30 March 2022

That's Not Nothing

 Because nerd, I'm always reading.  It could be a magazine, a book, an online article, email, twitter.  I'm usually always reading something.  Any time that I spot an article or a thread about Covid Long Haul Symptoms, I read it and take notes. Because the information is constantly being updated and we're learning more as people share their experiences.

Then the other day, the fact that Kevin still has not regained his smell came up in conversation with one of our friends.  Along with that loss, his sense of taste has been altered because the senses all work in cooperation. 

There are fewer and fewer things that he enjoys eating now.  He was already a fussy eater with textures, appearance, or strong odors and now it's been amplified.  Some of his favorites are no longer preferred. If I were to enumerate it, out of ten of his favorites only seven remain.  My guess is he would say five out of ten, if I asked.  He barely eats anymore and needs to in order to stave off hypoglycemia and Graves Disease episodes. His tremor in his hand is back. It's like the Covid fritzed out his immune system again. He's lost weight and his jeans are baggy now.  I haven't asked how much he's lost.  It reminds me of when he was really sick and went from 190 lbs. to 150 lbs and I try not to dwell on that.

The taste of soda is rancid to him now.  Like, spit it out immediately rancid.  He says that coffee doesn't taste as good as it used to.  I've ran out of snacks for his workday because nothing tastes good anymore. A person thinks "Well, those aren't *bad* things to lose..." But what do we replace it with?  Where does it end? He has resigned himself that they are not returning.

He shared that when he brought home Mexican food take-out the other night (a Friday night ritual) there was an issue.  He physically stopped the truck then got out to inspect it, including raising the hood and laying on the ground to look underneath. Because it smelled like something was burning.  The smell of hot Mexican takeout smelled terrible to him.  He didn't tell me about it immediately because it was so frustrating and upsetting to him.

So, let's unpack the whole You had Covid and You're Fine thing from this perspective: What does the loss of smell really mean?  Firstly, because we didn't immediately recognize it: it also means the loss of taste.

It meant that Mexican food smelled like burnt rubber, thus making it not appetizing to eat.  Something that when you hear "Mexican food take-out" chances are your tummy grumbled in happiness.  Not anymore.  I'm usually starting dinner when he comes home.  He loves Taco Tuesday because he comes home to the house smelling like tacos.  

But let's take that takeout issue a second step: what if something WAS wrong with the truck?  Would he smell it? Or would he unknowingly wait until something was really wrong?  What if it's a smoke smell in the house or garage?  We have smoke alarms but he wouldn't smell it before it turned into something dangerous.

The one that bothers me the most - because I'm in this too - is my perfume.  I've worn the same perfume for years.  He can't smell it.  He can't smell one of his favorite scents - his own wife.  It's gone.  The one thing that brings comfort when people are gone - their scent - is gone for him. 

Which then brings us to core memories.  We all have those smells that takes us back.  The smell of your childhood home or parents.  That new baby smell.  That new CAR smell.  How puppies smell when they're little.  Your favorite smell...vanilla, new leather, freshly cut grass, the smell after a rainstorm.  Gone.

All of that. Gone.

I mean, I can't wrap my head around that. I really can't.  That isn't nothing. That isn't "But you're fine now." That's a loss that is painful and causes grief and has reprecussions. There is no "You're fine".

So, we'll keep hoping that it returns.  We'll hope that it doesn't get worse, even though we have zero reason to believe so.  We're not going to think about my perfume or that he won't smell his mom again.  We will focus on that he was "lucky" and wasn't hospitalized or dead when so millions others were.  These losses, while big to us, are still better than the alternative.

26 March 2022

Mortar, Tassle and Eye Drops

 I just graduated this week.  I literally laughed out loud when the eye doctor told me.  This surgery adventure has now concluded.  Well, mostly.  Probably.  Let's say that I am cleared for regular life again.  I have a shiny new prescription.  I've already ordered new glasses.

Meanwhile, they did the tests so my eye is numb and I can't see very well.  So far, no migraine like last time so that is all happy.

Meanwhile times two, it will take up to SIX MONTHS for the eyes to be considered completely healed.  This was a little AUGH and a little Oh, Good.Whew.   Because as I've mentioned many times previously, this second surgery has not been easy.  So of course it is going to take longer to heal and it is comforting that it hasn't progressed as quickly as the first eye.

The only bummer was the continuation of drops.  It's a small thing but it's a thing.  I mean, it could be worse AND I can still have a little sad about it.

So like all the posts on this topic, I will say:

If you need the surgery, absolutely have it.  Just know that it may not be as easy peasy as they tell you. 

If you just want the surgery, then have a little think on that.  It's a lot to do to just not have to wear contacts or glasses again.

Now to the fun part: ordering glasses.

I have insurance but it is, let's say, lightly helpful when it comes to covering the cost of glasses, etc. We are not talking about covering the cost of my surgery right now.  Sigh.

The ever-so-lovely Swistle suggested Zenni years ago and I have been a fan ever since.  (Not a paid, promotional post AT ALL)  (Well, not for Zenni but definitely a promotion of Swistle <3 )

I've used them annually for regular, reading, and sunglasses.  I only have had an issue once and they were super helpful and gracious about it.  (the frames just didn't work for my vision)  You can bill your insurance after the fact.  As far as where I am located, the time to get them is comparable to local shops. 

The best part is the choosing.  I have a list of twenty frames saved because you can "favorite" frames.  No surprise, they are almost all purple.  There are some tortoise colored frames and two blue frames that I'm still thinking about.  They are the reason wish lists are a good thing to keep.

I was going to reorder a pair of my old reading glasses with regular lenses but they've been retired.  I was SO DISAPPOINTED.  Kevin, however, will not be as he was not as big of a fan.  I can still go get the lenses replaced but that will be more expensive than I probably will want to do just for just something fun to have  We'll see. (vision pun! I think that's only the first one!)

