This maybe the most difficult thing I have ever had to write. It is humiliating, and it goes against every fiber of my being. But after careful thought, and a great deal of prayer, I have reached the conclusion that I am in no position to exhibit false pride. And I desperately need help.
If you’ve seen my last few Facebook posts, you know that I must have open heart surgery, and soon. But there’s a great deal more to the story.
A few months ago, my wife and I decided that we no longer wished to live in southern Illinois. We both have family in North Carolina, and we love it there. So with that in mind, my wife left here to stay with my sister in High Point, North Carolina, to look for a job. The plan was that once she got employment, I would turn in my notice here, join her in High Point, and look for work myself. Well, it didn’t turn out quite like that.
She’s still there, diligently looking for a job, and I believe she’ll have one soon. But I was paid very little at the job I had here, and was unable to afford the health care plan offered by the company for which I worked. And any supplemental income I had been able to obtain had dried up. I sold a couple of things on eBay, in order to keep our heads above water, but I reached the conclusion earlier this month that, given our bills and our situation, if I were to stay in southern Illinois, I would no longer even be able to afford to continue living in the house I’ve been renting, and would have to put most of my belongings in storage and try to find a room to rent somewhere, and wait until I got the call that it was okay to pack up and move to join my wife.
So I took a leap of faith that she’d have a job by the end of June, turned in my notice, and had planned to move on the 30th. My goal was that once I got there, I’d go out and find any sort of work I could – dishwasher, pizza-flipper, anything… just so we could be together, gain a foothold, and build our lives.
But that’s not the way it worked out.
This past Tuesday, May 31, I arrived at work, as usual, at about 4:30 AM. As I sat at the computer, ready to start the day, my heart began to pound, I felt constrictions in my chest, and the sweat started to pour. The thing that really scared me was that I also could not remember what I was supposed to be doing. So I went to the Emergency Room. Actually, I thought maybe I was having a panic attack. But after a number of tests, and a heart cath, it turned out that I have major blockage in some of my coronary arteries, and that I need bypass surgery. It was scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Since it would be a few days, I told my employer that I didn’t see any reason that I couldn’t come in and work until Tuesday… but the hospital, although I was discharged to come home until Tuesday, would not give me a release to work, even for a few days. I do not have short-term disability insurance, and the long-term disability covers one only after 90 days. So no matter what I could do, my employment essentially ended the moment I went to the ER. I had, without realizing it then, received my final paycheck… with no more money coming in.
And given my situation, it was necessary for me to apply for charitable assistance to have the surgery… and that would provide for no post-op care. I would be alone, here, in a house I could not afford to keep past the end of June, recovering for weeks, unable to drive, or even to lift anything heavier than a gallon jug of milk. The only other option for post-op care my case manager could come up with was possibly to get me a bed in the homeless shelter in Marion, Illinois. When I heard that, I actually sobbed there in her office.
Please understand that it is more crucial than ever now for my wife to stay where she is and continue to find employment. So rather than have her come here to take care of me for weeks, we determined that she must stay there. And we came up with an alternate plan: I would have friends come help me pack up the house, and pack a trailer which would be driven to North Carolina next week. My sister, God bless her, is helping with the financial arrangements for getting the trailer and me there. I would then drive myself there, and join my wife and sister, and would explore the options to have the surgery and post-op done in North Carolina. Again, I will have to apply for either Medicaid or charitable assistance.
So here’s the situation: We have a few hundred dollars left. From that, I must pay for whatever I need for the remainder of this week, plus gas, and one inexpensive overnight stay during the 12-hour drive from southern Illinois to North Carolina, beginning next Friday evening.
The folks I worked with at here took up a collection to help out. They don’t make a lot of money either, and I was humbled to accept their donation, as well as their willingness to come load the trailer for me next Friday.
Nonetheless, I am now in the most dire and frightening situation of my life. I will receive no more income. My wife is spending all of her time looking for work. I must make a 650-mile move next weekend. Once I arrive in North Carolina, I will not be able to work until I have the heart surgery and then the post-op recovery, which will take 4 to 6 weeks.
Never, at the age of 56, did I expect to find myself in this situation. We know that this is part of God’s plan, and that somehow, someday, it will all work out. But at the moment, although I find it humiliating and humbling, I have no alternative but to reach out and ask for your help.
If you might be able to contribute 10 or 20 dollars to help defray our costs, and to help us pay our necessary life expenses for the next month, I am confident that my wife will have work within a few weeks, and we will then be able to gain a foothold and build from there.
If you can help, the easiest way would be through my Paypal account, which I had set up for my freelance work. You would just go to Paypal.com, look for the send money tab, and enter my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. This way, a credit or debit card can be used.
Yes, I am humbly asking for a charitable contribution… and it would directly be helping someone you know. I cannot, of course, pay it back… but I promise you this: Once I am on my feet again and able to work, I will pay it forward.
With deep humility and unending gratitude, I thank you.