It was a rainy day when Rosemary Alexander carefully stepped across the grass on her way to work. Little did she know that getting caught in downpour was about to be the least of her troubles.
About a hundred metres from her Medicare office door Rosemary slipped and fell heavily to the ground.
“I just couldn’t get up. I couldn’t even move my left arm,” she said.
People from work rushed to help her into her office where she called her husband Terry to come and pick her up.
“I didn’t realise the damage I’d done,” Rosemary said.
It soon became obvious that Rosemary had a serious injury to her elbow that would take some to heal.
Worse still, because the fall happened outside her work, Rosemary wouldn’t be covered by workplace compensation insurance.
The first aid officer helping Rosemary asked if she was a CPSU member.
Luckily, Rosemary was. “Because I was a union member, I was covered for accidents on the journey to and from work,” she said.
Shortly after, Terry arrived and took Rosemary to the doctor who sent them straight onto the hospital. Her first surgery lasted six hours.
“The first surgery didn’t take and she needed a second operation almost straight away. She’s had four surgeries so far,” Rosemary’s husband Terry explained.
All up, Rosemary has had two elbow replacements and now, a year since the accident, they are hoping her latest surgery mends well.
It’s been a tough time for Rosemary and Terry; with Rosemary unable to drive or lift anything and so many stays in the hospital. On top of it all, they started to worry about money.
“I thought, what’s this going to cost? My sick leave was running out and Terry’s retired, so there was no income coming in,” Rosemary said.
But remembering the advice of the first aid officer who’d helped Rosemary on the day she slipped, Rosemary had made a call to the CPSU, applied for and was granted access to the union’s journey cover/income replacement insurance.
A few months later, Rosemary was receiving fortnightly payments to help with the costs of her accident.
“We do have private health insurance, but it doesn’t cover everything,” she said.
Rosemary would like to get back to work, but her surgeon hasn’t cleared her and she’s still on a long road to recovery. Meantime, the couple are trying to make the best of their situation.
“You have to get on with getting better. And Terry’s becoming a good chef,” Rosemary joked.
“I was lucky. And I’m grateful for the service the union has given me,” she said.