Posts Tagged With: Health

Public Therapy

Poverty TRAPS people mentally and geographically, BREAKS their spirit, and EATS AWAY at their soul until there is only a RESENTFUL husk left for the non-impoverished to gauge their success by. IT IS AN EXHAUSTING way to live! I know, I live in poverty and have quite a few health issues and I am also that same hypocritical ASS who has adopted the pitiful mantra… be happy, there are many in worse situations that me, be happy for all the little things. I NEED A NEW MANTRA, the “little things” in my life are not enough!

I have stated in other posts that this little ole blog is my form of therapy. Why? Why am I limited to writing and posting my thoughts, doubts, and insecurities? POVERTY! The thing is… I have insurance. My insurance even covers psychologists. Why don’t I take advantage of that? Co-pays! Living in poverty doesn’t allow for ANOTHER co-pay in addition the the ones I already have seeing a specialist for my Multiple Sclerosis, doctors for my diabetes, in addition to regular doctor visits for other issues that arise. I have to travel 70 miles each way for my MS specialist and that adds gas and usually a meal too. So, do I have the money for a psychologist, that I would most likely need to see on a regular basis? HELL NO!

I do have a friend that in addition to his friendship occasionally does something for me that gives me a little reprieve. I also have a few others friends that do understand my situation and we kind of do for each other as we are able to. That my be a simple as buying a coffee or treating a meal, and these are the “little things” that have a positive impact. These friendships are “big things” to me!

So, what “things” am I referring to as “little”? Things like not going hungry, having a roof over my head. You know… things that people that HAVE hardly think of or consider. Why am I not happy about having food? Because I can’t think of a time in recent years that I didn’t have to put something back that was already on a short list of things to pick up because I didn’t have enough. I buy stuff that helps me feel full, not things that are good and healthy. Eating healthy is something that I would enjoy as well as benefit from. The roof over my head is a great thing. It is also a thing that requires setting the thermostat cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than most houses. So, having the simplest of basics of food and shelter are “little thing” things because they are not enjoyed, they are measured, rationed, and at times, simply done without.

Joining someone while running errands is a sad form of entertainment. If I am running errands with someone, it is because I like spending time with them, not because I like running errands. It becomes a fun “little thing” until they begin to shop and I am restricted to just looking. To be with someone that strolls through the WalMart isles and they put what they want in the buggy, or say, “I just want to try this” and never keep a running total in their head what they are spending seeds a little resentment. It is a dream of mine to go shopping for things I want versus what I need. To shop without needing to use the calculator on my phone to keep track with each penny I’m spending. Yes, even if it is as simple as shopping at WalMart for groceries… not worrying about what I am spending would be dreamy!

Payday to payday has been a lifestyle for me and way too many Americans for way too long. I did have a period in my life that the payday was certainly more than now and I did enjoy little and big things. It was not as glamorous as I may romanticize in my memories, but I do have happy memories from that time that spark flints of quick fleeting happiness… then back to reality. But the reality that I am not the only one in this situation and that there are people in worse situations just doesn’t bring comfort, it is just something else I worry about. If I worry about my situation, how can I not worry or be concerned about those in worse situations?

I seldom have money for Powerball, but I do dream of winning big like that one day! When I do buy a ticket, I wait a few days before checking the numbers because I can’t dream of winning after checking my numbers because it is only a dream to win. Why do so many poor people spend money on lotto? Usually because it feels like the only way out of their situation. IF I did ever win, I would be broke in a few years because I just know I couldn’t enjoy that much money and not share it! Being the ASS I am (tomASS actually), I am not even such an ass to not share. I have had the link to contribute to my therapy blog with a promise that once the $150 a year cost was covered, 50% of any money from this blog would be donated to charity. I’ve not received the $150 in any year yet, so no donations have been made. Also, since it seems no one else benefits from my therapeutic rants, I lose the incentive to keep writing.

So, until I am feeling so overwhelmed and feel writing about it, I guess this will be it for a while! I do miss writing about happier “little things” and hope to return to that one day! But again I post a link for anyone to send me some encouragement!  lol

Blogging is not free!  Please help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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Discarded Obama Campaign Stickers

I was visiting overseas during the U.S. Presidential election, but I tried to stay informed. This was my first time to ever contribute to a Presidential campaign. I was also the first time I was really actively involved in any campaign. The Obama campaign had sent me a few bumper stickers as a thanks for donating and I was so excited that whenever I do get home… I was going to be able to post my Obama stickers on my little OLD truck. But my conservative mother threw them away! No thought given to the idea I may WANT them. No consideration, just trash. Some I had actually purchased. 

This campaign MEANT something to me! I willingly gave up my middle class lifestyle because of my Multiple Sclerosis and I had a tough decision to make – my lifestyle or my health. My health won-out! I gave up living in a nice house with one of my most favorite people in the world as a roommate, driving a BMW convertible and living in the exciting city of Las Vegas for living at home with my parents, with no car, in a small town in Mississippi. Like I said… NOT an easy decision, but a necessary decision. I knew the sacrifices I was going to have to make and I was lucky to have a loving and supportive family to help me.  

