A few pieces of bad news hit us recently, and I just need to pout about it online.
My left eye’s vision has been terrible for the past year and a half. I’ve even been fighting a light case of double vision.
The initial thought was that my eyes needed a break from contacts, but three frustrating months in glasses didn’t alleviate the double vision. And my prescription was still so bad that the optometrist said I couldn’t a contact lens in that strength.
So I was sent off to an ophthalmologist to see if the eye had keratoconus. He found no indication of the condition, so his suggestion was a scleral lens which would come in the strength I needed. (My prescription is so bad that normal lenses don’t go that high.)
Fun fact: Scleral lenses are expensive, not to mention being a PITA to put in because they’re huge. Even after all of these years, I have trouble getting even regular contacts on my eyes.
I spent the last few months practicing opening my eyes nice and wide. I got a little better about it, but I made the appointment mainly because I just couldn’t stand the blurriness anymore. My right eye compensates pretty well, but occasionally my vision goes blurry and I have to blink a few times, maybe rub my eyes, to get everything to focus again. Not fun.
But as it turns out, I won’t be getting a scleral lens. Because the optometrist thinks he detected the very beginnings of a cataract when he did that awful thing where the doctor shines a light directly into your eyes. I’m super light sensitive, so that portion of the exam is almost physically painful.
I knew I was at a risk for cataracts because Mom got diagnosed with them not too long ago. But I figured I’d have to worry about that in my 50s — which is still pretty young for cataracts — and I’m only turning 40, folks.
I’m also grumpy about the whole visit. When I first arrived, I was informed that a) scleral lenses are $800 to $1,200, not the $600 I was told and b) they wanted to recheck for keratoconus and if it were found the exam needed would be $500. (Obviously, none was found, so I paid just $62. But it was a nasty surprise nonetheless.) All of this after I trekked 25 miles out to Tempe to see the doctor who only worked out of that office and did most of the scleral lens stuff, yet ended up with the same doc I normally see at the office three miles from my house. Ugh!
Anyway, he’s going to review the records from the branch I normally visit to see how bad and how quickly degradation has occurred. If that also indicates a cataract, I’ll be sent to a doctor who does cataract surgeries to discuss my options.
Did you know they keep you awake during the procedure? Ick ick ick ick ICK!
Needless to say I’m not chipper about the whole situation. If I do have a cataract, at least it’s fixable and I have hope for having a useful left eye again. But I don’t want to have surgery, especially the kind they keep you awake for (again: ick ick ick ick), and I don’t know how long they want to wait if it’s just the beginnings of a cataract. They may have a threshold of how bad it has to be before they do a surgery.
A couple of months ago I was (finally) approved to continue my Medicare benefits. But I was only approved for Part A, hospital benefits. I also need Part B.
A phone call to Social Security quickly got to the bottom of the problem: I had missed a couple of questions on the form I filled out. And the woman who was supposed to review the document before sending it off… Well, apparently she didn’t check it that hard to make sure everything was properly filled out.
Specifically, I missed the question about whether I wanted Part B. I didn’t check yes or no, so the people who processed the application decided that clearly I meant “no.”
I went to the Social Security office and filed an appeal. Two months ago. I still haven’t heard anything back. I checked in with Social Security on Friday, but the appeal is still pending.
They’ve assured me that it won’t take as long as the initial application — which took 17 months — but they can’t say for sure when it will be processed either. Here’s hoping it’s soon because in the meantime I’m having to pay for both my Part A premium ($232) and my marketplace plan ($613).
It turns out we’ve been underpaying Tim’s lawyer for the Social Security appeal. I’d forget to call in a payment for two or three months at a time. They always seemed to charge us for the remaining months, but apparently some slipped because we owe the lawyer an additional $1,750.
Don’t get me wrong: That still leaves a sizable chunk o’ change for us. But it’s a nasty bite, and part of my grumbles that it’s not as though the lawyer worked on his case steadily for months on end. Maybe a total of three months’ worth (but probably less) of the 30-odd months the case dragged on.
But the rest of me knows that there’s no way we would’ve gotten Tim’s benefits back without the lawyer. So I need to just shut up and pay it.
Let’s commiserate: What bad news have you received lately?