Make that Ativan with a scotch chaser…

In southern Cal, on mini-break, writing this from the waterbed of my friends' guest room.  My back and neck is sore, and strange symptoms in the night which made me wonder if shingles could recur so soon after an outbreak.  

Perhaps I was just tense when I went to bed.  Being away from home releases all sorts of emotions.  This morning I'm acutely aware of my Condition, of being Stage IV.  Not in the usual perky, "Anyone can be the exception and I'm trying very hard to be one" way.  Symptoms usually bring this on—I start thinking—hmm, increased pain, wheezing, chest tightness.  On the other hand, those are also symptoms of anxiety.  I received a bill for $7,008 from Kaiser, because the Court can't seem to get their act together and straighten out the health insurance issue.  It will be resolved eventually, I shouldn't worry, but it's a shock to find that each CT scan costs $6,585.  I receive one every 6 weeks.  

I've always known that the retail cost of my meds were astronomical, like $12,000/month, but I try not to think about the cost of services.  It shouldn't be a surprise, but actually it's quite shocking.  How do people without insurance pay for this?  Is that how much is actually charged to insurance companies?  Don't they usually have a much lower price if the patient has to pay?

These are the sort of things that wear sick people down.  (I wish someone could deal with these issues for me, but there is no one else.)  On the other hand, I should be thankful that I'm still functional enough to try to work through it.  Is it old age, tiredness, or is the modern world reeling out of control?  I might not be here right now without the scans, chemotherapy, and great health insurance plan provided by my employer, so I should quit whining and get on with it.  But the dependence on these things is frightening.  The feeling of having absolutely no control over my life is heightened that much more.

Most people really take their health for granted.  In a way, it can't be helped.  Everything'll kill you, these days, so what does it matter if you smoke, eat twinkies and salami, work in a cement factory, or whatever?

On the ID theft front, I've just read an article stating that according to Regulation E of the FTC guidelines for identity theft, banks aren't obligated to give your money back.  Especially if it involves debit cards.  If you file a dispute within 2 days of the occurrence, your liability is limited to $50.  Within 60 days, your liability is capped at $500.  Although I called on 18th, and some of the activity had occurred just that day and hadn't even posted, I couldn't file the fraud affidavit until March 25th, since Mike was away.  That's 12 days from the start of fraudulent activity (March 13th).  $500 is not small potatoes when you're not working.  No more debit cards to pay for things.  Don't watch those commercials where paying cash mucks up the whole system.  Use cash!

Supposedly, it's best to close the compromised account.  At this point, I'm afraid to go in and check it—I've had quite enough stress for two weeks and I'm supposed to be on spring break.  It's become a working vacation, and I'm actually fretting over the safety of the house right now.  I can see why people have bars on their windows, and it makes me want to move to the middle of nowhere.  I want an alarm system that locks and loads upon break-in, and aims and fires several rounds at the intruder.  The hubby's a handy guy.  Maybe he can rig air tools to all the oxygen tanks we have in the garage…

I'm angry, bitter, tired, and I realize that even Gringott's got robbed, so nowhere is safe.  Cousin Eddy had it right.  I'll just bury the damn money.

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