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2015 had its good and bad moments, but as it drew to a close it seemed to be determined to kick our butts and try our patience.

2015 truly made us aware of how vulnerable we are, with one emotional and physical thing after another.

In or around May we found out that my son’s aide had been diagnosed with breast cancer and that she would require months of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and radiation treatments. She worked until her last chemotherapy treatment, then took a medical leave of absence. If all goes well for her, she wants to be back to work before the end of May this year. She’s been told she’s cancer free, so we’re hoping for the best for her and looking forward to having her back.

In late September or early October my best friend told us she’d been having increased issues with her health, things all her co-workers and I had been encouraging her to get checked out for quite some time. She finally saw a doctor and it was discovered that one of her kidneys had a huge stone in it, as well as fluid and infection around it. Immediately, they wanted to remove the kidney. It was delayed for various reasons, until two days before Thanksgiving, when they admitted her and did the surgery. She’s refused to take her medication correctly, to change her diet or to walk as she was instructed to do. We continue to worry about her, as she doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the experience, doesn’t seem to grasp the severity of her situation. It’s really very hard to sit back and watch, but there isn’t really anything we can do.

The Monday before Thanksgiving my powerchair stopped working while I was out walking my dog. I was stranded on the other side of the creek away from my house and had to push the chair part of the way home. When I tried to get it serviced I discovered that the provider who’d been maintaining it for me hadn’t followed through with joining the insurance network for my new policy, so they couldn’t help me unless I paid out of pocket. I bought new batteries from them for more than $325 and they came out to put them in. I continued to have problems with the chair not responding properly, the batteries losing and not holding a charge as they should. I asked them to stand behind the warranty on the batteries, but they never did. Luckily, I found another provider who did take my insurance who tested the new batteries for me and replaced one that was completely dead, replaced the control arm, and changed all six tires which were worn bald and falling apart.

It took weeks to get insurance approval, order the parts and put them on the chair. During that time I used my manual chair around the house. I moved it about using my feet and as a result tore up my left knee pretty badly, causing swelling and a great deal of pain. I’m still recovering from the injury I caused myself.

My depression got the better of me as the 21st anniversary of my father’s passing approached. I had to take an anti-depressant again for the first time in decades, to cope and get through most of December.

As I was dealing with that we found out that an old friend from our youth was dealing with his wife becoming ill, as her kidneys were shutting down, she was retaining a lot of fluid and had to be admitted to the hospital. I tried hard to be supportive of him, knowing how his wife might feel and also knowing how my own husband has dealt with my health issues and disability. She was not home for Christmas and has been moved to a nursing home where she can get additional care and physical therapy.

Earlier in December we found out that our tight budget would have to be stretched because my health insurance monthly premium was going up and my husband decided to change our dental insurance so we could find a better dentist, which would increase that premium.

On December 31 as we were arriving at the grocery store, in the parking lot, a lady backed into our car, smashing out the rear driver’s side taillight. Though she clearly accepted responsibility for the accident, taking it to a body shop will be a trying endeavor because of my husband’s work hours and several riders. We’ve not heard anything from her insurance company as yet.

We’re not sure how we’re going to make ends meet this year, as our cable/internet/phone bill, water bill, recycling bill and property taxes are all supposed to be going up in the new year.

I’m hoping that 2016 will be a year of renewed hope and happiness.