Tuesday, April 28, 2009

28 April 1955 “Insurance, Hospital costs, Diets, Letters and the art of Conversation”

From Time Magazine:

Patients are "alarmed by the confusion and the cost of a system in which the doctor competes with the hospital for the patient's pocketbook," Dr. Basil C. MacLean, New York City Commissioner of Hospitals, told the New England Hospital Assembly in Boston. Furthermore, said MacLean, some hospitals seem "to be designed on the pattern of a clip-joint nightclub," charging as much as 60¢ for a couple of aspirin tablets that they buy at 60¢ per 1,000. "If the voluntary hospital system is to continue," warned MacLean, "shock therapy is needed to cure it of its schizophrenia." [I just assumed the overpriced hospital fees were always there. Apparently, the practice to gouge and therefore require insurance to cover 100 dollar Tylenol was just starting out in 1955. Look out world, it’s going to get worse.]

This bit about insurance was also surprising to me:

A major extension of insurance to cover long-term illnesses now excluded was approved at a joint Chicago meeting of Blue Cross (hospitalization) and Blue Shield (medical care) representatives. By year's end, most of the autonomous local plans are expected to offer combination policies (for extra premiums of about $1 a month for an individual, $2 to $3 for a family) to provide up to two years of care for long-lasting disorders now excluded, e.g., mental illness, tuberculosis, incurable cancer, alcoholism. Most plans now exclude these illnesses, and limit protection to about 70 days' care for acute conditions. Policyholders will still have to pay 20% of the costs out of their own pockets.

That means, this sort of coverage would only cost us today around 7 dollars a month. I become so disillusioned when I look at how the insurance industry has lead to the current overpriced medical system. I am really numb with anger at how it has left our country in it’s current state with health care. The insurance lobbyists are the most powerful and plentiful in Washington.

I have been going through the 1955 Diet book and it seems full of nothing but good sense. I found this bit rather good:

“Another reason why no specific time limit is placed on the diets is that reducers who slim down on short-term diets are prone to feel that the battle of overweight is won, once and for all. It never is or hardly ever. Fat will come right back again if eating is unrestrained and daily meals pile up a calorie surplus. Permanent weight control depends upon reeducating one’s appetite and eating habits. Foods provided in this book are meal plans that are common to average American diets. That way the transition to higher calorie diets, after weight is reduced, will be easy and natural. Diet containing exotic ‘health foods’ or strange and unusual things to ear are all too likely to make the reducer feel that there is some wonderful short term magic in them. There is no such magic, and the road to lifetime weight control lies in intelligent eating and a wide variety of common and delicious foods of the familiar kinds provided by the following meals.”

Again, accountability. You can eat normal easy inexpensive foods. You don’t have to eat odd bars or weird flax covered tofu wads (unless you like that). But, really, these meals are simply plain meals you would serve for you family and they would be on a ‘diet’ with you, as you would want everyone to have a healthy weight and you control that up or down with the PORTIONS of the meal.

The book gives this list of “Eat-all-you-want foods”. They are 3-percent-carbohydrate vegetables which give a very large amount of satisfying bulk but surprisingly few calories.

Here they are:

Asparagus, Beans (green or wax), Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Chicory, Cucumbers, Endive, Escarole, Greens (beet dandelion mustard turnip), Kale. Lettuce, Mushrooms, Parsley, Radishes, Rhubarb, Romaine, Sauerkraut, Spinach, Summer squash, Tomatoes, and Water Cress.

So, eat up gals!

I thought this was good advice for those who like to snack or need to eat at night (I know Jitterbug mentioned having that feeling):

“Save a serving for a snack. If you just must eat something before you go to bed or in the middle of an afternoon, let the snack be a serving from lunch or dinner (not breakfast) of the day’s diet. You overdraw your diet, make repayment by not eating the ‘borrowed’ food at regular mealtime.” [Don’t you love it! It is just good common sense and also applies to saving money! So many people do say, “don’t eat after 8” which is true, but if you are taking a certain amount of calories and you save some of them to eat after 8 you are still eating that same amount in the day and your body doesn’t know if it is 8 at night or 12 in the afternoon. I asked my friend who is a doctor and he said, that if you are eating say 1200 calories a day then it doesn’t matter what time during the day that you eat it as long as it is restricted to that amount between the morning and evening. So, for any late night snacker, just reserve some of your lunch for that late night ‘ice box raid’.

So, here are the spring meal plans with the various daily caloric intakes. I will post the various recipes in my next post.


spring 1000 calorie plan spring calorie plan 2 spring calorie plan 3 spring calore plan 4

Since I have begun some correspondence with various followers, I have of late really begun to think of the art of letter writing. According to my book on Etiquette from 1952 under the correspondence chapter,

“Letter writing, like conversation, is often spoken of today as a lost art.”

Even then, with more frequent travel, automobiles, and the telephone, the letter was beginning to be viewed as fleeting. However, the letters of 1955 certainly outnumber those of today and even in their casual manner, certainly have more info in them to peruse and study. The etiquette book states,

“Though few of us today are writing the sorts of letters that will be studied and collected by historians in the future, we all do a certain amount of letter writing.” Yet, how we today, find the simplest letter home from a young bride interesting and often, between the lines, are volumes spoken.

I found some old letters I had mailed home from my time in Paris and England in the early 1990’s. Even then the concept of email was far away. I found that the post cards I wrote home were more detailed than many emails I wrote in 2008 and certainly more so than a text. Here is what I wrote on a post card home on my return to Paris from England:paris post card

                                                      29 July

“I am back in Paris. It is so bloody hot! England was wonderful and where I was staying in Hampstead was a  lovely little swimming hole in the middle of the Heath. It was fenced only for women (so, men couldn’t peek) and had to be reached through a curving tunnel of foliage. It was so Victorian, I utterly loved it. All of those English women, young and old,  just bobbing around without a splash. The water was green like pea soup and ducks shared our pleasure. It is good to be back in Paris, besides the heat. Having a wonderful time, will write later.

