Kiss5Tigers

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


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The More Things Change

It seems I am too poor for unemployment. I didn’t earn enough money in the last year to qualify. Well, that’s why I left that job: As much as I loved it, I needed more hours. I miss it, but maybe I can go back to it one day. Assuming, that is, that I can pay them what I owe them. They covered me for health insurance for a year where I did not pay my part so I owe them that premium. And it’s the government, so if I don’t pay it back, they’ll keep my tax refund, if I get one.

Additionally, I have been approved for the temporary unemployment money but it’s not being paid to me. I qualified under the previous claim so it would be over $500 a week. Would be. If they would pay it to me. I have requested payment every two weeks on the regular unemployment claim, even though they won’t pay me. That’s the only time I can make a payment request. However, the temporary payment says there is no record of me making a payment request. I have no idea what they are looking for.

I have been trying for 8 weeks to reach someone at Texas Workforce Commission who can help me with this, but I can’t get through. I am so frustrated that I contacted my representative, Ms Eddie Johnson. Of course I did not speak to her directly, but her assistant gave me a phone number for a real person. I have called him 3 times now. The first time, I got an admin who listened to my issue and said someone would call me back, probably the same day. I called back at the end of the day, and I called today, but I got voicemail those times. I left a message today. I will call again tomorrow.

In the meantime, we are re-arranging the living situation. V my boss is moving out of the house into a new townhouse we’re renting. I will move into her bedroom as soon as she is out of it. That’s the plan anyway. Then our resident will move into the room I’m currently in, and we will have room for 2 more girls. Of course it isn’t going that smoothly.

I have been moving stuff out of my room for several hours now, into the garage. There’s no room for it in my new room because that room is fully furnished. I don’t mind lots of stuff going into the garage, but some stuff should stay climate controlled, like photographs. And some stuff I want access to, like art supplies. So I am down to the point where I’m not sure what to do with stuff.

Also, V has not moved her personal belongings out of the bedroom yet so I can’t move my clothes and things in. She wants to move the furniture into my bedroom but we can’t do that while my stuff is there and right now I have no place to put my stuff. It goes around in circles.

Tonight I took a CPR class. Again. I took it two years ago for FEMA and now I am taking it for Shepherd Inn. The rules have changed slightly. The big deal about CPR is remember compressions and call 911. There are other instructions like using the AED and giving breaths every 30 compressions, but the big two are call 911 and do compressions. Also the choking has changed. They no longer call it the Heimlich maneuver. They suggest doing it over the back of a chair. And you no longer thump the person between the shoulder blades. Otherwise, it’s the same material.

I am tired and expect to make my bed soon and climb into it. I would sleep in my own room but there is a much bigger bed waiting for me in V’s room. I can’t wait to have the dogs gone so my kitty can sleep with me and wander the house. She likes being able to be near me.

The sink is full of dishes. The drainer is full of dishes. I have to empty the drainer before I can wash the other dishes. Of course, while I do make dishes, I don’t make all the dishes; yet I wash all the dishes. I don’t mind washing dishes I make dirty even if it’s by cooking for the household. I just wish people would wash their own dishes instead of leaving them in the sink for me to manage.

I have the doctor tomorrow morning, finally. It only took 3 months to get in to see someone. This will be for my blood pressure meds though I will ask about my psych meds. I’d just as soon do it all through Parkland as have half of it here and half of it there. Yeah, I think I’ll be getting ready for bed soon, take a shower, so I can be ready in the morning when it’s time to go.

I am thinking again lately of finding a life mate. V is madly in love with someone, so is K. Even my daughter has a serious boyfriend. And here I am, with a last date literally 10 years ago. It’s time. I don’t know how to meet someone, but I’m feeling like maybe it would be nice to have someone to do things with. Maybe. I am wary.

I think I’ve said all this before just in different places. My life doesn’t change much, even though it seems to be in constant motion.


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Blood Pressure Meds

Today was an “adventure” in getting my meds.

