Begging on Supertopos


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Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane ~:~
Mar 23, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Locker - His or her day WILL come when some form of HELP be needed. (not talking insurance)
I must admit, I WAS what the OP was characterizing in his original post (OP). Not that I set out to be such, but it just can drag on. I worked fairly steadily, but most jobs were not much over minimum wage (ski area, etc) I did eventually get my journeyman's card in the carpenters union, but the union fell apart during the late 70's secondary to piece work, etc, and union jobs hiring nonunion peeps, corruption, etc! Plus, it wasn't steady work anyway, it only takes so long to build something, and it is to tempting to then take some time off and draw unemployment and go climbing, or whatever.

By the time I was 40, I had over 220 lower and upper division college units combined (over a period of 20 years) without a degree. I just kept changing my mind and dropping out. I had excellent grades, just couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to be when I grew up, lol. I mean, it only takes around 120-130 units to get a BS degree and I had almost twice that!

So, I find myself at 42 years old going nowhere, and all those units (220+) don't amount to anything on a resume. In fact, it just spells out quitter. It got to the point where they (potential employers/applied for a few really stable and well paying jobs that wanted a lot of info like IBM, etc) would start asking me, "How long was your longest relationship.?" (lol) because my longest job on my app was maybe 6 months, then I would either get laid off (seasonal job, ski resort, etc) or finish some construction job with nothing lined up. So yea, I would go climbing, surfing or whatever and draw unemployment insurance. And it all looked very shabby on paper.

So, at 42 I decided to pursue a degree in either PT or OT. Both require an MS degree + 6 month internships, national exam, & licensing, etc) Long story short, I return to school, get real serious about getting out of my rut (get really focused) and pulled it off (OTR degree).

Everything was going really well for about 8-9 years. Bought a new car/truck and a brand new house in a gated community with ocean views of the Coronado Islands and downtown San Diego (sister & brother also bought and still live there).

I worked full time (last job i was making 95K+ bonuses a year) had money coming out of my ears (to what i had prior) then I started to get deathly ill, right out of the blue. Kaiser eventually tells me, after having all these specialized tests, etc, EMG's, Nerve Conduction Studies, MRI's, CT scans and blood work, etc, that I have a terminal illness, a peripheral nerve disease/poly-neuropathy = bad news.

Except, 6 years later I was still alive but still sick as hell and wishing that I had died 5.9 years earlier, talk about brutal. I lost my house, all my savings (250K+) and eventually went bankrupt after running out of money (my meds and Kaiser premium was over $1,500 a month alone). Plus rent ($1,250), & food and other expences. It was costing me over 4K month/50K+ a year, so it didn't take long for all my savings to go with nothing coming in.

Plus, I started giving all this stuff away early on. I didn't expect to be around for long, and I was too sick to utilize it anyway. I gave a good friend from bitd/Mammoth, a pair of brand new, top of the line, Rossi Bandits (skis) and Solomon bindings, and a brand new pair of Nordica Grand Pre boots (top of the line racing boot). I had paid over $1,200 - 1,500 (forget) for the package.

And I gave away other stuff, collectibles, furniture etc to family, nephews and nieces. I gave one nephew, who could play a guitar a lot better than me, my Les Paul Classic and a couple Marshall amps. All this stuff i had worked long and hard for that I no longer needed or was to sick to use.

I had health insurance, Kaiser, but they kept upping my premium, from around $200 a month to over $700 and like I said, I had to pay for portion of my meds. Fortunately, Kaiser became to expensive, so I left it and into to a small family clinic. I told my doctor about the terminal illness (plus she had all the Kaiser paperwork). She use to question me about various aspects of it (illness) each time I saw here. It use to annoy the heck out of me. It was obvious that she wasn't 100% convinced, but I could tell I was on my way out.

So, one day after I had been with her for bout 2 years I get this phone call (actually a message on my machine) to stop taking this one medication (Tricor). She said that I was allergic to it, it was severely toxic to my system and was killing me. I stopped taking it and basically recovered within a week or two. She said that it did a lot of damage to my system (she didn't elaborate, and I don't really want to know).

I had lost all my hair the first year by the time I was 53, pulled it out in big patches, and aged consideraly. And both of my feet went completely numb (my doctor told me that my feet would go numb first then my legs would go/become paralyzed). Actually, I went totally paralyzed 4 times, but came out of it. My feet still haven't fully recovered, pretty sure there is nerve damage. They cause me a lot of pain, at times, besides being numb. Stuff like that. Evidently, according to my doc, a lot of internal damage also. I mean, I was taking that medication for nearly 10 years. If I had stayed with Kaiser, I would have been dead by now.

