My Quarantine Life: Week 110

It is week 110 and I am still in medical isolation. At this point, I do not think the pandemic will end. We will not achieve herd immunity. It is survival of the fittest. Being a person with a compromised immune system who is at high risk of death if I catch COVID, at this point my only wish is to outlive my cats.

The most difficult challenge in all of this is lack of healthcare. Routine healthcare is not available as the health system is too overwhelmed with COVID. When you do go to a medical office, you are exposed to COVID by COVID-positive staff. It is a game of how much pain can you handle and how long can you go without access to healthcare. Even emergency healthcare has a wait that is weeks long. Last fall, I had to wait 3 weeks for emergency surgery. Of course, once I had the surgery after the 3 week wait, things were more dire than they would have been if I had received same day surgery. They did tell me that if we were not in a pandemic, the surgery would have been same day and it would not have been as big of a deal as it was after the 3 week wait.

This time last year, I lost my job. I am so grateful that I have a job now that is 100% remote. Even though the job I have now is very stressful, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be a completely remote worker. My medical isolation is only broken for medical care for me and for the cats. It is broken when I have work done on the car (twice a year) and when I need to have workers in the house.

Last year shortly after I lost my job, my hot water heater went. I was able to get workers in the house to install a new hot water heater.

About two weeks ago, the new hot water heater broke. I have no idea what is wrong with it. We have no hot water. Plumbers and other service people are only able to respond to emergency calls right now, as everyone is so overwhelmed with COVID. Hot water is not an emergency, so we have no hot water. We are hoping that we will be able to have a worker come this fall to fix the hot water heater before the winter. Hot water is not an emergency, but heating is an emergency. We will have to have the furnace maintained this fall. I am hoping to have someone come to the house who can service the furnace and fix the hot water heater both. For now, we are on a waiting list for plumbing service to fix the hot water heater.

I have been heating water on my stove to use for bathing and washing dishes. Thankfully, I do not need to shower every day. I have been using my shower chair and taking bucket baths. They are very soothing and I have actually been sleeping better at night. I don’t mind, really. Hopefully I am using less water by taking bucket baths instead of taking a shower. I just cannot bring myself to take a shower in cold water. I heat water on the stove, and that is the amount of water I have for bathing.

Thankfully, I am still shaving my head in year 3 of the pandemic. Of course, I don’t have access to anyone to be able to cut it for me. It’s just easier for me to shave it myself. It is easier for me to maintain. A shaved head is also easier for me to maintain personal hygiene. Now being without hot water, a shaved head is easier for bathing.

When I filed my taxes this year, I had to return the $1400 “stimulus” the government gave us last year under Biden. That hurt. No, I did not pay taxes on it. The IRS actually made me return the entire $1400 amount. Apparently, if you make less than $40,000 per year, that “stimulus” was a loan and not a gift. I got a letter from the IRS stating that my refund was reduced by $1400 because I was required to pay back the stimulus to the government. My tax refund this year was $187. That was enough to cover my birthday splurge of purchasing the robot vacuum cleaner.

This week I received a notice that I will be losing my health insurance soon. Biden has decided the pandemic is over, so they are canceling the health insurance for over 15 million Americans who have disabilities and/or are low-income. I am one of them. 

I’m not sure what I am going to do without health insurance. There is a health plan offered through my new job, but it is very expensive and the deductible is equivalent to half my annual income. I cannot afford to pay 75% of my income in healthcare. 

I am good about pinching pennies, but there is no way I can afford to live off of only 25% of my income and have no savings. Our student loans are due to enter repayment as well. I did receive a letter from the government stating that I am one of the people whose student loan forgiveness is messed up. 

I will be entering year 26 of student loan repayment. I am in the low-income repayment plan and also the public service repayment plans. For some reason, I don’t qualify for forgiveness so I am required to continue to pay until I die. It’s indentured servitude. Even a mortgage payment ends after 30 years. Student loan payments have no end. Entering year 26 of student loan payments, I am expecting to continue to pay on these for 40 or even 50 years or more. I will just keep paying until I die because there is no forgiveness.

Many people point fingers and say it is my own fault for taking out the student loans. I took out student loans because I was promised that a good education would enable me to get a good paying job to pay back the student loans. Wages are low in America. I’m not sure how anyone pays back their student loans unless they are living rent-free in their parent’s basement or come from a background of wealth.

I am still alive. I am still surviving. My only objective is to outlive the cats. I am struggling to come up with a plan to care for them in the event that I die first. That is my greatest worry. 

We are all together. We are happy and healthy. That is what is most important in life. We are truly blessed. 

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