I have resisted this for months, and finally, I have to swallow my pride.
My husband is working, and if things had stayed okay, we'd still rock along. But things aren't okay. I need more medical care. It's just not in our budget.
Nearly three years ago, I was in a car wreck. I ended up with a herniated cervical disc that required surgery. The discectomy and fusion surgery itself was successful, but there have been problems that have kept me from getting back to full steam. Lingering depression, keloidal tissue compromising my reach and strength, and now a two-week bout of flu and pneumonia have me pretty flat.
And now the killer: our heating system is a boiler unit that runs on heating oil. It also supplies our hot water. It just ran out. I found that out around 4 PM, when I went to clean up a bit and put on fresh pyjamas. I bathed out of the sink with ice-cold water.
I went back to substitute teaching, and when the modest settlement came through, I bought a really good sewing machine and began trying to build up a sewing clientele. But I kept having some pain issues, and they kept getting worse. Weeding the garden caused enormous pain. So did manipulating yards of fabric for slipcovers and valances. I couldn't throw the ball for my dog with my right arm for more than a few throws. Bringing in the groceries caused agonies. I couldn't sleep well, and my husband said was waking him up at night screaming in pain whenever I turned over in my sleep. Eventually I went to two different neurologists to find out what the problem was.
The problem is two-fold. First, the fusion itself isn't fully solid. The bottom section is fine, but the top, where the bone disc meets the upper of the two vertebrae, is not fully fused. Second, I appear to have developed scar tissue where the surgical incisions were. That's restricting my right arm and shoulder -- and I am right-handed. So, that means handwork, drawing and designing, adjusting patterns, clipping seams, pressing, cutting fabric, etc., has caused me a lot of pain and inflammation. I haven't taken in a commission in months.
The second neurologist, who's two hours' drive from me, has me going to physical therapy, and she has also referred me to pain management. While I was waiting to see her, I also started going to a massage therapist, which has helped some.
As is usual for people who've been through trauma and an iffy recovery, I suffer from depression, and I take Cymbalta. I get a double benefit from it, as it improves my mood and keeps the pain issues from being completely unbearable.
On top of all this, I came down with a nasty case of the flu the week before Christmas. The cough hasn't gone away, so off I went to the doctor Friday. He ran a chest Xray, and came back with a diagnosis of pneumonia.
$35 for copays per doctor visit -- GP, neurologists, psychiatrist and therapist. I've lost track, because I've seen the therapist multiple times this fall. I think I've had at least seven med visits subject to that copay amount.
$25 for deductible for the physical therapist each visit, 2 visits per week. $100 for December.
$40 for one hour of massage each week that is completely out of pocket. $80 for December, and October/November was $240.
$65 for one month's supply of Cymbalta. I started taking it in late September, so I'm up to $190.
$40 for the antibiotic, cough syrup and inhaler prescribed today.
100 gallons of heating oil, bought in mid-November, lasted us six weeks with the thermostat set at 65 degrees F. It set us back $365, plus the service call of $100 to have the pilot light reset. I don't know what extra surcharge there would be to make an emergency delivery over the holiday weekend, but I have to make the call -- if we can scrounge up the money. The downstairs is getting cold now. I have a space heater for my bedroom and the bathroom, but dear God, the tap water is freezing-cold.
I've managed to pay the electric at least in part, and the water bill, the cellphones and our internet connection, and our groceries, and the bank is working with us on the mortgage. Forget car care. And the doc-in-a-box visit and prescriptions just wiped out what I had set aside to pay the car insurance renewal, which has to be done by Monday. I had been putting off adding more oil to the tank, because that would take half my husband's paycheck all by itself. My husband's parents help as they can, but we can't ask them for more. They live on a fixed income and they are doing all they can.
After the car wreck, when the surgery was coming up and I lost my job, I pawned my late mother's jewelry to make our mortgage payment. I do have things that I could sell -- some Southwestern pottery that had been my dad's -- but I don't know what it is worth. And I would need a reputable dealer, something I have no clue how to find.
My husband isn't happy I'm writing this, but there's no other choice. He is doing everything he can too. He works full time, is on his feet constantly all day every day, and he has every insurance coverage offered through his work. But this is what the insurance doesn't cover. And I'd like to be back in shape to do the creative work I love. I just need care to get there, and a warm house so I don't become even more sick. And I've got to pay for it, somehow, some way. If anyone can help, I would appreciate it -- anything would be a blessing. My PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't use PayPal you can kosmail me for my mailing address.
$600. $150. $25.
NURSE KELLEY UPDATE: Thirty minutes in and y'all have given Noor $450. What a place! If you keep this up, I won't miss something great on TV, like reruns of "Lockup"!
AND! One hour after posting we're only $25 short! Looks like Noor and her hubby can order some heating oil!
NURSE KELLEY SEZ: Goal met - thank you all! And Noor? Get your ass back in bed. :)
4:53 PM PT: You people blow me away. I am so grateful to all of you. The total right now is $670. That will get the oil in the tank, the boiler pilot light re-lit, car insurance paid, and a follow-up to the doc-in-a-box next week. Many, many blessings and a lot of love to you all
And yes, MA'AM, Nurse Kelley! I'm heading up to bed after I have a second bowl of chicken soup.