poverty


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Dad had his MRI about twelve hours ago. His other dementia-related tests are next week. I guess this was his first MRI because he had to tell me all about the machine. He asked if I’d ever had one,1 which threw me since he’s driven me to most (if not all) the ones I’ve had.2 But I guess I have to get used to that. He might remember them fine tomorrow or next week. I never really know what he will remember or when he will remember it.  He and mom also had to stop by Legal Aid to get help with another attempt at a garnishment by Bank of America of their Wells Fargo account. This time by the wonderful lawyers at Spina and LaVelle. I guess they don’t realize that it’s still against the law to garnish Social Security payments. Also, they left the writ in the mailbox (in an unmarked, unstamped, unmailed envelope)—which breaks a few federal laws. I don’t think the judge will be pleased with them.  I know I’ve had at least four. I think I’ve had five or six. ↩Since I can’t remember, I guess I shouldn’t judge. ↩

What’s In Your Head




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After I got a letter last week telling me that I couldn’t get my replacement Social Security card with the information I provided, I decided I would go in person. I still couldn’t get it. I gave the extremely condescending guy insurance cards, my EBT card, my photo voter ID, my expired permit, a statement from the doctor’s office I had just left, my library card, and most of my credit cards. None of it could be used. They have to “make sure” I’m really me.  I asked why they couldn’t consult with the ADPH to get proof of my ID from them, since they issue birth certificates. He told me they don’t issue them. Bullshit. He then said that that would basically be completing an errand for me.  They wanted me to go back to a doctor and get them a certified copy of my medical record because “THAT would be easiest.” I asked how they expected me to pay for it. They shrugged. I asked why they thought buying my medical record so I could prove who I am to get a free card so I could then turn around and prove who I am to get a license.1  I tried to explain why paying $30 to get the record was not a reasonable idea for someone who only receives around $700 a month. I asked him how much he made, but he said I shouldn’t try to make this a personal issue. I don’t think he understood that $30 dollars2 is around 5% of my monthly budget. Expecting me to spend 5% of my monthly budget to get a document so that I can get another document so I can get an ID to prove who I am is personal!  I asked to talk to his boss. She was worse. She “explained” that they needed more biographical information—which only includes things that don’t change—including, in their words, name, date of birth, parent names, age, hair color, eye color, and sex; but it doesn’t include address because that can change. Apparently, they are unaware of name changes, adoption or foster care, birthdays, hair dye or aging, contacts or health condition, and being transgender.3 I understand why they restrict what they can take, but they don’t seem to understand that they’re making a vital piece of identification inaccessible for lower income people. They don’t understand that expecting someone who can’t drive and can’t work to provide information from the DMV or from their employer is laughable. Things that may be easy for one person to provide are difficult for people who lack money and access.  Life isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s harder when you have more obstacles preventing you from accessing even the most simple of things.  Photo credit: akahawkeyefan via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA The guy then suggested I go get a new ID from the DMV. Apparently, he didn’t understand that having a social security card is a basic requirement for the DMV. ↩It’s the maximum that UAB will charge for records. If I was only on Medicaid, they couldn’t even do that. ↩When I pointed out a person can change their sex, she said that I was misunderstanding her words. ↩

Who Am I?


