Does it hurt more when you are sick?

I make no secret of the financial hardships that go along with chronic illness.  Unless you are independently wealthy or have a spouse that has a good job with fantastic benefits, you feel it in the pocketbook.

I am doubly unlucky as I was the breadwinner and responsible for all the benefits.  I have been able to keep our benefits going.  Until now.

I received a call this evening from HR.  I owe them a couple grand or my benefits will be terminated immediately.  And rent is due next week.  I am not familiar with social services.  I have no idea how to apply for what, if I would qualify for anything.  I’m terrified that without health insurance, my docs won’t see me and I will go blind.

So I will make phone calls tomorrow.  See which docs will take medicaid, if I can get it.  I have already cut out most specialties, only seeing my eye doc, rheumatologist and PCP (if needed).  I have started tapering off some meds that might not be needed (who needs antidepressants anyway?) and hoarding other ones.  I am so happy I got my second opinion a few weeks ago.  Just waiting on results.  If he recommends another treatment, I just won’t be able to pay for it.

I still have yet to get other screening tests that have been recommended to rule out sarcoid in other parts of my body.  I need an echocardiogram and to follow up with the cardiologist.  I still have runs of tachycardia on a daily basis.  But I can’t afford the coinsurance on the test, nor the copay for the visit.  I still have horrific reflux (probably a result of the prednisone) but can’t afford the procedure to examine my esophagus for damage that would diagnose it as such.  So I occasionally take an over the counter medication that does NOT interact with the chemo.  I cannot afford a GI consult for the occasional bleeding from the other end.  Most likely brought on by the massive amounts of naproxen I was ingesting during the month when I was taking hormonal birth control as an experiment.  I have been told several times by my retinal specialist to see a GI doc, because he sees “bear tracks” on my retina which is indicative of colon issues, but I just can’t afford it.

So until I start vomiting or actively expelling blood in another form or pass out and don’t wake up, those things will be on the backburner.  And I thought the focus was on preventative medicine?

What really hurts is what happened after I got the insurance news.  For the past few months I knew that this was possible.  So I have been looking in to the issue.  As I thought, a person is not eligible for benefits from the government until they are actually without coverage.  So I cannot put myself or my daughter on medicaid until my insurance is officially terminated.  I cannot apply for unemployment until I am officially unemployed.  I cannot apply for other assistance while I still officially make on paper (last year’s income tax returns) what I am supposed to make, even though I haven’t had a paycheck since August.

My mother doesn’t understand that.  At all.  I called her after I received news that the worst case scenario regarding health insurance had happened.  I was looking for her to be my mom.  To comfort me, to help me sort things out, as my husband was at work (he is working seven days a week now).  I was not looking for a handout, and I stated that explicitly. After I told her the situation and explained to her (again) that I couldn’t apply for benefits until it became official, she said “well, I don’t know what to do then.  Cry to your husband, he’s the one who voted for Obama”.

And I hung up.  In tears.

Are you kidding me?  Really?

That hurt.  Bad. Like to the bone, bad.  And I hate crying in front of Sunshine.

I understand that they have helped tremendously.  I heed their advice.  But there are some things that I simply cannot do.  I am not going to lie on government documents because she wants me to.  I can’t make my former husband get a good job and put my daughter on his insurance.  I can’t make the economy better.  I can’t magically wave a wand and get healthy and return to my prior, income-producing self.

This isn’t the first time my mom has been cruel or hurtful.  This is right up her alley.  And I will not expect an apology either.  That’s just not in her nature.  She prides herself on being “brutally honest”.  Emphasis on the “brutal”.  I just think I deserve a little compassion.  Just a tiny little bit.

I’m not in the greatest shape right now.  Qui died this morning.  I’m terrified of my own health condition advancing and dying young like her.  I did the methotrexate last night.  So physically I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  Only with vomiting.  And since its the middle of the week, I have Sunshine with me all evening, so I can’t just sleep it off.  (My schedule was thrown off by the pharmacy, they didn’t have the methotrexate when I called in for a refill, I guess they don’t stock poison).

And for fun, lets add some more financial insecurity and a dose of my mother’s biting “advice”.  Gotta love the GOP right?

It is not good to be me right now.  Going to lose myself in literature.

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6 thoughts on “Does it hurt more when you are sick?

  1. You have a lot of stressful things going on right now. Not only is life stressful, your health condition makes it harder to cope with stress than a “normal” person. I’d think you we’re crazy if you weren’t upset right now and I’m sorry you aren’t really getting support.

    I’ve worked at several social service agencies and even volunteered on a hotline that helped connect people with services. Some suggestions I have until you can apply for government programs are since you said you’re not familiar with the system… Let your doctor know about your situation. Not only will doctors often lower their price, they can help connect you with drug programs for people in need. Look into free/low income healthcare clinic. Do this now because often you need to be a patient to see them when you are sick and the wait list can be long. A lot of these clinics also help with prescriptions. Some areas have a 211 you can dial that will have someone to let you know about social services available in your area. You just tell them your situation. Some homeless shelters and churches give away clothing and food boxes. You can then use the money saved to pay for medicine. A lot of medical centers have financial assistance available. You just show them proof of your income this year and they completely pay your bill if you qualify. I’ve been forgiven for thousands of dollars of medical bills this way. Really look around in your community for resources. You’d be surprised what is out there!

    • Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it. I’ll start making phone calls. First will be to 211. Its hard to do all this when you can’t think straight, Its like a full time job. I appreciate it.

  2. One more idea is LINK (food stamps) if you qualify. This is based on your family’s current income. It doesnt matter what you made ladt year or even last month. In my state, if approved, you have the money in less than two months. Often it’s just a month!

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