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Hepatitis And Cirrhosis Disabled Single Dad Seeks Help With Medical Expenses

by Keith Bennett
(San Antonio, Texas, USA)

I am a 59-year-old male, divorced for 28 years. I'm a single parent. My daughters were two and four when their mother left and didn't come back.

I had to raise them by myself. Fortunately, I was able to get them through High School before I got sick and had to stop working.

My eldest daughter struggled to put herself through college. The youngest went into the Army after High School, did a six-year term and spent one year in Iraq during the war.

After her honorable discharge, she used her military benefits to go through college.

Disability Issues

My health decline started in 2007 with what I thought was a heart attack. After going to the ER and getting an EKG, they determined that I was indeed having a heart attack.

After having been prepped for surgery, their dye test showed that it wasn't a heart attack and then determined it was pericarditis. They treated me for that and I was released from hospital.

I continued to have chest pains afterwards and was then diagnosed with high blood pressure and started on medications for that.

The cardiologist kept a close eye on me after that. After several visits he noticed that my liver functions weren't right. He decided to test and see why.

It was then that they discovered I had hepatitis C. He then sent me to a hematologist. After extensive testing, it was determined that not only did I have hepatitis C, but also cirrhosis of the liver.

We started treatment for the hepatitis and in January of 2009 I became so sick and weak I had to stop working.

Depression set in, and I had to start seeing a psychiatrist and receive medications for depression.

Being an electrician, I was neither of sound body or mind to work safely. As you know, it would only take one small mistake to injure or even worse electrocute someone.

I filed for disability and was approved. Treatment for the hepatitis was ineffective and my health, both physically and mentally continued to decline.

It wasn't long that I then developed COPD. Nowadays with all that's going on, it's hard for me to get much of anything done.

It doesn't take much activity to become short of breath and have to stop and rest. Even simple things like grocery shopping are hard to do without having to take rest breaks to catch my breath.

House chores are almost impossible. Even cooking dinner is a major effort. It's hard to concentrate on doing things, like planning of financial or social activities.

Financial Hardship

As we all know, Social Security benefits don't pay a lot. Medicare doesn't pay for everything. With all the medications and liver problems, my teeth are going bad with no way to pay for dental work.

I signed up with CareLink, a local medical assistance program that helps to pay some of the medical bills and prescriptions. Even with Medicare and CareLink, I still can't pay doctor bills.

My landlord lets me slide a little bit on rent when he can. I have an old pickup (2002) but most of the time I don't have money for gas to go to doctor appointments, grocery store or drug store so I greatly depend on someone to take me.

My family helps a little financially when they can, but with today's economy it's a struggle for them too.

I pay what bills I can and try to save a little money for food. I eat a lot of beans and rice and potatoes. A lot of the doctor bills go unpaid.

Income Efforts

With my current physical and mental limitations, getting a job is pretty much impossible.

I've signed up with a local church food bank. I get some foodstuffs from them on a weekly basis, but it's only a few things and random depending on what is available to them.

CareLink helps with my doctor and medications that Medicare doesn't cover.

There isn't much chance of my health getting any better so it seems I am stuck with living off of social security.

I understand that when I turn 60 in January, my social security status changes from disability to retirement at the same rate I'm getting now.

Specific Needs

I've been told that I might be eligible for financial assistance in the form of grants for different needs.

Grants for low-income housing are a possibility. I could only dream of owning a home, and getting assistance for medical and dental expenses.

I could use some assistance with financial planning and transportation.

At this point, I seem to be very close to joining the ranks of the homeless and living on the street.

Any financial help would be a great benefit.

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