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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tales of Woe, Ranting and.....Joy

Oh for the love of Pete!! Its been one of those days where I'd like to crawl up in a ball under an electric blanket and not come out for a while. Allow me the luxury of dumping my tales of woe upon you so that we may laugh together. Okay, maybe you can have a good laugh ;-)
At 3:30 am I awakened to bring Super Catman to his Orthodontist appointment. At approximately 3:30 am I had a headache, muscle aches and a fever. I drug myself out of bed. This appointment has been greatly anticipated and I wasn't going to miss it.
At 5 am, I emailed 2 nurse recruiters telling them that I regretfully could not take the jobs in Hawaii they were offering to submit me for - due to my husband not feeling good about them. He said "Honey, all we could do is live". He was right. Even though it was the Island I wanted, the 3-12 hour shifts I wanted, and the remoteness I loved, it would be hard to make it on those wages for a family of 7. Most travel nurses don't entertain such a hearty entourage.
Glumly, at 5:30 am, I headed down the fresh, snowy driveway to the truck parked below. At 5:40 I headed back up to unsuccessfully look for my cell phone. At 6 am I was praying fervently because the drive in fresh wet snow seemed terrifying to me.
After 5 hours of driving, we arrived in the big city, safely. The only stops we made were for gas and to enjoy a herd of bighorn sheep licking salt off the highway. Six of us were packed into the Toyota Tundra along with misc personal belongings. Feeling achy, feverish and weak, I kneeled over my section of seat to half curl on my section of floor and popped another Alieve.
At 10:30 we had a little time to kill, so we stopped at The Good Will. In the parking lot my husband announced to me that all money in the checking account was designated for other things and that any shopping done today would be borrowed from other funds. I discovered that Big City Good Wills are more expensive than smaller town ones. This one wanted $20 for men's boots and $10 for women's shoes. I couldn't believe the prices. As we started to walk out, a rough looking gentleman pushing a shopping cart dropped his pants to his thighs in the front of the store. Most likely it was accidental on his part, but it was disturbing none the less.
At 11:05 Super Catman saw the Orthodontist. Now that statement seems rather meaningless, but let me tell you, it is a sentence with incredible meaning. Beware! Here's where the ranting begins :
Clear back in May, I took him into the dentist because he had an extra tooth (a pointed fang) between his front two. The lady at the clinic told me that I was something like "at the lowest of low incomes". She pleasantly announced that my kids would qualify for a new program called "Healthy Montana Kids". I told her that we own our own house and vehicles. She said assets don't matter. This began my journey through the government health care system. After submitting my paperwork in May, and having the extra tooth pulled, I anxiously awaited my approval. It never came. Super Catman's adult front tooth, now free from the fang, began growing in at an 80 degree sideways angle!! I made multiple calls to the main office. No one called me back. I made the mistake of leaving a message with XYZ office telling them that I would call weekly to check on the application's status. That week, my children's file was transferred to another office. At the new office, I talked to the manager who assured me my file would be processed as soon as possible. The next week my file was "denied" due to a lack of supplied information. I called the clinic telling them my tale of woe. The nice lady re faxed all my paperwork to ABC office. ABC office told me to restart the paperwork process. I wanted to cry. The clinic again, faxed stacks of paperwork back to ABC office. The ladies in ABC office started getting mad, though my case worker continued to not return my calls. The clinic called XYZ office (the authority) multiple times complaining about my file being mishandled. Then one day, a case worker called me to tell me that a relative of mine was getting kicked off some program. I recognized the name and informed her that I had been leaving her messages. After all this time, I began imagining this woman as a slow moving, unpleasant woman. Another person, denied 3-4 times by her told me her tales of woe. Yet another tells me "she's got heavy metal posters all over her office". I don't know, maybe its the whole "wtfLUFF" attitude? Maybe she's over worked. Maybe she shuts the door and head bangs all day. Maybe she's an evil villain with green skin and snakes for hair cackling as she throws away peoples files. I don't know. I just know that without the help of the clinic multiple times re-faxing my information and putting pressure on higher ups, I don't know if my new file would have ever had a chance of being accepted.
Who then, in their right non-obsessive mind, can get on Healthy Montana Kids anyway?! Without a nice clinic advocate and without my obsessive personality, who, possibly can make it through the process? I just don't know. At any rate, none of the old dental bills were covered because I had to re-apply months later. Oh, and she wouldn't even accept the Healthy Kids Application. She insisted that another one was "easier for her". Arugh! Okay, so back to my dental nightmare. So I FINALLY get the kids approved with sweat, blood and tears. I bring Super Catman into the dentist with this crazy sideways 80 degree front tooth and he allows me a referral, though he said it would be better to wait till he's older. I call the Orthodontist and the referral Orthodontist tells me "No Orthodontist accepts Healthy Montana Kids Ever". Can you bear to keep reading? So after making an appointment with them, frustrated, I have no inner peace about the matter. I call Healthy Montana Kids Hotline. Of course they refer me back to the office who rarely returns my calls. I call another number. Shockingly I find out that one Orthodontist in City K (3 1/2) hours away takes Healthy Montana kids and 3 in City M do. City K Orthodontist is backed up 6 months for an initial visit. After making several calls to the Orthodontists in city M, and after receiving my paperwork, they are willing to schedule an appointment. Luckily, he's in the young enough category, because there is a cut off of age Healthy Montana Kids accepts for such work.

