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Seizures, Massive Debt, and a Shitty Friend.

ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
edited February 20 in Help / Advice Forum
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.

Thawmus on

Posts

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited February 20
    I'd say go ahead and do the therapy you know you should do.

    Also it sounds like she should have hit her deductable and/or out of pocket at some point. Don't just pay the first bill any healthcare provider sends you.

    There are accountant firms that specialize in medical debt. Maybe call one.

    Life's just a journey sometimes eh?

    Good luck.

    Edit: Is there a reason she isn't on your insurance?

    dispatch.o on
    ThawmusElvenshaeBurnagePhoenix-DMoridin889
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Wow. I'm sorry that you're going through all this.

    I know that it's hard not to blame yourself for the seizure thing, but if it's a seizure disorder, then it's entirely out of your control. Seizures will happen, whether you want them to or not. Feeling guilty about it may be a maladaptive coping mechanism for you to feel like you actually have some sort of control over the situation (and god knows, your life sounds like something that you are desperately trying to maintain some semblance of control over), but really, her health isn't something you can control. I'm not saying "Don't worry about it", because hey, I would do the same in your situation. But just be open to the idea that maybe it was something that would have happened without any input from you. Just like all of your stuff with Barrett's Esophagus isn't under the realm of her control.

    With that note, maybe you should think about joining a community online for epilepsy spouses? I think there are multiple ones out there. It could be good to chat about the disease specifically with people who are going through the same thing.

    Di87pOF.jpg
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    ThawmusArcanisTheImpotentElvenshaeCalicaDisruptedCapitalistZilla360Descendant X
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    This is going to sound harsh, but ...

    You need to lock down your wife's credit, and you need to keep the password to unlock it.

    She has shown repeatedly that she is not capable of handling credit like a responsible adult. Accordingly, you either need to separate her finances from yours entirely (which is, like, pretty impossible for a still-married couple to do) or you need to take charge of it.

    This will suck.

    However, it already sucks, and is a source of continuing and escalating stress in your relationship. It sucks that you need to be "the adult" to someone whom you love and with whom you share your life. You shouldn't have to do this.

    But she's sick. Credit cards are her, I dunno, alcohol. Until she the help she needs to get "sober" and proves she can stay sober, you can't have alcohol in the house.

    omgbfz5lzi1s.png
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  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    I'd say go ahead and do the therapy you know you should do.

    Also it sounds like she should have hit her deductable and/or out of pocket at some point. Don't just pay the first bill any healthcare provider sends you.

    There are accountant firms that specialize in medical debt. Maybe call one.

    Life's just a journey sometimes eh?

    Good luck.

    Edit: Is there a reason she isn't on your insurance?

    She hit her oop in December, but that reset in January, and she's going to hit it again.
    Then when she gets on her new insurance, she'll be up against yet another deductible and oop.

    She's not on my insurance because my employer didn't offer it to spouses until this year. So she's been stuck with un-subsidized marketplace insurance up until now.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 20
    Ohhh boy do I get like... all of this.

    1) I am in a similar spot to your wife with spending I think. It's been a big problem for a while, the culmination of various mental health issues reacting to a really shitty time before I met my husband, when I had to track pennies and literally kept myself with a cheap roof over my head by cycling credit with the nothing I was making at my job. It's been fun times trying to deal with that and also trying not to let it affect anyone. It falls on me because my husband is even worse with money in some ways. It's a daily struggle I share with almost no one affected very often. Anyway, I get it. If you are non-terrible with money, it might be worth floating the idea of a generous allowance for her in return for her not having to worry about things like bills. I mean, if she's taking out secret credit cards I don't know how much it will help, and if she's not seeing a therapist about it she should be. Recognizing thought patterns and learning to deal with them as habitually as possible can be a good step toward correcting bad behaviors. It's not everything, but as first steps go it's one of your better options.

    2) Hi-5 for expensive medical issues finally eating through your deductible only to have it reset a month later! And ours effectively resets twice a year! Fun times. We are somewhat stable employment-wise for the moment and thank god for that, I can only imagine the complications that arise with frequent job-switching.

    3) Seizure disorders are nothing to mess with and no one's fault.

    4) It sounds like therapy is something you should both be doing. Stat. Don't wait. For you because you've got a lot of plates in the air, and for her because it sounds like she has a lot of external stimuli to sort through, and some not-great thought patterns that feed into the issues surrounding them.