I think what hurt the worse, is my relationships. I lost what friends I had. For instance, the dood I gave the ski equipment (and other stuff) to just totally x'ed me out of his life. I mean, we had been friends for over 30 years, and then I give him all this stuff and tell him I was dying and the next day/week he won't even talk to me on the phone. Not like I would bother him, nothing changed at all except I was dying. I would call maybe once a week or every other week to see how he and his family were doing, and he would just say "Oh hello, can you hold for a minute I have someone else on the line?" But i would sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and he would either cut the connection or I would get tired of waiting and try calling him back and I would get a busy signal. I mean, major hint, eh? Within a couple weeks, he was no longer my friend. He probably thinks I'm dead by now. I think his wife had something to do with it. Thing is, i am the one who brought them together, brought them to church, and led him to Christ. I seriously doubt they would have married otherwise. But I can understand, he had a lot of other issues going on, his oldest son (20 at the time, was going through rehab for chemical and alcohol dependency, and there were other problems they were having, only so much someone can deal with at one time, eh?

And all my nephews and nieces dropped me like a hot potato. I was there "favorite uncle". I mean, I baby sat and changed their diapers when they were kids. We were a very close nit family all our lives. I paid their house and car payments many times when I was doing well. One of my nephews would have lost his home, a very nice one in Allied Gardens section of San Diego if it wasn't for me (paid for 3 months mortgage when he was sick). We (him, his wife and two kids & my mom brother & sisters) met at least once a month for dinner or movies or over at one of our houses and picnics and barbeque, etc! That stopped all together, I just wasn't invited, but was probably to sick anyway. But he (my nephew) didn't even call. My one sister, who I was close to all my life, hasn't talked to me in years (his mother). I use to visit her at least once a month when she would invite me over for dinner or we would go to a movie or walk or something.

She, called me one day a couple years into the illness, just after the third time I came out of the hospital after going into a coma. All she said was, you know (her son/my nephew) would really like your truck (I have a truck that I paid over 50K for, a f350 diesal 4x4 with only 18K miles on it). They new the docs told me that one of those times, perhaps the next, I wouldn't be leaving the hospital. I thought what the heck? I haven't even heard from him or her in years, and I get that message after almost croaking.

I have always been somewhat of a loner, but now I am a major recluse. I'm okay with that, like i aid, I lost EVERYTHING...! But I have the type of personality where I don't need anything, anybody. I probably would do just fine in solitary confinement. I mean, I have lived in this apartment since 2003 (when i took sick) not one person including close family, has crossed the front door threshold in 10 years. Total loner. I never use to be like that, I was always doing something, visiting someone, someone visiting me. The last ten years changed me.

So, the point I am trying to make is, it is good to have friends and loved ones. And it is very good to have friends like Blitzo, Big Mike and Clark Jacobs, etc, have. To have friends that reach out and help you, and start a thread for you, etc! Not "friends" that abandon you. Because, like Locker said, ya never know whats around the corner (or something to that effect). And you don't REALLY know what it's like unless you've been there.

And, often, you just can't "prepare" for some things that you don't have a clue could ever happen to you (my allergic reaction happens to only a fraction of 1%) and end up being so devastating and sudden (kind of blind sides you). That is when you find who is really your friend, or just your fair weather friends. That's when you think about, is it really worth it (living) is it really worth it? All the pain and torment, all the hassle. Believe me, I have thought a LOT about that one!

I just want to say, and I don't mean to get religious or anything, but the only friend I have in this whole wide world, is JC! I would have left this place, left it behind for good, a long time ago. So it is really refreshing to see these guys who support them with their friendship, etc!

I am really looking forward to getting on the road again. Photography is my hobby, and you need to be outdoors 24/7 to get the good lighting and shots. I worked semi-professionally for a while during the 80's, had a few adds and shots in Surfer and various other mags, but have done little in the past 10 years or so. I still have a large and medium format and love working in both color & B&W, but also recently got a dslr. I would like to meet Blitzo some day.

I was looking at LL's cool thread she has on packs. I have a number of excellent packs of various cubic inches. Arcturus (sp) Dana Design, Lowe, etc! Several are brand new. I have (or had when i was working full time) this thing of not being able to pass up a good deal. Like the Sport Chalet use to put everything in the store for 50% off every once in a while. But, some stuff I paid full price for.

Anyway, I was thinking of maybe selling some stuff here on ST, and donating 10% (maybe more) to our fellow down & out in (wherever). Otherwise I will most likely either sell it on eBay or Craigslist to someone. I would rather see them go to someone here. Maybe we could start a general type thread for selling stuff. I'm sure there are others like myself, who have at least a few climbing, backpacking and so forth items collecting dust in their garage or elsewhere that could be, relatively painlessly, parted with Perhaps 10% (or whatever) could go to a common pool, which could be divided up among those whom would benefit most from it.

