Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Linda Fired? No insurance? A New GP meeting and more health risks.

Um, please stay tuned for further developments. Sunday I was very, very, very (throw in as many very’s as you need) ill in the evening Sunday, and was not able to get to bed until 11 a.m. the following day which made Monday morning when I woke up - about 11:30 pm. Suck to be me (short day!).

I have been trying to get a GP, but so has everyone else, and so it is now more like applying for a job where you list a medical history and conditions, apply and if you get contacted in a few weeks, you go for a ‘meet and greet’. I finally got one of these ‘meet and greets’ – the only one so far since the last ‘I’m not YOUR doctor” episode. There was multi-page follow up paperwork which included (I do not jest) “What do you consider your greatest accomplishment” and “What aspect of your life do you wish to improve the most?” I put, "Gain access to health care."

The tragic part is that the GP and I got on very well, including the appreciation (instead of being threatened) by the proactive stance I had taken toward trying to treat my illness and prolong my lifespan. The heart of the Doctor said yes, logic said no. It was their first year in practice, and they had a completely wheelchair friendly office (including ramps and parking spaces), but not enough experience with the specialist in town or contacts with those out of town to be able to assist me, or take responsibility of my life-span.

What made this more difficult is that just before meeting the GP, Linda and I had been informed that due to the budget, the government was reducing jobs and that could include her. So yes, people are going to be laid off, anyone is up for the axe and we won't know until....sometimes soon. The cost of my pain medication alone is near our rent if we don’t have insurance. So this was a major concern. I begged the GP, “Any GP is better than no GP, how about I share practice, or just a provisional time…” It had to be no.

I am a female who, the GP determined, in now incapable of working any hours in a job, is COMPLETELY dependant on Linda (yet still can't qualify for social assistance); and that insurance and income is now threatened. Not only that, that means the death benefits to bury me, and make sure Linda is able to pay back any debts incurred while paying for equipment or other costs would be gone, as I have some death benefits not requiring a doctor’s examination. I doubt any other insurance would take me on, much less pay for the levels that the current insurance is paying. Since I am not sure if there is a system in my body that hasn’t been affected and thus a ‘pre-existing’ condition.

To add to the general joy, the company across the street are hammering, the ‘we will knock down the house on X date” was two months off but the ‘we will build Sept/Oct’ is right on: they are already working doing hammering (yes, the building permit isn’t through yet but for developers things like LAWS don’t apply) and have and are using a earth mover (digging permit not through yet either according to city hall). They knocked down 4 houses and are building 16 in the space of the four houses. One of the houses was supposed to be designated a Heritage house as it was built by a famous architect over 100 years ago. The developer told the city council the house could not be repaired or moved and even if it could, that the ‘green houses’ he was building would be the equivalent in positive value to the city as a heritage house. Gosh, I wish I had thought up things like that when I was a kid: “Mom and Dad, the school night I am spending out at a party will be the collective value of doing my homework and going to bed by the socializing element.” That kinda sounds like BS. The more bad news is that it will be construction for 14 months. And with my health, I simply don’t know if that kind of assault is possible. The company owner who manages 80 apartments promised long ago to let us know of ANY two bedrooms and we would get first priority. That seems to have slipped his mind as well. Loverly.

So I am off to get refills on the prescription medicine that I don’t know if I will be able to afford later on. It is a WEE tense here. Since I had nightmares, limited sleep last night and my heart rate upon waking was both erratic and 120 beats per minute (75 is average of me: 60 should be average for you).

Oh and my veins have withdrawn to the point where getting blood is going to be difficult. Let’s just say that it is very, very hard for me to bruise as my skin doesn’t have any blood IN IT to be broken, or the next quarter inch down. And don’t ask how I know that.

The weather forcast: High levels of fear to terror for the near future, followed by sounds of hammering (thwack, thwack, thwack) for the rest of the day, if not the next 500 days. The reason we didn’t move is that a) there is not a street around here that is not going to have major construction in the next while near it and b) I was much healthier then. We thought I could survive, with sound plugs on the windows, and headphones like they use to guide planes. Except summer is still going and we need the air conditioners in each room. That lets a direct line of sound in. Also I am much, much weaker, and being bedridden with the sound of construction stopping any sleep or rest….

Arg! Too many things out of control. Stay tuned for further developments.


k1 said...

Oh WOW. Loosing health insurance is one big scary thing. I nearly lost a big part of mine last year, it was horrible! I hope that Linda doesn't loose her job (which would be awful even if it didn't mean loosing health care) and that it works out for the best.

cheryl g said...

I am so sorry that the GP you saw didn’t feel able to take you as a patient. It seems like it was a really good fit. It also sucks that the government budget and possible cuts are adding to the stress and uncertainty. Then add insult to injury and have construction. It just all bites.

