Thursday, December 13, 2012

Archives: Miss Lemon and Baby Rumi, and a big rant

Miss Lemon with baby Rumi, from the archives... Why? To try to smile and feel better. The cuteness!!

I hope Miss Lemon and Lynxie are doing okay and happy.


I'm having an especially pissed-off day. I'm so angry about being born into the only "first-world" country to deny its citizens the basic right to health care. (Of course, being angry about this is nothing new.)

I need to see a specialist (endocrinologist), but none of them will do a sliding fee scale. Even one office visit plus tests plus a follow-up office visit (the bare minimum to try to get diagnosed) is ridiculously expensive, never mind potential treatment! Researching all this today has me especially pissed off.

I'm also angry that I had to be a person with multiple complicated health problems. And to be that person, and to be born in this country, where only money will open the doors to healthcare.

I'm pissed. (Perhaps you gathered that already.)

I recently watched a British documentary in which a guy with a terrible, life-threatening health problem, whose family had been literally taking care of him in every way, physically, financially, etc., for years and years, finally decided to go to a doctor and try to do something about it because, he said, "My family deserves to have me with them." 

This struck me, hard, as so arrogant, and so very alien. 

I pondered why. Eventually, I realized it's because the latter half of my childhood, the message I got was basically: if you must exist, then you shouldn't have any needs; if you can't survive entirely independently, you are weak (and therefore worthless); and this includes health problems, which you shouldn't have anyway, and even if you do, it shouldn't matter.

I read something pithy and accurate recently. It was something like, "To survive a serious mental illness in this country, you need three things: really good finances, really good health insurance, and a really strong support system of family and friends." 

Um...yeah. That is not a description of my life.

I also have always hated the term "mental illness." Even when I heard the term as a child (applied to my mother), it seemed to imply a reduction in a person's intellectual capacity, and so the term never made sense to me and I have always found it misleading, personally humiliating, and unwittingly hurtful. I guess bipolar, schizophrenia, etc., should be called something like "neurotransmitter variations."

I can't afford insurance, and if I did have it, I'd no longer be able to afford the copays on the med that I'm currently getting for free through the manufacturer's indigent program. I can't get need-based disability because although I would qualify for it somewhere civilized like Europe, I don't in the US, and even if I could get it, it wouldn't even pay for rent, and wouldn't let me work much at all. I can't get Social Security-based disability, because I didn't work enough "quarters" total during my lifetime. I can't get some form of welfare because I don't have a kid. I can't get Medicaid because there's an endless waiting list just to be put in a lottery, and it wouldn't cover things like specialists, anyway. My job skills and high education only qualify me for low wages. Why wasn't I born in, I don't know, Sweden maybe?

Yes, I know, intellectually, that things could always be worse. If I'd been born in many parts of the world, I'd be even worse off than I am now. I have my beautiful animolecules who are probably even better than a therapist, I still have a roof over my head and food and enough meds at least for a couple of months, I have some blogger buddies rooting for me out there. Those are big things, I know. 

I am still trying to count my blessings, though it's very hard for me lately. My health is getting worse and it makes the usual bipolar and sleep disorder and migraines ever harder to cope with. I can't find more work than I already have, get no responses from work I apply for, am spending too many fruitless hours online looking for jobs and reading about health insurance and such, can't make myself paint, am pissed at the person who owes me money requiring me to go through exhausting legal processes, and I can almost laugh when I repeatedly read health info online where the first piece of advice for any health problem is: "1) reduce stress in your life".

I hate this season too, how it's so dark outside and all about commercialism, and everywhere you go, you have to hear the same dreaded Christmas carols over the loudspeaker, every TV ad shows a Santa, fake snowflakes, and stockings hung from the fireplace, superimposed with words like "Giant sale!" if joy and jolliness will be the direct result of how much money is spent buying stuff, most of which the recipients don't need and which will go into the landfill sooner or later. And not to offend anyone reading this blog, but I resent the assumption most people have that everyone here is Christian. A few times, I've been out of the country over the Xmas holidays, and it was really refreshing to not have all that thrown in your face multiple times a day.

