Archive | July 2017

A Turning Point

I have decided to get a lawyer to hold the insurance company vipers accountable. This decision made me weirdly happy the other day. Why would starting a whole new pain in my ass make me happy? I had to think about that one for a while.

It’s because it’s about me. This is what I’ve been waiting for. For years. I’ve been saying, “It sure will be nice when my life is actually about me.” Now it is.

I can’t work until the insurance company starts to reimburse me. That means getting a lawyer is my job for the foreseeable future. I have a purpose.

I noticed that it became easier in my mind to do this when I framed it in a context of fighting for the rights of other caregivers. Part of me is so caretaking that I can’t seem to do this just for my own benefit. Caretaking is truly a perspective and not just a lifestyle. It infiltrates everything. That bugs me. I feel like I need to learn to be more genuinely selfish.

My view is that, right now, my life is 80% Barry, 20% me. When I get a job, maybe it will be 50/50. Gradually, it will be 80/20 in my favor. Eventually, Barry will die and things really will be all about me. Horrible but true.

Things take time. The tricky part is not truly knowing how much time you actually have to do something. We make assumptions because we have to. We cannot function without a certain bedrock of assumptions. What’s hard is to admit is that that is all they are: assumptions. Reality is change and impermanence. Timing is the issue and mystery.

But the shift has occurred. Past tense. And I am happy about it.

 

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Can’t Escape the Urgency

I need to be ready to come out swinging.

First, about Barry. Everyone I talk to is telling me how much more quickly Barry seems to be going downhill. I heard it from Lynn, my friend with a cat. She saw Barry with me at the Biggby’s (a local chain of cafés) a couple weeks ago after not having seen him since probably January. Then there’s Lori from the AA clubhouse, who maybe works there two or three times a year. And then there’s my parents, whom I saw at the family get-together this past week. They could hardly believe how much Barry had gone downhill from last fall (when we actually lived with them for almost a week during plumbing hell) till they got back from Florida in April.

I fight myself on the Barry’s-health issue. I am pretty sure I can see him go downhill a little at a time, but I see him every single day. I am always wondering if I am just imagining things. I need fresh eyes to tell me what they see more objectively.

And I am seeing things now. I am watching the lump on his neck grow. And yesterday, his right ear did not look quite right. First, it looked red, and then slightly blue. I need to observe this more closely. But the goal is never treatment, only pain-relief if it hurts.

I’ve been functioning on the basis that Barry could live another couple of years, spending a final chunk of it in a hospital and/or a nursing home. And now I am not so sure. I also feel like his internal clock is shutting off. For the past few years, he has always awakened at 6am, with his alarm set at 6:45. How he would wake at 5:58 or 5:59 (I would look at my clock when I noticed him get out of bed) was amazing to me. How on earth did he do that? Well, he’s not doing it so much now. The alarm got him out of bed at least once this past week and he’s been getting out of bed later than 6 regularly. So… something is happening.

And then there’s the insurance company vipers. I had a twenty-day elimination period, which ended on May 29th. And they are fighting me on that. They are saying that the Brightstar people had not faxed in the care notes. I do not believe that for one second. So I had them fax them in again. Bottom line: they have yet to reimburse me for one penny of my Brightstar expenses and I cannot continue to afford to pay out-of-pocket forever. I am going to a lawyer for a referral for a “bad faith insurance” attorney.

I cannot work if I cannot get reimbursed for Barry’s care. Period. There is no job I am qualified for right now that will pay me the $20/hour I am paying Brightstar. I’ve gone to great lengths to get qualified to work. What the insurance company has yet to understand is that they messed with the wrong chick. I am not some high-school-dropout, 80-year-old housewife. I am almost 50, with an MBA. Most people are too busy to deal with the insurance company. Not me. I have zero life until they start paying up. I have nothing better to do and all day to do it. I have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain by fighting them. I am not wondering if I should contact an attorney. I have actual physical proof they have lied to me in the past. Legally, I have what is called a “slam dunk.” I have documented my phone calls with them. I know when I called, what they said, etc. I have no reason to believe Brightstar is lying to me.

So, Monday or Tuesday, I will call the insurance company to see if they have received the care notes. If not, they are simply making my case. I am going Tuesday to a lawyer that told me that I should contact him for a referral if the insurance company continued acting in bad faith. I’m not doing this just for me. I am advocating for all caregivers that insurance companies are screwing with. I will be able to show others how to beat these vultures at their own game.

I keep having dreams and intuitions that something significant will happen this fall. I do not know what, but this autumn will be huge. I feel a pressing need to prepare now.

Don’t Waste Your Life

This past Monday, the lady whose house we have the Blessing at told us that this upcoming Monday will be the last time she hosts. At the end of the month, she is moving back to California to be near her daughters and grandchildren. Who can blame her? I know I would do the same in her position.

It affected me more than I thought it would. It felt like one of my few supports was being yanked out from under me. I feel like everything I need is evaporating and changing before my very eyes. Meanwhile, I plod along being a caretaker forever, not experiencing change in the only area that would actually help me. Everything changes except what I most desperately need to be changed.

It just ups the urgency factor. I am determined to use every available moment to prepare for my next job. I will definitely have no excuse for not being prepared, given the sheer amount of free time on my hands. My life is over half over and I feel like I have wasted most of it doing things that “seemed like a good idea at the time.” Talk about famous last words.

I want to tell young girls: Do what you want while you are still young and healthy enough to do it. Will you screw up? Definitely, but the ultimate mistake is to be the good, obedient girl who doesn’t realize that life is passing her by until it is too late. Your fears are simply programming to make sure that you act in other people’s best interest. When I first got into Al-Anon, I heard a great quote. “If your family is crazy and you have their approval, what does that say?” Amen.

One More Step Done

Friday, I finally had my neuro-psych eval. Ugh.

It was hard and tedious. Listen to three words, do some things, and what were those words? The psychiatrist seemed highly expert and clearly wanted to get it over with. He flipped the pictures very quickly. The solo part was a fill-in-the-bubble. I was able to do 338 T/F questions in about ½ hour. Some of it was checking me to see how tin-foil-hat I am. Questions like, “People are following me,” and, “People are reading my mind,” are entertaining. Don’t get me wrong. I believe there are people with psychic abilities who can read minds. I am not one of them and, even if I were, I would seek someone more interesting than myself to read. Someone really might be reading my mind right now and I can’t imagine caring any less about it. Imagine someone with their eyes closed hard, their fingers on their temples, saying, “I see she is thinking about…a cat. A gray one. Definitely a gray cat.”

I think, in general, he was impressed with me. I was there early, paid close attention, and was all business. He seemed particularly pleased with my language comprehension. This may be where being a tad Asperger-y pays off. He referred to the guy from Michigan Rehabilitative Services. I bet he called him as soon as he was done with his part. We finished the part requiring him in a little more than 3 hours, which I think must have been really good (because I was told to give 4-5 hours for the whole thing and I was completely finished after 3:45 time-wise). He seemed happy.

I hope this helps MRS to find something for me. If nothing else, I proved that I am good at test-taking, which, of course, I already knew.

I just want to get on with the next phase of my life.