Medical debt and house poor from and instantaneous condition leaving us boneless at the start

Hello all,

First thing, I need to apologize for all the typos I miss. I’m on a phone that thinks it’s smarter than me, so it changes what I type. Then I complicate it more because I type via swiping. Lastly it’s 330am and I’ve been working this for 4 hours. I also have a doctor’s appointment me on 5.5 hours.

at the end! You can skip all the boring details of how I landed into my situation!

My name is Richard Trent. I’m only 38yo. I’m permanent disabled and an unable/extreme risk to hire. My wife, Nikki, was forced into taking a job due to extremely dangerous conditions after losing our home.

My problems started before I was even sick. When I was discharged from the NAVY early due to medical I was forced to find a job/career rapidly. I was told of discharge just 8 days before. I luked out here and my navy background landed me an amazing career in about 3 months.

In my first month of working my, now ex-wife, ex-wife left me while I was at work. She took my daughter. I didn’t hear from her for over a month, and only way I found out anything was through a game. After paying to reactivate a game I hadn’t played in 5 years, I found my ex-wife on it and I attempted to talk to her. I was working 12 hour nights 6 days a week, and lived 1.5 hours from my work.

The little bit of time I got to be on there and attempting to talk to her, she wouldn’t reply. I saw her supposed ex-boyfriend was also on. After 4 days I got a single message though the game ‘I’m never coming home, I am leaving you’.

At that point I didn’t hear from her for another month. I was now even trying through her family and most of her family didn’t know. Her sister invited me to her house 4 hours away for the Thanksgiving meal she was putting on for her family and said she would be there. So on my 12 hours off in drive 4 hours to her house. My ex didn’t show up to 4 hours later.

At this point my ex demanded I leave, but her family insisted she say something to me or she wouldn’t be allowed into the house. Out on the street she told me she was done and I won’t get to see my daughter except only on certain holidays. She didn’t let me see my daughter this day either. I didn’t have time to wait Antoinette and I rushed back to my work for another 12 hour shift with no rest from the first shift.

All of this started up the divorce and a very expensive (ex has a multi-million dollar family member) battle to see my daughter. Through all of this I learned my ex has never left previous mentioned person and was utilizing me as money through the military. I found out that almost all of my reenlistment money went to helping this person via my ex purchasing things. This guy also was living with her during my deployments.

Anyways I reached up a large amount of debt going through this battle, it ended up being 4 more battles due to ex ignoring judge orders. The result of the first and not seeing my daughter for over 5 months, was that since my ex has never worked and isn’t working, I was working, she would get our daughter and be able to move her 8 hours away from me in another state. Every long drawn out custody issue since, she gets a slap on the wrist. Problem with them is ours a lot of lawyers and fighting before even getting to the judge and then the judge won’t take any evidence, including clear evidence of both physical and mental abuse, and just tells her to ‘don’t do it again’.

So I had racked up about 70k in debt at this point. I paid down most of this prior to me becoming sick.

I got remarried to my current wife July 25th 2015.

On September 15th 2015 I woke up to vomiting and an extreme pain in my upper abdomen. I still attempted to work though. By 30 minutes into my shift all 4 supervisors came to see me and ordered me to the ER, they wanted me to take ambulance, but I refused that. I was in so much pain that my clothes were all soaked in sweat and I was barely moving.

This was my first trip to the ER that day. When I finally got to the back, the residents just claimed it was heartburn, and sent me home. This was my story for the last 3 days of this week. I did manage to convince one of them to have an emergency colonoscopy and endoscopy done Friday night at 4pm.

I made it home from this procedure around 515pm Friday. I went to lay down and passed out till 7pm Saturday at which point my wife woke me and demanded I take an ambulance to the hospital. Of course I refused, but I drove. My normal at the er was always sitting in the lobby for 2 to 3 hours. During this time I’m vomiting in a 5 gallon bucket I brought with me each trip.

This Saturday night I was lucky, very lucky. The crew for the er had changed, new doctors! After about an hour waiting I was brought to the back. This time I was immediately given nausea meds, and pain meds (didn’t work). They ran a lot of tests and then when those came back I had a ct and mri. After all that a doctor (not resident) came to see me. I was told about the worst thing to ever be told. He said he is admitting me and that I have a 3 to 10% chance of living over the next few weeks. My pancreas was severally inflamed (extremely severe pancreatitis).

This to me out of work and put me on short-term disability. I was in the hospital this visit for over 3 weeks. After discharged I was out only 4 days before my pancreas once again was back to the same level. This went on for 3 years. I’d be in 2 to 3 weeks on no food, no water, nothing by mouth, then in one day forced to go from nothing to do solids and discharged. Then 4 day to 2 weeks later I was back in. We found out it was due to triglycerides. Mine were over 14,000 (yes 14k), my cholesterol was over 4000 (4k). The reason was unknown at the time but was assumed due to something genetic.

My short-term disability ran out fast. I was immediately labeled by my company as unable to work by the company doctors and ultimately labeled as an extreme risk to hire/unable to hire sure to constant pain and vomiting.