I am praying for positive news for Linda. Linda and I can continue the GP search and if the construction noise gets too bad you can come stay at my place for respite. I am trying to think of ways to get your blood flow increased but keep you breathing too. I’ll keep you posted on that project…

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I'm so sorry that you & Linda are going through all this. dennis lost his job of over 20 years a few years ago. We were able to keep our insurance through Cobra, but the premiums were very high. it was a very stressful time. fortunately,Dennis got another job with insurance before our money ran out. Then I was diagnosed with CVID & our medical costs went even higher. Just last year Dennis had to change jobs again & although we have insurance our co-pays for my IVIG went from $40 to over $500 (that's every 3 weeks), not to mention all the other meds & doctor appointments.We do have a cap on the total amount we have to pay, but even so, we sink further into debt. I am praying that Linda's job will be safe.

And I hope that you'll find a GP soon!

I've been sick with the flu since Saturday. Yes, I got the dreaded H1N1 virus (aka swine flu). So my strategy in getting an Rx for tammiflu several months ago has saved the day, as I was able to start on the medication right away. It hasn't been fun - yucky symptoms,high fever, pain flare ups, but not as bad as it could have been. I so wish you can find a GP as good as my primary care doctor.

Try to keep the stress from making you worse. I know it's hard when you have such terrible worries. Look at your favorite art - pick out some beautiful pictures for the blog. Read you manga. work on postcards if you can (but don't drive yourself too hard). think of all the good friends you have here, of all the people who love you. Reach out for my hand in the night, when you are feeling alone & in need of a friend.


Anonymous said...

and your still planning on going to Hawaii I'm sure....just ask everyone esle to pay for it...?

Cereus Sphinx said...

I'm so sorry things are going so rough for you.

And you have to do all this to get healthcare???

*hugs* *hugs* *hugs*

postscript: Don't you automatically have health insurance? Now I'm confused how your system works.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Anon: the general policy is that anonymous unsigned comments are not allow until the person asks for a postcard. Have you asked for a postcard yet?

I feel the concern you have for our future, thanks.

K1: yeah, losing the job would be a double whammy. I am hoping for the best too.

Cheryl: We have to try to succeed, it just hurts a lot when it doesn't work out. Yeah, the job thing kind of sucks too - and we are trying to figure a way so my energy goes to extending life instead of being assaulted by noise and vibrations. Hard to have a 'bed day' to jackhammers.

Sharon: Wow, that really, really sucks regarding the IVIG and the insurance. For us, January is the dread month as we have to hit the premiums so full pay then graded pay of I think 20% once we hit the first $1000 or $2000. But without home, or other source of borrowing, it makes it very scary. I worry constantly about not having rent payment and losing the safety of a place to stay.

Oh crud, you got the swine flu! I am so sorry. I was thinking and telling Linda to remind me to email you. Sigh. It is a full time job trying to stay balanced enough to remain just normal ill isn't it?

Thanks, but as long as you reach out for me, okay.

Anon: Thank you for your concern over two individuals in a time of difficulty. Cheers and good day.

Cereus Sphinix: Yes, or at least try to get healthcare, Victoria is not a good example, it is probably easier to get a GP in a smaller town than this city with so many retired people.

Things that are not covered in the medical system like medical specialized equipment or medication is not covered in the medical system of this province - that is what health insurance is for - since I cost several tens of thousands last year in insurance, that is a major worry.

Lene Andersen said...

Oh, crap. Fuck. Bugger. This is awful. So sorry.

See what I don't get is why no doctor will take you as a patient - don't they get paid by appointment? You need a lot of appointments - you're a cash cow, fer fuck's sake! (the word cow being metaphorical)

Wishing positive news for you. And feeling better, too.

e said...

This just isn't right, Beth. It seems almost negligent that no qualified GP will assist you. What do they do with their complex cases????

As for your prescription drugs, the drug manufacturers may provide help via a prescription assistance program. You may want to contact them and find out about that.

I sincerely hope Linda is able to keep her job and that you are able to find a quiet place to be and rest.

A card was sent today before I read of this. Keep me posted. I'll e-mail tomorrow.

yanub said...

Money worries are dreadful. They make everything worse.

It continues to shock me that a doctor would turn away a patient who has no recourse.

Veralidaine said...

Oh god Beth you must be terrified... I am so sorry for the fear and uncertainty you and Linda are going through right now. I am sick right now (physically--I have the hit-by-a-truck flu and strep at the same time) and trying to reply to your email seems to just result in gibberish thanks to Nyquil-brain right now, but I wanted to leave a comment here to let you know I am thinking of you and Linda and hoping for good news as always... I am going to leave this as a short comment before I descend into overmedicated babbling but I sent you some manga, small comfort in this situation but at least something to read.

