The Maze of Medical Care When No One Listens

I have been ill for about three months now,

But for the sake of this article let me back up a bit.  In 2006 I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension,  I already was diagnosed with diabetes, asthma, COPD and emphysema.

The illnesses in 2006 came so fast that I ended up on disability with a medical retirement and probably will never work again,

Usually every fall, I end up getting very ill because of the allergens in the air, the people burning their leaves, and many other environmental factors like changing climates and weather, dampness in the air etc, etc

So when I got sick this time, I thought okay, do the same things and treat it like always, breathing treatments, fluid pills, allergy medications and many doctors appts.  So imagine my surprise when I couldn’t get better.  I kept getting worse and worse.  Dr appt after Dr appt and an ER visit and I keep hearing the same thing, it’s not your heart.  You are fine, there’s nothing we can do for you.

Then why do I have 45 extra lbs of fluid on me, I have blisters on my legs from the edema and a wonderful insurance company (said tongue in cheek) that is fighting me at every step of the way.

I have an insurance company called Care Improvement Plus.  If you live in the state of TX and you are under the age of Medicare Retirement age,.  You cannot get a traditional Medicare supplement.  You have to get what is called a Medicare Replacement Plan.  Let me just say this.  They are some of the worst insurance policies I have ever had to work with.  When I was in the workforce my job was to process and administer, prior authorizations and referrals for a huge regional hospital in our area and one of the clinics that they had as well as Worker’s Comp.

I was good at what I did  I was a go to person for the hospital and if someone couldn’t get an auth or referral, I usually could.  I worked with many insurance companies as well as worker’s comp and Tertiaries that had affiliates with attorneys and car insurance companies and those kinds of things.  I NEVER came across an insurance company that worked so hard to NOT pay something as my insurance company that I have now.   Not even Worker’s Comp.  They were a breeze compared to what I deal with now.

I must give you a disclaimer of this thought:  No matter how horrible that they are, i am thankful that I do have insurance.  The majority of my medications are paid and I will give them that. For that I am eternally grateful.

this maze I struggle with every day in my insurance company is getting to be a joke.  I just got out of the hospital and have been under great scrutiny by my insurance company, by doctors, nurses and every part of my being is that “what part of this is right?” Health care is a privilege though, NOT a right  and while I know this, I still struggle with the fact that every single thing that happens with my body is nothing new to me.  Each doctor I meet, each nurse I meet has to be told the entire story every single time.  When does it change that the patient’s rights do come before the hospitals, the insurance company and everything that goes with it.  So,  I have a bit to say about what has happened, and what didn’t happen.  In the mean time, I’m fine for now.  I get to look at all of my EOB(s) and decide what can happen from here.  

My goal with this article, first is to let you know that 

  1. Become an informed patient

  2. Know your medications, know your diagnoses

  3. Become familiar with Medical Terminology

  4. Ask Questions

  5. Do not take no for an answer

I don’t understand why they have so many rules and regulations and fight patients as each step of the way.

How does a suit over 2000 miles away from me, can make decisions about my health care,

So now that I am out of the hospital, I need to weave this maze of insurance and find the very best insurance being disabled in America, in Texas will let me choose.

Pray for me now.

 

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Love And Everything With it

My Advice for you and those you love

This all comes from 52 years of learning the hard way  Let my bumps, bruises, trials and failures be your lessons of what works and what doesn’t work in my opinion.

God has blessed me with an incredible way of saying I love you.  That comes with saying I’m sorry.

Below you will find a few things that I have learned and try to live by  I am a work in progress.

I am not a bad person, God says I am a valued child of His.

I have to apologize,  I have to be humble, I have to respect no matter what, and when I fail in these things, then well, I have to make it up to that person, whether I talk to them in person, write them a letter, or if I tell God *(which sometimes you have to do)

Matthew 6:14-15 ESV For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Ephesians 1:7  ESV  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,-

This is me, in several “so-called relationships now.
I don’t hold grudges. I just don’t have time for selfish petty people any more.
Yes I make mistakes, I defend my place, I CAN be proven wrong and I will apologize.

