Posts Tagged With: social security

HOLY MOLY DECEMBER!

I write the title that way because December seemed to have pounced in LIKE CRAZY and just keeps going that way!!!

Decembers are always hard I think for most of us.  Not only is there usually some sort of Holiday we celebrate (Christmas here)  but then we end up getting thrown end of the month and year deadlines, new enrollment deadlines and choices, extra bills that come out of nowhere, and extra LIFE just KEEPS ON COMIN’!  And it’s NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE HOLIDAYS!

Sure the Holidays have a tendency to drive me wacky.  It all gets magnified.  Ain’t that the truth.  I get what I call H-A-D or Holiday Affective Disorder.  It’s like a switch turned on the day after Thanksgiving (interesting that it wasn’t the week before–guess I’m making progress) in my brain and the CRAZY ANXIETY started about HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS and this has to be done and that has to be done and and and…SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANY OF YOU?

So I had to really work on BREATHING (Tends to help.  I mean who knew right?), meditating, keeping perspective, talking it out, staying in the moment, one day at a time and all that hoobilly doobilly stuff and it helped A LOT.

BUT THEN, I received word (ONLY BECAUSE I SAW A DISCREPANCY IN A PIECE OF MAIL AND HAVE LEARNED TO ADDRESS THESE THINGS) that my Private Long Term Disability Entity that was connected with my previous employer (and who I HAD BEEN PAYING FOR SINCE I STARTED 11 YEARS BEFORE I LEFT), had TERMINATED my DISABILITY COVERAGE and NO ONE HAD TOLD ME ABOUT IT!  AGAIN–the ONLY REASON I FOUND OUT EVEN WHEN I DID WAS THAT I CALLED AND ASKED ABOUT A PIECE OF MAIL I HAD RECEIVED THAT MADE NO SENSE TO ME…

BY TERMINATING MY DISABILITY COVERAGE, THAT ALSO MEANT THAT MY HEALTHCARE COVERAGE CONNECTED WITH MY OLD EMPLOYER WAS ALSO TERMINATED BY THE END OF THE MONTH.  I found this all out the last week of November 2012.  I ended up calling the Director of the Benefits Office at my old employer and asked her about it.  At this point I was so enraged and furious I could hardly function.  She was very upset with this entity for giving no notice to me and to them because it would be a mess because they terminated my coverage and no one knew till later in the month and MY HEALTHCARE COVERAGE WOULD HAVE TO END BY THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH…if I recall correctly I learned I lost HEALTHCARE COVERAGE 2 DAYS BEFORE IT WAS DONE.

NOT COOL.  WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS MY PANIC, MY FRUSTRATION, MY ANGER, MY FEAR, MY RAGE, and there were so many feelings that I just could not even express in words.  There are not enough words to describe feelings like this in the English language.

THERE IS A BLESSING HERE THAT I HAVE NOT MENTIONED.  I had been enrolled in Medicare (my Pride has a hard time with that since I’m 35 but now I know it’s an absolute BLESSING so I’m learning to accept it and fast) automatically by Social Security Disability and since they were covering me retroactively as of December 2010.  (Social Security Disability is starting to clean up the mess I was in with them.–thank goodness because that would’ve really hurt at that point).  After 2 years you’re automatically eligible for Medicare when you have Social Security Disability.  So there it was.  The TIMING WAS PERFECT.  On November 30th I LOST healthcare coverage with my old employer.  On December 1st I STARTED Medicare healthcare coverage.  CRAZY PERFECT TIMING…

HOWEVER THERE IS A REALLY BIG TWIST that has not been mentioned.  A couple months back the Director of Benefits at my old employer had told me to go ahead and keep Medicare as my Primary and that they would be my Secondary.  She also told me that I DID NOT have to sign up for Part D–Prescription Coverage–separate Plan with Medicare–because I could stay with the Prescription Plan Healthcare Coverage with my old employer Healthcare Plan.  SOOOOO, there I was on December 1st with Part A and Part B covered with Medicare and NO PRESCRIPTION HEALTHCARE COVERAGE….

