August and Elli are a young-at-heart couple in their 60s who’ve been shaken by quadruple life-changing events in a short timeframe. Just when they thought they were about to find a long-sought safe harbor, they find themselves instead unemployed, broke, homeless, and recovering from August’s open-heart surgery. Would you help them weather this storm of change?
When August and Elli met, they each felt, almost instantly, that they’d found who and what their hearts had been looking for. Soon after, they moved in together and launched a plan to get themselves back into a positive flow following a period of setbacks each of them had independently been struggling with. It had been a truly fruitful, challenging and gratifyingly successful process. Things were looking encouraging with the new year, following August securing a year-long dream contract that offered the possibility of a directional shift in his career, something he'd been longing for. They were renting a lovely house in the mountains and looking for a second roommate to share it with. It looked like they were about to get their feet firmly planted on solid ground.
Then Spring 2019 kicked into gear. It started with August unexpectedly losing his dream contract on March 18. Where they’d been expecting to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle in April, instead by early April they’d be broke.
August had seen his doctor a few weeks earlier for shortness of breath. Labs had been done and, on the 27th, the doctor asked August to come in immediately. He firmly suggested that August significantly reduce his stress levels right away, and was relieved to hear that August already had scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist for that same afternoon. While the cardiologist reassured them that August had not had a heart attack, more tests were scheduled. Instant retirement seemed to be calling.
On March 29th, August and Elli told their landlords what they were dealing with and suggested possible ways they might be able to meet their lease obligations given their new reality. Not amenable to these, admittedly iffy, suggestions, on March 31st, the landlords terminated their month-to-month lease, effective April 30.
Wed, April 3rd, August had a nuclear stress test that revealed the danger. 30% of his heart, mainly the lower left ventricle muscle, the main pumper, was not getting adequate blood flow when he exerted himself. They squeezed August in for a consultation on Friday, and the result was that an angiogram and, possibly, an angioplasty were scheduled for Monday morning, 4/8. The angioplasty never happened, though, because there was too much damage to his arteries for stents or balloons to be effective.
A plan was floated to hold August for a quadruple bypass later that day. But, the surgeon decided to give August time to clear the radioactive angiogram material from his system first. Friday afternoon, the 12th, surgery got underway. Four and a half hours later, some of August’s veins had been redirected to bypass the blockages. Four hours, four bypasses. And, turns out, losing his job may well have saved his life. One of his arteries was 99% blocked.
However, August, it turns out, is a champion healer, leaving the hospital 5 days later and already looking forward to the new life that awaits him. Recovery still will be long, but he’ll be spending the coming days exploring what a low stress life might look like.
Now it’s time for August and Elli to finish moving out, first to a place to land for a few months while they regroup. They needed to hire movers to get out of their house on time, they’ll have some, as yet unknown, uncovered medical costs (Medicare only covers 80%), they’ll need to pull together first and last month's rent and security deposit plus more moving expenses, to move into their own place. The total will also depend on how long August's recovery takes before he can start working again, how much Social Security and disability benefit he will receive and when that will start, as well as where they're able to eventually land.
Elli, who has been recovering from a number of chronic illnesses on top of a case of severe burnout, will be looking to return to work as soon as practical. While she was already heading in this direction, she now will be moving forward sooner than they had been planning. Lately, she likes to opine that they’re now following the Dali Llama’s advice to not wait until you’re ready to start. They’re starting their new life now, instead of according to their prior plans. Still, it may take some time before she’ll be able to earn any income, let alone enough.
At this point, they’re asking for $12,000, though as the bills come in this may change. They know they can’t do this alone and are trusting their Higher Power to guide them, even as they continue to put in the work only they can do. As August and Elli’s friends, we have been helping in every way we can, including putting out this request on their behalf. Every contribution means so much to them. Thank you.
This fundraising is organized to benefit: August S. Mohr and Elizabeth ("Elli") A. Rea