Cheesy Whinings About Seniors at The New York Times

What are some of the “brutal” hardships that seniors are enduring in a tough economy? According to the wine-and-cheese crowd at the New York Times, it is that some seniors are being forced to consume more — err — wine and cheese.  Here, in the words of the Times reporter Catherine Rampell, is the predicament of a 62-year-old, Cleveland-based, freelance writer, Susan Zimmerman:

None of the three part-time jobs she has cobbled together pay benefits, and she says she is counting the days until she becomes eligible for Medicare.

In the meantime, Ms. Zimmerman has fashioned her own regimen of home remedies — including eating blue cheese instead of taking penicillin and consuming plenty of orange juice, red wine, coffee and whatever else the latest longevity studies recommend — to maintain her health, which she must do if she wants to continue paying the bills.

Setting aside the unpleasant side effect on one’s waistline of blue cheese, a quick Google search suggests that a 60-cap bottle of penicillin (enough for several infections) for the uninsured costs $28 or 50 cents a pill — less if it’s reimported from a foreign country. Maybe Cleveland is different, but in most places a daily dose of wine and cheese would cost a lot more. Would someone let Ms. Rampell know?

(Do we really need The Onion when The Times does such a good job of self-parody?)

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  • nicole||

    I'm admittedly allergic, so maybe I'm missing something here, but why does this woman seem to need to take penicillin on some kind of regular basis? And why is it so shocking that someone might decide to eat and drink healthily because they want to stay healthy? I'm pretty sure other writers for the NYT would think that was just the thing to do...

  • ||

    I can't believe you were rude enough to draw attention to her constant syphilis infections. You cunt.

  • ||

    nicole is calling her a whore. It's passive aggressive chick stuff; you wouldn't understand.

  • nicole||

    You know the demographics. For every eligible old man there are like 20 old ladies. I gotta practice the elder-slut-shaming early.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Obviously the massive shortfall in entitlement spending in this country has forced her into prostitution. You must want her to spread VDs all over Ohio.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    You must want her to spread VDs all over Ohio.

    I'm sure Warty is doing just fine on his own. He doesn't need her help.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Probably IS Warty.

  • Rasilio||

    My guess is that she is attempting to take as a prophylactic to ward off bacterial infections in hopes of not needing to go to the Dr and get the Penicillin in the first place.

  • Ice Nine||

    There is no better way to cultivate penicillin-resistant bacteria that will require her needing to go to the Dr - probably several of them - much more often.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I think Rasilio is talking about the cheese.

  • Ice Nine||

    Yes, and I was just following the cheese as penicillin idea, as he was.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    oh.....I didn't know about the penicillum in the cheese...

  • Cytotoxic||

    That should be illegal and strictly enforced. I'm serious antibiotic resistance is a huge environmental externality.

  • Rasilio||

    eating large quantities of Blue Cheese should be illegal and strictly enforced as a mechanism to control antibiotic resistance?

  • ||

    NOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Cytotoxic||

    DERP DERP. I misread the comment and thought she was taking Penicillin as a prophylactic.

  • SIV||

    That isn't where the dangerous antibiotic resistance comes from in our country. It is from "medical professionals" not washing their fucking hands in the hospital.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Hopefully they're wearing and changing gloves so it doesn't matter.

  • Rasilio||

    Well in your defense the original article is really unclear about when and why she eats the blue cheese and I didn't explicitly spell out which I was referring to.

    That said, why does anyone need more than 7 ozs of Blue Cheese a month?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The toxins in molds were evolved to kill off competing fungi or other cells, or are sometimes drawn from the nutrient source for the mold. True story.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Cyto is just trying to create a black market in blue cheese.

  • ||

    Hell, their own food writer (whatsisfatface?) wants to mandate "healthy diet" for teh childrunz, but for some reason when old people do it, it's a hardship.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Don't point out the logical and editorial inconsistencies of the paper of record. Just read it, and agree with it. Why is that so hard?

  • GILMORE||

    Kaptious Kristen| 2.4.13 @ 12:55PM |#

    Hell, their own food writer (whatsisfatface?) wants...

    Mark "Douchehat" Bittman

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Especially interesting given that it's illegal to buy penicillin without a prescription.

    Maybe she's taking trips to Mexico to get it? That would be expensive.

  • SIV||

    Shikha gets it mailed to her from India.

  • Proprietist||

    Many cash clinics cost $50 or less for a visit. Also, public clinics are likely even cheaper.

  • GILMORE||

    nicole| 2.4.13 @ 12:33PM |#

    I'm admittedly allergic, so maybe I'm missing something here, but why does this woman seem to need to take penicillin on some kind of regular basis?

