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As many know, I have been on leave from the school in which I had been teaching since we found out about my wife's cancer.   I had been prepared to return as soon as Wednesday, but knowing that I would periodically have to take time off - for example, when she begins chemo next Wednesday.

I had informed the school that I would not be returning for next year.  It is not a great fit for me, even though they were quite pleased as what I had done with the students.

In order to be eligible for rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, one must have worked worked for the employer for at least 12 months and in the 12 months immediately previous to applying for FMLA leave have worked at least 1250 hours.  Since I went under contract after Thanksgiving, I had no rights under the law.  Were I planning to return next year, perhaps they would have made a different decision, perhaps not.

I would not have been paid for any additional time off I took, but I could have earned money to help cover our additional expenses.  We are not sure what will happen next financially, but we will work our way through it.

Please keep reading.

The leadership of the school feels I should focus full-time on my wife.  There is a rationale to that, although she no longer needs me full time.

At the same time, ironically, the piece I did for Academe, which I crossposted here at Daily Kos on February 5, was also picked up by Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post where it has gone viral -  as I write this, it has over 2000 comments on the Post website, and has been tweeted from there more than 2,000 times and recommended on Face Book more than 62,000 times.  And today Diane Ravitch featured it on her blog.  

That has lead to radio interviews and a request to film me for part of a documentary.

None of this represents income, but at least it keeps me connected with my educational activism.

Whether this will open any doors for possible income I do not know.  I won't worry about that now.  When we found out about her illness, my beloved and I agreed we would make whatever lifestyle changes were necessary.   The only firm things were that we would stay together and we would find a way to keep our cats.  Everything else - and I mean EVERYTHING - is disposable or negotiable.

IT is now Tuesday morning.  In a few hours we will go to a class on nutrition during chemo.  Chemo will start on the 19th.  Between now and then her dental work has to be brought up to date, because she cannot have dental work other than a cleaning during chemo.

On Monday, besides her normal radiation treatment, my beloved had extensive xrays taken of those parts of her skeletal structure that had not previously been filmed.  Her oncologist wants to be sure no possible impact of the blood cancer on the bones has been missed.

We walked from one part of the hospital to another.

She is getting used to "Gregor" her back brace.  

I am getting used to putting it on and taking it off.

As she has turned herself over to trusting God, a decision she made even before she knew she had cancer, I am going to let go of my tendency to be what she sometimes calls her small boy tornado.  I will take some deep breaths and take things one step at a time.

MY friend and mentor Parker Palmer was once wrestling with a difficult decision.  He went to consult with an elderly wise Quaker woman.  He was trying to get a sense of direction, what we Friends call "way opening."   After he poured out his feelings and concerns to her, she remarked that she had never experienced "way opening."

Parker wrote that his heart fell - if this spiritual woman had never experienced it, what hope was there for him.

But then she went on.  She told him that she had experienced "way closing" and sometimes that was just as good.

I have just experienced 'way closing."   I was wrestling with how I balanced a commitment to students who needed real continuity and my primary obligation to my beloved.  It was going to be a very interesting challenge.

That way is now closed.

And now I turn and perhaps see for the first time possibilities I had not previously considered?

We will get through this.

We have each other.

We have the support and love of the various communities of which we are a part.

We are learning what participants in 12-step programs already know, the importance of letting go and letting God.  For me that means to trust other people, to not attempt to do it all myself.

This evening I had a conversation with a woman who is very dear to me.  I have in recent months been present as a friend to help her, although she has not always availed herself of that friendship.  Tonight I told her I was prepared to accept help and support from her, something I probably was not before.

I am learning.

As acquaintances with whom we have not had recent contact learn, they reach out to us.

we are learning to take the time to let them express, to try to find ways to let them give to us.

A person who has had a stroke often has to relearn basic things.  We can see something similar in watching Gabby Giffords learn to speak again, to walk again.

We have suffered a shock, my wife far more than me.

Our shock is mild - I am not comparing it to having a stroke or being shot, but point at those as vague parallels that we find relevant to us, that perhaps can help us explain to others.

We have already started to relearn what it means to love one another.

there is no "til death us do part" in this.

We are also having to learn what it means to be a friend.  The easy part is giving of onself to others.  The hard part, especially for me, is being vulnerable and surrendered and letting others give to us.

One might say that my school decided to terminate me.

