Mike’s wife started a journal and wrote about every meeting and person she dealt with. The journal was very useful later when the insurance company came to assess her situation.
It’s hard to remember, but being a caregiver—and you mentioned that long-term disability thing—we’re going to talk about insurance. And one thing you have to do as a partner is you have to be their advocate and you can’t walk away from the insurance companies. Stand and—don’t stand and fight, that’s not what I’m trying to say—but stand and be strong with the insurance companies. The biggest thing that was told to us as a couple—and anybody that’s going to be a caregiver should start doing this with the person that’s going to be getting sick or get sicker—you start a journal. My wife wrote in that journal for over 2 years every day, whomever she dealt with at the bank, at the insurance companies. And then when it came in time for the insurance, when the insurance individual showed up at the house to do the questioning, to ask questions or the questionnaire, my wife was able to take out the book and say, “Yes, on this day I talked to so and so.”
Went through that and it’s a long story—I’m not going to get into that—but eventually the insurance person asked what is that book, and she said, “This is my diary from the day I was diagnosed, and when you leave today it will be filled out after our meeting.” And the woman just said, “Fine, no problem. We’ll accept. You are now on long-term disability.” But with that, she kept asking me why I was still there? “Why are you here with your wife?” I said, “Well, why wouldn’t I be with my wife? We make decisions together; we bought the house together, we buy our car together, we buy RRSPs together. This is our journey. This is not your journey and my wife’s journey.” She had a hard time accepting that, and in the end what I said, “Look, my job is a salesman. My job is to sell things to people that they don’t want to buy. And your job,” and I repeated this very slowly to her, I said, “Your job as an insurance agent is not to give us one penny. And that’s your job. I’m not mad. It’s just what you’re here to do; to make sure we’re not cheating you. And my job as my wife’s husband is to make sure that we get every penny that she deserves to make our life easier.” So anybody that starts under the caregiver side has to remember that they are in this together with their partner, and it’s not going to be an easy fight. And sometimes it’s good, and there were really no big problems and we were able to get what we wanted, what we deserved from the insurance company.
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