Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I have a plan

Today was a little less um, dramatic, than yesterday. Except that I found out I totally wrecked my credit score during my 2 years of serious illness. The good thing is, I guess, that I already have the things I really would need credit approval for anyway, and I'm working (and have been for several years, I just got messed up by illness) to pay off all credit card debt ASAP. Nonetheless, stress just is no fun.

But anyway, the point today is to explain my work plans. This week I got in trouble yet again for not working fast enough. I sat in therapy and listened to myself, and thought about how much I hate listening to myself go on and on about this and say the same things, and how much I know I need to decide to fix it. I also realized that part of why I don't have friends at work and haven't even tried to make friends this time is because I'm unhappy doing this now. I'm unhappy that I can't just do what I do and move on and I'm unhappy that I can't do better. I realized that I don't act like myself so much of the time any more, and that a lot of the time what I'm feeling like my therapist is showing me of myself or how he sees me, he is getting because he sees me after I've worked all day and that's all that is left.

But I didn't used to be like that. I was fun. Even with bipolar I could function socially at work as long as I took my meds. But now all my energy goes into barely keeping up.

I've known for a while I needed to find something a bit different to do. The challenge is that I don't feel qualified to do many of the things OTs can do. I was getting sick the whole time I was in school and there is a lot of information that never made it near my brain. There were many, many missed classes (Emilijia will understand the significance of this: I skipped all but 4 kinesiology lectures because the professor was so boring I could sit still. And I passed.....no clue how. Still don't know open chain and closed chain, lots of anatomy, etc....) And I just didn't want to change fields because of the illness. I don't like quitting anything because the illness says to.

Also, there were practical issues. I make more money than I will in another setting, possibly quite a bit more. The potential money loss gets more significant as I gain experience. On the other hand, insurance that provided coverage of my psychologist more than just in theory would make up a lot of salary. I have already been without short-term disability or FMLA coverage for 8 months; I'm so close to the 12 months to get them back. Those are things I cling to as no payments, no house. Since I'm not in a place where we can be confident I'll stay ok for any length of time yet I don't want to dig a hole, as the remaining treatments pretty much promise me time off work and/or hospitalizition.

But I now realize I probably will have a shortened career, and I am doing no-one any good if I'm going through it bitter, tired and angry. Which is precisely who I've become. I hate this me.

So my new plan is to tell my doctor next month that once my disability goes into efffect, the next time I'm sick I want her to be as aggressive as she can. I'm assuming this will mean jumping to ECT or Clozaril. Maybe Zyprexa, although I'm not sure it's still in the ring as very likely to work. I'm going to agree to hospitalization, anything, and when I'm good and stable (or a reasonable approximation) I'll go back to work, find another job, and try again in a different environment.

In the meantime I'm going to stop whining so much.


Emilija said...

I think it is a good plan. Stick it out until you can get disability, then get yourself well, and then get yourself a job that you can love (at least most of the time). There is really a shortage of OT's in most places. I don't know about the situation where you live, but if you are willing and able to relocate, the possibilities are endless. And there are a lot of jobs with sign on bonuses.

Just Me said...

There are tons of jobs around here, but most are in long term care. However, at least one hospital is generally pretty desperate. Actually both the major ones in the area are; I just won't work at one of them. Wish I didn't think they gave bad care because I love their scrubs though...:) They were offering 10% of my income as a sign-on recently. I don't take those though because I don't want the committment in case I am unable to work a year in that setting. I'll have to drive regardless so that part isn't an issue. I don't really want to move because I'm close to my mother and assistance here. Also I don't handle change well at all, and I'm only 4 years into my mortgage. Moving would put me on disability.

My biggest problem will be finding ways to have a more flexible schedule. As much as I'd love to do a standard day shift, and I would, I'm not a safe driver until I've been awake for some time. I can't wake up any earlier because I wouldn't get any sleep at all because I don't fall asleep well, and then somehow I have to sleep off 3000 mgs of depakote plus the various other meds.

I'm going to lose money on this proposition. That is a given, leaving long term care. But it comes down to health versus money, and health always wins, even when I don't want it to.

Emilija said...

Have you thought about doing home care? You would have great flexibility with the hours, and if you do it full time most agencies will give you decent benefits. There is a lot of paperwork, but it is on your own time, so no one is going to get on your case if you are too slow. I couldn't handle the lack of structure, so it's not for me, but a lot of people at my hospital leave for home care for the flexibility and better pay. But I don't know if it pays better than long term care- that pays pretty well too. I've actually come to the conclusion that everything pays better than where I an now!

Just Me said...

I am going to do a lot of checking into home health. I did it as part of my contract job when I was a new grad and I hated it, but I think that was directly linked to the very young, not authoritative looking or feeling, inexperienced person I was. I dreaded telling someone what to do in their own home. I am much more confident in my abilities now.

I'm not sure how much home health work is available around here without having to commit to massive driving. I know one hospital uses their 2 OTRs for all levels of care--home health, inpatient, outpatient, peds, etc.

My psychologist isn't thrilled with the idea of doing anything with driving and lack of structure, but I think home health may be the closest I can get.

Another major advantage is that I pretty much have the skills at hand to do home health, whereas something like OP is just the worst thing I can think of having to do because I'd feel totally lost with a lot of dx's.

We'll see; for now I just know I feel really good about the decision.