I'm hesitant to post this, I really am. I don't like airing my shit. But I've also come to a point where depression is setting in and if I don't find a way to air it, I'm fucked. I don't know how much I'm looking for advice, as much as I'm....letting the shit fly? Maybe that's wrong. If it's wrong I can just edit this and make it a picture of one of my cats and call it good.
So, to start off, I married this wonderful woman a few years ago, she's perhaps the sweetest person you'd ever meet in your life. I mean that somewhat literally as well, as she makes delectable desserts that have literally caused screaming. It's a thing people know her for. When I bring in a cake to work that she made, the entire staff loses their fucking minds. So, as you may guess, she has been doing this for a living, working at a cake shop (I'm adjusting the truth a bit there for Google's sake).
She has a history of anxiety and depression, and while there are meds that have worked great for her in the past, they are not covered by the myriad of health insurance plans she's been on for the past 5 years through various jobs nor even the marketplace. She also has a spending problem. After the first year we were married she had racked up $20,000 worth of credit card debt. We have been in a repetitive cycle with this. I find out she's put us deep into the hole, we put together a plan to get out, everything's looking great, we get out, and I find out she's dug us another hole to get out of the first hole (as in, has shifted her spending to other credit cards while we pay off the ones I'm aware of). Now, before we make her out to be the villain here: She's gotten much better at this. She does see reason. We have been paying our way out of debt lately and have been doing pretty good for the most part. It's been 2 years and there haven't been any surprise credit cards. She also insists on other extremes that I'm not a fan of, like having the passwords to her various merchant accounts and promising not to give them to her, but she insists that this helps, and I believe her (though someday I'd like for her to have this worked out so I'm not doing this anymore).
Okay, so now that I've set that stage, here comes the past 2 years: I've got issues. Stomach issues. For the past year or so I couldn't eat damn near anything other than white rice and grilled chicken without feeling nauseated. Never to fear! I got it taken care of! But it required a couple ER visits (when I couldn't even keep Zofran down and they had to give it to me through an IV), and an upper endoscopy to reveal that I have Barrett's Esophagus. It's a slight stomach cancer risk, but I take some meds and it's mostly fine. Also I can eat all sorts of stuff again, so that's good too. My doctor was an Aussie and it was important to him that I be able to consume microbrews once more. But, I have to have an upper endoscopy every other year, potentially for the rest of my life. So, yay, neat.
So, needless to say, I've also racked up our debt. Lately it's been easier to tackle because I have better health insurance and my employer just...gives money to my HSA account each month, on top of what I also set aside.
We're approaching late 2018 now, and we're on track to get completely out of debt at the end of 2019. Seriously. For realsies. Completely. Hooray. Nope.
December was Bad News Bears for a lot of reasons. First, her employer started getting shitty again. She's had various jobs during our marriage, but she actually came back to this one because they got rid of the petty management practices, but they returned. She started getting sharp criticism of everything she did, and was essentially told that her cakes and desserts sucked. Now, dear reader, here's where you have to be careful. Because I told you that her desserts were amazing, and that's true, but I know my wife, and I know she interprets things the wrong way a lot. I don't actually
know what they said to her. They could have said they were a little dry, for all I know, and she blew it out of proportion. It happens. And I have no way of ever knowing the truth without some really bad husband-ing, IMHO. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that's what she heard, and so she wanted to quit. I told her she shouldn't quit until she finds something else (been down this road before...), she wanted to go work for fast food because it's no trouble to get a job there at all. She's in her late 30's and makes amazing food, fuck no, that's terrible, go work for a bigger employer that gives you some real health benefits!
So, really good news in the midst of all this bad news? She did. She got an amazing job with ridiculous mouth-watering benefits and is nearly doubling her salary. EDIT: She's also now working with a real actual Chef with a capital 'C' who says she makes great stuff, and the best tiramisu he's ever had. Oh, also, I got a big raise too. So combined we're bringing in more. Yeah, gonna fuck that debt real good, now! That's what you're thinking. So were we. We were suckers. She had a seizure.
Now, I'm not going to go into the details, because I'm not looking for legal advice nor medical advice, but yes it did happen while she was on the job at the place she was leaving. No, workman's isn't doing shit, they say it's not their problem. And we're not going to push it because the last lawsuit we pursued (yeah, we've had an exciting 5 years) nearly killed her so I'm not doing that to her again. There are other reasons, too, but I'm not getting into that for Google reasons.