I look at it that they decided to give me the gift of focusing on where my heart really is, with my wife.

I thank them for that.

And I thank you for being patient these verbal meanderings.

In sharing I am letting go and trusting.

So is my beloved.

She is trusting me, giving me the gift of allowing me to do this sharing, even as her own sense of privacy might have her communicate far less.

We are what we are, what we have been, and from that we will go forward to what we can still be.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (127+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:34:40 PM PST

  •  I do have a pension and social security (60+ / 0-)

    and we have put away some money before this happened.

    So we do not face an imminent crisis.  Our situation is far better than what others without FMLA benefits might face.

    My school has been more than generous with me already.  I do not fault them.  The decision may be the best thing for the students.

    So this is not a request for help, other than your continued prayers and love.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:37:46 PM PST

  •  Ken, both you and Leaves (21+ / 0-)

    have my utter respect, not to mention my love and prayers.

    When confronted by a crisis, the natural tendency is to collapse upon oneself, to grab at the few shreds of control remaining - to treat the challenge as "other" and to hold it off at all costs.  I've done that.  So have many others I count as deeply spiritual people.  With that approach, only later do the true spiritual benefits emerge.

    But you and Leaves are taking a different approach - embracing this challenge with open minds and hearts, being willing to learn from it, being open to whatever it might teach you.  

    This is truly the way of the Divine, however one might name it.

    You will both continue to have my prayers and love.  Please let me know if I can provide an ear, a shoulder or other support.

    Blessings to you both.

  •  we are on a journey or rather a pilgrimage (25+ / 0-)

    the difference is that a journey has a destination

    on a pilgrimage it is the travel itself that is the transformation

    I first learned that when visiting Mount Athos for the first time in 1981.  I decided to walk the old footpaths through the forests - by itself that decision transformed my visit into something beyond sightseeing, even sightseeing with a religious purpose

    we did not intend to travel his path

    On January 27th we found ourselves on a road we did not know

    we continue to learn - about ourselves, about the cloud of witnesses of love that are surrounding us, about the journey itself, which will be for the rest of our lives and then beyond

    when I traveled on Athos, often the paths would twist and turn, a necessity when traveling over rocky and mountainous terrain.  Sometimes we would seem to be heading back from where we had come, but those of us on those footpaths had to trust and continue to move forward

    so it is on this pilgrimage

    way closing

    path turning

    seeming setbacks

    letting go and trying to perceive what we had previously missed or simply ignored

    the email informing me was sent about three hours before I opened my school email account and read it

    as a result I am still awake well past my normal sleeping time as I process, as I let go and trust

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:22:58 PM PST

  •  {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} (10+ / 0-)

    for going forward and when it seems you are standing still or slipping back, more {{{{{{HUGS}}}}} to do what comes next.

    You are giving us all something as you learn.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:12:59 PM PST

  •  I am so sorry for your travails (14+ / 0-)

    I faced a similar situation almost 5 years ago where I had to be primary caregiver 24/7 and could not work.  In my case, I was too young for SS and had spent almost all our savings on medical bills.  I also had health issues of my own.

    My only advice (if it may be termed as such) is to take care of yourself as well as your loved one.  In my case for two years I tried to work and be caregiver and wrecked what was left of my health.  While I got SSDI after 4 years of no insurance, yesterday, helping my son in law finish putting together a sword rack completely winded me though I only drove a dozen finishing nails and drilled a dozen or so holes.  I spent most of today bedridden and am up now because the load of various meds have finally reached a sufficient level.  I am less robust than I thought I was.

    Caregiving is the most destructive act of love you can ever do because you are on alert 24/7.  What your partner once did, you now do along with what you customarily did along with new tasks and duties.  You sleep in 2 hour snatches, worry about bills with no one to share your worry with, worry about money without surcease, worry about everything except yourself.  That takes a toll which you may not realize until after your situation has resolved itself  

    •  thanks fo sharing (9+ / 0-)

      fortunately I am not on ale 24/7.  Already I am able to leave for several hours at a time.  We had clearance from her oncologist fo me to go back to work this week, although that will now not be happening.  Still, I have taken time away - perhaps to go sit by myself in Starbucks and read or catch up up on email.