These things make me human. These things make me caring. These things make me vulnerable.
Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I will shut you out.
However when you start playing petty games and acting like a two-year old? That’s when I start shutting you out.  
Sorry not sorry that people can’t just act like adults (that goes for me too) and then be an adult and apologize.
Life is way to short for toxic people or situations.
Here’s ten life rules to follow that help make my life so much easier:

1. Pray. There really is no explanation needed here.
2. Believe in God. Without him, you have nothing!! He is everything. He is my all in all. I know that I can do anything as long as I have Him on my side. God is amazing and awesome and well everything!!
3. Love fiercely. Everyone gives you the reference of 1 Corinthians 13 when it comes to love, however, my favorite verse about love is this John 3:16. That is the grandest love story in the Bible in my opinion
4. Keep your relationships healthy, those you value are extremely precious. I’m not talking about relationships with the people you love, that should come naturally. I’m talking about relationships in general. “BE healthy” in relationships with businesses, with organizations. In the corporate world, the most important people in that business are not the CEO and the Corporate Board. They are the Janitor and the Cleaning Staff. Important relationships I can think of in my life, without family in the mix, my trash guys, my mailman, the manager of the Sonic I go to everyday. The person that answers the phone at my doctor’s office. Those kinds of relationships are the ones I’m talking about. Those relationships will serve you well, very well in life. Value them.
5. Apologize when necessary. Saying “I’m sorry” are two words that can heal generations. I am serious here. There are words you can say that will help, these two words are mighty. However, they can be overused. Saying I’m sorry without changing isn’t going to gain you any favors. What it is going to do, is make people not trust you, make people not care about your sorry’s . They won’t believe it.
6. Always say I’m sorry” first. Never be too proud to stand up and say, Hey, I shouldn’t have said, done, or acted that way. I’m very sorry and I make no excuses. I’m sorry, can you forgive me. If they say no, accept it and know in your heart, if you are serious, you’ve done all you can do.
7. JUST because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. Tit for Tat is one of the most incredulous, and selfish things you can do in a relationship. It is also harmful. If another person is trying to tell you about their day, yours doesn’t need to be better, or worse. Maybe they need you just to listen.
8. When you make mistakes, be humble. VERY humble. Making a mistake isn’t failure. It means you really are human!! Every single day I/you/me/we are setting yourself up for failure if you live a life of trying to be perfect. Perfectionism, is a flaw. A very dubious personality flaw. I’m a very good example. I do not try to be a perfectionist at everything. However, there are somethings that I want to be perfect at. I’m not, I get that. I know that. I still try, and in doing so, I jeopardize relationships. Perfectionism is MY character flaw, and my life to live (because of that particular character flaw I have), how dare I ever put that on someone else.
9. Give back. No one likes someone who is selfish. That doesn’t mean go broke giving, or to give all of your time. You must have time for yourself also that’s not selfish. That’s survival at its finest. Even as a parent, you must take time for yourself. If you are not rested, mentally, physically, and spiritually, how do you expect your child to be?
10. Have some semblance of organization. This is CERTAINLY not last on the list but is one of the most important. Go here and you can find some of the ways I organize our life. Even organize chaos is better than no organization at all.  You can read my thoughts on organization here

and a bonus, Be Thankful for EVERYTHING, good and bad, no matter what.  You can read my feelings on that here.

 

 

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HixCrew Organizing Hacks

LifeHacks

I have three pieces of organizational software I use  I will explain about them in this post.

Use a calendar. No matter whether it’s an app or a paper copy, use a calendar. Put EVERYTHING on it.

  1. My husband and I use Gmail calendar,  this is a pretty simplified calendar that my husband and I use across multiple platforms

  2.  my extended family uses Cozi  this is a program that my extended family uses across 3 homes, 9 kids and 5 school systems.

