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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas was Good, despite......

Christmas at the Thurmer household was pretty good. Besdies, not having any money, worrying about the end of the year drug expenses and requalifying for the upcoming year. Deanna and I exchanged cards and she suprised me with a telescope, because up here on Signal Mountain, you have an exceptional view of the stars. The main and most important part of our efforts were to make Christmas for the grandkids good, and that worked.

We have the greatest gift, and that cannot be bought at any cost, and that is each other. We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary on Dec 13.

Well, thats all for now, no Hell-Raising at anyone or anything today. I have plenty of time for that come Monday

Everyone have a great weekend, MT

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Show me the MONEY

I keep up with current events alot, maybe too much. I have been watching the bailouts of Wall Street and proposed assistance to the Auto industry. I can't even visualize what 1 billion dollars looks like, much less 700. That bunch at AIG are unbelieveable. They get all this money and hand out bonuses. The government ought to take it all back and let them sink, I don't give a damn.
The big 3 needs help. When credit dried up, nobody bought vehicles. I will never buy another new car. I will never be able to afford it. In 1994 we bought a new Jeep Cherokee, we still have it. It has manual windows and is very basic. It cost $17,000 back then and 5 years of monthly payments of $369 was very long time. The general financials of the average person really is going to be stretched to buy a $30,000 vehicle.
I don't want to sound like a beggar, but if the governement gave every household $50,000, imagine what that would do for the economy. It would be enough that everyone would be comfortable spending money. I would not spend it on a $40,000 SUV, but would buy some new clothes, replace this sagging computer desk, and probably buy a 52 inch HDTV. That is the three things that come to mind, but I am sure I could find something else to buy and even save some.
I know, we don't have to worry about this. The $700,000,000,000 that went to Wall Street, could really save us all. A Social Security Disability person such as myself, will not feel the slightest change in our situation from the govt's actions.
Good Day, MT

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some people think disabled means brain dead.

I recieved an email from someone with one of those weird screen names today. I am going to try and post it now.

"You can launch a boat, operate a boat, fish, spy on soccer mom's at Pruitts, write, edit and publish opinion letters, but you're too sick to work and are forcedto draw disability? ! ? "

This really pisses me off. Because I have MS, I am not supposed to have an opinion, voice the opinion, or fish, or go to the grocery store, and such.
Just because I am disabled, and was forced to go on disability 14 years ago, I don't know what this person expects of me. I am not brain dead. I can only assume that she picked me up me off of one of my posts to, which is a online newspaper, opinion site, etc. You are supposed to put your email on your post, so I do. I guess I opened up myself to the lunatic fringe when I did so.
I responded to the writer by telling her first she needed to be educated about MS. I assume it is a woman, based by the name "Queen". I told her to go to the MS society website and see what really is going on. I look at this as not only an attack on me, but any person disabled with MS who still uses their brain. I have spoke out about the selling of classroom naming here on Signal Mountain, very strongly against it. Where else can you get a classroom named after you for $ 35,000 ?
Maybe that was it. I also had written a post to Chattanoogan about a new high speed boat the Tennessee Aquarium operates on the Tennessee River. There have been numerous accounts of boats being swamped with it's wake. It operates at 50 MPH and according to their website, the captain said it handles like a jet fighter, wonderful. My stepson and a friend was trying to make it to shore as it approached and was swamped 20 feet from shore. Maybe my telling the story upset her. I was not in the boat even though she said I was able to fishing. I guess if you are disabled with MS, you are not allowed to go fishing.
I hope that this is not a sign of things to come. MS has caused enough problems in my life, now I have to worry about attacks because I still can think and express opinions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pencils for sale....

I have been on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) since 1994. I was employed by U-Haul Company when MS forced me to go on their disability when I cojld not work the 60 hours workweek mandated when you were on salary. I did as told. Luckily, I had enrolled in the optional disability policy when I was hired. They payed me 60% of my salary for 6 months, then I was told I had to file for SSDI. 1 month after filing, I went to the mailbox on day and there was a check form SSDI. I was so confuse, I called SS and told me that was my benefit and I was approved, wow. Well, U-haul reduced my benefit to $ 277.25 and have paid it every month since.

