Am back from having gone to the food bank, and am now eating a pickle sandwich and some almonds and feeling happy for the first time in several years. Not just content, but happy.
Several factors have contributed to this turnaround, from chronic depression and chronic pain, to episodes of happiness and substantial reduction of pain.
Foremost is having finally qualified, now at age 60, for rental assistance from the BC government in the form of the Supplementary Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER). Effective August, I began receiving a monthly payment geared to income that substantially contributes to my rent. Payments from the Canada Pension Plan also began in August. These two payments, one provincial and one federal, plus my small income from savings, have combined to increase my income by a whopping 40 percent - to $10,100 annually.
Regardless of what measure one uses, I am still several thousand dollars below the poverty line. However, the 40 percent increase has made a huge difference to me, not least because I've been able to buy items I've desperately needed. More important, however, is the considerable lessening of stress due to daily financial worry.
As to pain, my financial situation has finally been reflected in my BC Pharmacare coverage. Since July 1st, I've not been required to contribute anything to the one prescription medication I take (Synthroid). Prior to that, I'd had to pay at least 30 percent of the cost, plus a deductible. (I don't know why it took so long, given my income has been sub-$8,000 for several years.)
I avoided the doctor because, what was the point? It was shut up and put up, to hell with the pain.
With so many things having changed, including my Pharmacare coverage, a few days ago I visited the doctor to ask for her help with pain management. She prescribed Gabapentin and I'm on a schedule to gradually increase the dose. (From one/day, to two/day, to three/day. Am up to two/day now and shall be glad when I reach the full dose. The pain returns in full force just around the time pill number 3 is due.) Already, there has been a difference, though. At night, there's less pain, so I sleep better. In the mornings, I'm able to walk, climb stairs, do light housework and pull my shopping cart with considerably less pain. The result is greater mobility and better quality of life.
Am also grateful to our local food bank and the businesses, organizations and people who contribute to it. I've only been getting bread there, but today, for the second time since I've been going to the food bank, I stopped for some coffee and a bran muffin; and met and chatted with some people while there.
Perhaps I appeared more approachable. I know I was smiling.