“All the benefits of an HMO, but at a PPO cost!”
This ought to be the slogan for my health insurance. Yes, I’m thankful I have insurance in the first place. But a PPO is the only option at my job. That should be fine. Arguably, with a PPO, I should be able to go to any doctor I want at any time, right?
Hold the phone.
My work has contracted out with a third-party network which basically runs our insurance like an HMO. Especially with my mental health treatment. Every quarter, my therapist has to re-send in the same information to this company, where a person that doesn’t know one goddamned thing about me reviews the paperwork and then decides how many visits will be authorized during the following three-month period. Usually I’m approved for once a week. Occasionally I’ve been approved for every other week. There’s no rhyme or reason.
This quarter, I was flat out denied.
I’m not allowed to see my therapist anymore unless I pay cash (which I can’t afford to do). No visits authorized. None. Nada. Zip. Zero.
There is not even a grace period given to me to wind things up with the therapist. Just…no more. I’m used to seeing my therapist once a week. I’ve seen her once a week for a number of years. The last time I checked, there was no magic cure for my depression and anxiety. No one made me a potion that suddenly fixed all that was ailing me. But, according to a faceless person at this network, I’m perfectly fine.
So I’m completely cut off—just like that.
I’m sure the person who made this decision thinks s/he is saving the company money. But it’s going to cost a lot more in the long run when I spiral downward and out of control and end up in a hospital and inpatient therapy for a month or more. Because without my therapy, that’s exactly what I fear is going to happen.
I usually eat my lunch in my office with my door closed. I can’t do that today, because the ventilation system is being worked on. So I’m sitting here with an open ceiling and what is probably asbestos dropping down all over my desk.
I’m doing everything in my power to avoid working today. I mean, more than usual.
One of my bosses got me the exact same birthday card as she did last year. I think she has a stash of them and forgets who she gives them to.
I have no idea how to navigate around iTunes anymore. It’s been that long since I’ve updated my iPod. Yes, I still have an iPod. I’m old and stuck in my ways, so eff off.
This has got to be the lamest and most boring Five for Friday list I’ve done yet. I’ll get better. Promise.
Remember when this blog used to be fun? Used to be funny? Light-hearted?
Neither do I.
It used to be that way at some point. But it’s something I need to get back to. Even if I have to fake it for a time.
"Everybody laughs when fatty falls down." The late Chris Farley said that, in the context of his belief that he’d never be taken too seriously. The physical comedy was what people expected from him, no matter how he was truly feeling inside. It was all a great acting job on his part.
So maybe fatty needs to fall down for a while here.
I’ve figured out what my greatest ability is: letting others down.
- I don’t like that it seems I’ve abandoned this blog. I’ve just had very little to say that’s post-worthy, in my opinion.
- My doctor gave me Ambien to try for my fitful sleep. I’m probably the only person that sleeps worse on that stuff than without it.
- We have a real-life bearded lady here at work. She’s one of the nicest and smartest people here. She just happens to have a condition that makes her grow hair on her face and neck. It’s hard not to stare when you’re talking to her.
- I can’t wait for the “Simpsons”/”Family Guy” crossover episode this weekend.
- I’ve been making a concerted effort to drink less Diet Coke and more water. It’s harder than I thought. But I’m slowly decreasing the soda intake.
Once you get this you have to say five things you like about yourself, publicly, then send this to ten of your favorite followers (non-negotiable)
I’ve been sitting on this for a little while, so I apologize. But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s boogie!
- I’m friendly to everyone.
- I tend to trust people from the start.
- Of course, I love my sense of humor.
- I’m a great dad to my kids.
- I really like my butt.
Okay, ten people. I’ll hit up your askholes as soon as possible.
- Things are good personally. Very good. I haven’t said that very often as of late.
- I was recently introduced to a product called “Not Your Father’s Root Beer”. It has 10% alcohol and tastes exactly like root beer. You do not taste the alcohol whatsoever. It is pure, delicious evil.
- One thing I’m not talking about or giving opinions on is the unrest in Missouri. Anyone that really knows me also knows why I’m remaining mute.
