Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

Itinerary

July 5, 2019

I got on it today!

I mean.

I really did a lot of travel prep for my upcoming trip to Havana, Cuba.

I got my passport out.

I slowly, painstakingly, double, triple, quadruple checked how to fill out my Visa, then I filled it our correctly.

I got traveler’s health insurance.

You have to have proof of insurance for entry into Cuba, and though I am fairly certain my health insurance was ok, I didn’t want to risk being turned away for not having the proper insurance or paperwork.  So.  I just used the health insurance that Cuba Travel Services, who I used to procure my Visa, recommended

Frankly, $55 was worth not having to worry about anything.

Then.

I started booking things through Air BnB.

The Visa I am traveling under is in the category of “Support of Cuban People” which is not a traditional tourist Visa, nor was it one of the two categories the current administration squashed.

“People to People” got pulled and so did the Visa that folks use if they’re on a cruise ship.

But.

In “Support of Cuban People” is still legitimate.

Plus I did my research and what I found was that Visa’s granted before the current restrictions were put in place will be honored.

I got my Visa in the mail the day before the sanctions came down.

I am so grateful that I listened to the little voice inside which told me to take care of my Visa before I traveled.

So, so, so glad.

I will have some restrictions on what I can and can’t do with this Visa, and frankly, I’m not bothered by them at all.

I can’t shop at military run or government supported stores or businesses.

Or stay in hotels operated by the government.

No big deal.

I am staying at a private residence that is called a “casa particular” which is pretty much a family owned bed and breakfast.

I had looked up some on Air BnB, but found nothing that was quite the right fit, then I googled for places and stumbled upon a Forbes article that called the place I’m staying one of the best secrets in Old Havana and I checked it out and made a request.

And.

Yes!

They have a room for me.

For 40 Cuban Peso a night including a full breakfast.

I’m pretty sure I posted up about the place before, but I really excited that I landed in such a sweet spot.

Plus, it’s in Old Havana, which is pretty much where I want to spend most of my time anyway.

I’ll be staying in one of the Art Deco rooms in Hostal Chez Nous next to La Habana Vieja, the old square.

I will pay when I arrive.

They don’t accept American credit cards for reservations.  I literally printed off the confirmation e-mail and I present that and the money in Cuban peso for my 8 night stay.

320 Cuban Peso.

For 8 nights including a full Cuban breakfast.

Seriously good deal.

And since I will have to bring plenty of cash, first converting to Euro because the exchange rate is better for Euro than the American dollar, I decided I would preemptively book some activities.

I had never really delved into the Air BnB activities before, really only just used it to book rooms for myself when I have traveled.

New York.

D.C.

New Orleans.

Paris.

I tend to do pretty well finding what I want to see and do without having to deal with a tour guide or the like.

But a friend of mine had gone Havana within this last year and sent me a private message about places to go and things to do that he highly recommended and two of them were Air BnB experiences.

So.

I checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised.

One.

As I can pre-pay for them and thus not have to carry as much cash on my person.

And two, that all the activities I booked fall under my Visa category, “Support of Cuban People” which made me very happy.

Most of the sites I researched suggested that it would be very unlikely that I would be asked for an itinerary, but just in case, I can show one in which every day I am doing something to support the Cuban people.

My first day in I didn’t book anything.

I was going to, but I figured I’ll be jet lagged and tired and may just want to check into the casa and chill out.

Maybe wander around a little bit and take myself out to dinner in the neighborhood, but nothing serious.

The second day I am going to go to La Marca  Havana’s only legal tattoo shop, also it’s first tattoo shop.  It is also an art gallery and what appears to be a pretty hipster little scene.  I tried to book online with them but it bounced back.  So I’m just going to show up and ask for a walk in appointment.

It’s in Old Havana and maybe a ten minute walk from where I’m staying.

I also plan on going shopping at Clandestina, Havana’s first independent clothing company that happens to be run completely by women.

I’m so in.

Next, yes, yes, I did.

I booked a classic car ride to tour the seawall and cruise along the Malecon.

Ironically, I’ll need to take a taxi to get there, but I couldn’t help but want to do at least one cruise around Havana in a classic car, I mean, really, I had to.

Wednesday I left pretty open.

I figure museums and cafes and I booked a couple of hours with an art student from the university to take me on a photo tour.

This I’m looking forward to, I love street art, and off the beaten track and that’s what this seems to be.  This was also the activity my friend raved about, so two hours in the afternoon wandering around taking pictures with a local student.

Totally down.

Thursday I picked a big adventure, basically committed myself to twelve hours of tour.

I booked a historical tour to the Vinales Valley, tobacco farms, coffee farms, a tour through some of the famous caves and horseback riding in and out of the valley.

What really nailed it for me was that they host come and pick you up where you are staying and drop you back off.

There’s no Uber there.

No Lyft.

I don’t speak Spanish.

Not much really, a few tiny phrases, and something about haggling with a taxi cab driver or getting lost really doesn’t sound like fun for me, so having the pressure taken off by getting picked up and dropped back off really sold me.