I ordered these, which I've had years before and love:

I will eventually have to get sunglasses but right now the ones I have work just fine because they are single-vision instead of progressive.  

And now, theoretically, I can order all the glasses because my prescription should stay about the same.  Be right back, I have to add more onto my list.

22 March 2022

Frame By Frame

 There are frames and photos all over my office right now.  The printer is whirring below my desk and I'm supposed to be working.  Oh and it's 5:51 in the morning.  My brain woke up distracted this morning; usually it gives me a little bit of a break until it fully boots up.  Today it was all "Whelp, we have things to do and we're going to do them all at once."

Usually I put my headphones on to keep myself centered in this situation.  However, the printer still has to finish this page and then another one.  I know if I put my headphones on, the printer will jam and be down there humming away and tapping it's little electrical foot.

I told you: my brain is an EDM festival right now.

The hallway is 95% complete.  Kevin was going to finish painting this weekend but then it was kind of an unusually busy weekend so we let it slide.  Or he's waiting until I get new glasses in a few weeks and I'll (hopefully) finish it myself.

I have already made two extra trips to the dollar store this week.  Yesterday's trip was to the little one in my old work town, which I so much prefer more.  It's always quiet and clean, both of which are rare for a dollar store.

Sometime during the pandemic, I started using the Common Folk Bathroom as Kevin calls it, to shower.  It has a standard sized tub and shower, while the main bathroom has a shower the size of a coat closet.  Kevin loves that shower and I'm Meh.  It occurred to me sometime during these End Times, that I could just switch.  Turns out, Kevin likes having the shower "to himself" and so do I so that's a win.  Also, he's six feet tall and I am not so where the water sprays is a thing.

The Common Folk Bathroom is in the hallway, at the "back" of the house, which is ridiculous way to describe it in the small little house.  The door faces the hallway where there are photos on the wall organized in really no discernible way.  It's the wall you can only see if you're standing there, is the best way I can describe it.

Anyway.  When I painted it, I kept one side a cream color because I worried that the beloved mocha color would make the hallway too dark.  (side note: I want a skylight.  The hallway needs a skylight. Also, I live in the PNW where skylights are good and bad.  They often leak and get mossy but they provide much needed light. #freneticdancemusicinmyheadright now #catsbootscatsbootscatsboots

Now I'm home all day and I walk the hallway all the time.  I look at it when I'm in "my" bathroom.  It was bothering me and I couldn't quite put a finger on it.  One day I realized: the photos that were up there weren't photos that I necessarily loved.  They were placeholders, space fillers.  Photos that had "expired" if you will.  People who were no longer in our lives or who we particularly wanted to see their photos on the daily anymore.

This is before I painted it the first time
(Swistle, your frame is going up in my closet)

This is where I realize that I referred to this project in a previous post and began this post with no context.  Well done, me.  Thanks alphabet brain.  

So what had happened was: I took down all the photographs and collages and sorted them into Not Going Back and Maybe Going Back on the Wall. Absorbed some of the photos on the big wall and took apart one of the old collages.  Now they languish in the office, stacked in a pile. Then pulled out eleventy nails because I knew I wasn't going to need them again.  Bought more paint than I needed and painted everything I could reach the mocha color.  We are at the next phase of this project, sorta, but first a few more details.

Anyone need coffee? 

Remember last summer or whenever, when I decided that the main photo wall was only going to have photos that I loved?  This precipitated taking down a few photos and adding ones of our friends.  Instead of having photos on that wall that I felt "had to" be included, I have photos that make me happy.  Or Kevin happy, he lives here too I guess.  

This other wall though was a mishmash of old family photos, car photos, and just stuff.  Clutter.  Photos that I had put up for the sake of filling space.  Photos that no longer "Sparked Joy".  Collage photo frames from the old house. (hello, early 1990's)

I mulled this situation every time that I walked the hallway.  Additionally, it's time to paint the doors in the house, they've gotten grubby and worn.  I searched the social media for ideas and I noticed these hallways with fun details that made them not look like hallways.  This got my mind to spinning.  (more, spinning more)

What was needed was a little library nook.  A little less clutter.  Something beautiful to look at.

Months ago, the Christmas tree displaced a bookcase that neither Kevin or I particularly liked.  It had landed just outside my office door and while it wasn't my favorite, I liked having a bookcase there.  Cue me surfing bookcases, console tables, shelves, buffet tables until I found a narrow shelf that would work as a bookshelf.  I put it in the online cart and it stayed there for a few days.  Then Kevin wanted to order from that site so I took it as a sign from the universe and bought it.

The plan was to put it together myself.  I took everything out of the box and methodically organized it.  Then immediately realized this was a Kevin task and not a Surely task.  So pause on that part of the project.

Kevin put together the shelf the evening when I had my little meltdown/tantrum about not being able to paint.  He had again entered into Hostage Negotiator Mode with a "I will put together your bookcase so you can play with your books tomorrow."

Next, what to replace everything I just took down?  Well, it occurred to me that I just happen to be a decent photographer.  I have an instagram account.  Why in the World of Where's Waldo would I not put up my own photographs?

I like the idea of ordering and using mixtiles but I just couldn't make myself order them.  I knew it would be a hassle to upload the photos I wanted from my social media and phone and online storage.  Plus the cost once I ordered everything and then the Waiting.  I didn't want to wait for them to arrive in the mail someday.

