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After half a year, I have health insurance again July 4, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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And let me tell you, it’s a huge relief.

Medical stuff under the cut — nothing icky, just pills and a lot of phone calls.

Also, cat stuff at the end, so feel free to skip to that. There’s some discussion of pet death, but nothing recent.

I applied for Ohio insurance in November. November! Well before the deadline. And then I didn’t hear back, but I thought, they’re swamped with applications right now, it might take a few months.

So time passed, and I didn’t call them. Partly procrastination and phone-shyness. Partly that I worked at a government agency for years. I spent a lot of time returning calls to say “Your status update is: application in process,” and all of that was time taken away from the actual processing.

Finally I call, and I get through the menu to reach a human being, and they find my application, and they say “You applied in November??”

They were supposed to send a letter. I don’t think they sent the letter. I sure didn’t get the letter.

So they re-send it, and it asks for paperwork, and I mail them some paperwork, and I get a letter saying they received the paperwork, and a month later I get a letter asking for…what appears to be the same paperwork.

I call again — it takes a while, I’m on hold for more than an hour each time, sometimes I call in the morning and I’m still on hold when I have to hang up in the afternoon and go to work — and finally I get through to a person, who tells me, oh, we needed this paperwork. Also, did I really apply in November??

I send in the new paperwork! A couple weeks later I get a letter, that my application has been rejected for not sending in the paperwork.

I call again, get through, the person says they can’t re-open a closed application, but he can start a new one and use the paperwork I already set. Half an hour later, I’m approved. Just like that.

My prescriptions had been refilled right before the end of 2018, and the local Planned Parenthood was able to keep me on hormone control for a manageable price. But in the weeks before getting re-insured, I was taking antidepressants every other day, then every third day, in a last-ditch bid to keep from running out.

It didn’t hit me in the sense that I felt sadder. It did hit in that I suddenly had to sleep at least 10 hours a day.

Once I had an insurer, I was able to get a doctor’s appointment in walking distance for the very next day, prescriptions filled at the pharmacy across the street, and I’ve been back on 8-hour nights with fully-alert afternoons ever since.

Amazing how good this “proper medical care” stuff is.

And on that note, cat news!

(He can relax while I’m sitting on the bed, as long as I hold pretty still and don’t lean his direction.)

I’m not gonna recap the new-cat Twitter thread — check that if you want a detailed catch-up. Maybe skip to late May, when he’s reached the point of voluntary hand-sniffing.

Have started telling people Marshmallow Fluff is his official name, although I mostly address him as “fluffy” or “lil’ buddy” or “brave boy.”

We’ve settled into a routine. It’s regular enough that, if I don’t bring wet food to his room by 9 PM, he pokes his head out by 9:30 to see what’s keeping me.

It’s also regular enough that I notice when he changes something. Any time he’s less active, or eats less than usual, I do some low-key stressing — what if he gets sick? Is this the first sign of kitty flu, or longhair heatstroke? What happens if he gets bad enough to need the vet, but is still alert enough to panic and fight when I try to catch him?

And, you know, for context, my family’s first cat got sick, and the only sign was that she was less active than usual for a couple days — so Mom took her to the vet, and whatever she had was so bad that she got put down that night. Soooo that’s pretty haunting.

(I don’t actually know what she had! I wasn’t told. It was the end of a college break for me, so I went back to school right afterward, and nobody actually told me that she had died until like a month later. My family is…sometimes not great at talking about sad things.)

So! Tonight, for example, the fluff didn’t do his normal string-chasing session, which is not surprising on a hot sticky day with unnerving firework noises in the distance, but I worried anyway.

As if to prove himself extra-fine, he came out of his room in the middle of writing this post, and has spent a bunch of it lying on his blanket at the far end of the living room, alternately snoozing and giving me a baffled stare.

He’s getting steadily more social like that — following me out of his room for some extra togetherness-at-a-distance time, which would’ve been unthinkable a couple months ago. Even if he never becomes a lap cat, the progress is very sweet and heartening to see.

And for multiple reasons, if there’s cuddling in his future, I don’t expect it to start until after summer.

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