Well, that’s going to make things difficult

First, the cuteness.

Gooby followed me around while I did my morning rounds, and posed nicely while I was switching out memory cards on the sign cam.

I got a call back from the plumber today, and we’re looking at him coming in some time in the middle of next week. From the sounds of it, he was driving (hopefully, hands free!) while talking to me and couldn’t give me anything more concrete, but we’ll get a call once he has the info. It’s not an emergency situation, so I don’t mind the wait. We have everything else we need, ready and waiting, barring any unforeseeable damage that might be found once the old tub surround is removed.

We got a bit of a boost in the mail today; a carbon tax relief check. One government takes a whole bunch away, another gives a pittance back. It’ll help with the work we need to get done, at least.

The reason I made sure to go to the mail today was because my mother phones yesterday about a letter she got from her doctor. We have the same doctor, so my husband and I got the same letter.

Our doctor is leaving the clinic for one in the city, as of April 1st.

The letter invites his patients to follow him to the new clinic, while offering virtual and phone visits, but driving that far for in person visits is a bit much for all three of us. The current clinic is already pushing it for distance as it is.

So I called the clinic to ask about other doctors there that are accepting new patients.

It turns out they are losing THREE doctors, not just one. There is one doctor that is willing to see their patients for now, but she can’t possibly take on that many new patients. Not that my mother would be willing to see her. She was already complaining about the doctor we’re losing, because he’s not white, but for a doctor to be both not white and female… that would be just too much for her to handle. ๐Ÿคจ

So I started doing some searches. There is only one other clinic in that town, and when I called, their answering service mentioned one doctor that was accepting new patients. I looked up the name and discovered both the clinic and that doctor have way too many negative reviews.

So I tried looking up doctors in the smaller city – that would be pushing it too much for my husband, but not as much for my mother.

That was pretty discouraging, too.

I finally tried looking at the town closest to us. We won’t go there anymore, but my mother might. No go.

There’s a town to the north of us that my husband and I could try, but that would be too far for my mother, plus it would require me to drive south to my mother’s town, then north to this other town, then back to my mother’s town, and finally back home, adding an extra hour of driving time.

Our province does have a service we can register with that will pair people up with family doctors, but if there aren’t doctors withing our area accepting new patients, it’s not going to help us.

What will most likely happen is, we’ll have to wait for new doctors to transfer over to the clinic that we’ve been going, and start seeing one of them.

With my husband’s private disability insurance, he must be “under the care of a doctor”. Every year, he has to fill out a form that includes mentioning how many doctor’s visits he’s had. Thankfully, phone and virtual appointments count, so until we are able to find a new doctor, it will have to do.

The “fun” of living in a rural area. Doctors tend not to want to work out in the boonies. There are simply more patients in the cities. As I understand it, doctors that have recently immigrated to Canada are required to serve in rural communities for a certain number of years first – five, I believe. Which is about how long our doctor as been at this clinic.

Oh, wow!

As I was typing this, I got a message from my SIL. It turns out there where is a mobile medical unit in our province that does house calls.

That would be ideal for my mother!

Time to go contact them and find out how it works!

The Re-Farmer

Update: looks like the mobile clinic is for the city only. However, I did just find there’s another clinic in the town we’ve been going to. This one looks more hopeful!

That’s how she rolls!

When checking on the seed starts in the big aquarium greenhouse, I’m usually greeted by this…

Beep Beep absolutely LOVES those aquarium lights. They are nice and warm, and I think she really appreciates that, after all her winters outdoors!

Also, isn’t that the most adorable tongue blep? ๐Ÿ˜‚

The down side, she rolls around so much, she starts pushing the one raised light fixture around. I’ve even found it with one end pushed right off the tank! The other light lies flush on the surface, so the frame of the wire mesh covers holds it in place.