Really the Orthodontist is a good and Godly man. He's done a lot of humanitarian work overseas. He is knowledgeable and kind. The workers explain to me that each Ortho case like this one must be sent in as a "case" to Healthy Montana Kids. They determine individually whether they will pay for it or not. They also tell me that many kids just like Super Catman should qualify based on the criteria, but are denied for the work anyway. They tell me I will hear back in 3-6 weeks. They don't want me to get too optimistic. Then they give me an estimate of what it will cost me if Healthy Montana Kids Denies it : almost $3 grand with a mandatory $800 some up front for "phase 1". Yikes! So all I can do is wait and pray that his case is approved. (I could use some prayers in that dept).
As I was ranting, so we leave the Orthodontist, a good man, but expensive. We eat a $10 Costco pizza as I pine for the Olive Garden and Hawaiian weather. I shop on bare bones necessity. I help myself to some Costco samples. My samples fall on the floor. Art Dog announces "Maybe God knocked them out of your hand". Eerily I wonder if preventing more garbage food was an act of God? After all, it wasn't my day off from my healthy eating program. I am achy and feverish.
I know i know - this is becoming long and depressing. So anyway, I bust open a bottle of Tylenol at Walmart and keep on with my bare bones basic shopping. I start singing happy worship songs much to the dismay of the strangers around me. My husband tells me to spend more money. Okay, this is a first. Weakly, I make my way to the truck to pass out in cramped quarters. I see the beauty of the mountains and fresh snow. I see the crystal waters and the abundant wild life and how can I possibly feel down at all? I jump out of the truck and chase after a herd of big horn sheep to snap some shots. The fresh white snow crunching on the hillside reminds me that skiing and snow shoeing and other snowy adventures await me. Winters peace and quiet and tranquility beckon. Hawaii in her own time, teeth will some how get fixed, money eventually shows up when its needed. How could I possibly feel down in such beautiful surroundings? And so, at last, at home, I curl up in my electric blanket and type no longer frustrated, but awesomely aware that God has a good plan for me and for my family for the days ahead.


cmoursler said...

I have never read a better case against government intrusion in health care in my life. Holy crow.
but really 3000 dollars for a tooth?
Maybe he could pull on it a few times a day for about an hour at a time? lol.
oh well, hawaii would have been nice but there would probably be a tsunami so no worries.
great attitude adjustment. Hope stuff gets better soon.

Heather said...

Such a frustration! Yet I love how your story ends in hope and joy!!

Anonymous said...

We were once had our states plan as a supplemental to our main insurance...The dentist thing was a real nuissance, then we found our current dentist office, it's great... One of the boys had a front side tooth that was nearly turned sideways, our amazing dentist just said let him grow and his tongue may naturally turn it... And it has! Not one of our 5 has had orthodontia, and I don't think any of them ever will... I wish that my parents would have not "given" me ortho, I feel it ruined my teeth...

Momma Bug said...

I'm glad you have an electric blanket ;-)
There's just no getting around it: life is just so dynamic. Just when you think you have something figured out, you get a curve thrown at you.

It's my firm belief that the Lord wants our hearts every moment, so resting in Him when all crumbles around is much the best way to glorify Him - AND to testify of His goodness in our lives!

I hope you're feelin' better friend:-)

Becky said...

Such a lovely post!! I can so understand your feelings, I am there too. And you are only down because you are ill, its natural. I often get similar feelings about life and yet here I am blessed with all this gorgeous beauty around me. I try to shake myself and say "Hey, enjoy what God has provided!" just like you talked about in your post. Like in the Psalms "Why be discouraged oh my soul? Why be downcast, hope in God! For I will yet praise Him for His wonderful works." That is paraphrased of course (from memory). Anyway, we had orthodontist bills too, moving to Colorado was a blessing because we found an orthodontist that was much cheaper than in Calif. He is a very nice man.

The other thing that struck me about your post is all the hassle you went through trying to get coverage through the government. Do we really need government run healthcare? Not if it is like that!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Well, this so reminds me of our experiences with the IRS. We also encountered California's version of Healthy Kids a few years ago. It was similar to yours. Long story short, we found out that the people you call to get help from don't have much info and they aren't allowed to give you the info to get in touch with the ones that can actually help.
When I found out via the internet who can actually help and called, the first thing I was asked was "How'd you get this number?" Seriously.
Btw, guess what my word verification word is?
It's "anger" :-) Really!
So much for government programs.