I dropped one of the girls off at work, then went to Parkland to go to the urgent care office. I am about 2 1/2 weeks away from seeing the doctor and I ran out of blood pressure meds. I just needed to see someone to give me enough refill to last until the appointment.

I went to the urgent care clinic building and got sent to emergency, which is in another building. I had to pee the whole time, so that was doubly frustrating. I asked if I could use the ladies’ room and they told me no. There’s a Starbucks in the building that was doing roaring business; I wonder if they would have let me in to get a coffee.

Either way, I went to emergency. They checked me into the building by taking my temperature and playing 20 questions about my possible exposure to coronavirus. Then they walked me to emergency who took my vitals and checked me in again. Blood pressure 136 over 88, so a little high. Usually I am closer to 120 over 80. I don’t know if it was irritation or if I need my meds tweaked.

I waited about 10 minutes in emergency and got taken back across the street by an elevated walkway to the urgent care clinic. The lady at the door had told me it was closed! Clearly it wasn’t closed.

The whole office visit took maybe 15 minutes. They re-upped my prescriptions and sent me on my way. I walked to a third building where the pharmacy was. I got checked in over there, including taking my temperature for the third time in maybe 90 minutes. Then I settled in to wait.

It actually only took 15 minutes for my number to be called, but they only had one prescription ready. Three had been called over. I could wait, they said, about 45 minutes; but no, I needed to be back to work. I had to leave.

I went back later this afternoon. I brought my daughter with me to save the $5 parking fee, but then I spent $7 on drinks and a snack for us, so really it was a wash. Happy hour at Sonic means we got huge drinks for a little money, plus corny dogs. I have no air conditioning in my car so those drinks were very welcome!

The wait was completely different. First of all there was a disabled man in line in front of me. I appreciate that he had mobility issues. He walked very slowly. He kept stopping but every time he did, he raised his cane to waist height and blocked the entire passageway so I couldn’t pass him. I’m pretty sure he was doing it on purpose, though not specifically because of me. I found it frustrating but I don’t think I sighed or anything.

The registration desk gave me number 988. The display showed they had just called number 964. I knew it would be a while so I texted my daughter. Then I waited. And I dozed a little. And I waited some more. Finally they called me. It took like 3 minutes to get my stuff, and it was free. Really I spent most of the day waiting.

By then it was 5:00, rush hour. Which is really the opposite of rushing, more like parking on the highway. Literally. Came to a complete stop more than once. Still, it was nice to spend the few extra minutes with my daughter.

Daughter tells me a friend of hers hung himself several weeks ago, and there hasn’t been a funeral. His friends feel the lack of closure. It looks like she is part of the group who is planning a memorial service. If daughter doesn’t go to the service, she is going to a rally for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died after being knelt on by a police officer. I don’t know what to say. My daughter makes me proud, taking emotional care of her friends or standing up for what she feels is right. She’s a good kid.

Now I am home. I need to take one of the girls to the store, but that’s okay. Should be a quiet Friday night.


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Ecstacy and Hospitals

A young friend of mine, L, went to the hospital early on Thursday. I got the call from her roommate M at 5:45 in the morning. I always get these calls just before my alarm goes off.

L had been offered some ecstacy by a friend of hers. She declined it and then went out. After a few drinks, the friend convinced L to take the drug. Things were fine for a while, then they went all pear-shaped.

L became violent and aggressive. She hit one of her friends in the face. She got mad at her boyfriend because he wasn’t her father. Then she decided she’d had enough and left the apartment. Her boyfriend sensed something was very wrong and went after her.

It’s a good thing he did.

She climbed to the roof of the parking lot and tried to go over the edge. Boyfriend restrained her. She began kicking and punching and biting. Two other friends and M came to help. It took all 4 of them to keep her on the ground. She was screaming the whole time, no words, just an unending shriek.

When she wasn’t screaming, she was talking to someone that nobody else could see. She kept saying “I see him,” but she wouldn’t or couldn’t say who she saw. We believe it was her deceased father but we’ll never know.

