Apr 21, 2019

Donuts

Hope your Easter was a wonderful day.

I received a few emails claiming the donut hole has closed and my insurance can not continue to penalize me.  Unfortunately, the donut hole is not gone.  By "closing" they mean it's getting smaller, not eliminated. 
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 also made some changes.  This graph shows the current donut hole and the final phase in 2020.  And it was not started with the ACA.  Can't believe everything you read online!  Hope this explains it better than I did.


I found I can go through GoodRx and get my $795 (270 pills for 90 days) generic Cevilemine not covered in my plan for less than $300.  This works for generic but brand name drugs are not discounted as deeply.  This is not a manufacturer discount and there is no denial for Medicare members, local participating pharmacies are listed.  It's worth entering your higher priced generics into their website to see if you can save. 
 
That's it.  I'm done.
 
Dinner went well.  Mark's garlic breaded chicken is everyone's favorite and he used the Chick-Fil-A secret of marinating the breasts in pickle juice making them very tender and juicy.  Some recipes don't rinse off the marinade but we do.  After pie, I had to take Carole to Urgent Care since she injured her rib area from an extended reach the day before.  She tore cartilage or pulled a muscle and after seeing the doctor, we spent an hour in the parking lot of Rite Aid waiting for the script to be filled.  It's always something.
 
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Apr 19, 2019

To those that observe

  Happy Easter 
 Happy Passover
 
 
Thank you for the emails and checking in on me.  You've asked how I am doing, so here's a report.
 
My eyes are still not producing tears but not as irritated with medication. The dry mouth has progressed to my throat and I can't swallow without water, talking for any length of time is difficult and I lose my voice.  Medication does not stop progression, it only helps to alleviate symptoms.  I am ashamed to admit that this is getting to me emotionally.  I keep telling myself how lucky I am to not have something worse, but my fear that I will be the small percentage with lung involvement or cancerous lymphoma is real because of the sudden and severe onset.  Sjogren's is usually a slow progression to diagnosis and this is not making sense to any doctor.

And now for some technical crap about Medicare Part D.
 
The sample of Xiidra I am using for my eyes is not covered by my Medicare plan and I will have to switch to Restasis.  For those of you not on Medicare, a little preview!  Under my nephew's employer plan, my drugs would be a $10 co-pay, but being on Medicare, my co-pays for the same run from $47 to $268 each month and $140 to $780 in the hole. One is not even covered at all. The donut hole instituted with Obamacare is only applicable on Medicare, a real blow to seniors, who enter the higher cost hole when the drug expense reaches $3820, and stay there until they pay $5100 out of pocket.  The total drug price (retail cost) is counted to reach that threshold, which I did not know.  For example, my 90 day Eliquis price of $1568 and $1704 for Restasis is used toward the $3820, not just my portion of the cost.  But the $5100 threshold is based on patient cost only, not the total retail costs as it is to reach the hole.  So even though I write a check for $570, the actual cost of the drugs is well over $3820.  That cost is shown on the receipt or mailed to patients in a summary report and this is the amount needed to gauge when the hole is near.  And it ain't nothing like the one Alice fell into.

  The discounts and help offered by drug companies and others are not available to Medicare patients, another slap.  Regardless of the recent proposals to decrease drug prices, Part D plans (mandatory with Medicare), have the right to drop your drug, change the formulary list, the Tier of your drug, but you have no right to switch to a different plan within your contract year if your health and finances are impacted by those changes.  How's that for unfair?  This is how government mandated policies help seniors?  Between drug costs that are not mentioned and the increase in taxes, I wonder how the aging population will be affected by Medicare for all. 
 
When did we become our parents' age?
 

While continuing to rid myself of "things", I finally let go of the gourd I painted so long ago.

It had a split end that was perfect for rabbit ears but before I finishing painting them, my sister asked if she could show her friends that were coming over for lunch. 








When it was returned, there was a crack beneath the puppy that was also indented.  I think it was rolling on the floor of the car and her grandson must have accidentally stepped on it.  It became too unstable and fragile, and I lost interest in finishing it, certainly could not sell it as I did the others.
 
I am making Nona's risotto and garlic chicken, fruit salad, elderberry pie, and not much else for family dinner on Saturday.  Cold plate of sliced kielbasa, ham, cwikla, cheese, eggs, and honey oatmeal bread Easter morning, Carole is having the Sunday dinner with the wild great-grands.  I so wish I would not have seen the crates crammed with white baby lambs crying for mama while being hauled to slaughter.  I know lamb is often served at Easter but it breaks my heart.
 
Have a blessed holiday weekend.
 
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Apr 4, 2019

For now

I've decided to take a break.  I can't even read your blogs.  I can't stitch.  I can't sew.  I can't drive.  I was to take Carole to Walmart today and Mark had to drive.  Once in the store, I couldn't keep my eyes open from the florescent lighting and dryness, even with continual drops.  As much as I look at this as easier to accept than other diagnoses, I am really getting down to the point of crying jags.  Haven't had those since the menowars of a few years ago.  And they hurt because not one single tear is produced.  Not one.  If the Restasis helps, and that's a big if, it will be about six months before I notice a difference.  I have no idea why it takes that long.  But right now, I am having too much difficulty with reading, even with new glasses.  My eyes have worsened this past week.  So rather than struggling to type, read, and post, I've decided not to until there is some improvement, which I was told not to expect.  But who knows? 
 
Thanks for being my friends and connection to the stitching world.  I sure hope to be back at some point!  Until then, take care of yourselves.  Love you all.
 
