Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I have TMJ.  Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.

Basically, my jaw is ALL jacked up, more than likely caused by my own stupidity.  Although, there are an AWFUL lot of teachers with this issue, which begs the question, why?  Something in our jobs is causing this.

I could give you a looooong list, but I'm not in the mood.

Not in the mood because of what I've been dealing with this morning.

I mean, there are times in your life where you just need to step back and say to yourself, "Self, how did things get so screwed up?"

This morning? Been one of those times, for sure. 

A number of months ago, something went very wrong with my jaw, and the pain, while it should have decreased, had increased ... A LOT.  It was as if I'd somehow injured it.  In fact, that is what my dentist suspects has happened.  

Too much talking?

All those darn salads I eat?

A rogue apple?

Who knows!  

What he told me was there was nothing more he could do for me, and so I needed to head to the Big Guns.  Only, the Big Guns cost TONS and TONS of money, and a lot of it is out of pocket, and I just don't have those discretionary funds available to me at the moment.  The joys of being a teacher ... 

So, he gave me a number to contact the Big Guns and find out what I'd be looking at in terms of initial out lay of said strapped cash.

This seems simple, right?


I called the Big Guns, who informed me that I would need to contact my insurance company.  


I HATE contacting my insurance company.  They NEVER know what is going on.  Ever.  One has a better chance of figuring out the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa than Humana does of knowing ANYTHING about the coverages they offer.   

They were initially unwilling to help, telling me that I needed to ask the billing department of the pain clinic for that information.  When I informed the Humana chick that the pain clinic had, in fact, told me that HUMANA should be able to give me that information, seeing as they are, in fact, an insurance company, she reluctantly did a search for me. When the search yielded nothing, things got weird, quickly.

"Miss Murray, if you could call the clinic back and get the tax id number for the doctor, that would be super helpful."

"Yes, while it would be, do they just hand that information out to anyone?"

A pause on the other end, where I am sure some eye-rolling was occurring.  "Okay, let me contact them myself. Please hold."

I am convinced, ladies and gentlemen, that hold music is a way for large corporations like this to slowly drive an already on-the-edge consumer right on over that edge, because I was near my breaking point when the REALLY stupid stuff occurred.

"Miss Murray?  I just got off the phone with the clinic, and they have THIRTEEN providers, all who bill individually. So, in order for me to find out whether you are in network or out, you must actually commit to a doctor via an appointment.  Then, call me back, and we can search his or her name?"

I am not a completely stupid person, but this particular direction of logic seemed, how shall I put this?  STUPID!  

"If I may pose a question which will sound like a very stupid one, what happens when the doctor I've committed to isn't in my network?"

Without missing a surly beat, she replied, "Well, you just cancel that appointment and make a new one with another provider.  Then call me back to see if he or she is in network."

At this, I could no longer help myself.  I.  Laughed.  Out.  Loud.  She found no humor in it.

"Really?"  I said.  "There are thirteen providers in this clinic.  So, potentially, I could be making appointments with ALL of them.  Doesn't this seem illogical to you?"

"Ma'am, that is your option."

I won't bore you with the details.  

I have spoken with at least TWO receptionists at the Orofacial Pain Clinic.  I have spoken to at least TWO Humana employees. I have spoken with the billing GURU of the pain clinic.  I have left a message with probably more whining than the billing GURU cares to hear, but the bottom line is this:


Two hours of my life, I will never get back, and my blood pressure is up, my head hurts, and I STILL haven't taken a shower.  Buying stock in Ibuprofen seems like a better solution at this point.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I have blogged more times than I care to count on my struggle with food.  

Struggle:  I love to eat.

Bigger Struggle:  I love to eat bad things.

BIGGEST Struggle: I have gained a TON of weight.

PROBLEM:  I am waaaaay over-weight.

I have failed more times than I care to count as well.  It's a constant battle that I fear will never truly end.  That leaves me feeling badly.  How does something that I MUST do every day, i.e., eating, be such a struggle for some people?  Furthermore, why must I struggle with it?  Why can't I just eat when I am hungry and be done with it?

A friend and I were just having this, what seems like, never-ending conversation, and, sorry to say, neither one of us came up with any solutions.  

The bottom line is that this is a struggle ... for A LOT of us.  Not sure how to solve it.  Or if there is even a solution.  And as long as there is social media and TV and everything else out there that is driving what is pretty and desirable and "good-looking," there will ALWAYS be people like me, wondering what is wrong with us ... wondering what we've done wrong ... wondering why we are some how not good enough ... etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.  

Someone posted this on Facebook, and I happened upon in this morning. 

Not sure whose art this is, but I LOVE it!!  It speaks volumes to me.

