Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Getting Meds

I am currently waiting for my pajamas to get out of the dryer. I like clean warm pajamas. Laundry had to happen.

I went to Metrocare for my prescriber appointment today. It was rather surreal.

First of all I was late. I did call and let them know I was behind, but I had to leave a message. Not efficient, I’m thinking, but what do I know?

I stood in line and the lady at the desk seemed surprised to see me. “Didn’t you get a phone call?” she asked me. It turned out that someone should have called me to say that they were not keeping appointments for the next 30 days. My appointment had been cancelled.

There’s only one problem: I was out of one of my meds.

I take a pretty standard bipolar cocktail of an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an atypical anti-psychotic. To my knowledge, I’ve never been fully psychotic but it’s preventative. I had run out of the anti-psychotic.

I told the lady, and she said she’d email the prescriber but it would take about an hour for him to respond. I said I’d wait, and sat down in the waiting room.

Domino’s delivered a pizza while I was waiting. It was such a normal thing that it seems not to belong in the world any more.

Then a lady came out and said she had to clear the waiting room. She gave sticky notes to everybody who was a hospital discharge or corrections release. The rest of us were ousted. I was told it was okay to wait in my car, I just couldn’t be in the lobby. So I went to my car. Considering that I had been there the other day and had been told I was a walk-in, only to reach the end of the day without seeing anyone, I had even less faith in the system working if I was out of sight.

After a while, my phone rang. It was Metrocare, following up on my phone call from earlier. He wanted to make sure I’d made it. Apparently he didn’t know my appointment was cancelled. It gave me the idea to call the pharmacy and see if my prescriptions were ready. They weren’t, but at least they’d been received. I tried to play on my phone but actually ended up napping, at least until the rap truck drove up. I don’t care what kind of music people listen to, but I do care that I could hear it clearly through the walls of the car. Since I was awake, I checked my phone and my meds were ready.

I went inside to pick them up. I don’t know why I’m not in the system for free care since I have no insurance and no income. I needed $20 for all three, but I particularly needed the anti-psychotic. I tried to pay, but I only had $15 in my account. I took what I could afford and left the anti-depressant. Embarrassing, and frustrating.

I went to my daughter’s place. Her boyfriend was there and one of her roommates was home, but mostly there was a herd of cats. A clowder of cats, I believe is the collective noun. There is Ryder with her 5 kittens, Angel who belongs to one of the roommates, Persephone and Perseus who belong to the other roommate, and pregnant Pumpkin who belongs to the boyfriend.

Now the boyfriend doesn’t live there officially but. But there is a closet full of his clothes. But he’s been there for a week. But his cat will be happier having her kittens there than at his house. Hmm. I see a change in the future.

I had coffee, daughter had wine, boyfriend played a video game. Skyrim, I believe. Roommate came in while I was talking about what happened at Metrocare.

“Do you need $5 for your mental health?” she demanded. Then she went in the other room and came back with a $20 that she gave me.

“You are a goddess!” my daughter said.

Then the roommate told us about an opportunity for waitstaff in Deep Ellum to pick up produce that was going to waste now that restaurants are pretty much shut down. She was working, but it seemed like a good deal. I offered to drive someone to pick up the produce, if someone else could do that. Turns out they can, so tomorrow I will pick up my daughter, go to Metrocare to pick up my remaining meds, and we will go get the food. Then they will share the food with me, they have already decided.

So things are weird, but we are all pulling together. The kids are helping me and I am helping them. My new job will put me within 2 miles of them, so I’m hoping to be even more help. They’re good kids.

Seems like the dryer is done. Time for a shower and clean jammies, then bed.


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Parkland Hospital

So meds are an issue in my life now.

I went to Metrocare for my psych meds. It took about 5 hours as a walk-in. I did see the nurse practitioner. He said that my anti-depressant was a bit high for bipolar and that if it was reduced, I might not need the mood stabilizer. Interesting. This cocktail has worked just fine for me so far so he refilled it as I was taking it, but I might ask about reducing meds.

Then I ran out of blood pressure meds. That’s a little different. I went to Parkland hospital because I know they have a program for people without insurance. I started in the business office. I filled out the paperwork. I didn’t have pay stubs but I had my W-2’s because I’d just done my taxes. I didn’t have a copy of my bank statement. The person who took my information said they’d ask for it if they need it.

I went to lunch at a little cafe serving Starbucks products. It was decent and filling but not fabulous. The coffee was good.

From there I went to the urgent care center. It was quite an experience. After I signed in, I had to wait for someone to see me. That’s to be expected. They triaged me and my blood pressure was a little high. Not surprising since I was out of blood pressure meds and I’d been drinking coffee. Then back to the waiting room.

