Laptop Lunches #310

Blanched broccoli with seasoning salt, a bit of gravy, orange glazed carrots, some Gardein holiday roast, and mashed potatoes.

Nobody ever lets me eat a Gardein roast for a holiday--I'm typically invited by people who view that, quite erroneously, as equivalent to a TV dinner or worse, and totally unacceptable to them--and so I had never had one. This year, instead of feeling morose about it, I bought one at Thanksgiving and stuck it in the freezer to bake on a chilly weekend. So here it is! And it was good! I think the leftovers were better than the original roast, although the crust wasn't crispy anymore--something about the texture of the roast improved upon sitting and became more...something. Flaky, maybe? I don't know how to describe it.

Gardein was generous with the gravy, which I appreciated--clearly they understood people would want gravy for things other than just the roast.

This is probably going to be my only post this week. You mostly see lunches about a week after I've eaten them (I schedule them ahead of time) and on the week I ate this I had a really terrible time. But why have a blog if you can't whine about it?

First, my car needed the scheduled maintenance it is supposed to get every 45,000 miles. Although I had a coupon, this sort of thing is never fun to have to pay for. They told me my radiator hose was cracked, which doubled the cost of the repairs. They also said I needed new tires, not because of the tread, but because of the age of the rubber. I said I had to wait on the tires.

Two days later, I drove over a bridge and around a curve and right into an unavoidable giant pothole that was maybe 10 inches deep, which punctured a tire. Stranded on the side of the road, I initially  foolishly attempted to change the tire to the spare myself. I was feeling confident and then realized, as I went to attempt to wrench the bolts off, that I probably wouldn't be able to do that alone even if I didn't have a condition that makes me really weak a lot of the time, and gave up to wait for roadside assistance in the cold. (I recommend paying for that if you can. It does make life easier in situations like that.)

Of course I had to buy new tires then, whether I felt ready for that or not. Behold, shiny new tires! Behold, my large American Express balance!

Meanwhile, I was dealing with my insurance company, because I needed an MRI (more than one, actually). This had to be pre-certified by the insurance company. They dragged their feet so it wasn't approved in December and in a new calendar year I now had to pay the full deductible and also my preferred clinic is no longer in network, so I had to go to one I had a previous bad experience with at an ultrasound appointment. I foolishly agreed because it was already "pre-certified" and changing the location would restart the clock on pre-certification and my new (so far not so awful) neurologist wanted this to be done quickly. Plus I reasoned that the ultrasound people and the MRI people should be different systems.

They claimed my insurance wouldn't cover the full cost after deductible even though my plan and the person on the phone at the insurance company both said it would, but they agreed to do it without me paying it up front and bill me later if it didn't rather than extract ridiculous amounts of money right then. Advocating for yourself in the American health care system is exhausting even if you aren't unwell.

All I want to say here about the MRI itself is that I would like every tech who does MRIs to be asked, under some sort of artificially created scenario that makes it hard for them to do things, like attaching weights to their limbs, to remain perfectly still in a tiny metal tube while lying on a people-tray that vibrates and makes very loud noises. They will be wearing earplugs and crooked headphones that are too tight and hurt their ears from the pressure and are playing music they don't like that they are not allowed to adjust or remove, with their heads inside a cage, all with a needle inserted in one arm and a plastic tube running from it that gets caught when the people-tray moves them back and forth and someone yells at them constantly for a few hours solid. I want them to be dealt with by impatient people who don't like that they can't hear and can't move very easily when the test is done and constantly snap at them. Nobody is allowed to explain anything to the person in the tube, ever, about anything, or tell them how much longer there is to go, except to yell that they have moved somehow and the whole thing will start over, but they will be required to sign a lot of release forms anyway. After this, if they still think it is reasonable for them to behave as they have been, we will all agree to fire the lot of them and replace them with techs who have a shred of humanity.

Or we could just do that without the exercise, but the exercise might, in theory, inspire their empathy.

So anyway. Only one post this week, because only one meal was worth looking at. I was home sick for some of the time due to stress making everything really hard, and I have little to no appetite. But I do have new tires and a radiator hose and I survived having metal injected in my veins so people could look inside my head with a series of giant magnets, and I think next week will be better. See you again soon.


  1. OMG I'm so sorry that this all happened to you! Any one of these things would have been enough to induce incredible stress but all of it together just makes it so much worse. I know it's a roller coaster but you are so strong. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this, I can't imagine having to go through a procedure like an MRI performed by a technician with little patience or empathy. I hope that you'll start to feel better soon <3

    1. Thanks, Sarah! This week has had some rough moments but I think I'm eating better and that helps.

  2. Your meal looks delicious; that's great that you treated yourself to a Gardein roast!
    I'm so sorry you've been having a rough time recently; car troubles always suck and the MRI sounds like such a horrible experience. You are amazing for getting through all that in one piece! <3

  3. That sounds like a horror week. I'm so sorry. <3
    I've never had an MRI, though I had a referral for one once that I never went through with for my back. They make me feel so stressed! At least when we MRI a cat we anaesthetise them so they have no idea what is going on until it is all over.


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