November 3rd, 2004

Something weird is going on with the ping weblogs function of my blog. It keeps failing to ping. I’m not sure how to fix it. This is an unrelated preface to a dream post, something to hang the extended entry off of.

Continue reading

You know what’s nightmarish? Navigating medical billing systems and insurance payments for someone who has died. You’d think, since people die all the time, that there’d be some semblance of a functional, relatively painless system in place to deal with this. Let me assure you that there is not. We (and by we I mean mostly Kurt, because I haven’t really the strength to deal with it without dissolving into tears) have been struggling with the medical bills that have arisen as a result of Simone’s death. Outside of the surreality of paying bills for services that were ultimately completely ineffectual, the insurance company and the hospital are using us a the rope in a tug of war about who should pay what and when. I get bill after bill telling us insurance has been denied. How wonderful to be reminded every time I check the mail of when and how my daughter died! There, at the grasp of a single impersonal piece of paper, is a flood of memories about the weak little child that cried almost every minute – until she no longer had the strength for it – on the last day of her life. Then the insurance company goes around and around with us about the fact that insurance coverage was terminated on the day that all these charges were billed (of fucking course it was, she DIED that day). All this punctuated by offensive and insensitive questions from drones like “Well was your child 18? Because insurance automatically lapses on her 18th birthday”. If only. What I would not give to have that problem. Add to that an hour or more of waiting on hold to talk to either the hospital billing OR the insurance company after you’ve wended your way through an impossibly complex automated phone system and it’s enough to wish one HAD actually woken up a bug. Someone explain to me how this system is efficient and saves us money. Is this really the best way we can do this? I find it horrifying and harrowing and inhumane.

The bills for all those procedures that did not save my child, by the way, are exorbitant. We could maybe afford to pay our part, if the behemoths could get together and decide what our part actually is, but the totals are staggering. She accrued more medical bills with greater totals in her last 24 hours than we did together during my pregnancy and her delivery. A lot of that is the crazy cost of emergency rooms, I suppose, but it’s still kind of terrifying. Additionally, we are all now – my entire family – among the ranks of the uninsured, which really makes this whole thing worse. For 90 days from Kurt’s first day, which is basically until next year, we haven’t the recourse of going to a doctor for anything routine. We might go only if the need were dire, and if the need were dire it would surely be a situation where exorbitant costs would be involved, costs that we wouldn’t be able to afford. And it’s not like we’re from the ranks of the working poor or the unemployed (well, technically I’m unemployed, but someone in our household is employed). We’re solidly run-of-the-mill, regular folk, middle class kind of people. Nice Catch-22: can’t afford to go to the doctor unless it’s an emergency, and if it’s an emergency can’t afford to pay what it would cost. Surely this is a better system than the one in countries with socialized medicine! I had the oddest sort of conversation with my mother-in-law who expressed dismay and concern that we were uninsured and then, within two seconds, proceeded to scorn the idea that universal health care might be good thing. I had to struggle not to say anything at all because she’s a good woman and she birthed and raised a wonderful one-of-a-kind guy and I really do love her but I was just stunned by the logical and emotional disconnect between her rapid fire affirmations. Whatever. I’m praying that we don’t, any of us, get sick. I already have more hospital bills than I know what to do with.

Continue reading

I’m actually pretty surprised about the election outcome. I didn’t think we were getting another four years of Bush. I just wasn’t convinced a majority of the American people would be that – well – dynastic. Lots of people told me they were sure Bush was going to win, but I rather chalked that up to pessimism (the people assuring me of this outcome were mostly anti-Bush). It’s got to mean that, for the people who want Bush to run the country, he can do no wrong. I don’t understand it, but there you have it.

It’s also pretty disturbing to me that all the states who ran anti-gay laws and amendments to their constitutions uniformly passed them. I’ve written here before that I’m not sure why gay people would want to sell themselves into the deeply flawed institution of marriage (discounting the obvious legal advantages). However, I can’t really imagine trying to stop them, either. What does that accomplish, exactly? Why would you want to meddle with people’s desire to form families? It boggles my mind that enough people think it’s important to tell other people not to get married that aren’t minors or first cousins to actually legislate it successfully. It seems so arrogant and, well, bossy. The other aspect of this that chills me a little is the sort of panicky pre-emptiveness of the rhetoric leading up to the vote on these issues. All that “life as we know it will come to an abrupt halt if gay people get married” business is total nonsense but someone must be buying it, right? It seems a corollary of our foreign policy position as a nation, that pre-emptive strikes are the way to go. Hit them first, hit them hard, make sure they don’t see it coming. I don’t believe that, as I’ve said on this blog before. That’s the way of the bully and the thug, as far as I’m concerned. As the most powerful nation on earth, we should exercise restraint. I think, though, that I’m in the minority of people who believe that. I’m pretty sure that my country is going to continue to carry on with activities I find ethically repugnant and morally broken. I suppose that the fact that most people who put us on this path did so because of morals and values shows just how out of line I am. I can hope that I can continue to hold and speak my position and be valued as an American for it. That would make me proud, and I need a little something to be proud of.

Continue reading

Powered by WordPress