…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”, it feels like the end of the road for me.1
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.
I wish I could say that this blog is just about my writing. But it’s not.
I tried that once, you know…a blog for my writing and a blog for my personal life. But I got tired of switching back and forth and it often seemed like I hardly posted in the writing blog, so I just cut down to one.
I’m back to the tablet races, as it were.
Originally, I thought I’d never have much money for a tablet…I probably wouldn’t be able to afford one for many years to come; maybe after I set up my midwifery practice or got a sizable book advance. I figured the best I could hope for would be to buy a Nook and jailbreak it so that I could have an economical Android tablet for around $150 less than the cheapest tablet from any other brand.
Now I find out that I might be coming into a little more money than I expected, which means I can probably shell out for an actual tablet. The question is, which one do I choose?
I researched several models earlier this year and decided that, if I had the money, a BlackBerry PlayBook would probably be my best bet. CNet seemed very favorable in its review and I own a Bold, so I could easily bridge from my phone to the tablet. But I re-read CNet’s review this evening and the PlayBook doesn’t seem appealing as it once did.
So my mind automatically turned to the iPad 2. The iPad seems to be the most popular out there (everyone I see with a tablet seems to have one) and having had an iPod Touch 4G last fall, I thought I’d probably like having an iPad. But when I posted a “wonder” to my Facebook wall, my friend Amber said “not an iPad…I don’t recommend it”. She didn’t go into details, so I wrote back and asked why…still waiting for an answer.
If a PlayBook isn’t all that fabulous and iPads aren’t great either (despite seemingly everyone on the planet having one these days), I guess that leaves me with the Galaxy Tab from Samsung. But CNet’s review wasn’t very favorable on the Tab, so I don’t know what to think.
Actually, I do know what to think. Verizon sells all three, so I think I’m going to march my ass down there when the time comes and say, “Which one do you recommend and why?” That’s the best way.
I loathe medical terminology and ask myself every week why I bothered to take it–outside of the fact that it was recommended to me last fall and I needed another class, of course. I can never seem to remember what I’m supposed to remember every week and I hate having a class where you have to spell your answers perfectly or it’s marked down.
A friend on another site asked what the point was in taking such a class, seeing as I was studying alternative medicine. First, I had to correct her on what I was studying. (I already have a degree in alternative medicine, as you might know, and am now working my way into nursing.) Second, while heavy on terms dealing with tests, surgical repair, etc., med terms also deals with illnesses of various parts of the body. So in reality, I probably should’ve had this class as an undergrad–despite the fact that it wasn’t offered by my school.
Nothing wrong with introduction to diagnostic medical imaging, though. The quizzes are short and untimed, the material is fascinating (and mercifully brief) and I have (or shortly will have) an A in that class. How can I complain?
Work, however, is in a holding pattern.
I won’t specify where I work, despite the fact that I’m only holiday help. Never know when I might want to rant…and I wouldn’t want to get into trouble.
Well, it should probably be “where I will work”. See, I got hired after my interview on Thursday, but the business manager (or whatever she is) who is in charge of scheduling orientation and training was gone by the time I walked out at 5:30–despite the fact that I heard her say she wasn’t leaving ’til six.
So I waited patiently all day Friday, thinking that she would call when she came into work the following day. No call.
Monday afternoon, I called and reached “T”, who said that the computers had gone down over the weekend and that her assistant wasn’t able to fill out the necessary requisitions for the holiday help. The holiday associates can’t be oriented until they’re in the system and T had a conference call coming up at three, so she hoped to get it done later that afternoon, that evening, or sometime on Tuesday.
Today is Wednesday. I spoke to “C”, who told me that T would call me Friday and tell me when it was I would be oriented and trained. Friday. More than a week after I was hired.
I hate being in that nasty little spot where you’re not technically unemployed, but you’re sure as hell not drawing a paycheck, either.
Where the hell did my writing abilities go? Did I finally burn out? I mean, I wrote a pretty decent poem the other day, but what the hell happened to my novel? I’ve worked on it maybe once in the last two or three weeks!
This morning, I talked to my new friend Jamie until 1:45, so I was too tired to even think about writing.
Tuesday morning–mercifully–I wrote. Almost the entire front of one piece of paper.
Monday morning? I had a fresh sheet of paper with the chapter header on it and the date that chapter took place up in the corner and nothing. No words, no thoughts…nothing. I can’t tell you the last time I stared at a blank page and nothing came. It just doesn’t happen to me! (I think the only reason I was able to write yesterday morning was because I looked at a…certain set of pictures for inspiration.)
