It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been busy in some ways, and not so busy in others.

Ralph has reached a plateau in his health. He has had many tests since the beginning of the year, and all have come back negative, except for his chemical stress test, which showed that he has cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. It’s good that most of the tests came back negative on the one hand because positive would have meant something was gravely wrong. On the other hand, we still don’t know why his health condition remains guarded. He doesn’t have much stamina, he has lost significant weight and muscle mass (6’1 – 145 pounds), and he sleeps quite a bit still. I am certain there is some depression at some level…or at least adjustment issues. He doesn’t talk about it much. As our doctor says, he is a minimizer. He always has been.

For the time being, we have decided not to go to Cleveland Clinic or Mayo. Our cardiologist told us that if it were his wife or children, he would take them there. Our PCP talked to a retired hematologist who suggested the same thing. But we have decided not to go that route for the time being for the following reasons:

  • We have other priorities. One of our goals in life is to support our kids in their transition to independent adulthood. Going away to one of these clinics would be difficult in terms of getting Mary to her job.
  • Cost. Even if our insurance would approve of the medical care, there are other costs associated with going to Cleveland and Mayo, such as travel, hotel costs, and food. Ralph is at the end of his short-term disability (six months). When and if he is approved for long-term disability, his income will be cut by 30% or more.
  • Insurance. After six months, Ralph’s short-term disability has ended. We are waiting to hear if long-term disability will be approved. If it is approved, we will be able to buy insurance at the employee rate, which is very good for a very reasonable rate. If his LTD is not approved, we will be stuck between a rock and a hard place. We don’t know the status of our insurance.
  • Is it worthwhile? We are not confident that Mayo  or Cleveland will be able to give us any more answers than we already have. It is reasonable to question the usefulness of more medical tests.

I wrote in a previous post that I thought Ralph had been approved for Social Security Disability. I believe I misunderstood the letter we received. He has not been approved for Social Security Disability. He has not been denied, either. So we are waiting to hear from Social Security Disability and from our Long-term disability insurance.

I will write more about the rest at the family in a few days.

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P. S. Our kids bought our fishing licenses for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They asked us what we would like. We enjoyed getting out of the house and throwing our lines in the water. Next time, maybe we’ll catch enough to fry up.

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