Oh, and I found out that my former best friend, who abandoned me during my divorce, is friends with my ex. Some people have no shame.

I could rant forever--I'm a little bit pissed off today, ya know?--but, um, yeah, I guess I'll stop with the invective now. Enough vituperation for one day.

I have long wanted to write a memoir about my life and bipolar (for those of you who don't know, I was a writer before I was a painter), but never felt ready. I think I might be becoming ready. Fully formed sentences have been drifting through my head lately... I think I'd better start writing them down.

Anyway, the most important thing is to scroll back up and look at the sweetness and love in those photos. I couldn't live without animolecules. They are the epitome of beauty, faithfulness, consistency, and unconditional love, amongst other incredible qualities. Do it--go back up and look at them, and let all my angry words dissolve in their warmth and fur. I promise it will make you feel better.


ELFI said...

chez nous fait aussi très froid.. les chihuahuas ne sortent plus!

Unknown said...

I get it. So frustrating. I work a 19.5 hour/wk job just to pay for health insurance and don't want to go to the doctor to have additional co-pay of 20% added to my bills. Yep, get rid of stress. Ha!!!

Shelley Smart said...

I am so sorry. :-(

If it's any consolation -- and I know it's not --, I, who am reasonably healthy (controlled high blood pressure) although a bit older (and obviously near a long medically expensive DEATH in their opinion), was just refused health insurance coverage by Kaiser. I do have health insurance with Blue Cross but it was just raised to $830/month after 3 price hikes in a year. WTF?! Gee, are there any insurance companies about to go broke? I don't think so. Options? Continue to pay an outrageous fee or go off insurance until I can get Medicare?? I am looking for other options, of course, but...

Yes, love the animolecules.

Does your former best friend know how Miss Lemon and Lynxie are? She could at least be kind to you and provide that reassurance.

You've been dealt a difficult life. I pray there is a bright spot around a near corner for you.

Shelley Smart said...

Oh, I forgot, yes, WRITE!!! The words are drifting for a reason!! Nowadays, you can e-publish. Put your pain in words. I believe many will benefit.

(I, too, write, well, used to and will again soon!!)

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I'm not offended by the rant because it's true.
Here in Massachusetts, the cuts are always to the underdog programs in Mental Health Care (Yes, that term is so broad as to cover everything from psychopaths to seratonin deficiency) and schools, and other programs to help people who aren't financially flush and have no insurance.
Yet, and this is the bain of my existence, our State government is bloated bureaucracy personified and we are informed daily of miscreants who are on the State payroll working at two 'full time' State positions or some other outrage. Double benefits, double pensions etc.. State hirees who make high salaries, but are not qualified to have those positions. Our latest, and you can read about it online if you Google, Mass Highway Safety Chief Resigns, mind you, she only resigned because there was such an outcry. Initially she was "reassigned" which only means that she was still employed by the State with comfortable compensation. This is business as usual for as far back as I can remember.
Forgive my rant, but seeing Miss Lemon and Rumi does make me smile :D
Get started on the book ;)

Viviane said...

Sorry Jala :-(

I don't even want to talk about our Health care system (or lack thereof)
I do, however, want to encourage you to write. I am not a writer myself, but when I am sufficiently mad at something (or someone) I will start writing down my thoughts. During those times, I go back to hand-writing because I feel more involved in the process that way (just a personal preference I guess).
Writing really makes me feel better (aside from the resulting pain in my Rheumatoid Arthritis-ladden hand). I suspect that you already know the many benefits of writing since you are a writer yourself. I am already looking forward to reading your book. :-)

On a separate note, may I use some of your animolecules pictures as my desktop background please? They make me smile, and they are so relaxing (my way of handling a stressful work environment).

Jane said...

What great pictures, made me smile. You should write, if for nothing else than to free your thoughts and open some space in your heart.

I agree on the religious front. We have an idiot of a congressman (a Morman) who gets offended every time the courts tell religious folk they can do as they like on private property just stop trying to jam religion down everyone's throat in public places. He feels there is a war on religion.

As for meds, have you tried You can search by city or by disease. You may end up in a placebo group, but at least you would have regular medical exams.