Parade Raining

Pardon me, while I fall off the face of the earth for a while.

Today has been a stressful day and it’s only half over.  I sit at my desk trying to focus on work, when what I really want to do is eat and drink my feelings.  Or escape this reality for a little while.  Anything to take my mind off the next week.

Our IVF down payment is due next Tuesday.  We are prepared for this.  We owe $11,735 up front to cover the retrieval and transplant.  All other appointments will be billed separately with the final payment due 30 days after all is said and done.  I looked back at how much those appointments cost last year and it ended up being about $2200.  Not cheap, but we’ve got some time to save and pay those off.  I’m not worried about that at all.  After all, I work in finance, so money is kind of my thing.

What we were not prepared for, however, was the ASTRONOMICAL cost for the fertility drugs,  Remember, if you will, that when we went through this last year, I had already met my medical deductible due to my gallbladder surgery.  When we ordered our medications, I only had to pay for one drug, due to my insurance not covering that particular one.  Our drug treatments costs a whopping $450.  I knew we were lucky; I had done some research on how much fertility drugs would cost and ballpark was $3-5k.  Staggering, right?  Well, let me tell you, that even if you’ve done your research and you feel like you’re mentally prepared to handle the cost of these drugs, you’re not ACTUALLY prepared to handle the final total.  This round of medications?  $4,612.86.  To my knowledge, that doesn’t include refills on any of the medications.  Just let that sink in for a second.

I’ve been trying so hard to work on my attitude this last week.  Just yesterday, I volunteered at a place called Open Arms in Minneapolis.  Open Arms is a non-profit organization that delivers free healthy, nutritious meals to people with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities.  As I worked alongside my co-workers, I was struck by how lucky I am.  I have my health, my husband, a roof over my head.  It could be a lot worse.  Then I get hit with this fertility medication total and I’m pissed off at the world again.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  It shouldn’t cost this much.  Terrible people have kids everyday and yet, all my husband and I want is to have one (seriously, we’ll settle for just one!) child of our own and the universe says “fuck you.”  You want this to happen?  Well, we’re going to make you work really fucking hard for it, and we’re not guaranteeing shit.

We’ve got the love.  We’ve got the desire.  We’ve got the money.  We’ve got the space.  We’ve got everything we need to welcome a child into this world. Apparently, that just isn’t enough.

So excuse me, while I ponder the unfairness of it all.  Because, right now, I’ve had about enough of this bullshit.

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Christmas in Europe Part One: The Departure

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I had the best of intentions when it came to writing a blog post or two during our European vacation, but alas, I failed miserably.  The fact is, I was too excited to get each and every day started, didn’t make it back to the hotel until late and oftentimes I wasn’t exactly sober.  All in all, I’d say our Christmas vacation was a success, which is great, because it didn’t necessarily start out that way.

I have a habit of getting to the airport early, in order to avoid any issues or surprises that may pop up.  We started for the airport at about 5 p.m., anticipating that we would hit some nasty pockets during rush hour as we made our way to the airport halfway across town.  Traffic was surprisingly mild, however, and we ended up making it to the airport with about 4 hours to spare before our flight.  We got checked in and made our way to the security checkpoint, expecting to stand around for half an hour, as there never seems to be enough security lanes open when we fly.  Again, we made it up to security and through almost instantly.  What luck, right?  Well, that’s where our luck took a bit of a shit.

We’re on the other side of the security checkpoint gathering our things, when Lee realizes he doesn’t have his ticket or his passport anymore.  I immediately became super agitated, and here’s why:

  1.  I have very little patience
  2. Lee has a habit of forgetting things at an airport.

We’ve lost a phone and wallet(which were recovered), a camera, a computer (which was recovered) and most recently (as in, on this trip), an umbrella.  Granted, I myself am incredibly absent-minded in the mornings when I’m leaving for work, and if it weren’t for Lee going through a checklist with me every morning, I’d probably forget something everyday.  But if I forget my wallet, that just means I don’t eat lunch that day.  It doesn’t mean I’m in jeopardy of not being able to leave the country.  So, I become agitated, because I’m annoyed that this is happening again, but also, because if he can’t find his passport, neither of us are going on this trip.  I would never dream of leaving without him, but I also don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to make that decision.

We tear apart his carry-on, rifle through all of his pockets; it’s nowhere to be found.  We go through the stack of empty bins to make sure it hasn’t been left in one by mistake.  It’s not there.  At this point, we decide to get security involved.  Lee pulls a TSA employee aside and explains that he thinks he may have left his passport on the other side.  Lee can’t go and check himself of course, as he would have to way to get back through security, so he relies on the kindness of a stranger.  The stranger peeks his head over the partition, glances quickly, states that the passport is not there, and walks away.  Awesome.  Thanks, Brah.

Lee tries with another TSA agent who tells him to check the security desk.  It’s not there either.  We try to get another agent or two to give a shit about the fact that our trip is ruined if this doesn’t get sorted, before I finally decide to exit and re-enter the airport so I can scour the area myself.  I run through the terminal, to the exit, down the stairs and then up the escalator to the security area.  I approach an agent on that side of the wall and explain the situation.  She tells me that she hasn’t seen it, but she knows there’s another employee looking for it.  Finally!  Someone cares.

