Queen Mimi


I am struggling with a friend who has chosen homelessness, and keeping money in her hands for Latte’s and whatever she choses to purchase, vs. having a roof over her head and minimal standards for quality of life regarding access to showers, food, necessary medications, shelter, etc.

In particular, I’m struggling with my wish to kick her out of my life, and find a way to also remove her elderly dog from my life.

To then find that there is a homeless woman who has been featured in her own documentary, “Queen Mimi”, is just hitting a raw nerve.

I really wish we still had poor houses.

It’s pouring outside, and I worry that she’s sitting in a Jack in the Box or other fast food establishment, trying to stay dry, and trying to get through her day until she’s able to claim a bed.

Not that I want her moving in with me, even temporarily, as she is too unpredictable as her mental health declines.  And I am not a martyr, regardless of any bad choices I make trying to be a decent person vs. a dismissive person.

So, what am I doing to make it better?  Not much.  In fact, I’m adding to my own stress by buying beads to make jewelry (which I cannot do so long as my arthritis is acting up).

No answers here.  Just purging my brain of its latest, unproductive thoughts.


Affordability – ha !


Can I tell you how much hate debating Rx costs and brands with the pharmacist?  Last year, they changed my branded Xopenex inhaler to Levabuleral (generic) in virtually identical packaging, that almost killed me.

So, the whole debate over brand medicines versus generic medicines is something that only a qualified individual should determine (and I am neither a pharmacist nor a doctor, the two people who should be having the necessary conversation.

Anyway, even though I refuse to allow my pharmacist to have my phone number (because they love their robo-caller), the phone number is buried in the “notes” section of my account, and a determined pharmacist can find it if he or she wishes.

He wished.  I got a voicemail indicated that they could not fill my “Glucophage” rx because it costs between $4,000 and $5,000 and is restricted by my insurance company, and would I allow a substitution.

Moi ? ! ? ! ?

Why aren’t you talking to my doctor vs. me?  I am not debating the merits of various medicines, but I will have a conversation with my endocrinologyst about what is and is not affordable.  So, I send a message to the doctor, and she’s telling me that she prescribed EXACTLY the right thing, “Glumetza”, and did I want her to get a pre-approval for the medicine?

Glumetza cost

Heck, no !

Glumetza for 60 tablets (and she would like me to try it for a month for 90 tablets) is outrageously priced.

So, I sent yet another email off to clarify the different names of the products being referenced (Glucophage is about $113 per month), and asking her to clarify with the pharmacist if “Glucophage” is a reasonable substitute for the “Glumetza” she originally specified.

I’m at the end of life folks, finding it tough to afford everything.  If you think I need at $6k medicine (or even a $2k medicine) each month, then you value my life a heck of a lot more than I do.

Yes, the metformin is improving my liver enzymes.

Yes, the metformin is causing explosive bowel movement issues.

I’ve already cut back on the metformin and removed all herbal supplements possible to mitigate some of the side effects.

My next choice is to do without the medication recommended if you think that switching it to a more-expensive-than-gold Rx is a reasonable solution.

As referenced in the book by Atul Gawande, “Being Mortal”, I don’t want to spend the last bits of my life worried about how I’ll afford to live, and scared of the costs of my medicines.

07SCIB-master315 beingmortal1

People lived for millions of years without these expensive Rx’s, and I see little value to foolishly expend insurance resources that are unaffordable.  I am not Rockefeller with limitless income, and I accept that my entitlement to care comes with some reasonable caveats.

If the medicine is causing a side effect trying to resolve a problem, then one eliminates the unaffordable solution AND the medicine causing the problem.  One does not believe that they are entitled to exhaust insurance dollars which are better spent on children and young adults when we already know that we are simply delaying the inevitable biological breakdown in my particular case.



Diplomacy is exhausting.

Doing well despite the rough start to the weekend. Last night, the friend whose dog I’m caring for had a meltdown over the dog’s care, demanding that I get a second opinion, etc., even though we’d previously discussed the fact that I am not wealthy, and that the dog is already under the care of a good vet.

It’s sad when people neglect themselves as they age, but it’s even sadder when there are animals involved.

At this point, I’ve gotten 12 calls and 4 voicemails today as she is working herself into a fine lather to vent her spleen. So, I’ve left her a voicemail (since she didn’t answer the phone), that the dog is fine, is already under the care of an excellent vet, and that she is not allowed to spend my money demanding anything. I am doing what I said I would to care for the dog temporarily, until her living situation is resolved (we are hoping she’s conserved and her niece appointed as guardian), but failing that, she has an action item to find a new place to live that will allow her to keep her dogs. Until she has a workable plan, the dogs are safe with other caregivers.

At 15 years old, though, this dog is at the end of it’s natural life, and I am doing everything necessary to keep it comfortable and happy despite its blindness, eye infection and underweight status. My angry friend has 2 choices at this point:

1) Stop calling me and adding to my stress, and I will continue to update her once a day, between 5 and 6 pm;

or, 2) find someone else to take over the care of the dog.