Before that? Two, two and a half weeks since I’d written.
Being sick was a legitimate excuse, but I’m in a lot better shape now. In fact, if it wasn’t for the occasional food stuck in my throat and the fact that I think my stomach would raise holy hell if I tried to stop taking Prilosec, I’d say I was all better. But that’s beside the point.
Did I finally burn out? I suspected it was heading in that direction. It’s like that epic fit I had when my mother criticized me just blew away all my desire to write and that was the end.
So much for becoming a famous novelista…
I know I should be working on my homework…and then my admissions essay for Michigan State University…and then my novel…but doing whatever the hell you feel like is just so much easier. *chuckle*
I’m sure I’m not the only one who can see certain faces on “People You May Know” on Facebook and start thinking about…whatever. So tonight’s topic is my Greek experiences at OC. (I probably covered this in depth last fall, so if you read that, please feel free to skip this.)
Note that the names and identifying symbols of each sorority have been changed. If I think a certain event might make that particular sorority identifiable, I’ll just leave a blank space. I’m sorry if the spaces take the fun out of things, but I don’t want any problems from anyone, either.
There are four sororities at OC: Tau Gamma (“Tau”), Kappa Lambda Pi (which is known by another, non-Greek name that I’ll simply refer to as T), Xi Delta Omicron and another that I can’t remember the name of. (It looks like it was turned into a colony after I left, because I no longer see it listed on the school website. I’ll just call it “Rho”.) There is also a co-ed organization, Beta Mu Zeta (“Beta Z”). In fact, Beta Z was once a national organization, but their charter was revoked when they began admitting men.
I’ll admit straight off that I had no association with the Rho sisters, save for the one or two I had classes with. I thought Rho was for “women of color” and by the time I was disabused of that notion, my heart had already been given to another sorority.
T, I only visited once. Even though one of my coworkers at the library was a T sister (and a friend of mine), I kind of got the impression that the T sisters were a bit snooty. I must have been one of the few that thought so, however, because the night I was there, T had the most sworn sisters present, (possibly) the most visitors and several alumnae. And, after I left OC, I learned that T had gotten the second-most pledges.
I visited Tau a couple of times, but they were a bit wild for my tastes. I was used to the national organizations at Western, with their talk of philanthropies and everything else, so I was surprised on my first visit when the Tau sisters (possibly) spent the whole time playing drinking games. (I use the qualifier because I left after the second game.) The second time, the alcohol wasn’t pressed on anybody, but the Taus invited _____, which shocked the shit out of me. Worse? Finding out that the Taus had had _____ along for the ride for many years. One of my friends at the library had been involved in the Greek system for a long time and when I told her about the _____, she said, “Oh…I was hoping they didn’t do that anymore.” (You knew that I was going to a Tau party, you knew the sisters were fond of having _____ in, but you didn’t warn me ahead of time?! Thanks, J!)
In the end, I gave my heart to Xi Delta Omicron. Something about them caught my eye from the very first. Maybe it was because their mascot is a _____, maybe it’s because their colors are _____ and ______, but I knew that Xi Delta was a sorority I wanted to know more about and whenever they announced a new event, I’d be sure to jump on it.
And I did. I had a lot of fun, too. It’s true that things fell apart in the end, but I cannot deny that the fact that I showed up for all but one Xi Delta event (including the final, pre-bid interview) means that I was committed and I knew that was where I wanted to be. (My mind had definitely pledged Xi Delta by the time homecoming was over…I was describing stuff that I had done with them over the weekend to a Greek-involved gentleman I was friends with and I kept saying “we”!)
The reason I decided to write this entry was to talk about Beta Z…because it was a Beta Z that came up in “People You May Know”.
Everyone I met had nothing bad to say about Beta Z. They were nice. They were fun-loving. They were all-inclusive. (They attracted a boatload of people from my hometown, as I eventually discovered.) They threw great parties. Once again, I seemed to be the only one who had problems.
