Opinion: Column: What A Week!

The least of it was my pre-immunotherapy lab work on Wednesday and then my actual immunotherapy infusion on Friday. The most of it was my navigating websites and trying to properly complete applications/enrollment forms for the Virginia Unemployment Commission and the Maryland Health Connection.

For a man (me) who fancies himself your go-to guy for sports and chocolate, getting immersed in policies and procedures for government agencies providing unemployment benefits and health care – with our (my wife, Dina and I) respective lives somewhat dependent on the time-sensitive completion of said documents – was akin to sending yours truly out to sing the National Anthem at the next Nationals' game. It would be a disaster of titanic proportions (fortunately without the loss of life).

As it has been my entire life, I can't sing any more than I can now compute.

As I sit and write this week's column, having barely survived the excruciating ordeal of this past week – with only an in-office visit left to go on Monday – I now have next week to look forward to. And what garden path am I leading you down?

Another week of time-sensitive/computer-centric tasks, of course. Once again I will be sitting at my computer attempting to navigate through another government web site and this time a private sector website, as I try to sign up for Medicare effective Sept. 1, as well as the associated but independent supplemental medical insurance necessary to fill in the coverage gaps that I, as a former insurance broker, know exist.

Granted, with these two tasks, I do have some time. I just hope I have the wherewithal.

This past week took a toll emotionally. And I'm not sure if I really want to climb that emotional mountain yet again.

This week's tasks are not any easier. Shooting fish in a barrel they're not. They're more like having to make the barrel and then catch the fish. Not easier said than impossibly done. For a man who knows his limitations, the week ahead will likely test those limitations.

But if not me, then who? Unfortunately, it has to be me. The other party with whom I share a long-standing arrangement has a skill set unsuited to, and incompatible with, computers and the kind of searching/deciphering/hunting and pecking on web sites required for completion of this week's tasks.

Moreover, if I enlist her support or insist on her participation, my present and future will not be enhanced by the experience. She may be a resource in many other respects, but in this respect, she's not.

And I can respect that. Give me a little credit; I've learned something in our 40 years together.

That being said – and understood, I think I'll take the weekend off from such endeavors and prepare myself for next week as I consider the challenges which lie ahead.

I'd like to think I've gained some confidence in the progress I made this past week. I've nearly completed both tasks, tasks which initially seemed almost insurmountable. However, if it were not for the amazingly patient, courteous and knowledgeable assistance I received from the call centers associated with these sites, I'd still be stumbling and stammering (literally) into oblivion.

But as of this past Friday, I've nearly reached the promised land. ("I can see Russia from my house.")

I can only imagine the satisfaction I'll feel next Friday, when I anticipate I will have completed two more of these tedious tasks and secured yet another part of our financial and emotional future.

Four huge hurdles overcome, but still with a few more yet to go: probably applying for a reverse mortgage and possibly researching a kitchen renovation.

Wait a second. Don't I have lung cancer? Jeez, I almost forgot.

With all this other stuff going on, the cancer compartment stayed closed. Now it's open again. Damn, now I really have problems.

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