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ObamaCare

I am so disappointed.  I used to write websites for airlines.  It’s no small task they took on, but they had more than ample time to accomplish the job if they hired people who knew what they were doing.  Apparently, they didn’t.  I read on CCN today that by Oct 2, a grand total of six people had signed up.

SIX???

I am just stunned.  And not for the reason other people expect me to be.  I have a dog in this fight.  I am one of the rare people who really want’s to see ObamaCare wildly successful!!!  I loose my insurance Dec 31, and I am trying desperately to shop for insurance, and figure out about this website that has some of my data but doubled up the number of children that are still dependents in my home.  And now I’m being told that the security on the site is non-existent, really?  I trusted these people with my ssn and my kids snn.  I want to know how to get my info out of their database because I don’t trust it.

Apparently I’m not the only one who wasn’t able to sign up for insurance via the site, so they are now saying, just call and we will do it over the phone.  And they have put a list of insurers available by county in ONE CONTINUOUS LIST.  It is the most horrible way to lay out data I have EVER seen.  Did I mention I used to write major data driven website software?

Usability experts all over the planet are now either cringing, crying or laughing.  This is a hell of a way to run a railroad people.

Please fix it.  Call me, I’ll explain about timeouts and data loops and why infinite loops kill sites and databases.   I really want this to work.  I really want the government to stop lying about it and just do their job.   Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius accidentally on purpose “not having the numbers with her” during the congressional hearings. Somehow I think she was too emabarssed to share the truth so she left a piece of paper on her desk so she could say she didn’t know.   And then she wanted us to believe her.  Seriously?  Of course she knows the numbers!!!  So does Jay Carney and Obama.  Any ba can write a count query to give the EXACT numbers and time stamps to these people.  If anyone thinks we believe they just don’t know, or that we will buy this anymore they are sadly mistaken. The people in charge need to be let go, they obviously have no project management experience. That includes the politicians in charge.

Please fix the mess you have made.  Please stop asking Americans to pay for things that don’t work.  All the government projects I’ve ever worked on had a time limit and a pay loss clause, if you are a day late it costs $x and if you are 2 days late, it costs $y.  Why aren’t we hearing about this with these contractors?  Just do your job and we will all be happier.  Otherwise you should start practicing “would you like fries with that”.  Because anyone else would have been fired by now.

Remission

It has come to my attention that I posted some about my cancer and then life became so overwhelming that I stopped writing on here.  After 7 months of chemo every week, I was finally told that I am in remission.  Apparently I had a rare type of Ovarian cancer.  I didn’t even know Ovarian cancer was a thing.  The doctors believe that it is genetic but they have only identified 2 genes that pass this on, and I don’t have either of those.  So somewhere down the road someone brilliant will figure out exactly where and why this happened.

At this point in time I am healing, and recovering from the chemo.  It did some damage to my heart that can be reversed, and I have permanent nerve damage.  But I am starting to get some of my energy back, and with a few pain killers (read tylenol and aspirin cause I HATE what vicodin does to my head) I am able to walk some, which is good for my heart.  So I have been walking lately, and hoping to loose some of those pesky pounds that I’ve gained sitting on my backside.  Still not ready to work yet, but some of the short term memory issues seem to be resolving, and it looks like I may stand a chance of surviving.

Apparently the odds are about 30% on me living to the 5 year mark.  I guess that gives me 4 years left.  But apparently the longer I make it the better my odds get.  SO I’m planning on sticking around to finish raising my little one and hopefully meet some grandchildren :)   There are people who have lived 20 years after this diagnosis, so I’m volunteering my time :)

I have changed my mind about a lot of things.  I think knowing that I am not going to be a very old woman does that to you.  I have decided it’s more important to be happy and enjoy my family and my time.  So I have stopped listening to people that lie or give me grief.  I stop them in their tracks and tell them flat out, I know better and I’m not interested.  Its ok if they don’t like me for calling them on their bs, I don’t have time to waste with people like that.  If they want to be good, honest, decent people, I’ll spend time with them, otherwise, it’s time to walk away.  I just don’t want to waste my time.    Besides, I have kids to play with :)

 

 

Insurance

If you have read my other posts you know I am self employed and was born with only one kidney.  I can not purchase self employed medical insurance.  I am what is considered uninsurable.  But my new medical issue, cancer, isn’t one to be put off.  It’s urgent and without immediate care, I will die.  I have 7 kids, and the youngest is only 6.  I’m just not done yet.  It’s not optional, I have to find a way to get better.

