Thoughts on Being a Non-Smoker & Insurance Companies are the Devil.

I have been a smoker for years – I’m not sure exactly how many. As anyone who knows me well can attest, I have this problem with time. I don’t process time as well as people should, and I can’t mark it well – I can’t really tell you if something happened a week ago, a month ago, or a year ago. My vacation last week felt like eons. Stephen King calls it “pretty pony time,” and uses the term to describe how children view time – remember when a summer seemed like a lifetime? Still does, to me. I never grew out of that.

Regardless, I’ve been a smoker for as long as I can remember. I knew it was bad for me, I hated wheezing and coughing, but it wasn’t easy to quit. I’d try, and succeed for a week or two, sometimes only days. Then I’d be back to the cancersticks. It wasn’t even really enjoyable anymore, usually – it was just something I did.

I decided to try Chantix, because I’d heard so many success stories – although I’d heard some horror stories too. Both were right, for me. It did kill my cravings, and even when I did continue to smoke, it stopped having ANY pleasure at all, even the remnants of feel-good that were left after so many years. It just tasted bad, stank, and burned my lungs and eyes. I put them down after about nine days on the medication.

However, it gave me horrid insomnia, and when I was able to sleep, crazier-than-usual, technicolor dreams (that part, I didn’t mind so much). It also sank me into a deep, dark depression, which was no fun for me or anyone around me. I stopped taking the medicine after three weeks.

I have now been “quit” for about six weeks, according to the calendar (if you ask me, it feels like a year!).


Friday night, Rhys needed to fill a migraine prescription. The pharmacy advised us that he has not been covered “since September.” Shock! He has most certainly been covered, under my insurance! I called their customer service – they were closed all weekend. This morning, I discover they are still closed. Fine – I called our company’s Benefits hotline, who informed me that they never received his paperwork from last year and that he had been dropped. Their timeline is as follows:

May 08: I added Rhys to the insurance.
June 08: They see that I called (to confirm that they had received all the paperwork, which they stated they did), but the rep and manager stated that the person I spoke to hadn’t added any notes, so they didn’t believe that the call was, as I asserted, a confirmation call.
June – November 08: Nothing happens.
December 2nd, 08: They drop him from coverage because they state they hadn’t received paperwork from back in June.

That’s a bunch of bullshit. Now, they have to mail me something, which they state will take 7 business days. Then I fax it in somewhere. Then I go through a 30-day appeals process through my company. To hopefully get him re-covered before we leave, so that he doesn’t show a lapse, which is apparently a kiss of death for future insurance policies. In the meantime, anything we need for him is out-of-pocket, with a hopeful reimbursement before we leave, which I don’t view as likely.

These are related stories, I promise.

After dealing with Insurance, our unhelpful HR staff, and my helpful bosses, and not really coming to any solid conclusion, I was teeming with stress. Overflowing. Not zen. Not serene. About to destroy people.

I decided I would have a cigarette.

So I went outside, bummed one, and took a puff.

A. It didn’t actually do anything for me.
B. It tasted bad.
C. It hurt my lungs. I couldn’t actually inhale the whole way.
D. The person I bummed it from is a little annoying and kept chatting away at me about inane things.

I put it out after a few attempts at puffs and walked in, disgusted by the stench of the clouds of smoke. I don’t really have any regrets about it. I try not to have regrets about much.

I have no interest in trying another. I think I really am a non-smoker now. At least SOMETHING good came out of the fiasco this morning.

My mouth tastes like an ashtray. Yuck.

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