A Personal Note: Bink and Adora’s Bad Year

This is a personal post which is basically asking for a bit of help with our medical costs while we’re going through some tough times. The short version is that we’re both dealing with chronic illness & can’t afford to pay for the treatment we need as Adora is currently unemployed (has had 3 jobs this year, two of which essentially “evaporated”, and is constantly searching but in Post-Quakes Christchurch jobs are a bit harder to come by, but more on that later) and we’re getting no assistance from the Government and minimal help from her parents (Who split up ages ago, her Dad is doing what he can, but her Mother is fairly well off but refuses to help).

If we were both healthy we’d be fine. If Adora had a job we’d be fine. As it is, we’re not, and I’ve run out of additional options so I’m turning to the Interweb for help. As we’re both fairly independent and hate asking for help we’re starting a GoFundMe “campaign” to help with our medical costs, and our medical costs only. Anything left over after we get back to being self sufficient will be donated to SafeCare which again I’ll explain more about what it is and why later.

Warning: There may be a few triggery subjects in the following paragraphs, so you’ve been warned. That said, I’m going to generalize things as much as possible because I don’t like talking about it and it didn’t even happen to me.

Background Medical Stuff

Adora (ladies first) has Crohn’s Disease which is one of those nasty autoimmune diseases, in this case causing inflammation in the intestines & stomach. This means she can’t eat various foods without feeling like her insides are scrunching up, being so nauseous that she is prescribed chemo patient level anti-nausea medication or throwing up frequently/violently. Foods include olive oil, large amounts of dairy, MSG & various preservatives, and so on. It also means that we end up spending a bit more money on food to make sure there’s bland, easily digestible food in the house, or getting takeaways/fast food more often than we’d like.

As for myself, I’ve been plagued with headaches & muscle pains for many years (since ’99 when I had a CAT scan). Recently we’ve (meaning Adora, myself and our doctor) come to the conclusion that this is most likely Fibromyalgia, which isn’t conclusively diagnosed, but given my constant muscle pain that ranges from that next-day-after-a-good-workout ache for no apparent reason to curling up in agony in bed after taking all the painkillers I’m allowed to take at once (usually 1000 mg paracetamol and anywhere from 16 to 60 mg of Codeine) waiting for the pain to go away. It’s fairly random as to what hurts from day to day, for instance today my hamstrings and arms are sore, just above that slightly uncomfortable level.

The Bad String of Events

Ok, so that’s the background stuff out of the way. The actual start to our “Bad Year” begins roughly a year ago when Adora went to a party at a flat with some friends of hers. We’re pretty sure that a friend of a friend put something in her drink and sexually assaulted her while she was passed out. I found out about this a few days after the fact, mostly because Adora was worried about how I’d react. I ended up taking that Tuesday off work at short notice (because my boss is awesome) to be supportive and eventually take photos of the bruises for the police.

She’s now got PTSD and anxiety problems because of it, and has had quite a few panic attacks since then. Most of the professionals she’s seen have said she’s doing remarkably well compared to others. The criminal case eventually died due to it being a “he said/she said” type case, and the Idiot is still going out on a frequent basis, getting drunk and probably doing the same thing all over again because he’s a self-entitled dickhead (Sorry, I get angry about this every time it comes up).

Her mother (who has been referred to as “Darth Mother”) had been supporting Adora while she was at University but around October demanded that Adora drop all criminal proceedings because it would “make Darth Mother look bad in her social circles back in Dunedin”. Adora refused to do this, so all financial support was cut off.

We had been looking at flats to move into together, but that was outside of our financial reach at that point so I did about the only thing I could do and moved Adora into my flat as there was a soon to be vacated room going, and meant that I could cover both her rent and mine. That didn’t go down too well with one of the existing flatmates, but they moved out a couple of weeks later and eventually, after going through 6 months of dealing with another couple who weren’t that helpful, we’ve now got a nice decent flatmate.

Over the intervening period we did get some financial help from Adora’s Dad, who has done what he can, but we’ve had to bend over backwards to get Darth Mother to contribute the pittance that she is (because she “can’t afford to” but still builds a new house, buys $4000 German dishwashers and installs silk curtains), but because we need the money we have to put up with the demands that Adora behave like DM is a “good mother” via facebook posts, or the constant phone calls/texts saying that Adora is useless & fat, that she wishes Adora had never been born, or that being assaulted was all her fault (y’know, the usual “dressing provocatively”, “asking for it”, “teasing the poor guy” arguments). Usually these end up setting off panic attacks or Crohn’s flare ups due to stress. As a recent example, Adora somehow managed to get Darth Mother to contribute $90 this week, except what actually came through was the usual $50.