      What I will do now, at least in the short term, is focus on what we already new had to be done - "downsizing" - cleaning out books and things we no longer need to have.   that would be something we should do anyhow, and if we have to move because of finances, we would not be able to keep it all anyhow (although the issue of having to move is still quite some time away).

      I do not find caregiving destructive.  I am finding it lifegiving to me, because I am learning patience.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:34:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess it depends on the experience (7+ / 0-)

        I was primary caregiver for two family members while trying to work at first.  This evolved into 24/7 care where I would go without sleeping for 24 hrs and longer at a stretch.
         We also accumulated some $1M in medical and other debt.
        I guess the point is to recognize milestones and not mistake them for millstones

        •  Lack of sleep (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LSophia, Mrs M

          is a big problem for caregivers.

          I tried to sleep while leaning against my aunt's bed.

          If she was asleep in a chair I would place her walker in front and sleep in front of the walker. If she tried to get up, she'd awake me with the walker.

          I also installed a GE battery operated doorbell system with the buzzer on the handrail of her bed and the buzzer by my bed.

          She didn't have a large bed. Married people can sleep in the same bed as their disabled partner.

  •   TeacherKen, I'm fairly new at Dkos. That is, (19+ / 0-)

    I registered a while back, but only started reading much and participating last summer, focused first around the presidential campaign and now mostly around climate change, GMOs and birding.

    When I started reading here, you were among the first writers I noticed, and one of the first I followed.  When I see your name I always want to read the diary or the comment.  

    I don't think I had ever read anything by Leaves in the Current until you wrote about her health crisis. Now, though, I begin to have a sense of her, through your words, and she has become very dear to me.

    I'm not Quaker, but I have friends who are Friends.  I share much of their sense of the depths of silence, and the Light.  

    Because the two of you are opening so profoundly to this experience, it is taking you very deep.  That much you already know.  But I wonder if you know the value, not just to you, but also to us, of your sharing here.

    I've heard it said that one person in a meeting who goes really deep can take the rest deeper, as well.  When I read your words I feel myself opening more to my own life.  I feel myself following the two of you deeper.  The two of you are calling us to greater depth.  Offering the possibility.  Showing the way.  Thank you for this deep sharing.  It is a gift you give to us as well as to yourself -- and there are few better reflections of the Light than that.

    Pe'Sla isn't safe until the loan is paid off. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe could use some help with that.

    by Kay Observer2 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 01:44:39 AM PST

    •  thank you for your kind words (15+ / 0-)

      When I first considered retiring, I had a long conversation with Parker.  He helped me realize that by orientation I will always be a teacher but the nature of my classroom might well change.  In a sense what I am doing by writing here is a teaching mission.  I have always viewed my role as a teacher as involving co-learning with my students, of modeling how to learn, but also learning from them.  In one sense the sharing here fits that model.

      I am shy, sometimes painfully so, although I have learned how to interact with others by watching.   The shyness leaves me vulnerable to isolation.  THE sharing I do is one way of being connected beyond the barriers that shyness - and insecurity - set up.

      Leaves remarked yesterday that the remarkable reaction to my piece on the Washington Post website - where even now it continues to draw comments and recommends and it is still the 3rd most popular piece on the site - has provided me an affirmation that is important as I have to let go of helping my students - that is, those who were my students, since I am letting go.  Teaching has given me such purpose which in itself has been affirming.  The timing of this provides me a sense of worth even as I have to let go of the classroom, at least for now.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:41:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a great attitude you have! (8+ / 0-)
    they decided to give me the gift of focusing on where my heart really is

    May that focus be a blessing.  Thanks for sharing and you most certainly have prayers and love for doing so.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:49:04 AM PST

  •  As time allows, if you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avilyn, liz dexic, Mrs M

    or your beloved are so inclined, I hope that you can use the links I sent re. my beloved who has cared for more than one individual through cancer treatments, has lived with type-1 diabetes for over 30 years, and who seeks and has discovered a number of "non-traditional" dietary and spiritiual approaches toward healing. Her daily affirmations via FB and her blog site might offer occasional comfort and she is reachable via comments and e-mail through her site. Bless you both. I continue to offer my own version of prayers and affirmations as well.

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:30:07 AM PST

  •  Heartless - that is the root problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    Our support for the most vulnerable (us, collectively - yes, including you over there) is appalling, shameful.

