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Please help my Physician wife who is now the patient

Organized by: John Baldwin

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My wife is extremely heartbroken over two major areas of her life which are the current status of her professional career as a Physician and her personal health problems which led to her having no choice but to stop working. She knew she wanted to be a doctor from the age of 5. Her brother in law had kidney failure and her oldest sister did peritoneal dialysis for him at home for years until his first kidney transplant. Her sister is 19 years older than she and she loved to stay at their house. She honestly never wanted to do anything other than be a doctor. She then spent 26 of her 45 years of life in school to do just that. While in medical school she fell in love with Ophthalmology (eye care including eye surgery) and completed her residency at UNC Chapel Hill. She is from a rural town that really needed permanently based specialty doctors so she came home and opened a solo practice to be near her family and to help her community. There had never been a full time Ophthalmologist who performed eye surgery at the local hospital. If any person was born to be a doctor it is my wife. She loved her patients and they really loved and appreciated her just as much. She never made much money due to the high overhead costs of a solo practice but living close to her parents and caring for patients where she grew up was always more important. Hindsight is 20/20 and no one has a crystal ball to predict the future. In 2012 she began having one health problem after another. Every time we made it over one illness another one would start. It was something all the time. Because she had a solo practice if she was not able to work there was no money made but the bills kept coming. She did not have a definitive diagnosis so we kept hoping and praying that she would get better and be able to make it up and stay open. As you can imagine reading this things did not turn out the way we wanted. By the time she got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and mixed connective tissue autoimmune disease, she had borrowed so much money to try to keep her practice open that she was extremely in debt. Why do people like my wife who actually have contributed to society seem to never get help when we need it? With God given talent and many years of training and hard work with no sleep, she performed eye surgery to restore sight in so many people in our community who otherwise would have continued to lose their vision due to financial and transportation issues. Why should she be punished for being an ethical person who became a physician for the right reason- to help people?  To top it off in December of 2012 her Dad died suddenly two days before Christmas and exactly one month later her akita dog had to be euthanized for complications of old age. Her dog Azia had always stayed inside the house and she was beyond devastated considering all that she had lost in her life- her good health, her practice, her Dad, and then her precious dog. She has been through so much and it just does not seem to be getting any better. She is naturally very depressed, and she has widespread extreme chronic pain. It is difficult for her to get out of bed in the mornings. We have an overwhelming amount of debt from her medical visits and prescribed medications. It breaks my heart to see her in pain when I cannot do anything to help. 

Her taxes were outrageous every year because she was in solo practice. She has lived a modest lifestyle and now we continue to live a modest lifestyle. Her 1991 car was a gift to her from her Dad when she was in medical school. Our home was built in 1918 and is small and full of problems that need repair. We got married in January of 2014 and share a rare kind of love and trust that we are so blessed to have found. Surprisingly we met when our spouses had an affair with each other in 2009. The only problem we have is being very financially challenged due to medical expenses. I work as many hours as I can and we still have nothing. My wife is the best person I have ever known. She is loving, caring, loyal, and honest and has a huge heart for people as well as animals in need. Our two children have paws, stay inside of course, and we treat them as our children! Those two dogs bring joy to our lives and make my wife feel better. Our siberian husky Mattie even sleeps at my wife's feet every night and our akita Sojo sleeps on the floor on my wife's side of the bed. I myself am a cancer survivor and recently I was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and have to take medication daily. My teenage daughter also came to live with us full time for the last two years because she and her Mom do not get along. This equals another layer of stress as far as money goes.

My wife and I deserve some happiness after all we have been through. We have not been able to go on a honeymoon and that may never happen. We do not go out to eat or buy anything extra. One of the most hurtful things was that ONLY ONE of her fellow doctors/peers reached out to her when they knew she was struggling with grief and health problems. She continues to have one health problem after another- a severe case of flu, three root canals, removal of one tooth by an oral surgeon, a large abscess on her left buttock, and an extremely painful case of shingles- all with medical bills and prescription bills mounding up along with all of our other debt. She says the only thing that sucks worse than being a physician is being the patient!! We would not be able to function if it were not for my wife's selfless remarkable 82 year old Mother and my parents. My wife does have a new Rheumatologist and we pray for more answers and hope there are more options for treatment. We are now trying to fix a few major issues with our old problem laden house. On top of everything else she is having dental issues but we cannot afford to see a dentist because of all of our other bills. It is awful for her on top of her normal constant level of pain. I drive one hour to work and one hour home every day in a worn out 1994 Honda Accord that is on it's last legs. I am pleading to you for help. If we could reduce our debt from medical expenses it would make a ton of difference in all of our lives. My wife is a wonderful giving person who deserves some happiness given back to her. She feels like all she does is cause me and her Mother stress but I cannot imagine my life without her. Please help me to reduce this stress. Thank you for reading my story. My wife's Mother routinely tells us "It is always the darkest before the light." I am so ready to see some light! Any donation amount would be SO greatly appreciated! 


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John Baldwin

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