Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Spooky Tales: That Time When I Didn't Have Insurance

A little over a month ago, I quit a job that I'd had for the last seven seven years.  And in the process, I gave up the insurance plan that I'd have for about that same amount of time. 

I had officially transferred into the the bleak and horrifying world of the...


Image from Scoopnext via Huffington Post

I also like to refer to this as, using a Stranger Things reference, "the upside down," because being without insurance in America does seem kind of like a a topsy turvy thing.  But alas, freedom isn't free in America. And neither is health care.  Once I stopped paying for my insurance with soft labor, sitting at a desk calling people and typing away, I was left with these options:
--await my COBRA paperwork;
--sign up for Ben's insurance plan;
--sign up for my new workplace's [slightly inferior?] health insurance plan; or,
--take my chances in the health insurance marketplace, and search for new plan to cover me and all my inadequacies.

I've only been without insurance one other time.  This was when I first graduated college and before the Affordable Care Act, which I also lovingly call, Obamacare.  Those were scary, desperate times for my kind--my kind being "people with preexisting conditions."  

Image from Indiewire

Some people like to rag on Obamacare. I try not to think about those people being cruel, privileged, never-had-a-problem-in-their-life, spoiled selfish D-bags.  I'm happy that Obamacare made it illegal for insurance companies to do what they did to me back in 2009, which was send me a couple of friendly notices letting me know I was just too damn unlucky in life/sick to qualify for their individual health insurance plans. 

So at that time I turned to COBRA, which graciously allowed me to pay about $800 every couple of months to stay on my parents' health care plan.  Did I mention that I'd just graduated from college?

Fast forward about 10 years and I found myself in a similar situation in September.  My insurance coverage for my new job wasn't set to start until 30 days after the beginning of my employment.  My coverage at my last company ended on my final day of employment and the paperwork to continue my benefits wasn't set to arrive at my house for another 10 days after I quit my job.  This meant that I was confronted with the dreaded....nightmarish...


Image from Her Campus

To be continued...

**In the context of this blog post, uninsured means I was not paying for insurance coverage, coverage under my old plan had ended, I had not yet signed up for continuation of benefits and therefore had no proof of coverage under any plan.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Just Us for For Now

"Is there a word for adults when they aren't parents?"
Steppa laughs.  "Folks with other things to do?"
"Like what things?"
"Jobs, I guess.  Friends. Trips.  Hobbies."
--from "Room"

Today, I confessed an embarrassing concern I'd had to a friend.  

After my miscarriage, I'd worried that Ben and I would grow bored with each other if, down the line, it ended up being just the two of us...forever. I told her I know that's ridiculous but almost a year ago (can you believe it) I had a thought one day-- that if Ben and I didn't have children, we'd have nothing to talk about from that point on.  I think I was concerned about this because having kids was just the next step in our plan, and we'd spent so long talking about it that it seemed unlikely that we'd ever find anything worthwhile to do, or talk about, again.

Many people, mostly parents actually, have assured me that this is an INSANE worry to have.  

We just came back from a ten-day long vacation, just the two of us, no friends and no family. On this trip it became very apparent to me that after 11 years together, we still haven't run out of things to do together or talk about.  

I told Ben that I think one of the reasons our relationship works is the fact that we continue doing fun things together.  And not just the same fun things we did when we were 18, like ordering from the Dollar Menu twice a day and watching National Treasure on repeat in his parents' living room.  However, I would still watch the s&*t out of that movie...with a small fry on in hand.  Just kidding. I lied.  I'd have a large fry.  

Naturally, as we get older and see more of the world, meet new people, we'll find new fun things to do together.  Every day I think of something we could explore or learn more about, either the next day or the near future.  Then I wonder, how could I have ever been so stupid to worry that Ben and I would run out of things to do or say to each other absent a screaming toddler.

The other night, the day after vacation we started prepping for our returns to work. My outlook turned toward the weekend, already.  

"So, what do you think we'll do over the weekend?" I asked Ben, hoping he'd help me strategically plan out our first free days post-vacay. 

