Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thank Goodness for Credit Monitoring

So amidst all the chaos of my computer drama this week, I got an email from my credit-monitoring service to alert me to a concern in one of my credit reports. So I checked it out this evening. It turns out that the collection agency we went around and around with back in the spring has reported that I have an unpaid balance of $8,666. Yeah, that's right, that eye surgery that I am not responsible for got reported as me not paying it. And even after one party apparently got their money for it.

IMC Credit Services now, apparently, has this account and has made it show on my credit report. I'm disputing the account, of course. I am STEAMED. Absolutely effing PISSED.
Mike and I bent over backwards not only to make sure that we really weren't responsible for the charges for this surgery but also that the hospital got PAID for this surgery. We did the due diligence that we should have done, plus all the work and diligence that the freaking hospital AND health management organization AND this collection agency should have done, and my credit is suffering from it. Those freaking bastards! I should have known things had been too quiet for too long after we thought they had been's been about three months since I've heard anything about this, and then it just got reported on my credit.

* Stringham high: Starcraft II, World of Warcraft
* Stringham low: failing laptops, disabled desktop computers, and m-fing bills for money that I don't owe.
* Stringham super-high: fantastic, supportive and helpful friends and family

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mixed Feelings

Finally printing the form to apply for a disability hangtag for the car. I want it not for days like this, but for the winter, when it’s so cloudy and there’s ice and slush and snow on the ground and I can’t tell the difference between them but I have to walk through half a dimly lit parking lot with such problems. But I can’t help but wonder, is this selling out? I still have faith that my vision will be restored. Is applying for this card the same as telling God that I no longer have faith? I try to reason with myself, saying no, it’s not, because I can get a short-term placard that works for just a few months, but it will take longer than just a few months for my vision to not be so limited any longer. Somehow, those words seem a little hollow.

And then I worry about all the hassle, because if I get this placard, it is the same as telling them that I can no longer drive, and my license will be revoked. I mean, I’m not using it anyway, but that’s hardly the point. It’s giving up another potential freedom. Of course, what really bothers me is trying to get everything back when my vision does finally come back—dealing with the hassle of proving that my vision has returned and I wasn’t just scamming before, etc. Still, that could be years away, and won’t that be worth it if, thanks to the placard, I haven’t broken a leg or an arm falling in a parking lot in inclement weather?

Still, sometimes it just feels like a cop-out, like I’m taking the easy way out, like I’m taking advantage of every little benefit offered to me. Of course, then part of me says, Of course you’re taking advantage of every little benefit offered. It’s because you can’t get any REAL benefits offered to you. You’re fighting and scraping for every little bit of humanity left in you, to make it on your own with your husband without trying to get disability benefits. All you want is healthcare, and you can’t get that, so why not a friggin’ hangtag that lets you be a little closer to the building when people drive you places? Is that petty? It’s certainly small comfort.

* Stringham high: World of Warcraft and homemade sweet pickles
* Stringham low: "Blahs" that come with the clouds
* Stringham super-high: M's now being permanently assigned to days and, hopefully, a regular, steady schedule.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Bad Rant Turned Enlightened

Someone very close to me suggested to me outright today that they think I’m depressed and that’s making me THINK there’s something wrong with my eyes when there’s nothing going on. I told that person I don’t think that’s the case. It could be, I admitted, but I don’t think it is. I suggested, too, that it could be that the sinus adjustments my doc and I have been making have affected my vision and that it’s so slight that most people would never notice such a change because their brains would account for the problem, but that because my field of vision is so small, I notice even the slightest changes. That’s one thing that people forget—that our brains adjust to changes if they are small enough, so we can gradually lose vision without ever noticing.

But then a little later, this same person suggested that maybe I was making this up subconsciously as a way to get out of the house, because I often feel "trapped," as I no longer can get out of the house on my own accord. I can't go more than just our 3.4 acres without someone else, so I often leave the property one day a week. At first, I just scoffed at the thought and said, “No. No way.” But the more I think about it, the more it saddens me that this person could think such a thing. If it weren’t for my health, I’d really want something to show up as wrong so I could at least “prove” that I’m not making it up for attention or to get out of the house. But I DON'T want anything to be wrong. I’m a little hurt by the thought. And true, this person did say “subconsciously,” but still, the implication of the statement—what it means this person thinks of me—saddens me. This person doesn’t trust me at all, I think the implication is. Or at least that’s what it feels like to me. Maybe that’s not at all what it means, but that’s how I interpret it. But then it gets down to the heart of what a lot of really ill people have to face, doesn’t it? Health care practitioners and loved ones thinking (not meaning it unkindly) that the sick person is doing this all for attention, or that it’s “all in their head.” I’m not doing it for the attention. And if I truly wanted to get out of the house, I’d do it defiantly. I’d ask someone to come take me out for the day for no good reason. Because, by God, going to sit in a doctor’s office is not the way I really fancy getting myself out of the house, especially since I have to call in every favor and humble myself to ask everyone I know—everyone I’ve already asked for favor after favor—to take me. Yeah, sounds just like my idea of a good time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."

The earlier in the day I reaffirm myself as an instrument of Divine will, the better I feel emotionally that day. Today, I prayed right after I got up and brushed my teeth instead of waiting for showering and eating and being completely clean “out of respect for God.” I prayed, reaffirming my desire to be an instrument of Divine will, to spread love and understanding, to act the way the Divine wants me to work, to say the things the Divine wants me to say. And even though my heart has been heavy for several days and I have been full of fear and worry, today things don’t look so bad. It took a while after praying, to be sure, but then suddenly, the feeling of calm hit me, and the words came to my lips: “May my life be a light to others in the darkness. May it give hope to people who have none. May my life serve to spread hope, and faith, and praise of the great works of the Divine.” I cried a bit, out of joy, and out of a little fear, fear of the responsibility, and of the implications of my “little” life doing so much. But if this is the good that can come from my life, if nothing else—if the pain and fear I have endured can help others, then so be it.

* Stringham high: Oodles of fresh green beans from our garden.
* Stringham low: Readjusting to yet another of M's new work schedules.
* Stringham super-high: Kick-ass geothermal heat pump cooling on days that are 91 degrees with a heat index closer to 100.