In the meantime, neighbors heard the ruckus. They stepped outside with phones. At least one of them called the police. That’s when M called me.

M was scared and crying. Both of those are perfectly understandable responses to the situation. I told her she was doing the right thing. She put me on speaker phone. When L heard my voice, she shouted, “You piece of shit! You’re never there!” and went back to the wordless yell.

M apologized to me, but really there was nothing to apologize for. We got off the phone and I called the cops again. I gave them some details that they didn’t have.

I heard later that a lady cop arrived first. She apparently was the mental health expert but once the male cops arrived, they didn’t treat her with respect. They cuffed L, who was cooperative with the process, and took her to a local hospital.

About fifteen minutes after that, I arrived at the apartment. The young people were all sitting in s circle, decompressing. They talked about what had happened. We all laughed uproariously when a cat missed a jump. It wasn’t that funny, we just all needed a break so badly at that point.

The friend who supplied the drug never appeared. I assumed she was at work or otherwise out. It turned out she was in her room watching cartoons. She had been there all night. She had not followed L outside or tried to help or even come out to see what all the commotion was. The whole group of young people is, as they say, over her. She lost a bunch of friends that night.

Boyfriend got together some clean clothes, L’s glasses, her wallet and keys, and we headed to the hospital. We tried emergency and they wouldn’t let us in. They told us they hadn’t seen her, but gave us a number to call. We tried the psych ward; they also said they hadn’t seen her. We tried psych emergency. They said they could neither confirm nor deny that they had her. That meant she was there so I left a message with my phone number. Boyfriend and I went home.

I spent the day wondering how she was. About 10 hours later, I called again and left another message. I gave the number to boyfriend and to M, so they could call and leave their numbers in case she preferred to call one of them. Finally the phone rang.

Of course nothing can go smoothly. I answered the phone, but there was no sound. I assumed it was L, so I explained that I couldn’t hear her and I was going to hang up. It happened 2 or 3 more times and I eventually called the ward. The person I spoke to said they’d been having trouble with one of the phones and they would provide her with different equipment. At last the phone rang and I could speak with L.

Her voice was hoarse from all the screaming and she sounded tired. She stated she hadn’t seen a doctor. I asked if she was in an observation room, since I assumed this was a 72-hour psych hold. She said no, she was in a big open room with recliners and no beds. She just wanted to sleep. We got off the phone.

I called the ward and asked about the doctor. It didn’t make sense that she had been there that long and not talked to anybody. Fortunately she had signed a piece of paper that they could talk to me. They told me she had been seen twice but she was so out of it that they weren’t surprised she didn’t remember. They also told me they were going to release her the next day, Friday. I said I would pick her up.

When I saw her, she looked rough. She was clearly tired and out of it. Her anxiety was high so we stopped at a gas station for gas, cigarettes, and drinks, then I took her home.

We have talked a few times since then even though it’s only been 2 days. We talked about what could have been different, what I could have done, ways I can be there for her. She broke her hand during the fracas so we talked about ways to splint it. She told me she plans to move since friend cannot be trusted and therefore was no longer a good roommate.

I am just glad L had friends who protected her from herself. I could wish everybody had friends like that.


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Nasal Swabbing

At work we have a handyman. He works for a number of people, but he was over here last week hanging a room divider for the girls’ room. On Friday, he called us and told us he was being tested for Coronavirus because someone in his apartment complex had it. Today he called us with the results: His test came back positive.

Now of course we are sorry that he is sick, although he has no symptoms. However, that means that our household needed to be tested. Fortunately, Watermark Church is doing free testing for people without insurance. Since I am on the Parkland Plan, I don’t have traditional insurance and I got the test for free.

Let me tell you: The nurse who administers it is a little humorous about it. “That physical feeling of being violated will pass, the emotional part I can’t help you with.” Which was actually cute the way she said it.

But yeah! Did it feel like a violation!

The swab is about 8″ long and it goes up your nose. Up your nose and down your throat and into your brain. It is a long-ass swab. It wasn’t exactly painful but it was not at all pleasant.