- I may have to take the Jeep in for engine repairs yet again. I know diddly squat about cars, but I do know that every time it’s humid in the morning, the thing shakes and stutters like Muhammad Ali (too soon?). This is my second engine, and it better not be failing again.
- Did I mention that things are going really well for me lately?
You can only eat one kind of pizza and one kind of beer for the rest of your life. What did you choose?
Mmmm…pizza and beer.
Sorry. My eyes are glazing over at the mere thought.
Here in Chicago, we take our pizza very seriously. VERY seriously. However, I have to shift my pizza sensibilities and taste to a place in Colorado that I went to while I was growing up, and which I visit nearly every time I go back. The original restaurant is tucked away in a small mountain town. Beau Jo’s Pizza knows how to do it right. You build your pizza there. There are no sizes, like medium or large. You order your pizza by weight. You can get up to a five-pound pizza there. Choose the type of crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings and you’re set to go. It comes out with a huge crust on the end of each slice. What to do with all of this crust, you say to yourself? Well, make it your dessert. There is pure honey on the table you pour on the crust for a sweet ending. Damn. I really want one of these now. I was just in Colorado for two weeks, but was unfortunately unable to get out to Beau Jo’s. Make mine sausage and pepperoni, and I’m good to go for life.
As for beer? That’s a tougher one. I’m a bit of a beer snob. I would probably go with a good Three Philosophers. It’s a Belgian-style beer from New York. It’s smooth and not too hard on the palate. Plus it’s just under 10% alcohol. So each one counts for two. I can have three Three Philosophers and be perfectly happy. And by happy, I mean super buzzed.
Meanwhile, I’ll now be having pizza from my local joint and maybe a couple of Three Philosophers tonight.
The power of suggestion…
Five For Friday:
- I use Tumblr on my work computer way too much. It helps me look like I’m really working. But it also makes me anxious that someone in IT is going to catch on, and that I’m going to get in trouble.
- I think I need to get back to “full radio silence” on the weekends. No Tumblr, no texts. Just me and my kids.
- This blog needs to get back to being more light-hearted. That being said, however, my dad is still in the hospital. But he’s slowly recovering and getting stronger.
- It’s hard to concentrate on what your boss is saying when you have a turtle poking its head out. If ya know what I mean.
- Not being tech savvy, I’m having issues with Tumblr I can’t figure out. It’s constantly crashing on me in mid-scroll, and it won’t let me highlight any words in my posts, to just name a few things. I fear it has something to do with XKit. But I don’t want to blame that if that’s not it. Is anyone else having troubles like this?
I’ll apologize in advance for the lengthy post. Some you just have to put down your thoughts, no matter how much room they take.
The last two weeks have been completely crazy. It started with an early-morning call from one of my sisters telling me that my dad was back in the hospital, was not breathing on his own, and was likely not going to live. I caught the first flight possible to Denver that morning. I went straight to the hospital, where my sisters and mother were waiting. He had apparently had a heart “incident” (no one would call it an attack) after complaining of having a hard time breathing. By the time I was there, his saturation levels were fluctuating greatly. Because of the incident, doctors checked his heart and determined that he needed a triple bypass. That was if he was going to make it at all.
My mother, ever the fervent believer, barely talked to any of us kids for the first two days. All she did was pray. She prayed day and night, putting things “into God’s hands.” Yet she wouldn’t agree to take him off the ventilator, the same machine basically keeping him alive. There was no talking to her. All she wanted to do was pray.
My sisters and I had time in those first days to discuss what should happen. As my dad’s oxygen saturation levels fluctuated greatly, I thought he should be taken off the ventilator and to see how he would do on his own. This meant, of course, that there was a very good chance he would die. My sisters were too afraid to take that chance. They wanted to play it safe. So that left me as the lone dissenter.
After four excruciating days of no progress, four days of not knowing what would happen, my mother eventually agreed to take him off the ventilator, again putting my dad’s survival into God’s hands. I flew my kids out so they could say goodbye to Grandpa and so they’d be there for his funeral. We all said our goodbyes, expecting the worst.
Then a funny thing happened.
