Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Deli Healthcare and My 911 List

I took my baby boy Oliver to an appointment today at Kaiser Permanente. Most of you probably already know that this is an HMO and that Oliver is not a baby. He will, in fact, be 18 years old in May. Good god almighty. We have not been in an HMO in twenty-five years, but this year I downgraded his and my health insurance policies because I just could not afford another 35% increase in premium for the PPO that we were on with Sophie. Sophie stays on her Cadillac plan with MediCal as a secondary policy. 


Kaiser Permanente proved to be exceptionally -- dare I say -- efficient. We really, really liked the doctor we "picked." It was amazing, honestly, how easily everything worked -- a one-stop shop. We visited the doctor, moved to another floor and barely waited to get blood work and then another to pick up a prescription. We were out of there in less than two hours, and the co-pays were minimal. Honestly, if Sophie didn't require such specialized care, I'd be all over Kaiser for her care, too. I've always been terrified of managed care, but let's face it. We're all managed every single moment by the Powers That Be. When we went to the lab for bloodwork, we had to get a ticket with a number on it, one of those little scraps that you get in the deli department at the grocery store. That was maybe the only moment where I felt annoyed, but I let it go. So, after just one visit, I'm going to recommend Kaiser Permanente for routine healthcare -- my god, in comparison to literally ALL the other places we've sought healthcare (UCLA, NYU, Columbia, USC, Children's and Cedars-Sinai), it was the best experience. I'll keep you posted on my own physician visit which is coming up soon.

Now, let's talk about 911. We just dropped another Who Lives Like This?! podcast. This week, Jason and I had Dr. Rita Eichenstein on the show. She is a neuropsychologist and the author of a really great book. Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Aytpical Children. Even if you aren't the parent of an "atypical" child (and this category includes children with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, as well as diagnoses of ADHD), I think you'll find a lot of value in our discussion. What really stood out for me was some advice she gave to those parents with newly diagnosed children. Among many helpful tips, she suggested compiling a 911 list of people you can call when you need help and support. After listing these people, she suggests calling each of them and asking whether they'd be willing to be on your 911 list. I know some of you are thinking, well, duh, of course you'd already know who to call or who wouldn't say yes to being on the 911 call list? I'm here to tell you that, at least for me, it's hard to call people, to ask for help, to vent, to cry, to share grief and exhaustion. Especially when it's done, over and over. I think it would have been tremendously helpful for me to have made such a list early on in The Troubles and communicated what I was doing with those people I trusted to be on it. Does that make sense? I feel guilty when I call my friends with my latest woes, especially regarding caregiving. I actually don't even do it that much anymore and feel isolated (of my own making, I know) as a result. I do see a therapist regularly, and that is enormously helpful, but it'd be great knowing that certain friends had taken on the responsibility of being on call for me, beforehand. I know for a fact that many of us struggle with asking for help. This seems like a simple -- yet almost formal -- way to connect with others and to "allow" them or give them the opportunity to help us. 

What do you think?


  1. I think that I'm always on call for whatever you need.
    I may not be able to actually help but I'm here to listen.

  2. I smiled when I read your post and Ms. Moon's reply because I had a meltdown the other day and I emailed her and felt much better. I have a terrible time reaching out to share my troubles. I feel too needy, that I should be able to just deal with it myself but I can't. Writing on my blog helps somewhat but someone you know helps the most and even though I've never met Ms. Moon, I feel I know her just from her blog.

    Thank you for sharing this because it's good to know that I'm not the only one who struggles. I feel so alone at times and it's hard to write that on my blog because I know it would hurt the big guy. He's a good man but he always wants to fix everything and sometimes things are just broken and I just need to cry or vent.

  3. Kaiser originated the HMO, so if anyone does it well, it should be them! From what I learned during my medical writing days (20 years ago now) they ARE quite effective -- unfortunately, not all HMOs can say the same. (Again, that's possibly antiquated information, though!)

  4. darling I wish I wasn’t so isolated I don’t mean stranded on an island isolated but isolated by my crazy interior I wish I had a 911 list if I did have one you’d be on it and Mary and Rosemarie. You three are the lifeboat of me.

  5. I think Dr. Rita is on to something. You know your friends are there for you, but it is powerful to have them say it at the outset, to say I am on call for you, do not hesitate to call me, as I am saying to you now. Love.

  6. Glad to hear your HMO is working out so well. I always liked when I had one, during my Corporate Lives the Employers always used them and my personal experiences with them were favorable too and it was always affordable and covered everything. Alas, upon taking early Retirement to become a full time unpaid Caregiver, I couldn't afford the post-retirement Premiums they charge those no longer employed. So I went on The Man's Earned Benefits Plan with the Military, which isn't Free anymore like Promised to all the G.I.'s who Served and Honored their end of the commitment... now you pay... and most Civilian Docs and Pharmacies are reluctant to accept it... and if you're too young for Medicare yet you might have a big gap in what will be covered that the Insurance won't pay. Until 65 I can use the Base Clinic for some things and their Pharmacies, so that is a Blessing, but after 65 I am concerned... I have The Man go to the VA Hospital most of the time with the extremity of his ailments and disability being quite profound, like Sophie, I couldn't risk him just going anywhere and with iffy coverage.

  7. I a great experiences with Kaiser 30 years ago when I was living in Denver. Many times since I wished that we had something as good as that was.



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