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.