    5) It's not necessarily crippling generosity that's keeping her from monetizing her hobby. Monetizing it can put a lot of pressure on it, and that can make it somewhat useless as an outlet. Right now she probably does what she wants when she wants to do it, and that will go away if she takes orders or feels like she has to sell what she makes. If she has a mat-buying problem, it can help to set a "finish this thing before you buy stuff for another thing" per hobby. For example, I've set myself a limit of finishing a knitting/crocheting project before I'll let myself buy more yarn. Unless I see something really special. I have had to be a little more honest with myself about what constitutes "special" and what is me trying to skirt my own rule.

    6) Send me cake.

    A lot of what I'm talking about mentally and emotionally is just... constant work, and it's usually invisible to the people it affects most, which can create a cycle of screw up --> guilt --> binge that can be as hard to break as the initial problem behind it. I've recently, frequently heard that it can help to think of things as commitments rather than goals. Like, being debt-free is a great goal, but thinking of it that way can create emotional issues that are less dire than a commitment to improve spending habits, and ultimately those are more useful in the long term. It's like eating better vs losing weight, or making time to practice every day vs getting gud.

    Send me cake though.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Thawmusspool32GnizmoJaysonFourElvenshaeIrukaCalicaBliss 101McFodderJebus314Banzai5150DisruptedCapitalistZilla36038thDoeHeir
  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    Just one comment:

    It's totally okay to tell your partner that they need to do better in this kind of circumstance. That's not being a villain. Rather, it's openly communicating that their behavior - rapidly and secretly racking up a ton of debt - is harmful to you both and needs to be stopped ASAP, with the help of professional counseling.

    I mean, it's okay to have/set reasonable expectations in a relationship. Not repeatedly putting you (the both of you) in the hole several thousands of dollars qualifies, IMO.

    PSN/XBL/Nintendo/Origin/Steam: Nightslyr 3DS: 1607-1682-2948
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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Just to put it out there, some antidepressants, long term pain management medications and medications for restless leg can actually cause impulse control issues and exacerbate things like gambling addiction and binge shopping.

    ThawmusE.CoyoteElvenshaezepherin
  • E.CoyoteE.Coyote Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Just to put it out there, some antidepressants, long term pain management medications and medications for restless leg can actually cause impulse control issues and exacerbate things like gambling addiction and binge shopping.

    Illness can also cause impulse control issues, was a pretty big thing with one of my parents. They had MS and did the secret credit card thing too. (among other things.)

    Thawmus
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited February 20
    My friends wife had tons of CC debt issues. They paid it all down i think three times, and after they took out an home equity loan to take care of it all the third time he put them both on a cash "diet" and he handles all their bill paying and such out of their checking account. I think he has a debit card for grocery shopping and the like but otherwise they both get idk $100 a week in cash to spend on lunches/hobbies/etc. It's probably been 5 years since they started doing this and as far as I know, the problem hasn't reoccurred.

    They actually have money to go do things and take vacations now, because they aren't blowing hundreds of dollars a month on impulse purchases.

    tinwhiskers on
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    Thawmus
  • PongePonge Registered User regular
    I have epilepsy and take both anti-seizure medication and anti-depressants without any issues so not sure where the information is coming from that she can't continue her current anti-depression medication. I take leviteracetam and citalopram and have been seizure-free for over 5 years now. Some anti-depressants can lower the seizure threshold (and some can actually cause seizures on withdrawal) but I finally found a combination that worked for me. Depression in epileptics is actually pretty common so I'd imagine you'll be able to get her back onto some medication to help with that.

    In terms of epilepsy it is of utmost importance that she is regular at taking her medication. If she's not taking it exactly as prescribed (or missing every 3rd dose, or only taking it once a week etc) then it can actually make seizures more frequent. When I was younger and dumber I was very irregular with my medication and the seizures didn't stop and the side-effects were horrific. The second I started taking it every day without fail changed my life.

    Ask if your wife experiences any 'aura's before her seizures. Things like deja-vu, smells, tastes, vertigo can all be indicators that her brain is on overdrive and may she may be seizure-prone. In these scenarios she might consider taxi'ing home and laying up until the symptoms pass.

    If your wife has another seizure she will likely feel like shit for 24-48 hours afterwards. It's like having every muscle in your body go through the most exhausting workout you've ever had, mixed in with a tongue that is probably hanging on by a thread. Rest and recuperation is the only treatment here really. She will be statistically more seizure-prone just after having a seizure so heading straight back into work isn't ideal.

