I’m not a “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year” kind of person. I never have been. Well, maybe I was once, but I haven’t been for a long time.
My dad died when I was seven, three weeks before Christmas. When we were opening gifts on Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house, someone pulled a gift out from under the tree that had been for him. An out-of-town aunt and uncle had sent it before he died and my grandma had forgotten about it. I remember my grandma running to her bedroom crying hysterically. It is not a fond memory.
I have had other not-so fond Christmas memories, too, like in 1995 when a boyfriend broke up with me on Christmas morning (we got back together a few weeks later and then he broke up with me again on Valentine’s Day – nice, huh?), in 1997 when a different boyfriend broke up with me on Christmas eve, and in 1999 when my fiance who had *promised* he was going to stay out of trouble got his third DUI on December 23rd and I gave the ring back to him on the 24th, but I won’t go into that now. That was all a lifetime ago.
I’m hoping that as the kids get older I will have new, improved Christmas memories. While I don’t think Colin gets it yet, Noah and Zoe are finally old enough this year, so I think it will be more fun. Since they didn’t understand up to now though, each year I kind of wondered what the whole point really was. This year, however, they are excited for Santa, they’ve watched the Polar Express, and helped decorate the tree. They even helped with the Christmas cards. (Helping with the Christmas cards, by the way, was such a metaphor for their personalities. Zoe asked to lick the envelopes (blech!) and Noah asked if he could straighten the piles.)
Anyway, it just seemed like perfect timing this year when we went to the Christmas party at Colin’s new school on Saturday and their insurance person just happened to tell me that our new insurance is out-of-network. Christian’s employer is switching insurance companies effective January 1st. Our old insurance would have paid at in-network prices ($3,000 deductible and $5,000 personal out-of-pocket max), but the new insurance is out-of-network ($5,000 deductible and $10,000 individual out-of-pocket max). Oh, and also, Colin can’t start until February instead of January. I started crying. Instantly. Merry freakin’ Christmas.
Luckily, yesterday the school called me. They have spoken to the new insurance company and are jumping through the hoops to become an in-network provider. We won’t know for about a month if it’s approved, but I have my fingers crossed.
Also, I have been having back problems since April. I wrote about it quite a bit before we went on vacation in Mexico in early May, but I haven’t said much about it here since then. It’s not that it’s gone away, but I just haven’t felt like talking about it. It has really worn me down to be in pain all the time. It’s depressing. I have had three steroid injections in my spine and two procedures where I have had three injections on either side of my spine each time. Since those procedures worked for a bit before the pain came back, the next step was to have the nerves burned in the six places on either side of my spine in out-patient surgeries.
I had the first one done on December 7th, and it went really well. I was sore the day of the procedure, but really felt OK after that. I started to feel a little sore on the 11th, and then I could barely walk on the 12th and 13th. I was supposed to have the other side done on the 21st, but they cancelled it because I had such a bad reaction.
I would have been fine with cancelling it, honestly, because it was a little scary, but our insurance has this little thing called a family out-of-pocket maximum, and we have met it for 2010. Actually, we have exceeded it. We have paid $17,000 in medical bills this year. No, that is not a typo. **$17,000** So, I did everything in my power to push to have this second surgery by the end of the year. My doctor only does them on Tuesdays, so December 28th is my last option. If I have it in January, it will cost us $4,300. Needless to say, I pushed for the 28th, and on Monday my doctor finally agreed to it. Of course, he was completely booked!, but he has agreed to come in early. I’m not thrilled about having to be at the surgery center at 6am, but my butt will be there ready for an IV if it saves us $4,300. Hell, I’ll put my own IV in for $4,300. I’m really nervous that I will have the same kind of reaction, but again – $4,300.
So, I am feeling much less Grinch-like than I was five days ago. If I had written this post then, there probably would have been a great deal of cussing. I’m still feeling a bit Grinch-like, since I am terrified about this surgery and we have to wait a month to find out about the whole in-network thing, but I am trying to stay positive. At least we’re (hopefully) not out an extra $9,300 for 2011 already. Baby steps, right?