I spoke with several doctors and nurses and did some research.  I kept coming up with the same specialist’s name.  I called his office and scheduled an appointment.  His office manager called me because I of my self pay status.  She told me the inital visit is $285, but I have to get some insurance.  Really?  Not only do I have one kidney, I now have cancer.  You have got to be kidding me.  HOW does that work? This woman saved me a ton of time and research.  She knew exactly what to do.

There is a little known federal program called Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Program.  If you have pre-existing conditions you can get insurance through this program.  IT IS NOT EASY, but you can get insurance.  The problem is it takes a long time to get it.  Unless you know the right people.  Well, I didn’t’ before, but I was introduced to the right people.  But thanks to a lovely woman working for the American Cancer Society, my application was sped up so I could have insurance to help cover my surgery.  There is a little known rule that you can have it start a month early IF you ask them to.  It’s not mentioned on their website anywhere.

Basically, if you apply the end of May, your insurance starts July 1.  Unless you ask them in writing to start it a month early.  And yes, a fax counts.  BUT you need to be speaking to someone specific and have them help you walk it through.

There are two different payment options, one has lower payment but higher deductable, the other lower deductable but higher payments.  Do the math, figure out what works best for you financially for an entire year. I took the higher payment and lower deductable option.  For me, it’s the best way to go.

If you are looking for insurance and have pre-existing coditions, go to pcip.gov and take a peek.  It may or may not be for you, but honestly, it’s saving my life.

I haven’t been feeling well for a while.  I even went to the doctor and she kind of  looked me over and said, no problem, you need more rest.  Congratulated me on my weight loss and cut my bp meds back.  All in all, I was feeling pretty good that I didn’t need as much medicine.  What a win!  I left feeling like everything was fine.  About 2 weeks later I was back, my stomach had started swelling up, looked like I was about 5 months pregnant.  It was really getting a bit scary. But she’s a good doctor, and it’s a Thursday, and I was lucky enough to get in.  I expected her to give me some antibiotics tell me to go home, kick my feet up and quit whining.

That’s not what she said.  I was born with one kidney.  When my doctor saw that I was retaining fluid in such extremes, she said she was going to run some tests and see what to do about putting me on a kidney transplant list.  The next day she called and said, “Um, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but your kidney is fine.  In fact, so is your liver.  I’m going to do some research over the weekend and we will regroup on Monday to figure out what’s wrong”.

By 4am Monday morning, I had swollen up so badly I looked about 10 months pregnant with triplets.  My ribs were distended, being pushed out of place, and I was in severe pain.  My hubby rushed me to the emergency room, where they immediately pumped me full of morphine.  I have major issues with pain meds, mostly that I have no clue what’s going on around me when I take them.  Well, this time was no different.  But the ER docs had no clue how badly it affected my ability to understand what was going on around me.  All they knew was how much pain I was in, and they gave me as much as they could for my weight.

After a hand full of tests and a CT scan, a doctor that I recognized but didn’t know, came in the room and made my husband move.  He sat in a chair beside me, and held my hand and had the weirdest look on his face.  I was so loopy from the morphine I didn’t know it was time to worry.  I started giggling.  It was all just so surreal to me, a strange man with a strange look on his face was holding my hand and honey was standing in the corner trying to hear what was going on.  How funny is that?  Ok, maybe you had to be there.  He told me, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have ovarian cancer.”   I was waiting for the punch line, he just kept staring at me.  I finally looked at him, grinned really big and said “AND???”  Then I started laughing like a goofy school kid.  I think he realized how much morphine affected me then.  Then he said  he was going to get the GYN to talk to me.  This time they let me sleep for an hour before they tried to explain it again.

The weird thing about Ovarian Cancer is it has very few, and very vague symptoms.  Most people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.   I am lucky I started swelling up because it got me to the doctor.  What a crazy weird thing.  If it hadn’t been for all the fluid, I would also have been too late.  I’m so very lucky to be here today.  It’s a good day.

I have sticker envy.  We’ve all seen them.  The little families on the backs of cars.  A mom and a dad, a boy sticker, a girl sticker, and don’t forget Fido.  They are pretty dang cute.  I’d love to put these on my car, but it’s just too much for me to figure out.  A little help would be appreciated.  So if anyone reading this can help me figure this out, I’d really appreciate it.