Instead, I went the do-it-myself method.  I went to the dollar store and bought 5x7 frames with mattes.  Usually if you search the office supplies section, you can find photo printing paper also but not this trip.  I unfortunately had to go into the actual store to buy paper and command strips.  #woremymask #selfservicecheckout

I looked through my instagram for photos that I loved that would also look good framed.  I went through the albums on my phone and finally culled through online storage. Searches like "sunsets", "flowers" "bridges"  They had to make me happy.  No sad or sentimental photos, only happy.  Finally I printed a group of photos and framed them with minimal drama.  Then I carried them out into the hallway to begin hanging them.

And I walked away.  My brain went Nope, too many options. Can't Choose.  I left them there and pondered them as I went by them for about a day.  Then I tried again.  Well, because I'm not a planner, it didn't occur to me to get X number of landscapes photos versus Y number of portrait photos.  OCD demands balance.  You may not proceed.

Eventually I just got stubborn and chose four landscape photos and hung them.  Then I chose four portrait photos and hung them.  The balance was off so I printed four more portrait photos.  In doing so, I found more photos that I wanted to print.  I ran out of frames and I am now stuck in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

I returned to the store the next day when I took Lucy for walkies and there were only four frames left.  I bought them and tried not to panic.  Returned home and started the process over again.

Because cheap dollar store frames, only one command strip is needed to hold up the frames.  Also, the nice thing about dollar store frames is that once they are on the wall, no one knows that they're super cheap and flimsy.  (pro tip: cut off the stand so they'll lay flat against the wall. They're a dollar, don't fuss about "What If")

Finally everything is hung and there were still gaps.  I needed five more photos to balance everything. Because of course.  And I'm out of frames again. Not to be thwarted, Lucy and I went to the store again and bought nearly everything they had.  Now I have extras because we know this is not the end of it.  I mean, we went from just a handful of photos to eleventy.  And we're not thinking that I post to the instagram every day and will have more photos that I will want to print.


Now, we rejoin the beginning of this post where the printer is printing.

Everything is printed, everything is framed and now...I'm out of command strips.  I am determined not to use nails.  Also, I hung one photo too high and it will bother me forevermore.  "Luckily" Kevin needs something at the store so Lucy and I are going into town. We will buy more command strips because I don't want to keep doing this, as fun as it is.  

Hold, please.

Whew, we're back and my brain has decided that it needs a nap.  But I had to, had to, HAD TO finish this madness project.  I could not cope with this taking another day.  I would be in the hallway at midnight feeling grateful that command strips are silent, unlike nails. You think I'm kidding.

But nevertheless, she persisted. This is the end result:

View from my office
I haven't filled the bookshelves...yet.

View from my bathroom

View from the bedroom door, sorta
Ignore the ceiling (that's the space where the tantrum happened)

I have eight frames left and two photos unframed. I am so tempted to put them on the wall but this madness has got.to.stop.

19 March 2022

Please Go Out Like a Lamb

nipped from social media


18 March 2022

It's Been Nothing But Weird

 So, this was a weird week.  It was a full moon and I'm sure Mercury was in Refrigerator.

My work went from I literally and actually had nothing to do to OMG in one day.  This is a good thing because I was getting bored but a little less whiplash would be great.

I'm just going to give a synopsis of the most recent Raising Parents saga:

a) they want to do the medicine by themselves despite our STRENUOUS objections.  So set the timer for the really bad thing to happen.

b) although not confirmed, it looks like my f-i-l tossed out all those pills in the organizer because he was confused which was which.  O.M.G.


AND THEN, Kevin had a nightmare and woke himself, me and the dog up yelling.  It's the first time that's ever happened and I'm absolutely convinced it's stress from the family and the general state of the world.

Next up, the b-i-l's puppy sneaked into the house yesterday and ended up PEEING ON THE NEW COUCH as I was trying to get it out of the house.  If you live in the PNW, you may have seen a nuclear shaped cloud above the neighborhood.  

Luckily, because new couch, it beaded up and I could wipe it away.  I still made an organic cleaner just in case and I haven't had the ambition or heart to go check it today.  The b-i-l offered to have it cleaned but I declined.  I don't want further drama and I think it's fine.

Homemade Cleaner via the pinterest:

Oh, because I'm still annoyed about that whole thing, I forgot the biggest and weirdest thing.  

I shared my ancestry account with one of my nieces.  She had curiosity about family lines as she has one differing bio parent.    Well, neither of us had looked at the site in quite a while.  I wanted to look up something about my grandma and I noticed there was an unread message.  

It turns out that my s-i-l has an unknown HALF BROTHER.   I texted my niece saying "Call me when you get a chance.  NOT an emergency but OMG!"  
She phoned almost immediately and I said "So, you haven't been on the ancestry site for a while, huh?"  She kind of flinched like I was upset.  I continued "I know this because there's a message from JULY and it's CRAZY."   Then I read the message to her.  When I read where the person referenced her bio-grandfather by name and her bio-grandma, she GASPED.  
Then we just freaked out together.  I told her that she needed to reach out not only to him but to her mom and her aunt. She was so excited.

Fast forward to the dog peeing on my new couch and I asked my s-i-l about it.  She was all MEH about it.  I mean, wut? So that was disappointing.  Hopefully my niece follows through and they can meet.

Today I went to go get a big girl haircut because I've been cutting my own hair for almost three years now.  To my shock and surprise, the stylist said I did a good job, it was just a little crooked.  So that feels much better.  Sadly, she's retiring soon so I'll go back to cutting my own hair.

It's daffodil season here.  But it's been super rainy.  I went to go take photos and it was a bust.  There wasn't an easy accessible field due to all the mud. I'll have to wait until the Tulip Festival.

Now because I just like to dare the universe to mess with me, I am going to go try to make something new for dinner instead of Kevin bringing home Friday Night Takeout.  Seems easy but we have met me and we'll just see.

