Not only has the New Year arrived, it’s 2 1/2 months old already. For those who were wondering, yes, Beloved and I stayed home and had our own quiet celebration.
We did go over to his parents’ house on New Year’s Day, for one last visit with his sister. And remember that pork loin I thawed out? Well, I made pulled pork–but either it was going bad and I didn’t realize it, or (and this is the theory that Beloved puts forth) the marinade it came in was so high in salt…I got really, really sick. Not quite like food poisoning, because I didn’t vomit. At first. Let’s just say that by the time I was finally feeling better, I was clean as a whistle top to bottom. With no desire to have BBQ pork for a while!
And then, we got the flu. Fortunately it wasn’t a bad case for either of us, but it did extend out for a couple of weeks of just feeling “off” and kinda yucky. Lots of naps, lots of liquids and lots of staying home.
We were both getting pretty desperate about the money situation. Beloved cashed in his 401k…and those were the best two days of retirement…HAHA. No, we’ve lived off that for a while now. But without any apparent money coming in, we were really trying to figure out when we’d need curtains for the car because it would be our new house.
Before the panic set in completely, we began to get mail from SSA. Well, first mine–“denied”. Which we expected but it was still not a good thing to see. And I immediately appealed it, which involved going to the lawyer and filling out forms (again). When we told her about the long term disability benefits (or the lack thereof, for both of us), I thought we’d have to peel her off the ceiling, she was so mad. “Give me the letters from your insurance companies and let me handle this, under my letterhead”: LAWYER very prominent on the top of the letter! Hopefully that will work out because gods know we could use the income. And while we’re working that back and forth, I get a phone call from Social Services saying that Beloved has been approved for Medicaid.
Now I had also been denied for that, with the reason being, denied for SSDI. So, logically, IF he is approved for Medicaid, might that not also mean that he is approved for SSDI? Long story short (too late, I know), the lawyer calls us to verify that Beloved is indeed approved and we have income again!
Did you know that there are two kinds of stress? The one that you’re all familiar with: death, taxes, divorce, losing a job, bad work environment, etc. That’s called “distress”. Then there’s the other: “eustress” and it’s things like birthdays, parties, weddings, birth of a child, promotion, pay raise. One is bad and the other is good. EXCEPT that they both cause exactly the same physiological effects on your body. So we went from the depths of despair to the heights of hope…and needed anti-anxiety meds and a nap. Just saying.
Knowing that he is approved and has already begun to receive benefit payments helps my Beloved immeasurably. He has OCD and it really manifests in numbers–and he is particularly stressed when money doesn’t work right, so not having an income for almost a year really hit his particular disabilities on the nose. It doesn’t help that he also feels that it is his job to take of me, and not having an income was stressful for him because of that as well. (And it works out, because I feel that my job is to take care of him. It’s a cycle of love and caring.) And he is hashing out those numbers, to see if we can afford to replace my poor old car.
She’s been a good car, can’t ask for better…but she’s old, the “check engine” light is on and the transmission seems to be slowly dying…ack. We’ve found the car we want and when all the money comes in (our magical phrase for “someday”…when ALL the money comes IN!), we will just be able to get it. Since it’s the last time (at least for our foreseeable future) that we can actually get a car without having to figure a car payment into the little budget…it makes sense to buy as great a car as we can now. So we’re getting (when the money comes in, when the money comes in….say it enough to make it true!)…a Honda Insight (hybrid). It’s roomy enough for us, has great features and the best thing? Gets 46 miles to the gallon. Makes it much more affordable to visit kids out of state, even if gas does go up to $5 a gallon.
Having that car will also alleviate some of Beloved’s stress, since he’s driven clunkers all his life and is all too aware how they can blow up at the least convenient time. (Not that there’s a convenient time to blow up, mind you…) To have a vehicle that does not have a payment, that has a great warranty from the dealer PLUS an additional warranty from our insurance just for having them cover our new car…that gets great gas mileage, and we fit in…seems like a really good thing to me.
So there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, we may have reached the top of this hill we’ve been struggling up for so long. It seems that way, and in a superstitious way, I don’t want to say those things as a definite sentence. Let me live with the reality, when it does materialize completely, for about a year and then I’ll look back and point to this spot and say, “this is where it turned around”.
