Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TDP - Trying to be Normal

We're trying to be normal, despite this damnable disease. We've spent the last few days running around doing errands - groceries, laundry, and then there was the two days of Asking for Help.

We don't have health insurance, having been turned down by several agencies due to our pre-existing conditions of diabetes. So, one of our options was to apply to Social Security and to Michigan's Family Independence Agency for financial help. We know that Tom's medical treatments will be costly, and since we don't have that kind of money, it was clear we would need to request help, especially since my stroke has left me unable to continue as a full-time antiques dealer.

For the past two days, we've shuffled around the various aid offices. First we went to the state office, only to learn that they only accept walk-ins for 3 hours in the morning, and - of course - we were there in the early afternoon. Then we went to Social Security, only to learn that because of the antiques inventory I own (and am actively trying to sell to no avail due to horrible economic conditions), we are over the allowable asset limit stipulated by the US government.

Then, back the next day to the state office. As a walk-in, you are entitled to see a caseworker the same day as long as you sign in before 11 am. We were there at 9 am, and after a 90 minute wait, we spoke with a state caseworker. Unfortunately, we again have too many assets - and were again turned down. Except that we might qualify for food assistance, which will be determined within 30 days or so.

Here in Michigan, if you are young and have children, there's an aid program for you. If you can be qualified as disabled, you can get financial help. My stroke might qualify me as disabled, but having too many assets disqualifies me completely. Also, Tom and I each have a car, and our old van has been for sale for more than a year without any takers. We are allowed one car only, so that also disqualified us.

Now that we've established that we cannot get financial help from either state or federal government, we're now waiting until next week to find out what the trial study can offer. We don't know if it's going to cover Tom's treatment, but hope it will. He was turned down for a PET scan last week because he doesn't have health insurance nor the cash to cover the test. His oncologist ordered the test because it is critical in determining how far Tom's cancer has spread, and is part of standardized treatment for esophageal cancer.

If the study trial doesn't cover his PET scan, there's a Plan B out there somewhere. We are positive-thinkers, and I'm a firm believer in thinking outside the box.

Tom's doing well at eating soft foods, and has only lost one pound in the past week. He's stuffing himself with fruit smoothies, Ensure, egg dishes, milk, yogurt, juice, quesadillas (they went down a bit painfully, but he managed). He's definitely very tired of dairy products.

In the meantime, we're trying to be normal. It's good for our heads to be normal. Life isn't normal right now, but we're giving it our very best shot.


For the Little Sugarloaf Mermaid - so good to see you yesterday! You and your Tom are in our hearts, and our prayers - please stay strong - we're thinking about you every day. Call if there's anything we can help with. Really. Really-REALLY.


Jonara Blu Maui said...

How incredibly frustrating! The people who so often really need the help don't get it. Your antiques mean nothing in this economy..they aren't gonna pay your bills just sitting there. And two cars is so normal for people..everyone has to work! I think the requirements need to be redone with the way life has been redone suddenly.

Anonymous said...

beth and tom...this is unbelievable in this great country..yet it happens every day to the most deserving in toledo we have a teaching hospital which accepts people on a sliding scale:oncology,dentistry,what have you...i would also call my state representative and give him a report on this case and the urgency of it...perhaps even the senator..yes ! really! they work for let them. best wishes to you both. barb r.