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49 The Order

Mallory Kellogg, Nerdalicious

"The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you."

Currently reading

The Devil in the Junior League
Linda Francis Lee
Progress: 14 %
Not Quite the Classics
Colin Mochrie
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Creatures of Habit
Jim Pascoe, Paul Lee
The Fires Beneath the Sea
Lydia Millet
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Love is Love

Love is Love - Phil Jimenez, Various

The truth about military health care aka Tricare pt 2

I had to drive to the clinic today because I'm still sick with some sort of infection. So I stopped at the referral management office to see if they had an update on my request for the nerve burn. 


It's never good when the worker at the computer types something and then looks confused at the screen then has to flag down another worker to helper her figure out what something means. They print out a paper and hand it to me, with a very sad look on their face, saying "Tricare has denied your request. You sh)ould receive a letter in the mail soon saying why. It will have steps to appeal the case." A letter in the mail? and you won't even tell me why?! I summoned all my dignity and in a reasonably level voice asked "can I please have my patient advocate? Like, right now?"


She handed me a post-it with his name and number. I went to a far corner of the waiting room where I cried and texted my husband to come see me. Then I called the advocate. He was in a meeting so I left a message. My husband came and met me. He called Tricare and demanded an explanation of why I was denied.


And here is what told to us: my case was reviewed by 2 boards of nurses. Both boards are of the opinion (opinion) that spinal nerve burns aren't proven to actually work. So they decided that I couldn't have my burn. Despite the fact I have had this procedure before, it was approved and it worked wonderfully. So my health was determined by a bunch of people that don't even know me and didn't even look at my history. They strictly looked at my MRI report and then at the request before them. We were both livid. And tricare was incredibly confused that I had even had the burn before, which makes me question their record keeping. 


Tricare refuses to reverse decisions. They are forcing us to appeal. Bryan leaves in 2 weeks. I am screwed. And let me tell you, my hubby is not someone that gets mad easily but he pretty much exploded. 


He is still on the phone as we speak. He has even managed to get ahold of the board of nurses. 


Now what had us so very angry with this "not a proven practice" thing is last week our good friend saw my exact doctor and got the exact same burn. Paid for by Tricare. We have several friends in active duty that have gotten this burn paid for by Tricare. This all boils down to I am not active duty. I am a dependant. I am very close to setting something on fire.

The truth about military health care aka Tricare

Here's a little rant for all those who don't know anything about TRICARE, better known as Humana Military health insurance. 


I am a military spouse, which means I'm a dependent. Now, in recent years, the military has made strides to appear more family friendly. Used to be they didn't give 2 craps about the ones left behind when the soldiers went to war. Things started to change when mental health came into the forefront. Now the government tries to put on a good face and pretend they care about us dependents. But let me tell you about our pathetic idea of health care.


For the most part, yes, it is free. For the medical portion, as long as you are enrolled in Tricare Prime. Prime means they tell you who you can see, when you can see them, where, and what your benefits are. If you step outside your limits, you get slapped with a 100% bill. Okay, so, that means I have to see the on-base clinic which is staffed by no doctors 95% of the time. It's all nurses or medical techs. 


I hurt my back in 2014. Badly. I went in to the nurse and begged for help because I could hardly walk. They assigned me physical therapy. 16 sessions that did nothing but made me worse. In 2015 my back got worse but I refused to see the clinic because I wasn't going back to therapy. I knew I had bulging discs which therapy will only aggravate. Last year, at Easter, I tweaked my back so badly I ended up in the ER. I couldn't breathe it was so bad. They made me see the on-base clinic. I told the nurse I needed an MRI because x-rays were a waste of money. They weren't going to show disc issues. I was told, to my face, "we don't usually prescribe MRI's for episodes like this." Excuse me, this isn't an episode. It's been an ongoing problem for 2+ years. The issue? They rotate nurses so I never have the same primary care manager for more than 3 months at a time. So of course to her I'm just seeking drugs and bitchinf about a back ache. But I refused to budge until I got my scan. 


MRI scans are done at the VA hospital. So it took another 3 weeks to get it done. And looki3, 2 bulging discs AND arthritis in my spine. I was sent to pain management where after a few failed spinal shots, I was given a nerve burn that, miracle of miracles, fixed my back.


