Saturday, November 28, 2009

Getting ready

So, when you're about to go on vacation, what do you do? You pack, which of course involves doing lots and lots of laundry. You clean up around the house, you make lists of things not to forget to take or do. You go to the post office to request to have your mail held, you ask your neighbor to bring in your paper, you arrange to have them put out your trash for you. You make sure the dogs have a place at the kennel and that their things are packed up. And lots, lots more...

And I have done most of these things, in preparation for our trip to Columbus. So how come I won't get to have fun while I am there? If I am preparing for this out of town trip, shouldn't I get to at least enjoy it??? Okay, so it's not a pleasurable experience. But having another set of scans in two months that read "stable" or better, will be. So I guess we'll go after all.

I've been trying to make up an itinerary for the girls' grandparents, who will be hosting them for both weeks we're in C'bus. I had Rebecca review the cafeteria menu so we know which days she'll buy and which days she'll pack. Of course, payday falls on Monday the 30th. I need to figure out what needs to be paid from this paycheck so that I can have Jim do that from his laptop... it is usually something I do on payday or right after but I know I won't feel up to it. And then I will have to do it again for the next pay, which falls during my second cycle of treatment. That one will be a little bit tricker, because while Jim's check is the same, mine will be cut by 30%. We have a good short term disability plan at work; it pays 70% of your salary after an initial waiting period of one week, which you use your PTO (paid time off - all of our time is in one pot that we use for vacation, personal, sick and waiting period days) to cover. Luckily for me, this leave is considered an extension of my leave in September, so I don't have a 40 work hour waiting period to fulfill again. But... I also no longer have a nice bank of unused PTO to bridge the gap between the STD pay and full pay. I used to have a nice balance in my PTO bank all the time. During both of my maternity leaves, I was able to use PTO to bridge most of my unpaid time, even for the FMLA weeks I took after the medical part of my leave ended. But then I used a week plus bridging in August of last year when the first met was resected. Then in February I used another week... I was lucky to be able to come back to work after only a week but there went 40 hours. I took a week in the spring and one in the summer as planned, to spend time with Jim and the girls. But then all the trips to Columbus for pre-IL-2 testing ate up a lot of what was left, and I used 40 hours for that waiting period when I first entered the hospital. The rest of it went to bridge me but it wasn't much and I had one seriously sad paycheck. Since I was back to work for just about 3 full pay periods, I was able to build up a tiny cushion, but had to use 8 hours of it for Thanksgiving, and the rest will go toward bridging again. Christmas and probably New Year's Day will fall while I'm out. Since those are designated holidays, guess what? I'm supposed to take PTO for them. So there's two more holes in the payment schedule. *sigh* It's certainly not the end of the world, and we'll figure a way through it. I would probably be a bit less stressed about it if we weren't facing the end of pay for Jim at the end of January, should he still be jobless at that point. I keep saying that January is when he will find a new job; that God, or fate, or whatever, planned this so that he could come back to Columbus with me, but my confidence in that assertion is still a bit shaky.

On the other hand, this treatment is supposed to help lengthen my life and keep it at the quality of life I have been enjoying, that is, fully active and without any medical restriction. And that, my friends, will be worth any hand-wringing about paying some bills.

1 comment:

Joannah said...

Good luck, Liz! You will be in my prayers.