Thursday, November 11, 2010


This blog is turning into a real bummer.  I know.

It was intended to be an upbeat travel page, but since Mike's accident my life has been consumed with daily trips to the hospital, tracking down his bills and paying them out of my own pocket, and meeting with doctors and lawyers.  Some trip.

"Lawyers" ???  Yeah, right, though I surely didn't want to.

There should be no current need for lawyers. There is no fight with the insurance company. They have agreed to pay.  Any lawsuit should be put off until we are beyond their ability to pay - at the limits of the liability policy.  We won't know how bad it gets, or what expenses will be incurred, for maybe a couple of years. There's plenty of time for that stuff later.

And we would certainly be unwise to put Mike's future in the hands of some fly-by-night contingency lawyer, who will try to take 40% off the top.  Combat pay where no combat is needed, and none is offered.

But I am now seeing lawyers.  I have no choice.  There are people trying to take over various aspects of Mike's life while he is incapacitated, and I have to defend him against them.

My contention is that everything should be kept as much as possible just as he left it on October 1st.  That is:  his bills current, his job protected, and his house empty, so that when he recovers he can step back into his life and take up pretty much where he left off.

It has only been 6 weeks.  He should be left alone to recover.  We will know more about the end of this story in a couple of months.  We can reconsider then.  But some people are in a suspiciously great hurry to change things to suit themselves.  It takes considerable expense and effort on my part just to hold the fort.

The good news is that Mike is now in a NeuroRehab hospital.  He is responding to therapy.  He is starting to regain his short term memory, and occasionally tells me "You told me that yesterday".  The other day he recognized somebody from his office while they were still in the doorway, and greeted them by name.  Yesss!!!

He left no power of attorney.  He needs to recover quickly.  If he does not, he could end up broke, disabled, jobless, homeless, and sitting alone at the curb in a rented wheelchair.  Next to the garbage cans.

He deserves better.  I will not let that happen.  But much of it could turn out to be beyond my control.

As for myself, I find that stress makes me stupid.  I know it's maladaptive, but there you are.  I am usually quite capable of keeping several balls in the air at a time, but this is different. Sometimes my skull seems filled with Karo syrup.  Doctors who appear to be about 12 years old can spout information at me, and it takes 3 tries before it fully penetrates.

Information no longer travels at the speed of light.  If it ever did.

The thing is, I know what needs to be done.  In a few hours, I could set up things to be self-paying for the next 6 months.  Little by little, I am getting most of it done, indirectly, by taking a lot on myself.  But Mike didn't leave me any tools to protect him with, other than the force of my personality.  Much of the time I am reduced to grinding gears and stomping my foot on the brake.

My message to you is this:  We all have a date with disability.  It can come at any time.  When it comes, you are going to need someone you can trust to handle your affairs.  Empower them.

If you don't have anyone you can trust, you are already disabled.

Do something about that.  Now.



Suzanne said...

Hi, Bob -- Suzanne from Atlanta here.

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have been checking back on your blog every day or so to see if there is an update on Mike. It is so disturbing to hear that in addition to restoring Mike's health, you must also spend energy trying to beat off the circling sharks. I am so sorry to hear this. I don't know you, but after following your blog recently, preceded by reading your comments on Jennifer's blog for almost a year, your evolving story feels familiar in an odd sort of way, so please accept my sincere thoughts of wellbeing for both you and Mike, and please keep updating.

Like you, I am a fellow misanthrope. Your comments have prompted me to rethink my fierce independance when it comes to my personal affairs.

Thanks for sharing the intimacies of your experience so we can all learn and grow from it in hopes of avoiding the growing pains.

My best,

Jennifer said...

I've been wondering about Mike. I assumed things were challenging for you, since we hadn't heard anything. I am glad to hear that he continues to make progress on his health.

I hope you continue to post and let us know.

Take care,


Bob Giddings said...

j and s:

Thanks to you both for the kind thoughts. At first the job seemed overwhelming, because I didn't know how big the job really was, and felt I had to do everything at once. Gradually I have come to realize this is a multi-month enterprise, and I've learned to pace myself. I've even learned to take a day off now and then. Well, three anyway, scattered over the period.

One of those was spent going to my own doctor's appointments. After the first skin cancer was removed, I thought that stuff was over, but another has popped up a few inches over from the first. So I've got an appointment on the 30th to take care of that. It's another squamous cell, something to attend to but not too dangerous.

I hope this one will be the last. Hard to type with a bandage round my hand. :o)

Mike is improving in small ways every day. And it all adds up. I realize that he is the one who has the job of getting better. I can't do it for him. I just try to keep things steady in the rest of his life, so he won't have anything to worry about but getting better.

Yesterday I think I talked the hospital into giving him a larger, lighter room. The one he landed in is claustrophobic. I can do that sort of stuff.

I just wish it didn't take most of an hour to drive up there, and an hour and a half to drive back through 5 o'clock Austin traffic. Thank God for KMFA and classical music.

Bob, who is sick of hospitals.

Anonymous said...

you are truely a good man Bob and good men make good things happen... nowhere near a bummer, nowhere near at all.


Anonymous said...

Bob, I found your blog linked to Jennifer's and started reading. Good God. It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it rings true and, if no one's said it, you're a thoughtful brother.

I'll be doing the Living Will and PoA thing *this week*


Anonymous said...

I've been checking back every few days looking for an update. Thank you for posting. I'm so glad to hear Mike is making progress and what a nice picture of him... handsome fellow.
It's sad that this burden is falling on your shoulders but what a blessing for him that you've been there to carry it.
Don't let the buzzards at him.
Hugs for you both, GingerJools