Of course I got all tense and that makes it worse. They do it with you sitting in the car and I arched all up out of the seat. I felt like, if I could have tipped my head at a different angle, it would have been better. But yeah, not fun, not fun at all.

The whole car got tested and now we wait for our results. For the next 2 weeks we are quarantined which means the 5 of us (me, Victoria, our 2 guests and the baby) are stuck in the house. Together. Victoria and I get along pretty well, I don’t know the girls will be after being cooped up for 14 days.

I am going to let my daughter take the car for the quarantine. She has things she needs to get done and I can’t go anywhere so she might as well use it. I hate for things to be wasted through non use. (Remind me of that with regard to art supplies.)

I did however get two very cool masks in the mail today from Lilydale. Who is a person in Canada. I don’t know her real name, she’s an online friend so I only know her alias. So that was a nice surprise.

And I got Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. Tacos and egg rolls. Greasy greasy food but I’ve been eating home cooking for a couple weeks now so it was really good for a change.

Here’s hoping the tests come back negative and life returns to “normal”.


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North Texas Giving Tuesday

Hello hello hello

Today is a mixed bag of stuff.

In the middle of the night, I got a notice from unemployment that they turned me down because I gave incorrect information. Now I actually spoke to a person — they called me, I can’t get through to them — and I thought we got it all squared away. I thought the Census Bureau was my last employer because they hired me back in March, but since they never paid me, I am not considered an employee. Now I have to try to call the unemployment people again and see if I can find out what went astray.

On the other hand, Parkland finally approved me so I got my blood pressure meds today. I was starting to get headaches from blood pressure being too high so this is a great thing. It also means I have health insurance for the coming year.

I ordered stamps from the post office and they are having issues with delivering them. I don’t know why. On May 2 at 10:27 it says “out for delivery” and by 3:30 the same day, the package is marked “available for pickup”. I mean, if I was going to pick them up, couldn’t I have just gone to the post office and bought stamps? I have letters waiting to go out.

I did speak to the mail carrier, but he doesn’t sort his own mail so he said I needed to call. Well I’m trying but it’s nearly impossible. The system is set up to do everything automated and will only let you speak to a representative under certain circumstances. Stamp orders is not one of those circumstances. So I tried general customer service and right now I have been on hold for 36 minutes waiting for a representative. I know it’s Covid season but they are providing poor service with no way to correct it.

Today is North Texas Giving Tuesday and I work at a non profit so if you’re looking for a place to give . . . We got 501c3 status, I think it was Thursday, and already all the beds are filled. Teenagers need a place to go, a safe house for them is a real blessing. So we have 2 girls, one with a baby, who we are helping get back on track.

I am hoping to make some artist trading cards this afternoon since I have some time to myself. I might just watch TV and crochet though. I don’t know. I started a series called “Tales From The Loop“. It’s kind of “Eureka” meets “The Twilight Zone“. I’m really enjoying it. I’m thinking of getting a drink in a second and looking up a local phone number for the post office.

Here’s hoping I find stamps soon!


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New Digs

I am now living in Dallas proper, not just in the Dallas area.

I have a room at Shepherd Inn where I am the house manager. Right now that mostly means I cook. I don’t love cooking, but everyone likes my food here so I don’t hate it either.

My ex husband hated my cooking. He is the only person I know who could make the statement “This is like gourmet food” sound like an insult. He liked very processed food and I tend to start with ingredients and try to add veg whenever possible. He didn’t like veg. He wanted meat, cheese and bread. I’m surprised he didn’t have more digestion issues than he did. Anyway.

It’s nice to cook for people who appreciate it. I made crock pot chicken twice now. Banana bread. Egg salad. Omelets. Salmon. I have a crock pot of apple sauce cooking. It’ll be like apple pie filling without the crust. Chicken salad. This week I’ll try for spaghetti sauce. We have a couple pounds of venison in the freezer that I want to use up. Maybe chili later in the week.

