Unfortunate Opportunity

In the same way that it can be awkward to discuss “after death” financial topics with someone from whom you might be getting an inheritance, talking publicly about investment possibilities that are coming on the back of a stock market that’s plummeting due to fear of a COVID-19 pandemic… it does feel a little bit wrong, but the opportunities of a down market also cannot be ignored. 😐

The Dow Jones has lost more than 12% of its value over the past seven days of trading. Unfortunately, the cause isn’t solely due to “scary thoughts” around the spread of the virus. 😟 With China being ground zero, the precautions that need to be taken and the effects that are already being experienced by the industries and workforce there… it was inevitable that markets around the world would reflect the disruption. 😳 Global economies, global trade, global investing… it’s all great stuff, until it isn’t.

Before COVID-19 was even a thing, I had already started researching different types of investing that my family (historically speaking) never really took advantage of. πŸ€” I’ve tended to use methods that I’ve seen work for my dad and my aunt, and they probably used methods that they saw work for their parents. 🧐 It makes investing feel comfortable, but the returns are usually modest in comparison.

The volatility in the markets isn’t going anywhere, so I’ll have plenty of time to continue reading, learning, and eventually planning… even if “the plan” ends up being that I don’t change much of anything. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And while loads of people have been cashing out, to “protect” their gains from the past year or longer, the farther the markets fall – the better it is for folks who are only just now wanting to get in. 🀨

I suppose I should mention that I’m not thinking about individual stocks when I’m talking about all of this. I don’t know enough yet to speculate on individual companies and their ability to bounce back. I’m thinking mostly about ETFs with holdings that are properly weighted to match gains / losses of the Dow. πŸ˜πŸ€“

Historically, you’re on pretty solid ground if that’s what you’re invested in… but just as there have been extremely good years, there have been some really bad ones as well. More often than not though, the gains for each year have been remarkably good. (Which doesn’t mean a heck of a lot if you didn’t buy your shares on (and only on) January 1st of each year… heh) Meh… just kinda thinkin’ here… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Partial Reprieve

I’m half disappointed and half relieved. πŸ€” Lead attorney said I’d probably get a call to set up a meeting with everyone towards the end of the week… and now the week is over. So, I’m gonna guess that the letter I sent with my concerns, pre-meeting, may have caused a little more research and discussion among the team. Or I’m a piddly case and they’re working on something bigger and didn’t even think of me this week. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Obviously I’m torn… part of me is ready to get this shit taken care of as quickly (but firmly) as possible, but part of me is glad that it’s the weekend so I’ll have two whole days of not having to think about it. πŸ™‚ (For the most part.) I did get a printout from the pharmacy though, with the records for all of my meds from 2019… and at some point this weekend I have to go through that and figure out when the WC insurer did pay for things and when they didn’t. 🀨 (As well as calculating the true total cost of all my meds.) That’ll be fun, considering the printouts have no payment info other than the type, date, and cost. πŸ˜’ Meh… I’ll figure it out.

I’m gonna go to the rarely-used “sitting room” in the basement this evening, to watch my shows in complete isolation from the world… 😊 then the weekend is supposed to be nice, or at least sunny, so I’m gonna try to go see Dad on one of those days. The one year anniversary of Mom being called Home is coming up, so of course that’s been bouncing around in my thoughts along with all of the other stuff. 😒😌

It sure doesn’t seem like it has been a year already…

Where’d The Weekend Go?

It’s been a busy few days again. Typical stuff with my workers comp doctor appointment at the end of last week. I mean, no problems there… but when it came to getting my prescriptions. A couple days of pain in the ass there, but it all appears to have been sorted out. Then as I was getting home from handling all that, that’s when Rick arrived to install the new garage door.

Not complaining about that… it was planned… but after dealing with the WC stress, coming home to immediate noise and commotion in the garage wasn’t exactly calming. Not just the constant sound of impact wrenches as they worked, but then also I’m too much of an empath – so I’m also sitting inside the house, cringing about what might go wrong as they work, making their job harder than it should be.

