Thursday, December 13, 2007

A mouse in OUR house and a pox on health insurance

Eek! A mouse! Vermin. He races from behind my bookshelf. He's in the kitchen and he tore through a whole plastic wrap to get at some spicy potato chips. There are bite marks on the chocolate.

We tried humane traps. He laughed at our pitiful attempts and ate the chocolate we used as bait, gobbled the peanut butter and then used the trap as his personal lavatory before whisking away unharmed. I won't use glue traps (I used one once in my old NYC apartment and woke to agonizing squeaks and a tiny writing body.) The snap traps seem too brutal. So we hired an exterminator who told us about the brownstone down the street that had so many mice he had to open the walls where he found hundreds (HUNDREDS) of them nesting in the walls. So now we have green pellets that they seem to love to chew on so much they want their friends to join in the fun.

I found a dead mouse in my office. Jeff found a dead mouse tucked under the stove.

Added to this are health insurance woes. When you are freelance you have to buy your own policies which are about the same you might pay to buy a small country all your own. And they don't pay for anything. Ten years ago, when I was critically ill, I spent a whole year after I got well fighting the insurance companies because they refused to pay. Conversations would go like this:

Insurance: We need you to pay that 800,000 bill (this is for real) right away because you didn't sign a consent form for the operation. Your husband did.
Me: I was in a coma! I couldn't sign anything!
Insurance: It doesn't matter. Can you write us a check today?

It took us two years of fighting to get things settled (and I can never thank my doctors enough, who often told us, "You don't have to pay me." My beloved obgyn wouldn't except payment from me for years.

We are now battling the insurance again because a procedure they assured us was covered and in network, they are now claiming was not in network, and they say they have no records of our ever calling. Clearly, something has to be done about health insurance. So many of our friends don't even have it because they can't afford it. And even when you do have it, they don't pay. I know we are going to have to find a new policy but what? And how will we ever afford it? If anyone knows of any great insurance in NJ (we use all NYC doctors) that is at least semi-affordable (the price of a small city, rather than a small country), please let me know.

Sigh. I hear the mouse.
POSTSCRIPT: Our incredible GP called the place on our behalf (he's a mensch, a writer, and a stellar human being) and got them to drop the bill. All of it!


Clea Simon said...

Caroline - I know you're allergic to cats, but maybe you could borrow someone's terrier? They'd get those mice in a minute! Though you'd still have to dispose of the corpses. Sigh.

Yay on the bill, though!

Caroline said...

How long would it take the terrier to do the job? I'd be willing to sneeze and wheeze for a week to get rid of these mice. But since the house next door is rennovating, I think the contrators are driving the mouse population into our row house! Gosh,I'd love a terrier! Anyone out there in Hoboken or NYC have one to spare?

Clea Simon said...

There ought to be a rental service - but I don't think there is. Come on, dog people! Anyone have a pup that needs a little workout?

M said...

I'm totally with you on the insurance issue. Our healthcare system is severely flawed in so many, many ways--your post just touches on one aspect of it.

I wrote a post on this recently as well--and though it's a three parter (!), it too only touches on some of the problems.

There is just so much wrong, starting with how many have no insurance, despite working fulltime, etc., how expensive it is to obtain coverage (and it's getting worse all the time), how expensive care is even with insurance (as you mentioned), and how being sick can easily disqualify you from coverage altogether.

I hope you find a decent company for your coverage--good luck!

Caroline said...

I'm going to your blog right now to read. I'm glad you feel the way I do. The whole system is such a nightmare.

M said...


I wrote you back on my blog, but wasn't sure if you'd see it, so I'm posting the comment here as well. It's so frustrating that so many of us have to accept such an inferior system, especially in this very wealthy, supposedly very modern country. Anyway here's my reply. And thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

Me too, Caroline,

I have a chronic health condition, so I def. relate to your story (I read several of your articles, so am somewhat familiar with a summary of your experience in the past).

I hope you will be reading (maybe my other blogs too? My personal blog is at and my local, Bay Area one at

As a wanna be pro writer, I would be love to have you, a talented and accomplished writer visit my blogs!

I seriously am planning to look into Canada and other countries for their healthcare systems. While emigrating is extremely difficult, so is being a chronically sick person (who's not wealthy) in this country.


Oh, and p.s., there is a company now that "rents" out dogs (here in the Bay Area I believe).

I know the comment here was in jest, but as sociable as some pets can be, going from home to home and owner to owner and living in an institutional setting the rest of the time is not an ethical setup in my opinion.

Visiting nursing homes and the like with a pet on occasion is one thing; renting pets out on a day to day basis leaves them without any real stability or real home, and just like adults and children, pets thrive on stability, predictability, love, and a consistent family.

Sorry, I know this is off topic, but that comment just reminded me of that company and there business model just upsets me (as you can see!)

Caroline said...

I'll definitely come to your blogs (I checked them out and really like them.)
Being sick in this country is a disaster. I had to go in the hospital a year ago because of this weird and sudden 105 fever and when they told me I had to be admitted, I burst into tears. No one (except my husband) understood that it wasn't so much because I was unnerved at being back in a hospital after years of health, as much as it was fear of having to deal with health insurance and the high cost of a hospital stay.