I jumped the hoops as required. Yearly paperwork to take to my doctor and for me to fill out. I always sensed that they would love to get rid of me. After working for these folks, I knew I was considered a waste of money. The big difference is that their Insurance co is owned by U-Haul and funded by U-Haul. They pay the benefit out of the general fund, just like an electric bill.

Back in 2004-5, After the State of Tennessee killed Tenncare, which paid for my prescriptions and my wife Deanna's coverage was for health and scripts. Our scripts balloned to over $ 800 per month. I kept getting paperwork for SSDI telling me I qualified for a "ticket to work". I stated that I could work and not affect my benefits, as long as I did not make a "meaningfull wage" over $800 per month. I did not go looking for a job. I was contacted by people I knew at Signal Mtn Police Dept, they needed dispatch/9-1-1 help on weekends. A total of 16 hours.

Knowing what was coming with Tenncare, I took the job. After 3-4 months, The office was closed to save money, dispatch was transfered to Hamilton County 9-1-1. Well, nect I was contacted by the Sequatchie 9-1-1 District. Their office was not yet open and the director needed help getting everything done and ready. Knowing I was supported the SSDI to try, I accepted the job. We got open, and because I was a state certified operator, The director put me on some shifts while going operational.

After a few months, one night night I had a partial onset seizure on duty. I could not anser the radio or phone. I was in a semi concious state. The director cam ena dunlocked the building and I was relieved. They let me go home. I barely remeber the trip. I ran out of the road several times, driving like a drunk. Being I was driving a curvy mountainroad, it is a miracle I made it home. I resigned because of the danger of me trying to dispatch..

About a year later, I got a letter from SSDI. They wanted why I was working.....
I wrote a letter saying pretty much what I said here. They started all this. Anyway, I got a letter back, everything was ok..

I recieved a letter a few weeks ago where U-Haul is transferring management of their disability to Met Life. Nect I recieved a large envelope from Met, and know have to go thru a hoop jumping session with them. I fear that my brief attempt to save our home, which failed, will cause either a temp loss of benefits or they may try to kick me off completely.

I have read the policy over and over. It does not say you cannot try. So, I guess I am at their mercy. Met life has probably been hired to see if they can get rid of the disabled U-Haul is paying. I am sure they are tightening their belts.

So again, this Damn Disease, my intentions of trying to save our home, will hurt me again. U-Haul unofficaly told me one time if you could sell pencils on a street corner, you were not disabled.

Any body want to buy some pencils ?

Thanks, Mitch

Can you sell pencils?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Walking !

Well, After last month's visit to the Doctor, I realized I must lose weight. I can't run, it kills me. So I started walking at the old middle school track. 4 laps make 1 mile. I started at 1 mile and increased it by 1/4 mile a day up to 1.5 miles. It only takes 30 minutes and is amazing. I feel more energized after I finish. I always carry my cane and a water bottle. I walk at a fast pace and don't over do it. I stepped on the scales at the pharmacy earlier today and have lost 16 pounds this month. I can tell that the walking is whats doing it, plus I am eating like a normal person. That's why I am posting this entry. Even with MS, if you can get out and excercise, it will make a difference. I am not expecting a miracle and I know there will be days when I simply can't do it.
I will be 52 this month and I must start living a healthier life. Next major goal, stop smoking these stupid, expensive, cigarettes. I have tried stopping 3 or more times, it is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. But I hope this is where the walking comes in also. After walking, I really don't want them. Maybe it's in my mind or it really has a medical basis.
Anyway, it's time to go walk NOW.
Have a good day, MT

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gas Prices are killing the SSDI recepients

