Disabled Family Wants Grant Money For Debt Relief And Truck Repairs
(Blountstown, Florida, USA)
Hello everyone. My name is Dana. I'm 50 years old and looking for a government grant to help buy or repair a truck transmission and to get some debt relief.
I'm part of a family living in Blountstown, in the panhandle of Florida. There are seven cats, seven dogs, and seven people (four children and three adults.) Here's our story.
We're not unlike other American families. We got up and went to work, paid our bills and tried to do the best we could by our children.
I was living in Panama City about 50 miles away. I had a house, husband and two kids, a dog and a not so bad a life.
We had just purchased our first home. J and his family was just moving into the area from South Florida, looking for a less hectic place to raise his children. At that time he only had three. Wait till you hear that part of the story!
We met when I was working at Waffle House. J would come in for coffee before going in to work as a mechanic at an auto shop near by. Our families became fast friends.
We were guests at J's family's first Thanksgiving in their new house, where I made the comment that he had one empty chair at his table, and he needed to fill it. Three months later his wife was pregnant with Sera, their fourth child. I'll never forget that phone call!
Things started going downhill about that time. I found myself without a place to live. (Three's a crowd, if you know what I mean.) Jason and his wife took me in.
It worked out well. I took a job at a local restaurant. All our work schedules were opposite so it meant that someone would always be home for the kids when they got home after school.
J stayed employed at the shop for seven years until a neck injury forced him to give up a 28-year career as a mechanic. So we were down to just what I made in wages and tips.
Raymie found part-time work at a local convenience store so that made things a little better. Some time went by. We were keeping our heads above water.
Then things really started to go down at a fast pace from there. Gas prices sky rocketed, tourists weren't spending money travelling like they used to and the restaurant slowed down. I stuck with it though.
Then out of the blue I started getting ill. I suffered a severe, debilitating abdominal pain, without warning. All I could do was to lie on the bed, curled up and cry.
I'd call my boss at 9 am to tell him I wasn't going to be able to make it in that day. It began happening more and more frequently. I couldn't do that to my boss; he really was a fantastic guy.
So I quit, knowing I could get rehired no problem, if an opening was available and I was better.
The 'condition' didn't stop. It would come on without warning. I have no options for health care except for the local ER.
Our health department in town only takes two appointments a day. You have to call in at 7 am to see if you can get one, but you never do.
I don't know how it works but even if you go by an infallible clock, like the one on your computer, you can call at exactly 7 am, no one answers, but they tell you that all the appointments are filled for that day try again tomorrow.
Meanwhile jobs are becoming so scarce. J's been unemployed for almost a year at this point, taking any odd jobs he could find until something came along.
Then the bottom falls completely out. I get so sick I can't work. Raymie's boss cuts her hours. J loses his job because the truck went down and he couldn't get back and forth to work.
The truck needs a transmission and J can rebuild it because he's a fantastic mechanic, but there's no money for parts.
A tree on the property had been threatening to fall over and eventually did. We couldn't find anyone to come and cut it down that didn't want a fortune to do it. It had withstood some pretty high winds.
Then one day a light rainstorm comes through. There's hardly any wind, but the stupid tree falls over and hits the house, cracking three trusses.
We patched it up as best we could but water leaks in anyway. With no homeowners insurance we couldn't fix the roof.
Why no insurance you may ask. Try getting affordable coverage in Florida, in a storm prone area.
The leaks have been increasing in number and extend the entire length of the house on one side. Good thing we have lots of plastic bowls!
We noticed that the flooring in the front bathroom was weakening, and a little around the sink in the back bathroom.
We quickly found out this was due to leaking water from the shower in the back bathroom.
The contractor cut corners and used plywood to make repairs to the shower before J bought the house, and the inspector never checked.
It's been going on for so long the floor AND the walls under the linoleum and wall tile are completely engulfed in thick black mold. You can actually smell it.
We keep the window cracked just a little otherwise you can't stand it. The front bathroom is completely unusable because the floor is too weak.
It gets better. The electrical in the house is beginning to falter, but not because of the leaks; it started before that.