I struggled for two years with no healthcare because my M.S. was a pre-existing condition and this was during the time Obama was trying to get what is now labeled Obamacare passed. For the first time I saw something in politics that directly affected me and it was the President leading the cause. My new standing as a poor person with no insurance helped me see a side of this issue like others could not. I was living solely on my social security disability income and living at home, I was still only barely by. Eventually I qualified for Medicare and FINALLY had health coverage.  

My conservative, Republican, Christian family that watched more Fox News than ANY other news outlet, called Obama a socialist and believed all Fox News said, even though I was one of the very people Obama was trying to help with Obamacare – they saw it as evil and bad and so was Obama. This is when a passion for what was going on in politics began to grow IN me. My frustration also grew because I could not get them to see and understand – I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE” Fox News is demeaning! My parents had Social Security & Medicare and others in my family even had Medicaid and they witnessed my struggle with health issues all-the-while I had no health insurance. I began to see “conservative” to equal – I got mine and I do not care about you.

Needless to say this created a struggle for me in relating to my family and even strains our relationship today. I felt like an outsider in my own family.  Church was so important and BEING Christian was even more important. But as the conservatives boasted of their Christianity, I witnessed a great deal of not so Christian actions. Being gay has helped me see “church”, Christians, and even God in a much different light. I saw the principles of the Democrats relate more to Christianity than the “religious right”. I wrote a blog specifically to try to engage people to explain how “conservatives” were Christian (http://wp.me/pKLa8-GU) and e-mailed a blog that asked the same but in a friendlier tone than I had be able to muster! (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/11/time-for-christians-to-make-a-choice/) Republicans extol their Christianity but for me it conflicts with their politics and I feel the Democrats live it by their politics.

I see Jesus as someone that would spend time with gays, having wine and talking with them, not standing in line at Chick-fil-a so the company has more money to prevent gays having equality! I see Jesus touting the GOOD of Obamacare, not worrying how it could affect his personal coverage if the uninsured get access to care! This creates for me my biggest struggle – it makes me see my dearly devoted, Christian mother and others in my family as hypocrites! They already dislike me for being so different in how I think… how could they deal with being viewed as hypocrites? Or possibly even racist because of things they say about Obama? Oh yeah, that is why it was such an internal struggle for me to live that close to them. I hate myself for seeing my family the way I do. We DO love each other… but there is no respect unless there is agreement and I just can’t agree with them. They refuse to listen to my points because I think they do not want to see the hypocrisy. But any attempts I make to talk and try to understand only ends badly! I am a critical-thinker and NEED more than rhetoric and “faith” to understand things! Now I live far away and even at a distance it still hurts me!

My father was diagnosed with Dementia and suddenly Fox News was not on the tv as much (if any actually). A few months later he had a stroke, then 9 days later died. At his funeral, all that spoke (including me) mentioned his trademark little, old, piece of crap Toyota trucks he had over the years.  I did eventually get a little money and had the opportunity to travel to see my friend I call Little Buddy (one of my FAVORITE people in the world) and when I returned from that trip – I bought a little, old, piece of crap Toyota truck like my Dad used to have. I was looking forward to putting my Obama stickers on MY little, old truck, but they were thrown away because no one considered them relevant at that house  – the same as me… discarded without consideration or concern!

P.S. I do love my family and they do love me… like my facebook relationship status says – it’s complicated! My writing is to express feelings I am unable to share otherwise and this is how I feel now.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ignorance Is Bliss

Healthcare remains a HOT issue in the U.S.!  But if people actually took the time to read for themselves what is going on, maybe they would not be so frightened.  Ignorance is bliss, but I ask that you take the time to try to learn about what you think you are afraid of – Let’s turn on the lights and see the is no Boogie Man!!!

The highlights of the immediate change are:

  • No more caps on severe or catastrophic illnesses.
  • Help for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions.
  • Children will be able to remain on parents insurance until age 26.
  • Drug discount for seniors.

The highlights of changes for 2014 are:

  • Health insurance exchanges will be created to help insure small businesses, self-employed and the uninsured.
  • Health insurance will be required or individual will be penalized.
  • Medicaid expansion.
  • Tax breaks for families based on income.

I find none of these to be bad.  I see no reason for this to cause concern or alarm.