Things as they are now.

These days it’s a case of each of us looking after the other as best as we can, and depending on who is flaring up when it may be me looking after her with heated wheat sacks  & doing the dishes/cleaning, and she looks after me when I’m bad by getting me wheatstacks, cooking dinner and helping out with keeping the house tidy while I’m at work. The days when we’re both unable to do much are the worst, and we go through a 50 pack of 500 mg paracetamol/8 mg codeine every month or two. We’ve been cutting back on things as much as possible, and I’ve been stretching my resources as much as I can, but unfortunately there’s not enough money left to cover our on going medical needs along with rent, food, etc.

What we’re asking for

What we’re hoping for is that with whatever donations we receive we’ll be able to resume the treatments that we both need. Whatever money we receive from this goes solely to medical bills (to be outlined shortly), and whatever is left over when we’re able to handle it all ourselves will be donated towards SafeCare, the non-profit rape crisis centre in Christchurch, which has been refused government funding, who helped Adora through her interviews and examinations in the weeks after her assault.

My own needs are fairly minimal, $65 per hour of massage therapy, which I would normally have every 2-3 weeks, and around $57 for a few physiotherapy appointments to get my shoulder sorted out. For Adora her psychologist appointments are $150 per session (and she owes him $600 because Darth Mother refused to pay after previously agreeing to), she needs physio as well to help with her neck/shoulders, and currently owes our local Doctor about $200 for previous appointments/care. On top of that there’s another $100 for a Gastro specialist so we can get her Crohn’s medication sorted.

In total we have about $900-1000 in one off costs, and about $250 per week for ongoing expenses. Ideally we wouldn’t need to ask for help, but we’re hoping to get ourselves sorted financially within the next month, so this is just a stopgap.

So please, help us out

About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

5 Responses to A Personal Note: Bink and Adora’s Bad Year

  1. JamminLamal says:

    I don’t really understand your situation. Why are you not getting government assistance, such as a sickness benefit and a disability benefit? You are entitled. Why is Adora’s therapy not covered through an ACC claim for sexual assault? And why is the Crohn’s not being treated through the public health system? I say all these things from direct experience. There are excellent new treatments for Crohns which are fully-funded and any major flare up should result in hospitalisation, which is of course free. I also have direct experience with FM – this can be diagnosed easily. The criteria are well-established.

    Please don’t take these comments as blaming you, but it certainly sounds like you have not been given access to all your entitlements. Our society is supposed to look after people in your situation.

    • binkenstein says:

      Not getting government support because I earn too much (which goes back to the point of if we were both healthy we’d be fine).

      I don’t know about the ACC claim, and the Crohn’s specialist stuff isn’t completely covered from what I understand.

  2. JamminLamal says:

    Disability Allowance is means tested. Income must be under $900 per week before tax, but if eligible is almost $62 a week each. If Adora is unable to work due to illness, she should still be eligible for the Job Seekers benefit, although that may be more hassle than its worth

    Sexual assaults are considered “accidents” in the sense that it is not the victim’s fault and result in a “mental injury”, and again, a doctor or the psychologist should have filed an ACC claim for this. Your doctor should have told you about the Disability Allowance, especially for Crohns! Even transport costs to regular appointments are covered. And I can only hope you have a High Use Card for medical visits and prescriptions.

    Maybe Crohns is only covered if you wait for ages in the public system, I can understand not wanting to do that. Looks like you are getting support from your mates on here, but I strongly recommend that you go to Citizens Advice Bureau, possibly your local MP, in order to get all the entitlements that you are, errr, entitled to. Sorting out all those kinds of things can be exhausting and it can be good to have someone help you do it. Tony Milne, Labour candidate for Chch Central is tops. Get in contact with him if you need a hand https://www.facebook.com/TonyMilneChristchurchCentral

    High Use card not means tested – http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/primary-health-care/primary-health-care-subsidies-and-services/community-services-card-and-high-use-health-card
    Prescription subsidy card also not means tested- http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/treatments-and-surgery/medications/prescription-subsidy-card

    • binkenstein says:

      Not sure about the Disability Allowance, but we’re not poor enough to qualify for Jobseeker Support. Well, I’m not poor enough for Adora to qualify.

      Apparently she’s tried multiple times to deal with ACC and they screwed it up each time. Something I’ll bring up with our Doctor at my/our next appointment.

      Adora already has the High Use card and the prescription subsidy card.

      We’re in the process of putting a letter together for our local MP (Margaret Woods) but we’re wanting our GP to sign it as well, and he’s getting back into the country next week sometime.

  3. Pingback: An Experiment In Social Funding | Blogenstein

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