The American dream…
AnonymousAugust 21, 2009 at 2:45 am
My name is Imelda but I’d rather be called Irene, I am 39 y/o and now living in AZ from Seattle. I was diagnosed to have GBS last 1986@ 16 y/o, I was confined in the hospital and after 1 week of high fever and muscle weakness they put me on ICU. This happened in the Philippines. 3 days in the ICU, and I am still alive. It was a life of struggle after that and until now being born to a poor family. I took social work for a degree and made it to the top 10 of the class. Yes in the PI, even if you’re poor-education is the no. 1 priority of parents. But 23 yrs after GBS and I am still depressed of what happened to me. I was able to get a job as a community organizer (yes, in the PI it’s a real job) but I was always constantly in pain or weak or tired. In the PI, Commty Organizing (CO) work is a hard job for someone who had GBS. I think of myself as being healed but I am not really 100% normal. I can not run-hell even a couple of overweight/obese (forgive the word for lack of how I am able to describe it) friends of mine can ran faster than I do! As a matter of fact I am overweight myself after GBS and I never lost it the yearly weight I gain after GBS even when I was hiking the rural/upland areas being a CO. I would always be in & out of jobs after 2 good jobs I held w/ 2 difft NGO. Probably because I figured I was not happy being a CO and all that hiking/extreme walking. Fortunately, I fell in love got married to an American from Seattle at 32. I was able to get a good job there as a security guard in a big lobby of a Seattle base insurance company in Redmond, 40 mins away from Seattle. I call it a good job because the job called for somebody who can sit all day for 10 hours (usually standing a walking towards the door to let people in but not oftentimes). It was more of a receptionist/clerical type of a job. Then my exercise daily would be walking towards the bus station a quarter of mile from where I work. Those times ended when we moved here in AZ 3 yrs after we got married. I do not like this town at all since day 1. We never saw this town… my husband’s parents suggested it because they came to visit it for a week then suddenly 2 months after that, we were moving here after we sold our house in Seattle. We live now here in Lake Havasu City. It is a small retirement town and there is no job like I had in Redmond. There is nothing here for me being Asian and only then 35 y/o. Honestly, I have applied for all the jobs posted everywhere here but I always would be hired by a nursing home or some cleaning jobs or pushing carts in a grocery store-something that I know I can not do being ‘disabled’ myself unless there should be some time up for me to work so I can rest then work back. We all know that is not possible. Either we work for certain hours (4 to 8 hours or more straight) or we stay home being disabled. Sometimes I wonder if I should be working at all… my husband can never understand my situation. I can eat everyday, I have shelter on my head, I have enough clothes for daily use but I feel there are needs that I want for myself if only I am working-therapy & dental work plus other personal stuff. I know the money is more than enough for the both of us if only he does not spend it on his hobbies (Model T, welding, etc.) but that’s being selfish of me… sometimes i think he just married to help him w/ finances. The other fact is: he is disabled since 1996. I do not really know what I got into. Me being disabled but not really confirmed to be disabled in this country or even in the Philippines, my husband being a confirmed disabled, etc… I have plans I wanted fulfilled since coming over to US, any immigrant from a 3rd world country wants to fulfill the American dream-is that a crime? I wanted therapy but until now I haven’t had any (if we were still in Seattle I was working & I should have done it), I need braces & some dental work done and I want to apply for citizenship since 2005 w/c was only $350.00 then. Now? It’s $600.00++. I do not really know what to do, or what I got into… should I work? (Yes, I do want to work! But because of my disability I need to be trained for blue collar jobs, etc.) Should I be tested if I am disabled? Is GBS contracted from another country here a disability? Should I present my medical records from the Philippines? And to whom do I present it? I do not have a doctor. My husband has doctors being under Medicare. When I was working in Seattle, he had several surgeries and his medications were really expensive and I saved his life several times because I was working! Now that I am not working, why can’t he pay for my doctor visit? I haven’t seen the doctor since we lost our state health care 3 yrs ago. We have to apply under my name since I do not have a job when we moved here. We only have it for a yr and then he got his medicare. I have told him several times if i can move back to Seattle but he said no, where will I live? Rent an apartment? He asks. He