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As some of you may know, in January, I lost my wife Cher to cancer after a two year battle and my Mom to a stroke. What I didn't say is that I was also very ill. I have had two heart attacks one in 2004 and another in 2010, when one of the recalled stents that they installed in 2004 failed (for the reason for the recall). My cardiologist believes from my EKG I had at least one additional "silent" heart attack. This has left me with a Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction of 13-18% (normal is 55-60%). I fought through this while dealing with Cher's illness, but I have no idea how - I suppose pure adrenaline.

In any case, I had taken some time off to be with Cher and when I returned to work, I failed miserably - twice - at my insistence - to return due to my heart conditions. I was unable to go more than 3-4 hours at a time, nor more than two days in a row without major symptoms. As a result in mid April, my cardiologist downgraded my condition to congestive heart failure and took me off work completely, and in effect permanently. He also informed me, after much prodding, that I have a 40-60% chance of loss of life within 3-5 years of onset of these types of issues (I am now about 1.5 years in). The stents that have been recently installed are of little value, as they are just pushing blood through dead scar tissue. One more coronary event will likely be my last. Overall, very grim assessment. Very few options are left - a heart transplant or experimental stem cell procedures that costs $250k and up - pocket change. I wouldn't really want do the transplant and the waiting list is many years long, and unless I win the lotto ...

Whether I like it or not, I am now retired and not prepared for it. Too young to retire, too old and ill to start over. Additionally, compound grief over the losses and stress are well know to cause further heart failure and my medical team is worried about my heart just giving in. I'm too damn cranky for that!! My company cannot accept me back into work with his order due to liability, and I cannot quit otherwise I lose all benefits (I am still technically employed by them, but my badge, phone, laptop, etc., were all taken). And even if I did quit, I couldn't get another job, nor do I have the health or permission to try another job at this point. However, my company, a Fortune 100 company, has been very good and very supportive of me, and they have no problem with any of this.

To add to the fun, my insurance company has decided I'm just fine, and have denied the initial claim. This decision was made by a few nurses and bureaucrats, who are overriding the orders of three very well-respected and fully qualified doctors/specialists. Sounds like malpractice to me. I have already filed a formal complaint with the State Insurance Commission and have prepared my documentation for a potential lawsuit. I think they will eventually give in, but in the meantime, I have been going without full income for many weeks/months. Needless to say, I can't stand insurance companies. Cher and I fought them right down to the end, where one of them tried to deny Cher her dignity and send her away from Hospice on the day before she died. They relented after hospice played some paperwork games, but it is one example of the BS "Denial-appeal-accept" bureacracy they have created to suck money out of all of our pockets for their own cynical profit motives. I have a stack of forms a foot or more high of these. That people can profit off the pain and suffering of others and sleep at night is something that is far beyond me. It should not be permitted. Health care decisions should be between the docor and the patient. PERIOD, unless some sort of indictable fraud is alledged.

Several people have suggested applying for Social Security.... well, a - I'm in my late 50s and accepting it now will drastically reduce any benefits if I do survive; b - I have been paying into private insurance for almost 40 years and they are contractually obligated to pay benefits per their contracts. Why should taxpayers be saddled with my care so that I can pay for several more yachts and summer homes for them? It's time for them to provide me back my money with interest per contract. Had I simply put all that money in the bank and earned interest, I'd be much better off, I suspect, but I didn't ... I followed the rules in good faith. So much for the privatization BS of the GOP, it only really works for those who are collecting the money in the first place (oh, yeah, the ones who are financing the political campaigns). Palin's death squads are alive and well, hanging out in the boardrooms of insurance companies with exactly ZERO accountability.

To add insult to injury, while every other company I've dealt with, from my employer to the main health care insurance company even to credit card companies and others have all sent at the very least form letters of condolence to me, the disability company had the gall to degrade Cher's and my Mom's death to unspecified "family issues" in their denial letter.

So, if I seem more radicalized than usual (and online more than before), that is why. Since 2013 started, I have lost my sweetheart, my mother, my health, my job and now my sole source of income (at least for now). It doesn't help that none of my family, and only a very few of my friends live nearby, since we moved here only four years ago, and spent most of that fighting health issues. I've had to go through all of this alone. I'm less than happy as you might well imagine.

I'm giving them a little more time to get their stuff together now that they have my full case dropped in their lap. If I don't see action soon, I will be looking for an attorney and fighting this with everything left. Meanwhile, think about this when you see my posts like the song (Making a Noise) I posted on FB the other night - "you can bet your ass I won't go quietly".

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