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Well, I just sent this to Amazon.com about the cancellation/refund/over-draft situation.1 To Whom It May Concern: On January 3, 2016, I attempted to cancel multiple unwanted orders from your company, including an order I didn’t make that contained a duplication of an entirely different order. Some of the cancellations worked. Some did not. I even tried getting customer service to cancel these items, but was told that they couldn’t be canceled. I tried to explain that the lack of cancellations was going to lead to overdrafts on my bank account. They said that they would try to get someone to do a back-end cancellation and would let me know the status of this cancellation. I was then told to simply refuse shipping on the items and that I would receive refunds. There was no cancellation. There was no follow up. I refused shipment and mailed back the unopened packages on January 25, 2016 and February 4, 2016, but no refund has been processed. I wasn’t told that I needed to go ahead and request refunds, again, before sending the package back. I’ve over-drafted multiple times (fees of over $600) as a result of the orders that I stated I didn’t even want in the first place and won’t be able to pay most of my bills for this month. I may not even be able to pay them next month. What is going on, guys? This kind of experience is ridiculous. Most companies have a billing and return system that works properly. Most companies process cancellations and returns a lot more quickly. I’m sending a copy of this letter to the Better Business Bureau. Maybe you can work with them and figure out what’s wrong with your system because obviously something is. And maybe, in the mean time, you can figure out where my refunds are and why I haven’t received them yet. I messed up on the fees for the over-drafts section, which I fixed in the BBB complaint. I sent this to the BBB: On January 3, 2016, I attempted to cancel multiple unwanted orders (things I either didn’t realize I put in my cart & not my wishlist or items that I decided that I didn’t want) from Amazon.com. One of the orders I cancelled contained a duplication of an another item. Some of the cancellations worked, but some didn’t. I contacted customer service and each person that I talked to claimed that they couldn’t cancel the orders. I tried to explain that I didn’t want the others and that I couldn’t afford to pay for them because I’m on a fixed income, so money is always tight. They told me that they would try to get a tech person to try cancelling my orders on the back-end because they said the order kept timing out on them. Then I was told that I would hear from them within a week and that I should simply refuse the shipments when they arrived. They said that if I refused them, I would receive the refunds. Well, the cancellation of my order didn’t happen and they didn’t follow up. No refunds were issued when I refused the shipments and sent the unopened packages back through USPS on January 25, 2016 and February 4, 2016, nor was there any acknowledgment that the packages had even arrived. I only found out today, when I was trying to find out where I could check on the status of the returns, that I was expected to onto their website, tell them that I was refunding the orders, and print a new shipping label, possibly even pay for the shipment. (This was slightly different from the refusal of shipment.) As a result of the unwanted packages, my bank account incurred $432 in over-draft fees for $149.55 of products that I didn’t want. In my dispute, I requested that my refund be processed ASAP. I said that it would be nice if they helped cover the over-drafts, but that I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I realized today that I needed to send the complaint to the BBB since Amazon obviously wasn’t going to fix the situation without someone intervening. So now I wait and hope that they finally start processing things properly.2 If you’d like to help in the meantime, I have a GoFundMe set up. ↩I didn’t even tell BBB that the issues with the cancellations and the return center have been going on for months. Almost any time that I want to cancel anything, I have an error pop up. One day I could cancel one item at a time to prevent an error–two items at a time would cause one–and could only do 3 single item cancellations before an error would happen. Either there’s something wrong with my account or something wrong with their system. ↩

Dear Amazon



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I actually graduated from physical therapy yesterday.1 I didn’t get to go by the Wellness Center to sign up, though, because there were other things that needed to be done yesterday afternoon.2 I will either do it this weekend or some time in the next week. I may have to get a ride from my mom instead of my dad to get it done.3 I need to get my license so that I am no longer so dependent on the schedules and whims of others.4 I can’t get it until my bank situation gets sorted out.5  Happy dance. ↩Because life. ↩Asking him for rides always leads to me having panic attacks. ↩I have my own whims, dammit! ↩I’ve reactivated my GoFundMe because of some overdrafts I received after attempting to cancel some orders I didn’t mean to make. More about that is mentioned on the page. If you can help, I’d appreciate it. ↩

Actually Graduated


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Remember a few months ago when I was trying to see my gynecologist for an annual exam & a prescription different form of birth control? There were tears and angsty fits and arguments with the Defund Planned Parenthood trolls12 and Humana and UAB. All of this before I decided to have the annual/prescription done by the family doctor. Good times.3 Well, I may get to look for another doctor soon.  For several months, my family has received statements from Humana that our routine appointments to the family practice clinic at UAB have been billed incorrectly. Specifically, they were billed as emergencies.4 We have tried getting them resubmitted, but the billing department’s “solution” was that they would contact a nurse in family medicine and have them submit a referral to the doctor. A referral from the family medicine clinic to a doctor within the clinic.5 The real solution could be a lot easier: fix the billing errors & find out who is making them and either teach them how not to make that mistake or fire them. But they’re sticking to the referral solution, which seems like a lot of unnecessary paperwork.  It’s especially unnecessary since it didn’t stop them from submitting my father’s bill to a collection agency. That was after they spent the year telling him not to pay it. Yeah, after that, my family was like, “We need new doctors.”  That’s easier said than done for me. Medicaid keeps my options limited. There aren’t many clinics or family doctors in Huntsville who will take it—even fewer if you combine it & the Humana. So I’m a bit concerned about shopping for a new doctor. I don’t think my family realizes just how hard it is to find a doctor who takes both.  Anyway, I need to get some rest so that I won’t be too exhausted at physical therapy tomorrow.6 #DefundPP can suck it. ↩Congrats to them on the “Center for Medical Progress” trolls being indicted in Texas over those shitty videos. It’s rather amusing to me that they’re the ones accused of attempting to purchase human organs—and that’s just what they tried to do in their little scheme. It’s also amusing to see conservatives bend over backwards to prove there was a liberal conspiracy in Texas by a District Attorney appointed by Rick Perry. There are pills for this kind of thinking. But I digress. ↩ ↩My UTI appointment. My mom’s blood pressure & post-hospitalization checkups. My dad’s physical. Routine stuff. ↩Actually, to different doctors in the clinic since we each have different doctors in charge of our care. ↩Two sessions to go. ↩