His saturation levels dropped dangerously low. Then, at the brink of losing him, my dad turned into a fighter. Slowly his levels increased, and he was now breathing on his own. His levels still weren’t ideal, so they actually put him on the ventilator again to help him get to those levels. I’m obviously no medical expert, so I don’t know if that was a normal practice or not. But he opened his eyes for the first time as well. Now, instead of determining when he might pass, the doctors wanted to see if he could get himself strong enough for surgery.
Last Thursday or Friday (I honestly don’t have any idea what day was what at that time), the doctors deemed him strong enough to go into surgery. He went into the operating room in the early afternoon. After what seemed like days, the surgeon came out and told us he had barely made it through the surgery. I guess they almost lost him a couple of times on the table. So maybe he wasn’t as strong enough as they thought after all. But the point is that he made it through.
Recovery was touch-and-go as well. But he kept fighting. All the time fighting. He’s still in critical condition, but recovering. Very slowly. In the meantime, I had to deal with the new animosity from my sisters and my mother. According to them, because I was the only one who wanted to take him off the ventilator so early on in the process, I apparently selfishly wanted my dad to die. So I’m now the asshole because I tried to be logical. I don’t know if I’ll ever talk to my sisters again, and my mother has been nothing but cold to me since my dad started to recover.
I had to come home because I’m out of vacation days and the kids are supposed to start school this week. I dropped the kids off after an early morning flight this morning. Now I’m at work. I’m exhausted and I’m still overwhelmed by everything that’s gone on. But it could be worse. I could be going what my dad went through.
This rambling post makes little sense as I reread it, and there’s so much more to the story, but then you’d be scrolling your dash for minutes trying to get past this. No matter—I just needed to put some of this out there.
So I took the kids to a same-sex marriage ceremony and reception on Saturday. Thought I’d give a quick recap in bullets:
- The kids were fantastic. They had a ball, and that’s what counted.
- I was grossly overserved. I lost count of the beers I had after eight, and I had at least four Manhattans. The scary part was that I remember everything and that I hardly felt drunk.
- The bullet above has me thinking that I need to stop drinking altogether.
- The best thing about the whole event? The wedding party consisted of four dwarves. I shit you not. Two couples.
So, in summary, a good time was had by all.
- I was almost motherfucking finished with this motherfucking post when motherfucking Tumblr ate it. Now I have to try to recreate it.
- My kids and I will be attending a lesbian wedding this weekend. The ex is also going. She;s worried the kids are going to question why two women are marrying each other. I’ll tell you right now, all the kids care about is what kind of cake there will be, and, in the case of my daughter, if people are going to like her dress/scarf combination. That’s what they’re worried about. The way it should be.
- I had to give out evaluations this week. One ended up taking an hour, with the employee spending 30 minutes of it with her back to me, sobbing into a pile of Kleenex. And it wasn’t that harsh, if you ask me.
- The anxiety still hits me often. I’m getting better at finding methods to try to deal with it and make it pass sooner rather than later.
- Today is a blues type of day on the iPod here at work.
- My daughter is supposed to go to a pool party tonight. With boys. She can’t decide whether to wear a one- or two-piece swimsuit. I can’t handle this. My suggestion? A burka or a nun’s habit.
- My kids have spent most of the summer playing Wii or Minecraft. I need to get them outside. Stat.
- I want BBQ. Any kind of dead animal slathered in sauce.
- I went to active shooter training yesterday. It’s bone-chilling to be reminded that these types of mass shootings are on the rise year after year.
- Someone was nice enough to find me a Diet Coke bottle with my name on it. I drank it. I wasn’t going to, but I couldn’t help it. So I’ve ruined the thoughtfulness of the gift. Now what I’m supposed to do with the empty bottle?
I left work earlier than normal yesterday so I’d be sure to make it to my therapist’s office on time. Turns out, there was a traffic accident on the major road I need to take to get onto the highway. The road was completely cordoned off. Three lanes of traffic had to be diverted onto a side street in a residential neighborhood where there is barely room for one car to drive each way. Amid all the sirens and fire trucks trying to get through the traffic as well, all I could think was, “For all this goddamned trouble, somebody had better well be dead.”
I’m empathetic that way.