Ben's response:  "I guess whatever we want." I silently nodded in agreement and thought, he's right. We can do whatever we want, just the two of us, forever, if we want.

Here are a few pictures of our very recent trip to L.A., and Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

At the Getty Garden.

Malibu Barbie.  aka, me at El Dorado State Beach

A reunion with friends at Griffith Observatory.

General Sherman, the largest tree by volume in the world.

The view from Moro Rock in Sequoia.

The View from Glacier Point at Yosemite.

Ben is a speck here at Taft  Point.

Sentinel Dome

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Five Years Max

I think it's time for a little kidney update. So, here goes.

My transplant nephrologist recently told me that I'm probably only going to have my dad's kidney for another two years.  That would put its transplant life at just five years.

Trust me. I know that's not a long time.  We all hear and read stories of people having their kidney transplants for 10, 20, even 30 years.  Well, this is the story of the girl who only had her transplant for five years.  

I really wished, hoped, and at one time I prayed, that I would get to be in the first group, regaling others with the success story of my kidney transplant. But five years is not a success story.  It's more like a failure. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Homeowning: The Pros & Cons

Last Spring we asked my friend to help us find a house.  Three months, a few screaming matches, and four rejected offers later we found our humble abode.  It was a little further away from our ideal location. But it cost less, has more space, and has better renovations than some of the other places we considered. It also doesn't hurt that we live ten minutes away from my favorite store.  Wegmans. Yes.  My favorite store is a grocery store because I am hungry...all the time.

Around July 22, Ben and I celebrated the one-year anniversary of us closing on our first home.  Around this time last year, we sat in a room for about two hours signing our names over and over again, sometimes reading the fine print, and then I handed over a check with what seemed like a billion zeros written down for our down payment. 

Now that we've had a mortgage for a year, I've decided that home owning is...a nice idea.  But it's not the BEST idea.  Here are my pros and cons, with a few of Ben's mixed in.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When I Talk About My Miscarriage

A list of some things that happened when I've talked about my miscarriage:

A female relative sends a message to me about her miscarriage.

Another female relative sends a message about her miscarriage.

Another female relative sends me a message about her miscarriage.

A colleague tells me about her miscarriages.  

A colleague tells me about his friend's stillbirth.

An aunt tells me about her miscarriage.  

Another aunt tells me about her miscarriage, but also her stillbirth.

A colleague and his wife take me to lunch to share the story of their son's stillbirth.

A friend tells me about her relative who had a miscarriage.

My nurse at my kidney doctor's office cries with me while telling me about her miscarriage.

The same colleague and his wife share with me everything they went through following their son's death.  

My kidney doctor tells me about his and his wife's miscarriage. 

The neighbor with whom I started walking to the commuter train in the morning tells me that he and his wife suffered miscarriage.  

A colleague tells me about her miscarriage.

The security guard at my office tells me about her miscarriage.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Posts from the Archives: Part 2

I really liked revisiting my posts from a few years ago in May.  So I'm doing it again in July. SO SO fascinating to see where my head was at and what things I was interested in a year ago and even earlier.  

Apparently, I didn't write a blog post in July last year.  This was probably because I was still trying to keep my pregnancy a secret. You know, the "first trimester way."  So, instead you get to revisit...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mid-Year Review: Is 2016 One of My Best?

This doesn't really need to be said again BUT... 2015 was s*&t.  I guess I just don't want you to forget that fact.  I don't want to forget it.  Yet, if I'm being honest, sometimes I do.  

I started this year with one goal: find more ways to enjoy my life.  This is unoriginal.  Spend five seconds on Pinterest and you'll find enough "Live Laugh Love" images that you'll want to rebel against the notion.  "I REFUSE TO LIVE, LAUGH OR LOVE!" you'll shout.  The more this idea gets thrown in our faces, the less genuine and urgent it feels.

I chose this broad goal because I felt like I spent too much of 2015 doing the opposite of enjoying my life.  I'm a recovering control freak and psycho planner.  And when Ben and I agreed  to "plan for" our baby, I relapsed into my old ways of trying to control the process and the outcome of every single situation.  And everyone knows that when you try to control everything, you enjoy NOTHING.