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.