Monday, February 28, 2011

The Denture Contract

I will re-post my review of Forever With You on Sunday, March 6, 2011.
I’m a Navy veteran and as such one would think the VA would provide dental care. They only do so if you have a disability that is related to your military service. My disability is based on my bi-polar disorder and post traumatic stress that was caused by childhood experiences and having been raped at the age of nineteen before I entered the Navy. That does not qualify me for dental care under the VA system.
My road has not been easy. I have been a sofa-surfing homeless person, I have pulled my own teeth and have longed for at least partial dentures since my back teeth have not met for over a decade, thus making chewing somewhat difficult. When I moved in with daughter, my new VA therapist told me that I could get dental care through the Lake County, Illinois Public Health system. My prayers were answered.
I went to the Public Health office and was told that dental service would not be free, but it would be discounted and I could pay as much as I could afford. I could not be turned away for non-payment. I’ve been making payments of about $25 each month, although some months I could not afford to make payments. That was okay—they continued to see me and to pull the teeth that needed to be pulled. I finally reached the point where they had pulled all the teeth they deemed necessary and I made an appointment to have impressions taken for my new teeth. I got there this afternoon and the receptionist called me over.
“Did you know your discount expired?” he asked.
“No. I didn’t know it could expire. What do I need to do to renew it?”
“Just bring in proof of your disability income.”
“I see you haven’t signed the contract for your dentures yet,” he said.
“Contract? What contract?”
“No one explained the contract?”
“You have to sign a contract stating you’ll pay for your dentures before we make them.”
“Oh. How much do they cost—with the discount for my disability?”
He looked at my chart.
“You need both upper and lower, so… With the discount, six hundred each, that's twelve hundred dollars. Can you make a payment of two hundred fifty today?”
My shrink would be so proud of me. I did not whack him with my cane. I did not scratch his eyes out. I did not scream “What part of *@$%(_+&# Social Security DO YOU NOT GET?” I did not ask them why they didn’t explain that to me BEFORE I let them put me through the hell of several extractions of teeth I could maybe have hung onto awhile longer (several in front) not to mention going several hundred dollars in debt to them (with the discount, which will be paid off at $25 per month). I even managed not to burst into sobs until I got to my car.
I am so angry. I am now a toothless hag. I whistle when I talk. I can’t bite into anything and while I had difficulty chewing before, it’s even worse. I have eleven teeth left. One of them is black and is right in front on top. I have no lower front teeth. Won’t that be lovely when I’m doing readings and public appearances to sell my books? I’ll have to open my mouth to speak to people. Does anyone know how to whittle teeth? Maybe I should take up ceramics.
Mona Lisa’s smile is no mystery to me. She went to the Lake County, Illinois Public Health Department for dental care and no one explained the denture contract to her until after they pulled her teeth.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

E-Books Have Arrived

Forget the NY Times Best Seller List or industry predictions. E-Books have made it! Ever since I first started writing, my sister and brother-in-law have been asking when my first book, Rock Bound, would come out in print. When I signed my contract with MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. for Rock Crazy, they asked whether it would be out in print. This evening, I visited them. Earlier this month they turned 75 and 78 respectively, but we got snowed in so I finally got around to taking their birthday cake over to them.

I took along the galley proof of the paperback version of Rock Bound and the Kindle my younger daughter gave me as a belated b-day gift when her taxes came in. A friend of my brother-in-law recently got one, so he was familiar with the fact that it holds thousands of books at once, and how easy it is to order them. I told them you could also load MP3s on it and listen to music or books on tape and showed them how you can change the font if you need to make it bigger, and how it keeps your page when you turn it off. I couldn’t believe my ears when he mentioned it saves trees.

My sister had a stroke about six years ago that affected her right hand and arm, and she loves to read, but library books are heavy and a Kindle is not only lighter, you don’t have to hold it open and changing pages is much easier for a stroke victim. I should have taken along the plate holder I use to prop mine up when I’m eating out. You know—the kind you can buy at Wal-Mart or a craft store to display collector plates. It works great.

So, they nodded politely when I showed them the paperback galley of Rock Bound, and now they’re asking if my books will be on Kindle. E-books have truly arrived!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Six More Sentences from Rock Bound

The prisoners have been transported to the Moon and the men are the first to disembark from the shuttle.

As they disembarked from the shuttle, each man paused when his feet touched the lunar surface. They each heard the echo of Neil Armstrong’s words as he jumped from his lunar landing module: “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” ...
The Earth hung in the sky above them. It was 0700 hours ship’s time, which was synchronized with Eastern Daylight Time and they noticed that the day/night meridian intersected the United States just west of the Mississippi, leaving the western half of the Americas still in darkness, the lights of the major cities sparse across the plains and through the mountains, and sprawling the length of the West Coast.

Rock Bound will be available in multiple e-book formats at Smashwords this week and in papaerback in early March.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Six Sentences from Rock Bound

This is also from Chapter Two. Jake Johnsrud is also at the National Guard Armory. He’s just met Chris and Pete Johnsrud. Rock Bound will be released this week in multiple e-book formats via Smashwords and by the end of the month in paperback via Create Space.

“Yeah. I pretty much expected to be arrested, but shooting into an unarmed crowd?” Jake shuddered. “I do wonder, though, why they didn’t just shoot all of us? Why bring some of us here?”

“There’s something up,” Chris said. “There were trucks for men under forty and women under thirty-five, and other trucks for people who were over those ages or were disabled.”

“Those trucks didn’t come here,” Pete explained.