Plus.

Ahem.

The ride there and back is in a classic 50s convertible.

Um.

Hehe.

Yes please.

Friday I’ll be doing a ferry trip over the bay to a little known spot in Havana called Regla.  There was something about the trip that appealed.  I don’t know the neighborhood, but I like that it’s a tour guided by a women who is an art history graduate who lives with her grandmother and shows off the markets in the neighborhood.

Plus.

Ferry boat ride.

I’m a sucker for a ferry boat.

Then Friday night I am going clubbing.

But not by myself.

I’m a pretty self-assured woman, but I didn’t want to hit the clubs solo, but there was one place I really wanted to go, FAC The Cuban Art Factory, a gallery space with art and music and djs and it looks like the place to go.

I connected with a couple of women on Air BnB who I will meet up at a cafe and head over to the club and hang out with and get the lowdown and have a safety net.  Really quite pleased with this.

Saturday I’m doing a farm to table lunch with a local chef and then.

And then.

And then.

Holy shit.

It happened.

I was able to book a night with the Buena Vista Social Club!

I am over the fucking moon.

The experience was sold out the last time I looked and it appears that more shows go added.

Basically this lovely older woman books a dinner table for you at the club, you meet her, she’s bought your ticket, you hang out with her and two or three other folks, eat dinner at the club and get to see the floor show and hear the band play.

Never in a million years did I imagine when I bought that compact disc so many moons ago in Madison that I would actually be going to Havana and getting to see a performance of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Fuck.

I feel so grateful.

Sunday morning I’m doing a cultural market and food tour with a lunch to follow with a lovely women who after I booked asked if I wanted to be included in a trip to the beach, Santa Maria beach.

Why yes.

Yes.

Yes I do.

So after the market and lunch I will go with her in a, yes, heh, classic convertible to the beach for a few hours of swimming and laying in the oh so white sand.

Pinch me.

Seriously.

Who’s life is this?

My last day in Havana I want to relax and chill out so I sent a query off to the Manzana Hotel to book a spa pass for their rooftop pool and spa facilities.

60 Cuban peso is not the cheapest, but the pool is so pretty.

I figure book a massage, lay out by the pool and just relax before I head back to the foggy fog.

I am so pleased.

And very excited.

So excited.

It feels really good to have this planned out.

And really.

I don’t think I could have done anything much better with my fourth of July holiday than work on the details for this trip.

Seriously.

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I Was All Upset

August 4, 2018

I was going to entitle this blog “motherfucker.”

I got another bill from the endoscopy procedure.

$899.

Why the fuck do I pay so much in insurance?

And get so damn little?

Which I am sure will be on my mind tomorrow when I go in for my dentist appointment.

The last time I was there the dentist said I should get a mouth guard.

And of course, it’s not covered by my dental.

I am not sure what my dental covers, truth be told, I’ve paid a ton out-of-pocket for the work I have had done.

The mouth guard will run about $400.

Which I have been preparing myself for and have not more animosity about it, I need it, I don’t want to grind my teeth at night, why am I stressed?

Bwaahahahahaha.

Sigh.

But I wasn’t expecting another damn bill from the endoscopy.

It feels like I just paid a bill.

For about $900 not even a month ago.

However, there it was, all cheerful and cheeky with its return envelope in my mail tonight when I got home.

Ugh.

I opened it and tried to not pay attention to it, I got a phone call right as I did.

Give the person on the line your complete attention, they are important, not this stupid letter that looks suspiciously like a bill.

Looks like a bill because it is a bill.

I looked at it after I got off the phone.

$899!

For things your insurance doesn’t cover.

There was a big block of letters in the billing area, “insurance company does not cover,” well isn’t that terrific?

I was about to fish out a stamp and write a check and put it in my wallet to mail tomorrow, but then I thought, fuck it, save the stamp, just pay it now, get it over with.

I have the money, I was just hoping to put it towards a new place, not old medical bills.

I got online.

I got logged into their weird payment system.

And!

I don’t have a bill there!

No bill means nothing to pay.

I wondered about that, was I billed twice?

I decided to just double-check and I called the number on the bill and logged into my account, which confirmed that I have nothing outstanding!

Zero balance.

I just chucked the bill in the trash.

Fuck you bill.

The nice thing, now that I don’t have to pay the bill, fingers crossed it would suck if that suddenly changed, but the nice thing was that even though I had a  momentary hissy fit, I wasn’t really balking at paying it.

I was just going to get it over with and pay it.

I am grateful for that in my life.

That I pay my bills when I get them.

I don’t like owing money and I have worked really hard for the last 13 years to be really clean with my money.

I don’t always succeed.

But I don’t owe any money to friends or to medical institutions (it would seem).

I owe money on my car, but I tell you what, with the exception of one month, I have paid double my car payment every month.

I am pretty happy about that.

I plan on making a payment tomorrow, I do them on the 4th when the payment is due, despite not really owing one, my next payment isn’t due until December, I’d rather just keep the habit going and I’ll pay tomorrow.