    During a seizure don't try to put anything into her mouth to stop her swallong her tongue, it's a myth and is actually more likely to do damage to her teeth or your hand. Try to support her head from banging into the ground but otherwise don't try to over-restrain her during the seizure as that can cause damage as well. The hour post-seizure is an incredibly confusing, draining, embarrasing emotional and frustrating time, your support will be very important during this time.

    You don't necessarily need to go to the hospital or call an ambulance every time, it's often fine to just head home and recover (don't let her drive). Follow your doctors instructions but unless you have 2 or more seizures in quick sucession or there is considerable damage done during the seizure it's often not necessary to go to the hospital.

    Avoid alcohol, low-blood sugar, stress, over-working, exhaustion and anything else you can possibly identify as a 'trigger'.

    ThawmusElvenshaeJebusUDfurlionspool32Banzai5150
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    A far as the ambulance ride:

    I've been there. It's not something anyone wants to have a memory of. But it's something that happened while her brain was quite literally malfunctioning and probably throwing out random shit every direction, even if it seemed she was coherent. Seizures scramble the shit out of you

    And at this point you're probably go "Yeah so what, I know that".

    You know that but it's probably going to take a long time to gut know that, because the monkey brain is where emotions live and logic doesn't work down there. So aside from the excellent recommendation of therapy..just try to remind yourself every time that memory slaps you in the face that it wasn't really her. Over and over. It might help it sink in, or at least take some of the sting off.

    dispatch.oThawmusElvenshae
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    This is going to sound harsh, but ...

    You need to lock down your wife's credit, and you need to keep the password to unlock it.

    She has shown repeatedly that she is not capable of handling credit like a responsible adult. Accordingly, you either need to separate her finances from yours entirely (which is, like, pretty impossible for a still-married couple to do) or you need to take charge of it.

    This will suck.

    However, it already sucks, and is a source of continuing and escalating stress in your relationship. It sucks that you need to be "the adult" to someone whom you love and with whom you share your life. You shouldn't have to do this.

    But she's sick. Credit cards are her, I dunno, alcohol. Until she the help she needs to get "sober" and proves she can stay sober, you can't have alcohol in the house.

    Can't you add extra steps to getting a new credit card? Like our your credit on lockdown?

    Perhaps her putting that additional hurdle in front of herself would be enough to make her think twice.

    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    Having been around dozens of different people who have had seizures and happened to be the tech helping keep them safe, it's excellent you were able to help because even with all the altered thought and behavior that accompanies recovery from a seizure having someone who knows the person and who they trust always helps.

    People say and do really out of character stuff after traumatic experiences that having a seizure only amplifies.

    If your work offers it (lots do) take a first aid and CPR class. Basic first aid is handy and usually comes bundled with CPR which can save lives. You'll learn how to check a pulse and stuff and know how to give rescue breaths if she happens to have an episode in the tub or swimming or something. I'll warn you, it's a little boring at times.

    dispatch.o on
    ThawmusElvenshaeceres
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    I don't know if this will help, but I thought I'd share.

    A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law asked my sister to go with him to marriage counseling because of their constant fighting. Unfortunately, she only lasted a few sessions before deciding that she didn't want to do it anymore (for reasons I won't get into here). However, even though she stopped going, he decided that if they weren't going to go together, then he could at least go to a therapist on his own to work through his own issues.

    Since then, he has started working out, lost a ton of weight, and is generally a lot happier. So even though their marriage still isn't in a great place, he himself is in a much better place, and that has helped to make him a better person and a better father.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
    ThawmusBrodySmrtnik
  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    edited February 21
    Thanks all!

    I asked her doctor what to do if/when she has her next seizure and she said if it's less than 2 minutes long it's okay to just stay home and work through it, but otherwise she'll have to take an ambulance again. I guess there's a bunch of different kinds of seizures and hers are particularly bad?

    They're still not sure on the trigger. I'm 100% certain it's a mixture of stress and not eating right. The effexor she's been on suppresses her appetite and despite my attempts at showing her how to work with that (I was on Ritalin for 15 years), she still refuses to eat during her work shift. So I'm excited about her getting off of that shit, and finding her hunger again. I need to sit down with my friends and her family and explain what to do when she has a seizure, but I should probably get first aid and CPR trained, that's good advice.

