A big thank you to our firemen brothers that stepped up with donated leave so we have half a paycheck coming a couple days post surgery. That allowed our life insurance to restart, our health insurance premium to be paid, as well as one of the back premiums we owe.
May 29th, 2014. That was the last day Joel Klouzal, a federal firefighter, was able to report for duty. Sometime near that date, he picked up a nail and literally shredded his toe. It may not have been something that immediately caught his attention, as he is a diabetic, type II. However, after noticing the wound he soon went first to the ER, then his Primary Care Physician, & then the Podiatrist,who he has seen every week since. Each visit he was told "It's not there yet. Maybe in a few more weeks."
Surgery to close the open wound was completed Sept 8th, and he has had bimonthly visits since,with various medications and advice given,but never any hope of returning to work soon. He had another MRI done last week and is seriously afraid of being able to meet the demands of his job and being once again able to support his family. Turns out he had every reason to fear the worst: Seven months after the initial injury,infection has set into his bone and they are going to amputate his toe. His big toe,major source of balance. This may well force him into retirement via disability, and we now have to consider bankruptcy as an option to survive.
In mid June he ran out of all his stored sick and annual leave. His fellow firefighter brothers have kindly donated leave, which resulted in some income where he may have had none otherwise.
After 2 full paychecks several partial ones came, and the pay period for 08-29-14 he was only paid $10.12. We did have donated leave that gave us a $700 paycheck on 9-12, very grateful for that but it was still very short of normal. Since then things have gotten worse. On 9-26 there was no donated leave and the most recent ones 10-10 and 10-24 only 12 hrs each time, about $175 after taxes. Paydays on November 7th, November 21st, December 5th, December 19th and January 2nd were all ZERO. For all 8 of these payperiods,we now have a debt for our health insurance premiums ($205 each time) and our life insurance and dental has not been paid either since the end of August.
On Dec 21st I added up what we've received for the 11 payperiods after our own leave ran out from leave donation (8608.41) which is incredible and very much appreciated, however during this time had he been able to work he would have received $25330 which is a difference of a almost $17,000. I just can't handle adding the figures again, but the missing pay has topped 20k now. How I have managed to stretch things this far I have no idea. I love my own job as a CNA in a cardiac unit, but barely bring home $1100 a month which is really not much at all.
Last month we survived by obtaining a 2000 loan against my 403 plan. This month (December) we made it through by withdrawing the remainder I had available in that plan. January I am able to squeeze by thanks to generous donations here, from my work family, & Joel's union. There is no money to take from the small amount in Joel's thrift savings is only available when he seperates from service or reaches age 59 1/2. As clueless twenty yr olds we didn't have the foresight to invest more than the required minimum and are never more aware if that mistake as we are now.
He does not want to continually ask and completely depend on this system as he is now, if only he was well enough to be back at the career he has held proudly for 23 years he would. We hit the catastrophic cap on the family medical plan sometime in July, $6000 out of pocket (with payment arrangements to various places due that I have applied for financial assistance for at each).
Our first mortgage is 7 months past due as of Jan 1st,and some good news there is that we were approved for a forbearance plan,allowing us to make significantly reduced payments until May so that we don't lose the house. This does however mean I started making those payments on Nov 1st and the amount we are past due continues to accumulate. If he is ever able to go back to work I don't know how we will resolve the large debt adding up there but for now we are just feeling lucky not to be facing a foreclosure on top of everything else. We actually have now made the decision to ride the forebearance out (it expires the first of May) and not renegotiate, we are going to allow them to take the house and find a rental.
The stress is completely overwhelming me at this point. I have run out of tricks (and the generous donations given here so far have been an enormous help,allowing at least an additional month before things got to the ppint they are now) and October is the month that we fell short and I need to decide what other bills can be defaulted on besides the mortgage and the medical bills I am waiting to hear back from on assistance.
Joel is a hardworking guy who is the first to lend a hand to those in need and now needs a little help himself. Please help if you can, even if only by sharing the link.
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