I began my trip last week with a few days visiting my father, two sisters, and a bunch of nieces and nephews living just north of Washington DC in Maryland. Both my sisters have recently been treated for cancer, so it was very good to see them happy and healthy. My older sister lost her job around the time she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After her COBRA insurance ran out she was able to join the high-risk pull for health insurance provided through the state of Maryland.
My father is a former NASA engineer who retired early to take care of my Mom when she was dying of cancer. Dad has a pretty good retirement plan. In his working days, he traded the higher pay he could have received working for a private company with lower pay but solid government benefits. When you see the weather satellite images during the local news weather report, chances are my Dad was somehow responsible for the performance of the satellite.
From visiting my family I traveled just a few miles south and west for the mid-Winter meeting of the National Association of State and Community Services Providers (NASCSP). My Dad dropped me off at the hotel where the conference was held. As we made our way south along Wisconsin Avenue we passed what seemed to me like several blocks of newer buildings that are part of the National Institutes of Health.