Here is my story – I am an uninsured American that has found refuge in Colombia, South America.  I have had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over 13 years and a few years back, my doctor determined I needed to be on disability.  I had worked for over 25 years and since I knew I had MS, I thought I had prepared for the possibility I would not be able to work one day.  In this post I will not even begin to describe the problems I have had with Cigna (my private disability insurer) but will only focus on the healthcare insurance aspect.  During the process of being approved for disability I was paying for my health insurance through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act).  I moved from private short-term disability to private long-term insurance then to Social Security Disability and this process took all the time COBRA covers and left me 4 months uninsured.  I thought once on Social Security Disability I would have Medicare and was STRESSED to find out that I would have to wait 2 years to qualify for Medicare which meant 2 more years with no health insurance while living with MS.  Bush was still President and there was NO discussion of Healthcare Reform.  I began looking for alternatives and even applied for Medicaid.  The results.. even just with disability… I made a whopping $8 a month too much to qualify!  So I found myself living at home with my family (who does not have the money to help me but tries all they can) with no insurance, no alternatives for insurance and a chronic illness getting worse.

My search for alternative places began with looking for climates that better suited my condition.  Colombia fit this need.  Then I found Colombia has private insurance companies that do not cover pre-existing conditions, government option health insurance (called E.P.S.) which residents pay an affordable price to participate in and does cover pre-existing conditions, and there is also a system that is similar to the U.S. Medicare/Medicaid that assists the very poor and senior citizens for free.  I also found that prescriptions are also covered.  One of my medications in the U.S. with no insurance cost $1,500 a month (more than I make each month) and the other treatments have higher or similar costs.  I began to investigate how I could an American participate.  It turns out… there is a law requiring residents to have health insurance and the Colombian Consulate was happy to give me a resident visa.  The U.S. cannot consider a plan that works for another country because this system does not kiss the insurance companies asses.  It turns out Colombia has not only addressed the issue of Healthcare, but also immigration reform (they like to let visitors come as tourist and enjoy that they want to be residents as well), gays can receive equal governmental benefits via a civil union (everyone gets civil unions here from the government gay or straight and the church issues marriage certificates), and although drugs may be made in the jungles of Colombia… there is no drug epidemic in the cities of Colombia like in the U.S.  I have found that Colombia is much more progressive politically, socially and environmentally on issues American can not even discuss civilly.

Recently I posted on my facebook page “Americans are upset about healthcare reform.  I ask you to take one second and quit complaining about how this may affect you and take time to be thankful for the millions that have not had access that will be able to have insurance without having to leave the country”.  This is an actual response from a relative of mine “Since you are on disability and had health care and still made the decision to move out of our country, I really don’t want to listen to you discuss what is going on here. You lost that right when you chose to leave. Key word here: CHOSE.”  I had to explain that I dd NOT have healthcare and asked what choice she would have made.  I explained my situation and here is her response, “You are right; I had no right to say anything to you. This is a very touchy situation and those of us that have worked hard for our health care had rather not have to pay for healthcare for those sitting on their butts living on welfare! Let’s all quit our jobs and let the Gov’t completely support us! Get real Tommy. Do they have welfare in Columbia? Yes, this free health care works great in countries that don’t have welfare. Our country can’t afford it, and we shouldn’t have to suffer because of it!”  The U.S. cannot afford this?  The U.S. has spent close to $1 trillion on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (http://costofwar.com/), but the U.S. government cannot afford healthcare?  Since when did war become more affordable and more important than citizens health?  Why does healthcare cost so much to begin with?

I guess I had not worked hard enough while working for 10 years with Multiple Sclerosis. lol  About 11% of Americans are on welfare and ALREADY have Medicaid (government-run healthcare), so what else is she thinking she will have to pay for the people sitting on their butts that she does not already pay for?  Healthcare reform is for the people who do not have access to insurance through work (opps working people), people with catastrophic illnesses (we understand it is expensive to treat cancer… but after X amount, you are not worth covering and that is acceptable behavior for insurance companies), people with pre-existing conditions (damn lazy people who have sat on their butts and not curing the diseases they have) and uninsured ( people who cannot pay crazy expensive health insurance premiums with honest days wages – they should have gone to college and let the illegal immigrants have their low paying job), and expanding Medicaid (OMG poor people, when they get sick… we should just put them to sleep like an old dog).  But an expansion of Medicaid would help cover the working poor not the freeloaders sitting on their butts. So lets not reform or change anything because “I (any American)” might have to pay something more for the less fortunate!!

Contrary to her opinion, I did work hard, I tried to be prepared for illness or disability and my CHOICES were taken from me, my preparation was useless.  Few Americans realize how close they are to being in my situation.  But I have resolved my issue of not having insurance by taking extreme but necessary changes.  I would love to know what choices I had that I did not consider before leaving the United States?  I would like to know what others would have done in my situation that I had not already tried.

This blog will continue tomorrow I have only commented on one statement I find completely confused about and do not understand as a response to healthcare reform.  I will discuss one of these comments and if time permits both:

“Nebraska Senator’s status: Obama’s healthcare plan was written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it, signed by a President that smokes, funded by a Treasury Chief that didn’t pay his taxes, overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by …a country that is nearly broke. What could possibly go wrong?”

and this comment and exchange:

“Everyone, your new Medicaid card is now in the mail! Bad day gang!”

Categories: Colombia, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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