There are practical realities when you have a big family.   Like how many can you fit on the back of one window?  When you put one mommy, one daddy, 5 boys, 2 girls and 3 dogs can you actually see out of the back window?

And what about sticker etiquette?  Do you add a daughter in law?  A grandson?  The grand-dogs?  The grand-cat?  So that’s 2 adults, 10 kids, 5 dogs and one cat for my window.

Maybe you swap out the kid stickers for adult stickers when they turn 18?  Now that’s 9 adults, 3 kids and 5 dogs and 1 cat. But then how will anyone know who the parents are?

I have 7 kids, I wonder how many grandchildren I will eventually end up with?  And just how many of them I should put on my car?

Or do you scrape them off as they grow up and move out?  Does that mean they aren’t family anymore?  I would hate to be forced to disown my children. Then I am down to 2 adults, 2 kids, 3 dogs but not for long because the 17 yr old will be off to college in short order and I will have a gaping hole in my window stickers. And what would that look like?

All this sticker etiquette is just too much for me to bear.  I am soooooo confused.

I finally saw it.  A cargo van with two parents, eight kids, a dog and a cat.  Now that’s my kind of window!!  Maybe?  Nahhhhhh…. I think I will just have to enjoy these from afar.  It’s just too much to try to figure out.

I am working diligently with my 17 yr old son to get him in college.  Each day I learn something new and exciting.  A dorm, a scholarship, a better life for him forever.  I keep joking that it would cost less money if I just bought this boy a house.  But I’m finding that sitting down with him one on one reviewing SAT questions is more satisfying than I could have ever imagined.  I am learning so much about my self through my children.  But the reality is I am so excited for him because this is an opportunity I never had.

I graduated high school in the early 80s in the deep south.  Girls weren’t encouraged to go to college then.  It was still something for boys.  I was a smart kid, certainly smarter than my brother.  Yet I was told, be a beautician because that’s all you will ever be able to do.  After all, you really should marry quickly after high school and raise a family, you’re only young once.  And if you wait too long you’ll be too old and no man will want you.  It was the standard that all girls were told.

I told my mother one time that I wanted to be a lawyer, and my friend, who was with me at the time, was also going to be an attorney.  We were going to open a practice together in Charlotte NC.  She looked at me as if I was the most foolish person she had ever seen and said, “Don’t be ridiculous, you are too stupid to be an attorney.”  I was heart-broken, but since I had heard it so many times before, I believed it.

My friend was angry.  I didn’t know why at the time, of course I do now.  Even now, when we talk about being children, she remembers how crushed I was when my mother called me “stupid”.  She said I needed to try again.  So I went to her in her bedroom and told her we needed to talk.  That I really did want to go to college and I was sure I was smart enough.  I will never forget her patronizing look, the way she refused to even discuss it.  She told me she had money for college, but it was for my brother, that he was the smart one and she didn’t want to waste her money on me when she had a son.

When I finished beauty school I moved out and was an overnight success,.  Not all hairdressers hit the fast track, but I was one of the top 5%.  I was a fast learner and moved into management very quickly.  I was making pretty good money for a 19 yr old.  In fact there are adults today that wish they had my salary from 30 years ago.  I was making 80k a year by then.  Yes, cutting hair.  I was the exception, not the rule.  I decided that it was time to figure out what this college thing was about.  So without telling anyone, because I was sure they would tell me not to go, I went to visit an Ivy league school near where I lived.  I told the lady at the admissions desk that I wanted to go to school there and I could afford it, which in my mind was the only thing standing in my way.  I told her that I made enough money to pay cash for everything and I was a hard worker and I would do well there.  I didn’t know that different schools had different criteria.  Since my family didn’t want to put me through school, no one had ever explained how it worked to me.  She said my GPA was 1/100th of a point too low.  She didn’t tell me that their standards were exceptionally high and there were other schools that would be a better fit.  Nope, just that I wasn’t good enough.  I felt so stupid. But she was a professional, and she had acknowledges that I wasn’t college material.  Maybe I was stupid after all.

Here I was, 19, managing a staff of 24, with a good salary, a brand new car, and apartment, doing pretty ok for myself.  But I had been told I was stupid so many times I believed it.  In fact my brother believed it and told me so on a regular basis, even more than my mother.  Yes, the brother that took 5 years to finish his associates degree because he kept failing classes.  I decided that if I couldn’t go to school, at least I should educate myself, so I didn’t sound stupid and embarrass myself.  I started reading things that I had heard were “classics” or books that people said they read in college.  You know the ones that were somehow expected and “everyone” had read.  I wrote down the names and read them all.  I learned everything I could, just to make myself feel better about who I was.  I even went to college bookstores and bought the used books so I could study.