We have our first guest at Shepherd Inn. She was an emergency intake, her boyfriend basically beat the shit out of her and she had nowhere to go. We are supposed to get a young single mom later this week. It’s pretty exciting. I really hope we can make a difference in these people’s lives.

V is painting the living room with her mother. I hope it’s done in time to go grocery shopping later today. We don’t need a lot of stuff but we are out of a few things. I’m working on this and on my Patreon today so I’m not painting. I don’t really have clothes to paint in anyway.

I had a job interview yesterday with Texas Workforce Commission, or Work In Texas or whatever euphemism they’re using for the unemployment office these days. I guess it’s not actually the unemployment office because all that is handled through a single office in Austin. The local centers are all about employment. So the position would be helping people get further education to move into a different field and helping with job matching. I was deucedly unprepared for the interview. They wanted to know what I knew about the job, which was pretty much nothing. I did tell them at the end that I knew I didn’t a lot about the job, but a benefit of that is that they can train me their way because I don’t bring a lot of preconceived notions with me. They gave me several scenarios to comment on. V overheard — it was online so I was in the kitchen — and said I interviewed really well. I’m not sure the interviewers share her opinion. But I did my best, what else can a person do?

I spoke to unemployment this week. They called me which was good because I had been trying for ages to reach them and couldn’t get through. I was offered that job at the census bureau but not given a start date. Now census says operations are suspended so I can’t even guess when they’ll need me. I figured I probably qualified for the extra $600 they are giving out, even though I have otherwise used up my benefits for the year. So they are going to update the information and reapply for me. See what happens.

I had several face masks, and now I can’t find any of them. I have misplaced the llama one and the sugar skull one. Sugar skulls might be in the car so I should check there but the llamas, I don’t know. I really need to look for them in case we go out later. We’re supposed to go grocery shopping and we are still social distancing.

Texas is supposed to be opening up starting yesterday. Restaurants are open at 25% capacity to keep distance between diners. Bars the same. But I am hoping for Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books to open. I miss coffee and browse the stacks. So many cool books waiting for me to read them.

I am currently reading Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper. It’s a small book but it is taking me forever to read. I really hate that I can’t read any more. Well I can still read, I mean, I know how; but I seem to lack the focus to actually read a book. Even fiction.

I have put in my background check for CK Family Services. Talk about extensive! Ten years of residences, 6 personal references, and oh yeah supply my own copy of my driving record. Even the government didn’t ask for that much stuff. Though I suppose they have a record of my addresses due to filing income tax.

Parkland has been a headache. I am out of my blood pressure meds and I can’t get them. The out-of-pocket price was $108 which I just don’t have. I tried to apply for the Parkland Plan but I didn’t have all the documents I needed. I was told to bring a copy of my latest bank statement. I went back yesterday with the statement and they told me it was supposed to be my last 3 statements. I can go back Monday to finish the process but oh boy, do I not feel like going. But I will. I will feel pretty achy by Monday and be ready to get my meds. I might bring daughter down with me since she needs the insurance too. She would also benefit from the VIP program for abuse survivors. I just don’t know if she’ll live in town long enough to attend it. Her lease is up in August.

So much going on, and I’m feeling a real need to look for those masks. I think I’ll jump off here.


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Post Apocalyptic Pharmacy

I went to the pharmacy today. Usually that would be just one more thing in a list of places but today it was a trip in and of itself.

I don’t have a general practitioner or as the insurance people say, a primary care physician. I don’t have insurance right now so I use the public health system. I go to Parkland. My pharmacy is on the hospital campus.

I ran out of my blood pressure meds with this last refill of my meds box so I called it in. They told me everything would be ready Monday. I made my daughter get up and go with me in the morning to get them.

When I got to the pharmacy building, only one door was open. A path was cordoned off so you could only go one way. Two nurses in masks stood at the corner. First they asked why you were there. Some people had appointments but most of us were for the pharmacy. Then they took my temperature. 97.5. I feel like a radio station.