So, that's brought us to THIS MOMENT. Last month I fell down and reinjured that damn spot on my lower spine. So I called my pain management doctor and had them put in for a referral. Here's where I want everyone to know how shitty they treat spouses in the military. TRICARE never got back to my doctor. 3 weeks after the request I got a letter in the mail saying here's your authorization number, so I call the pain clinic like wtf. They never got a damn thing from my insurance. 3 weeks I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. So now they have the proof they can see me. NOW they have to get permission to do the actual nerve burn. They put in that request. DAYS GO BY. Nothing happens. I finally call TRICARE myself. They claim their information is incomplete. My doctor says they have no idea what Tricare is even talking about because they never received any more requests. The procedure request was submitted on the 31st of May. It wasn't until last Thursday that Tricare decided to say something. They called up saying they needed my MRI report from LAST YEAR. 10 days they say around while I cannot walk. I called them twice and nobody had any answers for me. In fact one stupid woman told me their system doesn't make mistakes, it's clearly on my doctor if things aren't happening. And then she hung up on me.


Today my doctor called to cancel the appointment we already had scheduled because Tricare refused to give them an authorization, despite now having the MRI and everything else they have demanded. I began to cry. My right leg is on fire and I have back spasms. So I call TRICARE. And I demand to speak to supervisor because I want to file a formal complaint. I have been ignored and even hung up on by the customer care line and I have had it. Want to know what happened? The supervisor told me the nurses (The ones that decide who lives and who dies) are reviewing my case and she will see if they have made a decision yet. Then she hung up on me. 


My husband deploys in a couple of weeks, the pain management office is usually books weeks out, and the procedure knocks me out for an entire day. I can't take care of my own child, I can't even feed my damn dog because I can't bend down. It's been 2 months of pain. And I have been told twice that "it's under review." Today I was even told "if it's so urgent why didn't your doctor send us the MRI sooner?" Well, because nobody knew you needed It! And you waited 10 days to ask!


I don't usually bitch to civilians about military life but I want others to realize that this is the shit we deal with. If I had private insurance, I would have dealt with this a long time ago. I would have taken my tax money and gotten surgery. I cannot even go to the ER for relief because they aren't allowed to help me. All they can do is give me some ibuprofen. 


We get what we pay for. And since we pay nothing, that's pretty much what we get. I can't even go talk to a human being because they took away the Tricare rep from the clinic. Now everything is handled over the phone. Everything. 


Hanging up on you is just a bonus, I suppose. When the woman is crying because she cannot walk, and you hang up on her, you are a heartless asshole. I believe there is a special place in Hell for Tricare. 


Fuck you.




Reading progress update: I've read 32%.

North American Lake Monsters: Stories - Nathan Ballingrud

The first 2 stories were great. This one is making me nauseous only because I'm suffering through another sinus infection. The nurse looked a bit stunned a human could have one so badly without oozing green mess from every opening. Yeah... so I'm easy to make throw up right now.


On the bright side, Comcast absolved me of the debt! Woot! I am finally free! 


Dragonsdawn - Anne McCaffrey

This was a bit slow to get going, but once we got into part 2 it became the Pern book I have come to love. By part 3 I was on the edge of my seat, even though I knew vaguely what happens. Man, I cried more than once for various reasons. Finding out the details of Sallah's sacrifice. Learning the details of the first Thread flight. The volcano eruption. Avril and Tubberman. Oh wow. This was so much better than the Harper Hall collection.

Reading progress update: I've read 221 out of 337 pages.

Dragonsdawn - Anne McCaffrey


Sallah,  nooooooooo!!!!!!

Rescuing Danny

This week has been a total hurricane of crazy. I learned what the Harrah Police station looked like. I had the same officer I met there show up at my house for something totally unrelated. (Long story.) This was all on Tuesday. 


Then Wednesday happened. I finished grocery shopping with my son, drove the 25 minutes home, and was nearly home when I passed this house in my neighborhood I just cannot stand. They always have trash everywhere, their fence is falling over, they have a huge gas grill blocking their front porch and apparently they don't own a weed eater. (Our subdivision is brand new. Most houses are still being built! There is now reason for this crap!) Anyway there was a large bird cage on their sidewalk. And inside the cage.... a very large green bird. It was 90 degrees and sunny. The cage had no shade. I went on around the corner and unloaded my van, sent a series of text messages to my bird-lady friend, and stewed for about 10 minutes before I marched down the street to see if the bird was still outside. Halfway up the sidewalk I heard a lot of crying and "hello" calling out. There he was. A big beautiful double-yellow headed Amazon parrot, all alone with no food and hardly any water. 


For about 10 minutes I went back and forth with my girlfriend on what to do. Do I knock? Do I steal him and make a run for it? Do I just took the cage away and to Hell with it? So I got up my courage and knocked. The Lady that answered was Chinese and hardly spoke English. I told her the bird was going to die if they didn't bring him inside. Why on earth have such an expensive exotic bird just roasting in the sun? She had her 10 year old son come translate. She said she had cleaned his cage earlier, that's why he was out there. Uh....okay? Why can't he sit in the shade of your porch? As I walked away feeling really bad for this poor animal, the son called after me "you want bird? We really don't want him anymore. You can buy him." 


