Behind the 8 Ball

free-magic-8-ball-vectorIf you live here in the states and have had to rely on the  Affordable Care Act (ACA) I would truly like to know how you are managing, or if not, how you are faring.  If you wanted it, then are you getting what you thought you were getting?  I’m not trying to be flip, I just really am interested to know if you are getting the help you need through this program.


When Bob’s previous job realized that they were going to have to give up their current coverage due to the insurance changes, they began paying him a bit extra to help defray the cost.  It wasn’t enough.

When he was then a victim of downsizing, he was out of work for months.  We had to change our ACA coverage to reflect that he had no income other than unemployment wages.  This still cost us about $400 a month and incurred a mammoth deductible for each of us. (About $5,400 total).

We got sick.  Very sick.  Both of us.  The bills piled up, we became overwhelmed and had to take money from our retirement savings to help cover costs.  Irritatingly, I had a TSA that had matured and was worth almost $25,000.00 at the end of the year, but we had to wait to cash it out because we didn’t want to end up owing back all the subsidy money for the ACA coverage we relied on…  By the time I cashed it out in January, it had dropped in value to $18,000.00 due to the stock market crash.

Bob finished the taxes today.

Bob:  You don’t want to know how much I am hating Obama care right now.

Me:  What?  We don’t get anything back?

Bob:  I really don’t want to tell you.

Me:  We owe some?

Bob:  Sigh… We have to pay all of the subsidy back and we don’t get anything from the Federal at all!

Me:  How much?!

Bob:  $8,000.00!

He explained that in the midst of trying to make ends meet and paying the regular bills and necessities, plus the ACA payments, plus the deductibles, plus the co-pays, plus being out of work and being sick, we managed to make about $1,500.00 too much (remember that was the money we socked away for retirement!)  and now they want all the subsidy monies back.

In the past week we have sprung a leak in the roof and need a new roof.  The roofer has patched us up and it stopped the rain from running down the stove-pipe, into my cupboards and out onto my stove and counter tops, but the roof needs replacing.  $8,600.00.  He found hail damage and we are waiting to see if the insurance company will cover the new roof…

Are you keeping count?  We need $16,600.00 to pay for it all.  There goes the left over from my TSA monies and Bob’s IRA ++++++

After our talk, I felt awful.  I wanted to cry, but couldn’t.  I felt sick to my stomach and just wanted to crawl into bed and pull the covers up.  I wouldn’t.  After I calmed down some and began to feel better I suddenly flashed on a scene from my favorite movie of all time:

My Man Godfry

It is one of those madcap BW comedies from 1936, staring William Powel and Carole Lombard.  If you haven’t seen it you must, and if you do want to see it , well look up the copy from the Criterion Collection (<— link to synopsis, etc) because it has a missing scene that makes the whole thing make sense!!!

Here is the scene I remembered and which gave me a chuckle in spite of it all!

In the meantime I am grateful to God that we are once again in better health.  Feeling better makes it easier to take things in stride, although it doesn’t preclude the changes we will need to make over the next year.  We are talking it out, and thinking about our options, but we don’t have a definite plan as yet.

I’ll tell more when we figure it all out.

The pollen season and COPD

Dear Friends,

Poor Bob has been very sick from all the pollen in the air.  Outside everything is covered with a dusty,  yellow haze.  He has been trying to sleep sitting up for almost a week now, and had to take off work Thursday and Friday.  He is taking five prescription medications, and using my old nebulizer to give himself breathing treatments.   I saved it for emergencies and have only used it twice since we moved.  Glad I did!

It is hell for him, but equally so for me.  Last night at dinner I thought I might have to call 911 when he began coughing, wheezing and gasping for air.  Eventually, he was able to calm down the spasms, but was still unable to sleep laying down.

He is exhausted and his ribs hurt.

If you are the praying type please think of him today.

Thank you.



Today’s post is lackluster, but I just need to get it out and haven’t the energy to go beyond the facts of the matter.  

Bob had been complaining about how tired he was all the time.  It has been going on for about a year now.  He finally mentioned it to the doctor and told her about is sleep apnea.

The Dr. sent him in for a chest ex ray which was unrevealing.  She sent him to a pulmonologist and after testing found that his is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.  He was told his lungs are only working at 50%.  He is now taking three new drugs one of which costs $300.00.  He’d been given a coupon from the specialist but forgot to turn it in, so I went back to the pharmacy and they looked into it for us.  Glad I took the time to do this too, because he got the drug free of charge!

Apparently, there is no cure for COPD and it gets progressively worse over time.    So far the medicines are making him cough more, but not really helping him feel better.