I am not willing to bring the dog for a visit (a 6 hour round trip car ride) while she is in such deep stages of grief and anger at the changes in her living situation, and not until the dog has gotten all of its vaccines and immunizations updated. So, she knows that I hope to bring the dog for a day visit in April, after I have all my appointments taken care of, and presuming that such a visit will not cause a scene.

The reason I’m writing this post, though, is not for encouragement or support. Instead, I’m asking each of you with pets to consider what will happen if you can no longer care for your pets as our shared illness progresses. My cat, Katie, already has someone waiting in the wings to care for her should she outlive me. And, the fur coated diva will be my last pet should I outlive her.

The lives of our four footed friends are a blessing, and I truly feel we need to handle our guardianship responsibilities well by having a plan for our lives and theirs as it gets closer to us all meeting at the rainbow bridge.

Whatever’s going on in your lives this weekend, I hope you’re doing well and having fun.

Boundary Management


via Daily Prompt: Uncompromising 

Today’s writing prompt could not have come at a better time.  I am busy dealing with a mentally ill friend who is uncompromising in her belief that we are all against her.

That life has been set up to cheat her.

And that she gets to decide when others have “enough”, so they should be willing to bail her out of whatever disaster she is dealing with.  Again.

Tonight, I was having a relatively good phone call, where she asked how the 15 year old cocker spaniel was doung, and I responded, “Fine.”  She’s not enjoying the rcommended eye treatment for the infections to her blind puppy eyes, but she’s sleeping well, pooping and peeing as normal, and dealing with the realities of being a 15 year old dog as well as can be expected.

We ended the call, and then the voicemails started.  “I’d like you to give the dog a break, she’s depressed, so take her out for an ice cream and find her some kids to play with.”

”I want her to have a second opinion from Dr. Burr…” (with an extoling of that doctor’s qualifications, even though I’d told this friend a week ago that there was no budget for a second opinion, reminded her that the dog was 15 (at the far end of the normal lifespan for the breed), and that there was no more money to be spent on this dog beyond the current treatment plan).  I started a course of treatment, and would see it through with the next vet visit on the 16th.

Relentless and uncompromising, this friend left me and other friends teary voicemails this evening about running away from her care home, and demanding that I bring her depressed dog to see her, and just generally throwing a temper tantrum via the phone.  Completely uncompromising.

No thought or consideration was given to the fact that the friend is now living 2-3 hours drive away, plus the fact that she had been told that the dog was not coming for a visit until sometime in April, soonest, after its immunization shots were up to date and its medical care completed.

She wants what she wants when she wants it.  Truly, a sense of perspective is a terrible thing to lose.

So, it was my turn to be uncompromising.  If she doesn’t like the care her elderly dog is getting, and she can find someone else to take over it’s care, I’m happy to have the dog picked up.

However, she can’t have the dog where she is (and she can’t care for herself physically, emotionally, medically or financially, never mind injecting a blind dog who needs constant supervision and medical care into the situation), and I’m not taking a 5-6 hour roud trip just to get her to stop blowing up my phone with her demands.  Especially since the scene she will throw when it’s time for me to return home would be yet another hysterical meltdown.

The dog is fine (or, as good as can be expected at 15 years old), so now I’m being uncompromising. I just wish I didn’t feel like such a hard hearted Hannah, doing what’s best for everyone in this sad eldercare situation.

Conservatorship + Britney

I make no bones about the fact that I consider Britney Spears her family’s show pony.  A Disney Kid and Musketeer, the young woman had a busy and supposedly glamorous life, cranking out one top of the pop chart hit after another, from her teenage years onward, with her parent’s taking a cut of her income as her “managers”.  She married, multiple times.  She spent money like water.  She had children.  She divorced.

Britney Spears I Wanna Go  Britney - Las Vegas   13-britney-x-factor-faces-1.w1200.h630

Through it all, she worked.  Until there came a time when she shaved her head and stopped working, while spending her way through her fortune with little care for the future.  Bipolar they said.  Drug abuse they said.  Whatever it was, the power’s that be agreed she needed help.

Somehow, in 2008, Britney was “conserved”, meaning that she no longer had the authority to make legal decisions on her own behalf.  Like a child, she was put back under the supervision of her father, and it has remained that way from 2008 until now.

When you look up any information about conservatorship, it’s usually referenced in terms of elders suffering from Dementia or Alzheimers, or handicapped children who will never fully mature into adults no longer in need of supervision.

If you read the articles about her conservatorship, a lot is made over the fact that she has continued to work (both as a mentor on X-Factor, as well as in her Las Vegas residency), and yet she has not been released from the terms of her conservatorship, which is expected to last for the rest of her life.

How can one be empowered to act as a mentor for another, yet be considered incapable of managing their own lives.  Are they trying to tell us she’s an idiot savant?

Some articles say that the conservatorship is just a sham, protecting her from having to testify in a variety of legal cases.  However, ten (10) years after the conservatorship was approved, the statute of limitations should have run the limit on the outstanding legal matters.  So, the fact that she, an apparently healthy woman in her mid-30’s, remains shielded by a conservation order indefinitely is incredibly fascinating to me.