Oh the Doctors You’ll See



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My hope was short-lived. I reviewed your chart with Dr. Light and the front desk. We confirmed that your insurance would not cover the visit, however, we are willing to call in the depo (prior research showed that Huntsville Hospital pharmacy carries it the cheapest in town) but that you would likely have to pay for the depo out of pocket as well. You could bring the depo prescription in to us when your period starts, and that way you’d only be seen as a “nurse visit” for administration of the depo only (cheaper than office visit). I hope this is a satisfactory alternative for you. Are you fucking kidding me? I didn’t want to be on the Depo any more. I don’t ever want to take the Depo again. How did they think that’s what I wanted, when in the last email, I specifically told the doctor, “I was going off Depo, which was due that week, because of the risk of bone loss. I have Ehlers-Danlos, a Vitamin D deficiency, and family history of osteopenia, so I wanted to avoid bone loss.” Going off the Depo had been mentioned in my need for the appointment and in other communications, including one to this doctor, back in September, where I said, “I would also like to change from Depo to the minipill because I’m worried about bone loss.” I know that I’m not always the best at communicating, but I think I’ve been pretty clear about not wanting to ever have another Depo shot. It’s not a satisfactory alternative because it’s not what I was asking for at all. I’ve already been on the depo for a year, have received the shots from you guys every ten weeks until the last one, and wanted to go off of it because of the bone loss concerns–vitamin d deficiency, Ehlers-Danlos, and a family history of osteopenia. I wanted to go on the mini-pill because it still offers the progesterone, but doesn’t have a risk of bone loss. After the September incident, I waited until October, like I was told, to schedule the annual exam so that I could get the prescription for that. Is there any way that I can have my annual and get that prescription instead of the depo that I do not want to take? I get the feeling that I won’t get the appointment or the prescription, but I’m not going down without a fight on this whole thing. I’m sick of being given the run-around. This is a relatively simple exam. You stick the speculum in, then the spatula, then the brush. Not hard.1 And writing a prescription doesn’t take long at all. Why is this so fucking difficult for them to do? Right now, I’m considering going off the Humana completely & going back to Medicare/Medicaid so that I can find a gynecologist who will do my stupid pap smear and write me this prescription. I don’t understand why this has to be so difficult. I don’t understand why every interaction with these people seems to end with me either in tears or foolishly expecting for them to actually do their jobs before finding out that they don’t intend to do them. I’m flexible enough that I could probably do it myself. ↩

Are You Daft?