Next I was directed down the line to get a wristband. It was like a concert wristband with a tribal design on it. Then another nurse directed me to the hand sanitizer. After that I was finally able to enter the pharmacy.

The check-in line had X’es taped on the floor showing where to stand. The receptionist didn’t take my ID as usual. Instead I held it up to the glass partition for her to read. The glass partition has always been there, with just a slit to talk through and have her hand me a ticket. I always figured it was a physical safety issue, to keep violent people away like at a bank only for drugs not money, but now I think it has always been about disease.

Turned out my meds were not ready and they needed me to come back after 1230. I left the building and went with my daughter back to her place for a few hours. Coffee and kittens made the wait pass quickly. Just after 12 I got an automated call from Parkland that my meds were ready.

My daughter and I drove back to the pharmacy. I brought my daughter to wait in the car so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. My budget is that tight right now, that $5 for parking seemed exorbitant. I went through the process again and was let into the building. This time the receptionist gave me a number.

I went into the waiting room. Usually it’s packed. The seats are arranged in rows of 6 and I’m used to 4 or 5 people sitting in each row. Today there was only one person in each row. Several people were wearing masks.

I was number 807. When I arrived, they were on number 788. I figured it would be a solid half hour wait. It was about half that. Things progressed smoothly and rapidly. I got my meds and by the time I left, it was pouring rain. Fortunately my daughter had been waiting nearby so I didn’t have long to wait to be picked up.

Now I am home. It seems so strange now, just going to the pharmacy. I also wonder what I will do the next time. I am now out of refills and insurance. I don’t know how I’ll get my meds next month. Even if they do an automatic refill extension like most places are, I don’t have any income and I don’t know how I’ll pay for them. But I have faith that something will have changed by then.

The world is all different right now and it changed practically overnight. I believe it can change again just as fast, in ways I can’t predict. I can only wait and see.


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A Better Day

Today was better than the past couple have been.

First of all, I got my meds under control. I am taking the right things in the right dose at the right time. That is huge. I still have to pay attention to the blood pressure meds though. Parkland only gave me a week’s worth and the earliest appointment I could get was in May which is, well, more than a week away. So getting that managed will be important.

I woke up in pajamas with no idea how I got into them. I was wearing a white t-shirt that I have been looking for, and I don’t know where I found it. I have no memory of putting myself to bed. But I was exhausted from being up all night Wednesday night with my daughter.

I made it to ATTA, my art group, today. I really like them. I am working on a mail art project where I need to make 40 little pieces of art the size of a postcard. Yup, 40. Which isn’t a lot but it’s a whole lot to do. I’m not sure how I feel about the individual pieces, or rather I’m sure I don’t care for several of them already, but a body of work is interesting. I think I’ll try it again with a series rather than individual works. The thing is to mail it off to a third party who will bind them into books with other people’s work, and then send me one. I can’t wait to see what other people do.

I haven’t made mail art in a long time, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

I stopped at Burger King on the way home. I had missed breakfast so I was really hungry. I swear it was the best burger, which I know is because of my appetite.

When I got home, I napped on the sofa. Sitting up, not stretched out. I’m glad I slept though I had planned to work out this afternoon. I needed the extra sleep. I dreamed that I had inherited a horse, then woke up to find something on the TV about cowboys, so that made sense.

I have a recurring location in my dreams. It seems to be a house that I live in and a city. I travel places. I have neighbors. It’s like an alternate life. Charles de Lint, one of my favorite authors, has a story about a woman named Sophie who is the daughter of the moon, who has an alternate life at night when she dreams. If he didn’t, I would write that story based on my own experiences. Now if I tried, I’d be afraid I was plagiarizing his work. More closely than simply inspiration, I mean.

I am reading The Muse Is In by Jill Badonsky. I’ve known her online for several years now. Not that we’re close or anything. I guess I’ve followed her more than actually knowing her. I found the book at Half Price Books and grabbed it. It’s a little bit difficult to read, in the physical sense. Of course I am sure they are shrinking the fonts in published materials, which is no doubt my age, but this is also a creative font and the pages are colored. It’s a very fun book, but it may be a case where style has overtaken substance. Which is a shame, because what I’ve read so far is very good.