  3. Evernote  this is an incredibly powerful notetaking-webclipping-pdf saving and so much more app.

Here are somethings I use my Gmail calendar for.
Of course schedules, mine, my husbands, my grandkids (sports teams etc)

here is a tutorial on how to set up your calendar

Every bill I have due, goes on the calendar 2 weeks before it’s due. That allows for budgeting, reminds you to actually pay the bill, leaves a paper trail that isn’t huge stack of stuff.
Days I open accounts
Dr’s appts. I am separating this one, because this is how I do it
Dr Joe Blow/Mary Someone (dr’s name and the person who scheduled it – sometimes that is very important, for when they have no record of said appt or it gets rescheduled or whatever, without notifications. I do this for any appt I have, whether it be a Dr or any other service provider
101 What Street (what if you are so sick you can’t tell someone)
Wherever, Wherever
999-999-9999
Friday, October 9, 2015
11:00 AM (I also put it on my calendar 30 minutes early)
Notes: 3 mth xyz check up with fasting labs
(I use an app, so I always send an invitation to my husband The big things like surgeries etc., I send to my son also because he holds my medical power of attorney
Whether you use an app or paper, I do put all this information

Gmail Calendar will also import Facebook events, birthdays and events from your email.  to be a simple run of the mill calendar it is a powerful calendar

Now the Cozi Calendar.  If you have never used this app, please check it out.  It is great.  We are networked across three homes, 9 kids, 5 adults and 5 different school systems.  It works so great, so that all kids schedules, school functions, etc. get put on it and the family has access to it at a glance.  Then you can also sort each “team and get a team lineup” you can sort by person (each person has its own color to add each apt)  Notifications can be sent to only adults, or each person that is involved with the appointment or everyone on the system.  The paid version will let you add birthdays, shopping list, to do list, meal planners and it will even import that Gmail Calendar that I talked about earlier.

here is a short video that helps explain Cozi

I use Evernote that syncs across mine and my husbands as well as the older grandkids tablets/phones.
We use a central grocery list, a central to do list (for days off)
This software package is one of the most productive and necessary apps I have ever used. I do use the paid version, and it has reminders, passwords, and you organize things by “notebooks” it is an amazing, easy but powerful piece of software that my family couldn’t do without. I also use it for my blog to help organize things.

Here is a video overview of Evernote

Imagine a row of notebooks lined up on a shelf, and in those notebooks each little note that is pertinent to that “notebook”  Some of our notebooks are Hix Family passwords, Recipes, Hix Family Manuals (it clips pdf files from the web); His Personal Notebook, Laura’s Personal Notebook; Paul’s Personal Notebook.

In mine (Laura’s Personal Notebook, we are going to use it as an example, so the binder is Memaw Personal.  Inside are all my little “notes” Anything Kids (not schedules) Blog Stuff, Book Reviews, Devotionals, FMF Encouragement, Laura Notes to Check, Scans, WebClip’s

Okay, I know this is overkill on the organizational stuff but it takes that to keep a family as large as ours organized with all the kid schedules etc..
As a grandparent, I do try to get to at least some of every child’s activities.

I always, and I mean always write dates on groceries of when I buy them. I keep a sharpie in the cabinet and before I put them up, I just write the mthdateyear on the package.

Just some random things:

Other things, I use tubs for games, every piece goes in the tub, Each child has an activity box at my house.  Puzzles go in ziplock bags.  I have one huge crayon box, but then each child has a Journaling Bag for trips.  It has a journal, pens, pencils and a few crayons.

On my computer, I use simple file names. If it is something for the kids, I am very pragmatic about it, say Nattie’s basketball schedule, that is exactly what I use for the file name. I don’t fancy them up, nor let the computer decide, I dumb it down as much as I can so that I have no problem finding them. When I clean out my phones, or my desktop on my computer, I use Phone10012015 (the date I clean it) or Desktop10012015 (the date I clean it)
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Since it is ONLY my husband and I at home, I streamlined our kitchen, 6 plates, 6 bowls, 6 cups, etc. Less to clean, less to take care of and I also bought smaller. I purchased 7” plates, instead of standard dinner plates, so that we would eat less. 

