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Monday, March 28, 2005

Slowly corrupted

We've been watching some more episodes of Firefly this week. I am happy to report that Linda is slowly falling to the show. It just took a few romantic interests to catch her. She said it doesn't compare to Zorro, but then that would be miraculous.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The update

On Friday, I (Don) swam 3/4 mile in the Truman pool over lunch. That's my farthest distance, which I have done on a few other occasions. I had been kind of working up to it this semester, swimming on Fridays. It took me 35 minutes, which is a respectable amount of time for the distance, but not particularly fast. My goal is to work up to a mile now.

I felt delightfully relaxed at the end, and I was really up for my 1:30 Calc III class. They noticed the energy and we had a great class When class ended at 2:20pm, I wilted. I took it easy for the rest of the day and drank lots of water. Ironicly, I get pretty dehydrated in the pool.

Saturday, Linda's family converged on our house for Easter. My responsibilies were to bake bread and have enough tables to seat everyone. They did everything else. Luckily the house was pretty clean from out tea party 2 weeks ago, so I didn't have to do a lot in that way.

Of course, Ellie and I tracked mud in from the Truman Easter egg hunt, but no one noticed but me. The hunt was cold, as it often is, but I think Ellie had a pretty good time. It wiped me out, since I was catching something of a cold. My cold really bothered me yesterday morning, but except for some sniffles that drag on, the worst of it was pretty short-lived (I hope).

This morning we are meeting for breakfast out before everyone leaves. I have to get Ellie up soon, or we'll be late. We might be anyway. She's pretty tuckered from yesterday. There was a lot of running around and playing. Her eyes were drooping from about 4pm until 9pm when things broke up and I finally put her to bed.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A good night's sleep

I've been really tired lately, but I went to bed early last night. Ellie and Linda conspire to keep me as tired as possible. Linda usually wakes me up around 2:30am to check the house because she heard a noise. Ellie wakes me up at 5am because wants something to eat.

I think I've gotten Ellie untrained, because she never gets food at night, and she has quit asking for it. Linda still woke me up last night, but I refused to get up, so I was able to go back to sleep right away.

So this morning I'm a bit less tired than I have been. Of course Linda is just a bit annoyed for some reason...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Here kitty kitty

We have a new kitty. Don't ask me how that happened. We haven't decided on a name just yet, but it's a girl.

Linda was tired today. She was a bit displeased with how her therapy went. Yesterday, however, she had a great speech therapy session at Truman. She said, I just pretended the whole time that I was yelling at Ellie.

Monday, March 21, 2005

All done with the old insurance

I got a revised EOB today about Linda's wheelchair from last year's insurance company. It listed a payment to the medical equipment company for the amount remaining against the purchase price of the chair. That was our last pending claim with the old insurance company. Barring any newly discovered errors, it would seem that things are finally finished with them.

I'm happy, but not as happy as I thought I would be. They were never easy to work with, so I'm glad I don't have to any more. But I knew I could keep the medical equipment people at bay while the accounts were being worked on, and they don't seem to be all that reasonable a group either. They were the one's who screwed up all of our billing and sent us to a collection agency.

Still, it's nice to sort of close the books on 2004 at least.

In other news, I got my first letter from the new insurance company (other than EOBs that is). They are requesting documentation from the therapists I believe. It looks like standard stuff (and I saw plenty of letters like it last year), but it feels very ironic to have gotten it today just as all of the old claims were resolved. It feels like all of the insurance people passed the baton in some kind of relay race of oppression.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

More novel ideas

To continue yesterday's post, I have another quote:

"Well, sir, by the help of two signs, with which I will acquaint you presently, you may ascertain with perfect certainty that my grandfather is still in the full possession of all his mental faculties. M. Noirtier, being deprived of voice and motion, is accustomed to convey his meaning by closing his eyes when he wishes to signify `yes,' and to wink when he means `no.' You now know quite enough to enable you to converse with M. Noirtier; -- try."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Interesting reading

When I can steal moments, I've been reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Linda gave me the book for Christmas this year although I have read it before. I have been particularly interested in returning to the character of Noirtier, who is described:

Well, sir, the rupture of a blood-vessel on the lobe of the brain has destroyed all this, not in a day, not in an hour, but in a second.


...a paralyzed and speechless old man, whose withered hand can no longer press mine, and who can speak to me with the eye alone, although there still lingers in his heart the warmest tenderness for his poor grandchild.

I was reading it while Linda did therapy yesterday, and one of the therapists asked me about it. I told her about the character and mentioned, I knew someone like that once.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oh my head

Linda had her first migraine since Rusk. It really was a migraine, and she was lucky enough not to get the headache, just the spots. I said she could hope for something new to come back; that happened with her first migraine after the stroke. She got more sensation in her right hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Is that a light?

