Friday, June 23, 2017

Not Having Fun

I arrived as usual, fifteen minutes early. I signed in, while the two people at the desk were dealing with patients checking out. I sat down and waited. Must be lunch hour as I was the only other person in the waiting room. I waited.

I checked my phone, perused my surroundings of advertisements for skin care, all the while, the two receptionists chatted about lunch. From what I gathered, lunch had been provided and they carried on about how it tasted, how salty certain items were. I learned one of them couldn't tolerate salty foods and had swollen joints from arthritis and had to be careful. Blah, blah, blah. I was surprised neither had bothered to call me to the desk for check in.

I've been seeing this doctor for 10 years, when I had my first bout with skin cancer. Initially the visits were every 3 month, now twice a year. My doctor works on a tight schedule. I've never been kept waiting. In spite of this, I've never felt rushed while in his office. We talk. I know about his family, and he about mine. We are the same age. He is very caring.

It feels like I've been waiting much longer than usual. I hear whispers. "Did you check her in?"
"No, I think she signed in, though." I hear shuffling of papers. More whispering. I figure they will call me up any moment to ask for my insurance card and ID. The back door opens and I hear my name called.

It doesn't take long before my doctor appears. First thing he does is ask how my family is doing. We chat for a moment and he asks the name of my grandsons and says he will be praying. He then goes to work zapping spots on my skin that look suspicious. Right on time, he finishes. We say good bye and I'm ready to leave with my skin on fire.

At the checkout desk, I'm asked for my $30 co-pay. Nope, I inform the receptionist, I have new insurance and I know full well that my co-pay is considerably more. As I'm retrieving my insurance card, she informs me that there is nothing in my chart about a new insurance. I explain that nobody checked me in. She argues that someone most certainly did and his name is right in my chart. Nope, it never happened. She takes my card, shakes her head, and hands it back.

"We don't accept this insurance. They should have told you when you checked in."

"Nobody checked me in."

"Well, you will have to pay the cash price because we don't accept this."

As it frequently happens, I fight back tears. Can I have one day that I don't cry? Just one? I take a deep breath.  Sounding annoyed, the receptionist says, "I will have to check with your provider. I don't even know what the cash price is. Everyone has insurance. Go sit down while I try to find him."  I take a seat in the waiting area again.

 I struggle to keep from crying. I don't understand why this is so hard. Obamacare, the affordable care act was supposed to provide for everyone. What has this provided for me and my family? Huge, hefty payments every month but not much coverage.

She returns and calls me back to the desk. I swipe at the tears. "Well, he is just going to charge you for an office visit, but not for any of the procedures." Silently I hand her my credit card. "Be thankful you didn't have any biopsies done today, " she snaps, "those would have been very expensive."  I don't know how to respond. She then questions me, "did you know we didn't accept your insurance before you got here?" Seriously? To cover someone else's mistake she's trying to blame me? I am made to feel as if I am taking advantage. As if I came into this office with the intent to get free services knowing full well my insurance was worthless here. I reply, "I had no idea. Nobody checked me in." Her disbelief was obvious. She took my payment and I left.

Once outside, I could not hold back the tears. I was thankful. Thankful for a doctor who knows me, who canceled the charges I couldn't afford. A doctor who cares. Ultimately, the receptionist's mistake most likely saved me a lot of money. It was yet another humiliating experience with my laughable, I mean affordable care insurance. I hope to not have too many more of these.



"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 1 Pet. 5:7

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Laughable, Except It Is Not

After dinner, I took Ethan and ran up to the store to retrieve my meds from the pharmacy. I knew my doctor had sent over 6 or so prescriptions and I didn't need all of them right away. Unsure which ones my insurance (via the afforable care act insurance) would cover, I chose two that I needed right away and figured the rest would have to wait.

At the counter I explained my situations to the pharmacist. I could not afford all of the meds my doctor prescribed yesterday, so could I just get pick up two? After I told him the first of the two, his brow furrowed. Click, click, click on his computer. After a few minutes, he said, "your insurance doesn't cover that one." How is that possible? It is a generic. It's only been generic for a few years. It wasn't that long ago when I had to pay out-of-pocket, until-I-met-my-deductible and spent $1200 for a 3 month supply. This is generic, how expensive could it be?

I told him I'd have to pay the cash price then. How much would that be? Again, after much clicking on his keyboard and re-asking me my birthdate, etc., he replied, "$1400."

Hot tears filled my eyes. I swiped to hold them back. I glanced at Ethan, and I could tell he was concerned. "I don't want that one." I told the pharmacist. Choking back tears, I attempted to tell him the one other medicine I did want, knowing already that I would have to pay the cash price.

Click, click, click, okay, that one was only $200. Wait a minute! I paid out-of-pocket for that one and the pharmacist gave me a discount last month and it was more expensive then. WTH????

Struggling to find the words while wiping away the tears, I told him yes, I did want that one. Well, it wasn't ready, it will be 30 minutes. But he did have 5 other prescriptions ready for me. No, I don't want any others. If  I wanted to spend money I'd have done everything I could for the first one. No, put the others back. I don't want them. I really want and need the one I can't afford.

