Pre-existing conditions

It’s been one helluva week, folks. My stress levels have quadrupled this week, and I’m looking forward to a most relaxing weekend to counterbalance what’s happened.

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Cheddar has been wheezing on and off for a little while, but I just assumed it was a cold, and it would pass, since it came and went without incident. Wrong.

I finally took him to the vet, because it wasn’t going away. The vet performed an x-ray to weed out the possibility of pneumonia, and luckily that came back negative. However, the rattling in his breathing was ominous. The vet said he probably had bronchitis, and he had a fever when they checked him out. Further, they thought that since he was having fits that looked like he was just trying to pass a hairball that never resulted in an actual hairball, that he may have feline asthma. It broke my heart, 1) that I had been a terrible cat mom and put off taking him in when he was clearly having trouble breathing, and 2) that he now had a chronic condition that could possibly never go away at just a tender age of 1.5 years old. He’s still just a kitten to me; this couldn’t possibly be affecting him at such a young age. He had been really miserable, and the vet’s findings confirmed it.

He’d been avoiding cuddling, love sessions, treats and even me, by sitting in another room entirely. That hurt. But I understand now just how miserable he’s been. The vet prescribed a child dosage albuterol inhaler, and recommended an aerokat device. It is an apparatus that fits over a cat’s nose and mouth, and connects to the inhaler to deliver a chamber to breathe in the medicine. He was also prescribed antibiotics as well as a steroid that served as an anti-inflammatory for his bronchial tubes and airways.

For the last few days, I’ve given him his medicine every 12 hours from two tiny syringes. I think I get more upset at having to give him his medicine than he actually does. To be clear, he hates it, wiggles, and generally is unhelpful by keeping his mouth locked shut so nothing can get in there. Half of it winds up on his face and me. Our twice a day regime is emotionally draining for me. I think he finally gets, though, that I’m trying to help him, and I bribe him with copious amounts of treats before and after medicine time.

His attitude is improving every day, touching and booping me more, rubbing against my legs, purring incessantly again (he hasn’t even been purring much because it makes it harder for him to breathe.) He’s not so anti-social, and while he’s still got a raspy breathing, he’s starting to feel better. I also spoiled him with a bit of kitty grass and new toys last weekend.

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The second wave of stress after the initial vet visit arrived when I picked up his prescription albuterol inhaler. Much to my chagrin, I don’t think my company will let me designate a cat as a beneficiary on my company health plan. Did you know inhalers not covered by insurance, just in a child dosage, are $80??? I sure didn’t. The aerokat apparatus was another $60. The vet bill was $500. I blew over $600 this week, and realized that I’ll have to possibly pick up $80 inhalers for the rest of his life.

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I beat myself up for not purchasing pet insurance sooner, to help defray future costs. He’s still just a kitten in my eyes, and he’s an indoor cat at that. What could I possibly need pet insurance for? And that’s when it hit me over the head that even if I acquired pet insurance, feline asthma was already in the vet’s records, which means two dirty little words in insurance speak: pre-existing conditions. Most insurers, for humans and pets alike, do not cover pre-existing conditions.

It’s the worst Catch-22 of the entire insurance industry: the whole reason one might sign up for insurance (receiving a diagnosis) cannot be covered by a new policy, if symptoms presented prior to coverage commencing. If someone you love gets diagnosed with lung cancer and doesn’t have health insurance, any subsequent treatments for lung cancer can’t be covered. It’s the heartbreaking paradox that I faced this week.

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When I first brought Cheddar into my life and home, my apartment complex in San Francisco wanted to charge me an additional pet deposit, and monthly pet rent (see my scathing posts about it here.) I managed to find a loophole and a happy ending in registering him as an emotional support animal, thus excluding him from the definition of a pet. I managed to dodge both the additional deposit and monthly rent to an already bloodsucking extortionist property management company. I contemplated reaching out to my GP to pretend like I needed an inhaler, so it would be covered under my insurance. Tried as I could this week, I refused to lie to insurers about his condition, and could find no insurance loophole to have his asthma covered by popular pet insurers. I hated to admit defeat, but it appeared I had no viable options.

Nearing the end of a rapidly fraying rope with which Cheddar would love to play, a glimmer of hope arrived in the form of an email from my vet suggesting an insurer I should look into who, get this, accepts all pre-existing conditions! Cue magical music. Even better, the premiums for just 1 animal under the plan were an extremely affordable $89/year, or $7.41/month! Relief! It fits; I sits.

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All’s well that ends well. I’m hard on myself as a cat mom, so I can’t imagine what human moms must go through every day. I understand now the threshold moms reach every day, where not a single fuck is given: That point of saturation when you simply cannot take anymore, but life’s tennis ball machine keeps launching neon shitstorms at you.

