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...and I have plenty to blog about, but not enough time to do it!



I have been overwhelmed trying to get up to speed with our the Affordable Care Act fallout. Thought it would be so simple, wake up Oct 1, sign up, life would be grand. Not so! First, I entered my vital statistics, and it comes back, you cannot get any tax breaks, because you are $1,000 below "poverty level" (approx. $22,000). Well when you are living on one person's monthly social security, what do you expect? So they told me it's either Medicaid, or else pay full price for a regular policy. I already have "extended COBRA" provided by NY State, but it will end next September, and then I can't get Medicare for another five and a half years. So strike one. Still working on that, but it's very complicated; if I do go on Medicaid there is no "straight" version anymore, they are all managed plans run by normal insurance companies, with normal insurance cards, and every doctor seems to take a different one. There are at least 100 of them to check into, not kidding. My GYN and my PCP (my only two regular doctors) have totally different plans they accept, so I will have to choose between them. Unfortunately I love them both equally, so I am having a hard time deciding on this. Not to mention, the thought of going on Medicaid myself is very unsettling, there will be financial repercussions down the line I am sure. But I can't live without some kind of insurance, and that's a fact.


Then Ray's issues, which I haven't even begun to deal with. Our in-home care through Medicaid Long Term Managed Care (formerly the Lombardi Program for us, and Money Follows the Person for most of you). Because of the act, which is changing too, I have to pick a new company, again a "managed care" one. There are two we can choose that work with our current Dominican Sisters; they would provide aides but we would still get the same nurse and social worker etc. But the social worker also pointed out another that is very good, then we would be done with the old agency. Since they have been so lax about getting me any help, of course I'm considering that too. But what with my research into my own medical, I haven't made any calls yet, just checked out their websites. When I did call, proactively, earlier in the summer, the two agencies that would work with ours were less than stellar on the phone. One put me on hold for 15 minutes and I finally hung up, and the other said she had no idea what I was talking about. So not looking forward to that task either. Meanwhile I have to decide about me by Dec 15, and about Ray by Nov 28. I will manage it, but hate having it hanging over me like this.


Meanwhile, no overnight trips for us, but tons of fun day trips. I found out my local library has started checking out passes to various museums and the like, covers two people for free. Today we are visiting the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Planetarium, it's about an hour away so we will make a day of it. They have simulated rides, and since Ray was fine on the Carousel at Coney Island, I am hoping he will agree to that. If not, there are hourly shows in the planetarium section so we can just sit. We took a nice ride to a local apple orchard the other day, picked up a couple of my favorite varieties, and then checked out the different flavors of hard cider they make. The annual country fair down in town last weekend was a great day too, we were there just a few hours but the sun broke out of the clouds and we toured some really interesting booths. Next month the Aquarium in town is letting anyone who lives within town boundries in for free every Friday. Since it usually costs $35 each, that is definitely on our list, at least once. Next up, when I return the passes for the aviation museum, I will get some more for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the leaves haven't really changed here yet, so we might hit it at just the right time, plus get a few slices of that good ol' Brooklyn pizza! A trip upstate to Mom's is coming up in November too, it will be another family reunion, all six of us siblings, wouldn't miss that for the world! My house is a mess, no time to deep clean, the yard is the talk of the neighborhood, but I want to get Ray out and about as much as possible before the holidays and the bad weather hits.


Someone I met recently brought up horseback riding therapy, as she has volunteered at a place and knows a bit about it. No matter how handicapped anyone is, they get them on the horse, laying down if necessary, and lead them around. And when I say "they", we are talking actual PTs and OTs, so it's usually covered by insurance. At first I said no, that sounds crazy, but the more I thought about it I realized it could be a very good thing. I rode a lot when I was young, and when I met Ray took him out a bunch of times. He had no idea what he was doing, but he never fell off and he loved it. So another thing on the horizon. There are a few places to choose from, but the one my friend was talking about is the farthest away, at least an hour. So maybe once a month? I checked into a closer one, but we would have to pay big bucks there, and it's more for mental disorders really. They have PTs, OTs, and speech, but it's a separate endeavor and they only do things near the horses and barns, no riding involved. But therapy combined with horses, how can it be bad? We are meeting my friend for dinner tonight after the museum and will get more info about the whole thing.


Anyway that's just the tip of the iceberg for us, I feel like a squirrel gathering my acorns before winter. The next couple of months will fly by! OK Ray will be up within the hour: So off the pack the car, with "diaper bag", cane, change of clothes, decide which wheelchair to take and all the usual good stuff. Hoping that Ray won't have any meltdowns, it will be a long day for us.


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Colleen, you are very resourceful. When Larry was at the rehab center, there was a young girl who was going to "horse therapy". She was in aqua therapy with Larry at the time. She was severely disabled due to an auto accident. You have the right idea - keep him moving. Good luck with your insurance.



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About twelve months out from each stroke, once all possible therapy was finished, Ray and I always went into lifestyle mode, getting out and about, crossing something else off the "Bucket List". Unfortunately, because he had strokes every couple of years this was often followed by a bad year. Colleen, get out and about as much as you can. Life is short and needs to have a lot of happiness woven in as a contrast to the dark

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Colleen: you are having a great time and I do hope it is helping Ray's mood.


I got as far as finding the web site for the Affordable Care Act - LOL. And we are not doing nearly as much as you. But a good reminder that next week I have to schedule time and stick to it. I have until December 15th, when my private insurance will raise my rates again.


The horse therapy sounds great. Let us know. Debbie

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