Help Christina.

You all know Christina, who writes for this blog.  She’s had an interesting three weeks.

On January 17th, She was changing her brakes when her car slipped off the jacks. Christina’s foot was, unfortunately, directly under the brake rotor, which I’ve heard is really heavy…or maybe it’s just the rest of the car attached to it.  Either way, ouch.

At first it didn’t seem like her injury was so bad – the trauma nurses took some x-rays and said she broke two of her bones.  NBD.  The emergency room doc splinted the foot and kept her in the hospital for a day on IV antibiotics, then sent her home that Sunday.

A CT scan of her foot on the 25th showed that the trauma doctors seriously underestimated the damage the car did when it fell.  The car had actually broken her 5th metatarsal, 3rd metatarsal in two places, 2nd metatarsal in 2 places, severed and stretched a bunch of tendons in her foot which have caused the tarsal bones to separate, produced vascular damage, and broken her heel bone.  She also has massive tissue damage, which is probably worse than the broken bones themselves.  So…really ouch.

After being out of the hospital for about a week, she went back to the ER on the 27th because her foot was looking worse.  They admitted her and basically replaced her blood with antibiotics for 4 days.

Here’s the real kicker: her job requires that she get a work release from the MD before she can return to work.  Despite begging the MD to write her one, he says Christina needs to be non-weight bearing on her foot and keep it elevated above her heart as much as possible – which makes it impossible to do her job (she’s an occupational therapist).  To add to the misfortune, while crutching about her house last week she sprained her other ankle.

I don’t know what Christina did to piss off god, but I’m kind of jealous.  Worst thing that asshole has done to me is hide my other matching sock in the morning.

So far Christina has been out of work for almost three weeks, and the orthopedic surgeon wants to wait a month before doing surgery – the amount of swelling precludes any surgical incisions, as they wouldn’t heal.

This has hit her financially.  Christina has exhausted her savings account and is about to fall behind on her mortgage.  She called me last night to talk about it and she was…upset.  We’ll leave it at that.  She’s too proud to ask for help, and has instead been crawling the basement to ebay things.  Christina loves her job as an occupational therapist, and I have no doubts she would literally crawl to work, were she allowed to do so.  But, alas, she is not.  So last night I talked her into letting me ask people to help her.  We’re atheists with no empathy or moral compass, so maybe we could chalk it up to socialism and helping others in order to destroy America.  That’s how it works, right?

Christina has health insurance – the deductible is huge, but it’s better than owing the hospital everything out of pocket.  But…mortgage.  Advice is also welcome if you have ideas on how to handle the situation.

Also digital hugs and other well-wishes.  Those help too.  But if you also want to pitch in a bit financially, here’s the button.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Mandagator

    That’s terrible! I’m not in a position to help financially at the moment, but please send Christina a hug from me and the rest of the CASH crowd.

  • Jasper

    We’ll also need to form a human shield between her and the religious vultures.

    • Glodson

      From what I’ve read from her, I would say she doesn’t need that. Those vultures would be her lunch, metaphorically speaking.

      • Jasper

        Alright, then we will form a human shield to restrain them and prevent them from escaping.

  • Glodson

    I’ll do my best to find some funds to send her way. It will have to wait until I get back home this afternoon. Right now, I’m not comfortable using this computer to mess with any money. I hope she has a speedy recovery and gets the paperwork she needs soon.

  • Ania Bula

    I am so sorry to hear that. I cannot help financially since I am on sick leave myself. But please send her hugs and best wishes from Ottawa.

  • Debbie

    Done. Lots of virtual hugs on the way as well :)

  • neatospiderplant

    Hugs Christina.

    I lost my job recently and since my husband is self-employed and his income is highly variable, I can definitely relate at least a little bit to the financial worry. So obviously, I’m not in a position to help right now. And that sucks large because I know how really shitty to have to worry about where your mortgage is coming from. I’m sorry that you are going through that in addition to that kind of injury.

    Since I can’t donate monetarily, I wish I could offer some words of wisdom from one person who’s had to cut back to another, but if you are e-baying things, there’s probably not much I can help you with. I’m just trying to be mindful about my utility use, vehicle/gas use, and trying my hand at extreme couponing (and failing miserably). Nothing ground-breaking.