Unfortunately we are no longer scheduling annuals due to the closure of our office next month. Your last one was 10/14/15 so you can have one at any time. I show you have Human insurance and MC.  You should contact Human for a list of preferred providers. Once you find a new Dr you will need to sign a release form for your records. Feel free to call if you have any questions. 2
After getting the notice that UAB was closing their OB/GYN office in Huntsville, I sent a request for a first available appointment for an annual exam. You know, the exam that I was I could schedule in October…when they cancelled my birth control consultation without informing me and told me that I could either pay them $90 that I didn’t have if I wanted to get my birth control that day or schedule an appointment for an annual in October and get it then. Obviously, I should have fucked up my finances even more and paid for the $90 appointment because I got this response to my request: Unfortunately we are no longer scheduling annuals due to the closure of our office next month. Your last one was 10/14/15 so you can have one at any time. I show you have Human insurance and MC. You should contact Human for a list of preferred providers. Once you find a new Dr you will need to sign a release form for your records. Feel free to call if you have any questions Needless to say, I was not amused. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I was pretty pissed off, so I fired off this response: I understand your office is closing, but this appointment is important and time-sensitive. I went off the Depo, then was rudely told my birth control consultation appointment was cancelled when I arrived for said appointment, and was told that day that I would need to wait until my annual exam at your office to get the birth control prescription. Now you’re refusing to schedule the exam? This birth control prescription is to keep my anemia in check and prevent me from having to undergo infusions. I’ve already had some bleeding because it has been so long since I had my last Depo. And I’ve already started having early signs of the anemia popping up. If I am even able to find a local doctor that takes the Humana & the Medicaid, it will probably be 2 months for me to get in, so I would appreciate you making an exception in this case…especially since part of this predicament is on you guys in the first place. Yes, it’s manipulative. Yes, it’s abrasive. Yes, all of that was necessary. The reality of their office closing on short notice is that it’s putting lives in danger. I know that they still have pregnant patients that they need to see, but they also have cases like mine where birth control is a life-saving medication and they have people who may have diagnoses of cancer delayed by months because they had to transfer their care to another doctor. I am so sick of doctors and their employees acting like routine appointments are unimportant. They may not seem to be important to some patients, but they are actually very important for others.1 And it will take a while to find a doctor who takes my insurances. It always does. Right now, I can’t even get the physician finder on Humana’s website to work. Once it starts to work, I can’t even guarantee that who they list will even taken the insurance.2 What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to let my health get worse? Am I supposed to just pretend like all of this bullshit, douchenuggetry, and dumbfuckery is acceptable? Fuck that. This is my life that they are messing with and they don’t have a right to jeopardize it. I shouldn’t have to sit here and wonder if I’m actually going to get medicine that I need in time to avoid infusions. I shouldn’t have to worry that lately I’ve been cold on hot days and that I’ve been paler than usual. But this is what I have to worry about when medical offices and insurance companies decide to make arbitrary decisions that endanger my life. I know that neither the office nor the insurance company are intending to harm patients by making these decisions, but that is what is happening/can happen when they cut off proper healthcare. Actually, they’re very important for all of them. ↩Humana has a tendency to list people who don’t accept their plans and not list ones who do. ↩

I Need That Appointment



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Since the orthopedist told me on Wednesday that I needed to go through another round of physical therapy, use a designer drug for the inflammation,1 and wear a brace when I’m not in the shower, I’ve been a bit skeptical of how any of it was going to work. It didn’t help when the brace I was originally fitted with had a hole pop up in the top seam in the back. It also didn’t help when I thought back over all the weeks of physical therapy I’ve already been through.2 But I decided this morning that I would at least try to follow his orders. I set up a new round of physical therapy. The scheduler said that my folder from this Summer had probably already been closed, since I was technically discharged. I may end up with the physical therapist I had this summer. I may end up with the one I had last summer. I may end up with one of the ones who worked with my dad during the summer. Or I could end up with any of a large number of physical therapists that work for Huntsville Hospital. I may not have faith that physical therapy will help, but I’ve got to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But if it does work, then that will be nice. I may just need a lot more therapy than was originally anticipated. The pharmacy called this morning about the anti-inflammatory spray. At first I didn’t want to say okay to paying the $10 that the medicine will cost me–because insurance won’t cover it–but my mom basically told me that $10 isn’t much and that I need to try to do whatever I can to help my knee. And she reminded me of what I’ve already said in this entry, “if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.” She also reminded me that it would be a lot better to at least try the medicine than to go back to the orthopedist in four weeks and tell the doctor that I didn’t do as he ordered. I took the ill-fitting brace with the popped seam back. The DME3 people at the orthopedist’s office were nice and the one who helped me today actually checked to see how the brace fit when I was standing before she let me leave. She could see why it was so uncomfortable–the top part was too tight. She said she knew why it was hard to fit it because the XL brace that I was taking back was not only too small for the bottom part of my thigh, its opening for the kneecap was too large4 and the bottom part was too big for my calf. She said that the kneecap and calf issues could be helped by the straps, but that the only way to fix the top issue was to go with an XXL. The new brace feels much better. Oh, she showed me how the hole popped in the other brace. I was pulling it up in the back and just pulled that seem apart. She said that I needed to try to do most, if not all, of the pulling in the front of the brace, so that’s how I’m pulling. Maybe it will all work. And if it doesn’t, then I guess I’ll cross that issue when I get to it. I just have to keep myself from falling into the “it-hurts-so-bad-I-want-to-die” thinking. A spray that won’t arrive until at least Monday. ↩My physical therapist was great, but the pain I endured during the physical therapy was very unpleasant. ↩Durable Medical Equipment ↩aka my kneecap was too small ↩