I finally heard from my friend K. She knows she’s been busy and hasn’t had much time for me, so that’s good. She is seeing the new boyfriend 3 times a week, which seems like a lot pretty quickly, but you know, good for her. She’s been wanting a partner for a long time now. I need to get back to her and say that I’d be happy to do things as a group if she wants to share the boyfriend’s company. Weekends are generally better for me to see her, and I imagine they spend at least one weekend night together.

It’s also my friend B’s 10 year cancer free anniversary. We’re going to go to a movie to celebrate, then get together with other friends later in the week. M and T have also had cancer now, I am the only one who hasn’t. M is still in treatment, and that’s interfering with all of us meeting up Sunday.

Saturday evening, I’m planning on going to a meeting called a College of Complexes. The topic is creativity and I can afford the “tuition” and maybe a pizza or a plate of food. I’ve never been and I don’t know anybody, so it depends on how confident I feel tomorrow evening.

I need a shower. I haven’t had one in like 5 days. It just seems so unnecessary, which I know isn’t true. I could wash my hair, shave my legs, clean off the sweat. All good things. I know it’s the depression end of my bipolar that makes this hard. I’m gonna try to do it before going to bed.

I also need to do laundry. I think I’ll start it tomorrow morning while everyone is asleep. I don’t know why I can’t seem to do laundry when people are around. I often do it while the roommates are out of the house. Something about being observed, I guess.

So that’s life the last few days. Art is good. Daughter is doing okay, still swollen in the knee but hurting less. Daily tasks need help. Mail art!

Enjoy


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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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What a week! Part 2

Yep, life is eventful so I am late getting back to this.  What else is new?  I really do want to work on posting something every day or two, though.  Discipline is important, in writing as well as in regular life, and I could use a bit more focus.

Update:  3 weeks later and the bathroom is still dry, yay!  The apartment complex has stated they will get an actual certified plumber out here to fix the pipe itself but that hasn’t happened yet.  I asked them about it late last week and they are much more focused on a visit from the owners than on fixing this, which is frustrating, yet I do understand that if they’re going to pay a plumber that they’re going to wait until they have several jobs for him to do.  So far so good!

The other thing that was so frustrating about the lack of communication regarding maintenance coming by, was that I needed to go to Parkland Hospital to get my prescriptions refilled.  I don’t own a car, so that meant taking DART.

A word about DART:  I have lived in cities with good public transportation, eg. Boston.  Trains come frequently, they go most places you want to go and buses go pretty much everywhere else, it’s reliable and convenient.  Now I live in Dallas and I use DART, and I find the are not even close to as useful as Boston.  There are reasons for this, but it routinely takes me 2 hours to get where I need to go.

If I had a car, it would have been about half an hour, maybe less, to get to Parkland.  On DART, I had to take a bus to Addison Transit Center, take another bus to the Downtown Carrollton station.  I took the light rail to Southwest Medical Center / Parkland Station, then a shuttle to the hospital itself.  I left about 1:45, it was after 3 when I arrived.

I am poor enough that I have health care through Parkland directly.  It took them until December to even see me, but they did make it retroactive to cover some past bills and it’s good through March 31.  I rather naively assumed that I could take the bottles from my previous doctor – from spring of 2013 when I had a job and insurance and a GP of my very own – and simply get my prescriptions renewed.  Silly me!  In order to get the meds, I had to have a ‘script from an in-network doctor which meant a trip to Urgent Care.

Urgent Care is like Emergency except of course it’s for people who aren’t actually having emergencies.  So, nasty headcolds and swollen ankles, not so much heart attacks or gunshot wounds.  That means waiting.  It took about 40 minutes for me to get into triage, but at that point it got speedy for me.  The medicine I take is for high blood pressure and I had been without it since before Christmas so at that point my blood pressure was actually quite high, high enough to make the staff uncomfortable, high enough that they considered admitting me.  Well, I had been running for the shuttle in order to avoid waiting in the cold and I do have a slight murmur that acts up when I exert myself too much, but it always surprises me how long it takes my body to recover.  I was surprised that over an hour later, my numbers were still that high.