The Beta Z “family” (for lack of a better word) had us go around to different rooms and each room had a theme. The theme of the third and fourth rooms run together in my mind…but that’s probably because they kind of ran together in real life, too. At some point, the family got started talking about rumors–especially initiation rumors. I won’t go into the rumors (they’re pretty nasty–and probably completely unsubstantiated); nevertheless, I think what bothered me is not that they wouldn’t stop discussing the rumors, but that they wouldn’t assure us that they would never engage in any such thing. It was all “we can’t tell you…wait and see”. Now I don’t know about you, but any group that won’t comfort you by saying, “Oh, we’d never do anything like that…don’t worry!” even if it is a lie, is not a group I want to associate with. Instead, the family members involved in the discussion hid behind their oaths and refused to budge a centimeter. It was like running up against a wall–frustrating and insanely scary all at once.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but I remember getting extremely annoyed with the family–to the point of tears–accusing them of using their dues to buy friends and storming out of the house. I was so upset by what had happened at Beta Z that I swore off sororities forever…or at least up until I received the next invitation from Xi Delta Omicron, anyway.
As a Priestess of the Goddess, I can tell you that my Order, like so many other orders, traditions, clans, etc., has its secrets. And I, like so many other Pagans, am oathbound to keep those secrets. But I will never, ever hide behind my oath. If someone asks me, “Do the Priestesses push Neophytes down the stairs as part of their initiation?” I’m not going to say, “I’m not allowed to tell you. Wait and see.” because the seeker will think, “That probably means yes” and there is no way in hell that they’ll think for a milisecond about joining. But if I say something like, “I can’t answer that specifically, but I can tell you that we’d never do anything to hurt you.” then the seeker will be comforted.
I guess I’m kind of rambling here. I was going to add another part about a certain Beta Z sister, but that might lend to even more trouble.
Let’s just say that Beta Z has a sister that, if people I went to school with could see hir now, they’d think s/he was even crazier than s/he was before.
And I was pissed that when I saw hir at Beta Z, s/he treated me very coolly, as if I was a complete stranger. I almost started a coven with hir, for fuck’s sake…how can s/he treat me like a stranger?!
I bet s/he doesn’t even practice anymore, though. If s/he does? S/he’d probably give me some line about experiencing the duality of the gods better than ever. Because that would be just like hir.
Don’t you hate it when someone thinks they’re being helpful to you and they’re just serving to be confusing or that much more annoying? Sometimes, I read stuff like that and I think, “Why did you even bother replying in the first place? You only made it worse!” Case in point:
I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but on the sixth (or thereabouts), I discovered that, in addition to the paper appeal I filed with LCC, I had to file an online appeal as well. I did so, even though the text boxes weren’t all that amazing and there was no place to attach proof. (It was more of a series of questions than a place to write an essay and it probably made my appeal seem disjointed.) I filled it out, but didn’t think too much about it, thinking that the paper appeal would stand up for itself. (It was a longish, eloquently worded letter with a copy of the transcripts from my bachelor’s degree enclosed. Save for a possible inclusion of notes from my counselor of the time, I thought I had it in the bag.)
I’ve been keeping track of it through the financial aid portion of the registration site, and today I noticed that the message–which had been there since the second–read slightly differently. It still said that I needed to file a digital appeal, but now–before that part–it read that my paper appeal had been denied. So I sent the financial aid office the following:
I filed my appeal by mail a few weeks ago and then I filed a copy online a few days after. I checked the website today and it said that my paper appeal has been denied and I still need to file a digital appeal.
Is it safe to say that–regardless of whether you actually received my digital appeal–I am truly denied? My paper appeal was much more lengthy and eloquent and had the appropriate proof with it…I don’t see how a digital appeal could sway you any.
Pretty straight forward, hm? Did you get my digital appeal and does it matter any, because you’ve already rejected my paper appeal. Plain and simple.
Recently you submitted a GPA/Completion Ratio Appeal to LCC’s Financial Aid Department. At this time your form has been denied, you must submit the GPA/Completion Ratio Appeal online. We received your online Appeal as on August 9th standard processing time for appeals is up to 6 weeks.
Wow. Way to not answer my question, guys. The first two sentences are basically a rehash of what it says on the site. The third says, “We’re too lazy to properly answer your email, but expect your next rejection on September 20.”
So I replied:
If you’re going to deny the paper appeal, then chuck out the digital appeal. You don’t need it anymore. Don’t waste your time.
I know the Mercedes/Toyota comparison wasn’t all that sharp, but I think you know what I was getting at–and I hope they do too. Why reject the tricked out Mercedes (the paper appeal) for the Yaris (the digital appeal), which doesn’t even have what we know as the basic amenities as standard? (That was a comment on the car, not the appeal, by the way.)