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the news that wholesale Gasoline prices were going to jump up to $1.50 per gallon. I immediately rushed out and filled up my pickup and when my wife returned home I did hers as well. In the 3 hours between, absolute panic had ensued. Cars were driving 75 miles per hour, racing to the gas stations. Cars were six deep at each pump here on our mountain. The local news, ignored the news, not giving the public forewarning as to what we coming. I sent an email to all three local stations, blasting them for their ignoring the "breaking news". I did receive a response from one of the stations, stating they did not want to cause panic. Newsflash, the lack of more information caused more panic. There were fights in Chattanooga and here on Signal Mountain in the lines.
My father was an Exxon Distributor, starting in 1956, the year I was born. I grew up in the gas/oil business, I know how this crap works. I remember putting last car magnets on vehicles in the middle of long lines and being threatened. I remember cars slamming into each other because they did not move fast enough.
All of us have got to write our congressmen and Senators. Their approval rating is deserved, but they must increase our cost of living this year, largely. My local electric utility is putting a 20% increase in October, Water co, 20%, Groceries in some cases 30%, and the list goes on and on.
We must as a group jump all over these people, another 2.3% raise is an insult and almost makes a person if they intend to eliminate us, slowly. And if you are fortunate to have a good day, and take their advise to use the ticket to work, like I did before we lost our house, you will receive a letter wanting to know why you are working ! I had to quit the part time 9-1-1 operator job I had taken when I had an attack by myself in a locked secured dispatch center. It took 1 hour for them to get in.
Lets act, we are running out of time.....MT

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kind of a BAD mood

Sometimes you have to vent. I wish our blogs were nationally syndicated. I have a comment to make about the MS publication we currently receive. I have always felt that the best way to communicate any issue is tell it like it is. For instance, living in Chattanooga Tenn area, the 3 local TV stations only tell warm and fuzzy news. You have to dig in other sources to find out how many cuttings, shootings, and other urban activities occur. The tourist trade is very important to the area, because all the high paying industrial jobs are gone. Thats my point.
Publications dealing with MS need to focus on the real issues. Pain, depression, insurance and medical care issues. Don't present these in a flowery format. This is serious stuff. Too many MS patients don't know about resources, such as pharmacutical companies helping out when you hit the donut hole. They just suffer on, their quality of life going downhill because of not being educated. Knowing I was going into the hole by July this year, I began researching, calling, writing, all the companies in April. I am pleased to announce every single company except Eli Lilly had a program ready to assist us all. MS publications must be more to the point, clearly discuss issues so important to us all. I am happy for the featured MS victims who have done well, very happy for them. But for each of those, are there thousands who are suffering needlessly.
I guess I have fussed enough.
I hope Autumn is getting close, the Heat intolerance has really worked me over this year.Also I wanted clear another misconception. I have had pain as major symptom of my MS for years. Doctors, under the watchfull eye of government is scared to death to write strong pain meds. Well, luckily, I have one whi doesn't follow in lockstep with the others. After being on Hydrocodone for years, He placed me on Oxycontin 40 MG Er. I was of scared that horns would grow my head and I would wonder the streets looking for another fix. Not True
When taken as directed, swallowed whole, not gound up, snorted, etc, The medication has done very well. As I write this, I took my morning dose about 2 hours ago. I am not high, loopy, or stoned. I can drive fine. Even though in the Peoples Republic of Tennesse, by the law I am DUI.
This is where we need help in legislation. Are people on pain meds, who are not impaired, to be hermits?
Tennessee shows ads on all the time, Booze it and Lose it, Don't drink in drive, but keep the secret that if you open your mouth and say you are on meds, or even worse, have them with you, go directly to jail. Then you will be picking up garbage on the side of the road for 48 hours, I don't know how work a cane. If you fell into traffic, who would be liable?
Anyway thats whole another issue. I have already told the story about my wife Deanna going to jail. A 55 year old, grandmother of 6, a true danger to society. I tell you now, the infirm, sick, Boomers, have a target on our backs as we get older.
I gotta get off, I could write on this all day.
Good luck to you all, be carefull out there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday after a Tennessee Football Loss....