    Hugs again, and I really hope you have a speedy recovery.

  • John Eberhard

    I suggest she contact the mortgage holder NOW with her situation and see what she can work out with them. Odds of success are a whole lot better BEFORE you are in arrears.

    • christinastephens

      Good idea. I shall do that today.

      • SecMilChap

        JT’s button didn’t seem to work. I’d send a check if you have SnailMail available, or post a bit from my seriously overworked VISA. Please let me know.

  • Chris Green

    Some people are lucky enough to have a vacation banking system — other people can donate their unused vacation to you. It’s a long shot (your HR should have told you about it already if it was available and they’re doing their job), but worth a call, maybe?

  • Avicenna

    Consider it snorked. And also money sent.

  • commodore

    What she is probably looking for is temporary hardship/ forbearance

  • Pteryxx

    JT, do you have a way for the non-Paypal-capable to send anything? (If not I can work something out eventually.)

    • JT Eberhard

      I’ll chat with Christina and see what we can come up with. Thanks, Pteryxx. :)

  • IslandBrewer

    Well … fuck.
    Lots and lots of digital hugs and well wishings, Christina.

    And fuck the damn fucking Republicans and fucking conservatives and any fucking other politician that fucking dismiss the fucking need for a fucking national fucking single fucking payer fucking healthcare system.

    I have strong feelings about this, btw.

  • Praedico

    Yikes, that’s a bad situation :(

    I sent a few dollars; wish I could help more, but I’m on a restricted budget myself.
    Do you get any kind of sick pay from your employers, Christina?
    Get well soon! *hugs*

  • Glodson

    Donated a small amount. Use it however you feel. Take care.

  • Timid Athiest

    I passed along some of my tax return. I hope it helps. Best of luck and I hope all works out well for you, Christina. You’re one of the many people who helped me to admit to being an atheist.

    • Glodson

      Sadly, by the time I started reading her writings, I had already been deconverted. She should put some blame on her fiancee as he beat her to the punch. But it is good to see another person who can blame this blog for a deconversion.

      And I thank this blog by spamming the hell out of it… Crap, that’s a pretty crappy thank you, isn’t it?

  • TGAP Dad

    I cannot stress this enough, and I have implored everyone who will listen, and all who are reading this blog: when working on a car that is off the ground, chock the opposite wheel, and use jack stands. Lower the car onto the jack stands before putting any part of your body beneath it.

    I will send what I can after conferring with my wife. Get better Christina; we miss you.

  • myoo

    Sadly I can’t donate anything, but I would if I could.
    Good luck and Well wishes anyway.

  • drax

    Christina, do you have short term disability insurance through work. It’s pretty standard where I live. If not perhaps you can apply for temporary disability through SSDI. It will likely take awhile, but it may make a difference in the long run. I will gladly make a donation as well. Hope things go well for you from this point onward.

  • christinastephens

    Hey guys!

    I’ll try to answer all of your questions. Thanks you SO much for your donations – they turned a really scary situation into a less scary one.

    After I woke up this morning, I felt warm, so I checked my temp: 101. Shit.

    I checked it like 5 more times in the next half hour, and it remained a pretty solid 101. So I drove myself to the ER (I even checked my temp twice in the car – it got up to 101.8). They took me back right away and looked at my foot while attempting to mask their concern.

    They did a CT scan with contrast, x-rays of both feet (because the one is broke to shit and the other is sprained and bruised) doppler to make sure I don’t have any clots, and filled me up with antibiotics and a little morphine, sucked out a bunch of my blood to test, gave me so many fluids I almost peed myself

    The ortho doctor who is following me will be in tomorrow to talk to me about what to do with my zombie foot, so in the meantime, I’m cozied up in bed with bad food and wifi.

    I didn’t have time to call the mortgage company because, well, this. But I will, probably tomorrow. Unfortunately, the hospital lost my smartphone, but they have one here attached to the wall.

    I don’t have short term disability through my work, but have also never taken a vacation in the 3 years I’ve worked there, so tomorrow will be asking about that. There is no temporary disability through SSDI in Missouri, which is a crying shame. To qualify for SSDI in MO, you have to have a disabling condition which prevents you from working for a year or more.

