In Our Head

Musings, thoughts, experiences…

Catch 22 September 25, 2009

So, here I am, unemployed, chronic health problems, no income, no health insurance.  What to do?  Look for a job obviously!

As an indigent, I receive basic health care through the county.  It’s not a lot, but it keeps me alive, and that’s a good thing.

Jobs are very scarce around here.  Our state’s economy is 50th in a nation that’s not doing so well.  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to get an interview for a job in my field.  The work sounds interesting.  They seemed to like me.  They called me back for a second interview.  Looks like they’re going to offer me the job.  What a relief!  It’s only part-time, but it will be great to be working and to have a little money coming in.

But wait, part-time means no benefits.  I won’t be able to get health insurance through this job.  Once I start working, I won’t be eligible for care from the county.  Because of my health status, individual health insurance is only available from the “insurer of last resort.”  It costs much more than I would be making.

Will I have to turn down a job offer in order to have access to health care?   I’ll try to negotiate, but it’s not looking good right now.


Signs of the Times February 2, 2009

Filed under: hard times — harriettnelson @ 3:18 am
Tags: , , , ,

As we slide into Depression, the pundits cite grim statistics daily: 100,000 jobs lost last week, new unemployment claims at an all-time high, Gross National Product down 3.8%.  But I notice more personal signs of the times.

The latest LL Bean catalog mentions what a great value their products are on almost every page, and points out numerous items whose price has not changed since 19xx.  Our jeweler, a family business where we have gotten our watches repaired for many years, has closed.  On television, Rachel Ray is plugging a new program about budget-conscious cooking.  For the first time I can remember, almost every new car advertisement is focused on gas mileage, and dealers hasten to assure the public, “We’ll be here for you, now and in the future.”  Our local public radio station added an extra week of fundraising in January to make up for the shortfall in their usual fall campaign.

Most telling of all;  our local grocery store chain has begun advertising low prices on potatoes, onions, and milk. In Michigan, the Depression appears to have arrived.


The Gap January 20, 2009

What is your reaction to an adult with missing teeth?

It’s not positive, is it?

Homeless people, drug addicts and alcoholics, people who don’t practice appropriate self-care, people who smell bad, battered wives and barroom brawlers, people who are irresponsible and careless and on welfare – those are the ones who don’t have all their teeth.

Respectable, well-educated, hard-working, middle-class, normal people have full sets of teeth.  If some have been removed by a dentist, it doesn’t show because they have been neatly replaced by dentures or implants.

Recently my complacent assumptions, my tidy categorizations, were disturbed.  All bets are off now while I readjust my thinking.  I am missing a tooth.

About 25 years ago, I had some work done on my tooth #11.  That’s the third one on the upper left.  The procedure went smoothly and I thought no more about it – until a couple of months ago when, biting down on a piece of toast, I heard and felt a CRACK.  I tasted blood, spat out my toast, and began to investigate.  Tooth # 11 had broken off and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.  Examination of the evidence revealed that the internal parts of the tooth were mostly gone.  Apparently there is a phenomenon known as internal resorption that can do that.  Nobody knows why.

Once the bleeding stopped, I reached for the phone to call the dentist and arrange to have things taken care of at the dentist’s earliest convenience.  Just in time, I stopped.  I am unemployed and can’t afford to pay my dentist.  What to do?

I remembered that our county has a dental clinic for low-income residents.  That certainly includes me right now, so I called.  They do extractions.  Only extractions.  Got a problem?  Yank it out.  Medieval dentistry in the 21st century.  I didn’t think I needed an extraction since the tooth was already gone.  Thanks anyway.

What to do?  I got on the web.  Aha!  A charity clinic for low-income residents of my county.  Perfect.  According to their website, they offer quite a variety of services.  Feeling hopeful once again, I called.  They were very sorry, but their waiting list was over a year long and they weren’t accepting any new patients.

So here I am, having exhausted all available resources, with a gap in my smile and not a thing I can do about it, wondering what affect it will have on my job search.