-2020-322192?rss=1

Help me understand human behavior. You get a positive FOBT or Cologuard test and your doctor says you need a colonoscopy but you decide not to follow up and follow through with the scope.

SMH.

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties – Please Stand By

One question we see frequently – if you have a confirmation email, with a link taking you to a sign-up page, when all the appointments are full, should you expect an email telling you when they become available? The short answer, no.

Oklahoma Vaccine Portal problems persist as Oklahomans scramble to get a shot appointment — https://kfor.com/news/local/oklahoma-vaccine-portal-problems-persist-as-oklahomans-scramble-to-get-a-shot-appointment/

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health said about 290,000 eligible Oklahomans are signed up on the scheduler portal. Plenty of people in the phase two distribution plan told 2 Works for You they are having issues scheduling a vaccination.

Senior citizens struggle with state COVID vaccine portal — https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/senior-citizens-struggle-with-oklahoma-state-covid-vaccine-portal

Tulsa Health Department posted on Facebook saying, that due to technical difficulties, there is no way for eligible individuals in Tulsa County to sign up.

‘Technical difficulties’ halts OSDH’s vaccine scheduling portal in Tulsa — https://ktul.com/news/local/technical-difficulties-halts-osdhs-vaccine-scheduling-portal-in-tulsa

Friday 1/29

Today began like any other workday. Wake up, coffee, shower, get dressed, more coffee, make the bed, power up the computer. But this morning I did not turn my workstation on. I took the morning off to get my SARS-Cov-2 vaccination shot. Total estimated round trip drive time will be about 3 hours. We’re headed to a mall in Enid, OK (that’s nearly Kansas IMO). This is my vaccine story.

Like the rest of the world we’ve been pretty much cooped up for nearly a year. Getting out of the house for “essential” activities isn’t the same as getting out and doing things. The arrival of vaccines for this horrible virus was good news. This certainly doesn’t herald the end of The Great Pandemic but it’s a hell of a good start. Somehow I knew with governments at multiple points in the vaccination process you just know there will be problems. Keep this in mind and carry on.

The state of Oklahoma is presently in Phase 2 of a four phase rollout. When The Boss and I became eligible for a jab we started hearing nightmare stories about actually securing an appointment. I knew the hiccups at the beginning were due to vaccine supply. The supply side is still a problem but not nearly as big of a problem as the steps you must take to register and find some vaccine. OSDH (Oklahoma State Department of Health) is the agency that set up the state’s vaccine portal. A lifetime ago I managed technology for two different companies and I know what can go wrong with systems implementation. Here we had a website set up by a government agency rolled out to the public with zero instructions on how the process would work. What could go wrong?

Yup, “technical difficulties”.

After hearing horror stories of a crashed website and other “technical difficulties” I waited a few weeks before signing up on the site. When I signed up I immediately received an email telling me I was eligible to be vaccinated. The email contained a link to the appointment scheduler. And that’s when the fun began. No appointments. Nada. Zilch. The instructions on how to use the site were nowhere to be found. After some time clicking around I managed to figure out how the site worked. First come, first served. If you can’t get an appointment come back later and try again.

So I went back to work and left my personal computer up with the vaccine portal website up. Every now and then I turned around from my Day Job Workstation and checked to see if any appointment openings popped up. After several hours of intermittent checking a massive number of slots opened up at a single site, the Oakwood Mall in Enid Oklahoma. So I used the home office intercom and yelled rather loudly:

“Get on the site. It’s number 47. Take the 10:30 am slot and I’ll grab the 10:45. GO!!!”

We both got slots for shots on January 29th. I suspect our experience was a lot better and a lot more successful than for others around the country. In my next post I’ll describe a few of the reasons why Oklahoma is doing a decent job with their vaccine rollout. Decent not good. Keep this in mind too because we haven’t opened up the process to the general population yet.

PS. My worst side effect so far has been an illogical urge to buy a 12 string acoustic guitar. Strange but true.

Consistently Inconsistent With the Virus (as with life)

I’d thought long and hard about what I wanted to do when Will — and, soon after, his brother, Theo — returned home. The by-the-book Dr. Anthony Fauci approach would have been to have the boys keep on their masks, send them upstairs for a couple of weeks, and open all the windows in the house in the meantime.