Being off the Lyrica has been a problem. I have the Cymbalta, and I am trying very hard to eke out the remaining Vicodin, because the free clinic doesn’t give out narcotics. But my pain is not being managed well…so I spend a lot of time sleeping. A regular day runs like this: get up about 9 am, play on the computer, eat something, back to bed for a nap by 3 or 4. Sleep anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the weather and how busy we’ve been, up again and play on the computer, eat something and back to bed for the night between 1 am and 3 am. Not exactly the day schedule the doctor suggested, but there we are. And with the current change between winter and spring…owies for the changes in air pressure (each new front coming in). I’m obviously more tired, I am foggy-er and not really able to keep track of things very well.
I am updating my application for VA health benefits with this past year’s income information, since we made too much in 2011 for me to be eligible. I suspect that I will be eligible this time around…and there’s a VA clinic in Fredericksburg…so we’ll go get some food at Waffle House and then hit the VA for meds and doctor visits. (Fingers crossed for this, otherwise it’s free clinic until I am approved for SSDI–and the other alternative I can’t even think about– or get insurance because I’m back to work.)
Oh! I did get a new dishwasher at the beginning of the year! YAY for my apartment complex manager! She is so awesome–and it really is a NEW one, not someone else’s older but still working model. Now if I could just get the damned dishes done… We have been talking about making changes in the kitchen, to more genuinely accommodate the reality of my disability. The large cabinet on wheels that seemed like such a good idea? Not so much any more so it’s going to a new home. That will free up space in the room so that Beloved can move around in there without bumping into it. Since he’s having to do more cooking (if only for himself) than we had anticipated, making room is essential. We’ll rearrange the pantry, get rid of dry goods that we’re not really going to eat, and clear off the low counter that serves as a work space for a person sitting on a chair. We will replace the big, mostly unmovable-even-though-it’s-on-wheels cabinet with rolling carts. One will live in the laundry room, the other will live in the kitchen–but it’s not as big as the current cabinet. There is storage space and work space on the cart (we’ve picked out one we like at the Tarjay) and so one will be dry good storage and work top, the other more of a portable bar, with the booze, mixers, coffee and teas and etc inside and the coffee maker, coffee grinder and tea pot on top. (We’re also going to get maintenance to turn the washer and dryer to face the door that is currently beside them. Beloved cannot contort himself safely or adequately to load either machine, so if they are turned 90 degrees to the left, he will be able to open the closet door and do the laundry!)
Hopefully we can actually accomplish this before summer’s done? HAHA. Oh, and I have gotten some more ceramic knives. LOVE THEM! Will be getting rid of the rest of my knives except one, to have a pointy metal blade where the ceramic cannot be used. Which isn’t that often. Let me tell you, these knives are amazing. SHARP! Like lethally. They cut slices of tomato that you could read through, chunk up chuck roast (for goulash) like cutting through soft butter…cut soft bread like a serrated knife. Yes, I recommend them for everyone! Run out now and buy yourself some ceramic knives!!! NOW!! LMAO
They certainly make it easier for me, with the hands that hurt and the arms that ache…to do kitchen prep without as much effort. I’m glad to have them on those times when I can get in the kitchen and do stuff. (The plan for today is to make that aforementioned goulash. The meat has been marinating in SML (Schlitz Malt Liquor–don’t judge me, I actually like it) and spices, especially paprika. Gonna brown off some onions and carrots, then add the meat and cook it to tender yuminess. With the rain, an excellent meal indeed. Even got some refrigerator (aka “whomp”) biscuits I could throw on top and make “dumplings” out of. NOM.)
On the family front: my son has sold his soul for 3 more years of Naval duty, but is coming off the boat…he will now be a teacher, stationed in NY–so a little closer than GA was. The Lizard is puffing up nicely as the new baby granddaughter grows for her debut on her sister’s birthday–two children with birthdays at the end of May. There goes any Memorial Day weekend trips unless they are birthday trips! With a new car, we will be able to go see her much more often…looking forward to that.
So that pretty much brings you all up to date, and I’m getting a little tired of typing for now…Keep dry and I’ll talk to you all soon. At least, that’s the plan.