So this post has been a while coming. It has been something I've been putting off because it's been very challenging for me to come to terms with and it has had such an impact on my own personal identity.
This is my first week of official unemployment. - Yes I have put my career on hold.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this life changing event and I have been surrounded by both support and disagreement over this decision within my personal circles. In the end, I feel that this is the best decision for my family and for myself.
One of the major factors of this decision comes down to the fallout of stress in families. If you haven't gathered by now, having a child with multiple medical issues can be stressful. This stress manifests itself in a number of different ways and all these manifestations have their own degree of fallout.
Some of this fallout includes:
1. STRESS TRANSFER: Stress leads to anger and frustration being transferred. This is transferred onto our spouses, onto our children, onto the dog, onto our friends and family and even onto the cutting board when chopping veggies. My calm and controlled self seems to loose it's temper, become emotional or become overwhelmed.
2. SIBLING SYNDROME: The stress on Alex these days has been very challenging for me. He has not been dealing well with days that are "not routine". He cries when he can't come to doctor's appointments with Gideon and I. He worries if I'm not at home when he has to go to bed because I'm home late due to medical appointments. He worries that when I go to a doctor's appointment that I will have to stay at the hospital. He feels sad and angry when he can't participate in the therapy sessions that go on in our home and wants so badly to be praised for showing off the skills that Gideon has been working on. He has not been listening as well and is looking for attention, anyway he can get it.
3. SOCIAL ISOLATION: Finding time to be social can be challenging, let alone finding the energy to be social. When there is free time, John and I usually just want to "be still". This means we don't have much of a social life- with our friends, let alone by ourselves.
4. EMPLOYMENT ISSUES: Stress has an impact on all areas of our life. Months ago, John was called into his boss's office because his "productivity had decreased". This was after his father had past away and Gideon's cataracts had come back a second time. Really? Seriously? (I don't think this really helped in the core issue of stress impacting work productivity- what do you think?) Trying to juggle medical appointments, therapy sessions, hospitalizations, daycare schedules, coworker strife, making up lost time, office politics along with grieving the loss of a loved one, grieving over the loss of a child's health, all colliding with the unknowns of the severity of Gideon's health issues makes employment difficult right now.
5. FINANCIAL STRESS: Our contact lenses are not being covering by ADP because our eye surgeon was temporarily not registered as a ADP distributor (was overdue on the membership fee?) at the time of our prescription. So even though she is now a registered distributor again, we still do not have our lenses covered. Each lens is $270 each. The red tape on this has been so frustrating. I am applying to have our Pediasure costs covered (his formula) and hopefully this will be approved, because he is still not eating solids at 15 months and 9 bottles costs us about $10. (He drinks about 6-7 bottles a day.) There is also the cost of gas and parking during medical appointments.
Although our financial stress is real, it has not felt as stressful as the other fallout stressors. We have always had enough and have never lived beyond our means. I think this fact made my decision to put my career on hold more palatable.
I know there is more fallout I could bring up but today both boys are in daycare and I have the house to myself. My plan of action is to clean the house and organize my life in an attempt to decrease the chaos :)