I posted a few days ago regarding losses – specifically the loss of my daughter, and a good friend’s loss of most of his lower left leg and foot.
Hardly an upbeat read.
However, Life is not just loss. Life also gives us lessons!
Since I heard from my good friend Bob regarding his diabetic amputation surgery, I’ve tried to contact him. We exchanged texts initially a couple of times, and he advise me he would call.
I feared the worst.
So, I took it upon myself to call him. Not to incessantly badger him (thinking he was busy enough) but once a week, just to check-in on him and his condition. And attitude.
And I ended up leaving messages. And this concerned me.
Bob returned yesterday’s message last night. I needn’t have been concerned.
Bob – (my former PI and gun store boss) was in great spirits! YES, he did lose his left foot and about 12″ of lower leg. And yes, he has a long, painful recovery and rehab ahead.
But he was not only doing physically well – he was doing well emotionally and spiritually, too!
Now, Bob would be the first to tell you he is not a religious guy. And not the most spiritual. But he almost lost his life to sepsis, and took his survival to mean he is supposed to remain here a while longer.
And not wallow in his losses.
He is fortunate to have the great support of his wife and two daughters. And his brother. And he reminded of previous losses and near-death experiences he has suffered.
AND HE SEES THIS AS YET ANOTHER CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF!
Or, in the words of his parents (both deceased), “Put on your big boy panties and get on with it!”
And his is and has.
And, he reminded me (indirectly) that I have similar lessons. I, too, have had losses, and near-death experiences. And I have wallowed. Or more specifically whined.
I might lose some benefits. So what? Big boy panties are available for the wearing.
Bob has set an example for me to try and emulate.
(If you abhor whining, read no further)
First, my former employer TMCCC contacted me regarding applying for early retirement. I’m currently medically retired due to my contracting lymphoma in 2008. I left active employment in 2009, after six months of chemo.
Obviously, the sooner they can nudge me out, the less pension they will have to pay. And current calculations are not very promising, regardless of my retiring now or @ 65.
So, it wasn’t a complete surprise when my private medical insurance carrier (thank GOD I paid the premiums when I was working!) contacted me to update their information.
This means contacting my physician with regard to my current condition and ability to work.
In spite of the fact I was awarded SSDI and private disability due to having cancer, I have many other conditions which make returning to the workforce problematic. Even though I AM currently in remission! (knock-on-wood!)
Working while diabetic is no biggee, working with the neuropathy (chronic nerve pain) that comes with it – not so much. And the arthritis. There was a time I could stand and sit for long hours. No longer. Now, sitting more than an hour or two is painful. Forget standing and walking much.
Oh, I can (and do) take various prescription pain medications. Which make me dopey and put me to sleep. And still only lessen the pain. They do not take it away.
And my fear is the private insurance company will say, well, you have been in remission over 5 years…SAYONARA!
And the private addition to my SSDI payment isn’t much, but it is 21% of my disability pay. And the total is still poverty level.
I rent a room in a friend’s home, and drive a clunky 2000 Oldsmobile. I lost my home of 18 years, 2 1/2 years ago. I’m not milking the system here.
And now I get to jump through more hoops in hope of keeping that 21%.
Being on minimal disability, I cannot afford to ‘do much’.
This is not a bleg for money (although your kind generosity IS appreciated), but rather an observation. An expression of lust.
Regular readers know I’ve a beater car, that sometime runs w/o dashboard warning lights on. Or not. With no A/C. In AZ. I rent a room from a good friend, because I lost my home of 18 years due to my reduction in income on disability.
Yes, I’m fortunate and grateful! Seriously.
And, the Internet and television are my portals to the outside world. Women (did I say I’m
single divorced?), guns, cars. All for my viewing pleasure.
And I’m generally okay with this arrangement.
But today, something caught my attention. No, not a vehicle. Not a woman (surprised?)
I’ve always wanted a Texas Border rig, such as this. With an appropriate BBQ gun – I’m certain Sheriff Jim Wilson doesn’t want to part with his (above), though.
Of course, this is wrong-sided.
I’ve no place to wear it, anyway (would probably sell it to get the A/C in my car repaired!)
♫ Go together like a horse and carriage…♫
Once upon a time, I owned a home.
Nice corner lot.
In a sketchy neighborhood – it was all I could afford.
After a car ran into the house (driven by a drunk driver), a subsequent burglary (renovation workers?), and a plumbing failure with mold threatening, the insurance company cancelled my insurance.
A subsequent water damage problem came concurrent with the onset of my cancer, and loss of the house and insurance, home and medical.
Yeah, I know. Just lucky, I guess. :-)
I did land ‘on my feet’, thanks to a good friend who allowed me to move in with her, and being awarded medical disability. Fortunately, not only do I get SSDI, but I had the foresight to obtain additional private carrier disability insurance when I was employed. Together, they make just enough for me to survive.
