The Silver Lining Myth

Up to this point, all I could do was sympathize with those who were struggling to pay medical bills, having to refrain from seeking quality treatment and healthcare, because the costs were just too great. Up to this point, all I could do was try to imagine what it would be like to be so financially overwhelmed with medical bills, that it makes doing virtually anything at all, that much more difficult.
Up until now, all I could do was imagine, hypothetically, what life would be like in that predicament….

Now, I get it.

Here’s the thing about my mother. It’s easier for her to treat me like a business associate, that an actual daughter, so she doesn’t really have to be a parent. Whenever she has something important to say, she sends me an email. She’s that passive-aggressive type of person, where she’ll say something, because it sounds good, but she doesn’t really mean it. She’s a total asshole.

Last year, I had two big surgeries. I had a laparoscopy that averaged about 44 thousand dollars, and a Laser LEEP procedure that average about 37 thousand dollars. I’m not sure if that includes the many biopsies, the lab tests, the blood work, etc. Both of my parents are still carrying me on their medical insurances because I’m still under 26 years old. Both of the insurances covered most of the costs, with a few thousand dollars left over.

For the past year since the surgery, I have been on a medical leave from school, unemployed because of pain and sickness, and my husband has just started working, since he JUST graduated in December….

According to my mother, any amount of money left over on the surgical bill is my responsibility. It COULD’VE been fine if this was expressed to us early on. She’s been telling us that she’s been paying monthly on the balances, so up until now I haven’t worried about it. We’ve got a mountain of other bills to pay ourselves. Credit card bills, utility bills, phone bills, a car bill, and this NYU bill. Each bill is around or over $1,000, and Husband isn’t making that much money.

Anyways, about 3 weeks ago, I get a letter in the mail informing me that one of my medical bills is about to be sent to collections with a balance of $300. Just
$300! In bright red it read, “This is the fourth notice, this bill will be sent to collections unless you pay this amount in full or arrange a payment plan.” Great. Another fucking bill. Meanwhile, my mother is sticking to her story that she is making payments. This collections notice though, is telling me otherwise.

Today she calls me downstairs to hand me a piece of mail and I open it in the staircase. It read, “You have recently been audited and although you have been making payments, the original payment agreement has expired and your balance is now $1500… Please increase you payment amount by 15%….”

She turns to me and says, “Welp, I guess you better go set up a payment plan.” Right. ME AND WHAT FUCKING INCOME?!

So now, a bill that she has allegedly been paying on, has become my responsibility. I promise I don’t mean to sound like a brat, because I’m not, but here’s why I’m upset. 1) Who the fuck makes their child pay for their own surgeries? It’s not like I have amazing health coverage from a job and my husband has great coverage from his job. We don’t!! I’m not even working!! And it’s not normal to hand over thousands of dollars in medical debt to the person who just had surgery and doesn’t even have a job. I still can’t get my body in order as it is. She never would have done this if it were my sister. The bills would’ve been paid ON TIME, in full, signed, sealed and stamped with love and affection! For me though, that’s just not the case. And 2) I’M NOT FUCKING WORKING!!! You can’t just make the payments until I can find an income? I’d gladly take the payments over then, but you just can’t wait huh? It’s that imperative to you, to just wipe your hands clean of any responsibilities as a parent… but then has the nerve to be in my face EVERY FUCKING DAY, encouraging me to have a baby because that’s what the doctor says to do. How the fuck does that work?

We just got a huge financial blessing from one of Husband’s cousins to help us to get to New York City, so that I can go to school… now this? I’m starting to feel like I should just give in to the universe. Things just aren’t supposed to be this difficult! All I want to do is go to school. Now I believe that’s the most irresponsible option out there. What I should do is withdraw and get a whack ass salary job because not only do these bills just keep accumulating; but Husband and I are sick and tired of living like this. His paychecks are accounted for days and weeks before they even hit his account.

I just can’t deal…. There’s just no silver lining in this.

Oh, and where the fuck is my period!!!

Advertisements

In a Constant State of Wait

I don’t think I’ve felt this down in a while. Never felt this discouraged, this lost, this confused…. It’s miserable….

Husband and I spent the weekend with my dad and his family for Memorial Weekend. It was spent with a lot of questions like, “so what are you guys up to now” and “So are you gonna go back to school?” and “What’s up with the Peace Corps?” Answering those was a combination of misery and embarrassment!

I don’t have the answers.

Course registration opened up May 20 and I haven’t been able to register because of the financial hold on my account. WHERE the fuck am I supposed to come up with $2000? So, no, I don’t know if I’m going back to school. At this rate, NYU has made the decision for us. Husband and I are barely scraping by as it is, living paycheck to paycheck, with NO room for a $2000 bill. The worst part is, if I’m not registered by a certain date than my financial aid will fall through. We’ve tried everything at this point to get that bill paid, to no avail of course….

