Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Flaw in the System

Ok, I am the first to admit that I really don't know a great deal about this whole healthcare reform thing. I watch the news from 6-7 or rather have it on in the background while I feed and bathe Isaac. But that's about it. It's my own fault, and I could educate myself. I realize this is a hot topic and big issue that will effect not only me, but my son.

I don't know how to fix the system. But I do know that it needs fixed. Here's my take on what I do know.

First, we have health insurance. We have coverage through my husband's employer. It's not the best plan or the plan I would choose, but it isn't the worst either. When I first got pregnant we had an independent policy that was paid by our personal business (that we no longer have, but that's another story). For my husband and me it started out at about $550 a month for the premium. I chose this plan because when I worked for a certain large corporation, it was the policy we had. It was great. And that was why, because it had a price tag. Over the course of a year and a half that monthly price rose to almost $800. Then my husband got his corporate gig and we started weighing out our options and we thought it best to end my husband's coverage and put him in the corporate plan. We kept me on the independent plan until Isaac was born, and then we switched over. All in all it cost us about $1400 to have the baby buy the time you figured in the premiums and the copayment for the actual delivery. I thought that was pretty good, especially since the whole price tag came to about $19k.

Anyway, after Isaac was born, we switched to the company plan. It's not bad. The coverage is ok, and we have an HRA that the company gives us x dollars for a year. HOWEVER...I hate having a deductible. Last year, I went to the ER for ruptured ovarian cysts or kidney stones (take your pick...they never figured out what it was). Between that and all Isaac's well baby exams and the 2 times he was sick, we pretty much hit our individual deductibles. My ER visit came to about $650 that I had to pay. The cost of three days in the hospital for me and Isaac, labor and delivery, etc had only been $800. I was in the ER for 5 hours. Sigh. Still, I wasn't that upset about it, and was glad w had insurance.

HOWEVER.

My husband went to the ER back during the swine flu pandemic. He had his vitals taken and then sat for an hour while the entire staff watched the World Series. TRUE STORY. So he left. And I called the insurance company and told them. We filed a complaint against the hospital and waited to see what happened. In the meantime, I scheduled my husband annual FREE well adult visit to his doctor. He went and filled out his paperwork, including a paper that said "list three or more issues with your health or questions you have to discuss with the Dr." So he did. And all of a sudden, the FREE well adult exam turned into a serious diagnostic visit that was no longer FREE. In fact, it required a blood panel. The actual appointment was 20 minutes. 20 MINUTES! When the bill for the office visit came, guess how much it was? $350. I was MAD. I called everyone and their brother and filed complaint after complaint and so on. Their response? Sorry about your luck! My mother is an insurance coder. I sent her the claim and she was horrified that they coded the visit they way they did. According to the office coder, it was totally justified and blah blah blah. They used a code for a serious diagnostic visit used for very sick and ailing or injured patients. FOR A WELL ADULT EXAM. Now, unless my husband is lying about what they discussed, it was totally bogus. So I got the doctor's notes. And I got madder.

What is even worse is that while I was trying to resolve the issue, I was only making payments on the bill in increments of $25. Why? Because I had this hope that it would be downgraded and I wouldn't have to pay the whole bill. Therefore, I didn't want to wait for a refund from the Dr, should that happen. I did exactly what the accounts payable representative told me, and yet I still got threatening messages about collections. Seriously? I finally got so sick of it, I paid the whole damn thing. Their representatives lied to me and I was just tired of dealing. And then I wrote a letter to 7 on your side, just to express my opinion. I HATE SUTTER MEDICAL FOUNDATION. They said that if I wanted to make payments, I wasn't allowed to make more than 2. Like I had to pay the whole thing in 2 months.

And then, we got a statement from our insurance saying that they got the hospital claim. It was $179 for my husband crappy ER visit to take his vitals. SERIOUSLY? Come on! it wasn't even a doctor who took his vitals! However, I haven't received a bill from the hospital. I can't pay things that I don't get bills for. And I have no idea what the insurance company actually paid.

With all those issues, we met our family deductible, but it was DECEMBER. So when January rolled around, we were back to $0 toward our deductible.

I will say this much. I do like our insurance company. They are helpful. And they don't pick our plan for us, my husband's company did. And we are lucky we have insurance. And they are nice to us. I like my doctor and Isaac's doctor. I like our dentist and eye doctor. But I think they charge too much. And I know they do it because of the insurance companies. And I know insurance companies charge more because doctors do and because not everyone has insurance. Its a double mandate.