Grit and Bear It


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Late last week, I rescheduled my appointment with the UAB OB/GYN clinic to get my Depo Provera shot on Tuesday to Thursday afternoon at 2:30.1 I asked that the nature of the appointment also change, since I had done some reading and found out that Depo Provera increases the chance of bone loss. I was told that since I wasn’t dude for an annual visit until October 15 that I would have to make it into a birth control consultation. I said that was fine. On Thursday afternoon, I was in a pretty good mood. I knew that it was possible, if the doctor took too long or there was some unexpected wait going on, I was going to have to stay at the clinic longer than usual because my mom had a dentist appointment, I still felt relatively optimistic. That should have made me nervous, but it didn’t. I was even joking around. 2:16 pm: Craving coffee on the way to a birth control appt while wearing a short strapless dress. Clearly my LDS conversion didn't take. — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 That changed after I started signing in. 2:33 pm: Well, that's just great. If you're conservative you probably need to unfollow me right now because I am fucking pissed off. — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 The receptionist started by saying that someone should have gotten in touch with me. She asked if I was on Medicare. I told her I had Humana Medicare and Medicaid. She said that the Business Office had told them that Medicare wouldn’t cover my birth control consultation. I thought that there must have been some misunderstanding. Medicare has never denied a birth control consultation that I’ve been to, including the ones that I went to when my gynecologist was trying to come up with a treatment for the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, but my hormones weren’t taking to the ring or the Seasonale or any of the many hormonal birth control methods that I tried. And I knew that, as a Medicaid patient, there shouldn’t be a rule against birth control access.2 I asked if she could appeal it and she said not today. That might seem like a perfectly reasonable statement for her, but I’m on a clock. Depo shots are only effective for so long. And once the progesterone has gotten out of my system, my dysfunctional uterine bleeding or, more specifically, my menometrorrhagia3 will act up again. I will bleed for days, weeks, or months on end until my iron stores are depleted and my anemia comes back with a vengeance. Birth control is life or death for treatment for me. Even if it weren’t, denying access to it would be wrong. So I started drafting tweet after tweet of how horrifying the situation was. 2:34 pm: I arrived for my #birthcontrol consultation appointment & was told insurance won't cover it. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (1/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I get to wait a month until my annual exam. My Depo will wear off in the meantime. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (2/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I will start bleeding. My anemia will get worse. My overall health will get worse. (3/31) @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 All because there's a magical little rule that says I can't come in before my annual (4/31) @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 exam to switch #birthcontrol methods. A switch I was making because Depo increases risk of bone loss. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (5/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 As a person with joint issues & a vitamin d def., bone loss isn't something I need. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (6/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 It's ridiculous that I've never run into this rule before. I've taken bc off and on @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (7/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 for 20 years, and half of those have been on #Medicare & #Medicaid. I've had bc consults in that time. @HumanaHelp #birthcontrol (8/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 I asked the receptionist if it could be appealed. She said not today & acted like this @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (9/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 rule was something she'd never heard of, but she also wouldn't get call anyone @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (10/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 from the business office for me to ask. She also claimed they tried to tell me. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (11/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Kinda funny since they didn't call & didn't email. How hard were they *trying*? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (12/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 So, when did this rule come along? Why is my health allowed to be put in jeopardy? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (13/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Are other women being forced to go w/o meds? Are they on meds that could hurt them? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (14/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 How many low income patients are being denied basic healthcare? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (15/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Believe it or not, not all #birthcontrol is safe or effective for all people who take it. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare (16/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 Patients deserve to be able to find the one that fits their needs. Why deny us that? @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (17/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 They said that to get the prescription, I'd have to pay for a $90 office visit today. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (18/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 IF I HAD $90 TO SPEND ON AN OB/GYN APPOINTMENT, I WOULDN'T BE A PATIENT THERE. @HumanaHelp #medicaid #medicare #birthcontrol (19/31) — Janet Morris (@janersm) September 24, 2015 It's […]

Some Days Even My Lucky Rocketship Underpants Don’t Help