And of course, that’s what ended up happening. I joked with Dad that I “willed” it to happen, by stressing about it, but yeah… they got the door installed, it went up and down nice and smoothly, and it’s light enough that I can even open it with just my one good arm. But when they tried it with the new garage door opener, it immediately murdered itself. 😳 The opener, that is.

It’s obviously defective, because there’s no way that a product like this should be designed so that it’s allowed to do what it did. 🀨 He set the open and close points where the motor was supposed to stop – but upon the second test of raising the door, it just didn’t stop “raising” and it pulled the “puller” piece directly into the motor without stopping, without slowing down – with a crunch, spark, and puff of smoke. 😣😯 Awesome.

So I’ll be returning that one to Amazon here soon, probably having to drag it to the local UPS office, but that meant that Rick had to go to Menards early this morning to get a different opener, take down the first new one, and then put up the second new one before the whole shpeal worked at it should. πŸ™„πŸ˜ So if it wasn’t for the suicidal first opener, he would have been done last night – but I’ll look at the positive, which is that I no longer needed a heavy-duty opener anyway, and the one that he picked up was considerably cheaper than the one I’ll be getting my money back for. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Oh, and he swapped out my old mailbox for the new one without me even asking. πŸ˜… (The saga ends… heh)

You can see why I wasn’t anxious to do any Black Friday shopping this year though, eh? 😟 Between new tires for the car, a big ol’ capacitor and intake fan for the old furnace, new garage door, new garage door opener… and of course all the labor costs for that stuff… plus having to pay for my WC meds first in order to get them this month, now having to return the defective first opener, still needing to make an eye appointment and get new glasses, blah blah blah…

I mean, it’s fine… yeah, I’m bitching, but nothing was overpriced… it just feels like a whole bunch of shit all at once, and being the tight ass that I am – it’s just not a lot of fun writing all these checks. 😏 Gotta remind myself that I now have a happy furnace, a happy car, and a place to put that happy car again… not to mention being able to unload groceries directly into the kitchen without killin’ myself by dragging them through the house via the front door. But it’s my blog, and I felt like whining a little bit. πŸ˜‹ (Even though I’m already planning a few more small home improvement projects with Rick after the holidays are over… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚)

Bad At Feeling Bad

Saw my workers comp doctor on Thursday, discussed the additional pain in my neck and shoulder from relying on my cane (for my unrelated knee pain) this past month, but mostly discussed the upcoming WC mandated “review” – and he’s just as frustrated by what they’re trying to do as I am. πŸ˜’ Then I finally went back in to my prescribing shrink after taking a couple months’ break to get used to my new WC doc meds… and ended up spending an entire hour with him.

Granted, when you talk to a counselor you usually get an hour, but typically the pill shrink just wants to get you in and out of there, prescribing what he feels is appropriate based on the counselors notes and maybe a few followup questions. He talked to me about so many different possible meds, I have to admit that I don’t even know which ones he ended up calling in for me. I guarantee you that I’m going to be doing a lot of googling before I start taking anything… especially considering the other meds I’m already taking, and that in about a month I’ll have to stop taking my thyroid meds to prep for the next radiation pill treatment.

Meh… I’m not gonna get into all that. But I’m gonna try what he thinks I should, as long as I don’t find anything concerning that he maybe didn’t consider. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But for the past hour or so, I’ve been waking up and psyching myself up for the trip into the pharmacy. Three different doctors, multiple prescriptions, many new, some to be covered by WC, but still might not be, and then others meant to go through my regular insurance. 😣 For some reason they can’t mark it in their system, which meds go through which insurance, nor can I count on some of them being approved anyway, so this’ll be a fucking process today. 😠

I know. 😐 This is just what people have to do. The medical / workers comp / insurance programs in the US are shit, nobodyΒ does it without jumping through hoops, dealing with delays and irritation… but I’m still gonna bitch about it. 😏 And sure, whether it’s WC or traditional insurance… once, maybe twice, do what you have to do to verify that “Yeah he’s broken. Yeah he needs those meds.”Β (I get it… fraud prevention) but then just cover the shit plz. πŸ€• Go through that sort of bullshit long enough and you can totally understand why people, as they get older and feel more broken, just can’t or don’t want to have constant adversarial engagements with the whole system – and just stop bothering with some of it. 😒 Especially when the doctor’s hands are tied and they can’t even prescribe you the meds that could actually make you feel better – whether due to WC guidelines, insurance not covering it, or it simply being too cost prohibitive. 😠 Man it fucking pisses me off…

giphy

I’m just bad at feeling bad when a)Β I’m denied treatments that could make me feel better, and b) people are still fighting to take the things away from me that merely keep my pain tolerable. πŸ˜–

