I: Insurance

I

 

With or without?

I have been on both sides of the coin (and I found out recently that I am abruptly without…but that is another story, fml).

And honestly, it is easier without.  I understand why people aren’t signing up for Obamacare.  Insurance is a pain in the ass.  Sometimes literally.  It can give you diarrhea.  See this post here.

My year without insurance…hmm..I probably didn’t get the BEST care possible.  But I received adequate treatment for my condition.  Steroids have been around forever.  They are cheap.  Methotrexate has been around forever.  It’s cheap.  At one point the doc wanted to try a RA med, but because I was uninsured, I couldn’t have access to it.  But it wasn’t life or death, and it didn’t make a difference in the outcome.

Now, I do owe something like $20,000 in medical bills.  I did have to come off some of my maintenance medication (such as Topamax for migraines) but there are ways to obtain expensive meds.  That paperwork sucks too, but again, it is possible.  I obtained my Lyrica and my migraine meds (Treximet) for free by sending in proof that had virtually no income and a script.

It helps that I’m a nurse.  I know what signs and symptoms are dangerous.  My docs trust me to monitor myself, my blood pressure, to titrate my meds on my own.  So that makes a difference.

Since I have had insurance (since Novemeber).  It has been a pain in the ass to get ANYTHING fucking covered.  Meds, doctors visits, procedures.  I have to prove everything. Prove that I have this.  Prove that I need that.  I have scanned countless receipts, doctors notes, etc into their “easy to use” data base to get shit paid for.  And now I don’t have insurance because the mother of my bonus son doesn’t have his birth certificate and we couldn’t get it from the state in time to make the deadline.

So instead of kicking him off the insurance (he has other coverage, we were just trying to get him BETTER coverage), they kicked us all off.  I went to get my meds the other day and was absolutely shocked at the cash price.  So now I’m paying by the pill until it gets straightened out.

So yes, insurance can be a lovely thing.  But it can also give as many migraines as it prevents.

Help me survive this calamity!

I thought about this for awhile and finally decided (after this past week’s disaster) to open a gofundme page.

I hate the idea of asking others for help, but I’m to the point where my family is “tapped out” and I have very, very limited options where government assistance is concerned.

Apparently I have to be EXTREMELY destitute before I can be considered for medicaid.

My husband is trying valiantly to keep us afloat and afford the medication that I need, but in this economy, two, and now three jobs aren’t enough.

I may get insurance in 90 days, but I’m concerned about the whole “preexisting conditions” exclusions, and I don’t have the mental capacity to read through the Obamacare regulations.

I have been a nurse for 10 years.  I have faithfully taken care of my patients when they have needed me the most.

I now need help.

Please consider donating anything.  It would be greatly appreciated.

Click here for the link to the page.

Euphoria

I don’t get to write many of these posts.

At this moment in time, I am pretty euphoric.

Had a fantastic day at the zoo with Sunshine, my husband and my mom.  It was a little chilly, but health wise I held up.  My plan of frequent breaks and rest stops seems to be working out.  Because of the weather, there was practically no one there.  I tend to get overwhelmed with crowds and lots of noise these days,  but we were able to stroll leisurely through the zoo with minimal difficulty.

On the way down (its about an hour and a half away), I did manage to give myself a migraine when I was trying to focus on the tiny screen of my camera to delete pictures to make room on my SD card.  But I took my medicine and the migraine (complete with nausea), subsided by the time we got there.  Score!

We had an early dinner that I actually had the appetite for (gotta love ihop) and on the way home all of the adults shared a “spirited political discussion” on the state of healthcare in America.  No one got upset, no one called names, voices weren’t raised.  Although I will continue to disagree with my mother’s position on access to healthcare, we were civil.

The main issue is that she feels the government has no business in healthcare.  I understand her point, but then consider my own situation:  I currently have no insurance, I have a chronic illness that could result in permanent blindness, and I have no access to a potential cure because I cannot afford it.  The medication I am currently taking to keep the inflammation in my eyes from progressing is not eliminating it completely.  It has been recommended for me to start on other medication to halt this disease, but I cannot afford it.  So I am running the risk of permanent eye damage because I cannot afford the optimal medication for my condition.  Because I can’t work to afford my health insurance.  I can’t work because of said health condition.  See the dilemma?

So we basically agree to disagree.

When I got home, my final Christmas gift was in my  mailbox.  The CD containing all of my professional wedding pictures from my wedding in June.

Just looking back on that day is enough to produce euphoria.  You can see the love we have for one another pouring off the screen.  I nearly cried.  We have been through so much in our young marriage, and just seeing that one perfect day (before I ballooned by 40lbs, thank you steroids) is such a strong reminder of our love and devotion.

Awesome day.  I shall savor it.

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.