You have probably heard this old adage before: You can't squeeze blood from a turnip. It means that you can't get something from a person that the individual doesn't have in the first place. If I didn't understand this adage before, I am about to find out. I soon will become that proverbial turnip!
As I have shared here, Della is a current resident of a hospital in Portland. They are running a plethora of tests and studies. She is being pumped full of a wide assortment of pharmaceuticals and she has around the clock care from a battery of nurses, doctors and technicians. All of these various services do not come cheap and, through AmeriCorps, Della has minimal medical coverage. While most health insurance policies feature a maximum cap of $1 or $2 million, Della's meager policy has a $50,000 cap.
In year's past, I might be freaking out about the huge debt we are piling up. Depending on how long Della is ensconced at this big hospital, it is not unreasonable to expect the final bill may run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. (In comparison, Medicaid covered my gallbladder surgery 3 years ago and it cost about $30,000 for the surgery and one day stay in the hospital.)
When Della is released, she most likely will need to withdraw from her term with AmeriCorps and be unable to work for the short OR long term. Since she has served as the family breadwinner, it means that we will go from the working poor to the very poor in no time at all. Our sole source of income will be my SSI of $756/month. We will also qualify for the max of Food Stamps, around $350/month.
Have you ever tried living on $756/month for two people? I haven't. I'm sure it is not going to be pretty.
We still retain a bit in savings and Della will receive one more AmeriCorps check, but once we are thrown out of our soon-to-be-foreclosed on house, we may be staring destitution in the face. And so, when they hand us the anticipated monstrous medical bill, I will tell them, "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip."