Saturday, June 30, 2012

As One Door Closes

Tonight I met with my former coworker and friend of about four years, Maria. It was so good to see her. When I was "let go" because I was too sick to return to work after six months I had texted her and asked her to please gather my personal property and hold onto it until I could get it. Last night when she arrived, she had a large shopping bag in it were the things that occupied my small work cubicle. While I was glad to get some of them back it was like being hit with a two by four. Her it was, the proof that I no longer worked for a company that I had been so big a part of for four years and the proof that I would not be working again. I don't really get why this has been so difficult to understand. My doctors cannot believe I worked as long as I did. The last two years were constant hospitalizations and me having to take months off for short term disability. Even I felt I was no longer capable of physically working. I guess I just wanted it to be MY choice. The doctors made it clear to me that I am battling multiple issues. They actually uncovered something none of us were aware of that they will be monitoring. It might be serious, time will tell. It's still just so hard for me to accept that my working days are over. I keep wondering why it's so hard. Perhaps because I was so proud that after years of being told how I could never support myself, I proved that I could. It felt so wonderful to get MY paychecks. It gave me self esteem when I needed  it so badly.I now get a small disability check. It's so much less than when I worked. I have time to find ways to spend money but not much money to spend.

I am certainly glad that Rob has been so supportive. He told me from the start that we would find a way to get by and if not he would get a second part time job. I hope it never comes to that. So far we have been getting by. While I didn't receive a lot of money from my Dad's insurance it was enough to make a difference in our lives. I have a new mattress, new dishwasher and we have a new car which is half paid for. Now that that money is gone we will have to be more careful. We did refinance our house and the lower payment is nearly what the car payment is. I have reduced our bundle plan significantly and reduced our cellular phone bill  as well. I am cooking and we do almost no take out food. We never eat out more than once a week and we don't go anyplace expensive. Those are perks that working covered but aren't really necessary. I have learned we have much more than we truly need. I am so grateful in this economy that I own a home, a car and have medical care and food but most importantly I am grateful to still be here and to have a husband and son who love me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Silver and Gold

The other night I saw a woman on a reality show giving a toast and she said that she had been a Brownie and that they had this saying "Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, one is gold." I never knew that was a Brownie saying, but it's a saying I always liked. As I have matured I have realized that I spent way too much time counting on my "old" friends who had moved away and moved into other circles to remain a part of my life. Ironically, I felt they turned to me when going through their hard times but then I was forgotten until I was needed again. I have now come to terms with most of this. People change. They mature and their needs change and they find others who are like them as they are now. While they may love to reconnect with someone from their past once in awhile it's too much effort to try to keep a long distance friendship going. I am sure that there are exceptions to his but I honestly believe they are few. The sad part for me was that I had met many new and exciting friends but I always kept them at bay thinking that I had some very dear friends and didn't really need too many others. How wrong I was. When I was in the hospital in Pennsylvania last summer several of my former coworkers wanted to make that hour and a half drive to see me. I told them not to, that I looked bad and wasn't up to company. (Foolish me thought that one or two of the "old" friends would show up.) My friend Maria kept texting me, sending me emails and stayed in touch. She wanted to meet but I wasn't up to it.

I had a revelation one day. Why was I putting so much into old relationships that clearly no longer existed when I had new people who wanted to be my friend? I looked back at all I had been through and realized there were a handful of people who had been here for me the past four years. Not the people I might have chosen but people who chose ME. I put away my fantasies and realized that I had friends alright. These people saw me through three years of hospitalizations, another heart surgery, my father's illness and death. The past four years have been some of the roughest of my life. I realize now that those silver friends are the ones who will be gold. Especially the one who was with me the day of my Dad's funeral.

