Hi. I'm hoping I'm in the right place. I'm new to this forum but my wife suggested I seek out someone for how I'm feeing and what I'm going through.
I've never been officially diagnosed with depression but have had several people including family and my wife who are sure I have it, or manic depression as I do often go from the top to the bottom fairly quickly... and I tend to agree. My wife, son and myself have all been diagnosed with ADD though so that just adds to the equation.
Here's my situation. about four years ago my wife was not feeling well. Had 102 temp at her office and had to insist on going to the doctor as her boss at the time made the comment "It's not a fever until it's 104" and to "buck up". She went to our doctor (GP), one of who's nurses saw her and felt it was something that was going around... like the flu. So told her to take ibuprofin, drink plenty of fluids... the usual and sent her on her way.
Things got worse. I took her back in to our doctor the next morning and this time one of the physician's assistants saw her. This time they felt it was a bladder infection. Didn't even run tests... the doctor finally came by and simply looked at the sample they'd taken and proclaimed that's what it was. They catheterized her for the weekend (misery in itself) and prescribed some meds and sent her home yet again.
Needless to say she had an awful weekend and things went from bad to worse.
Took her in on Monday and they removed the catheter, gave her more prescriptions and said it should clear up.
By Wednesday she was in agony... couldn't sleep, barely eat, was in tears and pain. This had happened to a lesser degree all week to that point and had a terrible time reaching our doctor... always getting the one on call who would/could do nothing.
So when it happened on Wednesday I called our insurance provider who said can you have her at our clinic in thirty minutes... keep in mind we lived an hour away... but I got her there in time. Within about two minutes of our arrival she was in getting her vitals taken, etc. Then before she could even pick up a magazine in the lobby she was in to see the doctor. Within five minutes of that the doctor came and got me and we went in the back.
Turns out she had a growth in her abdomen. A blind man could have seen it with a cane and yet our doctor and his entire staff missed it and had it gone on we might have lost her. Well, long story short we had to switch over from our physician who we felt had totally failed us (our first hint should have been his taking eight years to finally diagnose me with asthma) so we could get this new doctor who was extremely sharp, as our primary so he could treat her.
I'll tell you, as far as the insurance companies clinic everything was efficiency itself... but anywhere else we were treated like cattle! Had to keep going through the entire story each time, including the fact that our original doctor was no longer the primary or even involved... although even though everything is "supposedly" on computers now that piece of the puzzle seemed to keep aluding them and popping up causing untold problems getting her the treatment she needed.
While we were still under the first doctor as the switchover was being performed we had to wait endlessly for him to get tests scheduled. The insurance company doctor (our original one was a contract doctor under their system) could have had them done in house same day! Anyhow when she finally, a full week later got in to have the ct scan done (I think that was the one) they discovered she had a blood clot in her leg caused by this thing resting up against her main artery to that leg so had to get her in the hospital right away. Neither of us had eaten as before the test she couldn't and I was not up to it either. The test took hours instead of about 30-45 minutes that they'd said it would. Got to the hospital ER at 3:45, were then checked in, she was put on a bed and were there in the hallway of ER until 8 p.m. when they took us into a room to take blood samples and such. Then back in the hallway until nearly 1 a.m.! Thankfully during this time a thoughtful orderly took me along to help get food to be delivered to the patients and got us some too. Otherwise we didn't have anything all day which didn't help.
She spent an awful week in the hospital there and then had to go home for three months with me having to give her injections of Lovenox twice a day to thin her blood. She couldn't work and as we had gone the route of me being a stay at home dad, working at home on the computer and raising and homeschooling our son she was our primary source of income. We had to drain our pension plan in order to get through all this and all that was to come.
Finally, they decided they could do the surgery so we went down to Shands in Gainesville. Oh if you ever get seriously ill and need to go to the hospital... that is THE place to go!!!! It's "wonderful"! Not really like a hospital and everyone goes out of there way to care for you and see to your every need. I just can't say enough about it.
