“We lost everything we worked for” July 11, 2017
I am a 60 woman who has been caring for my husband, Rich who is disabled and is a diabetic.
My husband became disabled in 1996 after a workplace accident. We receive Labor and
Industries (L&I) workers compensation as well as retirement. In the beginning he was unable to
work but able to care for himself. In 2005 my husband had his first stroke. At that time I was a
postal contractor and had no medical insurance. Up until this time I was paying for our medical
bills and our prescriptions out of pocket. Due to the high cost and my husband’s pre existing
conditions we were unable to find insurance. No insurance means no one wants to accept you as
a patient. His medications continue to increase in price, my medical bills have put me into
$60,000 of debt, and my credit is gone. Rich continues to need more and more care as he is now
blind and is now considered a brittle diabetic starting to have wild swings in his blood sugar and
can go into diabetic coma.
Hs medication is much more difficult to afford and, and I now have to make choices based on
cost. The doctor told me that Rich needs someone with him 24/7. After a third stroke with no
money, and no help I had to quit my job to stay home and become an unpaid family caregiver.
Although we qualify for a paid caregiver I have struggled to find someone to take the job and the
strenuous work of caregiving has injured my shoulders and back. At this point I was able to
access health insurance but the high cost of care put us behind on other payments. I had no way
to pay my mortgage. I owed thousands, and my home equity is ran out. I filed for bankruptcy and
found a house to rent and moved, we had to surrender our home.
We have lost everything we worked for. I make weekly trips to the food bank to survive. We
have spent down all our money and are now on Medicaid. Despite my desire to be self reliant I
am unable to work and access Medicaid which puts me in a terrible position, making my future
uncertain. That is why I am an activist for Washingtonians for a Responsible Future and will
continue to work to find solutions for families who need long-term supports and services. We
need to make long term supports and services more affordable for families like mine.
Denise Mayberry, Moses Lake