  •  I am wondering.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, Mrs M

    if there isn't some way you can contribue to teaching online in some way- maybe by contributing to a site like

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:23:46 AM PST

  •  lovely as always (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, LSophia, teacherken, cpresley, Mrs M

    I found out yesterday, as I long suspected, that my father is a friend of yours (he's Quaker and he has long been active in early childhood education).  It felt like closing a circle when he sent me the update on Leaves.

    It sounds like you're being so smart and sensible, and leaving room for joy.  Thank you for keeping us up to date on how things progress.

    •  he was on my welcoming committee (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, cpresley, Mrs M

      when I formally joined that Meeting in March 2003.  I believe at the time he was still Clerk.

      He mentioned your reading my stuff at First Day when we were chatting.

      Thanks for your words.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  FMLA (5+ / 0-)

    All these requirements for benefits escape me.  It means that people most in need are least likely to get help.

    My mother used to express the same ideas you capture in the opening and closing with her saying that when one door closes another will soon open.  I also think that we tend, quite naturally, to cling to what we know, but when circumstances force us, we look around with different eyes and find solutions we never would have thought of.

    I am so glad your article is getting wide circulation and a positive response.

  •  I haven't commented much, but I have been (6+ / 0-)

    following your posts, and both you and your wife are in my thoughts and prayers.  Know that there are many, many people out here who are pulling for both of you.

    "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

    by catleigh on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:38:13 AM PST

  •  The school released you? (7+ / 0-)

    I know this is not the comments you looked for . . . but I am a lawyer, in my office (I hope a more compassionate one).

    I am thinking if I am a professor at a school I say I am not returning next year and they lay me off for "my best interest" or continuity" etc they still laid me off and you would be entitled to unemployment compensation so long as you are "actively" seeing work or whatever your state requires.

    I would apply. Depends, I don't quite see how it went down. But that would be SOME money.

    •  ADA and ERISA (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      celdd, liz dexic, SuWho, greengemini, LSophia

      Again I am learning this as I read back. Unfortunately did not take much employment or labor law.

      I wonder if there is something about the ADA if not covered by the FMLA.

      ADA.  A somewhat overlooked provision of the ADA prohibits "excluding or otherwise denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association."**  Based on this provision, the EEOC has offered, as an example of "associational discrimination," that "an employer may not treat a worker less favorably based on stereotypical assumptions about the worker's ability to perform job duties satisfactorily while also providing care to a relative or other individual with a disability."

      or Erisa. see same link. Again I really don't know the facts, but it does not at all seem reasonable to me. And just because they treated you well, well that's good, but if they did not let you do what you felt best as an educator I know the law is a stress for many, but asking people like me who got into law to assist, is a good start.

      I am guessing you will need every dime you can get.

      •  ADA continued (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        An employer cannot take action against you because you ask for your rights under the ADA. The Act also protects you if you are discriminated against because of your family, business, social, or other type of relationship or association with a person who has a disability. For instance, this means an employer cannot discriminate against you because your spouse or child has cancer.

        Still, the ADA does not completely protect your job just because you have a disability and are qualified for the job. The employer can still fire or lay off (terminate) an employee with a disability for legitimate business reasons. For instance, a disabled worker would not be protected during downsizing.

        I really really am not trying to get your hopes up. I have never dealt with either act. I am just trying to figure out, as it seems wrong. Hope I helped, I would call someone for a free consultatoin in your state. It sounds to me "discriminatory" to say "eh, it's best for your students because you're going to be __ because of your love". I am not sure and to the extent it helps hope it proves true.

        •  I can at least say it is Discriminatory (0+ / 0-)

          I do not know if it matters as I don't know the circumstances nor the statutes well.

          But if I say you can't shop in my store because I don't like your jacket that is discrimination (legal, well unless proxy for race, etc.). I suppose I mean the sparse parts I gather, ie they chose because you have a wife with a condition to force you to leave, to me is undoubedtly discriminatory. A remedy? I am not sure.

          I tell all my clients (usually don't open their mail) please look into and utilize your rights so you don't lose them (not just that, so others similarly situated don't, see how police routinely search cars (can't) just because people are coerced into thinking they are doing something wrong (yet constitutional in saying "no thanks")).

          Hope makes sense still thinking  .. .

          •  That Comment is to say (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mrs M

            I am very aware of many Lawyer's bedside manner. And quite frankly disgusted by it.

