Friday, November 6, 2009

Who Comes First? (Part Two)

If you read the last post, you know Wednesday was pretty stressful for me, pushed quite a few of my buttons, and left me numb.

On Thursday, Frank had to check on a job. He couldn't drive himself, so I did the driving for another two hour trip. No big deal. Okay, so we're both a little tired and strained from yesterday, but whatever.... We get to the job site and the contractor was not there, hadn't shown up... So a two hour drive back and a wasted day. Get over it.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing household chores, getting Frank's travel arrangements done for an upcoming trip, trying to relax, and wanting to get a post done on here. But I was too numb mentally to get any cohesive thoughts going. So I was wasting time on the computer when Beth called upset and complaining about her life, saying she couldn't do it, and she should take a bullet to her head. I tried what I always do, talk her down to calm; and I refused to play the game of agreeing with her delusions, which is what she really wanted to rant about. That always pisses her off more. So I was called a liar and one of "them". After 10 minutes of around and around, Beth venting at me, she hung up and I just sat in a stupor.

I'd been feeling a little physically sick since we got home. Now a few hours of colitis kept me from bed until after midnight. My head was telling me to feel sorry for myself; here I am, a basket-case myself, sick to boot, yet I'm still relied upon to be all for all....

'Don't go there... it's what it is... you love them... you'll never stop... If you took better care of yourself, you wouldn't feel this bad.... Why don't you take care of yourself? Why do you make yourself sick everyday? Are you trying to kill yourself? Is "mental illness" really just self-hatred? I have no answers anymore. I'll just be glad when it's over'

Friday morning (today) I woke determined to get to some paperwork, questions, and issues with Frank's health insurance. We're anticipating mountains of bills, of course, and there's the issue of ongoing visits and medications now...

We were already anticipating the $3,000 deductible that went with the plan we chose. We were not anticipating that none of the Doctors or the hospitals (including Dartmouth?!) were "in the network" of his insurance company. What does that mean? It means that the deductible is doubled for any services "out of the network". It means that "out of network" costs are not 100% paid after the deductible, only 70% paid. It means that rather than being responsible for $3,000 for this year/this hospitalization, we will be responsible for $10,000! (which is the maximum - thank the good Lord).

It means that we're in the same boat as a lot of other Americans... though the country, the media, the insurance companies, society in general pushes "health" as being the utmost of importance, they have no qualms at stripping your mental health with worry over how you're going to live while stripping your pocketbook for the rest of your "life". They have no concern for the quality of your life that they're working so hard to preserve and prolong for you.

I won't go into the time I spent on the internet trying to access the insurance company's website to do a simple change of address... evidently their "secure site" is so secure you just can't get the pages to move at all... how I couldn't even begin to use their website without first agreeing to their "terms of service" (Did I just leave myself no recourse for any upcoming problems? Probably. Did I have any choice? No.)

I had already been through one phone call (where they informed me of the $10,000 deductible - but the good news is: we've met it - didn't say we've paid it)... and how I hung up from shock without having done the address change. And so how I had to call them again to do the address change... and how they asked me 'how my day was'... and how I told them not to ask.

By now it was 12:30, I hadn't gotten dressed yet, I was trying to do laundry, I hadn't eaten... and Beth called.... 'Would we buy her cigarettes, and bring them over, as she wasn't feeling well enough to go out'.

So when Frank started in on 'Didn't we just buy her cigarettes? When was that?'.... I couldn't come up with the answer. My mind was soup! And when he pressed the issue.... I got angry and started my own rant. As I said in the last post - I went 'off the wall'. In angry words I told him that I understood that a marriage meant relying on each other... I certainly rely on him for a lot... I understood that being a mother means always being there for your child, regardless of their age, and certainly when they are disabled... But is it really necessary that I answer every little question of our life, including remembering events that he took part in?

And he said he never knows what kind of answer he's going to get when he asks me a question, whether I'll be my sweet, helpful self or whether I'll be the "screaming mi mi".

I guess it depends upon my stress level... And I guess I'm a little more susceptible to that now... because I'm "disabled" with mental illness - I can't "cope". I should take better care of myself.

Who comes first? Certainly not me... Though self-help, counselors and other mental health theories will now tell you... 'you should come first; take care of yourself, so you can take care of others'.... ya right....

Who comes first? Well, I've decided not the insurance companies or the medical bill collectors. Not this time.... not anymore...

All our life we have strived to be responsible, to pay our bills, always, before we even paid ourselves or met our own needs. I worked for more than twenty years, through the depression and a nervous breakdown. Frank worked construction and got laid off every winter, just as we were getting our bills caught up. We had a few times where we had a little, and felt like we were living the average, expected life of an average American.

And we've lost it all a couple of times. Sometimes that felt like we'd had it taken from us. Someone else always had their hand out first, and we did the responsible thing and paid them. Now we have nothing.... Frank's paycheck and my disability check and a daughter with Schizophrenia, with no one other than us that cares about her.

Who comes first? When it comes to what is left of our life and our money, We do. If that means my character has changed over the years, so be it. I'll answer to the immoral and greedy corporate world in court if it becomes necessary.

I'll answer to God when that time comes.


PJ said...

oh pam, you sure are having to deal with a lot of shit, i'm so sorry. the insurance industry is messed up, that's for sure, and it sucks so bad that we are having to suffer because of it. i also put that on the back burner, as i need to make sure i have money to live on. i hate the system!

i think this is a great outlet for you to share your feelings and your insight. you are a very strong, intelligent woman who continues on in very trying circumstances. for that you should be proud of yourself. seriously!

much love to you my friend...hugz!

Pam said...

Thanks Sweetie
I love ya :)