    Regarding the debt, we went over it again last night, and I'm still not suuuper worried about it. Again, we're making more than we ever have before, and prior to her first seizure we were actually doing pretty good. The thing that'll crush us a bit is bouncing around all these medical costs between 3 deductibles and OoP's, but I did the hard math, we come out $3,000 ahead at the end of the year if we switch her insurance on March 1st, her marketplace insurance premiums were just that high that even with her OoP reached, it's better to hit another $4,000 ceiling and pay lower premiums for the rest of the year. Our overall debt is going to balloon to about $30,000, but we're making another $14,000 a year right now over past years, so, again, I'm not actually that worried. We were saving $500 per month before her seizure, too, so the way I figure it, we have a "still with bad habits" $20,000 cash flow to play around with to kill our debts with, and more if we batten down the hatches. She still wants that big debt number to go away but (per the advice in this thread) I pointed out to her that we need to focus on surviving month-to-month, and just be better at our spending, rather than worry about being debt-free. She then explained to me that she wants to buy our house from her dad in a few years, and that's why she's so focused on it. I said, "Okay, but I don't think it'll take that long to get rid of this. Seriously." Like, she's worried about paying down a $3,000 credit card in 6 months time, that's her new goal (which is mine, too, of course). I tried telling her it's not going to take 6 months and she just can't believe it.

    So, we're doing a lot more to basically put me in the driver's seat for our finances. Truth be told, I've been a big part of the problem all this time because I had major anxiety issues I was working through, and I didn't want to take over when she asked me to, years ago. But today, I'm in a much better place, and the various spending managers out there have improved tremendously. The one at my bank, in particular, is amazingly detailed, so our first step is to consolidate all our accounts so I have one nice dashboard to see everything with.

    As far as locking her credit is concerned, I discussed it with her last night and she's fine with it. I'm still not. At the end of the day, I cannot be the wall. She has to erect her own wall. And I have to be able to trust her. And I don't want her fucked out of her credit if I die. As I said before, she's improved tremendously. Yes, having another $3,000 secret credit card is a relapse, but, and I can't stress this enough, it's a major fucking improvement from 5 years ago. She wanted to beat herself up badly last night and I just wasn't having it. Remember, I haven't been in the driver's seat for our finances, it's been her, and she's managed to not only get a lot of our debts paid down while decreasing her spending, but she's been saving money. She's going to go see a therapist on March 1, and that's the direction I want to go right now.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not angry in the slightest at the recommendation to lock her credit. I think it's a solid suggestion, I'm just not following it at this time.

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  • CiriraCirira IowaRegistered User regular
    With most medical places you should be able to enact some kind of payment plan with the hospital or doctor's office. This is a LOT better than putting it on a credit card if you were intending to do that. I've had massive medical debt before and places will usually take 50-100 a month just to get some kind of payment until it is slowly paid off. This may help alleviate some of the debt and let you tackle higher interest items first (like the CCs). I'd suggest looking into ways to pay the hospital payments rather than all at once by using plastic or bankrupting your other accounts. Talk to their billing office and see what they can do for you.

    That's my only advice on this because the rest of it is outside of my experiences. My wife is a physician though so I see her bend over backwards to make sure her patients get taken care of even if her office takes a small financial hit.

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  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    Cirira wrote: »
    With most medical places you should be able to enact some kind of payment plan with the hospital or doctor's office. This is a LOT better than putting it on a credit card if you were intending to do that. I've had massive medical debt before and places will usually take 50-100 a month just to get some kind of payment until it is slowly paid off. This may help alleviate some of the debt and let you tackle higher interest items first (like the CCs). I'd suggest looking into ways to pay the hospital payments rather than all at once by using plastic or bankrupting your other accounts. Talk to their billing office and see what they can do for you.

    That's my only advice on this because the rest of it is outside of my experiences. My wife is a physician though so I see her bend over backwards to make sure her patients get taken care of even if her office takes a small financial hit.

    Already done :)

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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited February 22
    Thawmus wrote: »
    As far as locking her credit is concerned, I discussed it with her last night and she's fine with it. I'm still not. At the end of the day, I cannot be the wall. She has to erect her own wall. And I have to be able to trust her. And I don't want her fucked out of her credit if I die. As I said before, she's improved tremendously. Yes, having another $3,000 secret credit card is a relapse, but, and I can't stress this enough, it's a major fucking improvement from 5 years ago. She wanted to beat herself up badly last night and I just wasn't having it. Remember, I haven't been in the driver's seat for our finances, it's been her, and she's managed to not only get a lot of our debts paid down while decreasing her spending, but she's been saving money. She's going to go see a therapist on March 1, and that's the direction I want to go right now.