I got a letter from the (old) insurance company today. I had called them about Linda's wheelchair and followed up in writing. I had calculated that they had paid only $788.95 towards the purchase price of $986. The telephone representative calculated that they had actually paid only $707.67.

Well, after careful consideration, the Benefit Committee has determined that they actually paid only $635.45 and they will reconsider additional benefits up to the remaining $350.55. I'll have to sit down with a calculator and see if I can figure out how they got that number. They didn't provide any details about the breakdown.

This is the very last unresolved bill from 2004, so I am glad to see it finally getting close to resolved. I have to admit, I am really starting to hate seeing letters from Epoch. I get all hyper and jittery just seeing the envelope in the mailbox. Maybe I just ate too many cookies after supper.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

For you conspiracy theorists

Linda mentioned this to me today. Linda went for more than 10 years without having problems with blood clots while she was on the pill. Then suddenly she had a stroke.

Only a couple of months before, the insurance company had changed her prescription (without her prior knowledge) to a different brand. She just had a new prescription when they arrived. I'm sure they cleared it with her physician; to do otherwise is almost certainly illegal.

What does it all mean? Probably nothing. All standard birth control pills carry pretty much the same risks. But it makes you think....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Tea party success

We had a lot of people for the tea party. It's nice that the house borders on a hay field so there was easy parking. People came and went all afternoon.

Linda held up great. It was 4 hours of straight socializing for her. Her speech therapists would be very pleased. Unlike at some other parties, where I have notice Linda hang back and watch, she actually talked to people the whole time. I asked her how she thought it went and she said it went really well. When I asked if people could understand her she said, Yes, I yelled a lot. Boy is she tired.

We have more food after the party than we had before it began, and I cooked a lot to get ready. I'll probably have to freeze some and bring it to work after the midterm break. You can give anything away at work.

It was great seeing everyone. Linda especially thought so since she doesn't get out to see folks quite as much as I do. But it's also nice to have the quiet. Ellie wanted to watch a movie, so we gave her run of the TV for a bit and retreated to the back of the house to not talk.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Well blow me down

Linda got a check today from CRS (collection agency) for the amount that was overpaid on her medical equipment. I admit that I was a bit astonished to see it.

You see, I had called on Monday and asked for the supervisor that I had spoken with in the past. He put me on hold and called over to another department to check. After a minute or two, he came back on the line and told me that he couldn't tell me if they had sent me a payment or not.

I'll admit, I was a bit astonished by this. He explained that the person with the job of cutting checks recently left the position, so there's a bit of turmoil. He said that he would send it through again and that I should wait a bit longer.

I agreed to wait, but in my frustration I made a bit of a tactical blunder. I said, I'll wait, but I don't want to have to call again. If I have to call again I'll probably threaten to file a complaint of dishonest collection practices.

He made the precisely correct tactical response, If you feel that you need to file a complaint, then you should do what you feel you need to do. I immediately recognized my error.

If you don't see why this was a tactical blunder, let me lay it out for you. You either threaten someone or you don't. You don't threaten to threaten someone. That just burns up any good will you might have had without actually accomplishing anything.

The tactically correct thing would have been to express the intense frustration that they seem to be artificially drawing out the refund process, and I feel powerless to do anything about it. That way, it's in the transcript of my recorded conversation, and it emphasizes just how much work I did to get the account resolved. Ultimately, if I do file a complaint, it causes a 3rd party adjudicator to empathize with me and my complaint.

Anyway, I'm just glad to be paid. I think I'll give them one last call to verify that they have not negatively contributed to Linda's credit record (since none of the mistakes that were made on the account were her fault). Then hopefully they will be nothing more than memory.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Party postponed

If you live anywhere near us and you read this blog, there's a good chance that you were invited to our tea (and sweets) party on Saturday the 12th. If not, then you are invited to our new tea party on Sunday from 1-5pm. Drop by whenever you like and stay for a short or lengthy duration.

I have a funeral to go to on Saturday, so no time for tea.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Domestic update

In church on Sunday, during a nice quiet pause, Ellie piped up, I love my mommy and daddy. I think it's nice that she listed Linda first. Linda said that she doesn't believe it because Ellie is always being mean to her, but I told her that Ellie is something of a brat with everyone, she's 3½. If I thought being mean meant she didn't like me I'd really have to worry.

Actually, Ellie has been generally good of late. She's been distracted because I have been tormenting her. I took away her pull-ups this weekend, and, oh, did she wail. It's been clear for some time that Ellie knows how to use the bathroom, but she really wants the security of her pull-ups.

She does fine, and even thinks it's fun. After crying all day Saturday, she informed me on Sunday morning that she took herself to the bathroom (probably good since I forget to remind her). I peed, I heard it. She'll go (by herself) every 15 minutes, just for practice. Well, not just for practice. There's something of the usual mess-making incentive. I thought I was going to have to auger toilet paper out of the toilet last night to get it running again.

