Two to three paychecks away from being homeless

Image Credit: Anne-Onyme from Pixabay
This is something that has been on my mind for a while now and something I just feel like writing about. Almost half of Canadians are only two to three missed paychecks away from being homeless. I am sure this is true for many other countries as well. Something I have experienced myself is wondering where the next rent is going to come from or not getting groceries because you need to put gas in the car to get to work. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately because we have been struggling with money a lot.

Today, my mom told me about a story in the Chronicle Herald (Halifax) which really hit home for both of us. A 63-year-old woman, a woman my own parent’s age, suffering from diabetes living in her car in a Walmart Parking lot in Dartmouth Crossing after losing her job and then her apartment due to what she called “three bad blows”. Blows that could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Blows that do happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time but that if you do not have a nest egg of savings to get you through can render you homeless.

The first of which was her mother getting sick and having to move home to Nova Scotia and to Halifax to take care of her. She also ended up taking care of a special needs niece and her brother who needed palliative care while dying from cancer. Having to put her life, her job and everything on hold to take care of loved ones selflessly asking for nothing in return. She found a job at a call center, again something that hits home for me as I have been working in call center’s for most of my life and only recently left to work in a branch of a bank. She worked there for 8 years when her luck ran out.

The second blow came when she had to have three toes removed from complications of diabetes. It does not say what type of diabetes she has and honestly, it does not matter. As Leah writes about in her blog the.insulin.type all types of diabetes matter and all have the potential to cause horrific complications if not controlled, and getting and maintaining control is a constant struggle which even a little cold or infection can have a huge effect on. Anyway, this is what happened to this woman. She ended up having to have three toes removed. After coming back to work from a leave of absence, most likely too soon, but when you need money you need money, she was only able to get part-time as her hours were cut back.

Of course, her bills started piling up and she was falling behind on her rent and she was eventually kicked out. Family helped her as much as they could at their own expense, a brother-in-law allowed her to stay in a house he was selling before the new owner took occupancy but then she was forced to move again. All of this took a toll on her job as she kept having to miss work to move and she was eventually fired. She doesn’t blame the call center at all, as she says in the article she knew the rules and she didn’t comply with them, really through no fault of her own though.

Without a job and without a roof over her head she has resorted to living in her car in front of her brother-in-law’s place at first moving around every few days, after a while, she found out that Walmart allows RVs and campers to park in their parking lot and that is where she currently is. A friend took her in during Hurricane Dorian and her brother-in-law maxed out his own credit card putting her up in hotels every few nights so she could have a good sleep and a bath. An MLA also reached out to the Department of Community Services and they provided her a few days of accommodation in a motel. She is 2 years too early for Old Age Security and only has a small Canada Pension Plan (CPP) amount of $277 a month that she is getting and due to having no permanent address she does not qualify for further assistance from the Department of Community Services.

A GoFundMe campaign was started for her by a friend and co-worker but honestly, unfortunately, it takes time for funds to be raised through GoFundMe, and then once the goal is met and the money is requested it takes time for the funds to reach her. She doesn’t have time, however, as another blow has come, living in her car and not taking her shoes and socks off often, she failed to notice a blister forming on her heal that had gotten infected. Anyone who knows anything about diabetes knows how serious that can be, especially after already having three toes removed on the same foot. She is supposed to wear a special boot while healing but due to circumstances can’t because she would not be able to drive or get around as she is living in her car.

She is falling through the cracks, the weather here right now is getting cold, very cold. It is currently -3°C in Dartmouth and it feels like -8°C and it is just going to get colder. She is in an impossible situation and she is just one of many people and children in the same or similar situations in this country. It’s a big issue and is only going to get bigger. My husband and I are fortunate at the moment that we have family that has stepped in and helped us but sometimes that help can only go so far and even being in a bad position ourselves this haunts me to the core, her story and the stories of people like her.

Her story really hits home for me. Partly because she is a diabetic, partly because she is the same age as my parents which kills me the most and partly because her story shows the human side of it.  It shows me that it can happen to anyone, anytime, living anywhere and that there are people even worse off than her, here in Canada and really all over the world. My mom and I have both been really affected by reading her story and have been racking our brains all afternoon on how we can help, how we can make a difference, to the point my mom said she wished she could drive up to Dartmouth and bring her home to stay for the winter to get her off the streets and give her a chance.

While that is probably not possible or feasible, there must be something we can do. Money is tight for both my parents and us, but we just feel like there has to be something we can do. We just have no idea what. She is two and a half hours away. Maybe even just getting her story out there might help. I have no idea. All I know is it is really bugging me.

 

First day back

I did okay today, my first day back since being sick and getting in the accident on Saturday. I have to say I had some anxiety about the drive, especially the drive home in the dark. I will admit the drive there involved some tears. I was really anxious and every bump I hit caused the tears to just roll down my face and I was questioning whether or not I was ready to go back or still too soon after the accident but I was okay once I got there and got out of the car. I stopped in Annapolis Royal for something to bring with me for lunch and a bit of a break from the car. After that, I got back in and drove the rest of the way to Bridgetown.

