So It Goes …

With no family to speak of, except for my estranged daughter, and no other options, including the funds for even a modest private meal, this is shaping up to be one of my least favorite Thanksgiving holidays in recent memory. I still have not come up with the thirteen-fifty I need to pick up the RX oral rinse at the pharmacy that my doc wants me to use to battle the healing oral infection I was plagued by (caused by prednisone, a potent steroid); which is to say, sure, I’ve had the money a couple of times this week but when it came down to a choice between food and prescriptions, this was another time when I opted for food instead.
And so it goes. I honestly beg your pardon if today’s missive comes across as self-pitying. I just wish that this year would go out without further kicks to the teeth, literally and metaphorically.

Help. Please.

I have three new prescriptions, including a Z-Pak of antibiotics, to pick up at CVS today. They are urgently needed. The total is $19.63, which I do not have at all.


I have begun experiencing a common and painful side effect from long-term prednisone use: accelerated tooth decay. Corticosteroids, it turns out, inhibit the absorption of calcium and vitamin D; your system steals calcium from your teeth and redistributes it to your bones. I already have one possibly infected wisdom tooth, which my Medicaid dental coverage will not pay for. The three other wisdom teeth look like they have been drilled down from the center to the dental pulp, which is where the calcium is ripe for the picking.

So I just got back from the doc. I have to go on RX Vitamin D and calcium supplements, have a bone density scan, and see a rheumatologist to see if there’s anything else that can be done to arrest the swelling from my arthritis. Unfortunately, she said, tooth decay is the most common bad side effect of long-time prednisone use and it’s a trade-off that must be accepted. Now I have to scrounge up the money for my med co-pays this afternoon, if there is any money to scrounge up. Oh, and some scrambled eggs would be nice. A six-pack of eggs at the grocery store next to the CVS pharmacy is only $3.99.

Breaking Silence

Normally I do not go for New Year’s Eve celebrations but this year, in moderation, I will indeed ring out the old and ring in the new. 2014 has been the worst year on record for me: breaking up with Lela in December 2013; a herniated disc in my lower back in early January; the stroke on January 31; endless pre-surgical tests in February; surgery in late March; a long, long healing period; and navigating the treacherous waters of various social service agencies. It ain’t been easy, folks.

On the plus side, a producer friend with whom I have worked off and on since 1981 has commissioned a one-act play from me, based loosely on a short story he has under option. There’s not a lot of dough in the gig but it’s good to have a work-for-hire after a long dry spell.

I’m worried about how much longer I can maintain living alone (it’s been almost one year). Since the stroke and surgery I’ve been battling short-term memory loss. Earlier in the month I paid my internet bill twice because I forgot I had already taken care of the bill on November 3 when I got paid, as but one small example. Writing notes and memos to myself does not help because I forget where I put them.

I managed to pay for lamost all of my RX meds this month but my food stamp allotment has been spent and I badly need help with grocery funds. I have a loose molar in my lower left jaw and need to buy some easily chewed meal fixings like hamburger gravy, pasta, etc. My Maginot Line at Paypal remains the same:

Thank you, and sorry for the long silence ….

Chest Pains and Other Pains

And so …

It’s getting increasingly difficult to hang on. Continuing health issues (I have to see a cardiologist next week), dwindling resources, past due bills to manage, just barely, an inability to work at my previous capacity, which is the legal criteria for Social Security Disability, a lack of food several days a month … my doc wants me to see a therapist but what good is that going to do? Make me search for a silver lining? Like the social worker from Adult Protective Services said to me, “Well, at least you have a roof over your head.” Yeah, that and what fucking else?

I’m enrolled in every social service program imaginable but they are scant help. After I pay my rent on the first of the month I clear $200 for the balance of the month, which is not even enough to pay my utility bills, let alone groceries when my meager food stamp allotment runs out …

Great … just writing this is suddenly giving me chest pains, which is why I’m being sent to the cardiologist after the inconclusive tests at St. Vincent’s Medical Center last Saturday.

Back to the Hospital

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 20, I am being readmitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital near downtown L.A. for “tests and observations”. My doc, whom I saw today, is greatly concerned over increasing bouts of vertigo, disturbances in my sleep patterns, and morning chest pains and nausea. Obviously they are looking at the cardiac system, even though I had a clean EKG in their office this afternoon. But, all in all, since the surgery in March I’ve felt like a bag of wet cement. She wanted me to be admitted today, Friday, but I refused because I had to get too many ducks in a row before I go to hospital.

The most important duck to be aligned is my cell phone. My new IHSS worker, Maria, insists on driving me to the hospital tomorrow morning or afternoon but I need to put airtime on my cell phone — a minimum of $15.00 — in order to call for a ride home when I am discharged and to phone Lela with check-ins and to request her presence if things get complicated. There are no phones in the rooms at St. Vincent’s, only in the private rooms, and when you’re on Medicare and Medicaid there’s no such thing as a private room.

So, basically, this is a hospital visit fundraiser for cell air time and, well, I’m going into the hospital with $7.00 remaining on my Paypal, nothing in the bank, and I’m certain there will be meds and things to purchase when I’m finally discharged. Any assistance that can be rendered can, as always, be remitted via my Paypal account at

Thank you, and see you on the other side.

Swimming in Oblivion

Treading water here to try to come up with the balance that I owe the L.A. Department of Water and Power (I made a $42.00 payment a few days ago) but so far all I’m getting is waterlogged. Money coming in next week but that does me no good today, the cut-off day. 


Today is D-Day, as in L.A. Department of Water and Power day. Yesterday I paid $42.00 on a pre-arranged payment of $142.00 and another small payment but now I am shy of fifty bucks to keep the lights and water turned on … never mind the fact that SoCal Gas shut me off in mid-February and I’ve had no hot water since then, nor a shower, just sponge baths in the sink. 

Some Nerve …

I am back online …  at least for the next seven days. Last Thursday a Time-Warner field tech appeared at my door with a work order to either seize my desktop modem or collect $71.24 for past due billing; but upon witnessing the scar upon my neck and the cane that I use to keep from falling down he was eager to work with me. The bottom line is I was able to hand him a post-dated check for the aforementioned amount in the form of a check postdated for August 18.


In the meanwhile, I need to make the second of three payments to the L.A. Department of Water and Power in the amount of $142.00 by this Friday, August 15, or it’s lights out.


I saw my neurologist on Thursday for my first post-surgical follow-up. I will not need another brain scan until the end of September. It turns out that the numbness in my incision scar may never vanish because, he said, a nerve had to be severed in order to access my carotid artery.