            But I gather, that this altered your plans (what exactly still not totally clear).

            You have a good heart. Those are the best clients. Those that do not think "I want to Sue _".

            But the last point I was making, is I have to imagine this rates as the highest 3 stressors (1 wife/medical, 2 job, and 3 me proposing to talk to a lawyer).

            But, I really really encourage you to find out as from what I gather your focus is not on attacking them. Not what your diary was about.

            But, I also gather you do not have the luxury of accepting a polite stampede on your rights. So please, in considering the future, the need, consider speaking to someone. It doesn't mean you have to do anything.

            But, depending, you could waive rights in two years? Who knows the SOL, you will wish you had back.

            And when speaking with hesitant clients (assuming you have a legitimate issue, I could not say) I usually utilize this concept, because I too am loyal to my employer, in general. But, I never lose sight of the fact my employer can lay me off at any time. And if they saw a way to make more money by doing so, I don't know I could fault them. Just the same they should understand I have rights to protect as well. That's business. It's strictly business.

      •  yes and no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mrs M

        I left open to them that if they had someone who could continue next year and could start now, I would be willing to step aside.

        I did not resign, but would have no basis to sue.

        They are a non-profit, and right now I could not provide much continuity of instruction.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:32:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is a possibility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mrs M

      since I live in a different jurisdiction than I was teaching in.  I will explore it.

      I would qualify because I worked the first  6 months of last year and then roughly three months of this teaching position.

      I do have applications out.

      The problem is of course that I am limited by supporting Leaves at least in the early stages of her chemo.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    Recommended by:
    raboof, liz dexic

    WANTED have allowed you to Qualify for the FMLA?

    If so talk to a lawyer. They may have really screwed up. Not my speciality but anything not interests me so I read about ppl's stories.

    If say you were vested, you requested your FMLA time and got laid off, your employer is probably at the wrong end of an FMLA Interference claim.

    I would have to assume the same is true if you propose something that will lead to FMLA time. And they say "uh, no." And tell you it's in "your best interest."

    No idea but if it was something like that, plz describe or pm, it does not sound at all allowable. Again pm'ing me I can only tell you what I am reading as I write.

    •  I am not eligible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mrs M

      the HR person sent me the paperwork.  I read it, went and read the regulations online, and I am clearly not covered.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:33:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agree with catleigh. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a longtime reader and infrequent commenter on your posts. Your chronicle of Leaves' medical journey resonates with me and you beautifully explain how a medical crisis (your own or going through a loved one's crisis) can deepen your spirituality.

    You are both in my thoughts.

  •  One of the most difficult things in life (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, liz dexic, teacherken to learn to be comfortable with "uncertainty." This is mostly the case for Western mindset that is used to trust one's ability to "know" and to "fix" things. We do not forgive imperfection and the "faults" are always ours because we "failed" to do everything right. This mindset works to a degree until we are faced with the unknown and lo and behold "it" will make itself "known." The Eastern philosophies however are a bit more relaxed about the unknown. One of the reasons behind the lagging development have been this mind set of being able to "let go," which affects productivity, negatively, if not slows it down.

    The West however discovered this "unknown" through the science of quantum mechanics during the early 20th century. Heisenberg's theory of uncertainty is really none other than looking at "let it be" from a window of what we call science. In addition, latest discoveries in science observing the quantum phenomenon in macro space has opened up this new understanding to the previously unimaginable levels. In other words, we are realizing that this "uncertainty" is not only a scientific phenomenon to be measured in labs, it is the part and the parcel of our every moment human existence. Things somehow happen to us reminding us our limitations in the face of this law of the universe. And when we recognize it and give it its due acception, then somehow miracles happen and a mercy comes out of nowhere.

    Trusting this law revealed to us by our scientific studies is how I define my "faith." I give no name to what I have been observing and living (who could?) but it is a fact to my observation. And I am simply in awe of it.

    Sorry for the blabber. I just needed to share.


    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:12:18 AM PST

  •  peace and blessings to you and your household (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, liz dexic, greengemini

    I can't imagine what you're going through, but it's definitely heartwarming to see you enter this with such a positive spirit - it will definitely help your journey!

    FMLA is a minimum, bare-bones coverage - while laudable for at least being something, its definitely lacking in terms of providing support when compared against other industrialized nations.