    I was using one jackstand, which the car was lowered on. However, I admittedly did a stupid thing by not chocking the wheels and not putting the jackstand in a really good place. This is definitely my fault. From now on, I am using 40 jackstands, blocks of wood, and putting the tires under the car too just to make sure.

    • Truth about Christinas Foot

      I’m a hateful lunatic who is here to do nothing but toss around inane ramblings in the hopes of getting under the skin of the author. I sure hope JT doesn’t edit my comment.

      (This comment edited by JT)

  • christinastephens

    Also, it is quite awesome that this hospital has internet.

    • Glodson

      Well, I’m glad it has helped, and I’m glad you got the internet in the hospital. Here’s hoping you don’t have to use too many vacation days, and a quick note just to remind you to call the mortgage company. I would hope they are helpful, and should be if you’ve not had a history of late payments.

  • ecolt

    So sorry you pissed off the laws of physics!

    I really wish I could do something to help financially. Unfortunately I just got cut to two days a week at my job and my partner is on permanent disability (which doesn’t pay much!) so we’re on the Ramen and white bread diet as it is.

    The first step is definitely to call your mortgage company. My cousin was in a somewhat similar situation recently, she lost her job while her husband was filing for disability benefits, and they were able to have their payment reduced to something they could manage. Just be warned that you usually have to be pretty persistent about it. However, if they decide to officially review your file they can’t foreclose until they’ve made a decision either way, so you can at least buy yourself some time.

    Otherwise, I would look around at assistance programs in your area. I know you don’t want to have to ask for help, but sometimes you have to suck up your pride. I know where I live there’s a non-profit group that gives one-time financial assistance for bills, and there are a lot of groups that will give small one-time loans to help until you’re (literally) back on your feet. Look around your area and see if there’s something similar where you live. Since you are employed and only temporarily unable to work you can show that you can pay them back once you’re medically able to get back to work which can go a long way toward getting help. Even if you can’t get any assistance from them, having gone there will help show your mortgage company that you’re doing everything possible to keep your payments current.

  • Laura

    Along with calling the mortgage company, if you have any student loans or credit card payments you should give those people a call and see if you can suspend payment for 2-3 months without penalty. Sometimes those deals are easier to make and then you can put that money towards your mortgage. And of course if you do fall behind and miss a payment with anyone, as soon as you’re ready to pay it call up the company, explain the situation, and ask if they can waive (or reduce) any late fees you’ve been assessed if you make your account current right then and there.

    Once the dust settles and your foot is taken care of and you’ve figured out the financial stuff, if anything happened that will ding your credit score add a note explaining the injury to your file as soon as you’re back current with everything. It won’t matter now, but in 4 or 5 years if you’re looking for a new house or car it can really help to have stayed on top of things in the past.

  • John Horstman

    Sadly, unlike my increasingly-sociopathic-but-still-somewhat-compassionate state, MO doesn’t require employers to allow the use of paid leave time for FMLA leave, so I suppose Christina might have sick leave and vacation that your employer won’t allow you to use for this, and thus your cash-flow is stopped. Still, I know a lot of employers go beyond the FMLA requirements to allow banked paid leave to be used even if they don’t have to (Really, what is the difference if the leave is going to be taken at some point – wouldn’t a business rather an employee use sick leave and vacation during a job-protected FMLA absence than have both that absence AND more later when ze uses hir leave? I suggest using an appeal to the profit motive if they need convincing.), so definitely check into that.

    Also, everyone, this is why we need standardized sick leave packages and protections for all workers. Support paid sick leave initiatives and candidates that support them (obviously that won’t help in the short term in this case, but for all the future Christinas it will be good).

  • Rory

    Donation sent. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope you get well soon.

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  • Gus

    I just sent a donation. Sorry to hear about what happened, Christina. Here’s hoping that science, medicine, and your own tenacity help bring about a speedy recovery!

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  • el payaso

    JT, loved that edit! everyone under the weather (physically or figuratively) needs a badass friend like you to help with troll abatement. when i was a kid, i recall reading something in Dr Seuss about a meek nice bird ythat no one harassed cuz it had a mean freind called the BOMBASTIC AGHAST