Saturday, August 29, 2015


Gina and her mom are caregivers for her dad, who has been ill for quite a while now.  She needed to take a little break so today she came over to pet-sit while I ran errands and then we decided she should spend the night as well (her mom was at home to take care of her dad).  So we watched a marathon of old Love Boat shows and had a pizza.  A nice girls' night for both of us.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Not much going on

Me and the Veterans Service Officer are really getting to know each other.  I spent another two hours with him today filling out the forms petitioning the VA to give me back the money they took out of my account when Marshall died.

On the up side, today I received the small amount of money that Social Security gives you for burial expenses. It's hardly enough for even a nice dinner, but it's better than nothing.

I quit taking that new drug the doctor wanted me to take (Propafernone) and went back to the drugs she had me on originally and I feel good again.  I check my heart rate every hour or two and it never gets below 55 so I can't explain why it went down to 40 when I saw her on Tuesday.

I'm wondering if smoky air could affect the heart rate.  The air in Colorado has been very hazy and smoky for the past week due to the fires on the west coast and the local clinic has advised that everyone stay indoors if possible.  Just wondering...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Busy days

Spent the past four days running errands and getting things done.  Received more forms from the VA that need to be filled out.

Today was my appointment with my heart doctor.  My pulse was 40 and that got her all worked up.  She did an EKG and then decided to switch my medication.  I was doing so well and feeling so good for the past several months and tonight when I started the new medication I've been feeling awful.  I guess I should at least give this drug a chance.

She also wants me to consider having heart surgery and I can't even begin to wrap my head around that right now.  Very depressing.

In the past whenever I went to the doctor Marshall always wanted me to call him as soon as I left the doctor's office to let him know how it went.  When I got in the car and realized I couldn't call him I had a major meltdown.  I miss him so much.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Insurance, etc.

Another 2 hours with the Veterans Service Officer today.  We finished the paperwork and it got mailed to the VA today.  And I was able to mail out all the forms I had to fill out for his Post Office benefits.  Now I wait.

Marshall made sure I had the VA's supplemental insurance (called ChampVA) but I didn't understand how it worked so that's why I've been researching other supplemental insurance.  However, after a few of you have alerted me to how it works (thank you!) -- and after the Veterans Service Officer made some phone calls and did lots of research -- I understand that it is definitely a supplemental health insurance plan that works in conjunction with Medicare.  At no cost to me.  So I thank Marshall for his foresight.

My challenge for today was trying to find information on his previous marriages.  All of the forms I filled out required that information.  I didn't have it so I even went to one of those People Search sites on the internet and paid the money to do a search and came up with nothing, not even his marriage to me.  Marshall and I were together 28 years and I wasn't the least bit interested in previous marriages.  So the Service Officer decided to simply put "unknown" and we'll see what happens.

I believe I am now done with paperwork for the time being.  YAY!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My brain hurts

Boy, do I appreciate everything Marshall did over the years with regard to benefits. I hate doing this.

At any rate, I spent almost 3 hours with the Veterans Service Officer today.  He made sure to stress that he is not an employee of the VA, he is hired by the State to help veterans.  We went over all the benefits I should be entitled to and then we filled out a long application.  I had to bring in Marshall's military discharge form, our marriage certificate, his death certificate and his VA disability award letteer.

The first order of business is to try to get the VA to give me back the money they took out of my checking account as soon as they learned Marshall had died.  The Service Officer, Tim, told me that the disability checks are deposited a month behind.  So in other words, the check for June is deposited in July.  So when they took back the July deposit they were taking back money that was for a month when Marshall was alive so they shouldn't have done that.  We will try to get that money back.

Then he gave me a form outlining the various types of headstone I can pick out, so I need to contact the cemetery and see if they have any restrictions and then I will pick one out and decide what I want engraved on it.

The other things I should be entitled to are:

     *  Burial expenses up to $2,000.  This will include all expenses that I incur taking Marshall's ashes to West Virginia (airfare, gas, mileage, hotel, etc.) so I need to keep all receipts.

     *  A portion of Marshall's monthly disability payment, maybe as much as $1400.

     *  A retroactive payment for Aid & Assistance.  I had applied for this two years ago and never got a response to my application so since I was definitely entitled to it -- and if I can prove I applied for it -- we will ask for all back payments.

Then this afternoon I spent 5 hours on the phone with insurance companies and then researching trying to figure out which supplemental insurance to get, as well as what prescription drug plan to get. I need to make decisions pretty soon.  (My thanks to those of you who provided me with information and suggestions -- I researched them all.)

Tomorrow I have errands to run (Gina will be here with the boys) so I will get back to insurance issues on Thursday.

I'm going to get back into making and selling my jewelry.  I called the store where I was selling before and the owner is going to make space for me again.  I should be up and running by October 1st.  Little by little, I'm doing normal thngs again.

Monday, August 17, 2015

MetLife Etc.

I woke up again this morning with my heart in Afib.  It has lasted most of the day.  I have an appointment with my heart doctor on Tuesday.

But the first thing I did was to call MetLife and I was told that the letter I got suspending the monthly payments was an error.  They tell me I am definitely entitled to the survivor benefits and the monthly payments will continue uninterrupted.  Big relief.

Then I started the phone calls for supplemental health insurance.  I was on the phone a very long time with Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  In order to get their best coverage the monthly cost will be $170.  There is no dental and no vision coverage.  But there are no co-pays and no deductible.  To get prescription coverage there is an additional monthly cost of $37.

They have one other plan that costs $117 a month but it has a deductible and a $20 copay.  So if I were to have a serious health issue where I needed to see a doctor monthly, the copays would quickly add up so it makes more sense to get the better plan.

The worrisome part of all of this is that my health insurance coverage with GEHA (Marshall's insurance from the post office) ends on August 21 and any new supplemental health insurance won't kick in until September 1.  So I will have short period of no supplemental insurance.

The prescription coverage is kind of hard to understand.  First, there is a deductible of $320.  Then different drugs are handled differently.  So if we start out with the only two drugs I am taking for my atrial fibrillation (Metoprolol and Flecainide) I would have a copay of $1 for the Metoprolol and a $60 copay for the Flecainide until the deductible is met and then it would be a $6 copay.

Tomorrow afternoon I will call Humana and see what their coverage is like.

But first, tomorrow I have a 10:00A appointment with the Veterans Service Officer.  This is the most important meeting of all.  I am very nervous about anything having to do with the VA.  I watched Marshall battle the VA for 28 years.  But this will be where the largest part of my monthly benefits should come from.  Also, we will order the headstone for Marshall.

Marshall's ashes arrived today so in the next few months there will be a trip to West Virginia to scatter the ashes and place the headstone.  The company that sent the ashes -- ScienceCare -- also sent along a beautiful little lucite pyramid that catches the light and just glitters and it has a message written in a circular pattern on the inside with a four-leaf clover in the center:  "He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times."  I think that is beautiful.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lazy day

I woke up today with my heart in A-fib and it stayed that way all day long until around 5:30. I didn't feel good, so I was very lazy and didn't do much today.  We've been having lots of storms, thunder and lightning, so it was a perfect day to kick back and listen to the rain on the metal roof.

I've been going through Marshall's things and I find myself constantly thinking, "Oh, I have to keep that in case he comes back and needs it."  Weird.