In other things…

This afternoon, my husband and I had our rescheduled joint doctor’s appointment. When the phone range this morning, my immediate thought was that it was going to be rescheduled again! It turned out to be someone from home care doing his annual follow up call. The only thing we have from home care is my husband’s hospital bed, so most of the call was to make sure our postal and physical address was still the same.

My husband and I left very early for the appointment. It’s a good thing we did start heading out so early! I went out ahead to get my husband’s walker through the sun room doors (we need to find threshold ramps, but of the ones I looked at, they all seem to be the wrong height), then got the van set up and backed out of the garage a bit. Normally, I would have driven the van right to the house, but we haven’t been able to clear such a large area of snow. I had made sure the path to the garage was wide enough for the walker, and as clear of snow as possible, but anything beyond where there are actual sidewalk blocks will always be a bit rough on the wheels.

I did wonder, though, when I saw my husband hobbling to the van, without his walker.

It turned out he left through the main doors, not the sun room (which would have avoided stairs). He was expecting the walker to be at the main doors, and when he didn’t see it, he just kept going to the van!

When I saw him, I told him I’d go bring the walker, and he was all confused until I pointed out where it was sitting (the cats love the padded seat on that thing!). He went back to get it himself. I remembered just in time to ask if he had his wallet, with his health care card. Nope! He completely forgot! So I dashed inside to get that. By the time we were on the road, it was about 15 minutes later than I had been shooting for, but that is exactly why I factor in so much extra time!

The drive out was very rough on him. Especially the half mile or so of gravel road, just before the highway. It was a complete washboard, and there was no way to avoid it. The best I could do was slow down a bit, but all that did was give him slightly less pain for a longer time. Even on the highway, every now and then there would be a rough spot there was no way to avoid. He spent most of the time doing breathing exercises and meditation to help control the pain (yes, he was on painkillers), and the nausea that came with it.

We made a short stop to pick up a bit of gas and breakfast, which I had also factored in to my timeline, and got to the clinic about forty minutes before our appointment.

The clinic doors had signs saying, it’s cold and flu season, wear a mask! As if that ever made a difference. ๐Ÿ™„ We weren’t wearing any when we came in, and they didn’t say anything, but my husband still asked about wearing one. I think he felt other patients were having a problem with it, though the staff certainly didn’t. They know full well how useless they are. I couldn’t find the Mingle Masks that used to be in our van – I think my daughter might have thrown them out while cleaning out the front of the van, when we thought we’d be able to use it as a trade in – but I’d grabbed the last ones from the box we’d bought several years ago. It’s been so long, my husband forgot how to wear them! ๐Ÿ˜„

He then settled in for what he expected to be a long and painful wait, only for us to be called in just a few minutes later! My husband didn’t have a lot to cover. We started the paperwork to get a disabled parking permit, which now has to be done online with a doctor. The last time we did it, several years ago, we weren’t sure how it was done in this province, and left the paperwork with the doctor, thinking they had to send it in. Turns out, that’s not how it works here. After the doctor did the online paperwork and printed it out, there was a part for me to fill out as the emergency contact person, then details my husband had to include and sign for. Then it went to the reception desk, where we had to pay a fee to the doctor – cash or check only, and I thankfully had our checkbook – which was $30. Then we get the paperwork back and have to mail it out to a central office, along with a check for $15, for the placard to be mailed back to us. The alternative would be to drive to the city, find the place, then pay for and pick up the placard there.

In the province we lived in before, it was all covered. Even the doctor was able to waive the paperwork fee. All we had to do was bring a prescription to anywhere that did vehicle license and registration, and we’d get a placard immediately.

My husband rarely goes anywhere, but being able to park closer when he does would be a huge improvement for him.

After my husband left to do his bloodwork, I had my own appointment. I am now OFF that injection that was doing such nasty things to my insides. My husband is on the same injection for something else, and his dose got increased, so I’ll just give my fresh new refill to him. I’m now back on the medication I was on before that had no side effects with me, and worked just fine.