The day went by fairly fast and other than having issues getting up on the task chair at my wicket (I work in a bank) and just some pain and soreness from being up and moving around a lot for the first time since either being sick or the accident, I made out okay. Now I am cuddled up on the couch under my heated blanket, watching TV, writing this and waiting for 9:30 to come along when I have to go get Edward at work. I think I am more anxious about that than anything because the last time I picked him up at 10 is when I hit the deer and I am terrified of it happening again. This area has so many deer and they are really bad at night. Almost every night we see them especially at certain times of the year. We have black bears as well, no moose thankfully but big raccoons and porcupines as well.

My anxiety has been getting the best of me lately. Not to the point that I feel I need help or medication but just to the point where it’s a bit of an annoyance as I get anxious or panic over stupid stuff. Stuff I know I have no control over and just need to not worry about. If they are going to happen they are going to happen kinda thing. I am going to keep an eye on it. Not really a fan of being medicated for my anxiety or depression, I would much rather talk to someone or go to therapy, sometimes talking helps a lot.

On my way home I was okay. I kept thinking about how dark it was and how easy it would be for something to run out in front of me, but nothing did. It’s just my subconscious’ reminder to keep on the lookout I guess or an over-reactive imagination maybe? Who knows.

I stopped on the way at the store in Cornwallis (a decommissioned navy base I live next too) at the mall and YMCA and noticed as I drove up that there were a lot of people outside and just inside the doors. Then I saw one of the girls that work in the store and knew something was going on. I parked and got out and as I approached a guy said everything was closed for the moment. I never did get the pizza I meant to pop in the oven. Guess I’m gonna have to find something else for supper

I left and went home and got changed and as I was doing that I could hear sirens and a fire truck go by. Not sure exactly what happened but hope it’s not anything too serious, a false alarm or something maybe.

Tomorrow I am actually working at the branch of my bank in Annapolis Royal from 1 to 5 pm. I have been wanting for a long time to get into some other branches. I like the variety and since it is even closer to me then my main branch works out well. Plus as my manager said for tomorrow it would mean a shorter shift and not as far to drive since I am still sore. She’s been wanting to get me into other branches as well. I like the idea of floating around where needed. Honestly, I do. Maybe one day it will get tiring but for right now I really do like the variety of it. So I am excited about that

A little update

Image Credit: StockSnap from Pixabay
Anyone who read my last post knows I hit a deer on Saturday in our new car. I have already been off for a month due to the infection I had after the tooth extraction and then missed three more days due to the accident.  These last three days I have mostly slept. The night of the accident the doctor on call at the ER gave me prescriptions for morphine, cyclobenzaprine, and naproxen. Needless to say, I have mostly been sleeping or nodding off.

Sunday I was still in a lot of pain despite the medication and my abdomen really hurt. I wasn’t sure if it was pulled muscles or from the seatbelt or what it was but it was getting worse so my mom convinced me to go back to the ER. She took me and the doctor on was concerned I might have a small bleed in my abdomen called a mesenteric bleed. Turns out that there was nothing serious but some bruising. He believes I had injuries both from the seatbelt and steering wheel but nothing that wouldn’t resolve on its own.

Yesterday we picked up our rental car, a 2019 Chevy Cruze hatchback which is remarkably similar to our 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback which is now in the shop. After that, I came home took some pills and just laid on the couch all day and evening watching TV and working on this theme. The other one was cute but just not me. This one is much more me and I am really happy with it. I am pretty sure that I do have a cracked rib or two. It hurts when I sneeze or cough or when I try to bend down or move around too much.

Today I went to get blood work done as the contrast they gave me for the CT Scan Sunday can apparently cause lactic acidosis in diabetics on metformin so I had to stop my metformin and can’t start it again until I get the results of the test and find out there are issues. When I go there they could not find the requisition my doctor’s office sent so I had to call them and get them to resend. Tomorrow sometime I have to call and see if they have the results before I start the metformin again.

Monday took the pills every 8 hours (4 for the morphine) and yesterday I took them a bit less. Today I have not taken anything at all since I have to work tomorrow and won’t be able to take them due to having to drive so I wanted to get a good gauge of where my pain is. It’s moderate. I hurt a lot when I get up and move around. Tomorrow should be interesting but in order to continue my short term claim, I would need to go back to my family doctor in Halifax which is a 2.5-hour drive each way which I don’t know if I could handle right now to get him to fill out the forms for me to submit.

At this point, I just don’t want to deal with it anymore and just want to get back to normal as much as possible and get on with my life. I am really tired of this kind of thing and just wish I could put it all behind me and not have to deal with accidents and illnesses as much.