Last Friday, I experienced what Lynn told me was “a bump in the road.” This particular bump took the form of me getting laid off from my job. I got the call on Friday (I was working from home because I had a service guy coming to the house). In this phone call, they told me it was a company reorganization, a reduction in force, etc, but the upshot is that I am now unemployed. I don’t need to dwell on the details.
My (former) company was not entirely ungenerous, giving me ten weeks severance pay, essentially one week for every year that I worked there. Sadly, they were less generous with the company-subsidized health insurance, which will only cover us until the end of the month. The timing for this could be a little better from my perspective. I have scans scheduled for early February as well as ongoing need for diabetes medicine and supplies. The month of February is probably going to cost me more in health-care costs that my severance check. My brother-in-law had a good suggestion. He suggested that I ask them for ten weeks of insurance coverage in exchange for which I promise not to sue them. I figure that this is a no-lose gambit since I probably don’t have much of a case against them, at least not unless I can prove that they terminated my employment due to my age or medical condition.
Short of finding another job in the next two weeks that offers me medical insurance, my other options are COBRA, and some kind of Obamacare (Access Health Connecticut). I haven’t seen the the COBRA package yet, so I don’t know what that might cost me (I imagine a lot!) and I haven’t explored the Access Health option. I imagine both will cost me significantly more than I was paying through work, but less than paying everything out of pocket. There’s a lot I need to find out in the next few days and some tough decisions to make. Companies like to terminate employees on Fridays. It gives the survivors the weekend to get over the initial shock and then they can come back on Monday ready to be productive. For the casualties, however, it’s extra days to think about things without the ability to make phone calls and gather information. It also doesn’t help that Monday is MLK, Jr. Day. While not a day off for many workplaces, it’s kind of a dead day as many people take the day off anyway. So I wait until Tuesday.
The good news, though, is that I don’t have cancer! I have to remind myself of this when my thoughts start going to dark places and I start to feel sorry for myself. I am very fortunate. About a year and a half ago I didn’t think I was going to live six months. Now, I feel better than I have in years. When I think of all the people who have struggled with melanoma, some of whom are facing really grim realities daily, my little speed bump seems insignificant. I owe it to myself and I owe it to them to keep a positive attitude, because the worst that could happen as a result of this bump is not really the worst that could have happened to me.
As Lynn says, it’s just a bump in the road and we will get through it.