Again long story short we were all there for a month and she had to go through two surgeries as there were complications from the first. And this was with the chief of the woman's department doing the surgery and the chief of the anesthesiology department handling that during the operation.
We thought we might lose her. And during all this I had to keep up with normal everyday life, as well as continue to take care of and be there for our son. I on the other hand had little or no support throughout this entire process.
Well, she came out of all of this with flying colors and all seemed well. But to say I now absolutely hated doctors offices, hospitals and such is an understatement, as other than at the insurance clinic and Shands I felt we'd been treated like cattle and there was absolutely no support given to our son or myself and little given to my wife who was after all the patient.
Last year we sold our home in Florida at the same time her company downsized and she was let go. Had to move out right when there were four hurricanes coming through our part of the state. But hey, what's a little more stress right? We wanted to make a clean start of things so decided to move back to her home town in North Dakota where we'd dreamed of living for the longest time. So we came up, found and purchased a house and things were looking up. But while here I somehow contracted what we are fairly sure was whooping cough. Had an awful time as we were on the road for another month before going home... well, where we were staying with a very close friend until our final move up here. And that awful coughing and such stuck with me for a full eight months... gradually going away during the last couple of months.
Then, with all the normal stress of moving... and then some, about two weeks before we're scheduled to rent and load the two moving trucks and make the move Kim starts having problems breathing and has chest pains. We go to a walk in clinic only to have them make us wait over an hour, then take her vitals, recommend we go to the emergency room and charge us $190! What a rip off!
So off we go to the ER. Keep in mind that now we have no health insurance as we're between jobs till we get moved. They admit her and after tons of tests and a week in the hospital they decide she has an infected lymph node on her lung. They prescribe antibiotics and away we go... $14,000 in the hole! This after having bought our house here outright, no mortage, car paid off so no payment there... no credit cards... nothing. Now we're suddenly in debt up to our eyeballs again! Stress, Stress, Stress!!!!
Somehow, by the grace of God we get moved and settled in here with the help of our best friend in the world who is more like a brother to us. Then we get jobs, and begin to get our money built back up while keeping up with regular bills and such. And as they'd more or less forced my wife to apply for Medicaid when in the hospital we ended up fighting for months to get them to actual cover things which we'd been assured due to our not working during the time we'd been staying with our friend in Florida and hence no income and little in the bank except for our move and basic living expenses, that it would not be a problem.
Well, after being given the royal run around (cattle time again!) we finally got ahold of someone who knew what they were doing and they covered it. So that was a tremendous relief and load off our minds. Now we could concentrate on settling in here and making a new life for ourselves.
However, over the last month my wife now finds that she needs a root canal... badly... which is going to cost nearly $2,000 and she's also been having major problems in the joints of her hands and now her elbows... and after researching all this on the web along with her other symptoms she's fairly certain she has rheumatoid arthritis (hope I spelled all that right).
Okay... finally back to me. After the absolute hell we went through during her original illness, the stress of the moves and everything else we'd been through (believe me there's alot I'm not including as this is already longer than I wanted it to be as is!) I'm now feeling like "Here we go again!"
I'm feeling very overwhelmed, frightened, worried about money as we still have no health insurance and it's soooooo expensive. My one true friend who is the one we stayed with and who helped us move is back home in Florida. We email each other and speak on the phone on occassion but other than that I have no real support up here or anywhere else. And now I'm scared to death that it's all going to happen all over again.
I also tend to have the typical male response of "I can't fix it" and that adds to the frustration.
I'm working very hard, trying to be supportive of her not only with what she feels is happening (she's concerned that if she goes in for a diagnosis that it will then be considered preexisting and not be covered when we get insurance) and listening to her when she talks about it (which depresses me all the more) and just trying to keep up with the day to day running of the house and work and our lives.
It's been very difficult for me due to our role reversals. On the one hand I'm overjoyed that I've gotten to see our son grow up, be such a big part of his life and be there to do so much for him which my father was not there to do for me. However, on top of everything else he's now firmly in the teen years and so dear old dad is rather unnecessary in his life right now for the most part. And after sixteen years thats hard to take at times.