said it’s too expensive and it seems that we’re not earning at all if I move there and then for me thinking of being far away from him was a prelude to a disastrous relationship. I know we will end up getting a divorce if I will be away from him. He also loves this place so much that everyday I am waiting for him to hate it so we can move somewhere else. (As I said earlier: I hate this place. )That is what I do everyday, stay home and just wait for him to hate this place-it’s always him, him, and him… lately I do am thinking of divorce so I can be happy but where would I go? My mother said to go back to the Philippines but there is nothing for me there. Age discrimination is practiced there when it comes to employment even if I go back to the same job-Commty. Organizing (extreme hiking). I do not know what to do. If you’re asking what I do everyday: wake up, tinker in the kitchen-rest, laundry, clean the house-rest, grocery/home rest, etc. Should I do that for work? Yes, but I need to rest every now & then if I will do it to earn money… anybody here who had GBS know what I am talking about when I say I need to rest… I want to live this town but where would I go, what should I do????!!! I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO? PLEASE GIVE ME SOME ADVICE… PLEASE HELP ME…. (Note: I am a legal resident-whether Obama’s health care plan be passed or NOT-IT HAS NO BEARING W/ ME AT ALL so please refrain politics on your advice. If I forgot something, I will try to update this. Thank you.)
AnonymousOctober 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm
I hope you have already found a physician. Start anywhere…get a referral to a neurologist, go to Mayo – walk in without an appointment if you have to, take care of yourself. The American Dream? After 3 years of GBS, we’re holding on but fearful every day that one more round of medical bills or an unexpected expense will tip the scale and it’ll all be gone.
AnonymousOctober 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm
I understand your situation and definitely understand the part about rest. You need to go to your department of Human Services office..not sure what it is called there. Possibly they can help you with job placement or job training or if necessary applying for disability.
As far as living in a place you hate. If you want to stay married then try to find things there that you enjoy. If it is a retirment community then see what kind of social activities there are available. I’m sure it is difficult for you to seek out friends but you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. You are a person and you have something to offer. Maybe there is a church in your area that could use help, start out by volunteering and when others see that you are motivated maybe they will be able to suggest something for you.
Try to keep a positive attitude and do something different every day. Even if it is just speaking a kind word to a stranger.
Check with the foundation to find out who the liaison is in your area. I’m not at home right now or I would look it up for you. Hopefully there is a support group there that you can join.
Take care and keep us posted.
AnonymousFebruary 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm
Thnak you to Sherry Price and wfofBK for responding to my story. I am truly grateful for people who knows how to care and understand our situation. I am deeply thankful for your replies. I became a US citizen last Jan. 29! My happiness still extends after a month! I will do my best to follow both your suggestions. Sherry, thank you-your kind words struck my senses and your suggestions are things I know I can do starting today. It is hard looking normal but we’re really not-physically-but I have to push on. I really should… BEst wishes.
AnonymousFebruary 27, 2010 at 6:31 pm
My heart goes out to you. Of course you get tired every couple of hours, I am sure you’ve tried many things holistically (vitamins, nutrition from foods, biofeedback – although I have my doubts about that). I take care of my daughter with CIDP, too bad your mother will not help more than to say go back to PI. I know a lot of people from PI and they do almost anything to stay here, including my daughter in law from Indonesia.
What occurred to me is Lake Havasu is so near CA, CA has Medi-Cal, not sure of the residency requirements, but that would not be too hard to find out. You might have to live on the ‘CA’ side of Havasu (maybe Blythe) for a year or so to be eligible for Medi Cal. Even with the cutbacks they are still fairly generous in care – I know that’s all my daughter has. Look into it
Meanwhile, yes, I think church or place or worship would be a good place to make contacts. I wish for you to be able to get citizenship in the US. Please keep your spirits up only you can do that. I agree with you that your husband needs to recognize what you did for him and that you did it out of love and it’s time to do for you!
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