Decisions

There are always stumbling blocks.  I am edging ever closer to the job I’m really excited about, but now healthcare threatens it.  I’m in America now, the land of horrible coverage.  Because I am well below the poverty line at this time, I qualify for what amounts to free care.  If I get this job, however, I will only qualify for reduced care.

What does that mean?  Copays on meds and doctor  visits, and a monthly insurance premium out of pocket.  Work one job, barely afford necessities.  Work two jobs, lose health coverage.  I have two chronic conditions that require expensive medication.  Neither will spontaneously go away if I get the second job.

This has me in a tizzy.  My best friend reminded me that I haven’t got the job yet, but I’m just trying to be proactive.  Too bad finding out information about copays and premiums is bloody impossible outside of the ‘enrolment period.’  America must consider itself the land of the healthy, because it’s almost impossible to afford healthcare.

Huh?

That is my general response to most things these days.  To say things are overwhelming is quite the understatement, even for someone with my background.  With the therapy piece in place, everything else fell apart.  I’ve been trying to update this blog, but my cognitive abilities are being thwarted a bit by rogue medication dosages.  More specifically, I’ve had to drop my Lamictal dosage from 400 mg/day to 100 mg/day, and Cognitive Chaos has ensued.

In all honesty, I’m not thinking clearly enough to write a coherent detailed blog post.  Currently, I have a therapist in place, no psychiatrist, and a prescription that should have run out already.  I’m maintaining with great effort, but my work is really suffering.  Starting to worry about losing my job, even, but hoping things get sorted before then.  My processing speed is very, very slow, and I forget things quickly.  I feel like my IQ has gone negative.

All of that said, we’re just waiting to hear back from a variety of doctors to see who can and will help.  Until then, the word of the day is simply ‘maintain.’

More Natural Grace

I have multiple sclerosis.  I also have stress.  The two do not work well together.

This morning, after I pulled myself out of my current bout of depression enough to get out of bed, I was treated to a whole host of MS symptoms.  Really bad dizziness caused nausea.  The requisite blurry vision came with the dizziness as well.  Last week, after I decided to ignore the symptoms of an oncoming relapse and wash my car, I had double vision.  I don’t know why, but that scares me more than the blurring.

Then there are the  tremors.  I play piano and guitar, but right now my sodding hands are trembling so much I’m having to take small breaks in writing this post.  Still, I am *very* fortunate to have the relapsing-remitting type of MS.  Yes, I’ve had it long enough now that I’m starting to see some permanent issues, but I still have times when I feel relatively fine.

Next Tuesday is my annual ‘poke at englishrain’s brain’ appointment (aka the specialists are going to pry about in there).  Two weeks ago I had an MRI, and the results await me.  I’m hoping the more pronounced symptoms of late are related to stress and not new lesions.  Some of the treatments we’ve tried in the past have been worse than the symptoms.

Wish me luck.

The Pleasantly Boring Week So Far

This week has been relatively boring, which is actually a good thing.  I’ve found that life gets loud again soon enough.  Being stuck in a rut can be a great experience.

The Universe Is Out To Get Me bit started over the weekend and reached its peak this afternoon.  Even it wasn’t exactly a catastrophe.  Just annoying.  I’ve registered with a local staffing agency and was sent an online assessment for MS Word and Excel.  The tests were timed, which isn’t usually a factor in my performance.  These tests, however, became quite the thorn in my heel.  First, getting the bleedin’ things was nearly impossible.  A week after I emailed my contact information, I still hadn’t heard from the admin. assistant.  I phoned her up, and she was quite surprised, saying she had sent the tests much earlier that week.  I’ll certainly allow that as a possibility, but my guess is she either forgot to send them or sent them to a different email address.  In any event, they popped in to my inbox only a few minutes after that phone call.

The email contained a link to the online assessments as well as password and username information.  At the bottom was a notice that, if you were disconnected for whatever reason during the test, you could resume it by pressing the link.  It also warned that this could only be done once in a 24-hour period.  I assumed the time constraints were set in place only if you got disconnected.  Unfortunately, I was incorrect in my assumption.  Two days after receiving the online tests I logged in to take them– the login information had already expired.

I phoned the local office *again* thinking about the lovely impression I must have been making on my potential employer, and the information was emailed to me again.  No more than ten minutes after receiving the message I signed in to take the tests.  After completing the first test, I was promptly dismissed by my computer.  The connection was lost.  Muttering angrily to myself, I set off on the 36-mile drive to the University I attend.  But wait– the tests required MS Word and Excel *2003.*  The University labs have 2008, and the newer version would not work with the testing service.  Lovely.

Never one to accept defeat, I packed up my trusty laptop and began boldly blazing the trail.  (Isn’t alliteration fun?)  Then the shoulder strap on the laptop case broke, sending it careening spectacularly to the wood floor of the lounge at my house.  I’m not joking– the metal connector thingy literally broke in half.  But, to be very optimistic, at least it broke in my house as opposed to on campus.  To be even more optimistic, I’m now sitting in the campus library after having completed both tests and receiving high marks on both as well.  Not a bad end to what was definitely a more frustrating process than it should have been.

In other news, I’m preparing for a therapy visit next week.  I go to a subsidised clinic, as the sessions only cost $5 there and my funds are a bit low.  The American healthcare system isn’t set up like the NHS, but oddly enough, the wait to see my therapist met NHS standards– ten weeks.  😉  So much Stuff has passed through my mind in the past 10 weeks that I’m not at all sure where to begin.  We’ll have to do some internal searching about on that subject.  In any event, it will be good to actually speak with someone in a therapeutic environment again.  I’ve had this really odd and somewhat uncomfortable feeling lately.  It’s not something I have a word for quite yet, but I’m hoping we can suss that out with the therp’s help.

Do you think about what you’d like to talk with the therapist about before you go into the session, or do you prefer to see how things work out as you go along?  I’m never sure what the most helpful course of action would be.  It’s something we all have to figure out for ourselves anyway, I guess.

As you can likely tell from the somewhat useless information in this post, not a great lot is going on with me at the moment.  Or at least not a great lot that I can conceptualise.  To end things on a funny note, though, I saw something yesterday that I’d never seen before.  I went to a local park to study, and from a distance, it looked like a grey cat was sleeping on the table where I typically sit.  Upon getting a bit closer, I saw that it was a squirrel lying on its side, little hand tucked just slightly under its head, almost napping.  Hilarious.  If I’d been toting my camera, a picture of Mr Lazy Squirrel would grace the pages of this blog today.

This One’s Called Frank

A few years ago I had to have a bone scan in an attempt to figure out what was causing widespread joint pain.  Upon viewing the results, the doctor asked me if I’d ever been in a serious car accident.  I told him only for the first 20-odd years.  Most people name patches of grey hair after relatives who have caused them alot of worry over the years.  I name aches after the various people from my past who worked so hard to create injuries with such precision and stamina.  🙂

Part of survival is being able to make *anything* funny.