Hell I may even just pay it tonight to get it out-of-the-way since I’m writing about money and finances.

And, of course, I owe on my student loans.

But I’m not in default and I do pay them when I’m not enrolled in school.

I also don’t owe any money on any credit cards

Or, as the case may be, the one card I have.

In fact, I am thinking it’s time to cancel the damn thing.

I got it last year after being persuaded by a friend and haven’t used it once.

I could be accruing travel miles and such, but really the thought of using it wierds me out.

I had credit card debt, and a fair good bit of it.

I worked really fucking hard for a few years and got it wheedled down and then, yes, upon the suggestion of a lawyer, I filed for bankruptcy.

It’s a little complicated, but basically I spent two years busting my ass to pay off debt that was mostly acquired when I was in early sobriety.

I had run up my cards, got sober, and then was so broke and destitute for my first year that I never made any payments.

And boy howdy did that add up fast.

The interest on the cards skyrocketed and it was worse than paying off a loan shark.

I think I had 9% on one card that went to 28%.

And the other had started around 12% and was at 31%.

My lawyer basically told me I would never get out from under it, that I had made a huge effort to rectify the situation, I really had, worked so much for those years to work with the collection agencies, to the point I was on a first name basis with two different women, made amends financially, did the work, read front to back twice “How to get out debt, stay out of debt, and live prosperously,” by Jerrold Mundis, that I had records of all my payment plans, of everyone I had talked to, that I kept track of how much I spent and that I hadn’t any other debt, was huge.

I handed the lawyer such an enormous amount of spending plans, budgets, records, and notes that he literally was able to turn around the case and file it within two weeks of me seeing him.

I guess normally it takes longer because the lawyer has to do all the work that I had been doing for the past years.

So.

Yeah.

I’m not really interested in that kind of thing happening again and though I understand my friend’s reasonings, I think I am going to just cancel it.

Feels better.

Not as good as throwing away that medical bill.

But damn close.

Damn skippy close indeed.

It’s Been A Day

July 4, 2018

It really has.

It was preceded by a night with little sleep.

I had a really hard time falling asleep and I couldn’t stay asleep when I finally did.

I rarely have insomnia, but last night there was a kiss of it.

So much to think about.

And my wild thoughts got me up so early.

Really too early.

But.

I have to say I am surprised that I didn’t feel tired today.

I also had a bit more to do than I thought I was going to.

In between my therapy session and dropping off paperwork to a former supervisor in Hayes Valley, I got a text from my boss asking for a huge favor and could I go help out at the house for a few hours.

I said sure, I went, I let in the cleaners, I hung out and listened to French House music, I did some spending plan for July and I added up my expenses for June.

I got a bit walloped yesterday.

Truth be told.

Unexpected conflict.

Lots of fear.

High amounts of anxiety.

And lots of having faith and leaning in.

I spent most of yesterday outside the house, I didn’t feel safe here and I didn’t want to have more conflict escalate.

Fortunately nothing further happened.

You want details you contact me directly I am being circumspect about what goes on my blog for a little while.

When the dust settles I may elaborate more, but tonight as I write, suffice to say it’s been unpleasant and I have been taking actions around my housing situation to the best of my abilities.

I also have to say thank God for my external support and for the people who I could call and talk to and get suggestions from.

So much lovely help.

I needed every bit.

And so, it was of no surprise, not really, when I got home after a long stressful day yesterday and found a bill from my health insurance for $867.23.

Fuck.

Really?

I knew it.

I had a feeling I was going to get a sucker punch from the endoscopy.

I looked over the bill and though yes, I was a touch upset, in the end my insurance did cover $3200 of the procedure.

Grateful for that.

I sat down and wrote out a check.

Then I balanced my checkbook.

Then.

Well.

I have therapy and need groceries.

I am sitting with money in my account, but it’s earmarked toward rent, my rent check has not been cashed yet.

I double checked my addition and subtraction and I thought about a few things I wanted to do today.

Car wash.

And decided to pull money from my savings account.

Did I have to?

No.

I would have been ok until payday.

I mean.

I would have bought nada.

But I would have been ok.

Then I thought, why feel pinched when I have money there that can be used?

I transferred the money that I had earmarked for Paris into my account and decided to make sure I looked over my budget and spending for the month.

It’s a big month for travel.

I have no regrets about what I spent in New York.

I am very happy for the trip, the memories, the mementos.

Absolutely no thoughts that I should have done it any different.

It was a wonderful trip.

Paris will be too.

I may not have the $867 that had to go to the hospital bill, but I have enough.

I’m o.k.

That became sort of the theme today.

I am o.k.

I am going to be o.k.

Everything is o.k.

Yes.

Things are hard.

Things are challenging.

Life is showing up and doing what life does, giving me opportunities to learn and grow and expand my capacity for love.

Yes.

There were tears today too.

Therapy.

I talked for the first half about my living situation and what happened yesterday.

My therapist really applauded how I handled the situation.