So, yeah, seizure. It's one of the bad ones, where they wake up screaming and fist-fighting EMTs. I now have video evidence that my wife could probably kick my ass if she wanted to. So, I'm going to kinda skip through the medical shit, she stays in a hospital for 3 days, nobody knows what's caused the seizure. The bills are a mile long, but we hit her out of pocket at $6,000. Okay, not too bad, I'm thinking. We just got big raises, we're going to be fine. Plus she has these new mouth-watering health benefits.
1. Her employer won't turn the benefits on until March. They're also a big enough company that they have no wiggle room on this.
2. She has to have follow-up CT scans, X-rays, Neurologist appointments, Neurosurgeon appointments, GP appointments, all in January and February. So, against a fresh new deductible and OOP, and another $6,000. Cool.
3. Her neurosurgeon finds a cyst in her brain that everyone else missed, doesn't feel great about it, and we have to have a follow-up MRI, spinal tap, and other shit done in the next few months.
So she and I are like, okay, we'll push all this shit to March. We'll go in for the follow-up appointments, but all this scanning will have to wait until March. Fuck it, we say aloud together. Fuck you
, says life.
Early last week, she tells me we need to talk about our money situation. I'm like, everything's great, what do you mean? She has another secret credit card with $3,000 on it. She's been nervous about telling me because she thought I'd leave her over it. I'm angry, sure, but it's a dull anger. I don't shout or raise my voice. She's confused, and wants to know why I'm not mad. "I don't think getting mad actually does anything. I don't think it moves the needle on this problem anymore. You need therapy. And you've needed it for a long time." I cut up the credit card. She's fine with this. I tell her that paying this off is our #1 priority, and she agrees. But, and I'll regret this for years to come: I tell her that I'm still angry and disappointed, but I don't know what to do anymore. Now that might have been the truth, right? But that jab wasn't needed. I don't need to be the bad cop. I don't need to be a despondent little shit. V-Day comes (about 4 days later), she has another seizure.
So, we're now coming to the cavalcade of shit that's actually at the front of my mind every day this week, and the shit that's actually bugging me. I know, right?
1. I feel pretty fucking guilty. Stress can lower your seizure thresh-hold. This shit could be, at least partly, my fault. No, it probably is. And I'm going to have to bear that for a long time, because I can't fucking forgive myself for one fucking second for it. I let my anger get the best of me and she potentially paid the price. I could have reassured her that we'd work on the debt together, things were going to be okay, and still requested that she get some therapy, without fucking acting like a disappointed dad. Seriously, I'm the villain in this story.
2. This time, I arrived shortly afterward, and rode in the ambulance so I could restrain her and protect the EMT's, which they both requested and were grateful for. She was out of her fucking head, screaming the entire time about not wanting to die, and wanting to die, and nothing I could say would break her out of it. The experience is burned into my memory and I can't shut off the video playback in my head.
3. She had more CT scans and shit in the ER. They didn't find anything, but she now has to be on seizure medication permanently, and she can't take her depression meds anymore, period. But she's gonna hit her OOP for a second time in 3 months. Probably will hit it again in March but at least that'll be $4,000 instead of $6,000, right?
4. One of her friends is being a gossip. They were gossiping with her 2 days ago and told her some mean shit, and now that I've found out that it's been bothering her, I'm not sure what to do about it. This friend is also dating one of my best friends, and I can't navigate that shit to save my life. Following my instinct is probably going to be bad for everyone. Plus, again, I don't know what was actually said. So I could be mad about something that wasn't said, that she took the wrong way again.
5. She still wants to get out of debt, and quickly. I'm trying to tell her that it isn't happening quickly, it's gonna be another couple of years. This is breaking her heart. I don't know what else to do. I won't let her work 2 jobs, and she won't let me work 2 jobs. I'm trying to convince her to charge money for the quilts she's making for people (over and above just the costs of the mats, which in a lot of cases she doesn't even charge that!), and to try and pursue making her constant craft-making just slightly profitable, but she's not having any of it.
6. I'm finally starting to feel depressed about all this shit. I've held it all off for a long time, I've had lots and lots of therapy over the years, I've worked a lot of shit out and I have lots of coping mechanisms, but I woke up this morning and was totally fine with staying in bed and not showing up for work. The only thing that got me out of that funk long enough to get me to work was talking to my wife this morning.
That's it. That's my story. Thanks for listening. That's probably all I actually need right now. If this persists I'll have to go in for therapy, which, again, is fine, I have an HSA account that will pay for it.