SOOOOOOOOO UNCOOL to say the least of descriptive words possible…

It’s already hard to pay out of pocket for medications and we all know it gets expensive and fast and that’s even with coverage and co-pays.  However, my MS medications have ALWAYS BEEN AND SEEM TO CONTINUE TO BE RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE (even after 10 years of diagnosis) and the one I’m on right now is still a bit harder to be on and requires a lot of extra attention from the Healthcare system because it’s still so new and Man is it EXPENSIVE!  BUT it has helped improve my MS health immensely so it is worth it.

And so I’ve been trying to pull myself back up after being pulled under by a bunch of entities that seem to be making an effort to make it as hard as possible to be DISABLED.  UM…PSSSSST…IT’S ALREADY FRIGGIN’ HARD TO BE DISABLED.

I DID NOT ASK FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND FOR IT TO BE CHRONIC.

I DID NOT ASK FOR LUPUS AND FOR IT TO BE CHRONIC.

I DID NOT ASK FOR ALL OF MY OTHER CONDITIONS THAT GO ALONG WITH CHRONIC AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES AND FOR THEM TO BE CHRONIC EITHER.

I DID NOT ASK FOR TONS OF MEDICATIONS.

I DID NOT ASK FOR THEM TO BE EXPENSIVE.

I DID NOT ASK FOR THIS MANY DOCTORS.

I DID NOT ASK FOR THEM TO BE EXPENSIVE EITHER.

I DID NOT ASK FOR ANY OF THIS.

I’m just me trying to be me and live my life the best way possible.  I’d also like a chance to RECOVER which is really hard to do when not given a break unless I give myself one.

That’s the thing.  I’ve had to schedule time to take more breaks, to try to have a social life, to get domestic life taken care of, to take care of our dearest Cleo Kitty who is doing so well (now that she’s been UN-DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER–MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!), to try to be creative, to try to participate in life-y things, to try to be doing anything I can to keep a smile on my face for the Holidays without forcing it all and pushing through it, to exercise and keep on walking (and I’m getting to 250 days in a row very shortly), to spend time with my husband, to breathe, to live, to have fun, to JUST BE…while LIVING THE LIFE AS SOMEONE WITH DISABILITIES who has to be as PROACTIVE as possible at all times with self care which also includes my eating better things for the Nahleen Diet, getting fresh air, being outside, brushing my teeth, taking a shower (still too much of an event), following up with doctor appointments, addressing colds and other infections immediately, taking care of this newly diagnosed IBS (I do believe we might be getting somewhere but medical tests are being done and those too take time), writing, trying to get more sleep and rest, WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR ME AT THE TIME.  Oh and the symptoms are still coming and going and I have my hard days and not so hard days.  Fatigue is still one of my main issues.  It’s not like they’ve gone away just because this ENTITY has decided THAT I CAN WORK…(Don’t get me wrong.  I’d LOVE TO WORK–who knew I’d say that.  IT WOULD BE A LOT EASIER THAN GOING THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT PERSONAL JOURNEY…)

My life is big–no it’s HUGE lately BUT I’m getting through it with lots of help, love and support that I’m learning to give myself more, from my friends, my family, so many loving people I know in spiritual groups who hold me up, social media, some people I’m getting know at the Pharmacy (sad but true), my awesome husband, my Cleo Kitty and you know what–it’s OK right now.  In fact, I let myself sit with that big blow when it first hit and tried to PROCESS THE TIDAL WAVE OF THE HUGE BLACK BLOW THAT NOT ONLY HIT ME FROM ABOVE BUT THEN TOOK THE WORLD I THOUGHT I WAS STANDING ON RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER ME…

The sitting helped.  THEN IT WAS TIME FOR MY OPERATION NAHLEEN HAIR RE’DO which is much shorter and purple and I LOVE IT.  It is THE NAHLEEN ‘DO!  That helped rebuild me A LOT. I had felt so depleted of everything.  I really had hit a bottom and was floundering.  They say you’ll always get more rope if you feel like you’re at the end and well, if there was any, it was frayed and withered away and may have broken had I grabbed it.

And as TIME HAS PASSED I’m picking myself back up with the help of the Holidays ACTUALLY (sure they’re stressful but I’ve learned over the years to just go with it and whatever happens happens–of course I haven’t felt this way EVERY DAY but I’m trying).  I baked 1st PRIZE WINNING COOKIES for a Cookie Swap Party last weekend that are my tradition to make every year and I think have been for 25 years or so and I still can’t believe I won.  That I even felt up to making them, going to the party, staying and then that I won was so awesome!  Really meant a lot to me in so many ways.  I was IN IT.  It felt so good to be creative and use my hands.

