The Number One Reason I Am So Happy To Have Health Insurance Starting On November 1.

These are quite expensive

These are quite expensive

Do you know what that is in the photo above? If you DO, then you know that they are expensive, and that they are quite necessary for the people who need to use them.

The photo shows the ostomy supplies that I have had to use since I had my surgery back in May of 2012, and received my colostomy. The flanges, or the larger squares that attach to my body with a very sticky glue, cost anywhere from $51.95 to $65 for a box of 10. The pouches, about $25 for a box of 10. Add to that about $10 for a tube of stoma paste, and another $10 for the skin barrier spray.

Now, I want you to think about how many times a week you change your underwear.If you had to pay $9 for a new pair of disposable panties every time you changed, would you be able to afford it? Would you still choose to change as often as you do, or would you opt to try to stretch out the length of time you wore the same pair?

If you are a person like me, who has a colostomy, you have to decide if you want to change your appliance every time you have to empty the bag, or every two days, or just once a week. For the last two and a half years or so, I have had to make this choice. The company that manufactures the appliances I use will send a complimentary supply once a year. What they send is 30 flanges and 30 bags. I have had to use those for as long as I could make them last. They don’t advise using one for more than two or three days. I have had to use mine for at least a week at a time. That is, if I don’t have a blow out, and I don’t think I have to tell you what that means.

Now that I have been approved for Social Security Disability, I am eligible for Medicare on November 1, even though I am only 62. I went to an insurance agent in Tallapoosa last month and signed up for Humana Pro Choice PPO which is a MAPD. MAPD means it is Medicare Advantage Part D, which will cover my prescriptions as well as my health care. Now before you all start hollering that I am getting something for nothing, let me say that Social Security is going to be taking $104 a month out of my disability benefits to pay for Medicare, and my Medicare Advantage Plan thru Humana will cost me another $5o a month, which I can also have deducted from my disability benefits.

So, for a total of $154 a month, I will have health insurance, that will have co-pays: $20 for each primary care physician visit; $45 for a specialist; $65 for an emergency room visit; and $270 a day for the first 4 days of a hospital stay. This is not the best insurance I have ever had, but it what is what it is. It means I CAN go to the doctor when I need to. It means I can also go to a specialist, like a podiatrist (I am diabetic, so I need foot care); a gastroenterologist, so I can talk about getting a reversal of my colostomy; and a dermatologist for some skin issues I have.

Having this insurance also means that I will only have to pay a 20% co-pay for my colostomy supplies. I can get up to 20 sets of appliances per month, so I won’t have to wear the same one for a week or more. I can not tell you how this one benefit makes me feel. It is a matter of self worth, of feeling clean, of feeling like a human being again.

There are many people like me, who are younger, who don’t qualify for disability, who don’t make enough money to qualify for health insurance through The Affordable Health Care Act. Those are the people who were supposed to be caught in the safety net of expanded medicaid benefits through their state. Unfortunately, Georgia is one of the 19 states that opted out of  expanded medicaid. That leaves about 974,000 low income people in this state who have no health care options.

I wish I could help all of those people get some sort of health care coverage. I know I can’t help them all, but I have been looking for a way to start a fund to help people who, like me, have a colostomy and need to buy expensive supplies every month. If you have any ideas, please let me know. Because every person should be able to live their life with dignity.

 

Home Improvements: The Kitchen, Part 1

Yuck! I looked at this for almost 3 long years!

Yuck! I looked at this for almost 3 long years!

When we started talking about redoing the kitchen, I was about to explode with happiness. The old counter tops that were in the house when we bought it were awful! You can see from the photo above, that even when it was scrubbed clean three times a day, it still looked terrible. I was embarrassed for anyone to see it.

The wall was even worse!

The wall was even worse!

The wall behind the counter top was a mess as well. Fabgrandpa and I had both scrubbed and scrubbed on this wall, over the course of the two and a half years we have lived here, and it still looked like THAT! I have no idea what the woman who used to live here did, but it looked like she tried to splatter grease everywhere she could when she cooked.

