Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ah, sleep. Wouldn't that be nice?

The ringing in my ear has gotten a little worse. Nothing too bad though. The side of my neck is starting to look a little 'woody' though. No burns so far, but definitely red. Perpetually sunburnt. And of course the inside of my mouth feels like I brushed my teeth with daggers instead of a toothbrush. Vicodin isn't really doing much for that, nor is the salt and baking soda gargle the doc said I should do four times a day. All things I can deal with, except for the gunk in my throat. That's driving me insane.

I guess that's what this blog has become. Rather than a running journal, a list of complaints. Better here than boring my friends and family I suppose. At least I have a good book to read in lieu of sleep. Dance with Dragons is long but it's not boring. Almost 1000 pages and I'm about 80% through. So far no major characters are dead. It's the little things...

I need to go to DES tomorrow, but I won't be able to get there till Friday. I got a call that my benefits will be cut off at the end of the month. I think it means my food stamps, but knowing these idiots it could mean my Access. That would be bad. So I have to go stand outside for a couple of hours in 100+ degree weather in order to find out exactly which they mean and how to stop it from happening, whichever it is. If they kill my Access, according to yet another letter, the state is stopping all new applications, which mine would be if they stopped it and I had to try and get it restarted. Budgets ya know. Cuz it's more important to pay shitty politicians and keep the money-making highway cameras running than it is to make sure people don't die.

Which brings me to the brunt of my long-term problems. If and when I'm considered a "survivor" of cancer, rather than a patient in treatment, I either have to somehow remain unemployed, and I'm sure with a good reason the state will accept, or...what?

If I get a job, I'll make too much money and no longer have AHCCCS and not be able to afford any followup treatment, such as the PET scans I'll need to make sure I'm still cancer-free. If I go back to Pizza Hut, Cigna has already dropped me and if I re-enlist in their insurance plan, which won't pay for even 3% of the costs of such followups, it will be considered a pre-existing condition anyway and I won't be covered. Getting my own insurance is an option, but the cost will be way more than I'd make, and it would still not be covered as it will be considered a pre-existing condition. Even if I'm lucky enough to find a real job with real insurance, it will still be considered a pre-existing condition and I won't be covered.

So I'm basically screwed. I have to remain unemployed and hope the state ignores the fact that I'm essentially able-bodied but unable to work because work means no insurance. It's a maddening circle.

Then there's the fact that if that does work, I'm stuck in Arizona for the foreseeable and long-term future. The same problems will apply to any job I get anywhere else: pre-existing condition. Even worse, Florida is in even more of a crappy condition thanks to their moron governor, Rick Scott and his manic, idiot-boy cost-cutting. It was bad before, where anyone applying for their version of Access had upwards of a 3 year waiting list, but now, programs like Medicare and Social Security and other safety nets for people like me are being cut like a 14 year old girl's forearms; left and right for no good reason. Just to do something. And then there's the fact that I would have to establish residency. I'm sure that's a nice flag for me not to get help.

So I'm stuck in Arizona. I can't move back to Florida to be closer to my daughter. I can't even move into my parent's house, which they've offered. Not unless I want to live the rest of my life on hopes and wishes that my cancer stays away. With no followup tests, despite the fact that there's a chance that the treatment alone, you know, all that radiation and chemotherapy, might be causing secondary tumors. Despite the fact that I still have a chance of developing further cancer in my remaining tonsil and lymph nodes.

And forget finding help anywhere else. I gave that search up long ago. The American Cancer Society,, Livestrong, Medicare, Social Security, Disability. They have nothing other than support. I can go to a meeting every day of the week in every city in the country but there's nothing at all to help with the cost of treatment or followup. I can get counselors to come to my door and talk to me about how f-d I am and give me hugs, but not one single group to help with the financial side of things. Unless I was a woman. There seems to be a number of groups that offer help for women. Kids too. Even minority groups. No such thing for a middle-aged white guy. Social Security only considers me disabled if I need dialysis. Medicare will offer nothing unless I go through Social Security first. Hell, even the local chapters of the American Cancer Society told me they don't even have food programs, but I can come down to the offices and rummage through their clothing donations.

But yeah, one Predator Drone costs $4.5 million.

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