Of course when they called me, they couldn’t figure out my name. My family name is Leonard, pronounced Lennerd, not Leo Nard. I assume it’s the Spanish pronunciation but I could be wrong. Then they couldn’t figure out Allison. I got Alicia, Alyssa, and finally just a snort and the letter A. It’s not a complicated name. It took me a minute to realize they meant me.

They walked me to another waiting area, they walked me to a lab, they walked me to a third waiting area, they walked me to a room, and they walked me back out to the lobby to wait for final lab results. They certainly don’t let you sit anywhere for very long, which probably makes the wait seem shorter. Finally I was given some prescriptions and discharged.

I was sent over to the Anderson building to the pharmacy. You get in line and check in. Then you wait for your name to appear on a screen, meaning the prescription’s been filled. You get back in line and receive a number. Then you wait for them to call your number. It was a lot of unnecessary line time but I’m sure someone thought it was reasonable. No charge for the meds though, that was good. Nice to get something for spending 7 hours of my day there. Pshew.

I got home and figured out that they’d only given me 7 days worth of meds. In the paperwork was a number for a referral for a primary care physician. I tried to call. It wasn’t exactly successful.

The first lady told me she’d connect me to “the clinic” and dropped me back into the queue. I told the second lady what happened, and she told me to call a different number and choose the make an appointment option. Ok. I called the other number and got the same phone tree and made the same choices, including the option to make an appointment. I sat on hold for 10 minutes and had to pee so I hung up. When I called back, the outgoing message stated the office was closed, which means I try again in the morning. I actually feel like the phone operators are either incompetent or lazy, since either they didn’t know how to help me or they didn’t want to. In either case, it looks like I won’t get an appointment until at least 6 weeks out, which means spending every Tuesday up there for the next month and a half.

People talk about folks who get services as if it’s a gift. In reality, it isn’t easy. It takes so much effort to get help. It took all day to walk through the system. It cost me parking and meals out. And I got the bare minimum of help so I will have to keep going through the process repeatedly until someone sees what’s going on. Hopefully once I have an appointment, they’ll just write me a script that will last until then.


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Metrocare

I went to Metrocare today. It was an interesting experience.

On February 8th, I got an email that as of January 18, I had 15 days of health insurance left. That was February 2nd. My insurance ended 6 days before I was notified.

In the meantime, I ran out of Metformin and Abilify. I can’t afford to pick up either one of them because full price is too much for me right now.

I’m not too upset about the Metformin. I was put on it because my A1c was elevated to 6.1. Now if you watch TV, you’ve seen the commercial where the man is happy his A1c is below 7. Last time I checked, 6.1 is below 7. So maybe 6.1 isn’t so bad. On top of that, I’ve been taking it for 9 months and my A1c hasn’t budged. Apparently it’s not working for me, and I was going to talk to the doctor about stopping it. I think I can live without it.

The Abilify, now, is a mood stabilizer and the past few days I’ve been out of it, I’ve been emotional. An online friend posted about a homeless person in her neighborhood who apparently passed away, and it made me cry. Then I responded a little heartlessly to her, because that is how I am with myself. I”m just all over the place. I continued to be weepy about the man for several hours. Now I am fine. I think the fancy word is labile. I feel like I need the Abilify for stability.

I tried to go to the pharmacy. Prices are a little high. To be honest, even with the insurance copay, I wouldn’t have been able to afford both of them. I needed to figure out an alternative. The only option I know is public health so I went to Metrocare.

I am not so bad off, all things considered. I am not so impaired. I am not suicidal or psychotic. I am, at the moment, pretty well controlled with my meds. Many of the people at Metrocare are not doing as well as I am. It’s said, but hopeful.

I waited to apply for assistance. The process was pretty quick. I don’t know how I’m going to prove income, but they saw me the first time without that information. I guess I’ll bring my W-2’s to prove my annual income. Except that I’m not making that money at the moment. Anyway, the application process was rapid.

Then I waited for hours to be seen. I’m sure that’s because I was a walk-in. I saw a nurse practitioner named Charles who I think was from Africa. I didn’t ask. He had an accent that wasn’t Australian or Caribbean so I think it was African. I could be wrong. He criticized my drugs a little. He seemed to think my does of Prozac was too high, and that if it was lower, I probably wouldn’t need the Abilify. I told him, the meds were working, I didn’t see a reason to change them. He wrote me the same prescrptions and said to come back in 6 weeks.

I went back out front, and talked to the pharmacy. They were able to verify that I was accepted into the program, and they filled the prescriptions for me for $16, which is about 1/3 of what I was paying with insurance. I had a moment of uncertainty when I went to pay it though. I wasn’t sure I had $16 in my bank account. I still don’t know how much I have, and I’m afraid to look.

Whole process only took 3 1/2 hours. All afternoon. I suppose it could have been worse.

