all hell

Well, all hell has broken loose around here (sort of).

My mother has been driving me mad for the last week because she's got to choose a MediCare part D plan by Dec 31, or go without it for 2009. For anyone lucky enough not to be aware - MediCare part D covers prescription drugs, and honestly, the plans could not really suck more if they tried. Nothing but a great big gift from George Bush to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies at the expense of the actual people on MediCare.

My mother used to be able to get her many pills form mail-order pharmacies for around $10 for a 3 month supply of each Rx (and now Wal-Mart has many Rxs available for $8 for 3 months). The main problem for my mother is that she takes massive amounts of insulin - 13 vials of R and 9 vials of N per month! The cheapest source is Wal-Mart @ something like $36/a vial. That puts it in the area of $800/month for the retail cost of her insulin alone! There used to be programs from the pharmaceutical companies to provide the insulin free to people below a certain income level (a nice little tax write-off for them), but they no longer offer them to anyone eligible to get part D (whether or not said person actually signs up for it).

But part D has what's called a 'doughnut hole' - once you reach $2700 in total expenses (not your out of pocket, or even the insurance company's out of pocket - but what THEY say the RETAIL value of your meds are) they quit covering anything until you spend over $4300 of your own money. After that, they pick you back up (at slightly lower rates) in what they call 'catastrophic coverage'. Comparing the plans for my mother - she would be covered for Jan & Feb (at over $400/month out of her pocket) then she'd hit the doughnut hole and have to spend $4300+ to get covered again (which will only take her until June). Then from June to Dec. she'd be covered for less than $200/month out of pocket.

She is panicking about the $4300 thing (who wouldn't). And pretty much flatly refusing to join part D at all - so she's been scrambling to try to find something else she can get/use/do. But honestly there isn't anything anymore. It's pay the $6000+ that part D comes to per year (with premiums, doughnut holes, et. al.), or buy everything out of pocket (at over $1000/month). There just aren't any more options - at least if we're going to stay living here.

In the last week she has really been driving me insane because she keeps asking for my in put/opinion - but then argues with every word out of my mouth (because it's not what she wants to hear, AND because that's what she always does). She's also driving me over the edge because she's talking about moving to Mexico, or back to California (the State of California covers part D premiums, and covers you during the doughnut hole, if you qualify). I am not keen on the idea of moving again (I'm all for packing a bag and leaving - just not the whole bringing everything / everyone with me thing, LOL).

Mexico has always been ideal for me (not that that has ever factored into anyone's plans around here), and I looked up CA real estate and found what looked quite literally like the PERFECT house for us in Santa Rosa .... so amazing I would have packed up all by myself and driven each box across country one at a time if I'd had to .... but the next day the listing was removed! :( When I contacted the realtor I was informed it was bank owned (ok), and that the bank had taken it off the market to re-assess whether they could sell it. Huh? A subsequent e-mail resulted in being informed that the previous owners had done a ton of construction on the place WITHOUT PERMITS.

It apparently became a huge mess - with the house being condemned due to lack of permits, and the owners being fined to high heaven. After reading a ton of disclosures from the realtor it's clear that any prospective owner would have to do one of two things - pay to take the house from it's current septic/well water system to the city water system (and tear up one part of a foundation, one section of roof, and all the new interior walls so they can be inspected) - or rip the 2,000 sq. ft. 4 bedroom house, back down to a 969 sq. ft 3 bedroom house ASAP (and no one can live in it before one of those things happens). But either way - the new owner would still have to pay the back fines - which as of April 2006 totaled more than $70,000 (God knows what they must be by now).

Basically - it's a "don't touch with a 10,000 ft. pole" situation.

The website will notify me if anything comes up in Sonoma County that meets my criteria, but I'm not hopeful about it - unless it's another nightmare-discount-project. Even Mexico would be a bit of a stretch at this point since house prices there don't seem to have dropped a whole lot. We could really only get a smallish house there (if we want to stay in the 'gringo area' around Lake Chapala - which is what my mother needs ... bilingual doctors and nurses).

But I really just can't stand this push and pull, hurry up and wait, let's go here, let's go there nonsense anymore. I'm just SOOOO worn out and tired of these two people having the ability to effect the entire course of my life like this. I love her - but my mother has a history of making very bad decisions, and I don't see why - at 33 - I still get stuck living with them. It's ridiculous! And really, she's had the part D pamphlet since before Thanksgiving - if she'd read it right (she thought the $2700 figure was comprised of only her out of pocket expenses) we could have (and should have) been having this discussion a month ago - instead of at the 11th hour. I am just tired of moving all the way across the country, only to turn around and do it again. My mother keeps needling me with "Do you really want to live here? Do you really want to stay here forever?" I respond with the only answer I have - I never wanted to come here, not at any point - not the first, second, or third time I've made the trek - but I'm here and I'm learning to accept it, and that's it.