I was not expecting that, to be told that what I did under pressure was admirable.

That felt good to have reflected back to me.

I still had few moments of feeling overwhelmed when I talked about what had happened, but hey I didn’t die and though it was intense and unpleasant, I got through it.

I had lunch with a friend today after therapy and he reflected some of the same things back to me.

It was super fun to see him.

He works in a cool tech company and they have lunch delivered and so yay, free lunch and an hour with a good friend.

He also helped me figure out my bottom line around my situation and gave me some brilliant language should I need, when I suspect, it’s not going to be a should, it will be a when, to stand up to the situation and what is happening.

It was calming and I appreciated hearing it and that he also acknowledged I do have a lot of power in the situation.

Ultimately.

Faith.

Faith.

And more faith.

It shall prevail.

The rest of the day was nice, like I mentioned, helping out the family, getting to do the work on my spending plan, taking time to eat a nice dinner, just a salad and sparkling water, but it felt good to nourish myself on the earlier side of dinner as I had a client cancel and I wanted to do the deal tonight at 8p.m.  I was able to leave after my first client and get across town right on time.

Where again I got to be aware of fear and faith and that they are similar, belief in something that cannot be proven.

So I chose faith.

I will continue to choose faith.

Knowing that I am loved and carried and I just have to show up and take the next actions in front of me.

It will all work out.

It really will.

No Problems

April 22, 2018

Well that’s what a girl likes to fucking hear!

Thank God.

I was praying in my head and doing deep breathing the entire time I was at the dentist getting x-rays and the exam prior to the cleaning, keeping my fingers crossed that there were no more surprises, no cracked teeth, no need for another crown.

Clean bill of health.

Except.

Well.

Not quite.

Turns out it looks like I may be grinding my teeth, this is the first time that that’s been mentioned in the two years that I have been seeing this dentist.

Might be time for a mouth guard.

But.

Of course.

My insurance, what the fuck, doesn’t cover it.

I was like.

Whatever.

Dentist says it’s an indicator of stress when teeth are ground at night.

Great.

Really?

Stress.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

I asked them to check under my other insurance, yes, technically I have two insurance plans, Universal Health Services, a PPO, through my school, and I also have Delta Dental.

The Delta Dental doesn’t cover it.

Frankly it doesn’t seem to cover much.

It didn’t cover my cracked tooth and subsequent crown, that was $1400 out-of-pocket.

The mouth guard, should my other insurance not cover it, and considering the lack of shit that they do cover (remember this is the insurance company that won’t cover the endoscopy), will cost $495 out-of-pocket.

The admin team at the dentist’s office said they’d check for me on Monday.

I figure I’ll be getting a mouth guard my next dentist visit in August and it will be out-of-pocket.

Whatever.

Stress.

Meh.

What stress?

Bwahahahahaha.

On the up side, no cavities, no cracked teeth, and a good cleaning and I was out the door.

I was happy to be onto the next thing that I needed to do, supervision, and I had time to get cross town and find parking.

Which was a shit show.

There was a fixed gear bicycle race in the neighborhood and all but one of the blocks around my internship were closed off.

I had to circle for a while.

I’m super grateful I had the extra time.

I would have been late.

As it stood I made it just at the stroke of 2 p.m.

I had a good check in, got to relay that I had the clean (ish, I suppose if there’s evidence of teeth grinding it wasn’t exactly) bill of health and that I had made it to yoga today for the first time in six weeks.

Sigh.

Six.

That’s a lot of time, but I have been suffering with the reflux for so long that I couldn’t go, I mean, I wanted to, I signed up a few times, but I could never make it to class.

Today was hard.

But not overwhelmingly so.

I didn’t have reflux, though my tummy still has some issues, I was able to do the class and I’m quite happy for the exercise.

I am sure I will be sore in the morning.

I signed up for an early yoga class tomorrow.

7:15 a.m.

I can’t believe I’m going to do it, but I am.

I’m going with my best friend and then we’re going to have breakfast.

After I wrapped with group supervision I did exactly what I had hoped to get done.

Car wash.

And.

A mani/pedi.

It was lovely.

I also got some grocery shopping done then met my person at my Saturday night commitment and got right with God.

It was a really nice day, full of stuff, but really good stuff.

I have a lot to do tomorrow, and the paper is looming, but I feel like the self-care that I did today was good and that I am on the right track with getting the paper done.

I am going to not be anxious about it.

I’m going to really fucking try.

I don’t want to be grinding my teeth tonight.

Damn it.

 

Once More

April 6, 2018

Into the breach.

My friends.

Once more.

My fourth weekend of my final semester of my Master’s program begins tomorrow.

I will be kicking it off by doing a case presentation on a client for my Integrative Seminar program.

I feel like I have already kicked it off, so to speak, by all the preparations I have done this evening–laundry, hot, hot, hot shower and washing the hair, packed up my notebooks and folders, roasting a chicken, roasting as I write.

I know.

I know.

I said I wasn’t going to roast any more chickens.