I eventually dated a man who told me I was smart, and I needed to go to school.  I thought he was just trying to get in my pants.  But he helped me apply to a community college where I did pretty good.  I made A’s, except for English and Sociology… Bs.  Yet again, proof of my “stupidity”.   It took a long time for me to realize that I wasn’t so stupid after all.  My son’s first grade teacher was the one to finally tell me those were pretty exceptional college grades and I should finish school.  I was stunned and it took a long time for me to believe it.  I ended up with a 3.86 GPA in college.  I still do things to prove I’m not stupid, and I suppose I will always have a piece of me that doubts I am good enough.  But I do know that I’m not stupid, even if my family isn’t quite sure.  I still cut hair, I love it.  It’s fun and relaxing and I love to see people excited about an exceptional cut.  I’m really really good at what I do, I always have been.  But I am also building a pretty decent sized company at the same time.  So hair has become a part-time hobby that I get a huge amount of satisfaction from.

My parents and brother have finally realized I’m not so slow after all.  The reality is I did a lot of things to prove myself to them, and even though I don’t need their approval anymore, children crave their parents approval.  And upon occasion, they concede that I am indeed doing pretty ok.  I have worked very hard to make sure my children know I will always be in their corner.  And I’m pretty sure they know.  Five kids down, 2 to go for the college ride.  Some went, some weren’t interested, but it’s always available.  One of my 24 yr old’s is currently working on his masters. I love it!  The 29 yr old finished years ago, the 20 yr old is just starting night school.  They are all different.  But they are all determined to be outstanding.

Now it’s my 17 yr old son’s turn.  We live in a type A personality town, where college education is expected, pretty much a given, not a maybe.  His school counselor told him his grades weren’t good enough and he should join the army.  Seriously?  I was livid.  That woman should be fired.  He may not be headed to an Ivy league school either, but he will go to school.  And he will succeed.

My son wants to be a Cardiologist.  He is a smart kid and makes decent grades.  He never gets in trouble, and he has a good heart.  He also has me for a mother.  I have done my homework by now.  I am not stupid.  And I know what he needs to get to where he wants to be.  There will be no excuses and no people allowed to hold him back.  Anyone that tries will have to go through me.  He will go to college, and he will be exceptional.  We have found several colleges that he is eligible to go to, and even gotten him money to go.  A full ride including his dorm.  We have narrowed it down to 15 four year universities with his major that aren’t in towns that are too cold to live in, we are Southerners you know.  Now he gets to choose which school he likes best and go be the amazing person I know he can be.

I have a daughter, she is younger than him.  I already have a college fund set up in her name.  She will go to college too.  And she will also be exceptional.  My children are smart, all of them.  And no one should ever tell them they can’t go to college.  If they want to go, and they have a dream, together we will find a way to make it happen.  I have told my children that sometimes the answer is no, and that’s ok.  But if you don’t ask, it is ALWAYS no, and that’s not ok.

Picking the perfect college with your child is an overwhelming task.  Not only do you have to choose a school you like in a location that works with the degree your child wants, but it has to fit your budget.  So here we are with the 17 yr old, making long-term decisions for a child that is hell-bent on becoming a Cardiologist.  He is a good kid, in fact, he is a great kid.  And if any of my kids has the determination to become a doctor combined with the follow through, it’s this one.  But we also have a long family history of military service in our family, and he is pretty sure he can combine the two and come out with his doctorate debt free.

Most of the services have programs for this, and they are very similar, but the devil is in the details.  And this is becoming more and more apparent as we spend more time talking to each branch.  In fact, it has become so overwhelming I am approaching this the same way I approached choosing an adoption agency.  I spreadsheet full of questions with a column for each branch.  The pros and cons for each are pretty amazing.

Each branch has a list of schools for his bachelors degree.  The US Army has more colleges to choose from, yes, it includes the University of Miami, but not as much money.  The Navy seems to pay for more education and is more aware of the daily lives of each student in their program.  The Air Force also has University of Miami on their list (never guess which school mom is dreaming of), but rumors are it is a very long wait to get into their programs.

Cross your fingers as we get started on this crazy journey.  It’s going to be interesting!

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