I wait in line for my turn to go through security, because of course, now it’s gotten a bit busier.  As I’m taking off my shoes to place them in the bin, I see Lee out of the corner of my eye, waving wildly.  He gives me a thumbs up, and I immediately relax a little.  I’m still really anxious about the whole ordeal, but at least we know that we can get on the plane.

I make my way through security again, only to be pulled aside this time for a good old-fashioned frisking.  Because, of course.

Lee ended up determining that in a very odd and (I’m assuming) incredibly rare, twist of fate, Lee’s passport and ticket managed to fall out of the bin as it was traveling down the belt, and fell in between the slats of the belt.  Lee was finally able to get an employee to look underneath the conveyor belt, and voila.  That’s where it was.

After a very stressful and anxious half-hour, we made our way to the Delta club lounge, where I made it my mission to drink enough vodka to forget the whole debacle even happened.  I didn’t exactly accomplish my mission, but after 4 vodka sodas I definitely cared a little bit less.

I chose to look at our security fiasco as a mere blip in what would be an otherwise perfect trip.  Everything, from that point on, would be exactly as we had imagined it would be, if not better.

And luckily, I was right.

 

 

Crisis Averted

Insurance is a fucking headache.  It’s even more of a headache when the corporate office of the company you work for doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.

About 2 months ago, Lee and I decided that it would make the most sense to switch him to my insurance.  He’d end up paying a little more out of pocket each month, but the deductible was lower and because I work for such a large company, the negotiated discounts are much better.  Plus, my company recognizes infertility while his does not.  It seemed like a no-brainer, so I reached out to my human resources department to get the ball rolling.

The ball didn’t roll very far. That’s not my HR departments fault; it’s because they don’t actually handle any of the benefit administration.  I would need to go online or call our benefits solutions center.  So I go online and attempt to add the life event.  We knew Lee would be insured through May 31st, so I figured that would give me some time to add the life event, find out what sort of supporting documentation I would need to make the change, send it in and that would be that.  Boy, was I wrong.

According to the website, I wasn’t able to request a change due to a future life event.  That seemed odd, so I called the 1-800 number to verify.  The customer service representative confirmed that was true.  That made me a little uneasy, as that would mean there would be a possibility that Lee might be uninsured for a few days while we waited for the new insurance to kick in.  But those were the rules.  And there was no turning back now.  Lee had already waived coverage with his employer, so we would have no choice but to wait until June 1st to get Lee covered.

The 1st week of June arrived and I headed back to the website to get Lee insured.  I had Lee provide me with every document imaginable.  I wanted to make this a quick and easy decision process with the insurance company.  I submitted the paperwork and waited.

And waited.  And waited.  About two weeks after I had submitted the request, I reached out to the benefit solution center again.  All they could tell me was that the paperwork had been received and the decision was “pending review.”  Now I’m starting to get pissed.  How many life events do they deal with in a given day?  Shouldn’t this be fairly cut and dry?  I decided I would try to circumvent the benefit center.  I decided to reach out to the corporate HR department to see if there was anything I could do to speed the process along.

I received the email address of a woman at corporate that my HR Generalist was confident would be able to provide answers.  She explained that this was the person who reached out to her any time there was a discrepancy with someone’s benefit information.  Surely she’d be able to help me get this sorted out.  I sent an email explaining the situation and asking if there was anything I could do to facilitate (read: hurry this shit up).  I received a response rather quickly from this person saying that our benefit administration had been outsourced and that if the benefit solution center was telling me to sit tight, I didn’t really have any other option. I immediately had a flashback to the movie “Office Space” when the Bobs meet with employees to determine their workload:

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Seriously.  Like, what the fuck is your job?  You work in benefit administration, but yet, our benefit administration has been outsourced.  So what do you do?  Is it your job to act as a go between for the benefit center and the hotel’s HR department?  If so, you’re not necessary.  I have just saved the company thousands of dollars.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

I was so angry.  And when I’m angry, I cry.  My boss, bless his heart, did everything in his power to find someone at corporate who could help, but to no avail.  Apparently our corporate HR department is all just smoke and mirrors.

I waited patiently for another few days before I reached out to the benefit center again.  This time I was determined to not get off the phone until I received the answers I needed.  Luckily, I connected with a nice representative who understood the importance of our situation and pushed the decision through.

It took 2 months, multiple phone calls and emails, but Lee finally has health insurance again.  Was all the hassle worth it?  That remains to be seen.  While I think the hoops that we needed to jump through to get this sorted out were absolutely ridiculous, I do believe that we’ll save money in the long run.  There are upsides and downsides to working for such a large company.  While some of the minutiae seems so absurd, I think the benefits of better discounts and insurance will end up making me forget about all of the bullshit we had to go through to make this happen.  And if it doesn’t, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it again.