Catch 22, Damned if you do and damned if you don't

Worked Full-time at a small newspaper (Two Rivers Tribune) owned by the Hoopa Valley Tribe in eastern Humboldt County. Employee after employee was terminated and their job duties were given to me, eventually i was doing the work of four full time employees, Advertising Sales, Marketing, Billing, Circulation, Receptionist and Writer, in less than 40 hours a week. Loyal, dedicated, and hard working I plugged away and our newspaper finally made a profit last year. In the last year my husband of 26 years began to loose a lot of weight due to undiagnosed Celiac Disease. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him so I spent hours researching on the internet. From there we stopped eating gluten and he got a little better. Suddenly this July he ended up in the hospital and diagnosed with end-stage cirrosis of the liver. Here he was 100% disabled from a job he worked at for 27 years, Celiac and end-stage with a disease he didn't know he had. The hospital put him in a nursing home but I busted him out the next day! I was spending less and less time at work so that I could take care of him then suddenly, fourth of July weekend, the Tribal Chairman shut down the newspaper because he didn't like some stories we wrote in an issue (it was a marijuana themed issue). The staff refused to stop working and continued to produce the paper, citing first amendment rights of freedom of the press. The paper shutdown made national news when the Associated Press picked up the story so the Tribal Chairman let us continue to run the paper. When our editor came back from maternity leave she began pressuring me to train someone else to learn my job and wanted me to take a leave of absence. I couldn't not work, I needed the money! But I knew it was the Chairman's payback for us going national with our story. Finally I caved and gave my two week notice and trained a replacement. But here is the kicker: In Home Health Care won't pay me to take care of him because I am his wife but they will pay a complete stranger to come in to my home, we don't qualify for food stamps or other aid because his Social Security payment is too high ($1,648 per month), I can't get unemployment because I can't take a job away from home but am willing to work from home, our home is heated by a woodstove but we don't qualify for the wood permit program because my husband is too sick to go with the wood cutter. Last winter we spent $500 per month on PG&E using space heaters to warm the house. I am 52 years old with a lifetime of being always employed. I am willing and able to work from home so that my husband and I can spend his last days together.

Connie J. Davis 530-625-4696