    Uhm. regular, vigorous, unprotected sex with strangers? You have no idea of the disgusting and licentious lives of senior citizens.

  • John||

    We need to get used to old people being poor again. What is going to happen when the under 40 generation gets old? Many of them have nondischargable student loans that they will never pay back. Thanks to Obama and Geitner inflation is likely to wipe out any savings or inheritance they get. There is no such thing as a defined benefit retirement anymore. And the birth rate is lower so many of them won't have children to take care of them.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually 2 of these are mutually exclusive.

    Given the low fixed interest rates on Student Loans, even those in default the nice little bout of Hyper inflation the government is going to need to pay off the national debt will make $200,000 in Student loans cost about the same as a couple of six packs

  • John||

    But student loan interest rates are variable. When the great inflation happens, interest rates will go up accordingly causing the value of the unpaid debts to keep up with inflation.

  • robc||

    Is that true? I thought you could get locked in student loan rates.

  • John||

    Every one I ever had was pegged to the Treasury Rate.

  • robc||

    Looks like Sallie Mae issued their first fixed rate one last year.

    I never had a student loan*. I wouldnt have guessed that only variable rates existed. Huh.

    *the advantage of grad school in engineering, I was paid to go to school.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yeah. And a box of M+M's cost a nickel, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    I consolidated mine several years ago at a fixed rate.

  • T||

    I think the wife's are all fixed, but she did a consolidation loan.

    I dunno. You saps paid for me directly.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    From DOEd: Before 2006 they were variable. Now they're fixed, at higher interest rates.

  • ||

    My law school loans are fixed, and at 6.8% they aren't really that cheap. The main advantage was not having the interest kick in until half a year after finishing school.

    People with lower incomes can have their minimum payments reduced (to 15% of discretionary income) and as long as they keep making those payments the whole thing is washed away after 20 years (might be 25).

    If someone in school now still has school debt by the time they retire they either had private loans they shouldn't have taken or really fucked up paying it back.

  • ||

    We need to get used to families not pissing off their parents and grandparents so much that they won't take them in when they're old. It's this concept of allowing all old people the same independence they had when they were younger that is bankrupting future generations. If remaining independent into old age was so important for many Social Security recipients, they should have fought against that scam and worked to save money in IRA's.

    Unfortunately, now I have to pay for them and have no money to save for myself. Fuck old people.

  • John||

    We do. There is one problem however. People used to have big families. So taking care of parents wasn't as big of a deal. It was almost unheard of to die childless in the past. Now that is very common. So there won't be families to take care of them.

  • robc||

    It was almost unheard of to die childless in the past.

    Im pretty sure that is false.

    Lots of people didnt have children, its just the ones that did have children had lots more.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I've always championed group marriage as a solution to this problem.

    Look to the bonobos.

  • Rasilio||

    Not sure if you're serious but I have often pointed out that a line marriage as described in Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" would solve pretty much every one of these age related problems.

  • Bam!||

    So they make decisions that lead to them being childless, and therefore society (by which I mean the spawn of the non-childless) must take care of them?

    Why does it increasing seem like the government exists for no other purpose than to screw over responsible people and reward the irresponsible?

  • Brandybuck||

    Actually the elderly are the most affluent age group. Sure you can spend your whole life frittering it all away until you retire and discover that you really should have saved a penny here or there, but there are enough sane people in the world who do save that it pushes the average net worth of the elderly up above the average net worth of whiny thirty-something handwringers.

    Think about it, no more payroll taxes, a house that's paid off, and some investments to keep you going. Statistically your income sucks, but that's because you're retired, duh. If you've got your health you're doing great! On average of course.

  • John||

    Actually the elderly are the most affluent age group.

    Sure they are now. But they won't be in the future. Their kids are going to be much poorer than they were.

  • Paul.||

    Or you could become a "freelance writer".

  • SIV||

    Setting aside the unpleasant side effect on one’s waistline of blue cheese, a quick Google search suggests that a 60-cap bottle of penicillin (enough for several infections) for the uninsured costs $28 or 50 cents a pill — less if it’s reimported from a foreign country.

    Fire Shikha, please.

    Not only can I buy 4 -8 ozs of blue cheese for as little as $3 on sale I don't need to pay for a Doctor's office visit to get a fucking permission slip to buy it.

  • ||

    I had strep throat about a decade ago, and had a friend who worked at a dentist's office call in a prescription for penicillin for me so I wouldn't have to go to a doctor and pay for them to tell me what I already knew.