It's all fun until she has an accident, and then she wails for her pull-ups again. She absolutely screamed when I made her wear underpants to day care yesterday. But when I picked her up at 5pm, she still had the same purple jeans on. I was a bit surprised. No accidents and no fussing.

What a twerp.

Therapy update

Linda had a good speech therapy session yesterday. It's the first time in some time that she has said that. Today is the first time for her other therapies since they were moved back to afternoons. She won't have PT because it wouldn't fit in the schedule, but that will pick up on Thursday.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dinner out

I dragged Linda to the Hospice benefit dinner tonight. A friend had extra tickets and invited us. Otherwise I don't think I could have coaxed Linda out of the house.

It was pretty fun. We came early, so we could park close and walk slow. Inside the door, a woman greeted us, who introduced herself as Ann B.

I said, Right. You're Dale's wife.

To that she replied, Yes, we spoke on the phone once.

I smiled, I believe you, although I have to admit that I have no memory of it.

She just laughed and said, Well, it was a dark time.

Linda and I grabbed seats as far from the band as possible, although really the whole thing was too loud for her. I commented that it was great speech therapy, but those kind of comments got stale about 6 months ago. She did her best and we talked with a few people.

We ran into a few old students. One student had taken both of us, and I pointed her out. She had a smashing dress on. When I indicated to Linda where she was standing, Linda couldn't find her. I said, She's the one done up so stunning you won't even recognize her. Of course her back was to us, and when she turned around there was no mistaking her. It's fun to see them grow up.

Mostly Linda was really a good sport about the whole night. That many people and that much noise in a small space are really overwhelming for her. When we left, she just laughed and said, That was awful. Then she kept laughing. That's lability for you. At least she didn't cry.

She's sitting quietly reading now, apparently recovered.

Friday update

Linda seems to be enjoying her week off. She's still been practicing at home some each day. When I saw her practicing yesterday, she was using her parallel bars. She does walking forward, backward, and with bare feet. She gets down on the floor and then gets up again a few of times. I noticed that she seems to be particularly improved at that.

I had some kind of bug last night, which seemed to come on when my calculus class ended yesterday, although I was feeling tired even before that. Mostly it was fever and fatigue, so I just tried to take things easy. I'm still a bit tired this morning, but I am definitely improved.

I'm still trying to get my 2004 insurance things resolved. I've not gotten my check from the collection agency, and I intend to call them after I buy more microcassettes for my tape recorder. I t looks like I'll have to start with verbal threats (promises?) and escalate to written ones.

Last night, I wrote a letter for the insurance company to follow up on my call two weeks ago about Linda's wheelchair. I've just barely waited the amount of time they suggested that it would take (7-10 business days), but it just seems better to have a written appeal sent. That's especially true since the first mistakes appeared in October, and I don't want six months to pass on that. I'm also just not that eager to wait on hold forever to find out what is going on which is what happens when you call.

If I write to them, they'll have to write to me and I won't have to wait on hold.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A week off

I forgot to take Linda to her speech therapy this morning. I thought it was tomorrow, and she didn't remind me. When I mentioned it to her, she said, I wanted the week off anyway. The therapists in town are working on scheduling changes for Linda's other therapies, so I told them to give her tomorrow off too. Since Friday is the day she never has therapy, she'll have the rest of the week to rest.

Something of a new look

I wanted to give the site a new look. Unforunately IE doesn't support web standards as well as some other browsers, at least the web standards I wanted to use. So I just updated it for Mozilla/Firefox users. If you'd like to see what it looks like, Get Firefox! I didn't change the content (so there's no really compelling reason to switch), it's all just glitz.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The little things that annoy you

Have you ever felt annoyed that the EOB (Explanation of Benefits) forms we get from the insurance company always use an entire sheet of paper, even if there's only one line of items on them? Not me. I have over 1 inch of these forms from last year bound together in a 3-ring binder. They are how you keep billing from getting out of hand.

Pretty much the only way to keep this stuff straight is by date, and by the "account number" you get assigned for each visit. It will be on the statement of services you get from the doctor, on the EOB, and ultimately on the bill.

Only our new insurance company puts multiple visits on a single page. I get different dates from different providers all mixed together. Now how am I supposed to file that? Do I file it with the bill from our personal physician for the visit when Linda went in for a blood test? Or do I file it with the bill for Linda's therapy at the hospital three weeks earlier?

Maybe I just take it to work and make a copy so I can file it with both. Great. Now, I have a paperwork nightmare (multiple copies of the same stuff) and no one saved a single scrap of paper. Insurance people are supposed to be professionals. If I could see the problem in 5 minutes, you'd think they could get it right.

As they say, it's the little things in life that matter.