Monday, May 21, 2018

Health and Money

It seems that if I'm not sharing news stories on social media, my social media ends up being all about health and money.

Health and money... money and health.  Trying to make ends meet on Social Security.  Trying to get the medical tests scheduled.  Struggling with medical bills that should have been/are/ might be covered by insurance.  Dealing with pain, blood sugar drops, anemia, migraines...

And yet these are the two issues most on my mind these days, and the issues that make me feel so isolated.  I don't socialize as much.  I have no money to go places, and the free places? Well, with the way I've been feeling, being anywhere too long, or sometimes just leaving the apartment is out of the question.  I haven't even gotten the dog to the dog park in days.

Things aren't DIRE.  My rent and utilities (in fact all my bills) are up to date.  I have food in the apartment, probably enough to last until my social security arrives.  What I don't have is money for the iron formula my doctor wants me to take, and money to get a couple pairs of pants (I only have two).  I'm not dying anytime soon that I know of.  I'm pretty sick most nights, and that makes me tired and gives me grief with pain and migraines during the day, but it's not like chronic illness is something new to me... and that I don't expect an increasing share of bad days as I age.

But what this all does is isolate me, and makes me feel even more like an outsider, someone who doesn't belong. 

Here in Petaluma, people have or come from money.  People have much higher incomes, and those who don't have family members (or ex-husbands) who are well heeled and pay for their apartments and give them spending money.  It's hard to explain, "No, I don't have $5, not even in my bank accounts, so I won't be going to senior bingo", or to exercise class, or to any of the other things around here that "just" cost $5.  I gave my last $5 to the senior center.  That day I saw the lawyer and went to a Middle Eastern dance exercise class.  Obviously one of those things they let me in free for.

I don't have people over here. I have limited seating.  My futon is just about it, that and two wooden chairs, and a slipcover chair that currently doesn't have a slipcover on it.  I need to replace the futon mattress (or the futon with a couch!) and get the cover for the chair, then I can invite a few people over.  Of course, it's hard to meet people to invite over when I don't get out much.

Now I'm not one of those seniors with overflowing apartments, with all the walls covered and everything stacked and packed throughout the apartment.  I believe in minimalism.  The one neighbor who came into my apartment looked around for a comfortable place to sit, and said "well, this is nice.  I suppose this is all you really need" but couldn't sit in the too low chair, and was too uncomfortable on the lumpy futon.  My walls are pretty bare right now (at least until I get some frames for some of my prints and photographs) and I do want to get some painting done, but there is hardly room on my little table for my printer AND my little folding easel. 

I know things will get better with time.  I have some medical tests coming up next week that will hopefully give me some answers. I have a financial plan which has allowed me to steadily increase my credit rating and pay off the car repairs, vet bills, and cost of my eyeglasses from last year, and I've got a shopping list of lower cost but still fairly nice things on Amazon.com that I can use to at least make my apartment more manageable.  But so far it's been some of those little things (toasters and the second hand smoothie machine that doesn't smoothie anything, the desk chair from the rummage sale, the spring coat...) that has kept me with less money in my pocket to do some of the things I want to do socially. 

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