08 December, 2015

Looks Like We Made It

We are not out of the woods, but we are out of the scary part of the woods.

I don't believe in horoscopes: I've said this several times over the years, and it's true. But I do look at them, for entertainment purposes only, twice a year: on New Year's Day, and on my birthday. The New Year's 2015 horoscopes for Eva and I both made reference to persistent money problems this year.
Boy, I'm glad I don't believe in these things, I thought, then. Because this one seems to be telling me I won't be getting a job in 2015.

Little did I know.

I was hired on April Fool's Day and for the first time ever, I find myself working for a company that respects me. I actually have a career path plotted out, and I am confident that path is supported.

Eva, though.

The physical after-effects of her bariatric surgery meshed very unpleasantly with her mental health this year. She has been off work since April and without any sort of an income since August. Given my nine months of unemployment, followed by employment at a drastically reduced wage...can I just say that things got dicey? Scarily so. I could hear the wolf pack in the distance starting in September. My closest friends probably got a little weary of my wolf reports, and my wife has an incredible ability to keep wolves at bay. But trust me, they were closing in.

Eva's work does not offer short-term disability, but it does have long term. Waiting period: six months from her last day of work.  Three months of that was (sort of) covered by sick leave from the government, through EI. After that, we were on our own.

People came to interview Eva on September 24. We had been told she would be eligible for benefits on October 1; we learned in that interview that this was a lie. It would take, we were told, four to six weeks to do whatever bureaucratic voodoo is involved in reading and understanding a simple doctor's note.

About that doctor's note. Our GP sat on it for weeks without sending it in, for reasons never made clear to us. Meanwhile, Eva's one permitted session with the psychiatrist (!) went by. They even made an exception and gave her a second one. That psychiatrist was supposed to send her own paperwork in to the insurance company, which pays her to do so.

She didn't.

She's only in that office three hours a week, and with patients for most of that time, so reaching her was a nontrivial exercise. Last Friday, Eva finally managed to track her down and wonder of wonders, speak to her. "Because I'm not seeing you as a patient," Eva was told, "I'm not helpful to this conversation. I can't give an opinion on your health."

Not the thing to tell someone living with intense anxiety.

Eva managed to convince the psychiatrist that her health very much depended on that paperwork being submitted immediately. For another wonder, she actually followed through on her pledge to submit that paperwork that very day.
It was supposed to take a week, minimum, to adjudicate her case once all the paperwork was in. The clock was ticking and the wolves were howling. Eva managed to figure out away to meet obligations by a razor thin margin for this week, but any further delay--

Let alone a denial. Many people have thought they'd be helpful by telling me that nobody ever gets approved on their first try, and that it generally takes a year for them to pay out, and gee, thanks. Those seeds had fully taken root in my mind.

Today we found out that Eva has been approved for long-term disability. "Long-term" in her case is a bit of a misnomer, as she is aiming for a February 1 back to work date.

The relief is in itself almost sickening. Delayed reaction.  We're going to make it. I have every faith in my wife, but together we were losing faith in this process.

I want to thank friends and family for their financial, material and emotional support over the past several months. I am not exaggerating to say we could not have got through this without you. Neither of us was raised to ask for help if we could help ourselves (or even, in many cases, if we couldn't); pride got to be a luxury we could not afford there for a bit. So thank you, all of you, for being there. I hope you know we were, are, and will always be there for you, too. We love you so much.

Thank you, too, to Eva's work for being so supportive. She misses you and is making every effort to come back.

And thank you, love, for keeping it together even after you had fallen apart. You are an amazing woman...I knew it all along, of course, but this takes the cake. I love you more than any words can say.

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