Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cardio Appointment Update
Jack is doing well. The cardio didn't hear any fluid on his lungs and his heart sounds pretty good. In 6 weeks time we are scheduled to go back in and have another echocardiogram and EKG, and at that time we'll determine when the surgery will be. Hopefully sooner rather than later...in the meantime, check this new pic of him out. We are working on building up his back and ab muscles by having him sit with a Boppy Pillow around his waist then trying to push up off of it. He is trying so hard but is a little more comfy on the right side. He keeps toppling over to the right once he props himself up! So here he is practicing sitting up with the Boppy. I wonder where he gets those big brown eyes? hmmmmm...Both of my kids have enormous brown eyes!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Out of the fog and into the light…

(A little background…John worked in a union before we started our company, and in doing so, he received full benefits for our family. When he quit his job, we began paying COBRA to continue our coverage until we made other arrangements.)

Fast forward to June 1, 2006…I received a certified letter from John’s union stating that there was evidence he was working non-union and so our benefits(which was actually COBRA that WE were paying for) were being pulled as of yesterday and they were sending our June check back to us. So there we were, for the first time EVER in our lives without insurance. Even on a normal day, the idea of no insurance freaks me out, but my son is due to have open heart surgery in a couple of months and in all reality, he could go into heart failure on any given day and have to have the surgery sooner. He also has a condition which has the potential to have major health issues and although none have shown up, you never know what the future holds. So there we were…immediate PANIC!

I immediately went online looking for a plan, and I cannot even begin to tell you how many plans are out there…in the zillions I think! So I went the route of an insurance agent who informed me that although John, Bella and I could get whatever we wanted, Jack will never qualify for any kind of Private Insurance because he has two pre-existing conditions – his DS and his heart defect. GRRRRREEEEEAAATTTT!!! Before I began falling to pieces, my agent reassured me that there is a state program out there for kids that doesn’t look at pre-existing conditions and it’s only $9.00 a month. Because we have a new business, we would qualify financially…Whew…or so I thought. Getting Jack qualified for this insurance has been my worst nightmare. First off, my “lovely” insurance agent did our profit and loss sheet incorrectly so that Bella was approved but because of her error, she qualified Jack to be referred to Medi Cal…First of all, there is no way in the world we qualify for Medi Cal, and secondly, even if we did, I want to choose Jack’s surgeon, not have it chosen for me. And it is impossible to even find a pediatrician who takes it. So I began the appeal process…I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack after all of the stress these state workers put me through. Everything they asked me to do, I did it immediately because I needed insurance YESTERDAY! Every person I talked to gave me contradictory information which delayed the process each time. An example is they asked for proof of Child Support in the form of a letter from Keeley’s mom or the court order. I called Angie who faxed me the letter that day and I sent it to the insurance company. I then called them and restated what I had done and asked if it was sufficient. YEP…10 days later, NOPE! Sorry the letter isn’t valid. You need the court order and then it will take, yes, you guessed it, 10 MORE days to process. They made the mistake of getting on the phone with John when that happened and he flipped out on these people. They did an urgent request to expedite the decision…then they found something else we needed to do, then again and again and again…and every time it was 10 more days. I, in good faith did everything these people asked me to do and there was no reason Jack should not have received the same coverage as Bella. It’s so ironic that the person I needed to be insured the most was the only one I couldn’t get covered!

So I have been basically harassing these people, calling a few times a day to check the status and make sure I have everything in that I need to. A supervisor has NEVER been available when I call. I actually think they red-flagged us after John talked to them! I didn’t know the impact this has had on me until today…I woke up emotionally drained. I spent all day with a headache and just wanting to lay down and sleep it all away. I was exhausted! I was frantically worried about Jack. I had to pay cash for his well-check and I was willing to pay for his Cardiologist appt, but I have an awesome cardio who didn’t make me pay because he knows what hell this has been for us. I feel like this has been my job for over 2 months. Sometimes I have spent over two hours on the phone trying to get the right information and I’d run into dead-ends constantly.

