[Lair of the Sea Serpent -Elihu Vedder (1899)]
I started to feel more depressed last week, after I heard about police in Baton Rouge & Minnesota killing unarmed black men, then of the black shooter in Dallas killing 5 cops & firing on other people in the Black Lives Matter march there.
My situation in my new home is much better than it was a month ago. Our landlord lowered our rent to under $ 420/month & didn’t charge us pet deposits. The one guy roommate who was worrying the other woman & me is behaving more normally, so we’re more comfortable with him being here. The landlord let us decide if he could stay or not, & since he’d been behaving ok, we said it’s ok if he stays. As long as he takes his medication & doesn’t act psychotic again, I think we’ll be ok with him here.
I’ve had a bad toothache, which turned out to be from a cavity in an impacted left wisdom tooth. Once I got on antibiotics & acetaminophen, the swelling went down & the pain stopped, but the tooth still needs to be removed. At one point, after I’d finished a week of antibiotics but was still waiting for a second dentist appointment, the infection came back so bad that I drove myself to a hospital emergency room & almost fainted there. The emergency room doctor gave me enough antibiotics to take twice a day for a week, rather than 3 times/ day like I’d taken before. Since I have a biology background, I know that’s not a good way to treat a bacterial infection. I took it 3 times/ day, went to my second dentist appointment & got the dentist to prescribe more antibiotic, so I could continue to take it 3 times / day for the rest of the week. This second infection went down a few days ago, so I reserved 4 days worth of antibiotic (after taking it for 8 days), in case the infection comes back again before I can get the tooth removed.
If you live in a more enlightened country than the United States, you may not understand how fucked up our medical care system is for those who are poor. I’ve been on Medi-Cal (medical insurance for the poor in California) since May & had EBT (food assistance) since March. If I had sought this aid 2 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have lost my home & almost all my possessions, because I would’ve been able to contribute more to our household expenses. I didn’t know how to get it though & was plagued with serious depression that hindered me from seeking the help I needed. As a formerly middle-class, college-educated white woman, I also had a stupid resistance to seeking public assistance. Now I know better.
Anyway, with Medi-Cal, a person can get only limited dental work done, but that’s still better than nothing. I can get X-rays taken & simple filings, but can’t get work done below my gums, such as a root canal. I can get a bad tooth removed, & since my bad tooth is one that I don’t need for chewing anyway, that’s what I want to have done. My problem now is the bureaucracy & waiting times to get work done. My dentist requested a dental surgeon to remove the tooth, but the request has to go through Medi-Cal & they haven’t called me back with a suggested surgeon & appointment time. I have to wait still longer, in which time the infection could come back. Since I don’t want to have to drive to an emergency room when I’m about to faint, I’m keeping a few antibiotics on hand in case I get sick again.
Meanwhile I’m not looking for work, because I don’t know when I’m going to be scheduled for more dental appointments & because I’ve been feeling anxious & depressed. I need to start seeing a mental health therapist, but I have to make an appointment with a medical doctor first, & I don’t want that to conflict with my dental appointments.
Probably because of all this, I’ve started having suicidal thoughts again. First I was feeling like I don’t belong where I am. Then I felt like I’m too emotionally dependent on the other woman roommate here, wanting her to be my friend instead of going out & trying to make new friends or being able to be strong on my own. I started thinking I should leave the little bit of money I have in savings to my ex-roommate who made me homeless, then kill myself. I know this isn’t rational thinking. I was just feeling scared & very emotionally alone. I heard about an anxiety treatment center that might have a sliding rate scale for poor people, but I don’t know for sure if they have a payment program I can use. What I do know is that online peer support groups are practically useless for serious depression with suicidal ideation. (They don’t want posters to mention suicidal thoughts in case it triggers someone else.)
I talked with the other woman roommate yesterday & vented to her about feeling upset. I told her the guy roommate had used my cell phone when I’m waiting for a call about the dental surgeon & that the bread I bought for sandwiches went missing. I didn’t think the guy roommate was in the house, but he overheard me & apologized for using my phone. Later, she & I were watching a survival reality show in which 2 women were being kind of bitchy to a lone man, & we thought maybe we were being a bit like that to our guy roommate. It’s so easy to develop an us vs. them mentality in group dynamics, but it’s hardly ever that simple. As I said the other day, none of us is perfect & we’re all a little broken in this house. We all have various levels of anxiety, depression & social ineptitude, but we have to work together to get along & survive.