17 March 2022

Name Game

 Okay, I'm going to lighten up this bloggity because OMG there has been so MUCH Raising Parents.  And, and, AND we're still not done with that particular topic.

However, I'm not talking about that right now because I need a break.  As you probably do, as well.

There is a new advocate at my work.  We've only met via Zoom.  He's young. This is his first big boy job and by that I mean, he just graduated University and his hobby is LEGOS.

I don't have his email address and I keep forgetting to write down his surname during the zoom meetings. Work email addresses are very simple, I just need his surname.

I emailed my job partner to ask for his email:

Subject: Edson's email, please?


Or I’m just going to start sending emails to random emails until I hit one.  Edson.Chang   Edson.Fittipaldi   Edson.Pawlowicz  Edson.Murphy  

I can guess all day…………


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~  ~ ~ ~ ~

She answers that she likes the guessing game and that just made my brain happy.


She sends a Yoda Meme:

I continue:

Edson. Obama….Edson.Dyrdek…Edson.Thomas…Edson.Chu…Edson.Tribbiani…Edson.Geller….Edson.Bing…

The next morning:

Late that day, after she responds with a laughing meme:

This is where Kevin would shake his head and say "Don't encourage her"

I reply:

Then again this morning, but with a theme:

Now, you've all met me.  My attention span is unreliable.  This is where I tell you that upon writing this, I see that job partner gave me his email IN THE FIRST RESPONSE and I didn't SEE IT.

And, of course, none of my guesses were even remotely close to the real surname.  

15 March 2022

These Aren't Socks

 Yesterday was Monday.  And I mean, it was like Garfield level Monday.  Usually this particular time change doesn't bother me but whew, it did this year.  Because why not, nothing matters anymore.

I needed to work and I needed to finish the hallway project.  Those were my two objectives.

Instead, I napped.  

Eventually I did a little work and worked on the photo part of the hallway project.

Then we went for walkies, in which this is the second time Lucy has decided it's Anarchy Day with not following commands.  It's not terrible, it's just unusual.  I think what I'm seeing is Old Dog Behavior and I'm not here for it.

Upon returning home, my next job is to solve the issues with the parents insurance and meds.

Again, I will shout from the rooftop that Pill Pack via Amazon is the only way to go with elderly parents prescriptions.  The customer service is beyond fantastic.

Like us, the Pill Pack friends are puzzled why the parents need an "extra" refill of pills.  We went through all of the events in the last sixty days and their notes matched my notes.  So that's both good and bad.

Also, Kevin's mom told him earlier today that there was an extra charge from Pill Pack in December.  So I asked.  They listed the amounts and because I don't pay their bills, I'm not certain but it sounded correct.

So, we're "done" with the pill issue.

Then I phoned the insurance company but because I didn't think about time, they were closed.   Then I phoned the "food" company and I should have just begun there anyway.  While the insurance company has been billed for her "food", they don't have her new insurance on file.  Because no one let them know.  (it didn't occur to me, I've added it to the growing list)  

Now I have to go over their house to get the insurance cards and it is absolutely pouring rain.  I explained to the customer service person that it would be a minute and I could phone back or they could hold.  They chose hold.  I explained that when I get over there, it will be momentary chaos as they have that stupid puppy and the television will be on SHOUT and they will be surprised that I'm there.

All of those things happened.  Back out into the rain I go and scurry home.

But now the "food" place has the new insurance and they're good to go.  There is not outstanding bill.  Whew.

This prompted me to create an online account for the insurance so I don't have to play this game on an endless loop.

Next, I phoned Kevin to say a) her food is paid for and 2) I can't even with her meds.

"Why don't you wait to talk to them until I get home"  Oh thank you, Kevin. Good man right there.

"Because I'm not even sure what is happening." he says.  "ME TOO" I say.

Then a little spark went off in my head, in a good way.

I opened the bloggity and my email and created a timeline.  I took notes on a small legal pad and next thing I know, I'm four pages in.  Somehow seeing it written out in a list hit me that this is a MESS. I mean, I knew that but looking at pages of notes really brought it home.

They so don't have this.

Kevin came home soaking wet and tired but he headed over there with me.  We can see immediately that the mom was starting to spin out.  This is where Kevin shines.  "Mom, just stop." he'll tell her.  

I started with the easy part first: explaining that the food thing wasn't an issue and not to worry about it. I don't think they understood any of it but we left it at "You don't owe anyone money."

Now onto the meds.  

I started with the money part.  And Kevin's mom looks confused.  She has no idea what I'm talking about.  All I did was look at Kevin and raise an eyebrow and a sweep of my hand to say "This is what happens..."

Kevin turns to her and says "You told me this morning that Pill Pack took out like $40 extra and would Surely look into it?"  She has ZERO recollection of that. Kevin was quiet for a beat and just emotionlessly said "Okay"

I explained that Pill Pack will be sending another shipment and it should be arriving in two days.  Further, that it would remain incomplete because a) they should have sixty days left of the other pills and 2) my f-i-l had pills refilled at the Pharmacy.  AND, AND, they had ordered an "extra" complete Pill Pack because they didn't trust the pill dispenser that I had spent hours fixing, that was FULL of two weeks worth of pills.

According to all of the records in all of the places, they should have plenty of meds.

Every time this subject comes up, Kevin's dad always gets up to go through the medicine cupboard.  So here's the funny part: he has a riser chair so we have to wait for it to help him stand.  Kevin, not realizing this, is all "What are you doing?"  then realized and went quiet.  I turned toward the kitchen because I started to laugh. 

He begins to show me the shoebox of meds, and the Pill Pack from Oct/Nov that is spoiled (and now expired but whatevs).  Somehow they don't have ANY current Pill Packs and I couldn't get a clear answer WHY.  Luckily, there's one arriving in two days so I had to let that go.

