As many of you know this has been a rough year for me. I have multiple chronic health issues that have played havoc with my ability to function, let alone work. I’m down to four days of sick/personal leave. Things have progressed to the point that I was seeking short term disability from my state teaching department. This lengthy process takes at least three or four months, includes lots of paperwork, multiple trips to the doctor, a severe reduction in pay and an expensive switch to the State’s disability insurance. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about Drs appointments and being sick while I waited for approval or how I would pay for the new insurance. I spoke with my employer who assured me that they would advance me five additional sick days. This was great, but not even close to the time I would need. The surgery is going to require at LEAST two months of recovery time. My employer also informed me that with proper paperwork, my contract allowed me to take up to a year without pay and still hold on to my job. I would of course lose my insurance. My husband could add me to his insurance, but then I would lose the pre-approval for the needed surgery that I have fought a year for and would most likely result in fighting the fight all over again.To put it mildly, things were looking grim. We would of course done whatever we needed to do even if it meant no pay. And…count our blessings that I could be added to my husband’s insurance plan.
A few weeks ago, an angel came to me in the form of my Assistant Principal. (I know who knew?) she asked me if I had considered asking for help from my union sick bank. I told her I really didn’t know what it was or how it worked. She said it was a one-time thing, but that I could ask my co-workers if they would donate some of their sick days to me. She said maybe people would donate enough days for me to get my surgery and recover. I felt a little uncomfortable asking for their help, but I was out of options and this seemed worth a shot. Anything they would give me would help. So, I wrote a letter asking for their help and explaining why I was finding it difficult to work. Last Friday, I was told my co-workers had donated enough days for me to take the rest of the year off. No changes to my income or insurance.
There isn’t anything in this for them except helping me. I feel as if a cement block has been lifted from my chest. I won’t have to worry about making it through each work day. I won’t have to be a financial burden to my family. I won’t lose my insurance or the right to the surgery I so desperately need. I’ll have the rest of the year to seek help and heal. A miracle.
My biggest problem at this point is figuring out how to express my gratitude for their generosity. How do I let them know they truly may have actually saved my life. Words just don’t seem adequate. I pray that what they have given me comes back to them ten-fold.
God Bless Rolling Hills Schools and their wonderful teachers.