Child Health Care Plus

Yesterday I posted on Facebook:

putting together paperwork for the kids to get on Child Health Care Plus, NY State health insurance — forms are so lengthy, so complicated! It’s confusing for the two of us, both with advanced degrees. How do people do this?

A few friends suggested I blog  about the experience. I would kind of first like to see if we got approved, before I offer any summary of my experience. It’s not unthinkable that I messed up something. But until I hear if all of the paperwork’s in, let me  tell you: The application is 17 pages long!

There were opportunities on the application to provide more than was asked for. For example, if your child has no Social Security number, you have to provide proof of residency. Or maybe you needed to provide proof of New York State residency any way. Being the overachiever that I am, my instinct was to throw everything at them for fear of not providing enough. I provided a utility bill as proof.

I did call the number on the application to get clarification on another question. No one answered the call after 25 minutes on hold and a promise of  “a customer service representative will be with you in a moment.” I tried another number and got to ask my question.

Could I walk the application in somewhere to get it in by the 20th of the month (today)? (The 20th is the cut off date to provide coverage on the 1st.) No, it turns out, I had to overnight the application to Albany. I dreaded going to the post office less than a week before Christmas, but I used the automated machine. It was fast and easy.

child_health_plusThere are agencies and communities centers listed on the application where one could turn for help. But, rugged and proud individualist that I am, I thought I should be able to handle the paperwork on my own. Besides, I have a Master’s degree, how hard could it be? Hard.

The good news is that the cost, if all goes well, will be about $45 per child per month. This is wonderful and much more affordable than the $1,700 or so that COBRA would cost to cover the family. We would only need this Child Health Care Plus coverage for a couple of months until my small business gets off the ground and one of Chris’s  unions, Screen Actor’s Guild, kicks in for the family.

My husband Chris is on disability because of his Parkinson’s Disease and he is covered with Medicare, so that just leaves me. I have no health insurance for a couple of months.

On Tuesday, one of my creative writing middle school students got close to say, “Look! I have Pink Eye.”

“Hey,” I felt like saying, “Stay away from me if you are sick. But just for a couple of months.” Now, I’m wondering if my eye’s looking a little red. Yes, so it begins, two months of hypochondria until I get back on a family health insurance plan. Let’s hope I got the kids on their plan.

Fun with Colonoscopy

What better way to celebrate a rough week than to get a colonoscopy?

No one wants to get their colon checked. But my wonderful primary care doctor, Dr. Etta Frankel, told me that I’d hit the age where I needed to. Besides, I’m losing my health insurance in a couple of weeks and wanted to get all my preventative care procedures done. Nothing like the thought of impending doom to get your house in order.

In early November, I got a postponement on my first colonoscopy due to Hurricane Sandy’s reshuffling of patients in New York City hospitals. All elective-type surgeries were canceled or rescheduled that week.

Happily, no NYC hurricane hit this week. Although the concoction I had to drink the night before the procedure worked like a Hurricane Sandy on my digestive track.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 bottles of coconut vitamin water
  • 2 bottles of green gatorade
  • one whole container of MiraLax

I mixed my concoction in a pitcher and in under two hours, I finished it. (Much like the 5K!)

a book that helped me through the night before my procedure, The Cookbook Collector:  A Novel by Allegra Goodman
a book that helped me through the night before my procedure, The Cookbook Collector: A Novel by Allegra Goodman

Everyone warned me, and so I was prepared, that this was hardest part of the colonoscopy — the drinking of the concoction. That, and the endless time in the bathroom to clean your bowels. To get through the evening, I reminded myself  that, “If I can run a 5K without stopping, I can drink 64 ounces of some sugary mix and spend an evening on the toilet.”

Also, I had a good book, Allegra Goodman’s Cookbook Collector, to keep me company.

The night of my internal storm in the bathroom, my son was very caring. Holed up in the bathroom for hours, occasionally, there’d be a gentle knock on the door, “You okay in there, Mom?” I truly loved that kid then. (I know I’ve complained about my kids on this blog, but they are basically kind and wonderful souls.)

Earlier that day, I’d fasted, which made me very crabby. (Yes, this is where the kids get their low-blood sugar crabbiness!)

The procedure itself was not a breeze. Everyone told me, “It’s the easiest part.” But I remember twice, half in a twilight sleep, coming to, in order to complain, “That hurts!” It felt like someone was poking me internally with a pool stick. Irksome, but not deadly.

Also, last night, the night of the procedure, I was very crabby. I felt my husband was not solicitous enough. Yes, he has his own health concerns. And yes, when he did ask, I told him, “I’m fine.” But when will a man realize that when a woman say, “I’m fine,” the day of a surgical procedure, what she really means is, “Please baby me the way I baby you when you’re sick! Bring me soup in bed and say, ‘Poor baby! Good that you’re taking care of your health!'”?

So, to reward myself for taking care of myself and surviving the storm of a colonoscopy, I went to a fun, girls’ night out, a jewelry sale to benefit a public high school. I bought some pretty little earrings. I giggled and had deep discussions with my girlfriends. That indulgence made the whole crappy week and day of the colonoscopy a little brighter.