This is the stove we bought when we moved in.

This is the stove we bought when we moved in.

We bought a gas stove when we moved in because I did not want to cook on electric. However, there has never been a kitchen exhaust system in this kitchen, ever. I know when I cook, we have to open windows and turn on a window fan to draw odors out of the kitchen. And the dryer is right there next to the stove–you can not dry clothes if you are cooking, otherwise, your clothes will smell like meatloaf or chicken. All of these things will be remedied when we are finished with the kitchen.

a bare counter top before painting

a bare counter top before painting

Last week, before the counter tops were installed, we took everything out of the kitchen, and painted the walls behind the base cabinets so that when the counter man arrived, he could install the counter tops and we wouldn’t have to worry about dripping paint on them after they were installed:

We used Glidden Latex Enamel in Coral Serenade. Primer was mixed in with the paint at the store.

We used Glidden Latex Enamel in Coral Serenade. Primer was mixed in with the paint at the store.

We didn’t get much of the kitchen painted–it’s hard work for two old people. But, we wanted to get the walls behind where the counters would be installed painted first.

Coral Serenade

Coral Serenade

The next day, the counter guy that Home Depot contracted with arrived to install the counters. He pulled out the sink first, then the old counters. He hauled them off too. We had to pay for that. It was included in the total price that we paid Home Depot. If we were able to take them out ourselves and take them to the dump, we could have saved $235.

Installing the new counter top

Installing the new counter top

I am still excited to just have this much done. After the counters were installed, we called the plumbing company to let them know the counters were in. They were supposed to send someone out the same day to install the sink. They told Fabgrandpa that they could not come until Monday. He told the lady on the phone that that was unacceptable, because this was on Friday. Fabgrandpa made a call to Home Depot about it, and 15 minutes later the lady from the plumbing company called back and said someone would be out that afternoon. Imagine that!

My new range hood from Broan!

My new range hood from Broan!

Now that the counter tops and sink are in, we have to finish painting the kitchen, and install our new range hood and exhaust fan system that I received from Broan-Nutone. I am super excited about that!

Bru Joy Garlic Press

bru joy garlic press

Every once in a while you find a little product that makes your day a little bit easier. The one I found this time is a simple product, but I use it weekly, sometimes daily, in my kitchen. The Bru Joy Premium Stainless Steel Garlic Press is definitely one of my “go to” kitchen tools ever since it arrived in my home. Fabgrandpa and I eat a LOT of garlic. When I cook with garlic, most times it is like garlic is another vegetable and not just a seasoning. I use a whole head of garlic in most things I put garlic in, so being able to mince it quickly and easily with no fuss over having to clean out the press between cloves saves me a lot of time. You can find these on Amazon.com for $16.99. It has a lifetime warranty, so that is money well spent!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. However, all opinions are my own.

Hamilton Beach 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker Review & Giveaway

hamilton beach logoI received a Hamilton Beach 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach in exchange for this review and giveaway. However, all opinions are my own.

I have been looking for a new slow cooker ever since my old one stopped working, so I was happy to get one of these Hamilton Beach 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cookers to review. When I worked outside the home, I used a slow cooker almost every day. I cooked all sorts of things in them, from soups and stews, to chicken, roast beef, meatloaf, and even baked potatoes. It was nice to come home from a long day at work, and have dinner ready to eat when I got there.

The lid has a slot for your spoon, so you won't leave it behind when you go to a potluck.

The lid has a slot for your spoon, so you won’t leave it behind when you go to a potluck.

I love the features of this slow cooker: It has clamps that hold the lid down tight, so that you can transport your slow cooker meal if you are taking it to a potluck or family get together. A slot in the handle of the lid holds your spoon securely so you won’t forget to take it with you or bring it back home.

