I do believe my health is stabilizing. There’s always some bruising when one is on blood thinners. But over the last few weeks the ease with which I would bruise has diminished, and what bruises I do get seem to resolve over a shorter, more familiar period of time than they did in Sep and Oct. Plus, I did the fun shock the face-and-arm-muscles test, which checks for nerve damage in case I had suffered a mini-stroke during the Great Blood Disease of aught ’13 and those result were encouraging.
If I wasn’t now approaching dead broke, being shit-canned over this stuff and losing my critical less-than-minimum wage disability and health insurance this week, for the sin of falling ill and suffering a heart attack and other scary complications this year, I’d be pretty damn happy, too. I would not ask for change in your Paypal account if there were any other viable options, but there’s not. Guys and gals, five bucks matters to me right now. If you’re wondering, below is a thumbnail sketch of how it came to this.
I’m basically a poster child for the Great Recession and the need for massive healthcare reform. A college educated, hard working, successful financial analyst who scrimped and saved for many years, only to be run over by the illness and eventual loss of a loved one, in the beginning of the recession, where everyone was being laid off and losing their health insurance, in one of the hardest hit regions of the nation, a small town in Florida, where there quickly became virtually no jobs paying anything close to a living wage that provided decent benefits.
To survive I had to move 1000 miles for an entry level tech support job that looked very promising with a great company, but what I didn’t know was this was right when that company decided to engineer ways to destroy the career ladder and bonuses they bragged about to me when they hired me for $11/hr. Then, after two years of stellar performance and getting nowhere, I had a massive heart attack, a serious complication from heart surgery, and as it turns out, an underlying blood disorder that would have killed me or turned me into a vegetable without aggressive assessment, monitoring, and treatment. At which point I was fired. In ruby red Texas.
The funny thing was a friend of mine got hired to do customer service, confirming reservations and upselling guest services for a hotel chain and invited me in. I instead went with a Fortune 500 company doing complicated tech stuff. She was a former Dell exec and started at about the same time and lousy rate of pay I did. But now she’s making twenty bucks an hour, working from home four days out of five, and has turned down several management promos. I should have listened to her.
The end result of all that was I went through thousands and thousands of dollars in savings, much of it in the first horrible year when I didn’t yet know how long this would last or how bad it would get, lost pretty much everything except a beat up old compact SUV with 100k miles on it. Now I share a squalid studio apartment with assorted arthropods, and have literally faced couch surfing with friends or sleeping in a dumpster several times trying to make basic rent and bills.
It’s not just me of course, millions are suffering, some have families, and I don’t know how they survive. Maybe some don’t: I’ve had two old and dear friends, just like me, highly skilled, highly accomplished, well-educated, who went through a similar series of disasters triggered by a combo of health setbacks and recession. They both eventually just curled up and died. Didn’t even make it to their fiftieth birthday. I will do just about anything before it comes to that. I’m lucky in some ways, depression has never been an issue for me no matter how bad it’s gotten. But I am sometimes sad and lonely — a struggling atheist progressive middle-aged activist doesn’t exactly make for an eligible bachelor.
One of the most frustrating things about it is I have lowered my living expenses and nerfed my lifestyle so much that if I were to ever get a job paying a living wage, just a measly 40 – 50k a year, I could easily save enough money in just a couple of years to get right back to where I was. But apparently that’s asking too much. As every single goddamn paying gig that looked like it might work out or help soften my plight over the last four years has inevitably fallen through. It’s enough to drive a person to drink, except I can’t afford alcohol or anything else like that. All my drugs are legal; I have a script I need to get filled in a few days and I won’t even be able to swing that without your help. Because, if all I walk away with after all this shit is my health, I’ll take it.