So this afternoon I did my usual call to the insurance company and I was all riled up, ready to fight with them…but to my surprise, THEY FINALLY APPROVED HIM!!!!!!!! Halleluiah! I bugged them so much, they finally got him insured…It only took 2 ½ months! But OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am ecstatic! My baby is going to be taken care of and we don’t need to worry. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t tell you how happy we are! John said to me today to just forget about them and let’s find a different route and I told him that there was NO WAY I would let them take advantage of me and I would fight for what is rightfully ours. My son deserves to be insured and woooooo hooooooo, all this craziness was worth it!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

San Clemente?
My darling little stepdaughter Keeley is starting KINDERGARTEN this September!!!!! I can't believe how fast time flies by! She is just growing up so fast. Well, being that her "school life" is starting, John and I have been talking at length about possibly moving down there so that we can easily be involved in as much as possible. I mean let's face it, Huntington Beach and San Clemente are NOT close by one another. We also want all of the kids to go to school together if possible, and our little 1278 square foot house is seeming mighty small since Jack was born. So what's the remedy for that? Well, we are kicking around the idea of selling our house and buying a house in the Talega area of San Clemente. If we do make the move, it will be the house that we will raise our kids in. After that, no more moving until John and I buy our retirement home! We went down to San Diego on Friday and on the way, we checked out a bunch of model homes in Talega. All of the houses are over 2,000 square feet which would be a perfect size for us, and the best part, they are NEW houses! John won't have to do any work on the house. His weekends will be free! What will he do with himself?!?!!? The neighborhoods are also AMAZING! They are quiet, clean, and ideal for the kids. There are about 5 parks, 3 swimming pools, and a bunch of hiking/walking trails. The more we think about it, the better it sounds. We found a housing plan we really like, and the next set of homes will be released for sale in November and ready to move into in February or March. That works well for us because we need to finish the house before we put it up for sale. I think John is SUPER motivated because after months of just sitting there halfway done, John has managed to almost finish our master bathroom. I actually think I will be able to sit in my clawfoot tub by the weekend!!!!
So there it is, to move or not to move?????? I know we have loosely thrown around the idea of moving before, but we are pretty serious about making this happen. It will definitely be a sacrifice because living there is not cheap(I don't think there is anyplace in CA that is cheap anymore!!! :-() We will just go back to no cable TV and probably have to sell our trailer until we can afford it again!! I will have to work a little bit more to keep us afloat, but with all of the pluses in this scenario, I think it's soooo worth the sacrifice! I'll update as I know more...

YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! No more sweaty kids and CONSTANT dust build-up from all of the windows that are open 24 hours a day! I'm doing a little dance right now!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

JACK RYAN - Four Months Old
Jack turned four months old yesterday...my how time flies! John was saying to me last night that it seems like he's older than that because of all of the drama that surrounded the time of his birth. All of that seems like a distant memory now...almost like it never happened, but it really wasn't that long ago at all. Life is just going on, happening all around us. Jack is now holding his head up for over a minute on his tummy, he's eating cereal (well, he's trying! It seems to end up all over his face!), he grabs at his feet, and over the past few days, he's been starting to really laugh at things that excite him...mainly ME. I am pretty funny to look at, I guess!
The past couple months, John and I have gone to the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County 0-3 Support Group. It meets on the first Thursday of the month and it has been a great source of information. We have met some great parents and their kids. I like the idea of going because it's like a network. We get information, but at the same time, we are meeting parents who have kids around Jack's age. I envision Jack (and John and I) making some lifelong friends. That makes me smile.
We go to the cardiologist on Thursday morning. I think we will get some info. on where his surgery will be, when it will be, who might do it, etc... I have to say I'm anxious to get it done. I know that sounds funny, but I'm going crazy waiting around for the inevitable. Jack is up to weight, so there is no reason why they can't just do it so that my baby can move on from this (not to mention I can stop worrying about it so much!). I am going to talk to the doctor about how soon we can have it done. I'll update as I get info.