I didn’t birth this furry poop machine with talons, but I love him with all my butt (I’d say heart, but honestly, my butt is bigger.) I don’t care if he’s the only nerd cat with an inhaler. I’m so grateful he came into my life every day, no matter what I must endure and pay to keep him there. He’s my family. He ain’t heavy, he’s my 9.5lb purr factory and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, I have the peace of mind that comes with knowing he’s insured and protected, should anything else unexpected arise.

Should any of you ever need pet insurance, and you only come to that conclusion after the neon shitstorm hits, I recommend Pet Assure. I haven’t used it yet, but I can only expect so much if they accept pre-existing conditions when all other insurers don’t.

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Election

I am so sick of hearing American voters whinging like they don’t have any good options for a presidential candidate in this election. I tend to stay fairly silent in discussions around politics and religion. I’ve only written one blog post in the past about politics – you can find it here, if you’d like some light reading. However, in the upcoming election the time to shit or get off the pot is here. People complaining about both candidates clearly don’t understand that a vote for neither of them is like a vote for Trump in this election.

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I am absolutely sickened that Donald Trump has even made it this far. I’m even more sickened that members of my family who live in rural New York not only keep saying that neither candidate is good, but some go even further posting photos of their guns and raging pro-Trump comments. Yeah, I’m related to that. Unfortunately.

There has never been an election, in my mind, that divides the American people so much. After last night’s debate, if you still stand up and say neither candidate is qualified, then you’re a fucking idiot. One candidate is not qualified, and that candidate is Donald Trump. It’s that simple.

In the election with George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Ralph Nader as candidates, we saw first-hand what a non-unified liberal view resulted in: votes that went to Nader detracted from Al Gore, resulting in not enough critical mass to beat out George W. Bush. I refuse to let that happen again. And I’m just sick and tired of people complaining.

Stop complaining and figure out what you can get behind. You may not 100% align with a candidate, but you don’t need to throw a hissy fit if your favorite person in the world doesn’t become the next President of the United States of America. Most importantly, regardless of who you vote for, you just need to get out there and vote. Ideally, I’d love it if you came to your senses and helped write history by electing the first female President. But really, eradicating complacency is really what I care about.

Recently, there was an article in the Onion, a publication known for farcical articles, called, “Precious Little Voter Needs To Feel Inspired By Candidate.” It made me literally laugh out loud. They are being precious. What we need is a leader in the midst of a tumultuous world. The article goes on to say, “the fragile, dainty buttercup feels he absolutely must vote for someone who is trustworthy and competent.” I have news for you, dainty buttercup: every politician lies. Every politician doesn’t 100% know what they are doing. Most people don’t, including those not in politics. The hope is that they have a good enough head on their shoulders to hire the right people with which to surround themselves, to help them. The hope is that they listen to the counsel of wise people, and never stop learning. That they know enough to know when to ask for help, or when to lie and bluff, ultimately for the greater good.

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We need a leader who can peacefully navigate the growing tensions between cops and African Americans, escalating nuclear threats from North Korea, tell Russia to shut the hell up and basically cease relations with them while their ruble shits the bed. A leader who can help the situation in Venezuela, but at the same time, help people at home. We don’t need handouts, but we need parks, jobs, roads, and a cleaner path forward before we lose this earth to our own idiocy. Those are my personal views, and may not agree with yours 100%. I pay my taxes, and I hope you do, too. However, they’re just a few of the priorities on which we need a leader to focus. But I digress.

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I just invested in a home, and I don’t want to have to up and move if Trump gets elected. I took a quiz online, and apparently, I should move to Switzerland if Trump is elected as the people there are most closely aligned with my ideals. That’s a big move, and I heard it gets quite cold there. But I do love me some of their cheese, though.

What gives me hope is there may actually be a plan B, should the worst happen, and Trump is elected. I recently read an article (here for reference purposes) that indicates someone has found a way to build a case to have Trump impeached before he ever gets inaugurated into the oval office if he is elected. Music to my ears…

Beyond being a lesbian woman, and thus, most hated by the Trump regime (second only to if I was an immigrant or Muslim lesbian woman, of course), there is no way I feel I can get behind him as a leader. He is just a horrible person. Plain and simple. Hillary is no prize either, but she has experiences, and most importantly in my eyes, the desire to do this job. She has the passion. She is still here, after being knocked down and swatted away so many times. She has been preparing for this role all her life. Even when Amy Poehler was impersonating Hillary in a skit alongside Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Hillary can never be guilty of not wanting it enough. In the skit, Poehler’s Clinton struggles to mask her annoyance when Fey’s Palin says “it’s time for a woman to make it to the White House” and “anyone can be president…all you have to do is want it.” After delivering her high-pitched laugh, Poehler’s Clinton says, “You know, Sarah, looking back, if I could change one thing, I probably should have wanted it more.”

