It’s Today and Tomorrow Comes Later

Yes, I’m finally updating this saga, and started to do it in the wee hours of the morning — at least for most of my readers. But if you haven’t been following along, the first part is here. And if you don’t want to follow along, no worries. Come back when I return to the regularly scheduled snark.

SO and I followed the doctor’s instructions and began the odyssey into the world of kidney disease. But just as we were getting started, the insurance company we had been paying for years decided to cancel our health insurance. They gave us a few months notice, and this was after they had been paid an average of around $2,000 a month for almost 10 years. Yeah, do the math on that. You may ask why that much. SO is type 1 diabetic and we are self-employed, which meant the bill was for a hellacious amount of coverage (and with a high deductible), but then when we needed it most, gone. Even now I want to call those that run the insurance company some foul names, but I believe it’s wrong to hold a grudge. It also steals my energy to do so.

Nevertheless, the insurance company took advantage, and we should have known we weren’t insuring against catastrophe. On some level as business people and realists, we knew insurance companies are gamblers and gamblers have the ability to call the game if it’s not going their way. But we got comfortable in what we were doing. We loved concentrating on the town and its people and not worrying about something coming to bite us on the backside. At one point before this happened, we had talked about self-insuring because we had the means, but we thought it was too risky. I could cry about that now; I just see no point. We have learned a hard lesson and now we try to apply what we’ve learned and move on. But make no mistake we’re aware of others who do not have the means and are still paying for what insurance companies and the healthcare industry in general did to them. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, but I’m going to do something — government intervention or no government intervention (no, I don’t want to get political). This experience has made a reformer of me, but mostly, as a Christian, I cannot simply let this lie.

But I didn’t always feel that way. When this first happened, I wanted to become terrified and roll into a ball. I knew that although SO made an income and we had savings, it was potentially not enough to handle the coming debt of kidney disease. And since no one would hire SO and give him insurance benefits, I needed to find employment or we might eventually be left destitute. What I hadn’t considered was age discrimination. I wasn’t a stranger to discrimination as I had received some when I was younger and working in a “man’s profession,” but it was still not in my nature to look for it. I have to be hit over the head with it before I realize it’s happening. It began to hit me over the head repeatedly as I went to look for a job. No matter where I went or how well I did in interviews, no matter the power clothes or hip hairstyle I wore, or how much people liked me, or how well I passed any tests I was given, or how much I was willing to relocate, no one wanted to hire me. Along the way I kept re-educating myself about the process of getting a job, and I learned a lot more than I had known. I had certainly let most of my network dry up, and eventually I had to accept that maybe there was an issue with my being 50 years old. Ouch.

I’m not sure I can fully describe the pain of fighting the notion people are looking at you like you’re a non-entity, something to be dismissed. It took over a year for the reality to sink in. When it did, I was way past terrified and a big part of me wanted to say, “F*ck it” and be depressed. Can I think that and say that as a Christian? Can I have that attitude as someone who believes in Christ, the Redeemer of all? I sure can, but that’s not what the Lord wanted and had prepared me to do. Plus, He reminded me I know about depression and how it can suck you down in a pit and keep you there. I had learned that from growing up in an extended family where depression became so prevalent the running joke is the family crest is three men in straightjackets. I also learned it from my own life threatening bouts with it. Frankly, I could write a book about its debilitating effects, and in fact, I am. But I digress.

The unscalable wall of no job and no benefits, and therefore no way to easily deal with SO becoming sicker, was not moving. Something had to be done. But what? An employer was not on the horizon, and I could not see starting another business. Not a successful one anyway. I know how hard that is. It’s like being pregnant, giving birth and then rearing the child, which takes a lot of time and heart, and if you don’t attend to it as such, it will wither and die. The thought of taking that on while soldiering through what SO was dealing with and would eventually be dealing with could short circuit my brain. But the thought kept coming back. And of course I felt guilty at times about this place. Here we are in a major life crisis, and I’m blogging about some obscure British actor (a good looking, obscure British actor), but some bloke I didn’t know, and I was painting myself as a goofball in the process? What?!!

And just to be clear, SO is not a eunuch, was definitely skeptical of this place, and said to me rather pointedly on one occasion, “What are you doing? What wonderful energy are you expending? Is it worth it? You decide, but I want to ask you another question.” I arched a brow at him but said nothing, and then he went on, “How would you feel if I started blogging all the time about some good looking actress?” I looked him right in the eye and said, “I wouldn’t like it.” I almost quit blogging, but at that point, it was not about Richard Armitage, and really, it never was.