I also talked to him about whether or not it was time for me to apply for disability myself, because of the osteoarthritis. The last time I saw him, I got X-rays of my hands, and they only showed the beginnings of arthritis. I’m also not on any prescriptions for arthritis, so I simply wouldn’t be considered “disabled” enough to qualify for CPP Disability.

The hands are just the newest thing; my hips, knees and feet have been bothering me for a very long time. I even told him, I have no problem doing big things, like wielding a chain saw or pushing wheelbarrows around, but I need to use the bath chair to take a shower, I can’t take a bath, I struggle to do stairs, and can barely open a jar, because I’ve lost so much grip strength due to pain in my finger joints.

We talked about the painkillers I’m on now, which is just extra strength acetaminophen that I take morning and evening, and it’s not really cutting it anymore. So he gave me a prescription to try for 2 weeks, also taken morning and evening, to see how it works for me. That got faxed to the pharmacy, so I’ll be able to get that filled for the weekend, when I’ll be able to go into town to pick it up.

And we were done. I didn’t even get a requisition for bloodwork. I went to the lab to find the technician was still trying to find a vein in my husband’s arm and asked him about the parking permit application. It was at the reception desk, so I was able to write a check for that. By the time he was done and we were on our way home, we still had 10 minutes before our joint appointments were scheduled to start!

I love that when we come in early at this clinic, we almost always get seen early, too!

My husband was more than happy to get home, though that last push through the snowy paths with his walker was a lot more difficult than the first time around. He ended up going in through the main doors rather than fight through that last bit of snowy path to the sun room, and I took care of putting the walker away. Which certainly startled quite a few cats when I banged and rattled through the door with it! ๐Ÿ˜„ While we are at a relatively mild -9C/16F right now, the wind chill is supposedly -19C/-2F. I say “supposedly”, because we have been getting some nasty gusts of wind that make it feel even colder. The cats are quite enjoying the shelter of the sun room, that’s for sure!

Tomorrow, we’re supposed to have a high of -14C/7F and, if all goes to plan, that’s when I’ll be heading to the city for our Costco trip. After tomorrow, temperatures are supposed to drop to a high of -22C/-8F and stay chilly for a while, though the long range forecasts are not showing temperatures as cold as they did when I last checked them.

The weather app that came with my desktop provides interesting extra information, including average and record highs and low. The 30 year record high for today was 3C/37F, back in 2006 – but the record low in 1997 was -36C/-33F! I’m quite happy with a mere -9C/16F right now, even with the wind chill!

This winter has been the mildest – and closest to average – winter we’ve had since moving out here! I’m really, really appreciating it!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that opens up our day

But first, the cuties!

How many cats do you see?

There’s actually five. It’s hard to see, but there are three cats along the bottom of the window. When I took the picture, I could see the one on the far left moving around. It wasn’t until I uploaded the picture to my desktop and used the auto photo fix to see if it would be any clearer, that I spotted the one way in the back!

It feels so strange to look out our bathroom window and see only a couple of cats on the swing bench, instead of dozen or more. In fact, yesterday I actually looked out once and saw NO cats in there at all! The cats are definitely enjoying the relatively mild temperatures, and using the cat house instead of the sun room. This morning, I counted only seventeen cats, and only two of those were adults. Junk Pile and Caramel. I still can’t get near Junk Pile but, every now and then, I’ve managed to sneak a quick pet on Caramel, while she’s on the cat house roof.

She doesn’t like that, though.

In other things, my husband and I were supposed to be out today. Last month, we had consecutive appointments with our doctor (having the same doctor saves a lot of time and travel!) that got rescheduled to today. Just a little while ago, we got a call from the clinic. A very apologetic receptionist was calling to reschedule us again! She was able to book us for the earliest appointment she could find next week, though, so at least we won’t have more than a month to wait!

