Update: As Good As It Gets (Warning Language)

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Disclaimer: For those who are sick of “this shit” or “me bitching” scroll on by. For real. I wasn’t writing this for y’all anyway.

The man I refer to as my VSF is so dope. He listens to me without brushing me off. Doesn’t make fun of me if I repeat myself (which I do, a lot).And he checks up on me almost daily. It is an awesome feeling. He listened with concern while I talked about being scared regarding my annual cerebral angiogram coming up on May 13th, It is a surgery , so no matter how many people tell me it is no big deal or that I had it done before(I do not remember cuz I was UNCONSCIOUS!!!. I don’t want my fuckin brain poked at. However, I do wanna poke some other people’s brains, and maybe they will stop being so insensitive.

Because:

My short term memory is not getting better.

As a matter of fact, on some days it seems to be getting worse. I have been trying to keep my mind sharp by writing, and I try to write one to two pages a day of my novel. Why today did I forget one of the main character’s name? Why did I leave my microwave popcorn in the microwave last night? I also forgot the password to my (this) blog so I have to copy and paste what I write to an email and then copy and paste that to an app on my iPhone.
Speaking of apps, thank God for the “to do list app” because I have a myriad of doctors’ appointments next week.

I am not stupid.

As a matter of fact, I am still highly intelligent. I may walk slowly because my left side can be weak at times. Talk slowly because I am afraid I’ll ramble or sound confused. I may skip or add words when I type things out now where I didn’t before, but for the most part I live by the mantra: I had brain surgery; what (the fuck) is your excuse??!!??

Being isolated sucks balls. Mind you, I don’t live alone, but you would never know it. I feel like I am only spoken to if and when somebody needs something from me. I have actually caught on to when I am going to be asked for a favor. Don’t patronize me. Why? Look at reason # 2

I thank God for my Mom, my VSF, my brother k/d and a few select friends. (they know who they are). Without them, I would be lost and forgotten about.
If you have ever seen the movie Soul Food, there is a character named Uncle Pete who lives in an upstairs back bedroom, is cooked and brought his food by his sister, and very few family members check on him (from what I recall.) I feel like Uncle Pete minus the meals. I feel like a burden or inconvenience most of the time. I am only forty three years old. I should be living not just existing. I think if I got out more or talked to people more often, I wouldn’t feel so awkward in social settings.

Headaches. Again they range from mildly annoying to excruciating as shit. Today, it must be getting ready to rain because the back of my head is throbbing.(on a scale of 1-10 it is a 7)

Fatigue. My nap time is 2pm. If I miss my nap, I am fuckin miserable. Although, the medicine I’m on helps with my mood swings, if I am tired don’t ask me for shit.

Depression. I have been diagnosed with major depression. I am cool with that diagnosis. Why? Because I almost died, my quality of life has changed, financially pfffft, I’m in pain, and I am isolated. Major depression sounds about right. Besides my medication, I meditate and have manifested a beautiful house on the beach somewhere, maybe Puerto Rico, where me and my VSF will live. It will be paradise!!!

Then there are the grandbabies. They make me soooo happy too. They can wear me out, but yeah, I kiss em up.

So for now, that’s it. What scares me is that I have plateaued, and this is as good as it gets.

I’ll let y’all know what happens on the 13th.
Peace,
“Star”

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Superwoman Took Off Her Cape and Hung Herself With It. (Warning Explicit Language)

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I apologize for another “rant”. But I am not seeing a doctor yet because my insurance just came in (throws confetti).I need a referral and my PCP appointment isn’t until next month. So if y’all want to click the X now feel free. This is more for me and the other members of my “Annie” family.

Apparently, I was one bad bitch before I got ill. I worked two jobs over 60 hours a week, and managed to go to poetry venues maybe once a week or so. Friday nights I would go to my sister’s house (Hi Kei) even when I had to teach class on Saturday mornings. (Mind you the college was over an hour away). I would then go food shopping, cook for the week and clean  I mean REALLY CLEAN – not that surface shit) my “bungalow”, and on most Sundays I would see my VSF and put him to sleep (sorry about that, but my motto is if you’re gonna do something do it to the best of your ability). Then I would get up, cook him breakfast, go to the Laundromat, remake the bed, grade essays, and then either read or write until after midnight, getting up at six am on Monday morning to do it all over again. My VSF called me a mutant and my sister was always shocked at my energy

Then, over a year and three months ago, my brain exploded.