This post was supposed to be more about SO and turned out to be more about me. These posts were originally in two parts, but I’ve been thinking, and now I’m not sure how long this will run. This has happened a few times, and I’m well aware it has created some loose ends lying around here. I’ll get to them before I’m done. My anal nature will ensure that! But with this series, I’m going to keep going until I’m satisfied. Sort of like this blog — which was supposed to last two months. :D

18 Comments

  1. It’s hard to formulate a coherent thought to your struggles. I’m appalled by you and your husband’s treatment by the insurance company and the blatant age discrimination.
    I love your comments about depression, and am thankful you haven’t succumbed to it. Jesus has given us the ability to overcome it, if we just rely on him. I’m thankful you are.
    My continuing prayers for you, SO, and your family.

  2. I hardly know what to say re: your treatment by the insurance company. I wish that they would institute a healthcare system that does not concern itself with profits and shareholders, but takes care of the people who pay for their service. I can also relate to your feelings about the age discrimination thing. I have been out of work for over a year now and desperately trying to find a part-time job to supplement my Social Security income–but despite the fact that employers in the US are no longer allowed to ask your age or birth date, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out since they can ask what year you graduated various schools.

    That said–I can’t tell you how much I have come to appreciate the sheer enjoyment and inspiration I have gotten during the dark times from watching Mr. Armitage’s performances in different productions and just from knowing what an honorable, talented and lovely man he is when there seem to be so few of them anymore. Sometimes you have to draw on feelings from without–and part of that is also reading and enjoying columns such as yours (among others) about our beautiful obsession. I hope you will keep it up as long as you are able–and I wish you and your family all the luck in the world in your day to day endeavors. Bless you.

  3. Sometimes you just need to let it all out. Curious to see how the story continues, even though that sounds crass because it’s not a story, it’s your actual lives.

    Age discrimination is stupid. Someone who’s 50 is probably more likely to stay in the job (whereas someone half that age might give it a couple of years before moving on), and an older person will be more skilled and also have more experience of life. If it was someone who was 70, perhaps you’d wonder if they were really up to the task, but 50? As an age, it’s nothing. Absolutely disgraceful.

    Don’t get me started on that broken healthcare system of yours. For a country that prides itself on its Christian values, I really don’t get how uncharitable the US healthcare system is. People are not money, people are PEOPLE. Jesus would probably have a few things to say if he was around … :(

  4. Frenz, I’m so sorry with what you are facing. Aide from your age and job-search, it seems appalling that your private health companies are unaccountable or that your government cannot help you in any way.

    It’s a pity you don’t live in Australia as our government healthcare system, whilst not perfect, allows for anyone without private healthcare cover to be protected by the Federal government through public hospitals. If you have private healthcover, so far in my experience, all companies have behaved honestly and with decorum. OH and I have had private health cover since we were first in the work force and we are now in our 60’s and have had major ops, ongoing care for various issues, babies, childhealth cover, teeth, physio, podiatry, pharmaceuticals and so on. My daughter once accidentally let her private cover lapse and was immediately covered by the public health system. The only difference between private and public is that with the former, one gets to choose one’s own hospital including a private room if available and one’s specialist… that is total choice.

    It’s very rare for an employer to offer healthcover here, but in terms of employment beyond a certain age, you are facing a global attitude, i think. There is definitely an age cut-off and whilst it is unfair, I doubt it will ever change. Add to that the GFC and it’s terrible. My daughter, a graphic designer, is 33, and to supplement her income she applied to a well known Australian fashion house for a store-front job and was told she was too old! This despite the fact she dresses beautifully, is well-groomed and has a CV not just of major design jobs but of working for major brands in the country! She has an auto-immune disease and her medical bills are phenomenal and her private insurance keeps her cosy but in addition, some of her treatments are bulk-billed which goes straight to the Federal government.

    I think this is what we would all like to see America have … that option… and we hope for a wiser view from your politicians so that it can happen. That would surely be the Christian way: helping others.
    Good luck, stay positive and my thoughts are with you and SO.

  5. I am totally with you and I am so moved by your story. Does this mean that you won’t do a synopsis of each of Anton Chechov’s six famous plays and tell us which one RA should perform on the stage? I wish you a big bowl of chocolate icecream..

  6. I appreciate all of your comments.They mean a lot! I will have more to say as I go along that will address some of the issue you all have raised. Just bear with me. :)

  7. I so want to give you support and comfort and let you know how much we all care…The insurance company should have to refund your balance…you paid out far more than they used to
    cover your family…it’s only fair. As for writing a book…that’s a great idea…..we love your writings. Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Until the next installment….