But the f-i-l insists that he's out of a specific medicine.  "That's the medicine that the other company sent."  "Yes, and it looks different and I can't tell which one it is."  Umm, wut.  I admit my brain went into shutdown mode with that one.

Around and around we went about There Should Be Plenty of Pills.  Finally I asked "Where is the pills from the dispenser that you didn't use?"  Silence.  Ummmm....   Finally, he explains that he's been using pills from it to fill in what is "missing".  That's why he can't tell.

Now I'm a little huffy "This is where you ask for HELP because I can FIX that." and I brought up photos of the pill on my phone.  

Then I just looked at Kevin and shook my head.  "I don't know what to do."

Kevin tried again.  He reiterated that they should have all the pills and extra.  He explained that the Pill Pack folks have no reason to lie. "Well, they could have made a mistake" the m-i-l says a little huffily.  "Yes, they could but it's unlikely.  These are PILLS, not socks." I say.

Then she says that they'll just keep working on it and maybe they'll call the pharmacy or the doctor to get more.  Kevin and I simultaneously said "NO" then he let me continue "Because if you do that, this will NEVER BE FIXED.  It will just keep perpetuating until one of us dies."  

AND THEN because she isn't "winning" we get the plaintive "I just wish I didn't take all these meds"  To which Kevin, who has clearly had enough, says "And we wouldn't have to worry about this in a few days because you will be dead."  

Again, I have my emotional responses mixed and instead of wincing, I giggled.  It's okay, I don't think they noticed.

This doesn't thwart her, she's in it now:  "Well, I'm sure that Dad is ready for that."  Oh c'mon.  I would like to thank the Academy for this most melodramatic response ever award.

Kevin just looked at her and said "STOP it."

"OKAY" I say louder than I meant to  "The next shipment of Pill Pack will be here in two days.  You should have plenty of medicine to make this work.  There is nothing else I can do."    We agree to shelve this for a few days.

You thought we were done, didn't you?

"Well, she goes to the doctor tomorrow and when they change her medicine, Pill Pack will be all screwed up AGAIN because they can't change it that fast."

My head on a swivel, I asked the mom "Are they likely to change the medicine?"  "They could" she replies poutily and I'm making way to the door.

Kevin says "Wait, what are you even being seen for?"

"I'm going in the tube" she says.

Kevin looks at me and I said "MRI? CAT scan?"  The mother nods.

He sighs and says "I doubt that the radiologist will change your meds right there.  BUT if they do, you stop them and have them call Surely so it's not a mess."

My f-i-l interjects that THEY could just tell the doctor.  I explained "Then tell them that they need to give you a 10-30 pill prescription for the pharmacy AND another prescription for Pill Pack."  

He's stumped.  Kevin says "Just have them call Surely."

This is where I say this is just a synopsis. There's a whole soliloquy from Kevin about how I always say that there are three sides to every story: one side, the other side and the actual truth.  He continues that it's difficult for me when they can't provide good information and become defensive and there's only so much I can do when the company disagrees with what the parents are saying.

Or that when I went to get the insurance cards, the f-i-l "jokingly" says "Oh we threw all of those away."  I couldn't even acknowledge him.  Kevin though, he said "C'mon, you have to admit that was a little funny.  A little funny that he thought he was being "funny"."  

OR that when we went to leave, the m-i-l said "Well don't leave right away, you can stay and visit."  I thought Kevin was going to burst into tears "Mom, I have been on my feet for twelve hours, we haven't had dinner and now it's late.  We can't stay."   His dad interjects "And Surely worked all day too!"  to which I just solemnly nodded, trying not to laugh.

13 March 2022

What I Wanted to Say

I thought that redoing the hallway would be a good idea this week.  Yes, I'm six weeks post-op on one side of my head and four weeks post-op on the other side.  It should be fine, right.

Cut to me on a ladder this morning in tears, cursing profusely, and telling myself "You are the one that has to clean up the paint if you throw the brush."

No, I don't have high expectations. What are you talking about?

I put all the paint things away in a pout then went outside to wash the trucks instead.  I put my headphones on with my loud music and started. Kevin came out with a quizzical look and a "You aren't done already are you?"  Now I'm standing there fighting snot and tears while I explain that I can't see to paint along the ceiling.  My eyes can't focus and it makes my dizzy.  

Now he doesn't know what to do when his usually stoic wife is broken but he tries.  I posted this on my social media a while ago and it applies here:

I channeled my frustration into washing my SUV and our little truck.  I felt marginally better and Kevin tried again "So, like, what's not working?"  He's grasping for the end-game, the ability to say "Once you get new glasses, you'll be good to go."   While he might be/probably be right, he might not be.  

And this is where I say Again that this surgery wasn't as easy-peasy as everyone says that it is.

So, what's next.  Oh, the parents.  My m-i-l phoned me yesterday and asked me to come over. No reason, no preamble, No bring Kevin.  Hmmm.  I asked Kevin if he knew what was happening and he said no.  Super.

Firstly, my f-i-l fumbled an apology for being snarky during the High Stakes Sorting Game.  He didn't want ME to be mad.  I explained that I was over it that day and that it takes much more than that to make me mad.  

Then he segues into that the medicine is STILL not fixed. I tried nine different ways to understand how it's not fixed and I still don't understand.  So I'll be phoning all the places tomorrow to see what's happening now.

But we're not done.  

Secondly, my m-i-l has a GI tube and her "food" is delivered like clockwork every month.  They got a statement of benefits from the NEW insurance company, stating that they weren't paying for it.  Upon a closer glance, it's because the food place billed the new insurance too early.   There's another phone call for Monday morning and should be an easy fix.  