Now, let’s go look at what is happening to my friend, C.

The social workers have advised the niece that it’s unlikely that C will be conserved as she is still too functional, too verbal.  Seriously?

Britney can be conserved as a protection for her money, but C cannot be conserved as a protection to herself to ensure that she doesn’t blow her money on latte’s and new telephones each month, before she pays her rent or any other normal obligation that her social security should be enough to cover.

I guess it’s like Cyndi Lauper said, “Money.  Money changes everything.”

Right now, we’re hoping that the friend will be conserved.  She’s been informed that she cannot afford her dogs, and that they cannot be brought to the board and care home where she’s living, and she’s trying to accept the truth of that statement while also lying to herself (or retreating into some sort of delusional situation where they can be allowed to join her), and it’s just sad for everyone involved.

How is it ok for a woman to live in filth, forget to pay her bills, be unsure of what day it is and how to communicate with people (or, who she is talking to when she manages to make a phone call out), be neglecting her beloved pets due to her worsening health and mental instability, and yet there still be a question about whether or not she can be conserved against her will to protect her quality of life?

I keep on looking at Britney’s situation vs. that of C, and my only thought is that money truly does change everything.


We owe our ill elders better than neglect under the guise of “freedom”.




Reality Bites.

As my fellow blogger so eloquently wrote in her blog last month,

ref:  Right = Wrong by SparksFromACombustibleMind

Pet parents have to make some tough choices when it comes to their animals.  When one is fostering an older dog, the decisions become harder when it comes to euthanasia as one is not the pet parent, and one does not always have the complete story with regard to an animal’s health.

Cocker Spanial info

In my current situation, a friend has become unable to care for herself.  As the friend has deteriorated, so have her pets.  One animal is a miniature pincher, 10 years old, and 2 pounds overweight.  The other is a cocker spaniel, 15 years old, and approximately 6 pounds (or more) under weight.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the breed, trying to figure out where the euthanasia line may be.

Keri Jo is lost without her owner and without her companion, the min pin.  Keri Jo is also skin and bones, being at least 4 pounds under weight from her last vet visit in 2016, when she weighed 18 pounds.  When looking at the measurements for  cocker spaniels as a whole, however, it seems even more ominous that she is only 14 pounds when they can run as high as 30 lbs and still be healthy and not overweight.

Keri Jo is blind, requiring 3 different eye ointments over a period of 45 minutes, a minimum of twice per day.

Add into the situation the fact that my Park management has informed me that she cannot be walked at night because our Park doesn’t have sidewalks (like that’s relevant in a private park), and the quality of her life is challenged because she can neither go out to relieve herself, and also hates the eye ointment treatments.  It’s just sad across the board.

While the owner may be able to talk her way out of protective care (I’ll write more about that in a separate post), I have begun the conversation with C (the owner), that Keri Jo is doing fine, but is old and tired, and not happy with the eye treatments.

While I would like to find a way to re-home her where she will have better quality of life, I really wonder if that is possible given her blindness and age.  If she was my dog, I would put her down because it’s kinder.

The owner, however, is a pet-must-be-saved-at-any-price (even if she doesn’t have funds to take care of herself), so it’s an unproductive conversation to have with her from the get go.

When I first told her the initial information from the vet, the friend began talking about getting a second opinion about the dog’s eyes, completely forgetting the fact that she was not paying for the dogs care, and the fact that I told her a few years back that I believed people came before pets when it came to dealing with survival priorities.

Frankly, I wish I could euthanize them both (more on that in the other blog post), but it’s not my decision to make.

At this point, I’m trying my best to keep the dog alive in the hope that it will find a better home than mine, but it’s a rough situation.  Time will tell what the best answer will be for the dog and the people involved.



Ennui Help


Winter is always a tough time of year.  It’s cold.  I’m uncomfortable.  Everything is grey.  Frankly, it’s a good time to be a bear and hibernate.

However, for anyone with mental health challenges such as depression, this is a good time of year to investigate whether or not a psychiatrist over the internet (SkypeDoc) is a solution for psychiatric counseling where one might otherwise risk their safety driving snow-blocked mountain passes, steep and icy roads, etc.

Typing in the question, “Can I get an online psychiatrist?” brings up a bunch of possible alternatives, if your own medical plan / insurer doesn’t have this alternative already available.

Online Psychiatrist suggestions March 2018

While I did go to a grief counselor / life coach for about a year, when first dealing with my COPD diagnosis, and she was excellent, I don’t know that it helped me to resolve my issue with ennui.

At this point, since I feel my lack of motivation is related to Winter doldrums (since I put in close to 14,000 steps yesterday and can be motivated and focused to get things done when the weather is wonderful), so I will continue to wait and see before seeking mental health care for myself.

But, if you ever feel different…  please consider online psychiatric options if you can’t find something better real-time and in-person in your neighborhood.