Since then, (well- read my “about” page). I am really trying. Really. My headaches are intolerable sometimes. I get them:

when the barometric pressure drops

when the Moon is full

when it is too noisy

if I get worried

if I have a lot of stuff to do

when I am due for my cycle

if I get angry or stressed

(don’t laugh) but when I think too hard.

Like right now, I am pissed for a myriad of reasons and can’t wait to get back into therapy so I can scream at someone NEUTRAL. Because normally that helps. I have a MAJOR MIGRAINE and I don’t know if it’s because I am mad, because it’s snowing, if I am sick with a sinus infection or a cold.

I want to fuckin run away. Like to Hawaii. Somewhere warm. Where I don’t have to do shit but get up, and go to the beach. I was talking to another member of my “family” and she said “wouldn’t it be cool if our insurance covered some sort of retreat for survivors/warriors??? I laughed to myself and thought :yeah one of the activities could be beating a mannequin who says they have a “killer headache” like a piñata. But we couldn’t because we would have to sleep two days after the fact.

Not to mention Social Security. I am going to sum that up in one statement; if I was a damn drug addict, I would have Social Security by now.

I can’t imagine what Annie survivors who have infants or young children have to go through. My heart goes out to them. So I am going to hang in there, for them, for the others’ who have it worse than me. I’m going to put my cape back on…well after this nap anyway.

Peace
“Star”

 

meditation 101

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bound by brainwaves

wrecked by rupture

tried to sleep tied to fear

began breathing deeply

relaxing completely

following white lights

ascending and spiraling

glowing staircase where my higher Self

embraced and rocked me into sweet slumber

while humming lullabies to my soothed

renewed Spirit

© michele mitchell, 2014

Prompt: 365 Days of Writing Prompts Copyright © 2013 by The Daily Post. Feb 10. Teachable Moment

Photo Credit: oklahomacity.eventful.com

Let the “Introvert By Default” BE HERSELF, DAMN!!!

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Like I may have said before, there are days I need to talk, or better yet just express myself.

I was forced to become an introvert, and to be honest, I don’t mind it. As I was becoming an introvert, I noticed most people are annoying. Then some of them over exaggerate their problems. Problems that they in fact created and it pisses me off. Or my favorites are the people who are so miserable with their current lives that they caused themselves, but make every excuse in the world not to change it.

Most of the time, I watch and/or listen in silence. Why? Because no one listens to me anyway. I can count on one hand how many people genuinely check on me and care how I am doing. The rest either ignore me or think I am exaggerating. To them I say a resounding fuck you!!! My bad but it really pisses me off.

Yes, I am getting better. I know it; I feel it, but I am not completely healed yet. One of the reasons I know I am not healed is because I am still on three types of medication. I am also out of creative metaphors to describe the headaches I still get daily. I don’t feel like I should have to explain my sleeping or eating patterns, my anxiety about being out in public, or my low tolerance for noise.

Let’s not speak about the stress the federal government has been putting me through with the “affordable health care act”. I was supposed to have coverage on January 1st. *looks at date on the right corner of the computer screen*. Yeah right, that’s what I said. So I am on the phone with them all week long (except for Fridays because that is my “break day”). This week was the first time I cried because of the disaster of my insurance so it takes a lot to cry to make me cry because of the meds that I am on which were designed to keep me calm. I NEED TO STAY CALM TO HEAL.

I have my good days and on those days I laugh, get up and clean more, get dressed, talk on the phone and WANT to go out. There are other days I have tremors which lead to seizures, and I am exhausted and depressed. So I withdraw, stay on the internet, and sometimes ignore my phone. But I regret when I do ignore my phone because people don’t call me that much anymore.

So I am going to make some blanket statements:

I withdraw when I am overwhelmed or anxious mainly because I am nervous or scared. It is not a personal reflection on you or your company.

If I am not speaking it is because I am afraid to say the wrong thing or I am tired of being brushed off, interrupted or ignored.