If others see you content, they are drawn to you.  Period.  I am not saying that I am throwing away my struggle.  I am of an age that if I don't do something soon, I am going to be in a world of hurt, health-wise.  But at some point, I HAVE to find my contentment.

So, I'm changing the direction of things ... 

I am changing my course.  

I suppose the constant change in direction is better than just sitting there and watching it all pass me by, right?  

This is me ... changing the course of things.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014


We had a little excitement this morning, while I was catching up on the morning news, slurping coffee, and willing an ugly headache away.  There were all kinds of birds at the bird feeder, and Miss Emmy had assumed her usual position on the window sill watching them.  Out of the blue, as so many of them do, a sparrow flew headlong into the picture window, making quite a racket!  

I was worried he'd broken his neck, as I've found countless goldfinches expired upon my porch, from similar unfortunate incidents with my picture window.  

I couldn't find him at first.  I looked ... stepped out on my porch and everything.  Miss Emmy spied him, however, and stood watch over him for the 30 minutes it took him to regain his senses.  He landed in my evergreen bush just like this ... all askew.  With the way he was breathing, I really wasn't holding out much hope that he would make it.  I mean, look at that leg!
Poor Mr. Sparrow, askew in an evergreen bush, after having an unfortunate accident with my picture window. 
 After five minutes or so, Mr. Sparrow was able to maneuver himself to an upright position, but he still didn't move much, and I was sure he would succumb to his internal injuries.  Emmy worried the bird further by pacing back and forth on the window sill, meowing incessantly.  I am not sure she would know exactly what to do with a sparrow should she find herself in possession of one, but she was willing to give it a valiant effort if I would only release the beast and let her at it! 

Mr. Sparrow righted himself enough to sit in the tree, rather than the splayed-out prone position he had assumed. 
 After several more minutes of rest, he managed to pull himself together enough to realize there was a large cat eyeing him from the window, and that he should, perhaps, keep an eye on her.  

When it was all said and done, Mr. Sparrow was able to fly out of the bush and to other parts of the neighborhood, where I choose to think he is living happily ever after, with a rather sizable headache. 
Mr. Sparrow has regained enough of his senses to realize there was a BIG, FLUFFY cat in his general vicinity just dying to taste-test.  It wasn't too long after this picture that he took flight and skedaddled out of our general area.  I wish him well!
During the beginning of my summer break, I sort of feel like this sparrow...a bit like I've been thrown head-long into a picture window, and then, by sheer force and inertia, have been flung into an evergreen bush.  My bell has been rung .. badly.  And I need to spend some time gathering my senses.  The problem is that by the time I've regained my senses, it's time to head back to work, where the proverbial bell is rung again, only this time, worse than last, and it takes me even longer than previous breaks, to get my act together.

This summer will be different.  

It has to be.  

One of the goals I have is to treat my writing like a job.  Every day, I will sit for an hour or two and write.  Period.  No other distractions.  No answering phone calls, texts, tweets, posts, Instagrams, nothing.  Not happening.  

I have been yapping for years about the fact that I need to get some pieces finished.  This is the year.  This is the summer.  It. Will.  Happen. 

The other thing I want to do is be more active. That is the only way to keep the weight at bay as well as to try to drop the weight that I have, once again, added to my body.  UGH!

Finally, I want to explore my little world called Kentucky.  There are out of the way places that I've never been to.  Towns I'd like to explore.  I plan to do that.  Take a day to travel to places and just soak it up.  

I have six good weeks in which to do this.  It's doable.  

I WILL survive the headlong flight into the proverbial picture window of life.  I promise you this!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


It is my second OFFICIAL day of Summer Break, and it's the second day of me wandering around this house, picking something up, walking around with it, and then setting it down again, only to wander around again and attempt to remind myself what I initially started wandering around for in the first place.  

No, I am not dealing with Alzheimer's disease.  It's called I AM A TEACHER AND AM TRYING TO REGAIN THE USE OF MY BRAIN AGAIN.

Exhaustion has officially reared its ugly head. 

Well, that's not quite true.  Exhaustion has always been there.  It's just that now I have sat silently for more than 5 seconds, and my head has lolled over to the side, and what the heck!?  I'm snoring!

Twelve years, I've been observing this thing called SUMMER BREAK, and that crazy, fog-filled first week still catches me by surprise ... 

And I end up like this ... 

I eventually come to, and I discover the joy that is SUMMER BREAK.  But these first few days are 48 to 72 hours of pointless wandering through rooms, crazy sleep-in habits with lots of naps. 

In anticipation of me regaining consciousness eventually, I have some goals for myself.  They are as follows ... 

I've messed up on three already, but I am not really conscience.  So, I get a do over, right?

Here's to the BEST summer yet!