    My wife had a c-section with our baby last March, and the current place I had been employed would've denied me FMLA for helping her recover - I would've been short of the deadline by a month.  Fortunately, I found employment at another firm that had 2 week paid parental leave policy that had only a 90 day work requirement - I was able to switch jobs and take advantage of this benefit by the time our son was born.  I was extremely lucky in this regard!  Even this wonderful benefit pales in comparison to parental paid leave policies that other industrialized nations have.  Its time for our country to step up and join the rest of the world in treating us less like expendable chattle.

    Obama saw this a**hole coming a mile away.

    by MusicFarmer on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:20:37 AM PST

  •  Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits (0+ / 0-)

    for FERS & CSRS

    (2) while employed in a position subject to FERS or CSRS, the federal or postal employee becomes disabled because of a medical condition,  resulting in a deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance, or, absent such deficiency, the medical condition must be incompatible with either useful and efficient service or retention in the position;

    (3) the disabling medical condition is expected to continue for at least one year from the date the application is filed; and

    (4) accommodation of the disabling medical condition in the appellant's former position or in an existing vacant position must be unable to be accomplished by the agency.  5 U.S.C. § 8337(a); 5 C.F.R. § 831.1203(a).

    Some employers offer short-term diability benefits. I don't know if the federal government is one.

    •  we are not yet worried about her (0+ / 0-)

      she is getting a lot of support and they are bending over backwards to provide continuity because she is a valued employee.

      But thanks.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:35:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In Germany, payment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    to replace work income kicks in after 30 days I believe.

    In the first 30 days I believe it is the employer and not a Krankenkasse (sick fund) that replaces lost income.

  •  You are right about the FMLA. You are a great (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, teacherken, Lily O Lady

    teacher in the classroom, but not just there. I don't think I'm the only one who has learned much from your writing here at Daily Kos.

  •  Library of Congress benefits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paid Leave

    Annual Leave - An employee may use annual leave for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. An employee has a right to take annual leave, subject to the right of the supervisor to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken. Annual Leave Ceiling - the maximum amount of annual leave that may be carried over into the new leave year is 240 hours (30 days)
    Sick Leave - An employee may use sick leave for personal medical needs, care of a family member/bereavement purposes, and/or adoption related purposes. There are no limits on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated.
    Accrual Rates:
     •Full-time employees = ½ day (4 hours) for each biweekly pay period

    That's thirteen days a year of sick leave.

  •  The PG County or other systems might (0+ / 0-)

    hire you as a substitute.

    There is also the possibility of mortgaging the house if your liquid assets get low.

  •  Arlington Couty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ClevelandAttorney, Lily O Lady
    2013 Real Estate Tax Relief Questions and Answers

    Arlington Homeowners Who Are Age 65 or Older, or Disabled

    May Be Eligible for…… Real Estate Tax Relief


    The Arlington County Real Estate Tax Relief Program provides an exemption and/or deferral of real estate taxes for qualified Arlington homeowners age 65 and older and certain totally and permanently disabled homeowners.

    Q. Where can I apply?
    A. Department of Human Services, 2100 Washington Blvd. Third Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22204.

    Download an application.                              

    Q. Is there a deadline to file an application?
    A. Yes.  To receive a timely adjusted bill for the first installment of the real estate tax, you should apply by March 31. The final deadline is August 15. Applications will not be accepted after August 15.

    Q. What are the age requirements?
    A. You must be at least 65 years old (if not totally and permanently disabled). If you turn 65 during the current year, the amount of exemption will reflect the number of months that you meet the age requirement.

    Q. Do all of the owners have to be 65 or older or disabled?
    A. A spouse may be younger than 65 and not disabled   as long as the other spouse meets all the requirements. However, owners other than spouses must meet all of the requirements.

    Q. Do all of the owners have to live in the home?
    A. Yes. Your home has to be your sole residence. All owners who have title to the property must reside in the property as of January 1 of this year and continue to reside there (except owners in nursing homes and assisted living facilities).

    Q. If I am under 65, how much of a disability must I have in order to be eligible for the program?
    A. There are two requirements to meet this criterion:   1. you must be totally and permanently disabled. (See the next question for more information). 2. You must also be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of your disability. If you are substantially gainfully employed, you will not meet the disability criteria for this program even with appropriate documentation.
    Q. What are the income and asset limits for an exemption for all or a part of my taxes?
    A. If the combined gross income of all of the owners and relatives living in the home during the preceding year is $99,472 or less you may qualify for an exemption. Household assets (excluding your home) must be less than $340,000 for an exemption. The percent of taxes exempted depends on income (see chartð).

