Pandemic Diary 10 Jan 2021

Didn’t think I’d still be writing this in 2021. Looks like I’ll be writing it for most of this year, too.

I couldn’t write anything last week because it was all too awful. We’re setting record highs for COVID deaths at 4,000/day. And on 6 January, Trump incited a mob to storm the Capitol building where a joint session of Congress was completing the final ritual of confirming the Electoral College votes. Trump held a rally outside the building an hour before the session started and told his followers to “fight” for their rights. So they stormed the Capitol, smashing through bullet-proof windows with flagpoles and wood from the barricade they’d crossed. It was a sight I never imagined seeing here in America.

There’s a lot to say about it, but I don’t want to write that much. This song by Nanci Griffith from the late 1980s has been in my head all week.

Pandemic Diary: 30 Dec 2020

Second-to-last day of 2020. We’re having a Zoom gathering to remember Mick this afternoon. I read a great article (transcript of a podcast, actually) about how to mourn the loss of a loved one in this time of isolation. Like all disruptions, this gives us the opportunity to break out of old habits that maybe aren’t serving us as well as in the past, and find new ways to do things. One of the benefits of Zoom living is that it allows people from all over the world to participate in something, not just the people who can travel there at that time. It’s definitely not as satisfying in terms of sharing physical affection—it will be heartbreaking not to be able to hold my sister and niece in my arms. But at least I can attend. If I had to drive 5 hours to get there, it would’ve been much more difficult to participate.

Zoom living is the new normal. We have to be creative in how to do it well.

Mick and Michael Anna Fambro

Pandemic Diary: 27 Dec 2020

Proof of the incarnation. We could never embody beauty this way without an indwelling spirit. Just what I needed at the end of this sad and tragic year. Thank you, Yuzuru Hanyu.

Pandemic Diary: 21 Dec 2020

All sorts of tragic and shitty things have been happening lately, but let me just address the most recent which has to do with America’s fucking rip-off health insurance system. Which is compounding the pandemic tragedy with unpayable bills.

My bill is pre-pandemic, for an emergency ambulance trip to the ER almost 2 years ago. Tufts Crappy Health Insurance doesn’t care that I had a explosion of blinding (literally) pain in my head triggered by the unrelenting pressure from a bout of projectile vomiting, couldn’t walk, and couldn’t conceive of making it to our car. So we called for an ambulance. After a bone-jarring ride to the hospital, and about an hour (? I don’t know—I was blinded by pain) in the waiting room, I finally got a CT scan that showed no stroke or aneurysm or any other horrendous thing. As the ER doc said, “It appears to be the mother of all migraines.”

After 2 years of back and forth between the very sympathetic ambulance company and the totally unsympathetic insurance company (although the agents have been kind and as helpful as they can be), the most Tufts will pay of the $3000 (for 6 miles) ambulance transport is $798. The rest goes toward my outrageous deductible.

I currently have two trigger fingers in my left hand, including the index finger, and I’m left-handed. Makes life a bit difficult at times, and always a bit painful. But we can’t afford for me to go get a cortisone shot. And although Tuft’s prescription drug plan is good as long as it’s generic, I’m also “making do” with an asthma inhaler that’s not fully effective because the one that is effective doesn’t yet have a generic and Tufts won’t pay for the name-brand inhaler even though it’s the one I need and it doesn’t have a generic option. Well, they’d cover it after I meet my outrageous deductible. Until then, it’s about $400/month. Yeah, right.

Our nephew and niece-in-law have “insurance” with a $4000 or $5000 deductible. So if one of them ends up in the hospital for awhile, they would eventually see some benefit. Until then, it’s pay through the nose.

The most despicable thing about this system is that we still have to pay a premium every month, to get this nearly worthless insurance. It costs us almost $4000/year in premiums (which is very low compared to most, believe it or not), plus the $2950 in deductible, for my so-called coverage. So if I rack up more than $7000 in medical costs, it will only then start to pay off.

Pandemic Diary: 16 Dec 2020

I haven’t been able to write here for a little while because the tragedy of COVID-19 cases and deaths has just been too overwhelming to talk about. Almost 210,000 cases per day in the U.S., and over 2,500 deaths yesterday alone. The daily death numbers have gone over 3,000 recently. I can’t even get my head around numbers like that. Like I said, too overwhelming.

To stay sane and not horribly depressed and anxious, I focus on the fact that no one in our immediate family has gotten it, and in our extended families there have only been a few cases and none life-threatening.

I found this video today on Facebook. It comes from a family of white privilege, but so do I, so it really speaks to me. I love these guys—they say true things in fun and creative ways. Some of their parodies are priceless! The Holderness family. I recommend them.