25 May 2009

Good things come to those that wait…

There are times when the lessons we preach to our children can come back to haunt us. What I mean is sometimes it is hard to practice what you preach. Helping to raise three step-children the last 11 years, I got to witness them all through their teenage years. One of them had concrete goals and knew what they wanted in their future. The other two bounced around with different dreams and ideas, but they shared a common trait – instant gratification.

Neither one really wanted to work toward a specific goal. They wanted happiness and they wanted it now. And while my frustration at times would rise, I constantly preached that working toward a goal, makes the reward more valuable. In other words, “Good things come to those that wait.” It is true, but the waiting can practically destroy you.

For the last seven years, I watched Betty’s health go downhill. First it was cancer, then some other surgeries, then three years ago a nasty car crash. Through it all Betty tried her best to help take some of the stress away from me. She did her best to take care of the house and be a great housewife.

But the reality was that she could only do so much. The auto accident left her in constant pain and the medications left her, at times, dazed and confused. The fact was that she would never be able to help financially again. To her credit she realized this early on and went about trying to obtain disability. Her first try she was denied within a month. The government said she would be able to return to work within 12 months. Betty appealed the decision and was promptly turned down for a second time because nothing had changed medically.

While it was easy to get depressed, Betty tried one final attempt to make her case known. We were closing in on three years since Betty’s accident. In that time she hadn’t worked at all. She had four surgeries on her left elbow, which was the main focus of her disability claim and we had incurred an astronomical amount of medical debt. A lot from medical facilities but also just from monthly prescriptions.
As time went on it became more and more apparent that we were losing our battle with staying on top of our bills. Credit cards and loans were taken just to pay for medical necessities. And it became harder and harder just to pay our monthly bills – like water and lights. For the last six months, money has been on my mind 24-7. I cringed every time the phone rang – thinking it was a bill collector.

I was at the point where bankruptcy was entering my thoughts. But something kept pushing forward, something kept me going and we continued to survive. But with every passing day I wondered how much longer this could go on.

My answer came today. Last week Betty had her day in court, in front of a judge explaining everything about her medical history and what has happened to her in the last three years since her accident. The judge agreed and Betty has been declared disabled and will start receiving a monthly check within the next couple of months.
I can finally see a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. For the first time in a very long time I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders. This won’t solve all our problems, but now there will be a way to have a plan that can work and for the first time in years our monthly income will be more then our monthly expenses.

Yes, it is true… “Good things come to those that wait!”

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