You know, life is stressful. Money, Gas Prices, The upcoming election, Co-Pays, the list can go on forever. As an avid Tennessee Football Fan, I settled in last night to relax and enjoy a great season opener with UT vs UCLA. Honestly, I thought it would be a rout, I have been spoiled by UT having their bright moments.
As many of you know, MS is stress sensitive. My evening of enjoyment turned into a recliner arm gripping session. Several times I had to force myself to relax my neck muscles, not realizing I was scowling at the TV.
After the blood letting was over, I went to bed, period. My wife Deanna asked, "How much did they win by?", meaning UT. I grunted that they lost and she jumps straight up in the bed and wanted a blow by blow explanation. I relived it again.
The bottom line is, I have to learn, even after all these years, to relax. All of you, do not fall into the trap I did. I guess I should have listened on the radio, but the pictures in my head would have been worse.
Maybe I can find a calming program on a shopping network today, yeah right.................

Thursday, August 21, 2008

After the Doctor appt and now the heat plus cost of living !!!!

As most MS patients know, heat sensitivity can really be bad. My wife Deanna is cold natured. We sit out on the porch every morning before starting our day, drinking coffee and watching the squirrels play. If the humidity is just right, even though it's only 70*, I sit there sweating.
I talked to my doctor about this Monday, he said that was part if it, go inside and drink the coffee. Well, we have done this for 30 years, I can't remember a time where we haven't shared this time together. I will keep on.
Back to the Doctor's appt, it was just to get scripts filled. The State of Tennessee in their infinite wisdom will only allow pain meds to be written for a thirty day run. So in real money that is 12 unnecessary co-pays of $20 every year, not including the deductible of $250 at the first of the year.
Also, something else to complain about ( I am really primed today). The TVA, which furnishes power to a lot of the southeast decided yesterday that will increase rates 20% in October, due to increased expenses. The Electric Power Board of Chattanooga will raise their to pass this along.

I believe the 2.3% raise that Social Security recipients received last year is long gone. If I had the patience, I would really like to figure how much the overall cost of living has gone up.

Anyway, I am going to drink some Iced Tea and see if I can calm down, It don't look good but I will try.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Doctor Appointment Day

Well, today it is time for my monthly visit to my primary care provider. In the State of Tennessee, if you are prescribed any narcotics, i.e. Muscle Relaxers, Tranquilizers, or Pain Meds as part of your treatment, you must be seen monthly.
This causes added expense thru co-pays, fuel, everybody knows the drill. I was diagnosed 18 years ago last May, and have been on some type of Pain med since then. The Doctor also requests you bring your meds with you. I WILL NOT BRING ANY OF THE THREE LISTED ABOVE. I bring the empty bottles. Here's why and every MS paitent needs to know this.

My wife has Meniere's Disease and Fibromyalgia. She has taken the above medications for years.
She was arrested for D.U.I. in Maryville, Tennessee in 2006. She had a minor accident with the Human Resources manager for that counties government, strike 1. When the police arrive, 3 officers went to the HR managers car, 1 to her. When he asked her if she had any drugs, she said yes, my prescriptions, strike 2. I had just traded vehicles with her and had my 357 magnum pistol in the console. I have a carry permit but rushed our trade because I was going to recover our Boston Terrier which had been stolen 2 weeks earlier, strike 3, Get charged with D.U.I., possesion of "drugs" and going "armed". The Officer on finding the weapon said he could have shot her between the eyes.

Anyway, it gets much worse, but I am not going into now. One very important thing you must know, she told the Officer she had Meniere's disease and had bad balance problems. He did not care, she was drunk he said because she failed the field sobriety test. Hell, I can't pass it either.