  • SIV||

    That's just what the old lady in the NYT article needs. A friend in a dentist office who can call in her 'scripts. Why didn't Shikha think of that?

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure she usually called in pain medicine for other people. Which would actually be legitimate these days.

  • Ice Nine||

    FWIW, you did not know that you had a strep throat.

  • ||

    Well, I had a fever around 103ºF, it felt like razor blades were going down my throat every time I swallowed, and I could see white pustules in the back of my throat in the mirror, so I was essentially certain.

  • Ice Nine||

    Doesn't mean a thing. Strep infections of throat cannot be distinguished from viral infections by appearance or feel. And 85% of them are viral.

  • SIV||

    Back before rapid strep test drs used to start patients on antibiotics while the strep farm was growing. They'd call and tell you to stop if it wasn't the right bacteria.

  • ||

    I also have PhD in Know-It-Allism, which trumps your Masters degree in the subject.

  • Ice Nine||

    A Doctorate in medicine and 35yrs experience treating sore throats would have served you better in this case.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I prescribe moldy bread for everything.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Get off your high horse, douche.

  • SIV||

    Maybe he owns a microscope and some petri dishes of agar. Or he ordered this from Amazon.

    It's not rocket science or brain surgery. It's rent seeking. A fucking technician could diagnose strep throat (or rule it out) as well as any debt-laden credentialed sawbones.

  • SIV||

    Un-SFed link to rapid strep test kit through Amazon

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not that easy, as strip throat (inherent risk in making out or sleeping with strippers) is remarkably similar.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That danger requires a different Amazon purchase.

  • ||

    Google search suggests that a 60-cap bottle of penicillin (enough for several infections) for the uninsured costs $28 or 50 cents a pill — less if it’s reimported from a foreign country.

  • Cyto||

    Even less at many pharmacies. Publix grocery stores give out basic antibiotics for free. I think Wal-mart followed suit with prescriptions for a buck or two.

  • Jordan||

    So what? Anybody who thinks $28 is unreasonable for a 60 pill supply of antibiotics is a fucking moron. I really don't get these morons who just can't countenance ever paying a single cent for their own healthcare.

  • Jordan||

    That reminds me of the people my wife would see in the ER who would beg her for a prescription for Advil so they wouldn't have to pay $2 at Wal-Mart.

    And then there's the guy who came in complaining of chest pains. Once he discovered that the hospital didn't have pay-per-view, he miraculously recovered and left. After sticking the tax payers with the bill.

  • SIV||

    The $28 isn't unreasonable The $200+ office visit and tests to get it is.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You can go to a walmart clinic, staffed by a PA who has the prescribing power, for far less than that. Of course the AMA was trying to kill those things a few years ago, but didn't succeed (yet).

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    If routine shit wasn't covered by insurance, it would be much cheaper to pay for out of pocket.

  • Agammamon||

    The only problem is that you need to eat, oh around 10 fething pounds of blue cheese to get the same amount of penicillin as is in that bottle.

  • The Other Kevin||

    Maybe it's "special" penicillin, like that "special" birth control that is so expensive.

  • Professional Target||

    Setting aside the unpleasant side effect on one’s waistline of blue cheese,

    Blue cheese has 2g of carbohydrate per ounce. Orange juice has 3g/oz.
    Red wine has 4.6g/oz.
    Which one is the bad thing to focus on?

  • robc||

    Your # for red wine seems high. Im seeing about 3.5 per 1.5 ozs.

  • SugarFree||

    From a number of sources it seems like red wine can vary from .7g to 1.38g of carbs, depending on the variety. Blue cheese is around .8g per ounce, and orange juice 3g per ounce.

  • SIV||

    "a number of sources"

    Don't YOU PEOPLE have to carry a little calculator around for that shit?

  • SugarFree||

    I'm not on that type of insulin any longer, but I can still carb count. I looked it all up to be precise.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And it's only 0.7g of carb per ounce. But 100 calories, ouch.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    carbs != calories

    Oh wait... you aren't one of the carb diet propagandists, are you?

  • ||

    I just had a whole crapload (a culinary term) of cheese for lunch and I expect to continue to lose weight. I down 4" and ~10lbs. this month.

  • Zeb||

    Huh. What kind of diet is it where you lose height as well as weight?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    She had knee-removal surgery.

  • Hugh Akston||

    She killed fitty men!

  • T||

    Well, chop your feet off at the ankles and that's about right for 10 pounds and 4".

    Plus, you get close parking!

  • ||

    Kristen is Procrustes?

  • ||

    Kristen is Krusty?