Fuck the red tape and just completely reject me already. We both know I’m going to Davenport, anyway.
Had a really bad time of it, earlier this week. I won’t go into detail about what happened (not entirely comfortable about making it public), but let’s just say that I did something I hope I never have to do again. Oh, yes…and I’m not talking to my mother again. (Big surprise </sarcasm>. I shouldn’t have started talking to her again in the first place.)
Well, even though it says on Davenport’s website that their pre-licensure program is competitive, I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s my second bachelor’s degree, I’ve already studied medicine (alternative, not allopathic, but still) and I’m driven to get it done. The best part is, there is work out there for registered nurses. Lots of applicants for each position, I’m told, but isn’t it the same for every job in Michigan these days? In fact, I saw an ad the other day that said Oaklawn Hospital was looking for labor/delivery nurses. Right up my alley…if I was already an RN. (I hear that when they get a position in the maternity ward, nurses don’t want to leave…but it’s something to aspire to, anyway.) Anyway, why not take a chance with me? I’m a good student, I can handle a hybrid program (at least, I hope I could hybridize this program)…*shrugs*
You already know about my post-nursing school plans, so let’s fast forward to my friend saying, “You know, if you go to U of M, I won’t talk to you anymore.”
Really, B? Having been a Michigan State fan all my life, I get the whole rivalry thing…but I don’t get being petty. (I’m sure he was just teasing, but still…)
Look at it in practical terms: Wayne State has no on-campus housing.¹ And the only other option is some private school that probably isn’t even accredited. But if I go to the University of Michigan, I’ll have great professors and the luxury of having a hospital on campus. How better to get hands-on experience as a midwife than to work at the acclaimed² UM hospital?
Oh, and at some point, I want to earn my master herbalist designation. I don’t know how, considering there aren’t really schools for that sort of thing³, but…it’s a goal of mine.
I promised myself that even though I knew I was going to sleep in, I wanted to devote today to Breathless. I feel like bragging that I’m going to finish the manuscript by the end of the year jinxed my progress, because I feel like I’ve hardly gotten anywhere since I said that. So do you think I actually spent thirty to sixty minutes with my novel this afternoon?
Of course not! I spent the afternoon flagging pages in my herb books, instead.
For some reason, I’ve decided I want to write an illustrated (read: stock photo-filled) book about herbs that combine both magickal and medicinal uses. (Entitled The Herbalist’s Guide to Magick and Medicine)
I have no idea why. I’m already fourteen chapters into the first draft of my second novel and I’ve had ideas for the third novel bubbling around in the back of my brain for months. Why on Earth would I want to add a second book to my already full plate? Especially when I keep feeling like I should be a master herbalist before trying to write that sort of book.
To be fair, I’m not actually writing the book yet…I’m just going through the herb books I have and assembling the table of contents, the index and the glossary. (Starting to assemble, on the last two.) At this point, the purpose of assembling the ToC is just to have an alphabetized list of herbs I want to include in the book. When I get to the actual writing (which I hope to force myself to delay until I’m “simmering” Breathless) is when I plan to do my research (whatever is necessary beyond what I can cull from my books), look for stock photos of each of the plants/trees/fruits, etc.
That’s pretty much my life, for now. No interviews lately, but Davenport told me last night that they can get me into work study, so maybe I’ll have a positive cash flow in the next few weeks. (If the pay and hours are like they were at Olivet, it won’t be much money, but it’s better than nothing!)
¹ I realize that by the time I get my act together to enroll in a midwifery program, I might be making enough money in a nursing position that I can afford to share an apartment near Wayne State, but right now, I’m planning based solely on my current circumstances.
² If you’re not from Michigan, let me tell you that whenever someone has a major medical emergency, they’re airlifted to the University of Michigan. Major test? UM. Other major medical-related thing going on? UM. My blood may run Spartan green, but it would be an honor and a privilege to work/study at such a hospital.
³ There are programs out there, but I feel highly suspicious of some of them. One I looked at last night included a coloring book, with which the site said you could improve your knowledge of human anatomy. (Insert Seth Meyers saying: Really?) Another offers an iridology program. I don’t believe in iridology…I think it’s complete hokum. The only good one out there (in my opinion) isn’t even a program…the National University of Natural Medicine (accredited!) offers herbalism electives that you can take as part of your Naturopathy studies. (Oh, for the days when I thought I was going to be a Naturopathic physician!)