Many folks don't tend to understand as they're stuck in the traditional "the men work the women stay home" and not even so much that... both parents normally work... but there is still that stereotype. And yet so many men envy what I (and many other guys) did and so many women wish they're husbands could be full time dads as well. But there are just enough people who don't understand to make it really rough much of the time.
And up here, your job is "everything!" It's like the first thing everyone asks you about. Drives me nuts! But all in all most everything else is comparatively stress free up here, if not for these new physical problems kicking up for my Mrs. And I'm not in the greatest of shape but due to money concerns I generally just take an advil and get through it. And that is really beginning to take it's toll.
But I get soooooo depressed and frustrated over all this. I feel sad much of the time... very down. Doesn't take much to get me on the verge of tears (no I'm not a member of the John Wayne old school... guys can and do cry!) just because of the sheer frustration and my inability to do much more right now.
And just the thought of having to go back into that system where we get treated like cattle again, shoved from place to place, often with little or no explanation. Having to deal with uncaring administrators, bill collectors, etc. and just struggling to make sure she's okay... well, it's enough to make anyone climb the walls.
I know there are so many folks so much worse off than we/me but that thought doesn't help much. I really feel there should be as much thought and effort given to supporting the caregivers and family members of those who are suffering through an illness than just for those who are sick. Our resources get depleated so quickly and often this can go on for many years in a row. God forgive me but there were times during that month that I didn't even want to go to the hospital and visit her. I just wanted to get away for a while... have a release... see a movie... anything! But I didn't. I went each day and did all I could for her. And our poor son sat in the hallway outside her room, extremely uncomfortable and alone, even though the folks there tried to get him to go to the rec room and watch tv and spend time with some other kids who were there. He just handled it better doing what he did... but it was still hard.
I'm just hoping someone out there might be able to give me some pointers or some information that would help me be able to better handle all this. Most folks here (where we live now) don't know it... in fact most people I've ever known don't know, but I tend to fear social situations. I'm not someone who is afraid to go out of the house... but in some ways I'm not far from it. I avoid social situations like the plague and when I'm stuck in them I tend to go completely the other way... it's the only way I've found to deal with it. Let it all hang out, be very outgoing and all, but for days beforehand I shake in my boots and that's not fun!
And due to the lack of insurance and money I can't be going to counseling or doctors, etc. right now. But I definitely need a way to handle things better. I don't want to spend the rest of my life unhappy, down and depressed. I have many interests and love to do so many different things. Our doctor (the good one we switched to) and I just got started on all this when we lost our insurance. He'd prescribed meds but I then heard they were causing some teens to commit suicide so I never took them. I'm not a big medicine person. I only take it when I absolutely have to and this kind of thing scares me to death. And yet in my heart of hearts I dream of being able to take a pill and feel totally normal... just one of the crowd. Not fearing people or situations... not feeling down or depressed much of the time. Just taking things in stride.
And it's been especially difficult as if you have an arm or leg in a cast or something folks cut you slack. But if you have things like a bad back (which I also have) or some other problem that is not visible... then they think you're a slacker or are just lazy when you say you just can't handle doing something right then or that you don't feel well. You end up working twice as hard and really hurt yourself just so you can show you're as good as everyone else.
I'm just so tired of having to be that way. I want to be happy. I want to be there for my wife to help support her through any physical problems she's having (she's also having a hard time remember things alot, but that may be our age (43) as I am often having the same problem) and our son to help him get through whatever happens. But I need some support in order to do this.
I do hope I haven't rambled too badly here. And I hope I haven't bored anyone to death this this long "Gone With the Wind" post. I also hope I don't come across as whining... because I really do feel awful and empty inside much of the time and I know this is not good. I often feel that if I disappeared tomorrow no one would notice or care. I don't like that. I want to feel I'm important and matter and that I can do what I want to do to support others and take some of the load off their shoulders. But sometimes I need that too.
Well, I hope someone out there can help me out and perhaps give me some answers to what I'm going through.