There are times I wish they had to cut my skull open to repair my aneurysms so I would have a scar. This way people would have a reminder that I am not “normal” and be more cautious about how they speak to me or treat me. This shit isn’t a joke. I am not a joke and the ONLY people who are allowed to “make fun” of me are my VSF, my big brah KD, my sis Keinya, and my cousin Q. They know HOW to kid with me. There are others that don’t and it hurts my feelings whether I tell you or not. And I want to give a shout out to Q who takes good care of me when I am in her presence

I wouldn’t wish a brain aneurysm rupture on ANYBODY, and unless you have had one yourself, you JUST DON’T GET IT. Don’t tell me “You should be better by now, it’s been over a year” or that “you are so sensitive”. I have even had people assume that I “play sick” when I feel like it. Really?? Are you a neurologist? Then shut the fuck up and let me speak sometimes damn.

For the record, I can NOT WAIT for the day that I AM HEALED. But the reality is, if I don’t improve in the next year or so, this will PROBABLY as “normal” as I will get. Either be kind about it, let me vent when I need to, or get the hell off my island, for real.

Woooooosah.

Thanks for reading.

Will I Ever Be “Okay”?

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I am in a war with the state and federal government regarding my health insurance. They are pointing their proverbial fingers at one another leaving me in the middle caught in the crossfire. I fear I will soon be a casualty.

I’m scared.

I should be resting and healing, but instead I am making phone calls, sending emails, and begging. Because of my short term memory loss, I have post it notes everywhere to attempt to remind myself who I have spoken to and what I have said. I can sense the frustration in others’ voices when they ask me if I did this or contacted that agency, and did I follow up?

What I don’t understand is, this was supposed to be easy and seamless. It isn’t. Why do I have to do the following up? Did somebody forget I had two brain surgeries in a seven month period of time, and I am not healed yet?

Then there are the headaches. Not a day goes by where I don’t have one. They range from painful to excruciating. Yesterday, I believe the excruciating migraine was caused by me becoming upset about the fiasco with my health insurance debacle. I am on medication to keep me calm but I was so upset yesterday, I cried through being medicated. Thank God I had someone (I forget who at this point) fighting for me to at least get my prescriptions (for the time being anyway).

Then I become so angry,I want to be ignorant. I want to ask the government if their enrollment process had issues. I bet they have their insurance!!! But I know that’s not the way to get anything accomplished.

How long is this going to take to get resolved?

The longer it takes,the more time it will take for me to heal.

The longer it takes for me to heal, the more time it will take me to get back to work.

I never thought I would want to go back to work, but at least I had insurance, paychecks where I could afford food, clothes and pay my rent on time.

I have a fantasy that someone hears about my story and gives me an advance to finish my novel. The novel becomes a best seller and I pay off my debt and help my family out with theirs. Then I move to Belize, get married to my VSF, by a house where the ocean is my backyard…and relax.

But for now, I just want to be okay.

“Star”

Having No Medical Insurance May Also Result in Having No Home

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Because of my disability this letter took me four hours to complete as well as email, I thought I would share it with you, since I will probably receive more responses from this blog anyway

**For those of you who are familiar with this story, feel free to skip the first two paragraphs**

Please bear with me as I am unsure where to even begin.

Up until November 10, 2012 I worked two jobs. I worked in a call center specializing in Health and Welfare benefits, and I was an Adjunct English Professor at Camden County College. The reason I am using past tense is because on the above aforementioned date, I suffered a cerebral artery aneurysm rupture. In May of 2013, I had a second brain surgery in May to coil another aneurysm to prevent it from rupturing. I have not worked since November 10th 2012 and have been receiving Long Term Disability since February. My medical benefits through my former employer expired January 1, 2014.

I enrolled on the Affordable Health Care website December 19th and was approved for NJ Family Care starting January 1st. According to NJ Family Care, because of “technical issues” they have not received my information from the Affordable Health Care website. So twenty eight days later, I still do not have health insurance.

Thankfully, my assembly(wo)man’s office was able to assist me to obtain my prescriptions, which are life sustaining, for thirty days. Thanks to reporter Kim Mulford of the Courier Post my prescription drug dilemma made front page of the newspaper.