Here's another example of where they are completely spun out because there has been an error.  We were back in the We Never Should Have Switched Insurance and Now We Have to Pay mode.  Super. I told them that I would phone on Monday and fix it, not to worry.

STILL not done.  

Now the m-i-l says she has to say something.  She revisits that they think that I'm mad, or was mad.  I asked them to tell me why they would think that.  Any guess?  

Because my sibs-in-law (most likely the b-i-l) told them that I was mad and overwhelmed and didn't want to help them.

Again, I'm pretty stoic.  I don't lose my temper easily. Ooof. I saw red.  And she saw it cross my face.

As calmly as I can muster, I say "Did you hear anything from ME?  Or from my HUSBAND?  Because if you DIDN'T hear it from ME or MY HUSBAND, then ANYONE ELSE (wildly gesturing to the sibs house) can PIPE DOWN." 

What I wanted to say was "He can STFU on all the things for ever and ever."

They both said that neither of us had seemed mad or said we were mad.  They acknowledged that Kevin was stressed about the situation and I agreed.  "But that doesn't mean he's mad."  And, and AND even if I were mad, they would never know it BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE THE HELPER you don't get to be moody.  Yes, I can be frustrated and all the things but they don't get to know that.  That's not how this works.  (and yes, of course, within reason)

I kind of let it lay after repeating that ANYONE WHO IS NOT ME OR KEVIN CAN PACK SAND with their opinions and went home.

Kevin was in the shop and I told him this whole thing.  He immediately knew that it was his brother talking out of turn.  He tried to point out that maybe the parents were exaggerating what he said and I squelched him on that right quick.  "He doesn't get a say in what I do or how I feel"  and Kevin agreed.  

What I wanted to say was "Tell him keep my name out of your mouth."

So, yeah. It's been a super awesome weekend.  

And I can't even say "Look how cool the hallway looks now" because it's not done.  You'll just have to wait.


04 March 2022

It's Not A Refund - Yes, Another Raising Parent Story

 You guys. I mean...Just....sigh.

First off, poor Kevin who got an earful twice this afternoon.  

Then there was me flippantly saying "I need a drink" and Kevin sassing that there was alcohol in the refrigerator. Then that went into a conversation about when you say you NEED a drink is exactly when you DON'T have a drink and what were we talking about?

Oh, yeah.  The PARENTS.

Yes, again.

In addition to the whole meds issue, there was also an insurance issue.  Because of course there was.

Last week...I think...it's all a blur.  The parents mentioned that they were supposed to get an $1800 insurance refund due to the insurance change.  They said that it was because they had over-charged them, taking two premiums out past the termination date.

So, I was dumb enough to take that on face value.  When will I learn?  WHEN.

Last week, I spent every bit of an hour on the phone with the former insurance company.  I must have spoke to four people by the end of it.  Three of them verified that there was a refund due and that there was a check sent on January 20th for the amount the parents stated.   They said to give it until the 28th to arrive then if it didn't, phone them and they would reissue the check.

My father-in-law went to the post office every day for a week, bless his heart.  No check.

On Monday afternoon, I phoned the insurance company again.  About an hour and three transfers later, a fantastic gentleman named March said that there would need to be further investigation because while he saw everything that we were told, he couldn't find where it actually occurred or why.

Yeah, this isn't going to end well.

He asked me to phone back today (Friday) to see the result of the investigation.  Then I forgot. 

I got home late this afternoon and phoned.  I couldn't get March because there is no such thing as talking to the same representative anymore.  No worry though because the person could read all the notes.

It started good, all the information matched.  THEN, the determination was made that the incorrect wording was used.  It was an account ADJUSTMENT, not a refund.  As in, the insurance premium for the year was X.  Upon cancellation it was Y.  The difference, Z, was the "refund" that wasn't a refund.

"So, to be clear: I have to go tell my elderly parents that the $1800 refund is imaginary and they got their hopes up for no reason?"

To the representative's credit, they were quiet for a beat then replied "Yes, I'm very sorry to tell you that.  It was a mistake on behalf of the company."   Well, at least they owned it.

I phoned my f-i-l and asked him how they got to know about this refund?  He said they told him.  That's the information: they told him.  I didn't ask how the conversation started because I just can't wade into those waters.  

Then I explained that the company states it is an adjustment and not a refund.  This is where I say that he didn't seem surprised about this information.  THIS TELLS ME VOLUMES.  But let's set that aside for a minute.

I circled back to the "They took money out of the account."  I explained that it's on us to prove if they took money out after the cancellation.  Okay, he said.  They will work on that.  He insisted that not only did the original company take out premiums, so did the new one.  Like, each month.  I explained that January was for February, February was for March, etc.  It felt like he realized that he hadn't understood/made a mistake.  I finished the conversation and hung up.

I phoned Kevin so he had the same information and so I could just AAAAUUUGGGHHH.  He asked "Didn't you set up their banking account online?"  SHUT UP KEVIN.  Sigh, yes I did.  "Would you please, for everyone's sake, just look and see?  It will alleviate drama."

I booted up my laptop...did I mention that I was also finishing my work day?...and logged in.  Kevin sat on the phone while I went back to December first.  I don't see "extra" premiums.  I see exactly what was supposed to transpire. (transact?  Occur, I will go with occur.)  I printed everything then we hung up.

As I went out the back door, I noticed that their car is gone. They've already left for the bank.  Score one for them for initiative. No score for me for not anticipating that. I went to the house to make sure that the mom hadn't stayed home but they were both gone.

I phoned her and her phone goes directly to voicemail.  I call again.  Voicemail.

I phone my f-i-l who doesn't answer when driving but I figured she would answer his phone.  

"Why is your phone not working?"  She kind of sheepishly laughs and says "Oh, it doesn't work all the time."