Oh, my friend’s issue with the homeless man. His name is Franklin. She is quite distraught, even though she didn’t speak to him ever. I asked, what is she inspired to do? Other people are also in dire straits. My friend got quite upset with me. But for me, that is how I handle grief. I do something about it. My way isn’t better, and I do allow myself time to feel it, but I feel better if there’s a plan. So I wept for Franklin, and for my friend, and I will make some art about it later. I think, the fence where his community set up a memorial altar for him, with some flowers and candles. I have the image in my mind, I just need to put it together.

I filed my taxes this year. I still get a refund, but it’s only about 1/3 the amount I got last year. This administration is not good for me. Not just the tax money, but supposedly there was a tax cut. All I can say is, my refund was sure cut.


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Kick Me Again, I’m Starting to Like It

It’s like being pecked to death by ducks. One little thing going wrong after another.

I heard from Michael’s. They said one of the checks has already been cashed so they can’t replace it. At least it is the smaller check. So instead of around $800 I will get closer to $500. Not ideal but could be worse.

And I got a notice that my health insurance has been cancelled. I got the notice on the 7th. It said, that on January 18, I had 15 days of coverage left. That was February 2. So I didn’t know there was a problem until 5 days after it ended.

Pretty much, you can have insurance and pay for it through the company for up to a year of not working. If you work 4 consecutive months, it restarts the clock. I worked 5 weeks last year, so not even close to 4 months, let alone consecutive.

At least, if I don’t have an insurance payment, I should get paid the difference. I can use the money.

I did check out the health insurance marketplace through the ACA / Obamacare program. The lowest price they gave me was $435 per month. Right now, I don’t even earn that much, let alone have it to pay for insurance. That’s just the insurance, there would be copays on top of that. Meds and doctor visits out of pocket don’t cost that much.

I guess I will get to check out the local mental health services now. I hear Metrocare is kind of crap and I should go with Transicare. Either way I will have to go through North Texas Behavioral Health, which replaced MHMR.

I need to call my doctor and see if there’s a program through Southwestern for low income health care. I need the refills for my blood pressure meds as well as the psych meds. I might be able to get all my services through Southwestern. If not, I’ll go to Parkland.

At least I have a plan. I’ll be travelling for work until Wednesday, so Thursday I’ll start making calls. I’m gonna check out the websites tonight. Hopefully I can keep my meds on track.


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New Year, Same Life



I’m not complaining, my life is okay.

When I was young, I somehow had the feeling of one year ending and another beginning. It felt like crossing a border of some kind.

Nowadays, well, time is more of a spiral, no discernible step between one year and the next, it all just slides together. Today is not appreciably different from yesterday. New Year may be now, but new beginnings are when you make them.

I am looking for computer books to help hone my skills in Excel and PowerPoint. I decided to start with Excel. Do you have any idea how many books there are about Excel? Not to mention, several of them ask what version I have. I googled how to find out, and it looks like I have the 2019 version. Only thing is, I don’t remember buying the 2019 version. Does it update automatically? I found a book on Excel 2016 at Half Price Books. It was inexpensive, seemed like a good place to start.

I am also trying out some products from an online buying club. I went to their annual launch presentation today, and I am actually pretty impressed with the company. I’ll talk more about that as time goes on. I don’t want to turn into a Scamway bot.

I wrote another piece for the next issue of This Zine Has Issues. I’ll provide a link as soon as there is one. I know it will be published by Microcosm Publishing. I happen to love Microcosm. I just ordered a pack of zines from them.

Speaking of ordering, I ordered a hoodie that I think is hella cute, graphic with a big cat on it. I also ordered some art supplies.

Ah, art supplies. I keep ordering more like craft supplies but I really need art supplies. That might not make much sense. I ordered, for example, Prima flowers. I love the flowers. They are a scrapbooking product. But I long to make printed papers. I don’t have the supplies (or the space) to do that. I may have to take a class just to have studio space. I really need to start using the stuff I have. I’m thinking of ordering some mirrors from IKEA that would work as substrate.

Work continues. I have a qualifying test on Tuesday for being a 911 operator. I’m not sure I’m really the person for that job but it seems like a place to start. I also have an online interview for an eating disorder counselor. Which would probably be ironic for me, as a fat person. I am going down to the unemployment office to see what they can do for me. They might be able to help with the computer learning. I have applied to MetroCare to be a peer specialist. I need to come up with about $2000 to handle that school debt, then I can finish the degree. I figure if I get the degree and I already work at MetroCare, there’s a good chance of advancing. I am also waiting to hear from the PA cadre at FEMA. They said 2 months, that should be sometime in January.

So, no big changes. It feels like crossing the threshold of the new year should bring a new life, kind of like birthdays always seem auspicious. But truly it’s just life moving on. It is what you make of it. I think I’m doing pretty okay, and hopefully things keep looking up.