We have recently been brainstorming a lot about where to go from here. The "here" is that we rent a two-bedroom house in Baltimore but that living in Baltimore is no longer working for us. I am not in school and have no idea when I will be able to go back to finish. We are spending about 10 days per month at our house because we are at the hospital in DC so much with Luca.
Then, we got some unexpected news and realized that moving, while before was just a far-off idea, is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
We find ourselves at a loss. We would ideally like to move back to the DC area. But rental costs are higher there than here. And that brings us to the huge realization: we are stuck. We are 28 and 30 years old, and financially we are stuck.
You see, we knew with me going to law school that we would make sacrifices. So we did. We do not live in some lavish area or in a lavish place. We have not gone on vacation since our honeymoon. We have chosen not to go to some out-of-town weddings because we simply could not afford it. We have skipped giving each other presents for holidays and cut back on presents for family members who understood our situation.
Then, we had Luca. And the costs not covered by insurance are considerable. Now I understand why so many families with special needs children end up having trouble financially. With the traveling expenses, the food expenses while she is hospitalized, the deductibles, the prescriptions, the costs that exceed our insurance coverage - it all adds up to a double digit number.
When Luca was hospitalized in August, in the very early beginning of this chaos, we cut out a lot of expenses. We cancelled our gym membership. We cancelled some services in our home. We consolidated some insurances for a lower price. We haggled to get better rates on some services. I have not gotten a haircut since before she was born. Ian switched hair places to a cheaper place. We stopped going out to eat. We eliminated gifts for birthdays and holidays for each other (and even for other people, sadly).
This is not something anyone ever prepares for. You do not prepare for some major medical crisis.
It is a hard pill to swallow: we have not made bad financial decisions and yet are having trouble getting by. And how do we dig out of this mess? I wish I could go work to make money. But unfortunately, she is not stable enough for us to leave her at home with anyone. Sure we have family that can watch her occasionally. But with her being in and out of the hospital so frequently, and her appointments happening so often, we really need one person home.
We are searching everywhere for a new place that works for us. We do not care if the place is not updated as long as it is clean, and in a very safe neighborhood. Here's to hoping we can find something that works for us.
I am not saying all of this to get pity. I am simply putting it out there so that people understand what having a medical crisis can do to a family financially. Not all people struggling to get by have made bad choices. Not all people struggling have overspent. Sometimes, it is very much out of our control.
It is scary really. This thing called control. You think you have it, but really, it is just an illusion.
At the end of the day...this situation continues to give me perspective. We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and we are all alive and happy, together. That really is all that matters.