Ethan is patting me on the back. I feel badly that I have upset him. I try to finish my shopping but can't stop the tears running so freely down my cheeks. I keep thinking someone is going to stop me, to ask me if I am okay. Nobody does. But I see them looking. Ethan tried many times more to reassure me. I try to reassure him. Gramma is okay. She's just sad. Sad and frustrated. But it's okay buddy. Here let's get ice cream. It will be okay.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Life

"God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.

Flood the path with light; run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honor and glory"
Augustine

Friday, June 02, 2017

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. Ecclesiastes 4:9

I could not be who I am
 nor do what I do,
 if it wasn't for my two.
This man means so much to me. 
He is my better half. 
My rock, my stabilizer, 
the man who encourages me, 
loves me, 
supports me, 

and gives his all for not only me, 


but his kids and grandkids. 


I love you Michael! 

Thanks for all you do, 

all you are, 

for giving when you have nothing left to give, 

yet keep on giving. 

You complete me. 

I love you with every part of my being.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Thinking of my mom today, and wishing I was with her. So many memories and so much to be thankful for. Most of all, I want to thank my mom for her unconditional love.

(Mom 2013)
"Love is patient and kind." 


(Me 4 years)
Mom, thank-you for your constant patience and kindness. I don't ever remember a time where you became impatient with me and it resulting in you being unkind. The memory that comes to mind is one from elementary school. I walked home for lunch as we often did. I told you I forgot it was my day to share a science experiment with the class. As a mom myself, I'm afraid I would have been a little more than irritated and not shown much patience or kindness. But I never sensed any of that from you. You took the time to help me think of something I could do. You helped me learn the properties and reactions of talcum powder and water and we experimented with other substances until we came up with an interesting experiment.  

(Me and Mom 1980)
"Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

It would take to long to post memories of all the attributes of unconditional love, but Mom you embody them all and the greatest gift you ever gave me was showing me God's amazing grace and love in everything you did. So thankful to God that He gave me to you.
I love you Mom.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Health

Boring title, I know. Years ago my sister warned me that as we aged, I was not allowed to talk about health problems, aches and pains, etc. Neither of us was allowed, as she said it was a sure sign of being "old." My grandma passed away at 80. She never complained about her numerous ailments. She had a younger sister who did. She told me once (or more than once) that if her sister, Rose, would quit complaining her life would be so much better. "I love my sister, but hearing about her aches and pains constantly is depressing. Makes me want to not spend time with her." Grandma was a wise woman. So is my sister.

Having said that, I'm not about to complain....at least not about my health. What I will tell you is for some time we have not been able to afford health insurance. Imagine that. We finally gave in and applied for the laughable, I mean affordable care act insurance. I don't know how anyone could call it affordable.

One of my prescriptions, I have not been taking regularly as it is too expensive. I was happy to have it refilled now that we have insurance. At the pharmacy, I handed the clerk my new insurance card. After inputing my information into his computer, he apologized. "I'm sorry, Ma'am, but your insurance doesn't cover this medication." He turned to the pharmicist to ask if there was a generic alternative. Turns out there is not. That's unfortunate. I will have to work for 4 days a month to pay for this medication. Guess I will go back to taking as little as possible of it, to stretch it out and hope it works enough.

Sigh.

Guess I shouldn't complain about health issues or health insurance. Thanks Grandma and Carolyn.

Truthfully,
Joanne

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:18

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dropped

Recently a friend inquired whether or not I felt like God had dropped me. She wasn't accusing, insinuating, or even believing this. She merely wanted to know if that is how I felt. Tears filled my eyes, as it so frequently happens these days.

I reassured my friend that I did NOT feel like God had dropped me. Two days prior, a memory popped into my mind. I cried that day too, at least a few times.

Twenty-five years ago, I took my youngest child to church for the first time. She was two weeks old. After service, I picked her up from the nursery, then went to gather the other four from their various classrooms. Somehow, as I was stepping down the concrete steps to the gym, I lost my footing. It's amazing how quickly things go through your mind in a moment of distress. As I tumbled, I wondered if my dress would end up over my head with everyone watching. Not really. I thought of that later. The only thought I had was protecting my newborn baby and not letting go of her. I couldn't catch myself or break my fall. Both arms remained wrapped around this precious child.

I quickly gathered myself and picked the two of us up off the floor. Amazingly,  were both unhurt, except for a bit of my pride. A week or so later, I was praying. I was struggling with feeling unimportant, unloved, and neglected. In His still small voice the Lord asked me, "have you ever dropped one of your little ones?" Instantly I remembered falling down the stairs, and yet, I did not drop my little one. He told me He too would never drop one of His little ones and I was one of His own. He brought to mind a verse in scripture,

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."


A week before my friend asked me if I felt God dropped me, I was at a low point. The Lord graciously dropped this reminder into my heart. I had forgotten about both the incident and His promise. What a blessed reassurance to know that He feels the same loving card towards me as I do about my own. I can trust that He is always looking out for me and will never let me go.

Truthfully,
Joanne






"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."