This is the kind of financial nightmare that could cripple most anybody. If they weren't prepared. Most advisors recommend having at least 6 to 8 months cash available in order to tide yourself over till you get another job. But what if, like my husband, you may never work again? Then what? And what happens if you just bought a new house or a new car or returned from a family vacation or signed your child up for college and just send in the first semesters tuition? What if you were like me and just bought a vacation home and had almost just wrapped up furnishing it when you found out your husband might not be there to enjoy it all with you? Not be able to help pay off the bills you just incurred? And an avalanche of medical bills were coming your way?
I have to admit I choked. I panicked. I freaked out. But thanks to experience, I quickly realized this was not my first rodeo. This was not my first financial upheaval and it most assuredly wasn't going to be my last. I knew I had to calculate what reliable income I had coming in and I had to adjust my expenses to meet the challenge. I had to set up a new budget. I knew pain was going to be involved. And I knew I was going to change my lifestyle drastically BUT I was determined to live my life with gusto and enjoyment. How's that for a challenge?
I wrapped up my decorating by putting an end to it. I finished the living room and guest bedroom as best as I could and just stopped everything. Our Number One Priority now was eating healthy and getting enough exercise. Thankfully because of Florida's warm weather we were able to swim every day and take long walks around the community lake (1.5 miles). Due to DH's stringent no-salt diet eating out in restaurants was near impossible. All meals had to be prepared and eaten at home.
In the interim, I paid the property taxes and HOA fees out of our savings. I paid all our monthly expenses in full and on time, from our passive monthly income. I got our grocery and gas consumption reduced and in line. It took me a while to get everything under some semblance of order. The only expense I couldn't contain was DH's medical costs. Thankfully, however, he's on a newer, less expensive medical plan and I can see a resolution in the very near future. If we can manage to keep the status quo, we can probably coast like this for a few more years till DH can officially retire. How many people can make that claim?
As DH's health improved, we went out more socially. Having a social life and being with other people at a time like this is very, very important for one's mental state of mind. I didn't let our lack of entertainment funds deter us. I searched for free or almost-free things to do and I think we scored very well in that department.
|Sculpture of Superhero Guide Dog|
Next week DH meets with his doctor again. More tests will be done and we'll find out if his time off combined with the medications have done their magic. DH has his good days. He's had some bad days. He blames the meds. I clutch my rosary beads. I can't believe we made it this far and we're still standing. I'm trying to maintain some semblance of balance and order. I want to give ourselves a pat on the back but I won't. Because I know how fast and how quick everything can change. I'm just glad for these past few months here in Florida. It was a blessing, for sure.
I'm ready for the next challenge.