This week I dealt with a TRUE ANGEL (fully believe this) at the MS Medication Company Patient Program who helped me so much.  She stayed calm and knew exactly what she was doing.  I was so worried about how to get my medication without any insurance right now and she made sure I had enough for at least the next month.  She was the one following up with me.  Amazing professional ethics, consideration and respect.  I am truly grateful for her.  It was hard enough to start paying out of pocket for the other medications I need this month.  BUT it is all being recorded for the future.  I am working on RESEARCHING (HOLY CRAP IT IS SO COMPLICATED AND THEY MAKE IT SOOOO HARD TO GET A REALLY GOOD MEDICATION WITH MEDICARE–THEY REALLY DON’T WANT US TO BE ON MEDICATION NOW DO THEY?) this Part D Prescription Plan stuff and I have to take it slowly because it’s stressful and exhausting to look at and I need to know what I’m dealing with.  I was given NO LEAD TIME TO FIND THIS STUFF OUT.  INFURIATING.

I was also given a probably potential silver lining with my husband’s healthcare plan at work on Friday.  I thought it would be too expensive to do and got all confused about how it all worked and then he called me last minute and we went over it piece by piece to see if it would be worth it for me to be on his plan and I BELIEVE IT ABSOLUTELY IS and I ALSO BELIEVE I’M OFFICIALLY GOING TO HAVE A SECONDARY HEALTHCARE PLAN NOW which also probably means (with a little more research) THAT I DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH PART D-PRESCRIPTION COVERAGE WITH MEDICARE which is a TOTALLY AWESOME thing because my goodness the HEADACHE.

AND YES.  I WILL APPEAL THE DECISION THIS PRIVATE LONG TERM DISABILITY PLAN MADE ABOUT TERMINATING MY COVERAGE.  That is coming.  I am very resentful that this must happen but I need to fight not only for me but for others out there who don’t have the support I have and well THEY JUST CAN’T DO IT (I have those days quite a bit but I am too stubborn to let them win this one.)  I have a bit more to pull everything else together with my healthcare coverage and THEN LET THE APPEAL GAMES BEGIN.–As if I really wanted to do more work with ANOTHER APPEAL.  AND AS IF THEY ARE GAMES…

SO TIRING AND DRAINING.  So tired of talking about how awful my health is and trying to prove it yet not being able to really celebrate the improvements that have occurred is so sad.  Sometimes I feel like I have to be at least 2 people…

MS IS ENOUGH FOR DISABILITY.

LUPUS IS ENOUGH FOR DISABILITY.

MS AND LUPUS ARE DOUBLE ENOUGH FOR DISABILITY.

THERE SHOULD BE NO QUESTION.

**Anyway, I wanted to make sure to write and let you know that you are all on my minds all the time.  I look forward to less busy times ahead (hmmm…will it be so?) without end of the year stuff and the holidays so that I can back into writing more regularly.  Just writing this Post has helped me so much.  I was going to post a quick note to say hi and stuff and then it all came out.  Thanks so much for reading.  By the way, it seems I have New Followers.  WELCOME.  What a year it has been with this Blog.  *March 2013 will be my 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF WRITING THIS BLOG.* I am so happy and honored to have you all here on my journey with me.   And I so hope you are all doing okay.  I know it has been a rough year for a lot of us and I wish you all the best.  Please feel free to spread the word about my Blog, comment on my Posts, visit me on my Facebook Page that is supposed to be a supplement for this Page called “Nahleen.com” at http://www.facebook.com/Nahleencom, also on my Public Timeline at http://www.facebook.com/nahleenblake, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nahleenblake!

Please whatever you do or don’t celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful end of the year if I don’t check in before then and may 2013 bring us all more peace in as many forms as possible!!!!

Much love!!!!!!–Nahleen

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POSITIVES!

Hello!  Happy Weekend!

Today has been much better than any other day this week!  2 VERY COOL POSITIVES have happened today!