So here's what I think. It doesn't really appear the healthcare bill will have a huge impact on our situation. Maybe if more people buy insurance, the premiums will go down. I think that people need to see exactly what this bill is going to do before they whine about changing it. Do I think it is good that people will be required to have insurance? Heck yeah. You can't drive in CA (legally) without car insurance. So yes, I think people should have insurance. And I don't think sick people should be denied insurance. And if more healthy people buy insurance, there will be more money for the insurance companies to pay for care for sick people.

Sigh. Talking about this made my head hurt. But there is most definately a flaw, many flaws in our system. And the bottom line is, no matter how it changes, someone will always have a problem with it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And the No's Have It!

Isaac has learned a new word.

"No!"

And he says it all. the. TIME. I first heard it last night at dinner. He was happily eating his carrots and spaghetti. I was cutting up some pears for him when I heard "Mama! No! No! Noooooooo!" I looked over to see him smiling right at me and tossing the rest of the carrots on the floor.

I asked if he was done.

"No!"

I asked if he wanted pears.

"No!"

I asked if he wanted to get down.

"No!"

This continued for the rest of the night as he toddled through the house saying "no, no, no!"

I know he has a good idea of what it means. He has definately heard us say it enough. :)

And on the other hand, he also learned to nod his head. It's cute. He sticks he neck forward a bit and does it really slow and delibrately. And we have to say "yeeeeees!" After a few times he resorts to shaking his head, which he has known for months means "no."

So in the Lahman house, the No's definately have it right now. :)

He has also started putting words together like "yay! baba!", "mama/dada baba", "baba ni-night", "hi mama/dada/kitty/pupa (puppy)!", and "no" with any of the above words. And then we have the looonnnnng babbling sentences, sometimes ending with inquisitive inflections. He looks at me like I should just know what he is saying to me. And he has been singing alot more in the car.

I love that he communicates and is trying so hard. I have been recording so many videos of his sweet little voice. He is growing up so fast!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fourteen

I hadn't planned to continue the numbered monthly updates for Isaac. However, on Friday, exactly at his 14 month marker, Isaac hit a major development milestone. After months of crawling, walking around furniture, walking hand in hand with Mommy and Daddy, Isaac took his first un-aided steps!

When I pick him up from daycare, he stands next to me while I collect his diaper bag and lunch bag. This particular time, he wasn't holding on to my pant leg. I looked down to see my son walking toward the door! I was so proud and happy, I almost cried. It was a big celebration, and he repeated it again for all daycare to see and was rewarded with cheers and applause.

And of course that night all I was pushing him to walk some more. :) We took this video to send to Daddy at work.

video

And then the rest of the weekend he spent trying to run. RUN. This probably means I should take up running, right? :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Breathe

(Loud, Deep Breath)

The past two weeks have been absolutely insanely busy for us. It seems we haven't had a spare moment to do anything. Work was incredibly busy with large smatterings of water sampling and lab dropoffs, and then a massive set of proposals due out yesterday. I had reworked my schedule so I would be off at 4, buying myself a little time to get stuff done and errands run before picking up Isaac from daycare. Needless to say, I worked through those hours the past few weeks and then some. But...all the sampling is done now and the proposal were delivered yesterday.

(Loud, Deep Breath)


And speaking of work, in attempt to break out of my "stuck" phase, I actually looked at a few new jobs. Nothing panned out as I hoped, telling me it just wasn't meant to be. And I believe that it will happen when it's right.

Isaac, a Coworker and friend A, and I had "Run for the Seals." It was in the Ma.rin Head.lands, and it was a GORGEOUS day! I don't run. Friend A ran with one of her friends. Isaac and I did the 2 mile walk. It was um, brutal. Seriously. It was like, straight up a mountain and the incline was both ways. The path was slanted and inclined. My knees hurt. so. bad. They hurt so bad I woke up 4 times that night in PAIN. Hmm...so, maybe that means I need to walk more. That can easily done. Isaac loves to be outside and the weather is getting warmer.

(Loud, Deep Breath)


The same day as the Run, my husband called to say that my car was not doing so well. He had taken it the day before to figure out why the horn wasn't working and replaced some caps or something. Anyone who drives with me knows I NEED MY HORN. Needless to say, we had some big decisions to make and in lieu of avoiding another car loan, we decided to just fork over the cash to fix it. It was quite stressful. I hate money, you know? But the car is almost done and knock-on-wood-fingers-crossed-hold-my-breath nothing more will need to be done to it for awhile.

