My body forced me to go on medical leave from my Hospice Social Work job in February 2020 and I haven't been able to return. I have had short-term and then long-term disability benefit payments through my employment, but those payments only made up 60% of my previous paycheck-to-paycheck salary. My employer has continued to hold my job, but did stop paying for my health insurance in August. Since then, my parents have been helping me pay for COBRA, which totals just over $700/month. I continue to go through hoops to retain current disability benefit payments, while also applying for SSDI, as my doctors have told me that I am more than a year away from being able to consider a return to any employment.
My cervical spinal syndrome/cervico-occipital neuralgia are the reason for my disability, which causes me severe pain and limits my capacity to manage regular household chores (and a lot of other stuff). Covid-19 has added much complexity and strain to my options for help from friends or family, but I've found ways to hire some limited (careful/safe) help with meal preparation, housecleaning, shopping and laundry.
For a few months at the end of the year, I was keeping up with medical and specialist visits because my out of pocket max had been met. But, now we're in a new insurance year and that's all a reset. And, I still have a couple overdue bills from before the max was met. Hopeful visits on my list for near future include physical therapy, neurosurgeon, neuro-chiro, pain specialist. I also need to follow-up with GI specialist for a testing procedure on my esophagus. And, because sometimes bodies need a lot of care, I have two potential pending surgeries (on hold by surgeons due to Covid-19) that will hopefully go forward sooner rather than later. One of them is abdominal and the other is for a spinal cord stimulator implant, which I hope can bring me much needed pain relief.
I've set the goal of this fundraiser at $3,000, because that is approximately the amount of my out of pocket max for in-network benefits on my insurance policy. Though my spinal cord implant surgery will be done out-of-network and will have higher cost, I'll definitely need to use up that OOP max given what's on the list. Several people in my sphere have asked if they can help with these kind of costs and this is what seemed best for a present process and goal. This money will be used to help cover my medical expenses, so I can continue with important specialist visits, but will also be used for hiring cleaning/caregiving support. There are many unknowns in the future, but certainty that I will have help covering the massive cost of becoming disabled and living alone during a pandemic, is something that will give me much comfort and peace.
Any support from you is so appreciated, whether it's a kind message or thought, or a donation to this fundraiser. It's only been with the support of my community that I've survived so far and I'm grateful for anything you have to offer. Please feel no pressure. There are so many important ways to give in your community right now. I wish you and yours safety and wellness this year.
Thank you so much for your care. ❤