If I truly had my way, we’d have an unprecedented third term from Obama. He wasn’t perfect either, but he managed to clean up after a gigantic mess George W. Bush left in his wake. I took an online quiz that most aligned my ideals with Bernie Sanders, actually. I view Sanders as the Ralph Nader in this election, and I can’t have Trump win because the democrats are not unified behind one candidate. So while I may most align with Bernie, I have a little more faith that the better candidate is actually Hillary.

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If I could be 100% honest, my message to you is not only to get out there and vote this November, but don’t vote for Donald Trump. I can’t envision a future where he’s President because all of his rhetoric just alienates people further – rhetoric against Muslims, immigrants, women, and other demographics that make up our American people. Children who grow up hearing a leader say their family is bad without knowing them can only go so long before they begin living the stereotype that leader has created for them, so they pick up guns or begin performing acts of terror, as that’s what they’re expected to do. They don’t feel represented by a leader that tells them their religion or color of their skin or sex is wrong.

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OK OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now. During last night’s debate, I saw friends utilizing filters in Snapchat to upload videos to Facebook with noses and bunny ears on the candidates, making their voices high pitched. They said things like if they had been playing a drinking game where they drink every time a candidate lied, they’d have alcohol poisoning within the first 20 minutes. Stephen Colbert gave Hillary my favorite nickname thus far regarding yesterday’s debate… “Hillary Clinton was so prepared, my new nickname for her is Preparation H.” For the record, no, I didn’t watch the debate last night. I didn’t need to. I’m with her.

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Restore and update

My world fell apart yesterday. No, I’m not just using hyperbole for fun. I saw in my FB feed a screenshot someone had taken on their iPhone of the new iOS 10 update. I thought, what the hell, and figured I’d get it over and done with in the background as I settled in to do some work. I went into my phone’s settings, and began the process to download and install the update.

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Worst. Mistake. Ever. I was one of those unlucky few who encountered the bug prior to a fix being released. My phone screen was black, with an iTunes icon in the middle and a picture of a dongle cord, begging me to plug my phone into iTunes to continue. It was basically a brick. This, of course, happened in the middle of the work day, and I had plans after work.

My boss was kind enough to let me leave from work a little early to plug my phone into iTunes, and in a perfect world, receive my update without any further hitches. Alas, this is not a perfect world. I waited over an hour for the software to download in iTunes, to at least revert back to the latest iOS before my phone shat the bed. I installed that on my phone, only to find the backup I’d performed this weekend was not accepted by the installation process. All my photos, contacts, music, apps – deleted. I had a factory restored phone, a blank slate, where my life had been. Years of saving important phone numbers and emails, photos with an infinite intrinsic value, a life organized – gone.

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Following a massive breakdown last night when I was inconsolable for a good 3 hours, I’m slowly accepting that, despite making an appointment for Friday evening at the Apple Genius Bar, I may never get that stuff back. While I diligently backed up using Time Machine and an external hard drive, I didn’t specifically back up my phone into iTunes or the Cloud. This especially pains me because this weekend, I was uber-productive and performed a system backup – so had I backed up to the Cloud or iTunes, the loss would not be so devastating. I had to go and make it complicated by backing up to an external drive. I’m going to see if they can salvage anything Friday night on my date with an Apple “genius”, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve begun reaching out to friends to get phone numbers and addresses, downloading apps I used with any regularity, and clicking “Forgot password?” so many times in the last 24 hours, I’ve begun to question how many I truly know. Finally getting logged in, only to find some profiles/user interfaces completely wiped out, has left me completely wiped out.

I had mentally prepared myself for the massive change in my Apple experience this new iOS was supposed to bring, and instead found myself utterly repulsed by any and all Apple products. What a turn of events. I have zero desire to update my operating system, and am thankful for the prior version which solidly works on my phone right now. I don’t want to upset that fragile balance for fear I’ll lose what I’ve managed to recapture in 24 hours.

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So, a word to wise, who proceed with the new iOS update: back that shit up before you go gentle into that good night. Better suggestion – just don’t update to the new operating system. Be old school. Rage, rage against the dying of the light… And have some pity on me – if you haven’t heard from me personally in the last 24 hours, it’s very possible I don’t know your number to ask you what your number is. Help a sister out and make sure I have your digits, if you truly want to hear from me. Approach me with caution, as there is still some residual fragility after the whole experience. Tell me I’m pretty and throw food at me if I start growling/crying, while you back away slowly. Have a little empathy/sympathy for the ordeal I’ve been through, the hardest part of which is usually being that smart person who backs up their stuff, only to find the backup didn’t work.

Decimated. Heartbroken. Shattered. Picking up the pieces, slowly, but surely in my own technologically-challenged way.

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