It really started a few years back on April 27th, 2011. Our house sustained hail and straight-wind damage that broke windows, tore up the roof so badly that water poured through the plaster ceilings in our kitchen, hallway, my bedroom, the bathroom, and the stairwell. The mortar was even sucked out of parts of the foundation.
Our insurance company, ANPAC, responded quickly enough - on most of it. The ceilings are still falling down although thanks to Legal Aid we got a lawyer to force them to pay earlier this fall and the repairs are scheduled. The foundation they refuse to cover. They also dropped our coverage. The only insurance we could get because of the damage is very expensive, and of course any heat in the winter goes right into the attic. It's risky to try and cover a hole on plaster ceilings that are pulling away from the floor above; they can easily collapse on you, so I left them alone.
Meanwhile, it started getting harder and harder to pay the electric bill and the mortgage, which had the new expensive insurance added to it.
Then, this last year happened: in the past year my son and I have had five surgeries between us.
His were for a broken clavicle and later removing a bone tumor called an osteochondroma from his wrist. It was the second time he's had that type of tumor removed from that spot.
My surgeries started as a simple cataract removal - I got diagnosed with glaucoma and cataracts several years ago - but the doctor put in the wrong replacement lens and had to re-do the surgery a few weeks later.
That surgery caused my retina to detach and I had to have my retina re-attached as quickly as possible. Since the original doctor had not found the detachment at my follow-ups weeks had gone by with more and more sight lost until I went to a different doctor.The retinal reattachment was as successful as could be expected. I spent a week or so keeping my head parallel to the floor so that a gas bubble could support the retina while I healed.
After the surgery, I regained some sight in that eye. Re-attachment caused some warping of the retina, and of course there was scarring too. Straight lines are twisted and curved; many sections of the color spectrum are just gone; everything is washed out and seen in tunnel vision.
It took me about six months to train my eyes to track together enough to read - my favorite pastime, formerly.
And my design work - the way I paid my bills - it took even longer to relearn how to do that. I can only work a few hours a day while using a large tv as a monitor and it's not an issue that glasses can fix. It is as good as it's going to be.
Meanwhile, the steroid drops I had to use to minimize scarring caused my glaucoma to become less and less controllable and I have an even more invasive surgery called a trabeculectomy
coming up. Again, the best results will be to save more of what sight I have left, not to improve my vision. I'll have to wait for stem cell therapy for that.
So, my income has been decimated; suing for medical malpractice in Tennessee requires money up front for third party businesses required by law to begin a lawsuit (which I don't have) and a signed testimonial from another Ophthalmologist (which I couldn't get before the deadline, and often requires paying for!); and all my resources have been drained by the more expensive hazard insurance I'm required to have since, without all the repairs to the house finished, I can't get regular home insurance despite having only one claim in 11 years - the April 27th storm claim.
I've talked to the mortgage company, filled out forms, showed income and proof of hardship - including the death of my mother earlier this year - and even with some modification I can't catch up.
If we can get over this hump and make some badly needed repairs the the cost of insurance and heating will both go down enough to make the difference between not being able to keep up and being able to pay on time. I've fought too hard for this house for us to lose it now.
Thank you so, so much for your help.
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