Friday, March 31, 2006

Juxtapositions of March

Its been a month of juxtapositions.  Reading Deb's lastest entry about her dog's medicine which was confiscated, coupled with the last day of the month, I felt the urge to follow through on placing March into perspective. 

My insurance company changed the first of the year.  It was not until February that I knew I was headed for trouble with this new company which is headquartered here in my city.  The pulmonary doctor wanted to add another med for Pulmonary Hypertension...I received a call from the distributor that my co-pay...HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR CHAIR...would be between 8,000-12,000 PER MONTH because it was not classified as a prescription but medical therapy!  I'll leave out the details of the conversation but the good news I was told was that my insurance company has a 2,500 annual out of pocket and I could be set up to pay that in 12 months.  Sound good? NO! because I was readjusting my budget to figure in another 30-50 co-pay for what I thought would be a normal prescription...after much back and forth with many partners, I decided that I would not add the new script.  Even though I still have symptoms that cause me concern and that I know will be on-going, considering where I was just last year at this time, I've stablized miraculously in my opinion.  With that resolved, March rolls in and I received another call from the pharmacist for the medicine for the PH that I've been on for 1 year and is the reason I've improved so drastically.  Previously I paid 30 bucks a month...with the new company, my co-pay monthly (HOLD TIGHT AGAIN) would be 806.00 because of how its classified with them.  After many on-going conversations with many partners, I was referred to an agency that is set up to aid folks with PH in covering their medical expenses but I've had to stay on top of the process daily.  All this came on the heel of disability being approved in January and counting blessings, as our financial life didn't suffer too much with my loss of total income for 6 months, it was more of an emotional dent I experienced with loss of feeling autonomous in my I was thinking finally, I could begin again to aspire with focus on some goals and that I've made it over the hump.  A few years ago I adopted the philosophy and practice that that there is never a "perfect" time and if while on our way to death, we might as well go out doing what we want to do and giving it our best shot.  So in spite of not always feeling physically good I still attempt to do that which I enjoy and brings me in March I spent a great quilty day with an old friend, kept my grandson twice (he is awake more and loves to interact and listen to jazz! but boy its work to manage a diaper bag, car seat, baby,...I couldn't have done this without my daughter's help).  She injured her knee a few weeks ago and cannot get in to see her ortho doc until the 13th of April.  We're on a waiting list in case of cancellation.  She has seen her pediatrician and this has been an on-going issue for her since she was tackled playing football a few years ago.  She wears a brace and is on crutches and does the ice pack when she comes in from school.  In addition, my youngest son who is rarely ever sick, had allergy related sinus infection and is just a big baby and drama king when he doesn't feel good. 

I attended the exhibit opening with another long time friend (who goes back to junior high) for Penny Sisto's quilts that coincide with a permanent exhibit about the Underground Railroad experience in Southern Indiana and Louisville.  I told Penny that I didn't know if the spirits handled her or she handled the spirits...they are hauntingly amazing!  I will start April by attending a gallery talk by her tomorrow morning. 

I have 2 older sisters and we've never taken a trip together.  Unlike my mother and her 5 sisters who for awhile stayed in the air going some place or another and all I got was the t-shirts.  My sisters and I attempted to finalize a trip to go see The Color Purple on Broadway but another curve that I had to deal with is finding out the ins and outs of traveling with oxygen...the great deal went bust for me when I discovered that in order for the airline to provide oxygen for me it would add another 100.00 per stop to my price on top of arranging o2 for the hotel.  This caused me to reflect a great deal on my limitations which bummed me for a focus is almost hyper-vigilant to think how I can get around, overcome these challenges and well, by nature, I'm much more of a laid back, go with the flow type of person and this last year has had me out of sync...but as my great-gran would always say...if you don't change, life will change you.  There are days that the anger and sadness get the best of me and dammit, (my other motto) you just can't keep a good woman down and all that jazz. So I'm in this for the long ride and I refuse to go down!

And to illuminate a litte more about how this all effects me, my 20 odd years of working in human services, I've seen a lot. Nothing surprises me, angers me, YES! but surprise me, hardly ever to never.  My personal situations get placed on a continuum of what I've been exposed to in my 20 years as a person concerned with the quality of living in all ways and I'm highly sensitive to the issues of injustice and misery in the world around us.  Yesterday I read the story of the rape of the dancer by a lacrosse team and every image and emotion that I felt while I sat in the exam rooms holding hands while rape victims where being examed I carried on me all day.  I've never attempted to describe it to others but its like in an instance and simulaneously, every injustice begins to run together and I can feel it and see it.  I take frequent small breaks from the news and also seek out those who can better articulate what I feel in order to not allow it to immobilize me.