    You can think about it as training wheels. If she can't get credit, then she will have to learn how to live life only by spending what she can actually afford to pay. This is actually a good way to develop the habit long-term, because it gives her a chance to get used to the idea that not having the money to buy something means not even considering buying it at all. You say she's been doing a great job, but sometimes part of doing a great job is recognizing you have limitations and that controlling your environment and exposure are part of being responsible. For example, I binge eat when I have snacks at home. So I just don't buy snacks because that's healthier for me than constantly draining my willpower all day trying to forget that I have something I can munch on. I think it's really laudable on her part to recognize her limits and try to find some way to control them, even though it may not be the platonic ideal.

    Another option you may want to consider is that she can keep her credit locked down with a PIN that you have written down somewhere, like in a bank safety deposit box (i.e., she doesn't know the PIN off the top of her head). That way she technically still has control over whether or not she can get credit, but it will require more planning, time, and effort than just going to a department store and getting a card right there on the spot. This might help stop her from slipping in the future due to easy opportunity and a moment of weakness.

    Inquisitor77 on
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  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    Or a credit freeze which is probably a good idea regardless

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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Yeah, that's what I meant - when you freeze your credit with the various bureaus they will give you a PIN to unfreeze the accounts. :)

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  • WinklebottomWinklebottom Registered User regular
    Yeah, I had to freeze my credit after the whole Equifax breach, and aside from the stupid fee it was relatively painless. If you do end up needing to apply for some sort of credit, you can either remove the freeze or temporarily unfreeze it for like 72 hours.

    Elvenshae
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    edited February 23
    From the financial thread, 100% recommend a credit freeze. I actually recommend you both do it because it's not only good practice now, it puts you both in a solid place re: new credit.

    Also it should be a longer term goal, but with all of this debt, I highly recommend you find a fee only financial planner. The fees can be tough (over $1k but under $2k, generally) which is why I say it should be a longer term goal, but they are invaluable for giving you perspective on your financial situation and helping you set up a plan to get out of it. Another option is Consumer Credit Counseling (LINK); which will focus solely on your debt but is cheaper.

    And, yes, both of you please do (non-financial) counseling.

    Mugsley on
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited February 25
    Thawmus wrote: »
    As far as locking her credit is concerned, I discussed it with her last night and she's fine with it. I'm still not. At the end of the day, I cannot be the wall. She has to erect her own wall. And I have to be able to trust her. And I don't want her fucked out of her credit if I die. As I said before, she's improved tremendously. Yes, having another $3,000 secret credit card is a relapse, but, and I can't stress this enough, it's a major fucking improvement from 5 years ago. She wanted to beat herself up badly last night and I just wasn't having it. Remember, I haven't been in the driver's seat for our finances, it's been her, and she's managed to not only get a lot of our debts paid down while decreasing her spending, but she's been saving money. She's going to go see a therapist on March 1, and that's the direction I want to go right now.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not angry in the slightest at the recommendation to lock her credit. I think it's a solid suggestion, I'm just not following it at this time.

    I just want to point out that the thought I bolded may actually end up being harmful if her spending issues are related to some kind of medical condition. It could actually be literally impossible for her to ever control her credit as you'd like. I have ADHD, so I can be a horribly forgetful person no matter how hard I try to remember my keys or wallet there will be days i leave home with them on the counter. If it weren't for my wife accepting the fact that she should ask me if I have my car keys, wallet, phone, etc just about every time we leave the house there would have been a lot more days I locked myself out than there have been.

    Sometimes being someone's life partner means doing the adult things they are incapable of doing. It sucks, but that's life and love.

    Veevee on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    As far as locking her credit is concerned, I discussed it with her last night and she's fine with it. I'm still not. At the end of the day, I cannot be the wall. She has to erect her own wall. And I have to be able to trust her. And I don't want her fucked out of her credit if I die. As I said before, she's improved tremendously. Yes, having another $3,000 secret credit card is a relapse, but, and I can't stress this enough, it's a major fucking improvement from 5 years ago. She wanted to beat herself up badly last night and I just wasn't having it. Remember, I haven't been in the driver's seat for our finances, it's been her, and she's managed to not only get a lot of our debts paid down while decreasing her spending, but she's been saving money. She's going to go see a therapist on March 1, and that's the direction I want to go right now.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not angry in the slightest at the recommendation to lock her credit. I think it's a solid suggestion, I'm just not following it at this time.

    I just want to point out that the thought I bolded may actually end up being harmful if her spending issues are related to some kind of medical condition.

    She has a cyst in her brain that is causing seizures, so it seems reasonable to suppose that it might also be causing impulse control issues.