… And I’m so sick and tired of people addressing Husband and I as if we’re two bums just trying to live off of love, just mooching around at our parent’s homes. I had to take a medical leave dammit!! I didn’t have a choice! I am JUST now starting to feel good enough to attempt to work, and at this point, there’s still no way we can come up with $2000 by June. I really hate that NYU isn’t making more of an effort to work WITH me, considering my financial aid payout was about $12,000 for housing and expenses. You’d think they’d just let me register and just deduct the hold the financial aid package right? Nope. Fuckers.

And no, I still don’t know what’s happening with the Peace Corps, they haven’t nominated us yet. We can either go work full time on a farm somewhere or gain some health education experience, at a hospice for example. There is no way in hell, I am volunteering at a hospice. For 1) I can’t handle it. I’m too emotionally fragile with all my own personal shit and the thought of hospice makes me uncomfortable and 2) that’s not what I wanted to do in the Peace Corps anyways. I want to be an educator. That’s about it.

I am like a walking depression ad. One minute, I am an enraged lunatic and the next I am a sobbing, crying, puffy-eyed, why-is-this-happening-to-me pile of mess!

All I want to do… is make a difference…. Change the world… do some good…

…and the universe won’t stop shitting on me…

And I swear to god, the next person who says, “good things come to those who wait,” will probably get smacked, stabbed, or both.

Another Nomination Bites The Dust

Husband and I finally got an update from our recruiter Jai about our Peace Corps application. When we interviewed back in April, she told us she’d be nominating us later on that day and that we should be expecting an official nomination via email within the following 24 hours. When that fell through and we lost our nomination, Jai told us that she’d be looking for a new program for us once the new quarter opened up mid-may.

Today, we received an email. She’s sorry to inform us that there were no programs available that we both qualified for. We must wait until August when more programs become available to see if we’ll have any luck. In the meantime, however, we could do a few things to help our chances of becoming nominated sometime before 2099:

1. One or both of us could gain 30 hours of health education experience, which is stuff life HIV/AIDS outreach & education, nutrition, hospice, etc…
2. One or both of us could gain three months, or a grand total of 480 hours of farming or gardening on ¼ acre.
3. Having Tommy learn Spanish and passing the Spanish test would open up another realm of countries that we could qualify for within my medical restrictions.

So there you have it, another disappointment. The phrase, “the Peace Corps is a really LONG waiting process,” is nothing but the goddamn truth.

Thank you, Universe, thank you very much.

Left Behind

It’s finally hit me: The thought of going away to the Peace Corps with Husband and leaving Apollo behind. I can’t imagine being away from him for two years; I can hardly tolerate a weekend away without him. He’s such a huge part of my life. I was very skeptical of even having him join our family, but he’s become something so precious to me. He’s become a symbol of hope. He’s like a little person with a huge personality! He’s everything I could have ever wanted in a companion. (Besides my Husband) He’s always by my side, he loves me unconditionally, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to just leave him behind.

I never understood how people could get so overly attached to their pets, or why they’d want to, but in this one short year, it all makes sense to me. It’s not about it being a human to pet relationship, or obedience vs submission, it’s about falling in love with a creature who loves you with all of their might, feeling needed and responsible for a life other than your own, it’s about knowing that no matter what you did, or who you are, or what bad shit you’re into, that creature will never judge you, never disappoint you, and never let you down.

Our Peace Corps interviews are now THREE days away, and although I’ve been struggling about this bit the entire time, it’s hitting me pretty hard now, especially when I think about the circumstances I’d be leaving him in. No matter how much I daydream about life in the Peace Corps, I have those moments where I have to ask myself whether or not I’d be able to leave Apollo behind. Here’s why I don’t think I can:

1. Apollo is my son. I say this all the time; I’ve even mentioned it in this post. He’s my Husband’s dog, but he’s my son. Apollo came into our home before I knew of our infertility troubles. We got him at just a few weeks old, so it’s safe to say I raised him. I endured that very frustrating puppy-crying-at-night phase, that god awful potty training phase, the sit-down-stay phase, and the “I am the boss of you” phase. All in all, Husband and I molded him into a very well behaved puppy, and when I got sick my love for him grew stronger. I’d come to terms in the depths of my mind that regardless of what the doctors said, I’d never be able to have kids. Apollo became that substitute for me. He’s a little spoiled because of that, but he’s a good baby. He’s the little child that, in my mind, I’ll never be able to have.

2. When I move, he moves. No matter where I go, there’s Apollo. I like it that way. I can always know what he’s into. He’s so inquisitive and he eats everything he can mouth! I don’t even like him being outside where I can’t see him. I feel so overwhelmed when Apollo isn’t around. On the rare occasion we go out of town without Apollo, I miss him with every inch of my being. I feel so disconnected. I feel naked almost. We’re a trio: Husband, Apollo and I, and when we’re separated, it’s as is our chemistry is off. How am I supposed to manage being away for 27 months?

