My husband and I met the old fashioned way: in a bar. He was the drummer for a band playing all the good clubs around town and I was enamored with the music and the players. One night, after a set I went up and talked to my future husband on a whim. That started a whirlwind courtship that ended with the two of us barefoot on the beach in Malibu vowing to love, honor, cherish each other in sickness and in health — no matter what.
Both of us had had credit card trouble early in our 20s and decided around the time we started planning our wedding that we would no longer have credit cards. We agreed not to put anything for the wedding on a credit card, so we wouldn’t bring debt into our marriage. It made it tricky at times and many of the wonderful things at our wedding were gifts. My sister gifted us our wedding cake. His parents gifted us the airfare for our honeymoon. It was a lovely affair and we succeeded in created a debt-free wedding.
We continued on our credit card free life and, by our second anniversary, had two wonderful little boys. We were both working and making a good living at our day jobs, but we were not saving a penny. We fell into a scary cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
Six months later, the situation would get even scarier. My husband became very ill and landed in the ICU for 11 days due to thyroid disease, heart disease and complications from diabetes. The following month, just after his second birthday, our oldest son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
In sickness and in health. Do we realize what those words truly mean before the sickness happens? The barrage of doctors, specialists, scans, tests and medications was enough to empty our coffers, but we didn’t have savings. We didn’t think about the rainy day or emergency fund. We were young. We were naive.
Our son was not sick. However, he was in serious need of early intervention consisting of occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, sensory integration therapy, specialized developmental preschool, nutritional therapy and specialized supervision. These were additional expenses that we could not afford to take on. But how do you justify not getting therapies and services that might produce a more independent and functioning child?