But my fucking reflux hasn’t gotten any better since taking that particular food out of my diet for a week and a half, hell, almost two weeks.

In fact, I haven’t really noticed too much of any kind of change despite my valiant, they feel valiant to me, efforts to really be good about my food.

I mean.

Fuck.

How many god damn kale salads can a girl eat?

I have eaten salad every day for lunch for the last week or so.

I have eaten super simple food.

Lots of oatmeal.

Brown rice.

Shrimp.

Lean ground turkey.

I haven’t eaten citrus, garlic, onions, fatty meats, tomatoes, dairy, for the most part, put a spot of it in my tea today when I ran out of unsweetened almond milk at work, no sugar, no flour.

I have, however, eaten a fuck load of Tums.

And.

I have chewed a lot of gum.

I have also drank a lot of fucking apple cider vinegar.

I am fucking tired of drinking apple cider vinegar.

It seemed to work really well and then over the last week, not so much, some relief, but the reflux comes back with a vengeance.

I have it super bad now and like I said, I ate fantastically well today.

Oatmeal with apples and blueberries for breakfast.

Kale salad with veggies for lunch, apple and blueberries with roasted pumpkin seeds for dessert.

Dinner was sautéed shrimp with broccoli and a cup of brown rice.

Didn’t fucking matter.

Still in so much pain I want to vomit.

“You look tired,” my eight year old charge told me today as we were going up the stairs to his house.

We had an awesome adventure out to FirePie Pizza.

I know the founder and CEO and I had asked him if I could bring in my charge.

A few months ago I was out with my oldest charge, ran into my friend, introduced them and when we walked off my charge said, “who was that?”

And I replied, “he owns FirePie!”

“What!” My charge yelped, “I love FirePie! You know the owner!?”

He was star struck.

So.

I arranged for a private tour of the kitchen and today my little charge got to put on an apron and get in the kitchen and cook his own pepperoni pizza.

Two actually.

And to my utter amazement, he ate one entire pizza when he got home.

Pride of ownership I think.

It was really adorable to do it and I am very happy my friend accommodated us so sweetly.

My charge, however, was right.

I am fucking tired.

Six and a half hours of over time this week.

Three and a half today and three yesterday.

I’ve come in early the last couple of days.

And two out of my three charges have been sick all week, and today was parent teacher conferences at school, so nobody went to school and I had all three monkeys while the parents met with teachers.

I was great, if I do say so myself, I made them pancakes for breakfast, I let them watch movies in their pajamas, we had fun building cars out of cardboard boxes and duct tape.

The baby napped on me in the carrier for two and a half hours.

And I took the oldest boy to make pizza with his own private tour of FirePie.

#winning

#whosyournanny?

And.

I have had horrendous, unrelenting reflux pain every day this week.

Gah.

Maybe I’ll try some more apple cider vinegar, it hurts so bad right now.

And that helped, a little.

Oof.

Hopefully that nullifies things for a little while.

I will say I am fucking hydrated as fuck.

I did make an appointment with One Medical for Monday.

I could have gotten in today, but there was no one I could have given the family such short notice without being short of dying.

And though it feels like I’m dying sometimes I am capable of showing up and working.

Monday though.

Monday I am going into see a new doctor, I’ve joined a new organization and hopefully I will get some relief.

I just can’t take it much more.

Plus.

I really want to enjoy the next few months.

Or next month and a half.

I only have one more weekend of classes after this one.

Then.

I graduate!

I really am so excited for that.

I am already getting emails from the PhD program and I will be registering soon for the fall semester, no rest for the wicked.

But.

There will be a party.

And there will be vacation time.

And I want that time to be enjoyable.

I started doing a little bit of party planning with my best friend who is helping me organize and do set up with another dear friend of mine.

I’m trying to come up with a graduation theme.

I was thinking “Gidget Graduates.”

I’m having a beach bonfire party at Ocean Beach.

I thought it might be cute to have some sort of theme, 50s or 60s beach party.

I found this super cute Gidget book cover that I think the movies were based on.

“The little girl with big ideas.”

Kind of cute.

Or I might go Frankie Avalon and Annette.

Anyway, it’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it and I want to through the next two weekends of classes and get all my papers done and in.

After tomorrow’s presentation I have two papers left.

Two.

I am so ready to be done.

So ready for a break.

From school.

And from my tummy.

Seriously.

 

How’s Your Poo Poo?

March 24, 2018

What the fuck did you just ask me?

Did you ask my how my “poo poo” was?

Did you really?

I’m a 45-year-old woman.

Jesus fuck.

Of course, you did, dear doctor, yes, I had a doctor ask me that, you also referred to your receptionist as your “office girl.”

God damn man.

Get with the fucking century.

I was not happy with my experience today, but I am happy to have gone, despite my trepidations, despite my annoyance at the parking in Chinatown, despite having to go to a fucking doctor in some weird old building in Chinatown, despite the bathroom looking worse than a JC Decaux public bathroom on Market Street, why was there a nest of toilet paper in front of the toilet?  Why? In the women’s bathroom, I had asked for the code after my appointment and I couldn’t even bring myself to use the loo.

