Over the River and Through the Woods

I survived Irene intact – thank ye lares and penates I had the two roofs done *last* month, eh? A lot of the area around me sustained pretty hard damage though, including the loss of some of our covered bridges and flood damage to the  small farms in the Intervale, which I find heart rending.

I am also starting to emerge from the chemo woods… this last time hit me hard. The body just gets tired, and recovering takes longer. My mouth still feels strangely burnt, my nails are extremely sensitive to pressure, my legs tired – but I’m eating again, and I don’t need to rest while making my bed.

The process wasn’t helped by coming home from the follow-up Neulasta shot and finding out that my insurance was being cancelled, as I was no longer income qualified. To put it mildly, dear readers, I frooped the fuck out.

First, I was convinced I *was* still income qualified (which I might well be, or may not – ‘income’ is qualified differently than on one’s taxes, where my adjusted gross income is $1,683*. In order to sort it down to the fine details needed for an appeal, I’d need to do a month by month accounting of income/expenses for my rental unit, which I haven’t been up for yet) and that this was some horrible bureaucratic mistake that wouldn’t get sorted out in time…. and what would I do then?

The day after the day after chemo (formerly known as Wednesday) I spent literally hours on hold with really irritating skull piercing music to find out that according to their reality, I’m actually not “poor”; I’m a food chilling motherfucker.


Second, I had the usual visions of being bankrupt due to medical bills, and having to make the hard choices once again – things like cashing in my IRA, or taking out home equity loans, or borrowing money from parents (and if I did that, then I couldn’t allow myself luxuries again forever – no trip to Scotland, no tickets to Sedaris, no good coffee, no nuttin’. My rule being that unless I can cover basics by myself, luxuries aren’t allowed). Or perhaps I could just strip myself of all assets to pay for medical treatment, and where would that leave me?

Third, I stopped utterly panicking and figured it out. It looks as though I’ll be able to transition relatively painlessly to the next level, whereby my premiums will double, I’ll have a $1,050 out of pocket expense (first week of radiation should cover that) and I *am* covered under my current plan until the end of September (I had two notices, one of which was cutting me off as of August 31st, which would have been hell).

And then I went back to recovering from chemotherapy.

National Health Insurance, folks. This is what it’s about – so that people facing life threatening illnesses don’t have to have these panic moments. Don’t have to look at bankruptcy as an option in order to receive health care.

I’m keenly aware that I was lucky, there is a solution to my reality and that for many people, there isn’t… they would have to face bankruptcy in my position in order to pay for basic medical care.

And now I’m having my house repaired at long last, and I’m almost human again, and I’m still going to Scotland, dammit.

* that’s my annual adjusted gross income, btw. I’m not proud.

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