My Name is Jarrad. I'm a nurse working in dialysis. I suffer form asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced function in one lobe of my lungs, and an as of yet unidentified heart condition. Back in February when COVID first hit, I did what everyone did. I called my doctor. Since I worked in a very high risk environment, we knew very little about how the virus spread, and there was almost no PPE to go around (My unit was actually told not to wear masks at first); she advised me to take a medical leave, for my own safety.
I was obviously terrified at the time, as everyone was. I thought long and hard about how I should handle the situation, but in the end I felt that she was right. So I contacted my LoA office in HR. I tapped my savings and my PTO. I thought it would be under control quickly, and I could return to work. Then a week turned into a month, a month turned into two, two turned into three. I was quickly seeing my living funds dry up. That's when, in June I got a letter from my doctor saying she was retiring at the end of the month. I quickly called her, and asked to be released to return to work. Thankfully, by this time my unit had PPE, and my supervisors agreed to allow me to avoid the areas where COVID patients were being treated.
That's when I got my first COVID scare. A couple weeks later I developed shortness of breath and a fever. I was out again for 2 more weeks, while I awaited a test scheduling, an d the results. Thankfully negative. I returned to work for a while, until I had a second scare. Similar symptoms, so I was out and tested again. Again negative.
The day before I was to return to work I strained a muscle in my back. I had no doctor, and the physician my doctor referred me too couldn't see me until November. This was at the end of August. I went to the ER on 3 separate occasions. Only on the third visit was something done to ease the pain in my back. The ER doctor also put me into contact with a physician that could see me immediately, rather than three months out.
As my back healed I began to notice a pain growing in my right knee. The leg would lock up, and I could not extend it. My doctor suspected a torn meniscus. And scheduled me for an MRI. I had a torn lateral meniscus and a degraded central meniscus and I will need surgery. The pain is now constant. Any time I bend the knee it is with excruciating pain. I must wear a brace to walk, and help keep my knee straight. I was allowed to return to work. The first day back I injured my back again. So I asked my doctor She sent a letter to my employer regarding my return to work and the restrictions I would need. My HR department asked for more information, and there has been a disconnect between my doctor and my HR since. This was at Thanksgiving, and I have been trying to get the paperwork since then. I finally got a new appointment to see my doctor coming up.
I have been unable to work since August. I haven't received a paycheck in almost 4 months. My savings and PTO are long since passed up. I am supposed to be going to physical therapy for my back and knee, but cannot afford the copays. My bills are piling up. I am at risk of losing my vehicle, and, without an extension of the eviction moratorium, my apartment. I've very little food left in my home. I've explored all the options available to me. As I am still employed, I cannot get any of the unemployment assistance. I'm turning to this fundraiser as a last resort to keep a roof over my head while I get back to work, and hopefully get caught up enough to afford my surgery.
The money I am asking for is just to cover the bills I am behind on, and to by a small bit of groceries. I cannot express enough how much any assistance would mean to me. Thanks you for reading, and hearing my story.
- Daniel Leising
- Jessica Gruver
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