So that opens up my day. A trip to the doctor is about 40 minutes on the highway, plus town driving and usually a stop at the gas station along the way, too. We like to arrive early which, at this clinic, often meant actually getting in to see the doctor early. They’re good about that. We’re both going to be getting our regular blood tests done. Lab and X-ray is right there, so what usually happens is, my husband and I go in together for his appointment (I’m there to keep him honest! LOL He has a terrible habit of making light of what he’s going through, which is not a good thing to do with the doctor), then he goes to do his more extensive lab work while I have my appointment. Then I get my lab work done, which tends to be much faster. This way, we get home as quickly as possible, with the least amount of time for my husband painfully sitting in the waiting room.

Between the driving and the appointments, adjusting to make it as comfortable and least painful for my husband, it takes up quite a bit of time, and most of that time is spent driving “gently”. He feels every little bump and vibration, painfully, so I am a lot more careful about things like how quickly I accelerate or decelerate, taking turns, etc.

Gosh. Now I have a whole day freed up! What shall I do with myself?

I guess I ought to clean out the litter boxes in my office I’d asked the girls to do while we were gone.


The Re-Farmer

A bunch of updates, and this is $261

This morning, we had a combination of light snow and more fog.

Only now, in the late afternoon, do we finally have sunshine.

We still haven’t received a call about financing the replacement vehicle. By now, I figure there just isn’t a lender that will accept our application. I’m sure our credit score is pretty low. After my husband went on disability and we lost 40% of our income, we had to go under a consumer proposal to finish paying things off. That was ended a few years ago, but we have no credit cards, no mortgage and no other loans. Basically, no debt. Which means, nothing to improve our credit score. Rather ironic, isn’t it? We have no debt, therefore we have a bad credit score.

With waiting on the financing, I’ve been delaying our stock up shopping trip. We’re still good for most things, but I didn’t want it wait too much longer, or we’d start running out of things. Mostly cat food, since that’s the one thing we haven’t been able to stock up on. Since the van is still prepped for trade in, including the summer tires in the back, that meant using my mother’s car. Which can’t hold as much, even with the back seats folded down, but it’ll do.

Once on the road, the further south I went, the thicker the fog and blowing snow. I was intending to go to Costco, but by the time I reached the town my mother lives in, I changed my mind. The highways were fine – and the surrounding fields and trees were stunningly beautiful! However, I knew the city would be a mess. So I decided to go to the nearer city and hit a Walmart. It meant a smaller shop, but I could at least get the most necessary items.

I almost didn’t!

This is $261.11, after taxes.

Lately, I’ve been buying 10kg bags of kibble (about 22 pounds). The shelves with large bags of kibble were almost empty, and I had to get the 7kg (about 15 pounds) of economy kibble, instead. Four of those for the outside cats, and more wet cat food for the inside cats, and we were already at about $110.

I got a container of black peppercorns, but they didn’t have the ground thyme and sage I was looking for, in stock. I had intended to buy more protein items, but ended up with just three different cheeses (of the 2 for $10 varieties), some pork chops, and some seafood for the girls. They also requested hot dog fixings, so I got a bulk package of wieners and some hot dog buns, as well as wraps. I got a box of granola bars and Kraft Dinner for them, too. That meant more milk for making the KD. The olives are more of a snack food for my husband, though I like to nibble on a bowl of olives, too. One of my favourite treats used to be a certain brand of sundried black olives, packed in salt, but I haven’t seen them since we moved, so… green olives it is. ๐Ÿ˜„ There’s paper towels and facial tissues, coffee creamer for the girls (my husband and I don’t drink coffee), and two boxes of Earl Grey Double Bergamot tea. It’s often out of stock, so I was happy to see it. Especially since the tea shelves were pretty empty, too!

Aside from getting this as Walmart, I was also able to swing by a Staples and get some ink for my printer. For some reason, I’m out of cyan again – why that one colour keeps running out, I have no idea. We don’t use our printer much. If the printer is out one colour, it won’t let me print anymore. Not even black and white. Frustrating! While there, I picked up some tax preparation software. NOT TurboTax this year. Hopefully, something that isn’t so frikkin’ counter intuitive. So that was another $55 and change in total gone.