1. I looked at my bank account and was taken aback because there was A LOT of money in there!  It appears that Social Security Disability has FINALLY paid me what they owe me!  I don’t have any written confirmation yet that helps me do the calculations to make sure this is accurate BUT it’s a HUGE step in the right direction!  IT IS ABOUT TIME!  I have waited almost exactly 2 years for them to get it right.  Such a long, arduous and stressful process.

2. I saw a new Gastroenterologist for a 2nd opinion yesterday and it was a really refreshing appointment.  It is so nice to be listened to and to be able to ask all kinds of questions while the doctor PATIENTLY reacts.  I don’t get PATIENCE very often.  Anyway, we THINK we may have some answers about how to help me so I am experimenting with a new treatment and a new theory altogether that should help.  And you know what?  It’s been almost 24 hours since I started it and I’m definitely feeling some RELIEF.  I’m not all better or even close to that, but it was so nice to be able to feel more like MYSELF today and function so much better.  I almost felt like a different person than I have been in quite awhile.  I hope this continues but for now I’m happy with whatever relief I can get when I get it.

Alrighty.  Gonna jump off.  I’ve done way too much today and still need to exercise before having some dinner.  And it’s cool to think that dinner might actually be more than toast.  Thank goodness.  There’s only so much toast a person can eat.  And hey, maybe I’ll even be able to eat my 3rd meal today without having my digestive system freaking out on me the second any food touches it…

SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!!!

Hope y’all have a good weekend!  I’m looking forward to mine!  It’s nice to have some HOPE and actually FEEL it!

 

 

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Now Hiring for the Nahleen Blake Medical/Disability Department

I need an assistant.  Actually I need a Department.  I wish.  If only…

This is all too much and I can’t keep up.

I can only do the best I can.

I spent the morning getting sucked up into the vacuum of disability and medical nonsense.  It didn’t take long.  First I called the Private Long Term Disability company I deal with to talk to the Finance Guy about money I need to pay them back from what they say they overpaid me.  He was a very nice guy which always helps the awkwardness and of course wouldn’t you know the UPS guy knocked on the door just as he called and I had to answer the door and be on the phone with this guy at the same time.  Not so professional but oh well.  I am only me.  I am only one person.  So now I need to hire someone to answer the door for me.  And then shortly after the UPS guy came my Cleo Kitty was insisting on getting attention and doing anything she could to get in my way.  AND I need to hire another person to pet my Cleo Kitty or better yet to talk to this Finance guy so I can pet Cleo Kitty instead.  Back to the Finance guy I was on the phone with, he passed off the responsibility of giving me any real answers and told me to talk to my Claim Manager.  Oh great.  Here I go.  Getting sucked into the crazy abyss that is the never ending calls of bottomless pits of not taking responsibility and sending me off to call someone else…and someone else…and someone else.  Perhaps they don’t want their money?  It’s hard to tell.

So I called my current Claim Manager.  You see, she’s the 3rd one I’ve had on my case so far in just over a year with this company.  It’s hard to keep up with who’s next on my file.  Of course she didn’t answer so I left her a message.  Will she call me back today?  I doubt it.  She only works till 3:30pm and has a habit of not calling me right back unless she needs something of course and then she hounds me.  Oh well.  The ball’s in her court now.  I gotta try to let it go.

And then because I’m a glutton for punishment I called the paralegal at my attorney’s office to see if she knew anything about the status of our newest action regarding Social Security Long Term Disability.  It’s only about the 5th time I’ve called her in this round of trying to get a hold of her so I wasn’t sure I’d actually get her in person and was getting ready to leave a message.  I was surprised to hear that I might be able to talk to her but wouldn’t you know she put me on hold for what seemed like forever.  Now I need someone to be on hold for me.  She FINALLY picked up her line and told me she JUST talked to a Supervisor at Social Security who told her NO ACTION had been taken regarding my financial issue and to re-fax the Request For Action to another fax number and they’d see what they could do.  Yeah.  Om.  When is that exactly?  It has been almost 3 months since we sent in the first request for action.  What’s the financial issue I have with Social Security?  Well, they have been underpaying me what I’m entitled to for benefits.  That’s the short and simple version of the story.  It’s too complicated otherwise.

