If your job was answering phones, you wouldn’t want to lose your voice.
Especially not for three months, with no end in sight.
Stacy Rollins of Omaha knows that all too well.
When Rollins woke up one morning in September, she couldn’t talk. She managed to call her mom and went to the doctor. At first, they thought it was laryngitis.
But it didn’t get better. Then doctors feared she had cancer, but that also wasn’t the case.
Instead, she has leukoplakia, a condition in which white plaque forms on the vocal cords. She can speak only in a raspy, sometimes unintelligible voice — especially over the phone — so she has been on leave from her job in the Marriott Omaha Reservation Center.
She’s on short-term disability and gets some help from her mom, but her utilities situation got desperate a while back.
She called a representative from the Omaha Public Power District, who told her to call 211, the United Way program that puts people in touch with agencies that can help. United Way, in turn, referred her to The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity, which provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal certificates to local people in need.
“I was surprised because I faxed everything, and they called me the next day and said everything was taken care of,” she said. “Thank God.”
Goodfellows paid $100 to bring her OPPD bill current, and $230 to catch up her Metropolitan Utilities District bill.
Rollins, 42, was grateful. “I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “I would have been sitting here in the dark with no heat.”
For now, she spends her days at medical appointments, or resting at home with Zimba, her chubby chihuahua. She says she’s been passing time woodworking and knitting, but is eager to be back at work.
She said doctors are uncertain what caused the condition. She must relearn how to talk, which will take intense therapy.
Her employer has been very understanding, she said, and she plans to return to her job as soon as possible. “This gets boring. It’s driving me nuts.”