Saturday, April 17, 2010

When Hard Times Hit

My next-door neighbors, Frances and Dickie, have hit some very, very hard times.

Dickie had a heart attack some 5 years ago, and a triple or quadruple arterial by-pass operation. And they didn't have health insurance. Just last week I found out they maxed out all their credit cards to pay their medical bills, and haven't been able to repay the credit card companies, so their credit is ruined. Collectors are telephoning constantly.

Dickie hasn't been able to work since, as he was a manual laboror, forging steel.

Last summer, his heart began acting up again, and he had to have a stent put into one artery.

In retrospect, in now seems obvious (so obvious that a lawsuit is probably in order) that he picked up hepatitis from receiving contaminated blood during that surgery.

Hepatitis doesn't go away. Ever.

Six weeks or so ago, Dickie was in the yet hospital again, where several conditions were discovered, the worst of which is cirrhosis of the liver. Merriam-Webster Online defines it as: "widespread disruption of normal liver structure by fibrosis and the formation of regenerative nodules that is caused by any of various chronic progressive conditions affecting the liver (as long-term alcohol abuse or hepatitis)".

Notice the word "progressive." Cirrhosis only gets worse with time.

Dickie has never abused alcohol, even before he got religion. But after his conversion, he never touched alcohol. I know because I have offered it to him several times in the past. He is a Baptist tee-totaller.

Frances runs a child care business out of their home. But with the current economic slump, fewer women have jobs and need daycare for their children. Frances has had to lower her prices to attract more children, and she still has only 6, two of whom are infants. She has help once a week, but has to pay that helper.

Dickie's medications include (but are by no means limited to) an antibiotic that costs $350 per month and another something that costs $185 per month. That's WITH Medicare, which he is old enough for by now, but Medicare stops paying after you get to $2800 and doesn't resume until after you cross the $5,000 mark. That's every year.

Dickie is getting rapidly worse. It won't be long before he will be unable to drive (i.e., get out of the house and have some alone time and some peace from all those small children). Stairs are already not easy for him.

He is busily cleaning out his garage and getting his elaborate gardens all tidied up - while he still can. We even caught him raking sweetgum balls from our yard a couple of weeks ago. He couldn't do that today, I think.

He can hardly eat anything and what he does eat isn't good for him, just a lot of sweets. He threw up yesterday and has fallen three times this week alone. (Yesterday I took a walker over there, that we had left from the time Demetrios' foot was broken. But that wont' really help much as the cause of his falls is fainting, probably from low blood pressure.)

To top everything off, their 16-year-old granddaughter is going to have a baby in June. A baby Frances will end up keeping for free or for very little pay, as she has all her grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. The mother-to-be still has a year of high school, and only has a part-time job. Her own mother, a youngish widow, had a baby out of wedlock 5 years ago, so there's really nothing she can say to her teenaged daughter.

I don't know. It's just so sad. We help as we are able, but what's to become of these dear, God-loving, upright, sweet, salt-of-the-earth people, I don't know. Please pray for them, and if you feel moved to do more, we can figure out some way.


elizabeth said...

Lord have mercy! That is a lot of hard times! I will put them on my prayer list.

Steve Robinson said...

May God bless them. It is scary because that could be our story in a heartbeat. I wish I could offer something other than prayers.

Chocolatesa said...

Lord have mercy!

DebD said...

like s-p, I wish there was more I could offer. Prayers.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Prayers, of course, are the most important thing!

Anam Cara said...

The next door neighbors of one of our church members several years ago had an accident where he cut off part of his hand with a circular saw (I think that's what it was). He was a carpenter and that made work nearly impossible. They had small children at home, she would try to go to work, but economy was already in a downturn, so there wasn't much.

To make a long story short (too late for that!) at our church we took up a special offering for them even thought he weren't members, or even Orthodox. Is this one way we can show them God's love? Helping out financially as we can - something more tangible to them than "I'll pray"?

Talk to your priest. If he okays it, I'll send part of my next paycheck to help out. Just let me know it's happening, the address of the church and what to put in the memo line so it is used for this family.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Anam, I will talk to my priest tomorrow.

My neighbors' own congregation has dwindled down to so few members it is hardly functioning. They're loosing people to the happy-clappy crowd. But their pastor is faithfully refusing to make their congregation into one of those newfangled bits of emotional indulgence; he just keeps on preaching "from the Bible" as he sees it.

margaret said...

I will do the same as Anam Cara, we'll just have to give the bank their cut of issuing an international cheque :( so please also tell me what's happening.