    One or two person household:
           $0-$55,953                       Full exemption
           $55,954-$68,387             50% exemption
           $68,388- $99,472            25% exemption

    •  we are not eligible (0+ / 0-)

      1.  I worked for Arlington COunty Govt for 8.5 years.  Among other things, I did the computer work for the Real Estate Assessments.

      2.  Both the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Treasurer are personal friends, so I have good guidance on anything that would be relevant.

      3.  I am over 65, she is not.

      4.  Our gross income was way over the limit.

      5.  THe taxes on the house would not be the issue.  Making the mortgage MIGHT be, but only were we to lose her income.  

      But thanks.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:37:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  May the light shine on you both (0+ / 0-)

    Peace be with you .  I hope you don't mind a few ramblings.  Please ignore me if they aren't helpful.  

    If I was in your shoes, I would be procuring CBD (cannibidiol) in any way that I could, even if meant that I temporarily moved to an apartment in a medical marijuana state so that I could have residence, although I hear that some judicious facebooking to contact the medical marijuana underground railroad for cancer survivors can do wonders.

    Cannabis oil cured my cancer

    cannabis oil cured colon cancer

    Scientists find marijuana stops metastases in aggressive cancer

    I am sorry that you have money worries in a time like this.   SSDI has a program for fast-tracking approval in certain cases of severe illness.    We learned about it when my sister had oral and lung cancer.   I wonder if that might help with the money situation.

    Also, having been through this with a couple of close family members...   I know that your mind is not on material things like this right now.  It is sometimes better to let go of your attachment to possessions, whether it's your car or your house, sooner rather than later, particularly if money is an issue.    You might not need a second car, if you have one.  Things like that.   Letting go of material things can relieve some of the money worries, and let you focus on the things that matter more.

    When my father had lung cancer, I took FMLA for three months to go live with him in his final days.   I understand your comments about focusing on your wife.  

    On the other hand, I can say that living in the role of caretaker full-time can be so draining that it can drain you to the point that you are not as strong as you need to be to care for your loved one.  You have to keep yourself strong to keep her strong.   Sometimes, if you are in for a long haul, it is better to pace yourself, and get some balance in your life, and get out of the house.    This helps to keep you going, and it also makes the world a bigger place, because then you can come back home and tell Leaves all about your day.   So, an option that allows you to get out for part of the day, whether for work or other reasons, if you can get someone to sit in, might give both you and Leaves a welcome break.

    Best Wishes.

  •  In the interpretive appendix to 29 CFR 1630.8, (0+ / 0-)

    which is the regulation which addresses discrimination based on association with a person with a disability, it says in part:

    To illustrate the scope of this provision, assume that a qualified applicant without a disability applies for a job and discloses to the employer that his or her spouse has a disability. The employer thereupon declines to hire the applicant because the employer believes that the applicant would have to miss work or frequently leave work early in order to care for the spouse. Such a refusal to hire would be prohibited by this provision.

    Sounds very much like what your school did.  Maybe you should go see a lawyer.

    •  no, for lots of reasons (0+ / 0-)

      some of which I have addressed upthread

      I offered to them if they could find a replacement who could cover the class next year and that person could start now, it would make sense for the continuity of the students to make the change now.  I acknowledged that I would have to be out from time to time, perhaps 1 day a week minimum for the rest of the school year.

      I want what is best for the students.

      And I am not about to jeopardize the good relationship I still have with people in that school. i came out of retirement to help them.  That I will not have an income from them simply puts me back where I was before thanksgiving, where I made some occasional money by consulting and writing.

      I am will to take this as a gift.

      One more important thing, that I realize after we had a two-hour class on chemo, along with several other families about to start.  It is very important during chemo not to expose the cancer patient to infections or diseases. Anyone who has served as a classroom teacher knows that we are constantly exposed and often pick up things to which we have some immunity, but which does not prevent us from passing on to others.  In that sense, not regularly interacting with young people, especially some of whom are from families lacking regular health care, might be a very good thing.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:44:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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