This is where my current debts really start. Short-term disability was only 40% of my pay. That ran out fast, but wasn’t even enough income to make my house payment, much less enough food, ya for the car, utilities, well anything. After it ran out it too almost 6 more months before long term started paying.

By this point I tried to asked every moment I had, whether in the hospital (when conscious between medication time) or at home trying to wow and call companies. Especially My those mortgage lender, my car loan lender, my credit card lenders, and the loan I took out a few years earlier to pay for battling my ex (I had it paid down to $12,000).

I learned a very very hard truth doing all this.

Lenders do not care of you get sick, do not care if you lose your income.

Ultimate I sent letters to the boards managing these lenders. I only got one response back, it was from Wells Fargo Mortgage. The reply stated that they would allow me to make $500 payment once a month for 6 months, however they would not stop the process of foreclosing on the house. After the 6 months was up if I did not pay all back owed debt, I would have 2 months to be out of the house before forcibly removed sure to foreclosure. My loan was backed by the VA also, and my assigned VA representative at the time told me that is all in their rights to do and that I was lucky to be given a leeway of the $500 for 6 months.

This was worsened by the fact I had 0 income and was blowing through my savings now.

On top of all this I was also paying my child support until March 15th. During the original order of this was the one thing the judge did good for me. I was giving my ex $1200 a month before the order given, the judge lowered it to $651 per month at the divorce signing in 2013.

Anyways I couldn’t pay it after match 15th as I was out of money. Short-term has ended back in December. I was left to do feed my wife and step son and still try to keep a roof over their heads.

Now compounding this my ex on March 16th 2016 (4 months after she knew I was hospitalized for over 3/4ths of that time) marched to her local child services and reported in not paying and demanded that they move it to the judge asap. In particular what she was wanting was getting it moved to get local court instead of where I lived, and even more important to request a RAISE in child support, and finally remove all parental rights of mine. So now I was into another battle with no money and no way for a lawyer.

The full case was moved to her small town. I was out in default of child support and it was reported to my credit and federal government (issuing a cease on my passport). After a few months of ordered mediation, my visitation was reduced to 5 or 6 weeks in the summer time, depending on the year. Lucky my child support wasn’t risen, but it was still kept at the same amount.

Before anyone comments on me not paying, I was started with a choice of buying food for my wife and son, or paying child support. On top of that any extra money I had I gave to my daughter, in clothes, school supplies, a toy she may have wanted… I love my daughter with all of my heart and life and I would do anything for her at the drop of a hat (if in my power) at no arguments. Btw my daughter begs her mom to let her come live with me almost everyday. I have never ever brought that up to my daughter, instead it is my ex that causes this. My daughter is both physically and mentally abused in my ex’s home. Ex sleeps everyday except for 3 hours, so for 21 hours (she did this even when I was home in the military, even on shore duty, I’d leave for work at 415am and get home at 11am, at home if come to my daughter crying and screaming in her crib and my ex sleeping where she muted the baby monitor and went back to sleep, video on the security cameras showed she never left our room to go and check on our daughter, plus while I was home I was only one taking care of my daughter of I was there. My ex refuse to wake up after she had fallen asleep as she feels it is her right to sleep and not get with our daughter, so I usually got only 2 hours at most of sleep those days. Oh and when my ex finally woke she would jump on the computer to play games and was usually playing till 1 am with max volume and yelling {I should have left her the minute we had asked my daughter at birth and saw she did this, hindsight). Back to about the abuse, ex has had 2 more father’s, now 2 and 3 I believe, however my ex only took care of them for 4 days teaching my, at the time 8 year old, daughter to handle the tasks. So my daughter has raised these girls for 3 years. She can’t get time to do her school work, can’t sleep, because of any of the girls make noise, my ex wakes and screams at my daughter or even spanks her.

To complicate things my daughter is extremely smart, however she is now in special Ed classes. Why do I know she is smart. I was able to have my daughter for 2 months when she was 3 years old. When I got here she was still in diapers, barely knew taking and what she did sounded really bad. Example instead of Alex it was ally. Instead of Jordyn it was ordyn. In those 2 months I got her off diapers. I had her reading kindergarten level. I had her spelling words up to 4 letters. I had her able to give directions to my house from anywhere in the city, and directions to her baby sister from anywhere in the city. I had her able to give directions from my house to her mom’s house 8 hours away. My phone number and my navy sitters phone number memorized. I did all this with me working 10 hour days and a 1.5 hour commute each direction. I had my daughter in bed with a full story (typically a story from the Disney princess short story set about the movies) read by her and I. By the two months up she was reading all of those stories but herself. She was also doing simple addition and subtraction up to 100.

This was all undone. Within my next visit when I saw my daughter she was back in diapers, and no one has read her a story since she left my house, no one had even just given her a book.

Anywho back to my thoughts and debt. The judge didn’t order an increase in child support and he didn’t order a decrease or a stay. So I was fully held to all of it.

