Hi – my name is Leonie Overbeek, and I need help. Until quite recently, those words would hardly ever come out of my mouth, since I tend to be very self-reliant. But with age, they say, comes wisdom, and right now I am asking for help.
My story is not that unusual. A bad fall and a broken arm is something that happens. Usually a quick trip to an emergency room or the doctor, a cast of some kind and six weeks later you’re back to almost normal.
Unless you are unlucky enough to get what is called a Monteggio fracture, where both the radius and ulna (the two bones in your forearm) are broken close to the elbow. Which is what happened to me on the 17th of November 2019. In that case, the only repair is to have surgery where an appliance is fixed to the bones to move them back into position and keep them there while they heal. Oh, and the metal appliance then pretty much stays inside the arm for about two or more years. Which means you have to buy it.
When the emergency staff at the hospital explained that, I was very blasé about it. One more surgery among the others I’ve had during my lifetime – no problem. And, I had medical insurance, so no problem.
Unfortunately, it turned out that I did have a problem – the insurance company covered my hospital stay and some of the surgery costs, but not the cost of the appliance. Which meant I had to dig into money earmarked for paying for my PhD studies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and my living expenses in Bulgaria.
And since, owing to various situations, not always of my making, I receive no pension payments either from South Africa, my home country or from South Korea where I worked for 12 years, my savings has to support me until my editing and proofreading business really took off.
Again, I was sure I would not have a problem, since living expenses in Bulgaria are low, and the amount I had saved would cover about 6 to 7 years of costs. Unless, unless, unexpectedly and against the advice you received, you have to fly back and forth between South Africa and Bulgaria several times to comply with visa requirements and have to support yourself for more than a month there. And, also, unless you think all medical emergencies are covered by the insurance and it isn’t.
And while I have had several satisfied clients over the past year, the income stream has not picked up to the extent that this emergency and the shortfall it created can be rectified quickly. And it has to be since by June this year I will have to prove that I have enough funds to support myself in Bulgaria for another year if my visa is to be extended, and that is estimated at $17000.
And I am short about $5000, the cost of the appliance.
So here I am, cap in hand, ready to do a song and dance in exchange for some dosh, moola, bucks, cash or any other name for the green stuff that, as Cabaret would have it, makes the world go round. With ABBA I sing: ‘Money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man’s world.’
Right now my incision is healed, the arm can straighten and bend to about 98% of normal motion, the pain is slowly getting less and I’m back to more or less normal. So on the purely physical front, things are great.
Which also means I can get back to work, not only on trying to get clients for my editing and proofreading services but also in the piece of land I bought in Bulgaria and in getting my house renovated. Luckily I bought home and land outright, and so do not owe anything on them.
In the accompanying pictures, you can see not just my arm as it went through the healing process, but also the land and house. And I undertake to keep those who are generous enough to help, not just with getting the medical expenses covered, but who might want to donate a little bit to turning this wild and weed-covered garden into a Permaculture experience, with a food forest open to the community, updated every month as to the progress from what you see now to what I hope it will become. (Oh, and anyone who wants to visit a stunning part of the world, once the guest room is done you will be welcome to come and stay, enjoy the healthy country air, eat organically produced fruit and veg, and fall in love with the Balkans.)
With much gratitude for the time you took to read this, even if you don’t donate.