  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    As far as locking her credit is concerned, I discussed it with her last night and she's fine with it. I'm still not. At the end of the day, I cannot be the wall. She has to erect her own wall. And I have to be able to trust her. And I don't want her fucked out of her credit if I die. As I said before, she's improved tremendously. Yes, having another $3,000 secret credit card is a relapse, but, and I can't stress this enough, it's a major fucking improvement from 5 years ago. She wanted to beat herself up badly last night and I just wasn't having it. Remember, I haven't been in the driver's seat for our finances, it's been her, and she's managed to not only get a lot of our debts paid down while decreasing her spending, but she's been saving money. She's going to go see a therapist on March 1, and that's the direction I want to go right now.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not angry in the slightest at the recommendation to lock her credit. I think it's a solid suggestion, I'm just not following it at this time.

    I just want to point out that the thought I bolded may actually end up being harmful if her spending issues are related to some kind of medical condition.

    She has a cyst in her brain that is causing seizures, so it seems reasonable to suppose that it might also be causing impulse control issues.

    Slight correction, we don't know what's causing the seizures, the seizures merely resulted in the discovery of the cyst. One of the most frustrating things about all of this is that nobody has a clue what's going on. The best they can do is to try to remove drugs that are lowering her seizure threshold, and put her on seizure medication instead, and see what happens.

    We'll know more about the cyst in a few weeks.

    That aside, I get what you're both saying, here, and I'll consider it. I just feel scummy because I get so much of that "the man is the adult and the woman is the uncontrollable emotional child" mentality from family, so I just fight so hard against anything that comes within a mile of looking like traditional pants-wearing. At the very least this points out that this is more my issue than hers.

    CelestialBadger
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Does your wife want you to take control of her finances? If she does, that's not an infringement of her agency.

  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    Does your wife want you to take control of her finances? If she does, that's not an infringement of her agency.

    She wants me to take control of a lot of things, until she doesn't. And then I feel like a villain in a white collar crime show when I'm all, "Well but Honey, you asked me not to let you do this, remember?"

    But to answer the question: yes, she does. Which I'm fine with, to a degree. Freezing our credit is fine, for a multitude of reasons, but I'm not okay with hiding her PIN from her.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited February 25
    Well it's not a her and you thing as separate individuals. It's both of your debt and finances because they're linked together.

    It's not really anyone else's business, I'm sure you can come up with a nice way to tell family to fuck off.

    Edit - for clarity.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

    Traditional is to freeze it in a block of ice in the freezer, so that you have a literal "cooling off" (or warming up) period to think "Do I really need this thing?"

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  • ThawmusThawmus Registered User regular
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

    Right, but won't just the credit freeze do that already? Don't you have to un-freeze it days ahead of time?

    I'm considering the safe deposit box idea from earlier.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Thawmus wrote: »
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

    Right, but won't just the credit freeze do that already? Don't you have to un-freeze it days ahead of time?

    I'm considering the safe deposit box idea from earlier.

    Once you freeze your credit, you can unfreeze your credit pretty much immediately by calling in and giving them the PIN. There are also, as people have mentioned, limited-time unfreezes that will automatically re-freeze your credit after a set period (e.g. 72 hours). If you want to be safe you can have the creditor/bank wait a day to check after unfreezing, but it's usually pretty fast. Also, in my experience there are very few things worthwhile (if any) which require an immediate credit check. If you're doing a major transaction like a mortgage refinancing or taking out a loan, the bank will be familiar with credit freezes and can schedule around them easily. If you're standing in line at Walmart and trying to get a card for a quick 5% off then maybe you shouldn't be getting that card in the first place.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Thawmus wrote: »
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

    Right, but won't just the credit freeze do that already? Don't you have to un-freeze it days ahead of time?

    I'm considering the safe deposit box idea from earlier.

    No, unfreezing your credit doesn't take very long. E.g., Experian will do it in a couple of minutes.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Thawmus wrote: »
    You don't have to hide the PIN from her - you just have to put it in a place that will take work for her to get to. The point isn't that she doesn't know, it's that it will force her to make a deliberate decision over a longer period of time than just walking past the cash register at Macy's.

    Right, but won't just the credit freeze do that already? Don't you have to un-freeze it days ahead of time?

    I'm considering the safe deposit box idea from earlier.

    No, unfreezing your credit doesn't take very long. E.g., Experian will do it in a couple of minutes.

    Provided you have kept track of the PIN numbers required to thaw the credit reports.
    You lose those, and (as I understand it) you're pretty boned.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
    Elvenshae
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