“March went out like a lion
Awakin’ up the water in the bay . . . “
~Carousel, Rodgers and Hammerstein, “June is Busting Out All Over”
Funny, I remember this line and sing it in my head as “March came in like a lion” every year this time of year. So, according to my lyrics, March came in as described. We have had warm hatless days and the snow is disappearing—we are not in Wisconsin anymore! When there is sunshine, the sky is a shade deeper than pale blue and we are searching for the first signs of spring breaking through the earth. I have to go on neighborhood walks to find those signs of spring instead of my own garden. Still missing my own little plot. I need to ask my landlords if I can use their side garden for vegetables and a few annuals again. I have another month or so to ask.
The lay of the land, so to speak, has been more interesting in the last few weeks than in many months, although there have been bumps.
Julia joined the Unified Basketball Team at school. Students with disabilities are given first preference to join the team and typical students fill in what is left. Usually, the team practices and then plays other Unified Teams from other schools during their season. The season is short, no one knows yet whether the North Team will play other schools, but no matter. It is an in-person, after-school activity. No one is zooming in. Julia is enjoying it and comes home tired. Alleluia!
She is also taking the bus/van home and is in good spirits about the ride. I am hoping to add more bus/van rides in the next weeks. She needs to get used to someone other than me driving her everywhere.
I just signed her up for The Ride which is the Boston para-transit service providing door-to-door, shared-ride transportation to people with disabilities. I had the initial interview and sent releases for them to check what I said with doctors. Like everything else, there will be a wait until someone looks at Julia’s file, but no matter right now, she is unvaccinated and has no where to go.
Two days a week, Julia is beginning her day earlier than usual to zoom into morning meetings with the Connections Program that she will join next year. Last week, was her first meeting and the teacher/social worker tried very hard to get to know Julia. Julia talked fast and hard about what she wanted to talk about — birth control, anime boys who are gender neutral, how to date an anime boy and how to get into an erotic relationship with said anime boy. She refused to talk about anything possibly related to school, the transition program, the new teacher or real life. She paused briefly a few times in her spitfire monologue to answer a question that floats into her awareness, but she is determined not to be engaged in more than a one word answer before she turns back to her preferred topics. The teacher, bless her soul (so many times when I think of Julia’s providers of all sorts, that phrase comes to mind. Yes, bless and double bless their souls.), remained upbeat and ready to bend and swerve to try to capture Julia’s attention for a moment or more. She remains un-frustrated long after I can stand it.
This week, Julia’s second encounter, went somewhat smoother.
I’ve had many challenges with the latest change in Julia’s medical insurance. In January, she became eligible for Medicare (as a disabled person who is on social security). We had no choice but to take the Medicare and begin paying the hefty premiums. MassHealth became her secondary insurance. I asked both Medicare and MassHealth how this would change her coverage and both assured me the coverage was the same as when she was covered by MassHealth and a MassHealth supplement.
Well, it’s not.
A few weeks ago, an intensive program that we waited months to join and had just started was rejected by Medicare. MassHealth should have covered it as her secondary; however, Medicare refused to issues the rejection that MassHealth needed to spring into coverage. After almost a month of back and forth, the provider requested and received a waiver for coverage. Thus, they will not have to have a refusal from Medicare before filing with MassHealth.
Last Friday, Julia’s primary therapist told me that her coverage has been denied by Medicare and will not be picked up by MassHealth as a secondary insurer. This time there does not seem to be a work around or a waiver to ask for because her therapist does not have the kind of certification that Medicare demands. The Medicare denial bounces the claim to MassHealth who denied it because the therapist is not covered by Medicare. Even though, mind you, MassHealth has been covering this therapist when MassHealth was her primary insurance. I don’t know what my options are. It is true that there are other therapists but Julia has a relationship with this woman and she is good. Out of pocket is too expensive. What is maddening is that Medicare coverage seems to be doing nothing except denying claims and it is changing the possibilities for Julia.
I get my second vaccination tomorrow and then have another two weeks before I am fully protected. I am looking forward to easing quarantine, but until Julia gets something, I do not see our lives changing much. Right now, my wish is that she is offered the J&J single shot vaccine. At our doctor’s office and soon.
My HILR classes are interesting this term. I took classes easily within my wheelhouse, Chekov plays and memoir writing. The memoir class has taken up time and I am finally looking back to some of what I’ve written here and in previous blogs and putting together pieces of narrative. I decided to work on pieces about death, grieving and disability. Right now, after four pieces, I find the styles and tones of the topics are very different. I need to do more to figure that out. One thing is sure—I could probably go on editing and working on pieces from this blog for a very long time before I run out of material.
Periodically, at my church, FUUSN, someone is asked to give a This I Believe speech/sermon/talking during the sermon part of the service. I laugh at myself! Just thinking of what I am doing as a sermon was incredibly intimidating, mostly because I am still interested in making a good “first” impression. However, for many people at FUUSN it will not be anywhere near a first impression. I’ve been around for 18 months and in my zoom box for the last year. I’ve gone to meetings, been a regular at services, stayed for coffee hour break out rooms, sung in choir and taught and facilitated mindfulness sessions. Doesn’t sound like I have any possibility at all of making a first impression.
Today, I am almost excited about speaking for 10 minutes which is a vast improvement over the beginning of the week when I was still knee deep in drafting and dreading the opportunity.
As it has gotten warmer, Julia is looking for different jacket to wear. Today, she pulled an old one out of the hall. Inez Schanker’s Hiking Club jacket. It is made of what used to be caledl sail clothe, a heavy cotton, and lined with flannel. It is probably almost 90 years old and in very good condition. I am a good deal more nostalgic about Julia wearing the jacket than she is. I love the continuity.