The Judge threw all this mess out. But it did cost us $2500 in legal fees. Each of you, please review carrying your meds. We are in a catch 22.
Any questions, feel free to ask.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Election Day Aug 7, 2008, Signal Mtn.,TN

Well, being the responsoible person I am, I voted today. It was a State Primary and local Sheriff and School Board Seat election.
The reason I am so moved to discuss it is, The local schools here in Signal Mountain are growing. A new High School opens next week and a new middle school also. The biggest news is a group known as Friends of Signal Mtn. High School has sold the classrooms. Yes, I am serious. For, $35,000 YOU can have your name placed on a classroom. For $650,000 , you can your own stadium named after you. Well, I guess you see where this is going.
These people think they can make this their own private school. That is the mantra being spoken at the Soccer Mom corners. Those people will not be allowed. I am mad, yes mad. People struggling to live and these self centered, pompus, mule behinds are trying to take over.
Be afraid, Very Afraid.
I've got to go de-stress, I get worked up at the thought.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rainy Fridays, MS likes them

Not very often can you say MS appears to like something, weird I know, here it goes.
I woke up this morning with the usual pains, spacticity, you know the deal. It was raining out so I decided to concentrate on some undone tasks. I cleaned out my files, got rid of old letters from Medciare telling me how much they made my doctor cut his bill. Felt sorry for the doctor, they have light bills too.
The MS kept it's distance, not beating me over the head. I guess I was relaxing and did not even know it. I didn't have any grandkids to watch today, Deanna was running errands, so it was me day.
I enjoyed listening to Rush Limbaugh, who always keeps me abreast of all this mess from 12-3.
What I am getting at is that every once in a while, if we can do things we WANT to do, it seems to make the MS not quite as severe. But you know, even though you are retired, somebody is going to want something, soon.
Take that time for something you enjoy, It might make your day a little better.
Well, gotta go do one of those somethings from somebody. Better take a pain pill, MS doen't like to be told what to do...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Day, Another Challenge

Today, really is not like any other day. In todays financial climate, all of us in a similar situation. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I did not ask for this disease and the resulting dependence on the government for every aspect of my life. I have Medicare A, B, and D. D is really a joke for those of us on expensive medications. I hit the Donut Hole this month. Sevreral Drug Manufacturers have stepped up and given me the meds at either very little charge or none at all.
The point of all this is that it is a full time job to manage being on disability. I spend alot of time working on the papaerwork, making sure it is correct, writing letters to Medicine manufacturers.
My surrent concern, and should be of us all is this. 2.3% last year does not even scratch the surface of the cost of living we have endured. Yes, it's back to groceries or gas. Write you congressman or anybody else who will listen, we are sinking.....
Arise my brothers and sisters,,,,,,,,,Mitch

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ask your Drug Manufacturer for Help !

I feel it a duty to spread the word. Many of MS patients are on alot of expensive medications. Most of us are also on Medicare Part D. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful to have Medicare D. When the illustrious Governor of the State of Tennessee killed Tenncare back in 2005-06, all of us were left to fend for ourselves. Not including Beatseron, our monthly meds were running about $800. We had to sell our house, move away 150 miles to stay in a house owned by my stepmother. When Medicare D came along, it was a godsend. The only catch is, if you have a serious illness, it is easy to hit the "donut hole" by mid year. I took it upon myself and contacted the drug manufacturers, all but Eli Lilly, stepped right up and have helped beyond belief. My wife and I are both on Lyrica, a relatively new med by Pfizer. They were excellent. I have to take the med for Neuropathic pain, which it stopped. My wife takes it for Fibromyalgia. It has turned the clock for her 25 years. I guess what I am getting at, don't be afraid to ask. By researching the manufacturers on the internet, calling them, and explaining the situation, they were great. Yes, it can be daunting, and up front, sometimes they will say if you have insurance they can't help, but after you explain the entire situation and that you are for all purposes uninsured, They are VERY caring.
Don't sit back in despair, America's drug companies will help us