  8. I have been job hunting for over a year now with very little response, even, from employers I have applied to, and have also come to the conclusion that age has a great deal to do with it. While people in the US are no longer allowed to ask your age, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out since they are allowed to ask your graduation years from schools. I also have fibromyalgia, which I managed pretty well with until I started getting older.

    That said, my fantasies and thoughts about Richard Armitage (not to mention my sheer enjoyment of his performances in various productions) over the last however many years have helped me more than I can say to get past the darker times. I use crafting and especially needlepoint to keep myself plodding along as well, since I love art in all its forms. But RA is an inspiration, not only because of his obvious talent–but because he is a caring, decent and lovely man. There are very few of those around anymore. It helps to have someone that makes you smile, even if it isn’t someone you know personally.

    I feel for you in all the things that have happened for you and wish you all the luck in the world. I truly hope you will keep going as long as you can, for our collective benefit as well as your own.

  9. You are so brave to document your story on here and I admire you and your faith, as well as your wisdom to know how to deal with the trials thrown your way. I’ve worked on both sides of the medical field – both out on the floor and behind the office walls, dealing with insurance companies. It’s what led me to go out on my own and start my own business without insurances dictating what treatments they paid for or not. We truly have a broken system and I hope that one day, we as a nation can fix what’s broken.

    It is unfortunate, too, how we as a society value youth more than experience, and how we are treated according to the number that’s on our drivers’ licenses. When I went on vacation to the Philippines a few years back, I was on this island paradise and on one of the coconut trees was a sign that said ‘massage therapist wanted, 19 – 24, must be single’. Now while I assume massage may not have been the only thing on the menu, this is pretty common over there for other positions, even those in customer service – albeit much more blatant than here in the US. One of my clients is now 97 years old and one day she told me that our society doesn’t value its old people, unless you’re talking about antiques.

    I wish you the very best in your SO’s struggle with kidney disease. One of my best friend’s husband just got a new kidney last year after 16 years being on the transplant list, and it continues to be a road with peaks and valleys. My prayers and hugs your way and know that you’re not alone.

  10. Everyone has a story. Thank you for sharing some of yours. I find it fascinating that RA admiration has helped so many people. It has certainly helped me through some rough times.

  11. Allow me to reassure you that you are not alone and that others here know exactly what you are going through. I do not know yet when I will have the courage to tell my story, but it is very similar to yours and by speaking up, you have helped me tremendously today. May Our Heavenly Father continue to give you strength. He will never abandon you or your family. Then again, you don’t need to me to tell you that because I can see that you have a strong testimony of His love for us.

    I wish Richard would understand what he is doing to save people’s lives all around the world simply by being a decent human being and an artist who is deeply committed to his craft. If he had the time to sit down and read stories like yours, he would cry from shock and would also turn beet red from the realization that this Army loves him for some profoundly valid reasons that have nothing to do with the very real fact that he is stunningly handsome. Know that with this confession, you have become one of my heroes as well.

    I am here if you need me. Thank you very much for being honest and providing us with inspiration to persevere. Big hugs to you.

    ~B.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t say anything better than what has already been said here. I, too, am a Christian and I have you and your family on my personal prayer list. I, too, had to search for a job when I was 50. Out of desperation I was forced to take one which tried to break my spirit almost daily. Eventually events out of our control made my husband and me use up all our savings and most of our retirement on exorbitant health insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Your story and those of the Comments have helped me soldier on. As for that certain British actor, I truly believe he has a bazillion fans because he is a good man. If he were an egotistical jerk, would we be here? He brings pleasure to our lives and lets us forget the bad stuff for awhile.

    May God bless you and yours

  13. I work in the healthcare industry and that’s why I support Universal Healthcare. Insurance companies aren’t there to help people, they are there to make a profit for their shareholders; too bad the american public buys into their BS propaganda. As someone who works part-time in a dialysis clinic, the treatments are very costly and I hope that you and SO are doing everything you can to adhere to the prescribed diet and lifestyle to help reduce complications and further medical bills.

  14. Thank you all for the lovely, lovely comments. It is very encouraging. I also appreciate the commentary on the health industry. Whatever happens, the fix for our system will not be easy since it’s quite a mess.

    I’m going to finish up this series of posts in the next few days either at the end of Fanstra (but not as a fanstra post) or immediately after.

    Thank you so much for following along, and I hope when I’m done it will encourage others as you’re doing for me!

  15. You are the one encouraging us. Thank you.

  16. […] if you’re thoroughly confused by this post, another post or two might shed some light on what we’ve been going through. Or skip it and come back when I bite […]

  17. […] continues here […]

  18. […] said in another post that everything that is happening is making me into a crusader. I meant that about the insurance […]


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