I do a LOT of crockpot cooking (even for us two) I make our dogs food and will soon start making his treats when we run out of what we have.
We are not only getting our organizational skills up to par, but are also getting healthy at the same time.

and my bonus that helps me with the grandkids

make a calendar for your kids; I am talking about a rotation calendar.  Whatever the rotation is for, is up to your family and what works for your family, but for our family, it is a shortened calendar that stays in my car, and has one child’s name on it for every day. (these are the kids I have on a routine basis) whoever;s day it is, gets several privileges as well as tasks.  That person is #1 for the day.  It doesn’t mean they are the best or whatever, it just means for that day, they usually get the most “extra things” and have some extra tasks so it’s not all pretty.

some of these things are  (we have three kids now so, here’s some of our things) My kids are older, so remember this as you are reading

Kid #1 gets to sit up front (I must use my front seat because of lack of seats, so don’t even go there with me) they also get the privilege of holding the money if the kids get to go to the store, they also get to “pay” at the grocery, gas station.  They get to choose first through snacks I bring from home if there are different ones however, I try to do all the same.  If they were staying at home with me that day, they also take their shower first, must help wash the dishes.  they get the trash out of the car (everyone is responsible for getting their own trash to them) so it’s not all good stuff and it’s not all bad stuff

#2 usually doesn’t have that many activities assigned they get a free day basically except they help me because I am disabled, with my things and oxygen etc.

#3 holds the door anywhere we go.  they are responsible for putting all the car buckets up (will explain these in a minute)  

So the person that has the day, is the go to person for the day.  This helps me avoid arguments from the kids of who sits “shotgun”   Sorry look at the calendar.

The rotation continues no matter what, we do, no hold days. Whatever day you are in my car, That calendar day stands.
Way back when I had grandkids staying with me all the time, I started this. I took the arguments out of the equation
(these things MUST be set up and in stone first) and I had them help me do this.

Other things, we have in place already, are
Winner cleans up the game,
Everyone gets their dishes to the sink. Even the littles. If they can’t reach the sink, they put it on the floor. I’m good with that, because it gets it all in one place.
The littles are NOT too little to carry their belongings or pick up their belongs.  If they can stand and play with toys they can put things up and take responsibility for their things.  That doesn’t mean they have to solely be responsible because they are too little.  But if they can take a toy out of a backpack, they can put it back in.

Also in my car, every child has a bucket that has 4 pockets and a handle. This holds their personal belongings in the car for long trips, as well as if we stop and get food they have a place to hold their food.  Kinda like these, and then they decorated them up

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I also have made sure everyone has a cup holder because my van is conveniently unequipped with them. LOL
We have church rules that are already in place, as well as general rules that I expect them to follow everywhere, house rules, and trip rules and we adjust appropriately.  One of the biggest is “hands on car”

When I had the older set of granddaughters staying with me, I had a runner.  We opened the doors, she took off running.  So the rule was implemented, your feet touch the ground, your hands go on the car, until I say go.  If the car is too hot you “pretend to touch it”  This keeps the kids from running and keeps them all together.  Being disabled, you keep your “ducks in a row” where you can LOL
But these are set in stone, and each child knows them and it’s kind of like a “manual for the Hix Crew”

With 9 grandchildren, there is organized chaos. I get more compliments on trips etc, because they know ahead of time what is expected, Just had one start going with us on overnight trips, so he has been added to the rotation and got to get a crash course on the rules. He was the best one on the last two trips!!! Maybe refresher courses are needed. However, the kids wrote the rules to begin with, when this was first implemented, so they take ownership in it.  It works for our family and I can stop the “I wanna go first” or I don’t wanna pick up the game, or all the other little things that kids can find to argue about!

But it’s worked out where first is not always best, last is not always worst, and in between doesn’t get left out.

Everyone has a task and when you have this many people at one time sometimes in a hotel room/car etc, it is necessary

Being organized is a cohesive lifestyle. You may not have to be “this” organized, and you may have to be even more organized.

I am NOT an organized person  I am very unorganized.  I have ADD.  I cannot focus on any one project for any given length of time

Some of this maybe duplicated, and some is overkill, however, when you are as chronically UN organized as I am, this keeps me on track and focused.  After the first setups with each one, it’s as easy as just typing a small note and hitting save.  I have used Gmail Calendar for a few years now as well as Cozi and just found Evernote and started with it.  

However, these three apps are my lifesavers.  

One thing I also do, is I make a print copy (for backup) of each month.  I don’t do it every time something changes, because they each have their own internal “cloud” to back up to. Just a few things that work for our family to give us some sense of order in our huge family organized chaos.

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