I got on the phone. Me and my girl only had about $100 each. The woman looked insulted. Oh excuse me, ma'am who doesn't want the bird anyway. So I told her my friend would save the money and we would be back in a couple of weeks. But when I got home I just couldn't settle. I started Operation Rescue Baby. I sent out messages and texts to everyone I knew who would be willing to help. In an hour I had $400. The next morning I knocked on their door and waved the cash. It's funny what seeing money can do. They took the cash and I took the bird.


His name is now Danny. Because....



First thing I did was wash his dishes and give him real food. All they had fed him was corn. Wet corn in Oklahoma heat means flies like whoa. So then I had to clean the cage bottom too. He ate snap peas and grapes like there was no tomorrow. Bless his starving heart. Next was to outfit his naked cage. He had no toys, which a parrot needs. They get bored and will go crazy. Start screaming and plucking. So I spent $70 at Petsmart Thursday afternoon. He promptly began to demolish the new dangle toy with gusto. 


Friday this happened.



He let me pet his feet for a while and play with his beak a little.  


Today he climbed out of his cage and explored the top perches, talked to us in his silly baby-like voice, and was a general hoot to watch.



Now the main question seems to be why would they buy a $1300 bird just to neglect it? You would be surprised how often this happens. But Danny is 11 months old, which means he's hitting his sexual maturity. He's nippy and doesn't want to be held or touched. This is when most people get rid of their birds. It's sad but true. They think their bird has turned mean. He hasn't. He's just a moody teen. Already he and I are getting on. His previous owners had no business with him if they didn't understand this period was coming. 


So this has been my week. Thanks to my daddy, my 2 girlfriends and my hubby we saved a life. And let me tell you Danny is so much fun. 

June TBR: Small Bear Press Month

Tyrannia: and Other Renditions - Alan DeNiro North American Lake Monsters: Stories - Nathan Ballingrud The Monkey's Wedding and Other Stories - Lizza Aiken, Joan Aiken The Liminal People - Ayize Jama-Everett The Fires Beneath the Sea - Lydia Millet Fire Logic - Laurie J. Marks Couch by Benjamin Parzybok (2008-11-01) - Benjamin Parzybok After the Apocalypse - Maureen F. McHugh The Child Garden: A Novel - Catriona McPherson A Stranger in Olondria - Sofia Samatar

Last year I got a Humble Bundle of Small Bear Press books that I archived and never got to, so I'm dedicating June to at least testing out some of them. I read one last year called Stranger Things Happen that a lot of people seem to like but I hated it. A lot of these look good though. They seem really creative so I'm holding out hope. Once I finish Dragondawn, I will tackle this pile and see where it leads.

Reading progress update: I've read 19 out of 337 pages.

Dragonsdawn - Anne McCaffrey

This book is riddled with type-o's. Like whoa. I'm trying to put it down to this being an original 1988 copy but dang, I have a box set of Pern from 1985 that was 100% better than this. So it's a weak excuse. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 271 pages.

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

I think I'm Katz in this book.


Reading progress update: I've read 19 out of 397 pages.

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson


I can't. I can't breathe!




This book. And I thought the movie was good.

I decided to start on my own personal literary canon. And I'm super picky about what should make the list. What made a major impact on my life? What people/characters seem most in line with me and my life? This is all I have so far:



Peony in Love

A Street Cat Named Bob

Happy Accidents

Let's Pretend This Never Happened


I saw this journal layout on Instagram, and liked it. So I adapted it to my needs. I don't know if it will ever be filled. I like the idea of never having a filled canon, always expanding.

If I have to see it, you do, too.
If I have to see it, you do, too.
It has to be a better pick than Sessions.
It has to be a better pick than Sessions.
My poor country. Gary Johnson, where are you?
My poor country. Gary Johnson, where are you?

Reading progress update: I've read 0 out of 159 pages.

Dragondrums - Anne McCaffrey

I'm putting Murakami on hold. I'm not DNFing it because it was interesting. It was just not what I felt like reading at the moment. So I'm going to finish this, since it's the last in this series and also the last in this Harper Hall volume I got. Plus, I love Pern, so maybe this will break my ever-increasing slump.

Reading progress update: I've read 145 out of 607 pages.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles - Haruki Murakami

Everyone just keeps meeting this man and telling them their life stories within 5 minutes of knowing him.



That seems to be the extent of the plot thus far.