  • ||

    You are Pirithous?

  • ||

    Why did Lisa dump me? Is it because of my small calves? But they're the hardest place to add mass!

  • Brandon||

    Your feet weigh 10 pounds? That's disgustingly overweight for feet. I would get rid of those abominations if I were you.

  • ||

    4" off my waist, smartass!!

  • ||

    4 inches equates to only 10 pounds? You tiny chick things are weird. Are you like 5 feet tall or something?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Metric inches, dude.

  • ||

    Well, I was close to Cananananada....

  • ||

    I dunno - I usually only measure, but the hotel had a scale, so I used it. The ~10lbs. is an incredibly rough estimate based on a week's weighing.

  • Cytotoxic||

    To be fair, ZIRP is doing a number on the elderly's finances.

  • SugarFree||

    including eating blue cheese instead of taking penicillin

    Next up, homeopathy.

    The amount of live penicillium roqueforti in blue cheese is so low, most people with penicillin allegories (like me, and mine is pretty severe) can eat it with no reaction whatsoever.

  • ||

    penicillin allegories

    That's my favorite one from the Bible too. Blessed are the cheesemakers.

  • Tim||

    Blessed are the pacemakers, for they shall save grandma.

  • SugarFree||

    Curses!

  • ||

    Hold on. I admittedly am not paying much attention here, but she was eating blue cheese as an antibiotic? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "The key to a long life: exotic women and boring cheese."

    -- Gregory House

  • Proprietist||

    According to the American Society for Microbiology, there is no antibiotical action from the penecillium roqueforti in blue cheese. So she's just wasting her money that she should be saving for a cash clinic visit.

  • Brandon||

    You're diabetic and allergic to penicillin? Are those two things related, or is God just trying to tell you something?

  • ||

    Look, God was too busy making sure Ray Lewis won the Superbowl singlehandedly to tell anything to NutraSweet.

  • Brandon||

    I've never seen NFL referees referred to as "God" before...

  • ||

    Ray was just inspired by his favorite verse, Corinthians 25:17.

    Y'ALL MOTHAFUCKAS DIDN'T SEE NUFFIN
  • SugarFree||

    Not related. The universe has decided that I must go.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Did that come before or after your predilection for unnatural sexual pursuits?

  • BakedPenguin||

    You should mock the universe for trying so hard and failing. I'd suggest getting drunk and naked and going on nature hikes while screaming quotations from Nietzsche.

  • ||

    "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering!!!"

  • BakedPenguin||

    "You are going to women? Do not forget the whip!"

  • T||

    One of you is bad enough. Two of you out there doing it scares away the wildlife, and I'll never get any lunch.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hey, I do it to try to lure STEVE SMITH into areas where he might get caught. I'm doing God's work in some of the toughest forests out there.

  • T||

    Suuuuure. Funny how he catches you every time, BP, and never gets a scratch on him. You're trying to lure him all right, but not for capture.

  • BakedPenguin||

    DON'T JUDGE ME!

  • SugarFree||

    Fun side story: When I was on the floor bleeding, I told the EMTs I was allergic to penicillin. I told them again on the ride to the hospital. As soon as I was wheeled in I told the ER nurses, and then the ER doctor. When my mother got to the hospital, she told the ER nurses and put it on my admitting form. When the surgeon examined me pre-surgery, I told him as well.

    The first thing they do when I get to the pre-surgical area is hang a bag of IV penicillin on a fast drip.

    Eyes swell shut, throat starts closing up, a head-to-toe rash breaks out. I'm flailing around, trying to breathe. They are debating what to do and finally hang a bag of IV antihistamines and a burly older nurse grabs it and squeezes about a 1/3 of into me in just a few seconds. Which is a hella weird sensation.

  • ||

    Was this after you got shot?

  • SugarFree||

    Yup.

  • ||

    What was it like, the realization that you are immortal?

  • ||

    He serves none but Korrock.

  • T||

    They hung a bag of cold (like 40 degrees) IV fluids on me after I got shot to compensate for blood loss. It's weird when you can feel the IV fluid going through you by the temperature drop. They were trying to make sure I didn't go into shock from blood loss, and almost put me into it by chilling me from the inside out.

  • SugarFree||

    They hung a bag of cold (like 40 degrees) IV fluids on me after I got shot to compensate for blood loss.

    About the only thing that went my way was that I had almost no blood loss. It was such close range that the entry wound was cauterized (or maybe that's just how they explained it to me) and the exit wound was small and plugged with tiny shards of my femur. I even wore the jeans after that, the spot of blood on the back pocket was only about the size of a quarter.