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Apr 3, 2019

Big old girls

Two more larger samplers from years ago.

Sheepish Designs McCarthy Sampler (with glass reflections)


Simply Samplers Hannah Gibson (27 x 17 on 28 count).  Hannah doesn't really have much stitching for as large as she is, certainly doable for impatient stitchers.

 
Haven't started anything yet.  By the time my eyes clear enough to see, 15 minutes have passed and it's time for more drops!  I really wanted the leather board for the pony pouch but wrapping and gluing the edges is just too tedious for my vision right now.  I think machine sewing will be feasible if I have Mark measure and square the fabric so the presser foot can follow the edge.
 
My machine is an older model Kenmore, heavy and metal, minimal specialty stitches but still working fine.  Damn.  I should not have said that.  I've considered a new machine for a number of years but as with all my procrastinating, no action has been taken.  Brother?  Janome?   The Brother HC1850 is $200 on Amazon with 130 stitches, 8 presser feet (or foots - you decide), 25 year warranty, and excellent reviews.  Rated the best for beginners to experts.  Do you base quality on price?  Some cheaper models outperform the very expensive, but not always the case.  The closest service center is in Warren Ohio (about 40 minutes) and although they only carry Baby Lock, all models can be repaired.  Reliability is more important to me than special features I would probably never use.
 
Hope your week is going well..
thanks for visiting
 
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Mar 30, 2019

I found a pony

Well, two ponies.  Found in my pile of finishing projects, once on a box, once on a book, now as a pouch.  Lining is a tan and blue stripe if I ever make it that far. 
 
After sewing back to front, I pictured the finish differently.  Instead of the wool back and straps,
I thought maybe a wooden back stained or painted very dark may be better,
but I really like the idea of a thick distressed dark leather as the back.  Maybe not this high.  I like this shape best and a few pink berries can hang from the nail.  So far, my favorite.
Options courtesy of Paint program!  I don't know if my piece of leather would be large enough, and keeping it flat may be a problem.  Hey!  Cover the wood with a thin brown leather?   
 
What say you? 
I'm asking because depending on my mood, it may be offered for sale.
 
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Mar 29, 2019

For the bees

I read an article about making water available to bees during summer and it sounded like a good idea.  Whether it was another phony baloney story or not, who knows?  Since the little guys need to land in order to drink, using a shallow dish with stones works well.  If what I read is wrong, who cares?  I love the color and iridescence of these.
 
 I found stainless steel dishes and old pans at the now defunct flea market which will work great.  More easily cleaned than ceramic and unbreakable, they make a great water source for the deer and other wildlife. So I purchased these glass (not acrylic) beads to fill the pan with and I think it will also look pretty (was surprised at only $1.60 each!).  Something attractive to set their fuzzy butts on when taking a sip.  I wondered why some of the dishes were so thick, my brother explained that they are insulated stainless plates used by the hospital to keep patients' meal plates warm.  But when they hired a food service, all were thrown in a dumpster, not even metals and plastics are recycled.  He said he was shocked at what hospitals throw away (that would not be harmful or contaminated) that missions or clinics could use.  I am attending a fundraiser tomorrow for a friend's son that is going to Ghana with Medical Brigades.org. 
 
Pat Catan's got new items in for Easter and spring, and the store is pretty well stocked except for some items that are depleted in their warehouse.  They had loads of the square sets of three paper mache boxes, and several bins of the heart shape and small talls.  If I can find the heart label of the blue ponies and it prints well, I may get a few more of the boxes before they are all gone.  I think the small talls would be nice with a pincushion top and I plan to cover them with paper or fabric.  The short rounds covered also, maybe a berry top.

 
Another one of my favorite samplers that you don't see very often, Mary Haslehurst from Scarlet Letter.  Different than any other I've stitched with its freehand side stitching and the flame stitched top which I really enjoyed.
 
Yesterday my nephew went to the dentist for a molar extraction, and was told to immediately visit his doctor.  His heart rate was going up and down like a yo-yo which was never caught before.  He is in a lot of pain with the tooth and can't have it pulled until the issue is diagnosed.  On April 8 he will have an echo and a monitor, two days later a stress test along with two others I never heard of.  Since he is Type 1 and 48 years old, they will give him a thorough work up.
 
Regarding the Medicare plans I previously mentioned, I chose the BC supplement that requires no co-pays for tests, hospitalization, ER, doctor visits, nothing.  It is more expensive and you forfeit any amount toward dental and a yearly eye exam with glasses, but since I'm not sure what else may develop this year, I thought it best to have full coverage.  I can change at year's end back to an advantage plan if I choose.  My thinking - I pay for full car and house insurance, why not myself?  More peace of mind than anything.  I also had to purchase a part D Rx plan and the only two drugs I take are quite expensive so I will fall into the dreaded donut hole in a few months.  Mark chose the advantage plan (which includes prescriptions)  from Aetna called Coventry and will pay $0 per month.  Excellent plan with low co-pays and you even get a $50 allowance per month from CVS for over the counter items!!  And $250 toward dental!  And glasses/contacts with exam!   I plan to join the same at year's end once all the tests and doctors are over.  Today is the last day to make a change so we made it! 
 
Hope your week went well.  April is upon us!  Rain today, my husband is golfing in it.
 
Thanks for visiting!

p.s.  Those cookies are melt in your mouth, more cakelike, and it may be hard to form a ball because of the soft batter and that's OK.  Very old recipe!  Original was a little different and rolled in cinnamon sugar, we love this recipe more.
 
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