My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Whiny Wednesday

I started my day with a cat gagging... about to throw up on my bed. I think that should be an alarm instead of a beep or a gong or music or whatever else people use to wake themselves. Nothing brings you to an alert status faster than the thought of cat vomit soaking through to your mattress. I successfully evicted him before any spewage occurred.

It was 4:45.

I had planned to spend the night with my sister-in-law and nieces last night. I was scheduled for an early morning babysitting shift and it seemed easier to stay there rather than have to leave the house in the freezing darkness of pre-5am. My sister-in-law has a job in Atlanta (about 80-90 miles south of us) and although she doesn't commute EVERY day, she does commute several times a week. My brother is an amazing dad and handles the before school stuff every day.... however... he is now in graduate school in New Orleans and although he won't be there EVERY day, he will be there occasionally. Last night was one of those nights. Fortunately Sarabeth and Jamie have myself, my parents and Angie's mom all living nearby and able to help. And we all love being a part of the girls' lives so it's never a chore for any of us, even those early mornings.

At any rate... I started with a nasty headache yesterday and it got worse as the day went by. It turned out that Angie had a dentist appointment this morning and wasn't going to have to leave until 6:30 instead of her usual pre-5am departure so I decided to spend the night in my own bed and make the cold morning drive. Pop's car has heated seats so the suffering is minimized. As it turned out I was able to get to sleep earlier than usual and was WIDE awake before time to leave so it was all good. There's a bible verse that says "All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose". Even cat vomit as it served the purpose of making more alert than I would normally be at that time of morning.

The girls are extremely cooperative and know what's expected in the morning so it's a breeze to watch them before school. The drive to school is short and traffic free. It's easy. I also had that Starbucks gift card so I rewarded myself for my early morning efforts by picking up an iced green tea and a piece of banana nut bread.

The headache from yesterday has lingered, though, and that's been frustrating. It hurts to open my eyes. I have had the dizziness/nausea that usually mean my headaches are more than just a sinus or stress thing. I don't like to use the word "migraine" casually because I know someone who has such horrible migraines. Mine are a bother. They don't incapacitate me.

Last Summer I made a connection between drinking orange juice and having fewer headaches. I haven't been drinking as much juice lately because of the high sugar content. I picked up some juice today and am hoping that will help. I don't think there's a food connection because I haven't had any of the foods that are typical headache inducers. My diet this week has been - not bland but mild: chicken pot pie, oatmeal and so forth. The only really weird/different thing about this headache is that I have an odd feeling of numbness over the bridge of my nose.

So that answers the questions of what time I got up, what I've been eating and drinking today and how I feel. I'm reading Steven Tyler's biography, "Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?". He has a very unique writing style and I'm enjoying the book.

I haven't made a decision about the life insurance policies but the coverage ends at midnight. I can reinstate it within the next couple of weeks without any problem so I just have to NOT DIE before then.

I also got a lab bill in the mail today for $199 for a drug screening from October - the one I complained about having to pay the doctor $50 for instead of the usual $25 - apparently they sent it to a lab? I don't know. Tomorrow I have to sort that out. This really frustrates me because I would have declined the lab test if I had been advised that the cost was going to be ten times what it had been in the past, even if that meant declining the medication. I have this sinking feeling that I'm about to have to learn how to live without any medication at all because I can't pay these kind of exorbitant prices every other month. This takes the cost of those doctor visits to $365 every other month. I can't even wrap my head around it. You can buy a urine drug test at the drug store for $15. I've never shown any trace of anything - not even nicotine - so to be treated like a felon just because I have legitimate, clearly documented pain is an insult. Pain sufferers truly are second-class citizens.

Here's what has happened with this doctor's office: Obamacare. This doctor's compensation with Medicare and Medicaid was reduced to the extent that he can no longer see patients on those plans. This doctor, like many others in my area, including the only major hospital in a 50 mile radius and my general practitioner, are not willing to accept the small amount that the insurance providers under Obamacare are willing to pay, namely Blue Cross/Blue Shield and I believe (but am not certain) Humana. My doctor that has been providing care for me for three years has now become a "boutique medical provider". They don't have to and don't want to accept patients for a budget/bargain/reasonable price. They only accept insurance providers who are willing to pay the amount they want for the services they provide. For those of us who - for whatever reason - are paying out of pocket - we are unprotected. I'm being billed an extra $199 for services provided three months ago and today is the first I've heard of it even though I called and complained when I was billed for the extra money from the doctor's office in November. They didn't mention then that there would be additional billing from a lab. I do remember being presented with a form in October where I consented to the lab test and that was the first time I had to sign for that. I asked then if that meant that the cost was changing and reminded the nurse that I was "self-pay" and asked if the cost was changing. She said no.

I'll call them tomorrow and see if we can negotiate a reasonable amount for that bill. If not... I mean, I don't have anything to give them. So that really added to my headache.

January is rough for everybody. You don't have as much sunshine, you're in a post-holiday let down, it's still a long time until Spring and all that. My pain started three years ago this week. The past three years have had that extra downer of suffering on top of the normal January blues. This year I am so grateful for how God has provided a way for me to survive without working. It's stressful in a different way now... but I'm able to better manage pain. It's discouraging to face life from this position of being a second class citizen, to wonder how I'll continue to receive treatment as healthcare for people like me becomes LESS affordable. I couldn't have imagined three years ago that I would be living here and not working. I couldn't even fathom life taking the turns that it has. We never know what tomorrow holds.

My Aunt Claire, my dad's sister has been diagnosed with cancer. It's not my story so I'll be discreet about the details but there is concern that the cancer may have spread. She's facing a difficult path of treatment ahead. It's hard for Grandma, it's hard for my dad and it's hard for all of us to know that she is suffering and it's hard not to know the outcome.

My goal for tomorrow is to take care of business. Often when things feel out of control if I TAKE control of the things I can - little things even, like cleaning out my closet - makes it better. I need to eliminate the variables that I can and trust God for the rest. I think I'd also like to go to the library. That's free and always makes me happy.

We're going to wish this headache away and have a better day tomorrow. Sorry for having a Whiny Wednesday. Love and hugs, y'all.