Now, I have eleven days left of my medication and no insurance. I cannot even see my doctors without my insurance card, which NJ Family Care says “to be patient, once they process my information, it will be sent to me”

Also, my Long Term disability Met Life carrier (Met Life) needs documentation from my doctors to confirm I am still disabled so they can reevaluate my claim. They also said that if they are unable to obtain the information needed, they will use the documentation already on file. If that information isn’t sufficient, my monthly benefit could be suspended.

Since that is my only source of income right now, if my benefits get suspended for any length of time it will cause a severe financial hardship for me. I explained my situation to Met Life and they strongly suggested that I contact any and every media affiliate, as well as political figure possible.

I am humbly begging someone to help me.

Regards,

Michele Mitchell

(phone number)

CC: Gov. Chris Christie

Sen. Robert Menendez

Sen. Fred H. Madden

Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty

Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera

Kim Mulford (Courier Post)

Inquirer.Letters@phillynews.com

Health Check 6abc.com

NBC News Channel 10

KYW News 3 On Your Side

Huffington Post

President Barack Obama www.whitehouse.gov

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Is There a Fix? –They Picked the WRONG Writer to Piss Off!!!

Is There a Fix? --They Picked the WRONG Writer to Piss Off!!!

The below email was sent to all three of my local news affiliates and the Huffington Post. If any of you have connects and would like to forward this, feel free.

Greetings,

My name is Michele Mitchell and I will, to the best of my ability, summarize my situation.

For brevity sake, please see the attached link which contains an article written by Kim Mulford of the Courier Post.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20140118/HEALTH/301170065/Delays-confusion-frustrate-S-J-Medicaid-applicants

Prior to this article getting published, I was scared and frustrated. I contacted the NJ State Legislature about my health care fiasco and Jean, my assemblywoman’s assistant, reached out to the hospital where I had both of my brain surgeries. An advocate at the hospital was able to obtain (with the help of Walgreens) a thirty day supply of my anti-seizure medicine at no cost to me, and I was grateful.

The next day the above article was published. A donor, who wished to remain anonymous to me, contacted Ms. Mulford and offered to pay for my Rx in cash if I notified the pharmacy.

So, of course, I did.

I was told by Walmart that I had to be present when the donor paid for my Rx because they could not release my Rx to anyone other than me. I then explained about the article and the Good Samaritan who wished to remain anonymous.

Their advice to me was to have the Samaritan come to Walmart and purchase a gift card for the full amount of the Rxs and leave the card at the pharmacy. Then my Rxs would be filled and when I was able to come pick them up, I would use the card to pay for them.

Ms. Mulford diligently worked to convey this information to the Samaritan as he/she had a schedule that needed to be adhered to.

In the interim, Walmart called Walgreens to verify the Rx and then I received a phone call from the Walmart pharmacist.

I was basically told that because Walgreens was able to fill the one Rx for free they should be able to fill the other two Rx for free as well and to call them. The Samaritan was sent away.

Dismayed, I called Walgreens to see when my Rx would be ready. They seemed more concerned about how to submit a claim to get reimbursed for the costs of the Rx than helping me, but told me they would call me in about an hour when the Rx were ready. They also sarcastically instructed me to NOT contact the Courier Post because they were trying to “help” me like they did previously.

They never called.

And Walmart turned away the only person who was willing to help.

If you have any questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Michele Mitchell

 

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Is There a Fix? (Day 3)

Is There a Fix

 The good news is that I was able to get a thirty day supply of my anti-seizure medication. I would like to thank my assemblywoman’s office, and the wonderful advocates at Kennedy Hospital and Walgreens for makin it happen. S/O to my daughter for going out of her way today to pick up the medication. Here is hoping that my health insurance issue is rectified soon so that I may obtain my other medications and reschedule my cancelled doctor appointments.

The other news is the photographer from the newspaper came today to shoot the pictures to coincide with the article regarding the above. What I learned from that today:

A-Photographers are very patient, detail oriented people
B-There are fifty ways to look at an empty prescription Rx while gazing somberly out of my window.
C-I could be a hand model. (Hey I didn’t say it) So officially, I have pretty feet and hands.