This evening one of my friends will be taking me to dinner. I am so excited. She's a great person.  Instead of dwelling on what I have lost, I am moving on with excitement to the friends who are becoming golden. I've let go of my unrealistic hopes and dreams and found that I need new ones. I hope several years from now I will be looking back and reminiscing with these friends about the good times we have yet to have. I'm eager to get started.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ahhhh Summer

Well, Summer officially came on Thursday. I was so psyched that day, having been invited to my neighbor's party for her daughter who was getting her driver's license. Had been looking forward to it until she texted early that morning that it was cancelled. I decided I still needed a day out. I got showered and went to the mall. Haven't done this in a very long time. I took my wedding ring which was now two sizes too big in to have it made smaller. When I got it I had wanted an eternity ring and they told me that it could never be sized but the half eternity ring could so thankfully I had chosen that option. I pick it up today. After taking care of the ring I got my hair cut. Nothing severe, just a few inches taken off but it had no shape and now with some long layers cut into it, it looks so much better.
When I was done getting my hair cut I decided to buy a few clothing items. So much of what I had doesn't fit and what does fit I am wearing out by constantly wearing. I ended up with a denim skirt, new bra, baby doll pjs, and a wonderful long black skirt. I came home feeling oh so much better.

Yesterday we finally concluded the two month long procedure of refinancing. We had our "closing" here in our home. We reduced our interest from 7 3/4 to nearly 3 3/4 for the next 20 years. Can't beat that. Our old payment is reduced enough to make Rob's new car payment. If you have a high interest rate and equity in your home, now is still a great time to refinance. We resisted the urge to take  more money than we needed. I also reduced my bundle package to save $70.00 per month. I will have less internet and fewer tv channels and VOIP phone service but I needed to trim that down.

For those of you who follow my blog, you might remember my post about the doctor charging Rob for a visit to interpret a test he didn't get the results for. I am happy to report that they didn't charge us for hte visit. The test deemed defective had to be redone. I stuck to my guns and they redid it without charging us a second time. I also got the doctor's office to wave the charges from them.

I got my yearly mammogram done and it was normal. On Monday I have another CT scan scheduled. It's too complicated to explain but if they find any more fluid I am going to have it drained again so they can biopsy it. I am hoping they don't find any. The last time was costly and painful. I am moving foward, crossing things off my to do list and I only have two left. I live close enough to the beach to get there in less than an hour. Last year I was only there to attend a wedding in September. I am so hoping to actually get there and walk along the beach this year. (With or without an oxygen tank.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Drowning in a Sea of Paperwork

Yesterday was so frustrating. It started out with me having to run several errands and it was pouring down rain. While I was on my way to the vet to pick up the dog's heart worm medicine, I noticed that the light on my dash was blinking indicating tire pressure issues. I had just bought new tires about a week ago. I ran to Costco after picking up the meds and they said they would check it out for me. They found nothing wrong and reset the light. We shall see what happens with that.

I got home and found a bill for a physician's visit for my husband. That visit was a joke because the doctor's staff had not seen that he had received the test results done in their facility. We sat an hour waiting for the results to be faxed and finally the doctor indicated that we might as well leave. There was no consultation or exam. I called the billers and explained. When Rob came home and I told him about this he told me that the facility had called him and told him that the test had been defective and he needed to do it over again. I was floored. I immediately called the manager of the facility and asked her what was going on. She was in the dark about it but promised to get in touch with me once she had the information. I advised her that our copay for the test was nearly $400.00 and if their equipment was defective that was not OUR problem and we would not be paying for a second test. I am waiting to get a callback today. I also received a notice from our health insurance that one of my providers had advised them I had Medicare in addition to my private insurance. NOT SO. I was so angry and of course by the time we got this information the provider's office was closed. I called them this morning giving them half a dozen examples of claims which had incorrect information on them. They are investigating this and will get back to me.

I find it very sad that while I am dealing with my illness I have to deal with all this other stuff as well. Doesn't anyone do their job correctly anymore? Doesn't anyone have common sense enough to realize that if their equipment was defective the patient should not have to pay a second time?
Come on. I have begun a three page letter to the hospital asking them to look into all these issues. The test was done back on March 17th and we are just now learning there was a problem? My copay was required to be given the day of the test. There is zero chance I will be paying again.

I have to go get my INR checked today. That is to make sure my blood thinner is working. Good thing they are not checking my blood pressure today. I'm sure all this stress is going to work against me. I am trying to relax but it will be a lot easier once I get some answers. The only acceptable answers are "We fixed the problem." and or "It will cost you nothing."