But as the pandemic has taught us, there are things we value more than perfect protection from the virus. When it comes to them, we’re willing to puncture our bubbles, because without them, living feels like something less than being fully alive…

I admit that, at least to an outsider, my behavior seems inconsistent. But to me, it makes perfect sense. The risks I’m choosing to take are the ones where the payoff is biggest relative to the risk I perceive. (Yes, even the haircut! I love a good high-and-tight, and my barber is applying the clippers in his open-air home workshop.)

Before you argue with me, I get it. These aren’t the choices you would make. And that’s my point.We all have things we value. And risks we are willing to take for them. Neither of these two categories will be exactly the same for any one of us.

When it comes to the virus, we are all consistently inconsistent
Adam Cohen Published: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:07 AM Updated: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:36 AM — https://oklahoman.com/article/5678132/cohen-when-it-comes-to-the-virus-we-are-all-consistently-inconsistent

Exposed to grandchildren? Why take the chance?

reader comment

A reader’s comment above stopped me in my tracks. The past nine months have been spent mostly in the house with minimal forays out of the house for essentials like food and beer. I didn’t get a real haircut for months. The insides of a restaurant are now foreign to me. I cancelled my gym membership. So the comment made me think, why did I take the chance to spend time with Tiny Human Petri Dishes? When I stumbled upon the Cohen article I realized I was not alone. Nine months have disappeared and we all struggle with our own individual risk/reward scenarios.

The Grandchildren Bubble is unique. Risk was reduced to zero for six months. After six months all of the adults decided the Covid risk was minimal for several reasons. Two of the four adults (the most cautious and conservative ones) caught the virus. Thankfully both were fairly mild cases on the spectrum of asymptomatic to death and both have fully recovered. So two people have antibodies. The third adult is a front line HCW who deals with Covid each and every time he goes to work. The doctor has gotten tested multiple times all with negative results. One Tiny Human attends preschool and if a child has anything near a small sniffle they have to stay home and cannot rejoin the class until they have a negative Covid test. She recently received a negative test. Tiny Human Too just started crawling and doesn’t get out the house much. Not much to worry about here.

And for readers who have been counting that leaves yours truly. I lived with one of the infected before we knew she was infected. I tested negative the day before she got her test results. One of our neighbors asked if I left the house to live in a hotel. No I didn’t. Living apart while under the same roof was an interesting experience that I hope never to repeat. And despite having Covid in the house I didn’t catch it.

So I spent some time in my only trusted bubble mask less and I end up catching one or two non-Covid-19 coronaviruses. Next time I’m wearing a mask.

Mugged at Thanksgiving!

A mug every four years to commemorate milestones in a physician’s career.

Just another Saturday morning except this day starts the second half of a long four day Thanksgiving holiday break. We have given our thanks for the things we are grateful for. Today I’m asking all who read this post to give thanks for all of our front line healthcare workers for whom there is no break from work. We have many dedicated people who are spending the holiday away from their families while most of us are spending time with our families. These brave souls are putting their own health and safety on the line for the rest of us.

  • Thanksgiving – 3:00-11:00 PM
  • Friday Nov. 27 – 1:00-9:00 PM
  • Saturday Nov. 28 – 1:00-9:00 PM
  • Sunday Nov. 29 – 6:00 AM-2:00 PM
  • Is it too hard to wear a mask?

I’m getting better at writing effective click-bait blog post titles.

The Main Thing Art Does Is To Let You Know You’re Not Alone

“We don’t need to generalize, we don’t need to say let me explain the whole world to you as an artist. You don’t have to do that. Just tell the truth about your own life, what you’re experiencing, what you’re seeing and dig into it. Don’t be afraid of it, confront it. Let’s see where it comes out. Let’s describe our most intimate relationships with the hopes that other people can see themselves in our work.”

Steven Van Zandt — https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebaltin/2020/10/18/qa-e-streets-steve-van-zandt-and-nils-lofgren-on-the-making-of-the-new-bruce-springsteen-masterpiece-letter-to-you/#7bc47c7877e3