Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life Happens

I appologize for being missing in action. I was very caught up in canning season, and getting ready for Thanksgiving. We had a nice family celebration, and as I prepared for Christmas, I was planning a post I wanted to write. But life took a turn for us, which has changed things a lot. Early in Dec. my husband had an emergency medical situation. He ended up in the hospital, having surgery, and staying for a week. We thought he was doing well, and he came home. Unfortunately, the longer he was home, the worse he did. We ended up back in the hospital with a complication which made him seriously ill. He spent 12 days in intensive care, and 26 days in the hospital all together for the second round. We spent Christmas in intensive care, with him sedated and on a ventilator. We are home now, but he will have a long, slow recovery, with another follow-up surgery probably around the end of April.

This has been a very difficult time for us, but everyone has trials of one kind of another, and many people have harder trials than this. I believe that we can learn from our trials. One of the things I have learned is the value of preparation. We have been paying a substantial amount in order to keep our health insurance--what a blessing! We met our out of pocket cap the first week in the hospital. Our food storage was also extremely valuable, since there wasn't much time or energy left for shopping after spending 10-12 hours a day at the hospital. Our sweet neighbors were so wonderful to us. Someone always showed up to shovel snow off our driveway. Several neighbors showed up at the hospital to bring me lunch. What a great break that was, to sit and visit with a friend and eat something other than fast food or hospital food. I'm sure I should have taken a lunch with me, and a couple of times I did, but I just wasn't up to doing it. It was hard enough to eat something already prepared.

I also found some areas where we weren't as prepared as we should have been. Early into the second hospitalization, I realized there were probably bills that should be paid soon. I dug through some of my husband's papers to find the bills. Now, I know how to pay bills, but trying to figure out what was due when was a challenge. I found his checkbook, which was helpful, but only for the bills that recurred monthly. We had a few coming due that only occur every 6 months. I didn't know my husband's passwords, etc., to pay the bills on-line like he does, but I could write out checks. The problem came when I realized I would need to transfer money from one account to our checking account to pay the rest of the bills. And my name wasn't on that account. Oh, dear! Fortunately, we had done some trust documents earlier in the year, and the bank let me use the power of attorney documents to access that account. But it brought home to me that we hadn't finished the work on the trust. The lawyer put the house in the trust, and left the rest for us to do. We still need to list all our accounts in the name of the trust, so that if one of us should die, the other doesn't have to go to court to access any of the accounts. It is high on our priority list to get the accounts listed properly, as soon as hubby feels up to it. He has already taught me how he pays bills on-line. We are determined to learn from the lessons of this challenge.