I’m recovering from The Cough. I get to go back to teaching and, I’m trusting, playing opera this week. (I want to be sure that my colleagues and the conductor are comfortable with my reappearance … I’m careful that way.)

Being sick when you are self-employed and working for smaller companies is quite costly. We have “sick leave”, but not really. Opera will cover two “services” (a rehearsal or concert is called a service) but we don’t get those funds until the end of the season, and I actually already used those services when I skipped all of Barber. Not teaching simply means no income for that, obviously. It’s not like those full time jobs where you get a bigger number of days off and can feel good about staying home when you are ill: many of us play while sick simply because it’s so difficult to give up the income.

Alas, I had NO choice but to stay home. I couldn’t play if I tried. Playing oboe would have only caused more coughing. Talking (teaching) would do the same.

Think of those who miss months of work. I sure do. I have had friends who have been out for longer periods of time, and for more serious illnesses. At some point I guess disability comes into play, but still.

(Side note: in addition, we have no health benefits through our opera and symphony companies here. I guess some have been using ACA … soon to disappear. WHAT will they do then, I wonder. Thankfully I’m on my husband’s rather excellent plan.)

So what DID I lose? Do I want to know? Hm. Yes and no. But for those of you who wonder, and are considering this career, I will share. Mind you, this is before taxes (and yes, I pay taxes on my self-employment teaching income).

Ready?

I’m not sure I am!

But the grand total for this rotten cough comes to …

$2399.55.

Yes. Really.

I think I want to go crawl in a hole now. But I can’t: gotta get OUT of that hole … and the financial hole as well. How grateful I am that I am married to someone with a steady income AND health benefits.

I love my jobs. I wouldn’t want anything else. But I sure wish we had something better for these rare times when we get so ill we have to cancel life for a time.

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