I sent this letter to be included in the December issue of the library newsletter, published today, in order to thank the amazing people I work with:
Dear CUL Community:
Many of you know that my husband Alex recently underwent a serious medical crisis, suffering from severe post-operative complications and spending a month in a medical coma. All told, he spent 6 weeks in the ICU and 2.5 weeks in the Physical Rehabilitation Unit, rebuilding some of his strength. His outpatient recovery still continues. I took most of the fall - the better part of three months’ Family Medical Leave - in order to deal with this crisis.
Alex left his position as Circulation and Billing Supervisor at the Nestle Library several years ago to open our pottery studio. As a self-employed artist, any time off means lost income for Alex. For me, Family Medical Leave guaranteed 12 weeks’ leave without endangerment of losing my job, but it is not paid leave; the employee must use accrued vacation time in order to draw any pay during the leave. I didn’t even have a weeks’ vacation time accrued.
I had no idea how we were going to make ends meet, but I needed to focus on the crisis at hand. With Alex unconscious and me as his health care proxy, I needed to be at the hospital almost constantly. I spent nights there more often than not.
At first we weren’t sure that Alex would survive; all we knew was that his hospitalization would be lengthy. I talked with my supervisors, Gary and Glen, with my unit head, Jim, and with Lyndsi in Human Resources. They were so supportive and reassuring. I feel very lucky to work at such a wonderful place. Lyndsi and Bonnie took care of all the paperwork for me, including setting up a vacation donation system.
Many members of our incredible community anonymously donated some of their vacation time so that I could continue to draw a paycheck during this emergency. Without your generosity, our medical crisis would quickly have become a financial crisis as well. I don’t know how to adequately express our gratitude. Knowing that I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, and that my job was waiting for me when the crisis was over, made our situation just that much easier to bear. I could focus on Alex’s needs, and on learning the medical information I needed to know in order to make good decisions about his care.
“Thank you” seems so inadequate in light of the circumstances, but those are the best words I have. Thank you for your generosity, your support, your prayers, and good wishes. Thank you for making CUL the wonderful community that it is. I pray no one else finds themselves in a similar situation, but if they do, I will be honored to help them as I have been helped.
With gratitude, Nancy Solla