By Bill Peckham
I made it to the health insurance finish line, but not until the finish line had moved. After consulting with the Carpenter's Trust of Western Washington I came to understand that there is a whole new system for qualifying for healthcare benefits, which will be an advantage going forward, and now getting initial access is the odd number of 358.05 hours in a three month period ... basically 360; maybe it's just as well I didn't know what I needed at the beginning but as of today I have 364+ hours worked Jan - Mar.
54 hours, about a seventh of that total, was overtime of one kind or another, either hours over eight in a day/forty in a week or working a weekend (a lot were all three: long weekend shifts after a long week). It's the nature of the job that the work load ebbs and flows, so you have to be able to clock the hours when they are there to be worked. One thing is for sure, there is no way I would have been able to get across the health insurance finish line if I had been doing any other type of hemodialysis.
It is only by dialyzing at home, more frequently, while I slept, that I was able to cover all my shifts and earn insurance to supplement my Medicare coverage.
Now it is on to step two, Travel. DSEN will follow my planning for a trip to Argentina. During the trip I will dialyze incenter, in Buenos Aires and near Iguazu Falls (after which I will have dialyzed on six of the seven continents - watch out Antarctica). My Mom is going to go too! We're aiming to go in the second half of August, towards the end of their rainy season, hoping to catch the falls in maximum flow and during what is normally a particularly slow period at work.
The five month countdown begins ... Now.