Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Down, But Not Out... Yet

It's been a insane since tossing out the old year and ringing in the new year. My personal net worth, for the first time in twenty plus years is single digits and change. I honestly don't remember  when the last time my bills were over due or threatened with being shut off, but I'm facing it now. To make it even worse, all my friends are in the same boat! Times are hard everywhere.

Remember I told you my husband's electric wheelchair broke in January? I still don't know where the money is going to come from to pay for the repairs. To top it all off, I've been calling the company that has it and I can't get through to anyone.

 Meanwhile, I've been pushing him through the house in a manual wheelchair. Well being one with one working hand it's more like a hand and belly push. Turning is a trip into la-la land...another downward spiral on the roller coaster I can't get off of.

Here we go into a corkscrew loop-de-loop. When my husband was put on hospice care back in October we used a different oxygen supplier than they used. When we asked them about it, they said no problem with keeping our regular supplier. We've used the same company for almost ten years now. Every January (this year in Feb), I settle the year end account with the supplier. It rarely goes over $100 for the whole year. This year was the same. I told the owner of the company, a friend of 30 years, that we've been getting error messages on our explanation of benefits for both Medicare and our BCBS about the oxygen charges. He checked with his bookkeeper again. I'm starting to get an a sense foreboding when I see his eyes as he exits her office. Medicare has the oxygen charges under review and he hasn't been paid since October.

Dollar signs are clicking before my eyes. I haven't been able to add all but single digits since my stroke without a calculator, but at $600 a month for a quarter of the year? It doesn't take an Einstein to calculate that's a whopping sum! He said not to panic because he could see it in my eyes. He told me that Medicare takes six months to a year to pay their part.

No wonder all the private practice doctors are now getting under the hospital's umbrella. One doctor told me, before he succumbed to the hospital, he had to take out a personal loan just to make his payroll on time. That's not right or fair. It's a horrible way to run a business.

I called hospice immediately when I arrived home. The nurse said she'd check into it. A week later and we are running low on bottled O2. I called again and found out that I'd have to switch to their oxygen supplier because Medicare and my insurance weren't going to pay my supplier. I would have to foot the bill since October. They should have told us that back IN OCTOBER!

Later that day, the hospice's contracted oxygen supplier came and brought half of the wrong stuff and their office is 45 minutes away. Grrrrrr!

My husband isn't a happy camper and neither am I. No conserving regulator which meant the large "E" size oxygen tanks, that you have to have a cart to move, would last three hours instead of six to eight hours. Forget about the little cylinders he can carry, an hour tops. My hubby isn't bed bound yet and we are trying to keep it that way for as long as possible. He still likes to get up out of bed and surf the net. I tend to encourage this.

The guy told me he wished they had told him. It would be two days before he could get me what my hubby needed. I did a semi-quick calculation of time to figure out hour many big "E" cylinders I would need for him. I figured three but told him five in case the power went out a couple times. I'm not taking any chances with my husband. Murphy's Law and all that. Being a Murphy, it always hits us. A simple phone call to me before he left the next town would have prepared him better for our needs. Grrrr! again and add a razzle frazzle too!

Of course all this came about after I laid out big bucks for my Botox injections. The rear latch on my van broke and I can't afford to fix it. That means all my groceries have to be wedged in the passenger and middle cub seats of my van. Have you ever tried putting one of those 24- packs of bottled water or getting it out like that? I did it today. I pulled it out and carried it up the ramp to my front door.

My case of water didn't have a nice cardboard box under it.
Well, I almost made it. Halfway up the ramp the plastic sleeve holding all those bottles in a tight package ripped. Ten minutes later, I'm putting the last bottle where it belongs inside the house and then bringing the rest of the groceries in. During all this, I hear my husband call from the office asking if I needed help. He doesn't have the strength to maneuver the wheelchair by himself. I yell, "No" at him, but then realized he couldn't hear me so I walked into the office and reassured him that everything was okay. I turn to retrieve the 24 bottles of water that have rolled down the ramp, under my car, and in the yard. Meanwhile I'm saying some unpastorly words under my breath about how the plastic barely opened at knife point but rips too easy going up a five-foot ramp.

After my nice hospice volunteer tried to hook up my washing machine, I found out the drain line was still clogged. This was after paying the plumber $600 to fix it. Well that's not all he fixed but it was a part of it. Needless to say, I'm put out. There isn't a window within twenty-five feet to put the drain hose outside. I guess it's back to the manual clothes washer for me. Sigh! After doing a couple loads I'll be exhausted but whoa, what a muscle builder and think of the money I'll save in electricity. What am I talking about. That section of the house is solar powered. Ratz!

My youngest daughter leaves with her beloved on the 20th for way out yonder. She has been helping me a lot being the only child who lived in town. She's been tending to a sick little boy. My grandson had the flu. Instead of getting better, he got worse. After a series of blood cultures, he has a staph infection in his lungs! No, not the MRSA type, thank goodness, but after a week of heavy duty antibiotics he's on the mend. We can't see them for another two weeks because my husband's immune system is compromised. Only a few precious hours left to spend with them before they are gone for six months to a year.

On the climbing higher side of the roller coaster, my hubby is still with me and the Botox worked in my arm. My arm can now fully extend again. Not the wrist and fingers but I'm counting my blessings. I can now sleep in four to six hour stints without pain because the muscle relaxers are working better. Yeah!

My hubby continues with 0-3 pain levels. Now, if I can get him to eat. He eats about half a cup of any food I put in front of him, but at least he's still interested and eating food. His heart and lungs still are problematic. His breathing is ragged with more fluid build up and his damaged heart keeps pumping although his feet and are constantly swollen, bluish black because of the poor circulation.  He's just been recertified for another six months of hospice care. His spirits are good. He's still planning his wake like a good Irishman should have and is now talking about being present for it.

There's probably fifty million details I've left out but I hit the high or low points. I remain prayerfully watchful. Like I said in the beginning, INSANE!


  1. JL, I'm sorry. That's really terrible the insurance company didn't warn you they would be dropping coverage for that supplier.
    I hope you get to see your grandson before your daughter leaves.

  2. {{{{hugs}}} You need them. I wish I lived closer, Jo. I really do.

  3. this sounds like a whirlwind of things that just keep coming... i have been off my game, you sound like you are a trooper. you are a strong person, i am may i give a little if it would help... i know what it can be like... please drop me an email if you have a place.

    be strong, be well...


  4. Talk about Murphy's Law.

    Still praying for you. Love.

  5. Hi Jo - life is so tough for you - but you know that. My thoughts and heart reach out across the Ocean ...

    All the very best and let's hope some shining stars come through for you .. I'm glad your grandson is getting better though ..Hilary


I love to hear from you! Agree, Disagree, Indifferent...no matter. Even if it's to say you were here.