I ended up selling my home under a short sell, which actually sold for more than my debt on the home. However since I was in the hospital and was on 4 mg Dilaudid every hour, phenergan 25mg every 4 hours and alternating with zofran on the 2 hour, I didn’t go over what I was signing and I should have had a lawyer, though I couldn’t afford it. There real estate agent for me got $40,000, the buyers agent got $25,000 and I paid all closing costs. So my home worth $250,000 sold for $250,000, however I owed $220,000. With the payout through the shirt sale and the Veterans administration making up the difference to cover the full amount required for all of that closing, came out that they paid another $40,000 to cover the shortfall of the home sale too my lender, Wells Fargo. And now I’m unable to get a home love properly though the VA unless that is paid off.

I moved into my parents home in June of 2016 (short sale was October of 2016). This was the greatest mistake of my life. My mother has became extremely abusive to my father over the years. When we moved in, she then moved that abusiveness on to us. A few examples, I’ve had my mother burst into my room with me and my wife at 8am kicking the door in busting the door frame, as the door opened she through a glass cup about 4 or so inches tall right at my head. Other times it would be my wife’s. All times it was just because she wanted to our something no one knew, not even my father. This led to a lot of large fights between her and I.

After only a few months in my wife and I decided there was no way we could live there. However I was living off my long term disability through the company I worked for. This was barely enough to maintain the vehicle payments from before I got sick. So my wife got a job and we moved out 3 days later.

Here is the problem the house we moved into is way out of our normal budgets but we make it work. It makes us house poor. The landlord is great! He fixes any problems we have. He hasn’t raised the rent since we moved in and that original mount was a few hundred less than he wanted. He also only charged us a deposit of 1 months rent.

The homeless part is losing our home, then even after moving into my parents, we were still really homeless. We were desperate and took anything that would take us, especially with all the medical debt feeling the credit scare. No one would let us even rent.

Credit score on September 15 2015 was 789. By 2016 April, it was down to 400.

Pretty much we are still house poor though.

My wife and I really want to own a house, I miss opening and I feel like every month I’m throwing away a lot of money renting. However we have the giant problem of all that above and more.

Since I am extremely sick all the time, I typically have at least 2 doctors appointments a week. When I go to the hospital now I’m admitted usually within just a few hours. My condition is so bad that at that point I am out in ICU. When I’m ICU I have over 8 ivs in my arms, my blood glucose is checked every 10 minutes and this is usually around 2 weeks. All of this adds to large medical debt, debt I can’t pay.

Also every doctor I have seen since I became sick he’s said that I should not be alive. I am an opposite to what app the bocks say. That I should expect to die at any moment. This scares me a lot because I’m worried my wife and son won’t have a home. I’m worried my daughter won’t ever have the chance to be a kid (only gets to when with me), that none of them so have anything for living on. I’m not scared of death.

Oh I am scared of become quadriplegic. Or extreme damage to my brain from a stroke. I really can’t become a burden any more than I am too my wife.

So now to the meat and gritty.

I have over 40 separate collections on my record all but 2 are medical debts. The other two is the loan I had taken out for the divorce and a credit card I got at 18 years old (my parents had no credit and I vowed I’d never be that way, yet I am now due to being sick). This credit card I have had for 20 years this year if it didn’t get sent to collections.

Can anyone guess who the credit card and the loan was under, clue it’s the same people I had to write to the boards to get any help with my house?

Wells Fargo! Yep the same. Wells Fargo refused to work with us at all. I offered on the loan and credit card to pay what I could, which at the time would have been $25.00 to each. They refused. That refused anything I tried. Even just asking for a 3 month continuance while still charging interest on them and giving the $25 each. Anywho they refused all and so this is now on my credit too, both of them.

So if TLDR;
Over 40 medical debt collections (my wife has a lot too, some maybe same but not all)

Several collections for credit cards and a loan. I’ve tried to pay off some of the credit cards but they don’t come off collections so I need to learn what to do about these.

Currently have an auto loan that I pay on time for 16 months. My previous 2 auto loans I had for years and always on time and both paid off early. Through everything my auto loans have never had a late payment ever.

Our goal is to purchase a house. I need to buy a home and land to ensure me wife and son gave a place to live when I die.

Thank you everyone for reading and taking the time to read and share comments with,

Hi Richard,

Thanks for sharing your story and your message. You’ve been through so much, and I hope you’re holding up okay! Your story really highlights how debt follows us and causes so much ongoing pain and struggle, but you are not alone. I’m not a legal expert and not sure of where you are, so here’s some general ideas:

For resources on your different debt types and challenging them, have you checked out Dollar For to see if some of your medical debt can be cancelled? It might help if you haven’t checked it out. Also, have you seen our general dispute tool for your credit card and other debts? That can help delay the process or give you some breathing room as you work through your challenges.

For more tailored information and guidance, I’d definitely recommend your local legal aid society as they would know more about your case and what programs and supports there are in your community.

And if you’re looking for community with other debtors, learn more about different debts, or strategize and talk with others, be sure to check out our events calendar and join us!