Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Am Your Father, Luke


The other day, I was thinking about seeing The Empire Strikes Back when I was a kid. I can clearly remember sitting in the theater when Darth Vader tells Luke, “I am your father.” Yeah, right. Clearly, he’s trying to manipulate him. On the walk back to the car after the movie, my brother said something about Darth being Luke’s father, and I corrected him . . . he was just saying that. He’s not really his father. My parents shook their heads . . . no, he is really supposed to be his father. No he’s not! I had to eventually admit I was wrong. But I was CONVINCED I was right. That’s how I am . . . I can be discerning about things that are not always evident to others, but I can miss some of the most obvious freaking things.



Yesterday was rough. I was already stressed about money, and I received an envelope from EDD. I was expecting a check for the final week of my third extension. All the paperwork in the envelope was identical to what I normally receive from EDD but there was no check. Oh no . . . I was depending on that money. I went online to figure it out – and it looks like it has to do with that fight in Congress we've been hearing so much about. Then another obvious truth hit me . . . the one I hadn’t fully understood though the information was there all along. I might have only six weeks left on unemployment. There is a possibility of what they call a FED ED extension, but it’s unclear as to whether I will qualify.



I never planned to be on unemployment this long. I hope I don’t need anything after six weeks BUT WHAT IF I DO? Of course, I’m job searching. Yesterday, I called the office manager of a local restaurant about a bookkeeping job. I know their chef, who gave me the tip. As we were talking, I told her about the bookkeeping I used to do for another local business. She sounded interested and took my name down. I was feeling hopeful when I got off the phone and the punch line is . . . the $12 an hour job has already been filled but the person might not stay, so the office manager is interested in me as a backup. At best, this could be a fourth part-time job because I certainly couldn’t afford to cut any other jobs at that pay rate.



I also learned of the possibility of my kids being exposed to Whooping Cough through my mom’s hospital job. My kids do have mild coughs, but to my frantic perspective yesterday . . . those coughs were totally whooping. I started to look for symptoms online but instead got lost in an article about the filibustering Republican senators. I felt like one of those old people who you think might just have a heart attack if they watch the news one more time.



And heart attacks were no joke to me because of a mix-up in my blood pressure meds. A couple years ago, I was having heart palpitations. I went to the doctor and got an EKG. Everything looked fine but the doctor wanted to continue testing. I came across an article in Prevention, one of those mags my mom sends me, and learned that my generic blood pressure med caused heart palpitations in 1% of patients. Furthermore, this symptom could be part of actual heart disease being caused by the med. I switched to the non-generic form and my symptoms disappeared. The doctor continued to refill my prescription for a couple years without another appointment. His office finally insisted I make an appointment last week. They phoned in one last refill because I had run out of meds and had gone off them abruptly, which can cause a stroke. But I didn’t get my meds right away. First, the prescription was faxed to the wrong pharmacy. Then, it was the wrong med . . . the heart palpitation one. I took it anyway because my blood pressure was high, and I planned to get it all straightened out yesterday at my appointment. Once I got to the office, I was told my insurance has assigned me to a new doctor in another office and my old doctor couldn’t see me. I got a little intense with the receptionist, and she found a passing health aide in the busy office to fax in the right prescription.



I drove to the store and checked my bank balance. I had $4.60. I could just afford that $3.99 apple juice, a household staple. I had hate for the Republican senators – and one Democrat – who have made unemployment extensions the battleground for addressing the national debt. Do they have any idea what it’s like to wonder if you can afford apple juice for your kids? The co-payment for my blood pressure meds was obviously going to have to go on the credit card.



When I got home, I decided to make lasagna for dinner. I had all the ingredients and was not feeling like myself. Cooking sounded good. Daisy helped me and we made a beautiful lasagna. I used meat that had been frozen a little too long. I had questions about it, but after checking online, thought it was probably OK. Violet refused to eat it. Daisy and I were not so smart. We both had food poisoning by the end of the night. You see how some of the most obvious things escape me?



I’m in a much better place today – well rested, past the food poisoning, on the right meds, and ready to move forward. But one more thing . . . you really should check this article, which explains from a statistical standpoint why there should be another unemployment extension, not just an extension of the filing deadlines. If you have never heard of the 99ers, you might want to learn about this rapidly growing segment of the population.

 
 
picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/starwarsblog/793008715/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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