3. Mom’s irresponsible. With Apollo at least. He came back from the doctor with very strict dietary guidelines. She’s got two dogs of her own, and honestly, I don’t trust her to be able to give Apollo the necessary attention he needs. One of the foods his vet recommended costs 20 bucks, and the bag isn’t even that big. But, it’s what will make him better so I buy it. She’s the type of parent, and I see this happening with our future children pending God’s approval, who will give him something against my specific instructions, saying “Shhh, don’t tell your mommy. This is yours and grandma’s secret” and then end up with the “Oh shit” face when he ends up having an allergic reaction to whatever it was. Unfortunately, unlike children, he’s reactions aren’t hives. He ends up with the worst runny eyes, exploding bowels, and terribly severe ear infections. She doesn’t know him like I do, she’s not every aware of his behaviors. I ALWAYS know when something isn’t right with him.

4. Mom’s house is a zoo. She’s got a yappy Yorkie who’s about 4 years old now, so spoiled and untrained. She wears dresses, and basically runs the house. She’s the pack leader in their dynamics. She still shits/pisses in the house for god’s sake. She’s also got a young golden retriever, who spends most of her time with nothing to do in the backyard or shoved into a kennel that is two sizes too small. She’s so unruly; she’s eating all of my mom’s light fixtures in the backyard!! Her and Apollo play so roughly. She’s a big dog and Apollo’s a miniature. She knocks him down the stairs all the time. When I’m here I keep those two separated, who is to say she’ll continue to do that with me gone for two years. She thinks their roughhousing is cute! Honestly, Husband and I say quite often that if my mom’s choice of dog food doesn’t kill him first, then her dog will!

5. Apollo’s coat mats so easily. Apollo is a miniature schnauzer, which means he’s a hypoallergenic breed, which also means he doesn’t shed. Because he doesn’t shed, his hair grows really long, really fast. If we miss ONE day of brushing him, he’s all matted up! He gets these big huge mats under his chest, on his legs, around his neck, and in the pockets of his hind legs. We shave his coat down ourselves to keep costs down. I have absolutely no faith in the thought or idea that my mother would get him groomed, or groom him herself. The mats hurt him, and he’s gets very angry when they’re touched. Rightfully so. We’d go to the Peace Corps, and come back to see our dog looking like some homeless stray and would have to shave him bald. I just don’t trust that he’d be very well taken care of.

6. My sister is a total bitch and I don’t want her touching my dog. I don’t even want to get into the logistics of the lack of relationships we have, nor the lack of shits I give about it, but I don’t want her touching my dog. I want his shots, his updated medical exams, whatever, done by a fucking professional. I am not, and have never been, one of those people who do that shit on my own. I will not ever administer shots to Apollo alone, nor will Husband. I will never DIY immunizations or boosters, or any of that shit. I don’t want her bullshitting around and giving Apollo a shot and having to receive a phone call about the consequences of her incompetence. I hate her, I hate seeing her, I hate the thought of Apollo being anywhere near her when I’m not around.

I don’t think I can leave him here for two years, let alone in the care of my mother, but she’s our only choice. I couldn’t ask anyone to take him for two years, because having a dog is a really big responsibility. At least with my mother, I know she loves him. She sucks at taking care of him, but she does love him, and he loves her. So, although I’m technically not leaving a child behind, that’s exactly what it feels like.

IMG_0061

The Rejection

Every morning I spring right out of my sleep and reach right for the phone to check my email. I wait patiently as my iphone loads and cringe when I see I’ve received nothing from UW’s School of Social Work. I do and have done this every morning since February.

Today was no different. I’m getting really frustrated. I applied for the early decision deadline and was supposed to hear back a month ago. It’s making me paranoid. I want to know something!! Actually, I NEED to know something. There are so many other things Husband and I have floating out in the universe that need decisions and we haven’t been able to make them because so much is pending.

At this point, I’m feeling like I didn’t get in, so as I check my phone this morning, I don’t even feel excited when I see, “SSW Admissions: A response…” in the subject line in my inbox. My eyes dart right past the frill and straight to the “Unfortunately we cannot offer you admission…”

I’m not shocked. I’m not surprised. I’m not sad. I don’t even really care anymore. Maybe a month ago I’d be disappointed because this is now my second UW rejection. Maybe a month ago I’d be devastated because we want to move back to Seattle SOOOO badly and this was the perfect plan. But today, as I’m sitting here tired, worn, and stoic. I don’t care.

Frankly, that’s one less choice we’d have to sort through by summer. Now, it’s between returning to NYU and the Peace Corps (if and when that ever moves along). So far, I’ve got a huge financial hold on my account that is about to be sent to collections because they over-refunded me before my medical leave, which means I cannot register for classes next month. Thanks NYU. Husband is pretty confident that the Peace Corps will actually work out, but the catch is the application process is SOOOOO…..LOOOOOONG. We have an interview on April 18th but between waiting for medical clearances, nominations, and placements for not one but TWO people, we could be waiting around all year, and that’s if they even like us.

UGH.

How exhausting my life has turned out to be. I don’t even want to get started on how Husband and I are feeling about our current living situation. That’s a whole ‘nother post for a whole ‘nother day.

Fucking UW…. Jerks.

*Then Walks Away*

*Then Walks Away*

-Jenn