We talk about some sort of climbers resources to fall back on and joke about an Ol'Timer's home (you may recall Warren Harding's Downward Bound & other's musings on such a place) well, something like this (or perhaps someone else has a better idea) could be a start.

Well, kinda a long winded and rambling post, not sure what i was really trying to relate/convey, perhaps someone will garner something from it. And, if I had it all to do over, I would have focused first on an education, and a survival plan for the long run,I can only speak for myself, though, because I had plenty of opportunity, and should have made use of it sooner.


WB - Thanks, your very welcome. Kinda hard to share, open up about some things, but i felt it was apropos!

Mar 23, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
WOW !!!!

Thanks for writing that splitter .....

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Mar 23, 2013 - 11:29pm PT
I second Von Braun's comment.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Mar 23, 2013 - 11:56pm PT
Triple wow!! Splitter, you seem like a good dude. Sorry to hear that everyone in your life treated you so badly. If there is one thing i've learned from this, it's the friends and family are the only thing in life that really matter. They are the ones who will be there when you need them.

If you ever find yourself in squamish and need a partner or just want to go for a beer, please feel free to contact me and i would be happy to meet up with you!

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 24, 2013 - 06:24am PT
Thanks again Splitter!

Mar 24, 2013 - 07:06am PT
Ditto on the thanks for sharing it Splitter. On this quote:
"I started to get deathly ill, right out of the blue"

Did you ever figure that out, or get any feel for what might have been going on physically which started you feeling bad?

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Mar 24, 2013 - 07:16am PT
splitter, just a quick thank you.

My family has never mentioned my sons suicide. Not once. No sorry for your loss cards, nada, zip.
Even though I am staunchly non-religious, I DO have something of a relationship with Christ, and that has probably kept me alive.

It happens all the time, not sure why, but I know I am totally uncomfortable with illness, etc., and have probably done the same, abandon someone in need. Can't really pin point anything, but I'm sure I've let people down who might have needed me.


Trad climber
Mar 24, 2013 - 07:45am PT
Splitter - So sorry to know that people walked away and took from you in your direst time of need.

Thank you for that story - it certainly has a lot of messages and potential for learning lessons. Bets wishes to you today and going forward.

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 24, 2013 - 08:39am PT
That takes guts to tell your story. Good for you. I hope you ENJOY LIFE.
Photography is a great hobby/passion of mine too.

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Mar 24, 2013 - 08:55am PT
... high ratings for your comments, Splitter.

I suppose many of us skip or quickly scan over longer forum posts. But reflections so personal, plainspoken and guileless are not easy to pass over. Thank you.

Trad climber
Mar 24, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
I almost didn't circle back to this thread again because I was so pissed after I read the OP the first time around, but for some strange reason I felt like I should...and I'm really glad I did.

Hey Splitter, consider posting again in your own separate thread -- what you have to say speaks to many more people than even I can begin to imagine. I'm sorry to hear that you are so isolated, but I completely understand. For several years, it was just me and the muppet (not knocking the hubby, but he stuck his head in the sand, I think, because it was too hard to deal with, and I'm okay with that). It was with GREAT trepidation that I stuck my toe in the water here, but WOW, what an AWESOME tribe this is when you let its members IN.

What you wrote took brute courage and a serious jump into the unknown. And, hey, you've got at least one more new member of the tribe who would be honored to call you "friend", if nothing else, but I suspect you've struck gold in the human connection department. From my own experiences, I believe with every fiber of my being that it's connection that we all need above everything else (even when it feels "safer" to rely on yourself and external forces). BooDawg will chuckle if he reads this, because he reminds me quite frequently (indirectly, of course) that I am DESERVING of You are, too.

My husband has asked me many times why I wasn't angry with my friends or family for treating me the way they did when I was sick. I was angry plenty at various points in time, usually when it felt like things were completely outside of my control, but I always came back to center believing that they all had their own burdens to bear. I also didn't want the anger or the energy of the anger pinging around inside my body, if that makes any sense. I wanted it out because it didn't belong to me and wasn't mine. Gave it the boot. Not saying that's right or healthy or anything else -- it just was. It was freeing, in a sense.

I'm sort of a lone wolf, too, but wolves live well in packs. I suppose I'm a wolf that sticks with pack members that give me the freedom to leave when I need solitude. And in return I try my best to be there when I'm needed. But, I'm not perfect.

It's an incredible journey that you're on, Splitter, and sharing the stuff most choose to hide is an incredible gift that you've offered of yourself. I suspect that anyone you meet in the future that has read your post will meet you with his or her heart.