But the private insurer likes to give me hoops to jump through – like me sending them medical and financial records – lest I appear to be actually working and getting ‘extra’ unauthorized funds from them monthly!
The joys of bureaucracy.
Now, my former employer, TMCCC*, has contacted me suggesting I take retirement! I just turned 62. And as I haven’t accessed their human resources website in many years, I had to jump through even more hoops.
All to advise them I’ve no plans to retire until 2017 – when I turn 65.
At least I’m not a close friend who gleefully signed up for Obamacare! When it came time to renew their government-mandated medical insurance, they were told they could keep it. For an additional $300 a month!
Unable to afford it, they opted for AHCCCS – Arizona’s Medicaid option.
And trying to advise the federal government they were discontinuing one insurance, and starting another was (in a word) difficult. Apparently, one calls in and leaves a message, so ‘they’ can call you back. ‘They’ do so (days later), and then threaten you with prosecution for not having insurance – even though you explained to them you were simply changing to another carrier!
(I should have included this in my previous posts regarding customer service, I know!)
I know all of us must deal with some variety of bureaucracy and it’s web of crap, but, with this modern age of computers, the Internet and menu prompts, you’d think it would be easier?
Especially on the older with infirmities.
*TMCCC – That Major Credit Card Company, where I was employed 22 years.
I’m in whine mode.
(I know I said at the outset that I wouldn’t use this weblog for therapy, but, hell, it’s my blog, so here goes…)
Why? Not only do I not have any funds to get neat presents for friends and family, but, I’ve no one with whom to share the non-materialistic parts of the holidays. One terrific couple I know gifted me with a cool assortment of cheeses and beers (including Lindeman’s raspberry ale!), and all I could give them in response was a small bag of garlic goldfish.
Hardly an even trade.
I love my sister and her kids, and her kid’s kids dearly, but going to a family celebration alone with certain people in absentia is always painful.
Now it’s the downhill slide from the New Year, to Molly’s birthday, to the anniversary of the accident, in March.
We’re told the best way to get out of this kind of funk is to create a gratitude list. So here goes…
I’ve a roof over my head, and a working car. Thanks to my friends! I’m on Medicare. I’ve disability benefits, which, while in no way am I rich, I can buy food, gas, and pay rent. I’ve a select group of friends, both locally and on the Internet, who help out whenever they can. Many of these friends have gone above and beyond – for years – when I am unable to give back in kind.
This must mean something.
I’m disabling comments for this post. Because, in lieu of giving me an Internet “there-there”, or a virtual hug (or a kick in the pants), please stop for a moment and create your own gratitude list.
Is it out there, anymore?
I remember my Father ranting about the dearth of customer service when I was a teenager – and that was in the 60’s.
Back then a guy in a uniform (or at least a uniform shirt) filled your tank, checked your oil, and cleaned your windshield. And no tip was asked or expected. Now, IF there’s a monitor/cashier at the self-service gas station behind the bulletproof glass, it’s an effort to get them to look up from their graphic novel to take your card for purchase.
And waiters/waitresses? One would think when they are first being trained, they would be instructed that the more courteous and efficient they are, the better tip they will receive. But most these days are barely capable in getting your food to you at all. Need extra napkins or a refill on that beverage? Good luck with that.
And getting the order correct in the first place? Fuggedaboutit!
Retail stores? Just try to find someone who has any idea where stock might be, or even be able to direct you to it.
Call centers? Pshaw.
And we who chat regarding firearms on the Internet are familiar with H & K’s (in)famous lack of customer service.
One word. OBAMACARE. And government services in general.
And, while I’m on the subject – do any of these aforementioned folks speak American English? This assumes I don’t have to migrate through a computer-generated menu prompt resembling a RPG in Urdu to get to a human.
We now return you to your post-holiday festivities.
I’ve been having ‘problems’ for some time now with regard to the posting of commentary on others blogs and some folks seeing MY little blog and commenting, as well.
Seems WordPress has had some issues. I left Blogger a couple years ago, as THEY had some issues!
More than 100,000 WordPress websites have been infected with malware after attackers exploited a vulnerability in a popular WordPress plugin called RevSlider. The attack turns the infected WordPress sites into unwilling distributors of yet more malware, this time aimed at visitors to the sites.
The malware campaign has been dubbed SoakSoak because it causes some infected websites to redirect visitors to a malicious website at soaksoak.ru. In an attempt to curb the infections, Google has blacklisted over 11,000 affected WordPress domains, according to Menifee, California-based security company Sucuri.
We get what we pay for!
I can’t afford to pay for a blogging platform – I certainly hope those are running without issue(?)
h/t Rev. Paul
Not for lack of wanting to.
Back in the 70’s, some of my libertarian (small L) brethren and I mused about what it would take. And, what living off the grid meant for us. It did not mean creating some faceless corporation with innocuous fictional officers to purchase a plot of land in the middle of nowhere and moving there with a solar-powered trailer adjacent to a spring.