This coming from a woman who has gone to Burning Man 11 years in a row and used many port-a-potties.

I just was over it.

Over the entire fucking thing.

Over having a PPO for my health insurance.

Over it.

As my best friend said to me earlier, look at it like an adventure, look at it like an experience.

An adventure I never want to do again, nor an experience I want to have either.

I am also looking at it from the vantage point of now I know.

Now I know how much I liked having Kaiser and now I’m willing to get it back as my insurance.  I just can’t handle many more third world microwave on top of the file boxes, 11 people in the waiting room to be seen by one doctor, with only four chairs to sit on, a doctor who infantilized what was happening in my body and the not so hygienic conditions of the entire space.

I just don’t want to have that experience ever fucking again.

Unfortunately I do have to go in for an endoscopy.

Fortunately it is not to be had at that office.

It will be at the Golden Gate Endoscopy Center.

Which will make four, no, five!

Five different places I have had to go to, all across the city from Ocean Avenue, to Noriega and 26th, to Irving and 22nd, to Pacific and Grand, to this place on Geary.

Five fucking different places to have this issue looked at.

Over a huge span of time.

It has taken months to get this far.

I am so very over it.

I’m pretty much done.

And have the god damn reflux so bad right now.

Ugh.

I still haven’t gotten the lab results back.

I’m still hoping that it’s an infection and that I can treat it with antibiotics.

If that’s the case, then no endoscopy.

I’ll cancel the damn thing.

It’s also such a nuisance, I’ll have to be at the facility at 7 a.m.

And I’ll have to have fasted and not drank any water after midnight the night before.

Which isn’t so bad I suppose.

What’s annoying is that I have to be released to someone because I will be put under for the procedure.

It’s not a heavy sedation, but it is sedation and I apparently need to be released to a friend or family member.

Yeah, no family members around this neck of the woods.

I got a little stressed trying to think of who I was going to ask who could come at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday and grab me.

My friends are all fucking working.

Not an ask I want to make.

However.

The mom at my job offered!

I was shocked.

I was so surprised.

Grandma happens to be visiting that week and she said she could come and get me and I was just so moved by her offer.

And she really meant it, she really wants to help.

And although I’m a little loathe to ask my employer to do me this favor, so far the one other person I’ve checked in with wasn’t available.

I have a few other folks I’ll ask, but it looks like I may very well be asking my boss to pick me up.

I work for some really kind people.

As kind as they are, though, I was happy to leave today, I was tired, it was a long week, it was an emotional rollercoaster with the doctor I had a feeling it was going to be unpleasant and yup, it was.

I’m glad it’s done and hopefully this will all be resolved soon.

Fingers crossed.

And in the meantime.

Well.

It’s time.

Time to research and find better insurance.

Time to take care of my health in a way that better suits my needs.

I need, very much so, to never have that experience again.

No fucking thank you.

A Little Rest

March 23, 2018

Not much.

But enough.

I don’t have to get up super early tomorrow.

Although the mom had asked that I come in early, having forgotten that I have a doctor’s appointment at 10:30 a.m.

So.

Early.

Not so much.

I have set my alarm for 8 a.m.

Which feels like such a luxury, to sleep until 8 a.m.

I am all about it.

It’s curious, though, now that I’m thinking about it, I just realized the doctor’s office that I have an appointment with has not called or texted me to confirm tomorrow’s appointment.

I will be calling before I go in to confirm.

I really don’t feel like driving all over town if I don’t have to.

I’m not really excited about going in.

I had hoped that the lab results were going to be in by this time.

I don’t know how long the lab results take to process, but I dropped off the sample on Monday.

I suppose five working day sounds about right, but I’ve never been in this kind of health insurance land before.

I really miss Kaiser.

It’s funny.

I’ll see people lambaste it on social media, and there’s some point to that, there are certain things they lack, they don’t have a great mental health services department and they don’t do one on one therapy, just group therapy, but their system is super stream lined, I could just go online, pop in my account, make appointments, cancel appointments, get lab results, it was super easy.

This using my school’s insurance has been such a huge pain in my ass.

I have asked the family if we could relook at my insurance, and I’m willing to do the step work to do that, and see if maybe there is another alternative route for me.

I would be willing to pay a little into it myself.

My health insurance is pretty much covered by the family, they reimburse me on a monthly basis and it’s the amount that I figured out would be how much I pay in school–which was paid for in my student loans, but whatever.

The cost per month is $225.

So that’s what the family gives me.

I would probably have to pay double that to get Kaiser.

I’m almost ready to.

I could continue using the school’s insurance, especially if I continue forward with my PhD.

Oh my God.

I almost forgot.

I’m interviewing soon!

Wednesday, March 30th at 10 a.m.

Eight days from today.

Realistically I could continue with the health insurance through the school for the next two years.

I wouldn’t really be day-to-day affected money wise, it would be similar to what it is now, I pay it out of my student loans and the family pays me once a month.