Lastly, the household was forewarned that it is possible to go into withdraw regarding the other meds and to be patient with me.

Random Happy Moment: My daughter and I have committed to learning Spanish which will serve us well during our future tour of Central America.

Summation:
• It has been approximately thirty four days since I applied and have been approved for my health insurance.
• I still do not have ID cards.
• There ARE people in the world who care and are willing to go the extra mile for others.
• I was able to get my most important Rx filled
So Is There a Fix will pause for now, until there is another update.
Peace!!!

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Is There a Fix ? (Day Two)

Is There a Fix ? (Day Two)

I wish I could say my insurance/medication issue was my only stressor. It isn’t. Stressors for anyone are exhausting. Needless to say, I am extremely tired as I type this.
Bad news, my issue is still not resolved. It has been over twenty-four hours since I have had the necessary medication.
Good news, besides feeling a little “spacy” and “shaky”. I did pretty well today. I am going to chalk that up to prayer and meditation and thank God for both. I have my “emotional” moments, but they pass quickly. It think mainly because crying gives me a headache, I do my best not to become upset. Pain is NOT on my list of stuff to do.
I was contacted by a nurse from the hospital I was in for both of my brain surgeries, and was told my assemblywoman’s assistant contacted her. The nurse is now working with my doctors to arrange for emergency medication for me. I am praying those arrangements can be made soon.
Tomorrow the newspaper is sending the photographer to take my picture to coincide with the article they will run about my issue. I don’t want to look like I have luggage under my eyes (see the pun play…ha), so I am going to get some…rest, yeah whatever that is…LOL.

Random joy of the day: Seeing Yanni’s face as Nel read Alice in Wonderland to her.
…to be continued

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Is There a Fix?

Is There a Fix?

Day One
***Feel free to read my about page and the updates to get acquainted with my situation***
The first ironic point is that up until I had to go out on disability for my illness, my main source of employment was a third party benefits administrator. I specialized with assisting clients with their health benefits. However, I do believe if I had made an error as grave (no pun intended) as the one I am now faced with, I would have been terminated from my job. Now, I am not asking for anyone to lose their job, but I just want SOMEONE to go above and beyond their roles and responsibilities to assist me.

Because I don’t want to die.
The second ironic point is even with my medical condition I was cognizant enough to enroll in medical insurance through the Affordable Health Care website ON TIME. So I know for a fact this unfortunate situation is NOT my fault. I only state that to say that that in my former role as a benefits administrator more often than not I would have to go above and beyond my responsibilities to help a client who, for whatever reason, did not enroll in his/her benefits on time.
But that isn’t the situation at hand. If you follow the news, you may have been informed of the computer “glitch” that is delaying the information from the federal level to get to the appropriate state database. But hey, I am not alone. From what I have read, I have at least 25,000 other NJ residents to keep me company.
We are uninsured, but I am pretty positive none of us want to die.
The third irony is I really dislike taking medicines, but because of my medical condition I have to take three prescriptions daily (two scripts twice daily). Two of the medications are mood stabilizers so I can relax enough for my brain to heal. The brain requires a LOT of energy to heal and being upset depletes that needed energy. The MAIN medication is an anti-seizure medication. I REALLY need that medication because the result of me having a seizure could be more damage to my brain and/or death.
I mentioned I didn’t want to die, right? Just checking.
Lastly, because I worked where I worked and heard associates threaten to call their senators if their situations weren’t resolved, I emailed many a member of the NJ state legislature to assist me. My assemblywoman’s office is going above and beyond to assist me. Through no fault of theirs, nothing has been resolved as of yet. However, the local newspaper is going to run my story complete with a photo. Once that happens, I’ll link you all to it.
It is after five in the morning here in NJ, and I can’t sleep. In five more hours, it will be the first full day without having my medication. Physically, I am “okay”. My headaches tend to worsen due to weather and lunar conditions as well as stress. So yeah, I have a headache I am awake because I am a little nervous I will have a seizure in my sleep…and well you know the rest…

Hopefully, I will get some rest and peace of mind–again pardon my pun.
(to be continued)