DEEP BREATH.  "Well, you might mention that to the person who can FIX IT."

But really, we know the battery is dead or there is operator error.  

Moving on.

I explained that I had already printed their bank statement for them and that they didn't need to go to the bank.  Oh, wait, did I mention that part before? I think I did but here: They go to the bank to print out their account and/or spend I don't know how long on the phone with some poor customer service rep when they balance their account.

She just laughed and said thank you. Hmmm.  I explained to her that it's up to them to prove the insurance company took their money and that I couldn't see that they had.  "But I don't pay your bills so maybe you'll see something that I don't."    She agreed and was zero upset about this.

This also tells me that they may have misunderstood and that I've spent HOURS fixing a non-existent issue.  EXCEPT the initial phone call with the insurance company verified what the parents said.  AND BUT I don't know how that initial conversation began.  Did the parents phone the company or vice versa.

Tomorrow Kevin will wade into the warm, crazy waters and see what the parents discover.  This opens the door STILL AGAIN for the "You need help" conversation.  

The problem with this issue, specifically banking, is that I super don't want to be responsible.  I already know too much that I don't want to know.  

Happy DOGDAMNED Friday.

02 March 2022

High Stakes Matching Game - A Raising Parents story

 When last we joined the Raising Parents show, we left off with a medicine delivery drama less than 24-hours post-op for our protagonist.

We have had a time-jump of two weeks. We know this because our protagonist is now again one day post-op from the second surgery.

I was laying on the couch, more listening to the television than watching it when Kevin phoned. I'd already been to the post-op appointment but was just prior to the migraine part of the day.  Looking back (vision pun ftw), I think this may have attributed to said migraine.

He had just made his every morning telephone "Is everyone alive" call and the parents needed help.  Cringing the whole time, he asked if I would phone them sometime to see what was happening.  Yes, of course, I say while heavily sighing.

We disconnect and I phone my mother-in-law.  I am unsure if I've mentioned that my father-in-law is near impossible to have a conversation with on the phone? One-on-one he's okay but not so much on the phone.  So we always call the m-i-l; which depending on the time of day is sometimes also nearly impossible.

Reminding everyone that when last we spoke about this, one company had "mysteriously" sent four prescriptions to the parents instead of Pill Pack sending all of the prescriptions like usual.  After phone calls, it was determined that this issue would be corrected in April.  They would have to make-do for one month, using both Pill Pack and these not-included four pills.  We are not thinking about how we got here anymore.

Also, I had taken those four prescriptions home with me because I didn't want them accessible AND  I was hoping we could just send them back.  So they are in my desk.

The m-i-l explains that the Pill Pack was incomplete this month, as we expected it would be but hoped it wouldn't.  She is flustered about this and I explained that she still has all her pills for March AND that this situation was temporary.  We only have to deal with this for one month.  I would bring over the four "missing" prescriptions and they could figure it out.

Of course they're in "no hurry" for me to do this but this isn't the kind of thing that being delayed helps in any way.  I put on shoes and a hoodie, masked up, sunglasses on, and walked over there.

I put the pills on the table and asked if they still had a pill container.  Oh yes, they have many, they said.

I reply "Okay, then put those pills in the container AND use the Pill Packs then you're good-to-go.  Does this make sense?" I ask this, because like teenagers, you have to make them answer you.  Yes, they both said.

Then suddenly my f-i-l stands and starts rifling through the cupboard where the meds are stored.  He starts setting out the meds and checking off things on the main med list from Pill Pack.  I said "Okay, so you've got this."  My m-i-l says "I think so" and my f-i-l doesn't answer me.  (this is not unusual since the stroke so no offense, just annoyance)  

This is where I said something that probably could have been not said. "Because part of being independent is being able to manage this."  

Now, some context:  for the past six months they have been INSISTENT that they're fine and independent and can do everything themselves.  Then the power goes out and they require help.  Or there is a meds mix-up or an insurance change, or just little day-to-day life things happen.  Or they end up in the hospital.  You know, little things.

We always say that we're there to help and happy to do so. Often though, we are met with resistance and sometimes attitude.  Unfortunately, we can only go so far with the "Fine, do it yourselves" thing because the consequences can be huge.  This was the reason for that statement and the situation where consequences can be huge.

I made my f-i-l acknowledge me before I left and he indicated that he was doing it.

A while later, my m-i-l phones and says that they need help after all. Okay, fine, it's good that they asked.  I told them that I wasn't going to work on it that day because the migraine had hit.  No hurry, she says, they're fine for now.  I let Kevin know that they had asked but that I couldn't work on it just then. Kevin says "It's fine for now, you can wait until the weekend."

I waited until the weekend because as whined discussed before, this second recovery was not an easy one.  And if I'm being honest, I wasn't up to this task but part of being the helper is doing it even when you're not feeling like doing it.

I let Kevin know I was headed next door and he just sighed.  There is zero chance of no drama.  

Upon being asked if they got it all figured out, my f-i-l says Yes, he thinks so.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see my m-i-l look like No, They Don't.  So I asked again "because I don't mind checking."  And like what happens sometimes now, my f-i-l got his back up and became defensive.  He knows this doesn't work with me so I called his bluff and said "Great, I'll head back home but you let me know if you want help."

Back over to our house I go.  I checked in with Kevin and reiterated the above interaction, to which he grumbled and said he was going to go over there.  I demurred and asked him to just wait.  Then I went back inside and laid down.

I knew that he would and he did, Kevin went over to check with the parents.  One: because you don't sass his wife when she's trying to help and two: this is kind of a big deal.  Timing was perfect, as my f-i-l had gone to the brothers and Kevin was able to speak with just his mom.