Echoing what Ed said several pages back, it just doesn't matter which path you followed to get where you are. Stop "should-ing" all over yourself. ") I was a corporate attorney in international telecom when I first really started going downhill fast. In the end, it didn't matter what my job was, that I had savings and retirement savings, a house, a car, health insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, etc. It took almost 10 years, getting fired from a job in international satellite and losing absolutely everything, including all of those benefits you're "supposed" to have as a safety net, before I figured out what was wrong. But you already know that story. I added this to back up YOUR story. There are things you just can't predict.

Chiefly among those things that you just can't predict is how people will respond to you when you open your heart. I hope that yours is now starting to feel full.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 24, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
Very guys (and gals)...

Funny how a thread can this case a very moving way...


Social climber
Mar 24, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Splitter, I wish your sharing would be posted on another thread that wasn't a first-time troll.

Just saying, it's worthy, and this thread is not.

We followed similar paths with our carpentry, BTW.


Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 24, 2013 - 05:31pm PT

1: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
a: generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need
b: an institution engaged in relief of the poor
c: public provision for the relief of the needy
a: a gift for public benevolent purposes
b: an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4: lenient judgment of others

as an intransitive verb:

1: to ask for as a charity

as a transitive verb:

1: to ask for alms

1: archaic : charity
2: something (as money or food) given freely to relieve the poor;

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Mar 24, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
^^^ :D And are beggars really begging, or just asking for help?
John M

Mar 24, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Hey Splitter,

I started to write a thanks for sharing 3 or 4 times, but kept deleting it because some of your story hit too close to home. I have shared bits and pieces of my story here on the forum, but its hard to say much because I haven't yet found out why I have gotten sick. I also lost my home and job and a business that I was just starting. Plus I also lost friends. I do have two staunch friends who stuck by me through the worst of it. Karl Bralich who posts here as Karl Baba is one of those friends. Thanks Karl, you da man.

It can be hard to share stories like that because sometimes you can get negative responses. One person on this forum made fun of me for losing my home. He said I was an idiot for not declaring bankruptcy, but at the time I fully believe that I would be able to turn things around and had no idea the poor health would go on for so long. So I know that it takes courage to express oneself on such a public forum.

I'm very grateful that you found out that it was a med that was causing the problem. What a relief that must have been, though you say it caused quite a bit of damage to you physically. That must really suck.

Thanks again..

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 24, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
the basic issue with providing charity by some institution seems to revolve around how much of the contribution given to charity actually gets to the people who need it...

while libertarians argue that the government is inefficient, absorbing a large fraction of the funds to support the activity, and that private institutions are more efficient, private institutions have problems with fraud (which is the reason that government overhead is so high, to manage the funds so that there is no fraud).

but whether or not the organization is public or private, the hesitancy seems to be the idea that the money given is not going to the people the giver intended...

another issue is whether or not the people receiving the charity are deserving, in the eyes of the giver... certainly there are many emotional issues regarding this... but once again, this is independent of whether or not the organization is public or private.

the itinerant life style of climbing leave many climbers "under resourced" for the various problems that may beset them, most often these are medical, but they can also be legal.

This is not a new problem, for instance, crews of ships often encounter misfortune in remote places, a shipping company might not pay and leave a shipmate stranded in a foreign land... or in the past, the shipmate may not return home due to some accident, and leave a family with no one to provide for it.

Various institutions grew up around finding the resources to provide for people who are in need, including both int the public and private sectors.

There was an article in the NYTimes yesterday (Saturday) about the Freelancers Union,
which provides a benefit to workers who are hired on as "contractors" without benefits... first and foremost, they can use the bargaining power of the union to obtain health insurance, the major benefit they lack in the work situations.

This is another way of providing for the needy, though here it is the "working" needy, by organizing together and using the power of that organization in the form of the availability of labor.... it seems that this is just parity with those organizations that would use labor... obviously the two are a complementary pair which should balance each other (though this seems quite out of balance in the US at the moment).

The main point of this rambling post is a notion that has been floated from time to time on the STForum, that is, given that the public sector response to health care is something that is going to take a long time to sort itself out, shouldn't climbers band together to create a "Climbers' Benevolence Society" with the expressed purpose of raising funds to disperse to climbers in need.

There are many climbers who might want to help, and have the means to help, but do not want to directly contribute to an individual who is asking for, or for whom someone else has asked for help.

This is a private charity. The idea would be for it to seek contributions and then oversee the dispersement of those funds to those seeking help. There would be criteria to receive help, and some board to oversee the decisions, and the financing of the charity.

I have no idea what this would cost, I'm not the sort that has that knowledge, but there are many climbers who do...

How would such a thing work, etc... it would be interesting to discuss it here again...

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Mar 24, 2013 - 06:29pm PT

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 24, 2013 - 06:33pm PT
the AAC has a different mission statement, and is probably not legally set up to raise money for the purpose of charity...

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 24, 2013 - 07:25pm PT

I think that those of us that can, will.

Sharing is a basic human trait.
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