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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rain on the horizon...

In the process of “tying up loose ends”, I had made a phone call to the IRS yesterday. I was hooked up with IRS Agent Scott (I always wonder if they use their real names).  I simply wanted to know what, if any, IRS returns Riley had not filed and over the past few years. This guy was quite inquisitive and we got into a conversation about how things have changed over the years. I had mentioned to him that I had taken care of my Mom, brother, and now my husband as they approached the end of their lives. He asked – no -- he STATED – that I’m very “old school” and that’s not the way I should have done things. Then he proceeded to tell me that there were PROGRAMS set up for just those types of situations – taking care of our elderly or infirmed when there was no insurance or not enough insurance.

So, maybe it’s not such a good thing that I’ve found my voice and confidence again. Sometimes that can get me into hot water.
“Just where the hell are these programs? You tell me where to find them because I have a lot of people who would really want to know.” He replied by telling me that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are designed to help those who cannot help themselves.
Of course, now he had just put another log on my already irritated fire. “Do you know how long it takes to get any response from any of those agencies? Have you ever tried to use them to get immediate emergency assistance?” His reply – everyone must prepare themselves for the possibility of a crisis. That’s why we are supposed to save money. He continued to say that we should never try to take care of our loved ones by ourselves. We should put them into places where that is done for us and the government has programs to help people, like me, to not have to “take care” of anyone but one’s self. And once, again, he says, our society is now designed so that none of us ever have to take care of a loved one out of our own pocket. We should save for our own rainy day and use that money only for our own personal needs.
Who is this guy?? Is he really making enough money at his white collar desk job at the IRS that he can afford to SAVE money for a rainy day?? Does he really think he can get enough into that Rainy Day Account to cover the cost of everything NOT covered even when we have health insurance? And does he not realize that many people, after losing their jobs in these economic times – do NOT EVEN HAVE insurance? Let’s see him pay for one overnight hospital stay for himself out of his rainy day fund. Oh but wait, according him, he doesn’t have to pay it if he doesn’t have the money because the government will pay it for him. What a crock!!!

I thought I should try to end the conversation – after all – I had gotten the info I needed. I meekly (and that’s hard for me) said something about – yeah – well – good luck with that. I tried to hang up. But… NO… he had more to say. I must admit. I stopped listening. Oh My Goodness, I said, something is going on that I MUST attend to… THANK YOU for your help… Good Bye.
It’s a sorry state of affairs that a person who gets paid via taxpayer money has such an attitude. I don’t understand it. Maybe I just didn’t get what he was saying. I’ve been known to misunderstand a lot of things. I must admit he was polite and provided me the desired information in a timely manner. It was only when I told him that I was trying to tie up Riley’s loose ends because I was his caretaker as well as his spouse – that he started to inform me how financially irresponsible I was for spending any money on his care.
I am among the minority. Riley is very well insured as far as health insurance. Do I need more money – yes – because there are things I feel that would make life easier if I had a few extra bucks. I’ve already covered that over the past few days. But, my thoughts are not about me or Riley at this moment. My thoughts are about the people who can’t get certain medical tests or into a rehab center. I’m thinking about the people who no longer have health insurance for one reason or another. I doubt that any of them have a Rainy Day Account that’s going to have enough money in it to cover their singular heinies.
I’m also thinking about all the caretakers of all sorts of people besides the end-stage alcoholic – what about parents, children, brothers or sisters? As they lie dying in our arms, do we say I won’t take a penny from my own rainy day account to help you get that prescription or blood test?

And where are these programs that this guy is talking about? On one hand he is saying our government will take care of us and on the other he’s saying we are each on our own and should only be self-serving. I’m confused. I don’t see any government programs getting uninsured alcoholics into rehab centers. I don’t see any Calvary rushing in to save any of us.
I guess I’m just a stupid old woman, but I’m not buying an ounce of what this guy is spouting. Our conversation was recorded “for training purposes”. I wonder what the listeners will think of his theories. I wonder if they will try to find any of those programs and refer me to them. I doubt it. And I could go off on another tangent about recorded conversations, but I won’t.
However, IRS Agent Scott, gave me the info I needed and I won’t be making any calls back there for a while. I got what I needed – and I’ll just leave the rest!

9 comments:

The Zombunist said...

Yeah, this guy lives in a bubble and has probably never had to face true poverty or financial difficulty in his life. Even though Canada (where I'm from) has a pretty good welfare system (for now), it's still pretty difficult for anyone to save money if they make less than $30,000/year (and most social assistance programs pay a lot less than that), and it's not getting any easier. People like your IRS guy make me angry, because they're the ones who make such a big fuss about "hand outs"...it's easy to say hand outs are bad when you've never really needed one.

Whatever happened to the idea of helping your neighbour, showing generosity, caring for others?

Kitty said...

that is so ridiculous that you even had a conversation like that with this guy. If I were his superior at work he'd be fired for it. not his place to say any of those things to you, not at all.

Syd said...

Medicare has a limit to the number of days-- something like 63. Medicaid is for those who have exhausted all resources except for an allowance of $2000. And with the cost of nursing homes and such, that is not hard to do. I would say that this agent was naive. Perhaps he was trying to be helpful, but the reality is that nearly all financial resources have to be spent before a long term solution will kick in.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

hMaybe he's just young. Life has a way of teaching things that we never want to learn.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE do not stop blogging.I don't know how you find the time and heart to do it, but you are a life line for me. I live with an AH who drinks over a half bottle of liquor every single day, smokes two packs of cigarettes every day, and has done so for over 5 years now at that rate. Prior to that smoked a pack a day and drank "heavily," for what totals now to be about 21 years. The last 5-6 have been the worst. He hasn't seen a doctor EVER. (I have reason to believe that there is cirrhosis . . . won't go into the details. Not to mention extraordinarily HIGH blood pressure and cholesterol that could take him at anytime.) The health issues are starting to pop up, although he still won't see a doctor. (Laughs them off really) AND although he has been "highly functioning" at his job, that may be coming to an end. I'm seeing changes that appear to be long term. Please pray for my teenage boys and I.