We have to keep the power off to one of the bedrooms and the living room because it shorts out… blue smoke, flashes, the whole nine yards.
None of the outlets in the kitchen can be used because of the leaking roof, and no dishwasher either.
I didn't know that seven people could use that many dishes! Only the stove can be used and we turn that on and off by the breaker box, turning it on for just as long as we need and turning off right after use.
It likes to turn on all by itself. That started before the leaks too. I don't know quite why.
We use extension cords for the microwave and the coffee pot that are plugged into outlets on a different breaker than the dishwasher.
All the faucets leak, but only on the hot water side. So we turn the hot water on by the valve on the tank, when we need it and off right after. Before we figured that out you should have seen the electric bills.
J's wife Raymie was turned down for Social Security Disability. She has nerve deafness in her ears from birth. The left one has no hearing at all and the right one is now being affected and will only worsen over time.
She has a cyst in her back that affects her mobility. She can't stand or sit for long periods of time. Bending over causes her pain; so does walking. Sometimes she can't do anything but lie down.
She's always makes mention that her legs feel like they want to get up and go by themselves.
She was denied because it was the doctor's opinion that her hearing and everything else didn't prevent her from performing the duties associated with her current profession.
He tested her hearing by snapping his fingers by her ears. He took no x-rays, and he based his opinion on the fact that she hasn't sought ongoing medical treatment for what ails her.
What can doctors fix? Her hearing no, her cyst not likely. She is afraid of surgery. So she must not be that bad off.
My own pleas for disability were denied as well. My condition cannot be identified. I've been poked, prodded, spindled, scanned and hospitalized. Still no one knows anything.
Adding to everything, I was in a car accident when I was 17. I had a head-on collision with a two-axle dump truck on a mountain road. He was on my side and we came around a blind corner.
The injuries from this accident were more extensive than the doctors picked up on. As I got older I could just drop down and die, the headaches sometimes lasting days.
I went to a chiropractor, figured that I just needed a adjustment. He took x-rays and discovered I had whiplash. But by then the damage had already been done.
My c6 and c7 vertebrae are compressed. I don't drive any more because the mobility in my neck makes it hard to turn my head properly for changing lanes, parking and such.
I can't look down for any length of time it begins to burn. I can't look up. I get all fuzzy headed and feel like I'm going to pass out.
I stopped driving; it just seemed the responsible thing to do. Besides I get where I need to go. I don't have feet on the end of my legs for no reason.
That brings on another set of interesting problems. When I do walk (And I do adore walking; I used to walk for miles.) later that evening or the next day I'm doubled over in pain.
My entire abdomen hurts on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst. It holds at a constant 7 and escalates to a 8 or 9. It's not just walking, I can make two or three trips down three stairs to do laundry and be in pain the next day.
I take it for as long as I can, usually three or four days, then I wind up at the ER getting antibiotics and pain pills. But other times I can do yard work like pruning bushes, pulling weeds or even just playing with the dogs and nothing happens. Go figure.
It doesn't seem to be triggered by food just unfortunately activity, but it's subjective. Basically it has a mind of its own. I never know when it's going to hit. I have tried to work in 2009. I took a job, three days a week at a local grocery store deli. I lasted four days.
I was denied because I didn't or haven't sought ongoing treatment for my ailments. Again what can doctors fix, they can't put my neck back to normal, they can't find out what is causing my abdominal pain, they don't have a cure for depression, arthritis or migraines.
But again according to the doctor, the same one that Raymie saw by the way, I'm capable of performing the duties associated with my profession, which is food service.
The house is in foreclosure, we just couldn't make the payments, even with a rework on the loan to lower the payments. They haven't filed yet, but they will.
This is what we need:
- Food for us, pet food (cat and dog)
- Money for bills, or a means of earning money for the electric bill, phone, Internet access
- Gas to look for work when we get the truck running.
- A transmission for the truck, a turbo 400 Chevy or GMC, or parts to rebuild the old one
- An attorney to help Raymie and me fight for disability