Elizabeth McClung said...

yanub: yeah, money worries suck big time - we have $6. But we are still together - I put under most successful achievement, "relationship for 16 years." - when the pain is really bad, I think about Linda and you and the other people I know, because what award I won isn't as important as hoping that you, or wishing that Sharon was feeling better. One is just a thing, the other makes me more of a human being.

I told Linda that I will die a human being. That is my wish, to not have the ability or choice taken away.

Veralidaine: I'm concerned about you, thanks for letting me know how you are. Do you want to lean on me, because I want you to. Good times and bad, I am glad to see you.

Gotta go, construction starts in 6 hours.

JaneB said...

Oh lord, how scary! Many hugs, and good wishes and prayers. I do hope SOMETHING starts to work in your favour soon...

rachelcreative said...

That's a lot of stress and anxiety thrown into the mix. Time to start soundproofing the walls as well it seems. Do egg boxes work I wonder. Gah. Hope you catch some good fortune soon Beth.

Anonymous said...

oh, glory. it's less one thing after another, than six things falling over each other to land on you first.

absolutely boggled by a system which allows you to be dumped by one dr. without first finding another who'll take you on.

Baba Yaga said...

sorry. that was me. soggy today!

wendryn said...

This is awful. We didn't have health insurance for six months last year and I worried all the time. I'm going to hope very, very hard that Linda keeps her job.

We're thinking a lot about you and wishing the best.

Gaina said...

((HUGS to you both)). Why don't you qualify for benefits!?

And what's this about health insurance? I thought Canada had an NHS system like the UK?

I hope Linda's job is safe x

FridaWrites said...

Oh, goodness, Elizabeth, I know the fears about losing job and insurance (we couldn't have afforded COBRA if there weren't the new govt. plan that pays 2/3). I know it's impossible not to worry right now, though I'd like to say take it one day at a time while taking extra steps that you can--I wish I knew about Canada's government benefits so I could give you more advice with it. Take breaks and find something you enjoy doing every day and enjoy every minute of it.

I guess it did not register with me that the govt. is still not considering you disabled. I don't understand them. Crap.

I don't have a GP now either--that does make things really difficult sometimes.

I will be thinking of you. My daughter took some of the animal postcards to school for her locker. Nice she can see them many, many times per day. :)

Raccoon said...

I remember being without insurance. That was 12 years ago. Then it took time to get Medicaid/care/Medi-Cal start working. The good thing about that was that the bills didn't start showing up right away.

Of course, those have their own problems. Like, if you have any money over $2000, or received more than $600/month, you have to give it up as co-pay... This in an area where the rent starts at $1200...


But I'm past that now.

So, the big things: no doctor, but you are NDY. The government is handing out pink slips, but you're still in a committed relationship after 16 years. Homelessness is a slim possibility, but you have friends. Have I left anything out?

Neil said...

I'm thinking very positive thoughts for Linda! But if her position is cut, she should be able to bump somewhere, shouldn't she? I'm not a big fan of unions, but hers should be of some help in this case.

And construction on top (so to speak) of it all. Wonderful. Just bloody wonderful.

To those who don't understand the Canadian health care system: yes, medicare pays for basic health care, but prescriptions aren't covered, nor are ambulance services or other "non-basic" health items. It's rather like "free" education, where the schools don't get enough funding and have to charge students fees for things the school can't afford.

I'm sorry, Beth, I'm running out of words today. But I'll be thinking of you.

Love and zen hugs,

Linda McClung said...

Just an update for everyone... I've still got my job. In my ministry of a couple thousand staff, there were about 50 jobs lost - about 7 in my building.

We're breathing a sigh of relief that we can put this behind us for a while.

We can look forward to Hawaii now, knowing I've got a job to go back to.

SharonMV said...

Linda, so glad you've still got your job. thanks for letting us know. Hope you two are able to have a little fun this weekend.


Raccoon said...

Linda, would you know, perchance, if one of those 50 might have been one of your recent supervisors?

All I can think of is "Karma."

Baba Yaga said...

whew. good.

Neil said...

Thank you for the reassuring post, Linda. I was quite worried for the two of you.

Love and zen hugs,

puppybraille said...

Man... When it rainss, it pours! When I read your blog, I always feel like screaming "Dammit, that's enough, make everything go right for them for once, they've had enough rough times)." We are all pulling for you, I promise that my prayers, good thoughts and even energy are with you, even when I'm mired down in my own crap. I send love, friendship and hope for days of sunshine, instead of gail force winds and pouring rain.

As a side note, my computer crashed and I lost your email address, so if you were wondering where I was, that's where. And if you weren't wondering, don't worry about it.