How do I start over?

To fill in my background: I started out here nearly 11 years ago as a diabetic with a job. My health deteriorated over time; I stopped working and stayed home most of the time, occupying myself on the internet. It started with posting here, through here I found worlds to explore, literally- my long career in City of Heroes started with a thread here. My health continued to decline, my doctor was of the opinion that it was all diabetes, until I swelled up and had to be admitted to the hospital with ascites. The doctor there informed me that I needed a liver transplant to stay alive, and referred me to UPMC in Pittsburgh.

Three years of waiting and frequent hospitalizations for complications of my liver, then my kidneys, and I finally got the transplant on Valentines Day of this year.

Now I’m recovering, and the medical bills are coming due. Due to a sneaky move by my wife’s employer, she was discharged from her job because they did not feel I needed the health care they were paying for, so I went on medicare and medical assistance. This paid for most of it, but I still have large bills from all the hospitalization and tests they needed for me. I also found out that Medicare will end 3 years after my transplant, so I have to come up with the money for the expensive immunosuppressant drugs I am forced to take for the rest of my life to stay alive.

I know enough about computers to repair them, I keep my systems running OK. I worked on sales and (don’t judge me, please) telemarketing for years, the last job being giving phone surveys. I haven’t worked in years, and I don’t have a clue as to how to write a resume that wont end up in the trash can one minute after the hiring person sees it.

How do I find a job again?

To complicate matters, I live in a small town far outside Pittsburgh. My wife has a car, but she works so much that I see her for an hour or 2 every couple days, so there’s no ride to work there. I have nothing coming in now- no disability, my wife makes money to keep us alive and pay the bills but that’s it.

I’m at a loss, can someone point me in the right direction?

I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. Do you have any skills that would enable you to work from home? Is your computer repair ability good enough that people would deliver their broken laptops to you to be fixed?

It’s a tough one and I wish I could offer more practical suggestions. Hang in there anyway.

You need some kind of professional counseling. Is there some kind of agency or hotline that you can call? I used to volunteer at a crisis intervention hotline, and we found help for people in your type of situation all the time. See what’s available to you in the Pittsburgh area.

Sorry, no advice, but wanted you to know how much I empathize with you. I am in very much in the same situation as you. Last year our house burned down, I lost my job (also due to diabetes), and then my husband died. This all happened in 8 months time. I have spent the last year kind of “out of it”. Now I feel like I need to somewhat join the real world again and really don’t know where to start. I’m pulling for you, Mad Hermit! Good luck!

Have you applied for Social Security Disability and/or SSI?

Yes, I applied for SSI and SSD before the operation, but even though I was awarded SSD, they would not give any money because my wife made too much money the year before. I would have to get divorced and live on the street before they would give me $600 a month, and my meds alone cost $1000+.

Sales and telemarketing experience are nothing to sneeze at. Skills are skills.

You can get someone to help write your resume. Maybe sign up with a temp agency, try contacting the unemployment office about assistance with that or job training as well if you’re hoping to get into something new. Also I think there is a department in most hospitals that will help you create a payment plan for any remaining bills, and contacting social services could help with the monthly nut on your medications.

Congratulations on taking care of your health, if you can make it through a transplant you can make it through this as well. I’m going through a big life transition as well and it’s really scary, but it can be done. Take small steps and keep going.