If I can be served well, if I can get services then maybe.

It’s just been such an uncomfortable experience.

I’ve never had a PPO before and I really just don’t care for it.

And yes.

Gah.

Do I think that my reflux might have something to do with stress?

Because I feel a little now, stress, and reflux.

Sexy.

Ugh.

I’m just over it.

I’ll go to this doctor and see what he says, I’m so not excited to go see someone else, I really feel done with the whole adventure.

Except that I still get the reflux.

Not as bad as it was, I really do think that cutting out ibuprofen was such a huge deal for me, as well as being really mindful of what I eat.

And then.

I get concerned.

What if I have to take more out of my diet?

What if that’s the main issue.

Does roast chicken cause heartburn?

I mean.

I pretty much live on it right now.

I suppose it might be time to shake up my diet a little, but I do have certain staples that I am so used to eating, just thinking about having to cut out something else makes me feel a little crazy.

I have cut out a lot already.

Then again.

I just want to stop having the reflux.

So If I have to take something out.

I take it out.

Blah.

I have other more exciting things I wish to think about.

I wish I could let the reflux take the back burner, but it’s been so consistently with me for the last few months, more months than I want to admit, I just need to deal with it and do whatever comes next in the grand adventure of my health care.

I’ll go see the G.I. and do what I’m told.

I am not doctor.

At least not yet!

So.

I’ll take whatever doctor’s orders are and do what’s best.

Sigh.

 

Tooth Ache

January 12, 2018

My tooth hurts.

Achy.

I’m hoping it’s temporary.

I’m one week and two days away from getting the permanent crown put in.

I’m not in severe pain, it’s just there and a touch disconcerting.

I got notice today that my dental insurance is about to end, as though it was much good, and I’ve looked up on my PPO to see if there is dental available through my plan.

It looks like there might be.

Then again.

Who the fuck knows.

I had made a opthamology appointment four months ago.

Yes.

I said four.

And today I got a message to call the office.

They weren’t sure if my insurance covers the visit.

I gave them all my information and am awaiting details.

It’s so frustrating.

I have not had this experience before.

Having to wait such long times to be seen, not being able to be seen, having to figure it all out on my own.

I had Kaiser for such a long time I got super spoiled by their facilities and the easiness of booking appointments.

I wish the school hadn’t changed over to this health plan, but it’s what I have and until I can afford something different, it’s what I’ll be using.

I do get a stipend from my family, so there’s that, it’s just the inability to be seen that has me really flustered.

I didn’t go bananas on the woman who called me but I did question why the hell it took so long to be contacted if there was a question in regards to the coverage.

I mean.

I just would have kept my October appointment with my ophthalmologist on Irving street.

Really nice guy, Dr. Kurtzbay.

I liked going there, although I did not like paying out-of-pocket for the services.

The last two pairs of glasses I got were both over $450.

Plus I was a little flush, for me, and I bought a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Which I managed to hold onto for about four months before losing them.

Sigh.

Anyway.

When I got this new insurance I was excited that there was ophthalmology and dental included.

Of course.

I haven’t been able to use the services, I haven’t been able to get in to a dentist or an eye doctor, so in a sense it feels useless.

I have used the insurance once to be seen by a new primary care physician in an Outer Sunset facility that reminded me of a bad made movie scene in a third world country.

I have the number for the only dentist facility that my insurance purportedly covers and I’m going to call them tomorrow and see if I can get in.

If I can’t then I will renew my own out-of-pocket dental care for the second year in a row and just stick to my guy over at Sunset Premier Dental.

He’s not first world, but not third world either, and he takes appointments on Saturdays, so there’s that.

Speaking of appointments.

I get to see my chiropractor in the morning.

I have a 9 a.m. session.

My back as been feeling better, I will say that, not 100%, but significantly better, I’m not in nearly the same amount of pain as I was a few months back when it started to act up.

I think this is my fourth session.

I’ll have a few more sessions still covered by my family and then I will see about continuing.

I really like her energy, it’s just $85 a pop and she wants to see my weekly.

Add that to my personal therapy at $120 a session, and the week get’s expensive quick.

I wouldn’t really be thinking that much about it, but the unexpected dental stuff did eat up my little buffer.

I’m not too worried, however, I’ve gone over my numbers a bunch of times and I’m going to be just fine.

Tighter than I want to be, sure.

Wishing I hadn’t committed throwing in $200 to the party on Saturday, yup, but fuck it, whatever.

When I was out drinking and using I blew more than $200 a night and frankly, I’m happy to help host a party and have a fun time and a good dj and friends come out to dance that I typically don’t see.

It’s only a few days away, my sobriety anniversary and it still doesn’t have that anxious feeling around it, I’ve nearly forgotten, in fact, that I had an anniversary coming.

I have heard people say that before, especially busy people, but I never really thought that there would be a time when I would not be acutely aware of an upcoming anniversary.

And I’m just not.

It’s rather nice.

