Ok: I Get To Do This Just Once

Reality hits.

I have been laid off and given less than a week’s notice.

This, from a place that I worked at for four years.

While I cannot object to the terms of my termination, I wholeheartedly object to the lack of notice. I spent money in February assuming I’d have a paycheck in March. I turned down COBRA benefits in November assuming I’d be back on a health insurance plan through my employer in March.

Now, I don’t qualify for the NC Health Insurance Risk Plan because I turned down the CORBA benefits. I don’t qualify for Medicaid because, although it is a federal program, the benefits vary from state to state and county to county. In my county, you have to be either over 65, proven disabled, blind, or a single parent with a child under the age of 19. I find this utterly disappointing. My friend in Milwaukee, WI, for instance, gets full coverage benefits (including her co-pays!) from Medicaid. She is unemployed and in teacher training and therefore has no income except for what she has borrowed for education and living.

I am told I can apply for the Family Planning coverage, which the Social Services secretary bluntly pointed out: “Will cover you if you get your tubes tied or if you need the pill or whatever method you’re using or if you need your annual.” The secretary at my doctor’s office says that I can apply for the Medical Assistance Program, which will cover a few doctor’s office visits per year (but not the labs, the shots, the Rx’s, anything else). I cancel my dentist appointment. I cancel my annual appointment until I can get coverage. I plea bargain with Sallie Mae over my undergraduate loans. I reduce my monthly payments to Blue Ridge Regional for the $1,000 MRI I had done last fall on my knee.

And here’s the double-whammy back story: While in Chicago I had an allergic reaction to something that I ate and endured hives from my mouth down to my belly. Have you ever had hives inside your mouth? It is not fun. Upon my return, I started to get better and received acupuncture, which curtailed almost all of the hives instantly. Then I got my notice about work. The hives came back—this time stress induced, no doubt, and my system was already on red-alert from the previous reaction—and my body’s been on fire ever since.

To take my mind off things, I called The Wisconsin Institute about their fellowships, for which I am truly, truly excited. I inquired about when they notify applicants: May 1st. “And out of curiosity,” I asked, “how many applications do you receive?” They replied: SIX HUNDRED. Three more rejection letters this week, only 40% to the Lost Crossings goal, and student loans due in three days.

Onward job search. Onward health insurance search. Onward penny pinching search.

Most importantly: onward the cultivation of a writer’s mentality, not a victim mentality. Mark my words, this is the last post you’ll see about griping. I’ve got too many stories to write for that, and the first one started last night.

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