The price of printer ink went up since I last bought some. The economy kibble prices also finally went up. I got excellent prices on some other things, though, so that sort of made up for it.

The unfortunate thing is, I’m going to need to do this again, soon. That kibble won’t last until the end of the month, though as things warm up, the outside cats aren’t needing to eat as much. We also need to get more stove pellets for the litter pretty soon, and that’s a Canadian Tire trip. If I’m getting both, I’d be taking the tires out of the back of the van and using that, rather than my mother’s car.

Another ironic thing, considering our major gardening plans. What I’d wanted to do, and will have to do when I finally make it to Costco, is stock up on quality proteins. We still have lots of our quarter beef in the freezer, but I don’t want to go through that too quickly.

I’ve mentioned more than a few times, that all four of us have various health issues. After much research and assessing of things, my husband and I want to try going carnivore. We’re not going to go cold turkey on it, but the more I look into it, the more convinced I am that our entire family would see significant improvement in all our different issues, by cutting out virtually all carbs. For my daughters, I especially think they need to cut out almost all vegetables. All plants have pesticides in them. It’s their natural defence, since they can’t up and run away from the animals and insects that want to eat them. Some people are sensitive to them than others. Ruminants are the best meat for a low carb diet, as they have digestive systems that ferment plant material, thereby removing those toxins and converting material indigestible to humans into high quality meat. Personally I don’t think I am sensitive to these plant toxins, and could probably do well on keto, but it seems the rest of my family is. My daughters, unfortunately, have been cutting meat out of their diet more and more – probably because of the cost, though one of them says certain meats make her feel sick. That this includes some cuts but not others, of the same kind of meat, leaves me thinking there is something else going on. Anyhow, what my husband in particular really should be doing is going completely carnivore, then slowly adding things back, as a sort of elimination diet. It won’t heal his back (which includes birth defects that were not discovered until after his back injury), but it should at least get him off a lot of medications. I’m hoping that, once they see positive results in us, my daughters will be more willing to go it, too.

Yet another reason why I want to include animals as part of our self sufficiency goals, and part of that includes growing their feed, because the cost of feed is getting pretty steep. If that means growing a garden full of animal food, then eating the animals, I’m good with that. But we have lots of preparation before we can start doing that. First, a chicken coop. Possibly some meat rabbits next. Then set up for a couple of pigs. For pigs, we would get piglets in the spring to be butchered in the fall, so we won’t be overwintering pigs, like we would with chickens. Pigs are social animals, so we’d get at least two. We might get milk goats at some point, but will likely keep buying our beef from the same ranch we’re getting it from now. I just don’t see us reaching a point where we will have our own cows – though we might get alpacas at some point. My daughter wants fibre animals.

Okay, so I’m getting off track here. ๐Ÿ˜„

Back to other updates.

I’ve been messaging with the Cat Lady. Her surgery was cancelled at the last minute. The new specialist wants to put her on medications, first. It’s so frustrating, but he’s convinced that if they do the surgery now, she’ll end up back within the year. She’s planning on going to the US for a second opinion and possible surgery in the spring. So frustrating! Months of tests and preparation, actually in the hospital and ready to go under the knife, only to have the whole thing turned upside down by someone she’d only seen for 15 minutes. The other specialist thought surgery was the best option. The health care system in this province really sucks. It’s not even the worst province in Canada for that, either, which is downright scary.

All that going on, and she’s worried about how Tissue is doing, too! I assured her that Tissue is doing fine. As I write this, she is burrowed under my sheets, sleeping. A few more days on soft food and medication, and we should be able to let her out of the isolation room again. ๐Ÿ˜„

On top of all that, I got a call from my mother. Her timing was perfect, as I’d just gotten home. The girls were still putting away the groceries!