6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker

6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker

You can set the slow cooker to cook by time, or use the temperature probe to cook the food to the desired temperature, or just set manually to cook on Low or High. Either way, this small appliance works for you to give you more time to do other things, whether you work outside the home, are a stay at home mom, or like me, you are retired. I would much rather be sewing or watching a movie than worrying over cooking dinner.

The large 6 quart capacity allows me to cook up a whole chicken, which is enough for me and Fabgrandpa and company, or enough chicken for 3 or 4 meals for just the two of us. That means I can cook once, and clean up once, and eat several times. Now THAT is truly a time saver for me.  Take a look at the video to see how easy it is to use:

One of my readers will win one!

To enter the giveaway, use the Giveaway Tools entry form below:

The Velocity 17 Ladder System from Little Giant Ladders

I received product from Little Giant Ladders for this review.

velocity little giant Since we had some house remodeling projects coming up, when I was asked to review this versatile ladder system from Little Giant Ladder Systems, I said, ok, why not? Although I thought it would be strange for an old lady to talk about ladders, once it arrived, I saw that it could be very useful.

Velocity Model 17

Velocity Model 17

The Velocity Type 1A Model 17 from Little Giant has these features:

Aluminum construction for 20% less weight than competing ladders.

Rock Locks: Convenient Rock Lock™ push button adjustment.

Tip & Glide Wheels makes it easy to move around.

OSHA Rated to hold up to 300 lbs.

Dual pin hinge for increased stability and convenience

Your purchase includes a full Lifetime Warranty.

Fabgrandpa and I video-ed setting it up as an adjustable step ladder from the locked storage position. After he had the ladder set up, I was able to close it up and move it by myself because it has wheels on it.  If I can do that, just about anyone can. Although this ladder weighs 35 pounds, I did not have to lift it or exert much effort to roll it over to lean it on the wall for storage.


You can purchase the Little Giant Ladders at LittleGiant.com, Amazon.com
and at HomeDepot.com.

Home Improvements: Choosing Paint Colors

The Paint Department at Home Depot

The Paint Department at Home Depot

We were back at Home Depot to look for paint colors for the kitchen and dining room. These “rooms” are really just different areas of the same open space that also includes our living room. I had no idea really what colors I wanted to use, so before we went to HD, I started out looking at fabric for making new curtains.

This may be a backwards way of doing things but to me, fabric is inspiring. Looking at different fabrics and the colors in them helps me get an idea of what would look good together. So, there I was shopping online, looking at Batik fabrics. I saw Hoffman Batiks’s Sweetpea design, and it was just what I was looking for.

Hoffman Fabrics Sweetpea Batik

Hoffman Fabrics Sweetpea Batik

There are several colors in this design that I could have gone with, including pink, coral, violet, cream, green, and gray. I decided to take my fabric to Home Depot with me and look at different paint colors beside it. Home Depot’s Paint Department has lots of colors from which to choose.

Look at all those different colors!

Look at all those different colors! And that is only half of them.

Once I was in the store, it was still not easy to decide on colors. They do make it a bit easier, though, because they have great florescent lighting in that area, and counter nearby where you can put the object or items that you want to match along with your paint chip cards. I chose several similar colors to place side by side with my fabric.

At Home Depot picking out colors. Taking my fabric with me helped me choose a good color for my kitchen walls.

At Home Depot picking out colors. Taking my fabric with me helped me choose a good color for my kitchen walls.

As in the other departments we had visited at our local Home Depot store, there was a very helpful store employee, Jennifer, who was able to help me narrow my choices down to just a couple. She did tell me she couldn’t pick my colors for me, though! While I was busy choosing colors, Fabgrandpa was talking to Jennifer about different types of paint and different brands of paint. He decided on Glidden Latex Enamel with primer in the paint for the kitchen, so we wouldn’t have to do a separate primer coat when we started putting paint on the walls. For the dining room, he chose Glidden Matte Finish Latex paint.

My final color choices

My final color choices

My final color choices were Coral Serenade for the kitchen, and Tate Olive for the adjoining dining room wall. What do you think of these color choices?

 

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