His mom admitted that they indeed did not have it figured out but because @#%$ pride, my f-i-l wouldn't ask for help.  Cue Kevin losing his mind on his mom.  I mean, this isn't forgetting a grocery order or not paying a bill.  This is her meds and if we remember some four years back, my f-i-l took her meds by accident and gave himself a massive stroke.  So, this is kind of A Thing.

While they were talking, my f-i-l came back inside and Kevin proceeded to read him the riot act about being flippant and defiant when people are trying to help them.  Then he came back home, unloaded all of his feelings then reluctantly asked me to help, again.

Back over I go, with Kevin in tow now, to see what needs to happen.  They both admitted they needed help and was apologetic-adjacent for not asking before.  

I asked them to show me what they had and I swear I'm not making this up.

They had a giant two-week pill box, FULL of pills. FULL.  Now color me confused because...where are the Pill Packs?  (the six pills that are already pre-packaged)  

He.Took.Them.All.Out.of.the.Packets and put them in the pill box.  ALL.  ALL OF THEM.  I mean...I can't...I don't...WUT.

So, indeed, they do NOT have this.

I didn't ask what possessed him to take the pills out of the Pill Pack.  I just couldn't. I just had to flip into combat mode and work the problem.

This is what I did:

Original Pill Pack

List and photos of  pills from the original Pill Pack

Ah, I forgot: the pink card. The pink card is GOSPEL, 

My f-i-l was nervous and defensive about my process.  Because while he wasn't sure that he had it figured out, he also was not enjoying me taking everything apart and re-doing it.  He kept emphasizing, shall we say, the importance of the PINK CARD because that is exactly how her meds are dispensed.  I tried, twice, to explain that the Pill Pack tells me the exact same thing but alas, no.

I thought I had taken a photo of the next step but I didn't. Because: AUUUGGGHHH.

I took two of the above photos then printed them. I took those, all the pills and the Pink Card then played a matching game. Like a child's game with very adult consequences.

I made sure that every single pill PLUS her four supplements AND one other prescription that isn't included in the Pill Pack because reasons, and sorted them into every single compartment of that pill organizer.

But wait, that made it sound like it was easy.  It EXTRA WASN'T.

I did it next door so I could ask questions if I ran into issues.  Hahahaha, I said "if".

I mean, I really could not have made it more simple. I really could have just started it and left it to them to finish.  But I think the mom felt more comfortable watching me do it.  And, let's just mention now that she sat through most of it at my SIDE.

Here's where the If part comes into play.  There is one medicine that looks nearly exactly the same as another.  Because we have two sets of medicine...one from the Pill Pack and one from the other company.  (also they have shoe box full of "extra" and we're not talking about that right now)  For reasons unknown, he chose to use the pills from the "extra" bottle.  So, this meant that she was either getting a double-dose of blood pressure medicine or her sedative.  You know, no big deal mixing up those two pills. Either way she's going to sleep, the difference being permanently or not.

Handy tip for those of you raising parents (or have it in your future) you can google prescription meds. It gives you photos, descriptions, and alternative names.  I had to keep referring to that as I went along because some of the days had that pill, some didn't, and some had two.  Also, so much praise to Pill Pack for providing a list on each individual packet AND a master list with descriptions and photos.

Meanwhile, Kevin is beyond anxious and kept checking in.  He kept reiterating how uncomfortable he was with this process.  Not judging me but because the consequences are so high.  I reassured him that I had figured it out, that the mom had sat next to me the entire time (sigh) and that they could make sure that I had it correct.  His mom also assured him that she felt I had it correct.

This again opened the door to the "You need help" conversation and this time he had solid ground.  He finished up with "Because this is not something I'm comfortable with my wife having to do for you."  Because, again, big consequences and can you even imagine if something went wrong.  

Although I did mention that this is hopefully just a temporary issue.  This should only be a one month issue.  This also meant that I was doing this again in about two weeks.  I did not say that this relatively simple task had been hugely overly complicated by the muddled thought process of my f-i-l.

Finally, I was finished.  I put everything away and left the pill pack on the table.  "You can check it to make sure but you should be set." Then I went home and laid down again.  

I was actually napping when Kevin came into the house with a bit of frenetic energy.  He marched straight to the refrigerator and began looking on the shelves.  Spotting whatever he was looking for, he sighed in relief and said "Okay, good." then shut the door.

He was looking for the alcohol I bought in 2020 to either celebrate or drown the elections results, then the impeachment, then the other impeachment and am now I'm holding onto it until I see Cheeto Hitler in prison jumpsuit that matches his hair and skin.  

Throughout the rest of the day and weekend, Kevin kept checking on them and was truly anxious about this situation.  Unfortunately, I had already flipped into I Can't Think About This Anymore.

Fast forward to Monday.  Kevin phoned me after the daily check-in call.  "Dad is calling Medicare to see why this happened"  Deep breath then I replied "He's just going to ruin someone's day.  It happened because they gave information to the wrong company.  Also, it's done. There's nothing to be done."

Well, color me wrong.  After I don't know how many phone calls, he convinced Pill Pack to send them one months of meds and he would pay for it out of pocket.  Surprisingly, it was only around $100.  I say "around" because he was vague about the price.  Kevin made the point that he would have gladly paid any amount for it.

Making this about me for a minute: I was frustrated that I didn't think of that at the time.  However, I would have guessed that it would have been significantly more expensive. Also, I have to remind myself that I was days post-op of the second surgery and not my best self.

AND this is an example of where we get frustrated because one moment they can't do this stuff and the next moment they can.  But we're sitting with gratitude right now.  (I keep telling myself that)  Now we know if we run into this again.  But hopefully this will never happen again.  We all know something else will happen though. 

And I've invented a high stakes matching game for adults, if anyone is interested.