  • T||

    I got a clean meat shot through the calf, but enough bloodloss that I was leaving bloody footprints in the sand.

    The fun part was when some major was trying to determine if it was low velocity or high velocity. This was done by trying to jam an 8 inch long wooden q-tip though my calf. If it had gone through easily, it would have been a high velocity wound. Instead, it was secondary spalling and fragmentation from the vehicle hull. That q-tip didn't want to go through, but he gave it a hell of a try.

  • SugarFree||

    That q-tip didn't want to go through, but he gave it a hell of a try.

    What would have been the treatment difference and could the difference have been worth it?

  • GILMORE||

    T| 2.4.13 @ 1:51PM |#

    They hung a bag of cold (like 40 degrees) IV fluids on me after I got shot to compensate for blood loss. It's weird when you can feel the IV fluid going through you by the temperature drop.

    Oh, yeah. I had some weird severe fever at one point in college, had to go to the ER, and when they plugged me with the juice-bag, I could feel it moving through my major veins to smaller areas... like, I could have pointed at specific spots and been like, "now its going...here". The temp was actually *painful* as it hit each area... even though it was probably room temp.

  • nicole||

    SF, I live in fear that this will happen to me someday. Of course, I'm too vain to still be wearing the Medic Alert bracelet my parents made me wear my whole childhood.

    Every once in a while I quiz my boyfriend on it, too, and he always forgets that I'm allergic. So that's going to be a big help.

  • SugarFree||

    You could get tasteful NO PNC tattoos on the inside of your elbows.

  • ||

    The SS would get their blood type tattooed on their left arms, so make sure you don't get captured by the Red Army if you go the tattoo route, nicole.

  • nicole||

    Ooh, I like the tattoo idea. And amusingly, one of my baristas is diabetic and has that tattooed near the inside of her elbow!

  • SugarFree||

    I carry a little information card in my money clip. Laminated, cuz that's how I roll.

    When I first got a cellphone, I arranged the contact list by relationship: wife, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, mother, BFF, etc. I figured if there was an emergency they wouldn't have to call some student worker of mine or a co-worker based on just first names.

  • ||

    Oh shit, that would be the sexiest tramp stamp ever.

  • ||

    Naw, her lower back is out of space.

  • nicole||

    Nothing says Bible-believing like having the word "Corinthians" indelibly written just above your ass crack.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Converting heathens, one doggy-style at a time.

  • SugarFree||

    The quote is often used in wedding ceremonies. I assume this is some sort of sympathetic magic attempt to attract a husband. Because nothing says marriage material like a giant script font tattoo that is asscrack adjacent.

  • Ted S.||

    It's not a photoshop?

  • Enough About Palin||

    Naw, her lower back is out of space.

    Jesus wept. Really hard.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Tell me they didn't spell its as it's...and I'm imagining that apostrophe.

  • GILMORE||

    SugarFree| 2.4.13 @ 1:38PM |#

    Fun side story: When I was on the floor bleeding...

    All my fun side stories start that way.

  • Hugh Akston||

    SugarFree shouldn't be.

  • Jennifer||

    Setting aside the unpleasant side effect on one’s waistline of blue cheese, a quick Google search suggests that a 60-cap bottle of penicillin (enough for several infections) for the uninsured costs $28 or 50 cents a pill

    In all fairness, though: the cost of a prescription is not limited to the cost of the pills themselves; before you can buy pills at 50 cents a pop, you must pay for the doctor visit necessary to get legal written permission to buy those pills. How much does that permission cost, on top of the pills themselves?

  • Pro Libertate||

    And don't forget health insurance, which has gone up and up while covering less and less.

  • Ted S.||

    But but health insurance costs more because the government made it do so. And it costs less because the government regulates the price increases!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I like party ors-derves platters, but as soon as an old person goes near them I won't touch them.

  • Agammamon||

    ". . .Cleveland-based, freelance writer, Susan Zimmerman. . ."

    So, in other words we are supposed to be shocked that someone who works part time has difficulty affording health *insurance*.

    ". . .including eating blue cheese instead of taking penicillin . . ."

    Who. . . what. . . why?!
    Why would you *regularly* take an antibiotic? Does the woman have some pernicious strain of STD she's treating?

  • Agammamon||

    ". . . uninsured costs $28 or 50 cents a pill — less if it’s reimported from a foreign country. . ."

    that's how I get my thyroid hormones - usually from India (illegally without a prescription).

    Though I do need to set up an appointment to get my hormone levels checked and a consult every 6 months or so to ensure I'm ordering the right dosage.

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