I like a little mustard…
…on my sausage muffins…
(Yeah, you know I hate coming up with titles.)
Bet you thought I’d never blog again.
(I was starting to think so, too.)
But I needed an outlet, so this is it.
(I ought to write in my diary, though, too…I can’t tell you if I’ve put anything in there since coming back from Pine Rest.)
Here I am…twenty-six years old and facing the distinct possibility that I will be filing disability before the end of the month. But then I never thought I’d apply for food stamps or be in a mental hospital and here I am…food stamps intermittently for a couple of years now and a week in Pine Rest shortly before Halloween.
I’ve had medical coverage up until this point. Had to borrow money for copays and prescriptions more than a few times over the years (especially last year, being out of work for so long), but otherwise, everything has been okay.
But I’ve finally aged out of the system. The contract that GM/UAW has with Blue Cross states that after a dependent turns 26, their coverage expires at the end of the month (or something like that). UAW offered me COBRA, but they want seven hundred and fifty freaking dollars A MONTH! Isn’t that insane?
I would buy my own insurance, like a big girl…except Macy’s let me go at the end of the year. (I actually worked two weeks longer than I was supposed to.) And I applied for a position selling cosmetics, but I “didn’t have enough sales experience”. (I just checked again last night–there’s nothing open.)
So I applied for Medicaid. At the time I applied, I told the receptionist, “I’m mentally ill. I’ve been in a mental hospital. Do you want me to turn in a copy of my file?” She said no…I’d get a chance to prove my case.
I received a letter about three weeks after I applied, saying that I was denied because I was in the age gap, not disabled, not blind, not pregnant and not taking care of anyone who needed medical care. Plus, they’re “not enrolling right now”.
I called my caseworker and left her a voice mail. A day or two later, I sent her an impassioned email saying that I need my meds, therapy, etc., because I’ll be going back to square one (without the meds, at least) and be back to the misery that started on October 23! I called her again this past Wednesday and she said that the decision wasn’t hers and my only other option–outside of disability–was applying for the Barry-Eaton Health Plan.
So I called the health department and get jack shit on BEHP. I’ll spare you the details, but I seemed to run into a major dysfunction of the phone system. (Only thing I learned was that, as of November, they have limited spots open each month. So my chances of getting in were probably slim there, too.)
I had one more chance (I thought). When I got out of PR, my counselor gave me the name of a group called the Justice in Mental Health Organization and told me they could help me with things that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I called JIMHO after struggling with BEDHD for a while and the woman they transferred me to said that they prefer to stay out of the mess that is Medicaid. If I wanted their help in filing an appeal, that was fine, but otherwise, they’re just there for housing help and that sort of thing.
I was crying by that point. All I want is the continued assurance that I’ll be able to get my medications and survive in this life that I’ve carved out for myself since leaving Pine Rest, but I get balked at every turn. I’m twenty-six. Do you really think I want to file for disability? Do you really think I want to proclaim to the world “I can’t work” (even though I can [as long as I’m taking my medications] and this is actually the only option I have to get continued health coverage)? Even though I keep telling myself, “This is your chance to try to make it as a novelist without having to try to make a living in the meanwhile”¹, it feels like the end of the road for me.
I was all ready to go in and reapply for Medicaid, this time marking the box claiming disability (because that’s what my caseworker said to do). And this time, I was going to go in armed–files from my counselor, a copy of the paperwork Pine Rest sent to her, a copy of the part of my doctor’s file saying she treated me for depression back in June, a copy of the hospital files saying that they treated me in the ER for a panic attack…whatever it took. (Sadly, nothing from my psychiatrist…I’ve seen her “a la carte menu” and it’s something like $300 for her to help you file for disability. And insurance doesn’t cover it.) But my counselor told me that she wanted to discuss it next session, especially since she’s had a lot of experience helping people file for disability. So I wait for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the thing on top of my mind is school.
I’ve been thinking strongly of dropping out, because there’s no sense in training for a career if I won’t be allowed to work.
But it occurred to me that I might want to see the semester through, because with LCC’s new refund system, I might not get all my money back otherwise. And I want my money…I want/need a new laptop, I want to get my car painted (the replacement hood is red and there are places on the front bumper where the paint was stripped off in the accident), I want to go to the eye doctor next month (and may need to get a new prescription for my glasses) and I go back to the dentist in May. (Among other things.)
As I’ve been working on this post, however, I think I might come to a compromise and drop all but one of my classes. There’s no sense in re-certifying in CPR/BLS if I’m not going to become a nurse, I don’t think I’m getting pharmacology and I don’t think my grasp of microbiology is all that great, either. But I wouldn’t mind staying in Human Growth and Development. It’s a psychology class, after all, and I do enjoy my psych classes. (And I just remembered that staying in class will keep the student loan people off my back, as well. Double bonus.)
I don’t know why I’m hesitating to drop my classes. Even if my counselor helps me get healthcare without filing for disability, I’m still leaning away from continuing my nursing studies. I’d love to practice medicine, but once again, I’m facing obstacles–I think I’m going to fail pharma (either via the math portion [which can kill your whole grade] or via theory…or both) and I’m unsteady on my feet with micro. I’m starting to think that medicine is just like going into the military–it’s something my heart wants, but there are far too many obstacles for me to reach my goal. So if I am able to work, I might become a paralegal instead. Yahoo keeps listing it as a high demand field, after all. (I thought about medical billing and coding, but I’d have to take med terms over again, since I failed them at JCC–and that class was hard enough the first time!)
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the gods have planned for me…
¹ I realize you can get your disability taken away if you work too much/earn too much money, but hopefully that will correlate with me making enough money between advances, royalties and everything else that I feel that I can afford healthcare on my own. Believe me…if I find that I can eventually make it as a novelist, I’ll get off disability…I have no intention of cheating the system.