Pretty sure it’s not the heart!


Sorry, I miscalculated, need a few more bucks. Paypal email is

Sorry for the constant blegging, today will be the last day and I’m grateful for any small dollar donation; I’m just so goddamn poor and I’m new at it. There’s always a bill around the corner or something else I forgot about, and I’m not used to running so close to the edge with no safety margin. There’s an entire political party hellbent on punishing people who are already struggling. I’m lucky to have a well read website to bitch about it and readers who care enough to help out. Most people in my situation don’t. So, some good news, because things could always be worse, eh? I’m pretty sure the pain mentioned a few days ago is not a cardiac issue. I’ll still follow up with the cardiologist, but the symptoms have improved with treatment for auto-immune inflammation — which btw can indeed contribute to all kinds of health problems including recovering from cardiovascular surgery.

I haven’t been poor like this since college. There are many ways it hurts beyond the usual anxiety and shame. One of the saddest is the sentence of loneliness. Ask anyone who tumbled out of the middle-class if they are treated differently after they became poor and they’ll affirm it. Not just by anonymous callous Teaparty types, but even friends and family who have stuck by, who nevertheless are human and grow weary of hearing about the day-to-day humiliating struggle imposed by having to budget tiny things you took for granted, things as mundane as toilet paper. There are now millions of us facing these dismal, routine decisions and growing.

It’s as though you have been struck with a social cancer, consuming hope and tainting every relationship. It changes you and it changes everyone around you. Invitations to weddings or other events dry up, more casual friends drift away, romantic interests quickly fizzle out. It all adds up and eats away at your life, and you come to realize you are an emotional leper, as defining pieces of you fall away or have to be excised in the endless pursuit of survival. Small wonder most of those thrown into poverty try their best to hide it, or that some just seem to curl up, fade away, and in some cases quietly die. I’m way too extroverted and pissed about it to follow that path though!

On the health issue, that is good news. True, sometimes people like me get labeled as having a cardiac neurosis, maybe that’s what they’ll conclude here. I hope so. But seeing as how almost half of us will die from some form of direct cardie-pulmonary failure, it really doesn’t seem too neurotic to be worried about that, especially after suffering a major heart attack at age 51 and a potentially serious complication a few months later.


  1. magistramarla says

    Hang in there, Stephen!
    I know exactly how you are feeling.
    We’re dealing with the pay cut caused by the hubby being furloughed right after the expense of a 1900 mile move and now the uncertainty about even having any income if the GOTP fools shut down the government.
    I know how it is with the auto-immune issues, too. Mine have caused my leg muscles to spasm and contract and my feet to go almost totally numb. In our small town in California, I could safely drive short distances, so I had the car while hubby rode his bike to work. I had independence; I could shop on my own; I was involved in several social groups and I had friends who ignored my disabilities, including the strange voice caused by the spasmodic dysphonia.

    Now that we’re back in San Antonio, I’m housebound. The hubby can’t ride his bike to work – it’s too damned hot and the rednecks around here think that it’s a game to run bicyclists off the road.
    I tried to drive one day – I got onto the busy road near our house, and a redneck in a huge pickup thought that I was going too slow, so he got right up behind me and leaned on his horn as he went around me and then cut sharply in front of me. I think that he saw my handicapped plates and decided to “have some fun”. I gave up and went home.
    I hate depending on the hubby to take me grocery shopping and I hate shopping with him watching over my shoulder, hurrying me. He’s writing a dissertation, and I feel guilty keeping him from his work.

    My only social outlet is the local Atheists group that we’ve found, and I’m so thankful for them! One sweet couple gave me a ride to a lecture and another wonderful lady took me to lunch and out to shop.
    I’m only a few years older than you, but I feel like I’m 86, not 56!

  2. Johnny Vector says

    It sucks. But I’ll say this: When you get back on your feet again, I will totally be your long-lost friend!

  3. johnb says

    It is not accidental that health related issues and suicides rise during periods of high unemployment. Your feelings of adequacy and self-worth are tied to your employment and income. The cost of Republican policies is multiple generations lives blighted. Later baby boomers like you, Gen Xers like my son, and Millenials are all suffering from this sucky economy. The only people coming out well right now are the early Baby Boomers (like me) who as a group are the Tea Party’s strongest supporters. More evidence of our narcissism. I once swore that I would never apologize for my generation, but I sure have to now.

  4. says

    Similar boat. Unemployed and studying for career number three. Slowly becoming more antisocial, feelings of self-worth draining out. Trying to force myself to go and find a meetup or something. This needs a social structure to make it work better. Especially when family is not an option.

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