In which Todd quits his job


 I turned in my resignation today at work.

This is a big change for me and for us.  Our plan on coming out here was that I would borrow 2 months worth of leave through the beginning of March then go to half time telecommuting from here.  And that Sarah would take leave after mine.  And that we'd juggle it all somehow.

There are a number of factors that took us from there to here, many of which combined about the same time.  The big push was the 4-6 week delay in starting Ethan's transplant protocol.  Sarah and I have used up a lot of our leave over the last 15 months between the transplant itself and then subsequent doctors' visits and hospitalizations.  When the doctor called me to tell me about the granulomas and the delay, literally my first thought was what does this do to our leave schedules and our ability to juggle our jobs.  That was a heads up that my priorities might be out of whack.  

I also knew that this was the first of any number of potential complications and delays and that if we were watching our leave clocks and both trying to juggle our jobs, we'd go crazy. 

Another factor that played a part was seeing how Sarah's telecommuting is going and trying to imagine the two of us telecommuting on various schedules while juggling two kids, one of whom is going to be very sick even when he comes back to the house as an outpatient.  I just didn't see how either of us would be able to do our job halfway competently under those circumstances and it seemed to me that we'd both end up frustrated.

Add to that the expectation that the doctors here will be much more stringent about when (and if) Ethan would be cleared to return to daycare; together with the realization that at least two of Ethan's infections and hospitalizations this summer and fall were the result of viruses that he almost certainly picked up at daycare.  Which would mean that Sarah and I would be trying to juggle telecommuting full time for at least a year when we get back to Portland.

It just seemed like we were asking a whole bunch of people to juggle us and make allowances for us, and even with that we wouldn't be doing our jobs or taking care of Ethan as well as we should.

The reality is that there are a few families who make it through one transplant without having one of the parents quit their job.  But there aren't many.  I don't know of any who have made it through two transplants with both parents still employed.  

And in all honesty, I'm excited to be able to focus on Ethan's care and to work just for him.  Over the last year and a half, it's become increasingly difficult for me to switch back and forth from Ethan to work.  As sad as I am to leave the university and my good friends and colleagues there, I'm excited to be able to focus on Ethan and on caring for him. In the three weeks that we've been here, Sarah and I have both noticed new mannerisms and skills from him, and at some level we've been scratching our heads and wondering if he knew these things before, but we just didn't see them because we weren't with him as much?

So since it's been more like having two jobs, maybe it's not so much leaving my job as leaving a second job to really focus on the first.

In other news, everyone here is doing really well. Sarah's work is going well.  Caleb seems to be getting more homesick, which is certainly understandable.  But he's coping with it well, and Sarah and I are seeing him become increasingly independent and take on more responsibility.

It sounds like Ethan's lung biopsy will be scheduled for some point early next week.  The surgeon says it will be 1-2 days inpatient in recovery if they are able to use the scope or 3-4 days inpatient if they have to go in between the ribs with their hands.  After that he'll be on an antibacterial or antifungal--whatever is needed--on an outpatient basis.  Sarah and I were very happy to learn that the insurance company has approved the procedures and care to be done here, and are not requiring us to come home to Oregon for a month because these are not, strictly speaking, transplant related.


Comments

Jme said…
Wow Todd, huge steps! I'm glad you are feeling peace with your decision. Many special thoughts your way while you take on this medical journey for Ethan!
Anonymous said…
You're an awesome dad, and Sarah's an awesome mom, and I'm proud to know you both! Hang in there... lots of people thinking about you guys and sending love and prayers. -- Paul
Erica said…
Imagining how hard the decision must have been you both are amazingly great parents to Ethan, to Caleb and to work this all out ahead. Mant prayers will continue.

Erica
www.caringbridge.org/wi/ericathiel
Anonymous said…
What can I say? One more time you have proved that there is a lot that I can learn from you. How great and responsible you are as a parent and a person! Hang in there, Todd.
My prayers are with your family

Nguyen-
Sally said…
Todd,

We throw our support behind you as you put your family first. This will free up your mind to be fully present for Ethan. You are an awesome family.

Sally
Anonymous said…
Ethan and Caleb are two of the most lucky kids in the world!! (They have the two of you for their parents.)
Anonymous said…
We'll miss you Todd but sending you, Ethan, and all your family our best wishes. -dzc
Anonymous said…
I can only imagine that it was a difficult decision to leave Portland State. But it's wonderful that you now can focus your attention on the most important job in the world! I'll continue to keep you, Ethan, Caleb, Sarah and family close in my thoughts. ---Paula
Anonymous said…
Wow, Todd. I'm sure this was an extremely difficult decision for you, but I have to say that it's news I've been expecting to hear for quite a while now. I really could not understand how you and Sarah were managing to juggle everything, and I had assumed that you were both still working because, of course, having adequate finances is also important, and it seemed you both really like the work you do, too. I worried, though, that you were well on the way to burning yourself out, and keeping yourself under constant stress for such a long period of time can cause problems for your own health down the road. If you're going to be able to be there to take care of your boys, you obviously need to take care of yourself too. Something had to go, and I'm glad to hear that you were able to make that decision, and that you are feeling good about it.

Best to all of you,

Barbara T.
Anonymous said…
Todd, I echo the other comments. Congratulations on your decision and it seems you made a wise and loving decision. Am happy for you and your family that you will have the time and energy that this new move with offer. Thinking of you and your family. Best wishes!
-Anne George
Phil Rivera said…
Todd, What with all my running around I haven't been able to me on top of everything. Today in the flat in Cadiz w/ wifi, I'm starting.

I just read your blog statement. That takes great courage and love. I respect what you both are doing & how much love you have for your kids & each other.

You continue to be in my prayers. Glad Ethan had a good night & hope the weather gets much better.

...and I was complaining about rain for two weeks!

Take care & love to Sarah, Ethan and Todd.

Phil