I’m heading out again, to help her do her own grocery shopping trip. Then I have to head to another town to pick up a Purolator package. I thought they now had a depot in the general store our post office is in – I’ve picked up a Purolator package there not long ago! But apparently, no. Weird.

I’d love to finally get a call back from the finance lady. Even if it’s just to tell me that no, we can’t get financing. That’s better than hanging in limbo like this! But she’s working really hard to get us that vehicle! ๐Ÿ˜ I do appreciate her efforts. But gosh, it’s taking a really long time!

The Re-Farmer

Too wet, and a nice surprise

This morning, it looked like I’d be getting more of a day of rest than I wanted. I hoped to at least do some weed trimming. It rained last night again, however, and… well…

There’s just too much water. The vehicle gate into the yard is usually the first place to have water, but there’s enough that it’s backing up into the path along this garden bed. For the water to be high enough to do that, it means all behind the garage and in front of the outhouse is water. It’s also pooling in front of the low raised beds where the old wood pile used to be, though the newly transplanted ground cherries seem to be okay; the mulch seems to be absorbing the moisture and keeping them from being in a pool of water. The grass is getting so tall, most of the water is hidden, but we’ve got open water all over the inner yard. Mowing is just not going to be an option. The weed trimming I intended to do around the squash transplants isn’t going to happen. That lilac by the storage house has a pool of water under it again. Even the spirea on the opposite corner has water under them. The grapes are above the water level, at least. Checking the trellises and the trees, it looks like we lost at least 1 luffa to the wet. Interestingly, the sliver buffalo berry is handling it just fine. Even the saplings that are in pools of water are have leaf buds opening.

The mosquitoes weren’t too bad, thanks to the wind, so I was able to check the Korean Pine without being eaten alive.

I found a surprise next to one of them.

All the white flowers in this photo?

Strawberries. We’ve got a whole big patch of strawberries growing here!

In previous years, when I was able to keep a lane to the back gate mowed, this area had Black Eyed Susan, a local wildflower, growing here. I’d even see patched of daisies. But never strawberries! To suddenly see so many makes me quite happy.

Once back inside, I hoped to be able to take things a big easy, since working outside wasn’t much of an option, but of course, that didn’t happen.

My mother phoned. She’d gotten the call about the sleep test the doctor wrote her up for, but she’d forgotten about it. Thankfully, she told them she’d talked to me about whether she should do it at all first, rather than just telling them she didn’t need the test. She gave me the number and I called them back. It turns out they can send the test machine directly to my mother, and that was looing good – until it came to how it’s paid for. They take payment by credit card, and don’t send the machine out until the payment is made. My mother doesn’t have a credit card. Neither do I. There is still the option of picking it up and paying for it in person, but they need 2 days notice, so that the machine will be ready and waiting for pick up. Which I could do, but I emailed my brother first, just in case. He has a credit card and might be able to get that done and my mother can pay him back later. Whatever we work out, we’ll call them back about it.

Then I read another email from my he’s sent earlier. It was about the beg bug treatment schedule, including a date. I had no idea there was a date – and it’s the same day someone is supposed to be coming out to see my mother for a home care assessment.

So I called my mother back, updated her on the sleep test thing, then talked to her about the bed bug date. She needed to call my sister to make arrangements to stay there for a couple of nights, so that she won’t be exposed to the spray. She said others in her building just stay in the lobby, but I reminded her, she can’t do that, because of her health issues. She finally understood. So while she called my sister to make the arrangements, I had to find a number to call about changing the home care assessment appointment. The problem is, there is no public number directly to the home care department. Even with the guy that called me, the call display showed “private caller”, so there’s no number there. I tried calling the clinic to do it through them, but they must be really busy, because no one was answering the phone. Finally, I found a central number for our health region and left a message – the call went straight to voice mail – and left a message.

So now I’m basically keeping a handset handy and waiting to hear back.

I really dislike talking on the phone. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ah, well.

So I guess things being too wet to get work done outside is a bonus for today.