So once I got off the phone with the paralegal I wanted to scream but I kept my composure and put my doctor’s office mentality on and called my Pulmonologist to find out if they had received my Home Sleep Study test results yet since it’s been over 3 weeks since I did the test.  The guy who answered said he saw nothing in my chart and was not going to do anything about it until I asked him to call the company and see where the results were.  He actually did budge a bit and told me he’d try to call sometime today or tomorrow but that Mondays and Tuesdays were their busiest day at the office.  OK.  What’s their point?  It’s not like I had the test done last Friday, I had it done 3 Fridays ago.

And continuing on with my list of phone calls, I called to make what will probably be my last Physical Therapy appointment for this round and was told I should really call by the end of the week to get a better time and that right now I can only get later in the day on the day I want next week.  Sure.  I’ll remember that too.  In fact, I’ll have my assistant make sure to call about that.  OH wait.  I don’t have an assistant.  Hmm.

And lastly of the medical/disability chaos rigamarole today, I called my acupuncturist to set up acupuncture and acupressure for next week and that went really well and yay I got appointments set up!  Phew!

Now I’m exhausted.

You see, that’s not all I have to do today.  I still need to exercise, shower, organize paperwork, pay bills, do some laundry–it’s cool to have clean clothes sometimes.  But what about the Recovery part?  I still need to schedule some time to rest and recover so that perhaps one day I not only feel better but maybe I can get better enough to get out into the world  and not run myself down with this medical/disability business crapola.  I’d like to work again one day.  That’d be cool.

To top it off, I’m STILL RECOVERING from my bad medication episode from last Wednesday.  That is almost a week ago.  I feel like I take 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  Yeah.  It’s a positive thing that I don’t go 3 steps back or something but for goodness sakes, I want to feel better than I do now.  I want to be back where I was physically and mentally before I took that dang pill.  One pill can change everything.  Ugh.

So now I guess I better stop writing so that I can take yet another break and get on with my day.  Here’s hoping the rest of my day is better.  How has your Monday been?

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Motivation: GRATITUDE

This morning I am grateful.  It’s such a relief to feel grateful.  It would be so nice to feel it all the time.

I’m grateful to be able to get up and face the day.  I’m grateful for so much love in my life from my husband, my kitty, my family, my friends, a huge support system, people in general and with life.  I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, an awesome car, for food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe–that I CAN breathe.  Then there’s my health: the progress of recovery, to take it one day at a time, really awesome proactive doctors, to be able to walk, to see, to move, to even function at all.  I have an abundance to be grateful for.  The list is endless.

What started this new round of gratitude?  I believe it was asking for more help yesterday.

Being on Long Term Disability has required an enormous mental surrender.  I have had to let go of what I thought I needed to have to survive: a job, a consistent paycheck, at least 40 hours of knowing exactly what I’m doing in a week.  It has been almost two years without that routine and somehow it’s all worked out.  Somehow Corey, Cleo Kitty and I have been taken care of.

BUT it takes A LOT of work.  I not only have to spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week taking care of me with self care but there is a mega amount of medical business to attend to too such as: medical insurance red tape, my plethora of doctors, a long list of medications and regimens, and dealing with Social Security Long Term Disability along with the Private Long Term Disability that is provided as part of the Benefits from my old employer.

YES I am truly grateful to have any access to Long Term Disability and to be taken care of AT ALL.  HOWEVER it is SO DIFFICULT to even admit I am disabled, to then ADMIT I can’t work right now, and then ASK FOR HELP, for financial assistance so that I can be a contributing member of society.  And not only is it hard for me to surrender to that need for help, but then they can make it SO HARD to even get the help I need.  This is NOT an easy process.

It is worth it because I DESERVE TO FEEL BETTER.  I DESERVE TO GET BETTER.

With that idea in mind it was so REFRESHING to call the Director of Benefits (yes, I have her direct contact number) of my old employer and let her know about the messy situation I’m involved in between both Long Term Disability Entities.  Not only did she LISTEN but she AGREED with me that that sounds like a mess and she seemed genuinely surprised this was happening.  I ASKED HER TO HELP ME and you know what?  She’s going to try to find out what’s going on and to do just that, help me.  She was nice and she was sincere.  She backed me up all the way.  It doesn’t mean she’s going to be able to change anything but it is just that much more empowering to feel her support and for that I am grateful.

GRATEFUL.

What a wonderful word.  What a inspiring idea.

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