Meanwhile, Back at the Hospital Ward – Day 134 of Medical Leave

I’ve been away from this blog for a good long while, although my friend Jill and I have been busy setting up http://postcardsfrompurgatory.com, and I hope my readers here have enjoyed checking out that site. Since I last posted here, I have flown back to Massachusetts from San Francisco, attended a class picnic, an awards ceremony, graduation, and final faculty meetings at my school, in the process of which I managed to plunge myself back into the kind of pain and almost the kind of insomnia I was experiencing when I was still working. Then I slowly recovered, and this week I’ve had a couple of days of feeling mostly human again. The weather has generally been mild, with temperatures in the seventies or low eighties most days, and I’ve been spending my days reading and napping with all the windows open in my apartment and the breezes sweeping in from the sunporch and out through my apartment’s many windows. I’ll miss this place when I move, and so will the cats.

I am still waiting for a decision from my school’s insurance company, which is in theory supposed to provide long-term disability payments for as long as I am unable to work. My school’s business office has assured me that I shouldn’t have any trouble qualifying for coverage, but my doctors were slow in sending my records in to the company (and one of them is currently being very slow in returning my phone calls – grrr!), and the company itself is having trouble getting it through its skull that fibromyalgia, MTBI, and depression are all conditions that present gradually. I didn’t wake up on February 2, 2012 magically unable to work, and the company is having trouble understanding why I don’t have a sheaf of medical records dated February 1. They won’t even look at a thorough 10-page report from a concussion specialist that essentially says I should have quit teaching back in 2010, because they don’t understand what a report from 2010 could possibly have to do with my health in 2012.

Because the past doesn’t have anything at all to do with the present. Please. Haven’t these people read Faulkner?

So I am living very, very cautiously, rationing every banana and potato and can of cat food and gallon of gas. And that’s OK, for the most part – a simple, home-based life is good for me right now, and I’m enjoying the down time. But then this morning my phone rang, and it was my landlord. My sweet, beleaguered landlord who lost most of his tenants when a sewer backed up into the building two winters ago and still brought me a gallon of Poland Spring drinking water promptly at seven o’clock every morning until he could turn the water on again, and who only just now managed to finish all the repair work that needed to be done and rented out the rest of the apartments again, and whom I had to tell a couple of weeks ago that I would be moving out. He sounded so sad when I told him. I assured him that I would stay until my lease expires on August 31, and that I might even want to stay for one or two months beyond that because I am in no hurry for the stress and exertion of a cross-country move and could really use one last mellow New England summer and fall before heading out. Yes, that landlord. And when he called this morning, he had a proposition for me. He has a long-time acquaintance, an older woman, who recently had to take a leave of absence from work in order to care for her husband as he died of cancer. He lived longer than his doctors expected, and when she asked to extend her leave of absence, her employer fired her. She had been provided housing by her employer, who said that she would have to start paying rent – rather exorbitant rent, according to my landlord – if she wants to stay in her current housing. She is willing to buy out my lease if I can be out of my apartment by July 1. If I insist on staying, she will be unable to afford her rent and will probably have a hard time finding a place to live that is safe and affordable for her as she struggles to pay off her dead husband’s medical bills.

So, in other words, if I don’t move out within the next two weeks, a little old lady will DIE. And possibly also a puppy.

The financial advantages to moving out now are obvious: I won’t have to pay rent or utilities any more, and I’ll get my security deposit back on July 1. I can have a garage sale for some additional cash, leaving me a bit of a cushion as I set off for San Francisco. Presumably the disability money will come through at some point within the next few weeks, but if it doesn’t, at least I won’t have to worry about paying the rent. I can take my time driving to San Francisco and get settled out there several months ahead of schedule. It’s perfect, right?

Except for one thing: me. My body is still covered with all those crazy bruiselike fontanel-shaped things, and every day I have anywhere between 2-4 hours of clear, effortless eyesight before things start to glaze over. I can barely make decisions about whether to have oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast each day, let alone the kind of decisions that go into making a long-distance move. Fortunately I have moved many times before and am good at it, and I have already decided to liquidate almost everything I own. But still.

Check back in, folks – I have a feeling that life here at Six More Weeks of Winter is about to get a lot more interesting.

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2 Responses to Meanwhile, Back at the Hospital Ward – Day 134 of Medical Leave

  1. Maria says:

    Here I was expecting the story to end that the sweet landlord was suggesting that the dear old lady move in with you and help you till you were able to move! No fair. Maybe she could help you move anyway, in return for the quick move out.

  2. lfpbe says:

    Nah, I don’t do well with roommates. But all of this turned out to be a false alarm – the little old lady turned out to be not so desperate after all and turned down the apartment after she saw it (I don’t know why – it’s a good apartment!). But now I’m back to my life of extreme leisure and frightening poverty.

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