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Thursday, June 13, 2015
I talked to my old coach on the phone yesterday. His oldest had just graduated from high school earlier in the day. I was certain he was lying because there was no way that much time could have passed. It was really, really good to talk to him, even though it was brief because his house was growing more chaotic by the minute as we talked.
He’s coaching someone now who is trying to reach Olympic Marathon Trials and so I’ll eventually get over to some practices and get something on a regular basis set up. So, of course, we laughed about a few things from the past and it was good to laugh about some of those things because less than an hour earlier, I sat in the exact same chair balling my eyes out to my husband about how terrible everything was and how I wondered when I would reach the point that I had become more of a burden than blessing to this earth.
Don’t freak out here, people, I was upset, not suicidal, because on top of everything else I found out that we had now been sent to our insurance company’s collections claims unit for about $70,000 – yes, you actually DID read that number correctly. This has been going on for quite some time now with back-and-forths between the benefits office at Duke and UMR by Wellpath, as part of Duke’s health insurance plans. So, UMR needs Duke to send them information that justifies the use of IVIg infusion treatments on me for Stiff Person Syndrome. Duke benefits office said they had not been asked for that information. Call-back to UMR, who then sent me a copy of the letter they sent as certified mail when they did not receive responses to their electronic requests and I told them that Duke said they had not received any requests for information. I read the letter to the person on the phone and said, maybe now you can find the letter that reads exactly like this one???? Oh, yes, why there it was. Oh, but the benefits office said they can’t act on the claim until UMR denies the claim. Oh really? Well, I also happen to be holding in my hand the denial of the claim and the denial code is “302″ which states that the requested justification had not been sent after several tries and the patient is now responsible for the outstanding balance and has 45 days within which to pay said balance. Oh, I was told, you can ignore that because it looks like we have someone working on it now. It looks like someone was assigned to your case on June 1st. This was for bills from February. Yes, February. When I called UMR back, they gave me a 180 day grace period. [note: in case, you're curious, yes, I intentionally named the parties, I am very aware that I did that, and I know that this may be read by said parties]
So, yesterday, I had been sitting in the exact same chair, crying, telling my husband that I was not going to be the source of financial ruin for our family, that I was tired of being in pain every single fucking day from the time I get up until the time I go to sleep, that I was sick of insulin and test strips, that I was considering taking myself off of every medicine I had been put on, that I was going to cancel myself out of the Neurology Clinic because I simply can’t afford it or the IVIg treatments or the meds or anything, that I can’t function well for long enough periods of time, or predictably enough, to work except to teach one online course/semester now, and that I was just useless and I had made nothing of my life and now I never will. Yeah, I think I pretty much got it all in there – that’s about how it went. So, all that really managed to do was upset my husband as well as me.
But, I talked to my coach about an hour later. It was hard to speak without sounding all nasal and nasty like when you’ve cried enough to have snot coming out of your nose in gallons. We laughed about the first time I broke 36 minutes for 10K and started puking before I even crossed the finish line; the time I ran 33:09 for 6 miles and barely beat a Kenyan girl who had let me do all the front running and then tried to take me out on the end (it was Mother’s Day weekend, I was sick with a very infrequent head cold, and a sponsor had said they would match my race winnings, but only first place got anything – $2,500) and I was not giving up $5,000 no way after leading the whole way; about my first Olympic Trials qualifier that I ran in Virginia Beach that was filmed by ESPN and showed me falling on top of the girl in front of me at the finish line who had put everything she had into holding me off (in slow motion, over and over, which elicited the comment from my mother, after 26 miles didn’t you have two seconds left in you?); we laughed about the crazy track workouts and the tempo runs; we laughed about how the girl he’s coaching now is also a doctor and I told him about SUPing with a girl across the lake last week and saying something about health prob’s keeping me from running and she said, oh btw I’m a doctor I don’t know why that never came up and I looked over and said oh me too and we both stood there dumbfounded (she’s an ER doc who studied history of medicine and I’m a PhD in History of Medicine who worked in medical research at Duke and the VA for 15 years first, and the girl my coach is working with is in medical research, too) … and I felt better when I got off the phone, better enough to help my husband take some foldup tables and chairs back to Dwight and Betty Compton, “down the road a piece.”
Betty Compton was the first Nurse Practitioner in NC, maybe in the US, but I’m not certain about that. After dropping off the tables and chairs “really quickly” turned into over an hour of sitting in the back chatting with them, we were driving home and Bob asked me, have you ever noticed how proud both Dwight and Betty are of all the great things that Betty has done? Yes. Why can’t you be proud of all the things you’ve accomplished then? How many people have had the Nissan financing guy call up because he just had to ask about the occupation on your tax return (professional athlete)? I laughed. He was disappointed when I wasn’t a basketball player or soccer star, but just a runner, “Oh.” And, don’t forget that you are Dr. Foy, really, even though you let your students call you Missy. He talked until I felt embarrassed. We sat in the truck for a little after pulling in the driveway and he asked me, “Why is nothing you do ever good enough? Why do you always think you should have done better, run faster, jumped higher? Who do you think you have to be?”
“I don’t know, but I know I don’t want to be living with all of this right now.”
“Okay, maybe we can start with letting the ‘looking back’ part be something joyous, not painful?”
“I don’t know, I just don’t know … because it hurts, because it hurts so badly … but I’ll try.”
“Okay, fair enough, that’s a start.”