Tonight his is having a sleep study done for the sleep apnea.

I have no words for how I am feeling at the moment.  Overwhelmed and sad don’t really seem to cover it.

Here are the facts on COPD

For more information on COPD click HERE


Now I’ll go back to my jigsaw puzzles till dawn.

Care to join me?  This site has an especially nice interface and you can find them HERE

Notes on the Flu and a Chicken Soup Recipe

Monday Before Last I got the flu. 

Sometimes the vaccine doesn’t match the current strain and, Voila!,  you go out to eat on Friday afternoon and

by Monday afternoon you think you have a head cold.

By Tuesday:   You have a fever of 102.5 with debilitating joint pain.

On Wednesday morning:  Your fever breaks and you feel, and look like, over cooked pasta.  Limp.  Washed out.

Thursday:   You begin to feel better only to get the punies and you can’t eat.

Friday:   Your head begins to clear and it all goes to your lungs.  They hurt.  It is hard to breathe.  It is late and you are worried about pneumonia… you consider paying the $300.oo copay for the ER.


If you know about it, you make bone soup from broth you created last month, and stored for such an occasion as this.  Chicken with 8 cloves of garlic and lovely gluten free egg noodles.  You eat lots of it for lunch and dinner.  You feel better.

Then, that night you have a nightmare in which you wake screaming, jump out of bed and yell, “You stupid [expletive]!”  at the bad guy in your dream and your husband says, in a sleepy voice,  “Are you OK?”  and goes back to sleep.  While you wait for your ears to stop thumping you go make a cup of chamomile tea and read about Hobbits and Tom Bombadil.  You become sleepy again and go back to bed.

Saturday: Is a bit better.

Sunday:   You can breathe out of both sides of your nose at the same time.  Your lungs don’t hurt, and you can eat.  You’ll live. 

Life is good.


How was your week?  😀


Trust me, when you make the recipe below it will not look like this.
Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food ...

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food that might be found across cultures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bone Soup


  • bones from chicken carcass (fresh, or saved from roasted chicken)
  • 2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced  (or more if you are sick and need the boost)
  • 1 small onion chopped medium
  • t tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter (if you don’t eat butter then add another tbsp. of olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c uncooked brown rice  OR egg noodles (amount to preference)

Optional ingredients ~  minced flat leaf parsley,  sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter, green peas.  Want more meat?  Cube a cooked chicken breast and add to the pot the last 30 min of cooking.



  • Simmer bones in a stock pot with enough filtered water to cover plus 2 inches.  Watch pot and add water as needed.  Cook until bones fall loose and keel and joints are gelatinous.  (About 8 hours minimum, or overnight for best health benefits. See notes below!)
  • Place a sieve into a bowl large enough to catch all the liquid and then pour the contents of the stock pot through the sieve.  Lift bones and meat out of the broth and let cool in the sieve.  Save the broth!
  • Carefully sort out bones from meat and toss the bones.
  • Return broth and meat to the stock pot.  Add celery, carrots, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to the stock pot.
  • In a skillet, add olive oil and butter and heat to medium.  Add onion and saute till translucent and softened, add garlic and saute about 3 minutes more.  Do not let the garlic brown.  Add this to the stock pot.
  • If using rice add at this time.
  • Let simmer till all vegetables and the rice are tender.  Test for salt and add if necessary.
  • If using egg noodles add and cook per package directions



  • If you choose to use the noodles, and would prefer to let the soup sit overnight for flavor development (recommended!) then wait to add noodles to cook when you plan to serve it.
  • You may think that there will not be enough meat.  Surprisingly, if you didn’t pick at the carcass, there is more than enough meat to make a fine chicken soup!
  • I often hold chicken carcases in the freezer and cook down several in a large canning/stew pot and then save the excess in containers for soup starting at a later date.  In this case I was fortunate to have done the broth in advance!
  • Often broth, or bone soup instructions say to add chicken feet (gaack!) or vinegar to make the store-bought bones produce plenty of gelatin in the broth.  I have never had a problem with producing the gelatin from store-bought chicken bones.  It is quite apparent when I refrigerate my broth and it solidifies, that I have accomplished my goal without the use of the vinegar and the nasty feet.  The gelatin is released if the broth is cooked for a long enough time.  I recommend a minimum of 8 hours, and if cooking 24 hours (best) then use a crock pot.



An aside: I know someone will tell me it was the vaccine that did this, however, I got my flu shot in October.  I feel it is safe to assume it wasn’t the shot that gave me the flu… it just didn’t keep me from getting sick this year.