January 2014, my son, Lawrence Taylor Pimentel (LTP), suffered from a red zone asthma attack, and would have died if I wasn’t able to use my paid sick days. Many nights, Lawrence’s screams could be heard in the once-silent Kaiser San Francisco emergency room as he struggled with each breath, and cried with fear of the unknown.
That Wednesday morning we did Lawrence’s normal asthma treatment, two puffs of albuterol, but the wheezing and deep breathing continued. After an half hour of trying the alternatives; sitting in a steamy bathroom, two puffs of flovent, teaspoons of honey, and sitting by the humidifier, I followed my mom instinct that Lawrence was in serious trouble. As my husband buckled Lawrence’s car seat, I sent an email to HR letting them know I would be using a paid sick day to care from my son.
If the emergency rooms offered frequent visit point similar to credit cards, the Pimentel family would have earned free flights around the world. As we passed the double ER doors, the nurses heard Lawrence’s cry and said “What’s wrong with our little friend LTP”. He was rushed to an hour breathing treatment that he fought because of fear, it took both my husband and I holding LTP since he was too scared of the mask that would save his life. Within ten minutes of breathing the medication he began to rest calmly in my arms as his breathing slowly stabilized. Without paid sick days, my son would have died, according to the doctor, if he had fallen asleep he may not have woken. Because of paid sick days, I was able to care from my son without worrying about job security. A mother should never have to choose between her child, and job security in a life or death situation.