Archive for September, 2009

Insurance dun dun duuun!

Big news! Finally, this blog ties into current political events, a major goal of mine for at least five minutes now. That issue is, as you may have surmised from the title, health insurance. This is a very sensitive subject, especially with Obama trying to pass reform, congress being a bunch infighting legislation blocking windbags, and the number of people still without insurance reaching the high gajillions. I don’t really want to get into that, since I’d go on for far too long and say nothing that hasn’t been said before, but sufficed to say that health care is messier than Mark Sanford’s love life. Although at least his wife gets a book deal: I Never Thought it Could Happen to a Governor’s Wife: The Jennifer Sanford Story.

But I digress. Since I have had leukemia, health care has gotten really real for me really fast. Before I was diagnosed, I was hardly ever sick, so the concept of health care never really entered my consciousness outside the purely academic. Yet now it’s a whole different ball game. Health care is something that’s vital to my continued existence, so naturally I think about it from time to time. When I was diagnosed, I was still under my dad’s health care plan, which is incredible because he works for the state of New Jersey. For those who don’t know, state workers get kick ass health insurance, especially if you’ve reached middle management, which my father has. And when I say this health insurance is kick ass, I mean it kicks ass. I don’t want to give away numbers on the internet (Look, free numbers! On the internet!), but if an average-sized suburban house represented the cost of my medicine without health insurance, then with it I’d pay a grape (The grape must be a red Aubun wine grape; anything else will render this very precise analogy inaccurate).

So I had great insurance, for which I was very grateful. However, the insurance only lasted until December of this year (2009 for you archive crawling future people), six months after my 23rd birthday. Obviously I started thinking about ways to cover myself once the winter came along. My job at Bergen Community doesn’t offer health insurance; in fact, they limit your working hours to 19, just to avoid state law requiring anyone working over that amount in a government subsidized institution to be paid health benefits. The next logical step was to find a new job, but job searching is hard enough without a doozie of a deadline (I am looking, however). Finding a private insurer would be difficult as well, since I have a big old pre-existing condition. So I did some research and found out that I likely would not qualify for medicare (For reasons I cannot at this moment remember), and could not even apply until after my current health insurance ran out. Finally my dad and I figured out that I could stay on his insurance plan if I bought into it, paying about $250 a month for the same coverage I then currently had, minus dental, or $500 for the whole package. This was great, as it wasn’t all that much for health insurance, and I probably couldn’t get any better coverage anywhere else.

A good deal, right? Well, it gets better. My Hospital offers a service to get insurance companies to cut cancer patients some slack. They submitted my test results and some sort of claim, waved their magic wand and POOF! Blue Cross Blue Shield is now extending my health coverage under my father, free of charge, until 2011. YES! I don’t have to think about health insurance for another two years! For this, I am eternally grateful. This is a really tough time to have something wrong with you, and I really lucked out. My mother asked me what I learned from all this, expecting something spiritual I imagine. I told her I figured Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t want a middle class white kid to die of a treatable, yet still dramatic illness on American soil. That would just look bad. If I had been a poor black kid…My mother said this was probably true, but beside the point. The thing I was supposed to have learned, and I quote directly, is, “To stop fucking worrying”. My mother. Said this.¬† My mother, the reverend, the yogi, the spirit master, the religion aficionado, the God communer, the holy woman, the pure acolyte, said fuck. And now, she expects me to stop worrying.

Thus we go into the world, bold and clueless.*

*Some random line that insisted on writing itself, and thus including itself in this post.

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Bleeding and other things

Hello folks! So a more formal update is in order, I believe.

So I get a call from the hospital the other day and get the full fatty (my new word for skinny) on my health at the moment. As I mentioned in my last post, I passed my first benchmark with flying colors, but for those interested here’s the breakdown. When I was first diagnosed I had 90 something percent¬† mutated chromosomes out of however many were possible and however many they test at a time (I’m sorry I don’t have more specific information in this regard, but I just don’t happen to know). As of the time of my test, I have 37%, which is excellent for this phase of the treatment.

However, as I also mentioned in my last post, my platelet count is still low, but not as low as I previously thought. Basically I bleed about as much as someone who takes aspirin everyday. I actually know this little factoid because I happened to be bleeding an amount which I felt was inordinate, but which my podiatrist convinced me otherwise per the above. Yes, it’s happened again: I’ve had an ingrown toe operated on once more. It’s not pleasant-sounding – in fact, if you’re not gagging already, I’ll have you know that it’s quite gross – so I won’t elaborate further.

Just kidding!¬† I had to leave directly from the podiatrists to go to work, reason being that the surgery was unexpected on my part…I suppose I could have told the doc to do it later, but forget that; I’m a man! Either that or an idiot…or are the terms synonymous? Damn man, I need to stop making jokes at me and my gender’s expense. Anyways, between driving, hobbling around and having low platelets, I bled right through the bandage, my sock, and even my shoe. I now have a noticeable red spot on my right shoe’s toe. I also have two giant bruises on my knee from rock climbing in the shlongunks…i mean shuangunks (gotta get that right) in New Paltz NY.

However, aside from the above blood related grossities, I’m doing great! Except now it’s 1:26am and I have to wake up tomorrow for work. Pssh! It’s all good…I’m an idiot! I mean a man.

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