Monday, September 17, 2007

My Republican Rant of the Day (well, Month, more likely!)

Okay, so this is actually a continuation of a rant I've been having for a few weeks now...but the first time I started on it, hubby called it my "Republican Rant of the Day" so that's how I think of it now (even though, incidentally I am not in any way affiliated with the Republican or any other political party.)

So, we recently found out that hubby's new co-worker is pregnant. Which I think is great! Babies are wonderful! It would probably be better for her, her daughter (incidentally named Charlie) and her baby if she and the kid's dad were married rather than just living together...but whatever...I'm still happy about the baby.

So, I was talking with hubby about the health insurance from his work (which is AWESOME, at least the plan that we have, in regards to maternity care) and he ended up talking a little bit with this co-worker about it, and telling her how happy we were with it, and the fact that we didn't have to pay a penny for Charlotte's delivery or my prenatal care compared to our old insurance with Eva where we paid out of pocket about $8000 the year she was born.

So, hubby was expecting a happy reaction, or at least relief that this pregnancy wouldn't be too difficult for her financially, etc. What I don't think either one of us expected was confusion that you'd have to PAY for medical care with insurance!

You see, with her first kid, she was on medicaid and didn't have to pay for anything, either. (Now, don't take this the wrong way...she is a lovely women and I like her very much...I also understand how in SOME cases medicaid is a very good system) She worked a retail job, and because she wasn't married to the baby's father she qualified for medicaid (she may have qualified if they were married, but if they were married he might feel as though he needed to be responsible for his family)

So, in the end, who really got to pay for all of her medical care...people like us! The year we had Eva we made about $24,000 gross. We paid out about $8,000 in medical bills...forget that 7.5% threshold the IRS requires to deduct medical expenses...about 1/3 of our GROSS income went to medical bills...

I don't even want to think how much more went to social welfare programs like Social Security and Medicare...

It just ticks me off to think that essentially the government is REWARDING stupid behavior!

Now, I would like to say that both hubby and I are happy that is coworker had enough ambition to get a better paying job with benefits...because all the hoops to jump through to apply for the job are pretty extreme...but I just get frustrated when I think of all of the people in similar situations to her that don't work as hard to become self-sufficient someday...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Well, something pretty cool happened today. I'm a little bit of a loner, so I often deal with stuff on my own as well...

At Mass on Sunday, we had a ministry fair of sorts (donuts were provided...apparently not nearly enough of them, but we're still adjusting to this 8am Mass thing...) where we all were supposed to go down in the basement and fill out our time and talent forms for the upcoming year. I was chatting a little bit with a couple of the ladies from my bible study. They asked how Eva's destination birthday party went, and so I told them that it didn't go that well and the whole hospital saga, then I told them about my grandma, and about going up to sit with my mom at chemo the coming Friday (tomorrow). They told me that I was in their prayers, etc. which I appreciated a lot. It felt pretty good to get some of that off my chest.

So, last night I got home and noticed an e-mail that I wasn't supposed to read. The two ladies had sent out a call to make me and my mom a care package of sorts for at the hospital. So, tonight a bible study, a bunch of them brought a few things...some sympathy/thinking of you cards, a book, some magazines, an angel figurine, a few snacks and a little baggie of quarters for vending machines at the hospital.

I was so touched by these little things. It means so much to know that other people are there for you. I guess I should know by now that in a small town, when someone says "Let me know if there is anything I can do for you" they mean it (growing up, it was more of an empty phrase that people really didn't mean...)

Anyhow, that made me smile and cry a little bit, and made me grateful for friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sometimes I just don't have the energy to whine about my life...

...and maybe that is a good thing!

It's been about three months since I got that phone call from my dad about my mom's cancer. Now, I've never been the biggest fan of doctors (not saying that they are bad people, or anything...I just don't really like medicine, etc.) but this really hasn't improved my view much.

So, my mom has Kaiser Permanente insurance...when this whole thing started, she ended up really sick and jaundiced. She was sent in for CT scans, MRIs, etc. She was first sent to a surgeon who told her that she had inoperable pancreatic cancer. Not a fun thing to hear...not to mention complete lack of bedside manner, and an assumption that his guess was indeed, fact.

When she was sent on to an oncologist for testing, it turned out that she has lymphoma (not sure which type...there's a reason I didn't go into nursing or anything like that!). They have competely ruled out pancreatic cancer, and her most recent CT scan did not show any tumours. So, Friday is her 5th round of chemo, and she will have one more round, but then most likely will be done.

I was supposed to go up and sit with her during her chemo, but naturally my snotty little girls gave me a cold! Obviously, it would be better for me NOT to enter into the chemo room with any sort of illness, so instead I am going to stay home and feel a little guilty about my mom having to be there all alone.

I have to admit, this has been a very trying couple of months for me...but I know that it has been so much worse for my dad. I am hoping that all of what has been happening is God's plan for my dad's salvation...

So, the whole cancer thing happens...
Good news (my aunt, uncle, hubby and I all think this first one might have been a miracle) lymphoma with a 50% survival rate (or so) instead of the less than 5% survival rate for pancreatic cancer.

My mom went back to teaching, and has ended up in the ER three times now (she still doesn't want to take time off because she is afraid that she will need sick leave later...never mind that she has been paying into a sick leave bank for 25 years...never mind that she definately has reason to used said sick leave bank if she needed to...)

Most recent ER visit was over labor day weekend. Hubby and I and the girls were going up to the mountains with his extended family (to the same town where my parents spend weekends and summers) and my mom had planned this grand 3rd birthday bash at their house. My mom ends up in the ER neutropenic (not sure if I spelled that right or not! but basically having no immune system) and needed antibiotics and a blood transfusion. It turns out that she had e. coli from the stent in her liver, and she had to stay in through Tuesday so that they could put a cathader into her because all her veins were going bad from all the chemo and the IVs from hospital stays.

My dad threw the bash by himself, took lots of pictures, and my mom was well enough after the party for us to bring the girls down to see her.

So, my mom took a week off from school after that. Last Friday, I got a call from my mom saying that my grandma (dad's mom) who was in the hospital with a broken hip had a lot of problems during a hip replacement and was bleeding internally and not likely to make it through the night. She passed away that night.

See what I mean about my poor dad?

Anyhow, that's just a short update on how things have been around here in the past few months. I'm going to try to get back in the habit of blogging (though perhaps with less whining involved!)