P.S. This is a wonderful park where I eat my morning bread. The old people sat in the green metal chairs are as solid and beautiful as the ancient stonework.

Certainly, in 2009 on such a trip, one might toss off a few emails: It’s hot. Liked England and swimming was fun :) So hot here, but nice park ';)

Somehow, down the road if one were even to have copies of old emails, would they ever bring back the images of those lost times? That calls up another issue, will we have copies of all our old emails to one another? Will they be left in boxes for others to find and love? I know I never print my emails out. They are fleeting, like a quick “Hi, how are you?” to a stranger.

I am not saying they are bad, but we really have sort of lost a form of communication. Are we heading back to a series of grunts and hieroglyphs to communicate? Are single letters and punctuation standing in for facial expressions the new form of letter writing? It does make one think.

Here is a sample ‘bread and butter letter’ as it is called in the book:

letter It certainly would be nice to receive even this short letter in the mail. Most likely one would thank another with an email or maybe a text or call, or possibly, not at all.

I don’t want to say one is good or one is bad, but what we have now is the ability to have BOTH! They did not have the convenience of email and texting in 1955, but we have that and the ability to send letters, why not use them in tandem? An email and a quick call is nice to make sure one is arrived safe or for urgent information, but the ability to express oneself in letter form, and the joy of reading of one’s experience through their words is slipping away. I do think that language is an important part of being a human being. I wonder, will letter writing ever disappear altogether? What do you think? Do you like getting and or writing letters? When was the last letter you actually received. Do you know more about each other because you CAN communicate more easily, or do you actually know each other less as you have no need to delve into your own thoughts and feelings at length, but can just sit for hours on the cell or im-ing talking about nothing and making ;0 :) all day? Could it be the easier communication becomes the less we have to say to one another? As we have less time to think and consider what we would like to say and therefore discover ourselves who we are and what makes us happy or sad? And in our constant calling and talking on cell phones, do we need to create drama in order to have something to say to one another?

I promised photos of my dining room and they are coming, believe me, but I did give myself until the first of May to complete my project. Sometimes things come up and I am glad for my new scheduling lifestyle.

Yesterday, was laundry day, but I had to take all three dogs to the vet. I also had to go pick up the last of my new chicks. This resulted in a lot of driving about and I did not get as much done on my room as planned, and to top it all off, my drill broke! Yet, I am learning to take it all in stride, because at the end of the day, I still had clean sheets on the bed, a nice meal on the table and had time to whip up a batch of brownies from scratch. I really do find now when I have a ‘busy day’ that throws more things in my path, having now got to a certain level of things that I will make sure get done, it makes the chaos of unexpected things more bearable and I can still enjoy the day. Gussie spent most of the day with me, running errands and holding dogs at the vet, and though we had a day full of ‘to-doing’ it was all done with fun and laughter. A smile and understanding friends certainly makes the day go by nicely.

We also, the three of us Gussie, Hubby, and I, have a new nightly ritual that I look forward too and it really does help to wind down the day. After we eat dinner together, Gussie gets tea on while I serve up whatever is going for dessert (last night blonde brownies and ice cream). Then, I take out Pockets ( my darling little parakeet, another purchase for this project) who sits on my shoulder.  We sip our tea, eat our dessert surrounding by the dogs and the bird, and talk. It is so nice to just talk. With no tv to watch ( I have really even stopped watching my vintage tv, as I just forget about it and have little time for it) we have time to talk. Even if it is about nothing, we always find things we have been thinking about to discuss. Much like the joy of reading a blog, the conversation is a great way to catch up and also express our thoughts which might lead to new ideas we can work on the next day. Conversation, really, is so important (to me at least). I also find it is nice to expect a certain routine, it gives a nice structure to even a hectic day. Looking forward to time together to relax and making sure it is as important to get done as making dinner, really does make for a better quality of life.

I used to try not to be too critical of things like watching TV, but honestly I have to say now, in my current frame of mind, I find almost no reason for it. I enjoy watching movies occasionally with my friends, but is my life less full because I don’t have ‘my shows’ to watch anymore? No. I have to say that for my household, we enjoy the time together much more and have so much more quality time to share with one another without it. I began to think in 2008 that my mind was not as sharp as when I was younger, as I was always reading and considering things and contemplating life. Now, I realize, I was just becoming mentally lazy. How can I expect my mind to work better if I don’t use it! But, I didn’t have to. The TV and computer did it for me. It told me what to do and eat and buy. It told me what I should wear whom I should like or hate. 

I certainly could write a letter expressing everything we did yesterday and find it rather interesting to share.  Were I too have come home, ate dinner while we watched TV, and then continued to watch it, we would have said few words to one another and really not get to know one another. Sometimes the people we live with we begin to know so little of, as we waste our time together with the TV. I am sure there are couples who say few words together ,who eat together and sleep in the same house, but spend most of their time together in front of the distraction of television. I really do think if anyone watches a lot of TV, they should just try one night a week where there is no TV and you have tea/coffee/cocktails and just talk about your day or what you want to do or what you think or what book you read or blog or interesting article or what you want to read or do. I know it sounds simple or obvious, but I didn’t realize how much time I didn’t spend with those in my home until the TV went quiet. Just something to think about.

Well, I have ironing today and more dining room finishing touches and planting some trees in my little orchard. What a glorious beautiful day. I hope all of you enjoy yourself, no matter where you are or what you are doing and why not look forward to the evenings end with a cup of tea with your family/friends and a great conversation.

Happy Homemaking.

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