So, she now has her heart set on California (in one incarnation or another). She will not listen to reason / deal with reality. She's either bugging me to get online and 'find a house in Santa Rosa', or she's getting online herself and finding properties that are either near her mother or her sister - neither of which I have any interest in living near. She seems to be ensconcing herself in a 'moving back to Cali' bubble that isn't very realistic because neither my father or I WANT to move again - unless it was AMAZING (and nowhere near her side of the family) - or to Mexico (which she's never going to do in reality, she just toys with the idea on occasion).

So she's pushing for California, and we're pushing her to stop dragging her feet on the investment properties here (so that income can off-set medical expenses) - so far we've lost out on the same property TWICE now because she couldn't be convinced it was a good investment. And I'm pushing for her to sign up for a part D plan before it's too late - thought it's falling on deaf ears. She's just working my very last nerve (I have taken to looking in the paper for apartments). Seriously, I think I could have a stroke any day now - she sends my blood pressure so high.

So, she only has today to sign up for part D - I don't think she's going to - and I think it's going to be a HUGE mistake that we're all going to have to suffer through every month for the next year to the tune of +$1000 - all because my mother couldn't be convinced (by the deadline) that $6000 out of pocket is ALWAYS fundamentally better than $12,000! A fact she will acquiesce to long about March .. or maybe June (she's stubborn). At which point she will turn to me and ask why I let her be so stupid - AARRRGH!!!

Meanwhile, my dad and I are going to go look at two very exciting properties next week - a 4 unit in Mannington, and a 5 unit in Salem. Technically, we could buy both - but then we'd be totally wiped out ... so we're probably only going to do one - if either one looks good. So next week (and the weeks after) will either be a series of arguments with my mother about why we should buy one of them, or it'll be spent by me shopping for a nursing home for her!

OK, maybe that nursing home thing is an exaggeration - but seriously, I just can't handle the drama anymore. My mother and I have never gotten along well - we can't talk about anything, EVER - and I'm just tired of it. I'm not really having any sort of emotional crisis about any of it ... I mean, it's not like I'm in a panic to get out of here - I'm just tired / worn out / and totally DONE! It's not so much a - I gotta get out of this place YESTERDAY, anyway I can, and in any direction I can go ..... it's just a sort of deep realization that I really cannot do this to myself anymore.

There is some vague promise/hope that if we get one of these multi-units I will be allowed to move into one of the units - without too much fuss. I'm going to try to hang on to what's left of my sanity and see if that happens or not. Next April is my trip, next May I have to babysit my mom while my dad goes to WA to get stuff out of storage, so I'm going to give it until June. If I can hang on that long, and if nothing has changed for the better by then (and by that I mean: investment properties generating an income that pays for people to help my mother (and set me free) - like I was promised when I agreed to come here), I'll rent a cheap apartment here in town, or up in Fairmont, and just leave them to it - no matter how much of a fuss there is about it.

Yes, they are my parents, and yes to a certain extent my mother needs me (though I swear I do her more harm than good sometimes, she's always way more self-sufficient after a stint of being left alone with my dad ... she doesn't like to ask him to do things for her), but I didn't pick 'em, it's not my fault I'm their only child, and whatever they might desrve for giving me life (such as it is), I'm pretty sure I don't actually owe them the REST OF IT in servitude and misery. Show me where it's written that I can't be a "good daughter" from the next town over (or the next state, or country for that matter, lol).


La Yen said...

Wait--wouldn't you spend more than the rx cost just in the move?

Can't you just sign her name...
I feel for you

LuluBunny said...

Thanks Yen - both for the good point, and the moral support! :)

Fortunately, the crisis seems to be over - she's signed up for part D (she called Medicare at about 7pm tonight and talked to someone for about 45 mins.).

They got her a plan she's happy with - that sounds good to me too - and there's a chance she can get help with her premiums and the doughnut hole if she fills out a form (and qualifies) before March 1st.

So, at least the part D situation seems to be resolved (THANK YOU JESUS!).

Pacian said...

Glad things have worked out okay-ish.

And in some other corner of the Internet you'll find some American whining about why they should have to give up a small fraction of their income to fund someone else's healthcare...

MK Stover said...

No matter where you go, there you are.

Hope things work out well for you.
As far as investment properties go: you are in the right area at the right time.

La Yen said...

So April 30 you will get to the other forms? :)

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