I’d really rather be outside, fighting mosquitoes while mowing the lawn, than waiting for more phone calls, to be honest!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a fairyland out there!

Yesterday’s fog kept getting denser and denser before finally being blown away last night. The live feed on the security camera looked like a blizzard, but it was just fog!

Now, everything outside looks like something out of a magical fairy tale!

The spruces are the tallest trees around, and their tops always get the fuzziest! ๐Ÿ˜€

However, even lower down bushes, like this Korean lilac in the foreground, were completely covered!

My mother’s “living fence” of hawthorn is just magical. Particularly when you know that none of those tracks in there were made by human feet!

The length of our driveway was lined with sparkling white trees!

At the end of the driveway, you could really see the wind effect! All the frost crystals in these areas were distinctly directional. ๐Ÿ˜€

People who had to be out driving in this last night described dangerously slippery roads and almost zero visibility. I am glad we didn’t have to go anywhere last night!

I do need to go into town this afternoon, though. I have a new prescription to pick up.

I had my phone appointment with my doctor yesterday. Of course, there wasn’t much he could do over the phone. I described what happened that day I found myself gasping for breath while driving, but it hasn’t happened since. I’m back to my “baseline”, so he wants to take more of a wait and watch approach. If it happens again, I need to call him. We spent some time talking about just what my “baseline” is, and my chronic cough. He may be my doctor for over a year now, but with the restrictions, we haven’t been able to actually see him much, so I’m still very much a “new” patient for him. He wants me to try using an inhaler to see if that will help. It’s meant to be used once a day. He wants to follow up with me after 2 weeks of using it. He later faxed the prescription in to our pharmacy, and I got a call from them after they got it to arrange getting it filled and picked up for this afternoon. If that doesn’t help, I will be going for lung function tests.

I’ve had an inhaler tried on me before, when I first started trying to find out why I had developed this cough. It made my cough worse, so I stopped. Then we moved out of province, so this was over 17 years ago. After the move, I had a whole series of lung function tests done. They all came back normal, but again, that was a long time ago. Probably about 13 years or more. So we shall see how this goes.

My daughter had her phone appointment right after mine, but she will need to physically go in to the clinic for the things she is wanting to get checked out. We have an appointment for her on Monday afternoon, and she will likely need at least two other appointments at the clinic, for other things.

Thankfully, the weather will continue to be mild. In past winters, we stopped my husband’s appointments completely, because of the weather and road conditions. That is not as much of a concern this year, so my daughter can make all the appointments she needs. For my husband, though, if he can get away with just phone appointments, he will. The drive itself is just too painful for him.

Ah, well. It is what it is!

The Re-Farmer


Oh, what a day this turned out to be. I’m looking at the time and wondering why it’s not several hours later, because this day has felt much longer than normal!

But first, I share the pleasantly unexpected thing.

As I finished up my outdoor morning routine and headed for the house, I noticed something white in the window of the cat house.

Plus, something moving in the shadows behind!

Unfortunately, my coming closer startled the cats. You can just see a hind leg of mystery kitten, who dashed out as I got closer. Little Braveheart was still in the window, and I was pretty sure it was Tabby that I saw in the shadows.

Then, the Creamsicle emerged!

Creamsicle was the first cat I saw checking out the new shelter, and I’ve seen Tabby lounging in the window. I’ve seen other kittens coming out from under it, but this is the first time I’ve seen Mystery or Braveheart inside, and the first time I’ve seen more than one cat in there. This is very encouraging. I know, in past winters, even cats that didn’t get along would still join the pile on the swing bench to keep warm, but it’s still great to see some confirmation that they can use the new space peacefully together.

What I am really hoping to see if Butterscotch’s babies going in there! They are so much smaller and younger, they are the most as risk from the coming cold. Weather Canada is forecasting a long fall and late starting winter, though. I hope they are right, because I’ve also seen forecasts for an early, long and bitterly cold winter coming up.