And with enough ammunition, fishing line and traps to get indigenous game for the rest of our natural lives.
(I’ve blogger friends who have accomplished something close!)
It meant having the option of leaving less of a trail. Driver’s licenses and credit cards mailed to private post office boxes. Passports in fictional identities. Sufficient amounts of cash and gold to fund our meager lives.
With less government interference or surveillance.
Of course, doing all this was a pipe dream for those of us young punks with minimum-wage incomes. Little did we know that BIGGOV would be in our future to such a degree that getting the gov’t-approved documentation would become much more difficult, expensive and illegal in the ensuing years! There was a time if there was no criminal intent, there was no crime. And, if so, it might become a misdemeanor.
Now, it’s a felony, intent regardless.
And we didn’t anticipate The Internet. Or drones. Or cellular telephones.
And, not only am I back to a meager income, but, it’s overseen by the government, due to my disability!
And now much of our movement and travel is monitored, as are financial transactions and Internet activity and Email.
I cannot afford to move to Costa Rica, or San Marino. And I don’t speak their indigenous languages.
Hell, I can’t afford to move 10 blocks…they speak Spanish there, too!
Yep, a pipe dream…
(I don’t know if that’s the correct term, but, it seems to apply.)
When I was in early elementary school, I had a great dentist. No pain, trinkets afterward. When I was in the Second Grade, I got a skull ring with ruby eyes for myself, and a heart ring for Susan Johnson, my girlfriend.
Then my Dad married my stepmother that Summer, and we moved. And I never saw her again. Nor the cool dentist. :-(
My adult teeth came in, and in junior high came time for me to revisit a dentist. My stepmother took me to hers, who had apprenticed under Dr. Mengele!
Not enough anesthetic, no sympathy, my own unfamiliarity with adult teeth. It was like that movie that set dentistry back 150 years…
And, my stepmother being embarrassed by my ‘carrying-on’ just never took me back. EVER.
And my teeth, which are very soft (I’m told because I was born premature) just rotted on the vine. My Dad’s example didn’t help, either. He had full upper false teeth by the time he was twenty-one!
So, much of my adult life has been avoiding dentists and dentistry, or having no insurance, or funds, and dealing with the wreckage of my past.
My current situation is a lower molar, filling compromised, tooth self-destructing. Fortunately, tooth pain has been intermittent and dealt with with topical aids. But recently part of the tooth broke, and the side is chronically abrading the side of my tongue when I speak.
And I like talking. OW!
I was able to blunt the edge enough to make things more comfortable – but I know a dentist visit is in my future.
And I keep repeating in my head, “Is it SAFE?”
…or Death Doctors? (A natural extension of death panels?)
I take four pills in the AM, six in the PM, as mandated by my physician. Most months the computer that lives in my cellular telephone easily links with the computer at the pharmacy and I’m advised by text messaging when my medications are ready for pickup.
Every few months, the pharmacy computer determines that my physician needs to re-approve one prescription before dispensing. Or two. Or three. Or more. Some months, even with this additional computer in the loop, I get approval for all prescriptions quickly. Even with physician approval, on Sunday! Sometimes within two hours!
Ain’t technology grand? :-)
BUT, then there are the times that there’s a breakdown in computer communication. Like this past week.
I called in my prescriptions mid-morning Thursday, and the pharmacy computer advised me that two of the meds needed a doctor’s approval. The pharmacy texting system isn’t always working correctly, so Saturday noon I visited the pharmacy in my travels. All approved and ready for pickup, including ONE of the doctor re-approved ones. The second one requiring a physician approval – NOPE.
And, of course, the doctor’s office is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
When the pharmacy opened @ 0900 Monday, I called and the technician advised there had been no subsequent approval. She said she would re-fax the request, and suggested I call my doctor’s office to advise them of that fact. I did, and the message-taker therein said she would email the doctor, and someone would get back to me by 1700 Monday afternoon. Someone.
@ 1500, the doctor’s office called, and a medical assistant me advised they had received no faxes from the pharmacy. (Funny, as a fax sent the same day for another medication had been approved!) She advised she would alert the doctor regarding the needed medication. I asked her to let me know as soon as this was completed. She said she would.
She never called me back!
Now, if this were a vitamin supplement, or sugar pill, I wouldn’t care. But every medication is for either cholesterol, blood sugar maintenance, or chronic pain abatement. I can (and have) lived with the pain without medication; I did it for two years – it IS HELL ON WHEELS, though! What I don’t see myself living without is my blood pressure medicine. Without it, I’m well into stroke territory. And THIS is the medicine needing approval!
I had one pill left as of Monday PM. (Which is why I called last Thursday!)
At 4:30 PM, I received a text message my medication was ready for pickup at the pharmacy!
Ain’t technology wonderful?