The party makes it rather nice too.

So.

I’m not going to focus on money, it’s all God’s money anyhow.

I’m just going to focus on what needs to be paid next and have faith that I’m taken care of.

Paid my phone bill yesterday.

Felt great.

I actually like paying my bills.

I mean, even though I didn’t want to shell out the money to my dentist, I really like that I was able to pay it and pay it in cash, well, not paper-folding money, but you know, by debit card which is not a credit card.

I have not even used the credit card I got a few months back, I’m not even sure I will for that matter.

I like paying my debts with cash.

It feels good to be accountable.

And it feels really god that tomorrow is Friday.

Fuck yeah.

I’m ready for the weekend.

So ready.

Seriously.

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

Locked And Loaded

December 8, 2017

I am so ready to get through this weekend of classes.

Last one of the semester.

My books and notes and papers and readers are packed.

My lunch is ready.

Coffee is set.

I’ve done laundry.

My house is clean.

My head hurts, but that’s a story for another time.

I’ve been not feeling well now for a bit and I’m more than tired of it and sort of worn down by the low-grade constant ick I’ve been in now for over a week.

I have been taking some over the counter stuff recommended by the pharmacist and patiently waiting for my doctor appointment on, sigh, December 21st.

Although if it gets much worse I might pop into an urgent care.

When?

I don’t fucking know.

It’s not debilitating, but it’s low-grade constant pain and I’m really tired of it.

I can work, I have worked all week, I’ve seen clients, I just have been sick the entire time, again not enough to warrant calling out and it seems to be something that I am really going to have to speak to a doctor about, it’s not a cold or flu.

It does seem to be some kind of weird reflux thing and as such I’m taking the generic version of Zantac that the pharmacist prescribed until I could get into see a doctor.

I’m on a new health insurance.

Fuck I hate it.

I have to find a doctor on my own and nothing says fun times like waiting on hold while bad music plays for a very long time to only be told that the facility is not taking any new clients.

None.

UCSF.

Fuck you.

How can you not be taking new clients?

It’s a huge fucking facility.

But nothing.

And the amount of bullshit I went through to get to actually talk to a person was way beyond.

I called the number my insurance gave me only to get someone in accounting.

“Yeah, I keep getting calls from United Health Service, and yes, I do work for UCSF, but I’m an accountant.”

Well, that doesn’t fucking help.

The accountant gave me a number.

I called the number.

It was for a time share in Florida.

I shit you not.

I gave up that day, then tried again the next.

This time I found a number on UCSF’s website.

I called the next day only to be told that I needed to go on the website and then the machine hung up on me.

What the fuck?

Back to the website, a ton of digging and I finally got a number and found a list of doctors taking new clients.

I called every one of them.

Not a single one was seeing new patients.

I asked if I could get put on a wait list.

No.

Well what the fuck?

I was told to just keep calling back.

Are you for real?

Holy shit.

So.

I still have an appointment with the doctor I had called five weeks ago to be seen.

I was aghast that it was five weeks before I could be seen, but thank God I kept the appointment, or I would be another five weeks out.

I did also find the urgent care I can go to, it’s at Davies on Castro.

I am hesitant to go as I said it’s not an emergency, it’s just low-grade constant pain.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I will muddle through.

I will get through this weekend.

I will get all my papers handed in.

I will do my final group project on Saturday.

I will show up for class and participate.

I still have not done my dream reaction paper but I haven’t had a dream to write-up.

I’m hoping I get one tonight that I can do.

Otherwise I’m just going to have to piece something together.

I can probably also do an active imagination piece if I don’t have a dream to write on before the class on Saturday.

God, please let the medicine kick in.

Gah.

I think I’m just getting old.

Reflux, what the fuck.

I have to say, it is not fun.

But hey, it’s not cancer, or a broken leg, and my ankle’s doing better too.

Much better.

In fact, it’s funny, the appointment was made to check out my ankle and also my back and neither of those things will I be going in for.

In fact,  a week from tomorrow I’ll be seeing a chiropractor for the first time in about a decade, so the back thing will get worked out.

As for the ankle, just being careful and taking it easy on it and I will ask the doctor to check it out, but mostly I just want the reflux to stop happening.

It might be the most obnoxious health thing I have ever dealt with.

Anyway.

I hate complaining and I’ve pretty much kept this on the down low.

I did have a fit with my person on the phone about my inability to find a doctor to see me and he was the person who recommended I talk to a pharmacist and that was super helpful, and basically I just have to deal with this for two more weeks.

I’ll say one thing, it’s absolutely killing my appetite.

I have not felt like cooking much at all, rather had to force myself to make soup yesterday.

Just trying to be gentle with myself and take care of the next little things in front of me.

I’ll get through this.

There have been much harder things in my life to get through.

I’ve almost convinced myself.

Almost.

Heh.

Anyway.

Speaking of food, time for dinner.

And then winding down to get a good night sleep and get myself off to school in the morning.

It’s going to be a good weekend.

It’s the last one of the semester!

Thank God.


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