Oh, and my insurance company… they keep leaving messages, saying that they want to schedule an in-home visit from a doctor that can evaluate me and give me his or her opinions as well. πŸ™„ Yeah, um, no. You’re insurance. Just be insurance. Get my health info from my records like a normal company… and don’t expect me to invite you into my house with another handful of hidden hoops behind your back. 🀨 Okay, I guess I’ve dragged my feet long enough, and should get in town and see what kind of luck I have with all this shit.

Wait, How Much?

The other day I did some investigating in regards to the monthly cost of the various medications that I’m prescribed, for the injury/disability that is currently covered by my workers comp claim. It’s been quite a while since I’ve given it much thought, but man… now that I see the numbers… damn. 😧 These are the prices that I would pay if I had no insurance, and was paying for my prescriptions with cash.

  • Medication #1” – Brand Name: $284.99 / Generic: $73.59
  • Medication #2” – Brand Name: $1314.99 / Generic: $535.99
  • Medication #3” – Brand Name: $996.99 / Generic: (N/A)

So with those figures… add in the monthly office appointments, the potential tests or procedures that I might need to have in the future… and you can see how I’d be a bigger financial burden to my WC insurer than one might originally think. (And it sure makes these settlement negotiations feel a whole lot more significant to my future.)

“Wake Up, Case 1485729-4”

Fell asleep around dawn and then was awoken by a phone call from one of my attorneys a few hours later. πŸ˜’ We’ve got quite a bit of outstanding issues right now, and after the long weekend I could almost feel this call coming… so much so that I didn’t turn my ringer off, since I did need to talk to him.

This entry might as well be titled “What Else Is Wrong?” since, in part, it’s essentially going to be a sequel to my most recent post. As you may or may not know, I try to keep my online presence as free as possible from a) bitching about my pain/disability, and b) talking about specifics of my workers comp case. Partially out of pride, partially because nobody really wants to hear about it anyway.

I’m not sure I even remember what I used to be like before all of this dominated my life. I know it’s not pleasant now, to put it extremely mildly, and I know it’s a constant pain in the ass… so even though it’s hard to remember, I do miss the time when my life was my own and I wasn’t being led by the nose through by doctor visits, IC hearings, physical disability, medication requirements, mental stress, pharmacy policies, insurance companies, and now actual an actual court case. 😞

I’m just frustrated because we’re less than two months away from the court stuff starting and so far the settlement stuff is going nowhere. πŸ˜• Their side will submit their brief to the court, my side will have a few weeks to reply, and then it starts getting serious. The court will likely want to depose any doctors that have seen or treated me, on both sides, which means I’d have to hope that I could essentially “rent” my doctor for half a day to give testimony – which would be ridiculously expensive. 😣 (Not to mention ridiculously annoying since he’s already submitted report, after report, after report, in writing.)

So my attorney is going to find out how much they’ve paid each year, on average, for my treatment and medication – and then tomorrow or the next day, when I go to the pharmacy to pick up this month’s meds, I’m going to have them print out what the “out of pocket” cost would be for each medication if I was paying for them with no insurance at all. πŸ€“ With those figures we’ll again try to come up with what we believe is a fair settlement, and then they’ll have to decide if the continuing costs of fighting me are worth it – rather than just settling this and making me go away.

I’m just worried that we won’t be able to get this done before the date of the first hearing. I’m sure it’ll be (us) “Here’s our offer.” followed by (them) “Well, that’s nice, but this is what we’re willing to pay.” followed by (us) “C’mon, get out of here… we need at least (this much)” and then (them) “We’re gonna have to think on this.” with (us) “Well we’re gonna have to think on this too.” Heh… so I don’t know what the odds are of avoiding this court case at this point, but I’d think they are slim.