Meanwhile, the predicted rains last night turned out to be a brief but wicked thunderstorm, complete with driving rain, thunder, lightning, high winds and – no surprise – losing our internet. Thankfully, we did not lose power. As I write this, in the early evening, we’re still at a very warm 25C/77F!

Among the things I needed to do today was head into town and pick up my husband’s prescription refills. Even with a box of insulin, thanks to his excellent private insurance plan, the grand total is rarely more than $100. Last month, his refills happened to include both his injections and needles, and for the first time since things got messed up with his restricted painkillers, his bubble packs had all of his medications in them. So it was quite a shock, but not too unexpected, for the cost to be closer to $300. This time, it should have been less.

It was more. The total was almost $400.

At this time of the month, I simply didn’t have that. The cashier started checking the slips for me and noted that not all of them had the 3rd party payment (what the insurance company pays) on them. With 16 medications, it added up fast.

So I got her to suspend the sale while I stepped aside to look through the slips and then, if necessary, transfer funds from our emergency account. I was perplexed, though. What changed?

I went back to the pharmacists and asked if anything new had been added. The pain clinic doctor was supposed to call our regular doctor and talk medications. Our doctor said that he would fax any new prescriptions directly to the pharmacy. Could that be what happened?

Nope. Nothing was changed. However, according to what was showing up on the computer, we had reached our limit with the insurance company for medications.

Our what???

This has never happened before.

In the end, the pharmacist took back the printed out slips and told me to just take the medications, and come back after we cleared it up with the insurance company. They would rebill the amount then.

Yes. The pharmacy let me walk away with hundreds of dollars of medications without paying for them! Her comment was “we know you’ll come back.” Which is true. There’s no risk to them, since we are regulars, but still… that’s a lot of money walking out the door!

The next several hours was spent alternating between my husband and myself on the phone, with him calling the insurance company first.

In a nutshell, because we now live in a province that has Pharmacare – a provincially run government insurance program – the insurance company covers the cost of the deductible, then stops paying out because the system then covers the rest – but the system didn’t kick in.

As far as I knew, when we sent in an application for Pharmacare, shortly after moving here, we didn’t get accepted. I remember getting a letter asking for my tax information from 2015, when no such information was asked for on the form (my husband and I were both on the one form). I remember getting another letter since then that was basically a giant word salad and, as far as I could make out, we didn’t qualify. So I assumed we did not have it.

The insurance company’s limit on the deductible was only $1500. I called the pharmacy and talked to someone there who looked up my husband’s file, and they’d actually paid out almost $2000, so we were well past the limit. Most confusing of all, according to what she was seeing, is that we were approved for Pharmacare. We had it. But it didn’t kick in when it should have.

She gave me the number to call and find out why.

It turned out our Pharmacare deductible was actually over $3000. Which meant we were on the hook for the rest. The guy I spoke to said we should have gotten a letter back in the spring with the deductible amount. That would have been the letter that I understood as telling us we didn’t actually qualify. He said he would mail us a new one, which our insurance company would probably want to see.

Also, two of my husband’s medications (one of which is the pain killer that comes in slow and quick release forms) are not covered by Pharmacare at all.

My husband then called the insurance company back. Sure enough, once they have the proof in hand, they will adjust the limit to match what our deductible.

I called the pharmacy back and explained it to them, and they are fine with our coming back after all this was done, so they could re-bill the insurance company, and we would be paying only whatever was left. How long that takes depends on how quickly the letter gets to us in the mail (after that, my husband can just email a copy to the insurance company), which could take more than a week.

Our pharmacy is awesome!

If we were living in a province without Pharamacare, this would never have happened. What I don’t understand is why this didn’t happen last year! I guess the new medications my husband was put on after his stay in the hospital was enough to kick it over this year, but he was put on them late enough in the year last year, that it wasn’t an issue.

By the time this was all figured out, my husband and I were both completely drained.

The rest of the day’s plans went out the window.

It’s time to de-stress!

The Re-Farmer