28 October 2009

Just a Rant.

I don't watch tv or follow the reality shows, but even I know who "Balloon Boy" is because I have facebook and an AOL welcome screen. No offense to the avid followers of the Balloon family, but I was tired of hearing about it when I first heard it. I'm thinking that for a great reality show, we need to follow the lives of several lower middle-class families that have genuine need, but don't qualify for state help. Watch them beg for services. Hear the evil and snippy tone of the people they must call on a daily basis. Figure out how much time is spent advocating and getting nothing. Oh! Also relay to the viewers how just thinking about how one has to call, making calls and waiting for calls is almost as stressful as the sickness itself.

Watch them go without needed care on a regular basis. Then watch them pay their taxes so that the "less fortunate" get a better, more comprehensive coverage for free. Watch them jump through a bunch of hoops and answer personal questions so they can find out that they do NOT qualify. Or watch providers "just" charge a nominal fee based on the idea that they are the only expense aside from food and shelter. Other bills and other providers? Not my problem, baby.

Act surprised as these families turn militant. They'll either petition for more services to be covered by the government for EVERYONE, or they'll lobby that the entire system get shut down, because they're the victims of it. I would posit to you that the first reaction is the more common, but the most short-sighted. I would also posit to you that when you're in a bad situation, you don't bloody well care about rights so much, so it's understandable that these families are asking for SOMETHING to show for the process they've ALREADY been through, for having to have given up the information they have ALREADY shared in the hopes of getting care. When you have already been humiliated to the point where you're bingeing and vomiting and your hair is falling out and your heart is skipping beats, how much worse could it get?

So what if you want my social security number and a description of our embarrassing problem? There you go. I know you're a petty bureaucrat with less education than the average DMV worker as evidenced by the silly "empowering" posters on your wall, but if you're the only gatekeeper I can find to answer my calls and grant me an appointment, I guess I'm spilling my guts.

There you go. I tried to keep things together and look like a respectable citizen. Now you have my social security number, family income and now you know everything about me. There is nothing hidden from you. I have bared my very innermost hurt here. Can I have help now?

No. It's always a few more things that are needed.

More paperwork. Wait to hear back from some guy. I'll call you when the paperwork is ready. Quit calling me. Call this other guy... sorry I can't help you... here's his number...

Other guy: No, um, I'm so glad you took time off work to make this appointment and waited for two weeks while things fell apart at home so you could attend, but you're in the wrong place. This is the number you need to call. (On and on it goes... several false leads, rabbit trails, re-explaining the embarrassing problem over and over and over and over. Finally... here's a new number!) Yes, I know it's the first number and those people referred you here. But you need to use the following medical words in this order to them, and you will receive services:

Bibbity bobbity boo.

The really frightening thing is that sometimes using the magic words ACTUALLY WORKS SOMETIMES. A little. You must use them in the right order and in their clinical context. Somehow, using the magic words will open doors faster than "Open Sesame" if you call just the right person and the stars are aligned properly and you are wearing red.

No, these aren't really the magic words... I fought hard for the real magic words and will be renting hotel conference rooms over the next six months to impart them to people so I can help them out. I think I'll charge $1,000 a person but I'll serve lunch with it, so it will be a "super-bonus value."

Yes, I'm kidding. But no, I'm not kidding that my family is going through "stuff" right now. I'm also not kidding when I relate to you that dealing with semi-governmental agencies is enough to make you need services if you didn't already to begin with.

I used to be a reporter. Not a big-time reporter for a huge conglomerate, but a reporter nonetheless. I did the City Commission thing, covered the court beat, the police report, the assorted stories around town. I've dealt with hostile people. I can play phone tag with the best of them. But, you know, even though technically "the press" have no more rights than the average person (it's true!), I'd at least manage to get an answer or a "no comment" to about any question within a week. Tell the guy answering the phone that you're a reporter from the Name of Backwoods Paper and watch people jump. (It's amusing, really.)

But this running in circles and being continually disrespected by everyone? I think being lower middle class sucks.

6 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, Mrs. C!

    For whatever reason, I got to thinking about being a Law Abiding Citizen while reading this. Not that I'm suggesting we turn to violence, but sometimes we wish we could just kick some butt and get stuff done!

    ~Luke

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  2. I agree with Luke! If kicking butt would help--you can count on me!

    Every time I have had to use a bureaucratic process for anything I have found three things are true: you have to know more than your opponent (their job as well as yours), you have to keep asking until you get the answer to your question, for every 20 applications you fill out you will get 1 positive response. You would think that there would be a family advocacy group out there to help families like yours just get through all of the many processes to get the help they need. I haven't found one yet, but if I do I will send them to you.

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  3. Sadly MrsC, we've done this & it stank. And the agency wonders why people hate them & try to rip them off. It's because they feel ripped! We jumped hoops for years; one reason my stress levels skyrocket at the drop of a hat these days. So NOT good for anyone's health. I do hope this resolves itself quickly & well ~ for all your sakes. ♥

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  4. I have to agree with you. "What you were actually responsible with the pittance you make at your job that you work very hard at and you aren't in debt up to your eyeballs and you have 2 cars and a motorcycle that is paid for then of course you don't qualify for anything. It has to go to the lady next to you that is loudly complaining that she needs to get her baby to daycare so they can feed her breakfast because it was just TOO much for her today as she is browsing the web on her iphone with her new Nike Shoxs and coach purse in your personal space."

    I heard something similar to that. And now we are being hounded for $19 when we took the baby to the urgent care that wasn't included in the $85 that I paid up front. And oh they didn't even do anything for her except take her temp (102) and tell us we were worrying to much when she was struggling to breathe.

    I better stop now because I will launch into another monologue on how the ER treated us because all the ones without ins. and looked like they would never pay had to go first. ARGHHHH!!!!

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  5. Hi Mrs C
    I can totally relate, even though I live in Aust, and we have govt. health insurance.
    My story is that when my husband was ill, I was told that I could get a carer's payment, but that the social worker had better fill in the paperwork, because there was one question, that if you didn't answer it right, you would never qualify. You know what that question was? How long will your loved one live? You had to say less than 6 months and have a medical profession attest to that, to move forward. Was a great big sad horrible day that we had to do that, all for $90/ftnt.
    Love Julie

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  6. We DO almost live parallel lives and thoughts.

    Hugs first and foremost. It is just so tiring fighting for all this sometimes isn't it?

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)