In March I received this beautiful collage from Memphis Pam which arrived in time to lift up my spirits:  Dscn1335

She found the butterfly in her yard.  Everything is collaged onto stretched canvas.  It caused me to get back on track with purging the household of items that I do not want in preparations for a move this summer.

Normally, I would have placed this on the blog I created to dump my distracting energy on around my health as opposed to here, but in March I was keenly aware of how my emotions effected my sense of self...questioning whether I can make this transition into visual arts as a quilter.  I don't normally shop often or enjoy it, but my spending has been out of control this month...but my art supplies are better equipped.  It was a sign that I was not at the top of my game and need validation that I could do this.  I remembered a poet-friend saying, "don't wait on the muse, summon her", so I scheduled some studio days in May at the Mary Anderson Center to do just that.  April will more than likely continue to be a month of juxtapositions but now that I've allowed myself to talk about it, I know that I'll be more at peace with what I must do.

Hangeth in, ;)


  1. I wish I had some sage adive regarding pharmacies, but I don't. I remember my father wrestling with what to prescribe for his patients that would help them to have a better quality of life and not have them end up in debt up to their eyeballs......Hang in there and keep fighting!
    HUGS to you!

  2. Holy crap (about the co-pay!) Health insurance can be such drama sometimes!

  3. Wow, who even makes 8 to 12K per month???? What, insurance thinks only the very rich can afford to get sick?! I wish you all the best in finding the balance for you between your health needs and what your wallet holds. Your spirit seems unsinkable though, and your art will carry you :-)

  4. Unbelievable! Karoda, have you tried Medications for Less?
    1-877-633-7453. The drugs come from Canada. I have one prescription I get from them (as we have terrible health insurance) and I'm still alive, despite the fear-mongering our current administration puts out about drug safety. It's worth a try, anyway.
    I am so sorry you have been going through all of this. I was just thinking this morning how much we don't put in our blogs, we all carry our pain and losses with us, but leave it to sensitive, articulate Karoda to voice hers. And frankly, I'm surprised you haven't more often, I should go to your other blog.
    You are a very strong person. Can you take a train to New York? If you can, you could probably take a train to Trenton, NJ. I'll come pick you up and you can have a little vacation here. If you don't mind dogs (who are very nice).

  5. I had to deal with some insurance stuff last month and stayed in turmoil during the entire process. Can't imagine how you manage to handle all of this and keep your priorities straight as you do.
    I love your friend's comment about summoning the muse, even if she doesn't come immediately, at least you have started on the creative journey.

  6. Karoda,
    The only reason I am not weeping in anger and frustration over your insurance issues, is because I am at the library.
    I am hoping that you take the brilliant advice of your friends and seek help for better pricing.
    My collage looks good on your site. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

  7. Ain't it always the way that you have to do the most fighting when ill, disabled or whatever? What a waste of our energy. I hope you get things sorted out with your meds, Karoda.

  8. I can only imagine how stressful and upsetting this is. No one can affort to pay the full price of medications! It's just not right that you are expected to.
    I guess I have been lucky so far, every medication I take is run of the mill and covered.
    I will hold good thoughts for you. I hope your art helps you find peace, God knows the world doesn't. Jen

  9. Bless you for sharing with us on your quilting arts blog. You are an absolutely amazing person and artist. I know what you mean about traveling with oxygen. I've wondered how it would work when traveling on a train. It seems that "the system" conspires to kick us when we are down. But we are not out!!!!!
    Think about the emotion we have to bring to our art, and the love and empathy we have for others because of our experience.

  10. OUCH! Insurance companies are such a pain. I am sorry you are having to go through all of this. But yeah you, for having such a positive attitude through it all. Keep the faith!

  11. Gee whiz, Karoda! I go away for a few days and come home to your medical dilemma. I am pissed to put it mildly. Where the h___ is medical care in this country headed. I never could get taking away a medicine that makes you healthier. Do they want to pay for your hospitalization - oh, I forgot - they probably won't pay or will charge you an arm and a leg. I am so sorry for this. There are omsbud programs to fight insurance companies - I recommend that you find an angel to help you.

  12. Ditto to everything. Try the Canadians and keep fighting! Damn those insurance companies, where the decisions are made by idiots!