(Loud, Deep Breath)

I took yesterday afternoon off and got massive things done. Bills were paid, checkbooks were balanced, laundry was folded (I finally have socks again!), curtains were washed, kitchen counters were cleaned. I even dropped off dry cleaning and batteries to be recycled. I went to Ko.hls and got Isaac's photo album and some short sleeved shirts and tank tops, because my oh my is Calif.ornia warming up quickly. My daycare lady and I went out for dinner and drinks. It was much needed "mommy time."

(Loud, Deep Breath)

Anyway, I finally feel like I can breathe again. I feel like I can actually break out of my funk, and figure out what is going on. And I feel like I can blog again! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stuck

Lately, I have been feeling stuck.

Not stuck in time, because holy moly it's already March, and it's already half way through the month.

But stuck in general, I guess. Stuck within the same routine, the same everything.

I guess I am just in a place that I don't really like, but I am not really sure exactly how to break out of it. I am not unhappy with my life. I am just not feeling it.

So I have been trying to figure out what is wrong. I have been making some changes and reworking routines. And it has made me silent.

I am trying to figure out what my voice and tone is. I am trying to reevaluate priorities and shift things around so they fit better.

I will figure this out eventually. :) Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Monday, March 15, 2010

300 Words: Using Labels

I'm not comfortable with labels, at least as far as people are concerned. I don't think that you can define a person with one word, or even several. Life is too dynamic. There is only one way I like to describe myself: Me.

My life has had its ups and downs, heartaches and tragedies, laughter and success. But no single event or instance defines me. They have brought me to the point at which I am at today. They brought me here to this moment in time, where I am wife to this man and mother to this boy. They led me to be this woman with this job in this state with these hobbies. I am this woman with these fears, these dreams and hopes. And most likely, new experiences will alter this person that I am, be it slightly or greatly. I am ME.

If there is one thing I want my son to learn, that I want people to know is that you can't label people. You can't find one word that truly captures the essence of a person and expect it to truly fit. You can't label people like you label a folder or a box for organization. You have to learn the beauty of that person and then you can only label them as individuals.

Your life will most undoubtedly be enriched if you look past the labels people are given and don't give them yourself.

I want people to be appreciated for everything they are, every person they are. People are so unique and there is so much to learn from each person that comes into your life. Take no moment for granted, and appreciate what each person has to offer. Don't see just one aspect of them, but every one that you can.

*************
Note: This post was written for
Mabel's Labels BlogHer '10 Contest as response to the hypothetical situation of an electrical storm wiping out the internet and what I would want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things My Child Does That I Don't Think He Should Be Doing Yet

I know that babies all follow their own lines of development and hit their milestones at their own pace. I like to think that we have been pretty good at letting Isaac just "get there" on his own. I mean, we have done things to help him along with the learning process, but we don't FORCE him into anything. Like walking and eating with a spoon. We are helping him get there, he just isn't quite ready yet. I have full confidence that he will get there in the time that is right for him.

HOWEVER!


There are a few things that Isaac has been doing that I just am not ready for him to be doing, and I just don't think he should be.

1. CLIMBING. The other night I put him in his walker with some goldfish crackers. I then went into the kitchen to unload and reload the dishwasher. A few minutes later, I turned around and he was right behind me. OUT OF THE WALKER. Because HE CLIMED OUT OF THE WALKER HIMSELF! A part of me just thought I was crazy, so I put him back in the walker, and then watched as he proceeded to climb out of it and then back in and out again. The next day he climbed up onto his toy bench to see out the window. And last night, I watched as he purposefully pushed his little chair up to the end table and then climb from chair to table onto the couch. Sigh. This just seems like a behavior that he just should not be doing. At the very least, it is definately not behavior that I am ready for. I have barely come to terms with the idea of him walking.

2. SHUTTING DOORS. He likes to go into rooms ahead of me and shut the door. Or, he will just shut himself into his room, our bedroom, or the bathroom. Like, he delibrately shuts me out of the room. Sometimes we play with the doors and shut them and then open them and hide and whatnot, but this is more intentional. Its almost like he wants to be alone and have privacy. This is behavior I expect from a teenage son, not a 13 month old baby boy. Sigh again.

3. POINTING THE REMOTE AT THE TV AND TURNING UP THE VOLUME. Most times, he just plays with the remote, and pushes random buttons. But when Playhouse Disney is on, he points the remot directly at the TV (when he gets it anyway) and knows exactly which buttons make the Hot Dog Dance louder. Third sigh.

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, sigh.