For whatever reason, God has asked me to stay in this marriage. Truly, I want out. But, God is asking me to minister by speaking about Jesus to him daily and praying. My feeling is that this is not going to end well. His health appears to be taking a tragic turn. I'm amazed that he even wakes up each day. I have no idea what lies ahead. (he is age 47)

Your blog has frightened me, BUT mostly given me hope. Deep inside I just want it to be over. I'm tired of the daily agony of watching someone kill themselves. My AH's family tried to intervene and get him rehab help, he no longer speaks to them. Somehow, miraculously, God is holding my boys and I, through our faith, our days are mostly filled with unexplainable joy and peace. God protects and provides. I am beyond thankful. But, I also realize, this can't go on. Or at least I hope it won't. I wish, as you do, that there were some definite end in sight. You can deal with that. The hardest part is not knowing day to day. But, I know God is using this to build my trust in Him. I'm being obedient to what He's asking me to do. I know God is faithful.

I just daily pray for deliverance. As I now pray for you. It is hard for most people to understand . . . staying with the AH. It's NOT enabling by any means . . . to me, it's loving as Christ loved. Jesus didn't push the man into the healing pool of Bethsheda. Jesus asked him, "Do you WANT to get well?" It's not our choice, the individual has made their own choice and they make the choices every day.

Thank you endlessly for this blog. I have been following for a month or so now and got caught up by reading blog posts of the past. You are truly and angel on earth to those of us silently suffering through this pain.(BTW, please don't listen to those who criticize you . . . others of us . . . we need you.)

I pray for your strength and peace. And I pray that you will have deliverance to set you free.
Blessings.

Kyra said...

Wow, for the sake of peaceful detachment, I choose to think this guy thought he was helping you. He was probably still in "IRS-mode" and came off poorly. Most people have no idea what the hell they're talking about, esp when it comes to dealing with an alcoholic and the system. The only rehab program that medicare paid for (for my mom) was a horrid place they also put all other kinds of addicts into, along with mental health patients the state was stuck with. Otherwise it's been 3 rounds of self-pay. Insurance only applies if it can piggy-back onto medicare an guess what, the "good" places don't take medicare, so you are S.O.L. Bet mom never thought she'd be spending her life savings on rehab that has only gained her 30 days or so of sobriety each time. Ughh. We are screwed. I sure wish we had more than 1 al-anon meeting per week here; the AA's have one ever day, but the multitudes of people that have to deal with their shit get one at 1pm on a weekday. Yeah, that's do-able. Harumph... : ) Like I said, peaceful detachment....

Anonymous said...

I am a faithful follower of this blog; however, I must chip in to say that if you are OK with negative feedback, why do you take it so personally to place so much emphasis on Agent Scott's opinions? Had a representative who worked for the Humane Society, AARP or QVC talked to you in the same manner, would you have moved so quickly to bash that person on your blog as well?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But it seems unfair to put a label on a group when it is a single individual who put the bad taste in your mouth in the first place.

Granted, Agent Scott's two-cents' worth should not have been relayed during that call. He should have stuck to what he knows, taxes. As it turns out, one of Agent Scott's co-workers has an end-stage alcoholic parent AND is 2 years into recovery him/herself. Had you gotten that employee on the call, he/she would have listened with an open mind, given you the answer to the tax question at hand and told you to have a nice weekend. That employee would be ME.

Anonymous said...

I am a faithful follower of this blog; however, I must chip in to say that if you are OK with negative feedback, why do you take it so personally to place so much emphasis on Agent Scott's opinions? Had a representative who worked for the Humane Society, AARP or QVC talked to you in the same manner, would you have moved so quickly to bash that person on your blog as well?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But it seems unfair to put a label on a group when it is a single individual who put the bad taste in your mouth in the first place.

Granted, Agent Scott's two-cents' worth should not have been relayed during that call. He should have stuck to what he knows, taxes. As it turns out, one of Agent Scott's co-workers has an end-stage alcoholic parent AND is 2 years into recovery him/herself. Had you gotten that employee on the call, he/she would have listened with an open mind, given you the answer to the tax question at hand and told you to have a nice weekend. That employee would be ME.

Linda -- Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

FYI -- I never told Agent Scott that Riley was an alcoholic. I just said he was ill. However, I did tell him that my Mom had a cardiac condition and my brother had leukemia. There was nothing in the phone call about alcoholism.

Also, the conversation started because the years Riley is missing is 2001 & 2002. Agent Scott told me that a lot of people got off track in that time frame and he thought it was due to the stress of 9/11. He asked what was going on in Riley's or my life during that time frame. I was caretaking my Mom and then my brother -- so the discussion went from there.

Agent Scott was never in any way disrespectful to me -- in spite of his opinions. The IRS is not responsible for any problems in my life. They are simply an agency that employs people who are assigned a very difficult task. I would not want their job.

Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a right to that opinion. I may not always agree with an opinion, but I respect the right to express it. Agent Scott expressed his opinion but I don't have to agree with it.