Thursday, December 06, 2012

Building A Relationship With My Partner's Parents

I don't think people think so much about getting old until their own parents do.  At least, that has been my own personal experience.

With my own father's health problems and early death in 1992 and my mom's relatively recent battle with dementia, I have thought about my own mortality and future as I grow older.

Today Jonah and I helped his parents out.  Their current Medicare plan will not be in service next year, so Jonah and I were trying to help them pick a new one.  What a process!  Researching and picking out a plan was a chore in and of itself, but actually applying for the new plan with a benefit advisor proved somewhat difficult.  Jonah's dad can't hear hardly anything and suffers from dementia himself, and yet they needed to personally talk to him and get his approval, so that was challenging.  We actually had to write cue cards in huge letters (he can't see very well, either) so he could answer the questions.  Just talking on the phone with the agent and getting both parents taken care of took two to three hours.

Neither of Jonah's parents are internet-savvy, so they couldn't have done a lot of the research on the internet that I did for them.  The plan specifics are very confusing to them (and frankly, some of it was confusing for me).  I honestly don't know how the government and the insurance companies expect senior citizens to wade through all the confusion and bureaucracy.  It's very complicated.  There's no way someone like my mom or Jonah's dad (or even his mom) could have done what needed to be done on their own.  There has to be a simpler way.

And then trying to figure out which plans cover what and if their doctors accept specific plans is a headache.  If we had a single-payer universal healthcare system like some countries, we wouldn't have to deal with a lot of this.

I was disheartened to see that the best plan offered for Jonah's parents in their area will be a  considerably higher cost to them than their current plan.  And yet my mom has a pretty good plan in Utah that costs her very little, but that plan isn't offered here.  Somehow it doesn't seem fair.

Almost all the plans offered here are HMOs, which are less costly, but also very restrictive and don't let you see the doctors you want to see without incurring great cost.  There were only two PPOs offered, both of which were costly (doubly so because each parent is charged separately, which seems lame).  We ended up getting the less expensive of the PPOs, but it will incur costs that Jonah's parents didn't have with their old plan, which was also a PPO.  (C'mon, Obama, you're making me look bad for believing in and voting for you.  Isn't the Affordable Healthcare Act supposed to make things easier for people like Jonah's parents, who are already strapped for money as it is?)

Anyway, I was glad we could help Jonah's parents through a complex process.  Then we went out and trimmed their rose bushes and cleaned up some of their yard.  It needed to be done.  Those rose bushes were out of control.

Jonah is such a good and devoted son.  I admire how attentive he is to his parents' needs, even when they drive him crazy.  I suppose I'm the same with my own mom.

It was really nice helping Jonah's parents out.  I really feel like stuff like that helps me bond with them and helps them see me in a positive way.  I know Jonah's mom, especially, initially had difficulty with Jonah's sexuality and our relationship (and perhaps she still does), but as I've gotten to know her and Jonah's father, I think we've really started to develop a positive relationship.

Jonah's mom said that she hoped I would find work here.  She said she likes it when I'm here and that she doesn't worry so much about Jonah when I'm around.  That really made me feel good.

I also feel like I'm reaching a point where I can talk about my living arrangements with Jonah more comfortably.  I don't feel we're at the point where I can refer to Jonah as my partner or husband around them (even though they know we are), but I do feel like it is acknowledged that we are together, and that it's a good thing, and that is a nice step forward with them.

We were there from about 9:30 or 10 am until about 5 pm, so it was an all-day thing.  But it was nice.

When I look at Mom or Jonah's parents, I sometimes wonder who will take care of Jonah and me when we grow too old to take care of ourselves.  It concerns me.

Anyway, it was a good day.

I hope to write about this website soon, too.

It's an interesting, perhaps progressive, move for the LDS Church.  In some ways it's positive.  In other ways, I feel the Church is still getting in its own way as far as the issue of homosexuality.  But it's step in a good direction, I feel.  Anyway, hopefully that will be another post for another day.


Ben said...

I'm just wondering what you mean by "the Church is getting in it's own way". I hope you touch on that in your next post.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Hey, Ben,

Hopefully I can elaborate on it in a future post, but I guess what I mean is that although I do see the website as a positive step forward and although I really believe the LDS Chuch is sincerely trying to mend fences with those they have hurt (either intentionally or not) in regards to this issue (although I don't doubt that there is an element of damage control as well), I also feel that no matter what the Church says about homosexuality or how hard they try to "make things better," they often end up tripping over themselves or putting their foot in their mouth or unintentionally offending someone. That's not their fault necessarily, but sometimes I wonder if it's better for them to try and smooth things over or just keep quiet.

Because the fact of the matter is, as long as the Church declares that sexual relationships between people of the same sex are sinful, nothing they say is likely to score them any points on the LGBT front. I'm not saying that is the Church's goal, but they do seem to be trying to talk more sensitively about an issue they should have been talking more sensitively about years ago, and I know some people think it's too little, too late.

That being said, I am extremely grateful that the Church officially acknowledges that homosexual feelings aren't a choice, that marriage isn't a cure, and that church members need to show more love and less judgment towards their LGBT brothers and sisters.

However, it always feels like there is a "but." "We love you, but...," "We value you, but...," "We want you to partake in full membership, but...," "You can find full joy in the gospel, but...," etc.

The Church can teach what it teaches and espouse what it believes, but for so many LGBT folks, the tenets of LDS Church don't match the realities of LGBT lives, and the Church, unfortunately, has mishandled this issue in the past in so many ways, that many LGBT people have lost faith in what the LDS Church teaches about homosexuality.

Anyway, I guess that's what I mean. Does that make more sense?

LCannon said...

The "but" isn't felt by just the LGBT. We all feel excluded at times - especially when the speaker(s) say they want to include whatever group - but they don't. You reposted my thoughts " "We love you, but...," "We value you, but...," "We want you to partake in full membership, but...," "You can find full joy in the gospel, but...," etc.