My mom is not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid since she only came to the US two years ago (actually, today marks two years of her arrival!). To qualify for any federal programs, you have to stay in the country as a permanent resident for five years. Fortunately, some charities help people like her, and other people who are unable to obtain insurance.
I found out about one such program when I was getting ready for MOm’s arrival. It works great for her, but we need to renew her membership annually.
A letter with renewal forms arrived about two weeks ago. I knew I had time, and in the queue of things that had to be done, I placed filling these forms into medium urgency. Who could have known that everything will change so drastically!
On Monday, I came to Mom and asked her to sign everywhere where she had to sign herself, copied all her documents I needed to copy, and filled in the rest of the forms. The only thing left was a letter from me saying that I provide her housing and other essentials. And I needed my signature to be notaries.
What can be easier than notarizing your signature?! You go to the nearest branch of your bank and walk out with the notary in five minutes. And since it was repeatedly announced that all the banks would remain open, I didn’t think much about it.
On Wednesday, I had my four-week follow up with the left eye (Yes, it’s only four weeks after my first surgery, and only two weeks after my second one – and it seems years away!) My neighbor took me to the doctor, and I told her I would need a notary. She asked whether I will be OK to go to the bank, and I said – sure! The bank is so close that I can walk!
I walked. And I saw a note on the doors: drive-through only. The nearest branch with the lobby service is in Barrington. Not super far. I worked in Barrington for the first four years in the US. But I didn’t go in that direction for at least seven years, and it was not exactly where my old office used to be. And my vision is still suboptimal – the eye doctor said she does not want to prescribe new glasses to me until both eyes will be stable.
With all of the above, and since I still need to put on two pairs of glasses for driving, I decided I do not want to go there, at least on that day. Besides, I had work meetings, so I hurried back.
At home, I went to my bank’s web site and checked the situation. To my horror, most of the locations were changed to drive-through only. The closest to me was indeed in Barrington. In Chicago, I saw only one place with lobby service – the main branch. The next morning, I texted one person who I thought could drive me to Barrington (it was before shelter on place). But they told me they are in social isolation, so I didn’t press.
I didn’t want to ask my neighbor, but I wanted to check with her, which bank did she see opened. It turned out that her bank was drive-through only. They had notary in their drive-through, but only for their customers.
My manager, when I shared with him my concerns and told him that I might need to go to the city, probably Friday morning, told me – go now. And I did. I had to hurry up to get on the next train, because the bank had a modified schedule, and I would be late from the next train.
There were just four people in the car. When I got off in the city, it started raining heavily. I made my way to the bank and saw a note on the door. My heart sunk – are they also closed?! Fortunately, they were still opened – the note on the door was informing about the shortened hours. Got my notary. They said they are not sure how long they will remain open.
I walked back to the train station under the pouring rain.
Inside the station, all the tables and chairs were removed. The Starbucks was opened for pick up. The coffee smelled delicious, but I could not force myself to have anything. I knew it would be a while until I come to the city again, and I didn’t want to have “the last coffee.”
Somehow, that day felt like a very traumatic experience, it felt like the Universe shutting down on me.