So I got to see the doctor fairly quickly and he looked at my old meds and he said a fairly surprising thing.  He said that he should probably send me to Emergency and have me admitted but it would take several hours for that to happen and then I’d be over night or longer.  Or, he could certainly renew my meds and I could leave AMA (Against Medical Advice) and come back if symptoms didn’t improve.  I realized that what he was telling me without actually saying it was that probably my “problem” was due to not having my meds and that admitting me was simply going to take extra time to provide the same result.  So I chose to leave with prescriptions.

I went back to the pharmacy at about 5:30, and was told it would take a good 90 minutes to fill my ‘scripts.  Since the pharmacy officially closes at 7:00, I did verify that they stopped taking new customers at 7 but they would finish all existing orders before closing completely.  I hadn’t eaten since 11:00 am and I had an hour and a half, so I went to the cafeteria.

The cafeteria has about 5 different food stations for various types of food ranging from salads to burgers to Mexican to a hot meal.  I imagine at lunch time the place is fully stocked but at dinner there is only the hot meal section open and they have a very limited menu.  I chose chicken fingers and mashed potatoes.  I thought about a salad, but a one cup prepackaged salad cost as much as the rest of it so I didn’t get it.  Remember that I am poor now so dollars are a big deal, and I still had to pay for my meds.  I got a cup of water and sat down to eat.  About two bites into my meal, I felt something hard in my mouth.  At first I thought it was a piece of chicken bone but as I shifted it around to get it where I could spit it out, I realized it was ceramic.

I have one piece of ceramic-y stuff in my mouth.  One of my eyeteeth is a baby tooth that never came out, and once upon a time my Uncle Jack who was a dentist before he retired had put a cap on it so that it wouldn’t look so out of place in my mouth.  Apparently the mashed potato was too much for the tooth and it finally broke, cap and all.

So back to Urgent Care for me.

The nurse was not happy to see me.  One of my concerns when I was there earlier was timing for getting home.  Working backwards, it looked like this:  The last 361 bus through my neighborhood from Addison Transit Center was at 11:00 pm.  In order the get there, I had to catch the 400 bus from Downtown Carrollton station at 10:34 at the latest.  Buses are every hour at that time of day, so I really wanted to catch the 9:34 if possible to be sure the connection worked.  If the 400 was even 5 minutes late, then I would miss the 361 and it would be a bitch of a walk home late at night in the cold.  Train takes about 30 minutes to make that trip, and although it comes only every half hour at that time of night, there are 2 lines on that section of track so it’s a little more frequent.  Plus I had to allow time for the shuttle.  So pretty much I needed to be on my way by about 8:15 to be really comfortable with the schedule for getting home and that means waiting to be seen made me edgy.  The admitting nurse wasn’t happy about that earlier, and she was a bit sarcastic to see me back.

Fortunately it was shift change and the late nurse was very understanding.  He fast-tracked me and got me seen in less than an hour with a referral for a dental visit.  I haven’t done anything about that at this time, because pretty much the option is leave the broken tooth or pull it, Parkland doesn’t cover orthodontic repair.  It has always been a debate whether to cap that baby tooth or pull it and brace me to rearrange the remaining teeth, so this isn’t a huge loss to me although now I have a hole in the front of my mouth.  I figure I just need to do the pulling and braces at this point, but since Parkland doesn’t cover the braces, I’m loathe to remove the remaining root and have my teeth shift on their own.  I’m not in pain and I’ll have health insurance again in April, so it feels like I can wait.

And I did make it home in time, so that was good.

But with 3 inches of gray hair and a missing tooth, that makes it pretty hard to make a good impression when looking for a job.

(There is so much more to this story, but my daughter needs me and this is getting long, so . . . )