Saturday, July 17, 2010

No... we all work for a living

Quick recap: My common-law husband/live-in boyfriend/constantly present significant other had a kidney transplant on July 7. He will have to stay in Vancouver General Hospital until they are certain that he is not going to reject the new organ. Then he gets to stay in Vancouver for 2-3 months at a condo graciously provided by the Kidney Foundation of Canada for transplant and dialysis patients.

I took nearly a week off of work to be there for him during this period. This is a significant issue, since while I make a decent amount, I don't make enough to take significant periods of time off with less than a week's notice.

So when the army of nurses, doctors and social workers descended upon Mischa and I, 'voicing concerns' over the fact that he was going to be all alone in his condo during the week, I got pissed off.

"It's very important that he have someone with him."

"He needs to have someone in contact with him at all times."

"This is not an ideal situation."

Well, I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but I do not belong to a union that would authorize me to take 2-3 months off of work at 75% of my pay. I do not have tenure. I do not even have enough vacation time to cover the days I've missed thus far.

Kindly tell me how I am to pull in enough money so that we can both eat, Mischa can make it to his twice-a-week appointments and have the many little things that make living so pleasant, like shampoo, toothpaste and soap? How am I going to keep my job if my work doesn't allow me to telecommute so I can both take care of Mischa and keep earning money?

I get that it's very important that someone be with him. However, all our friends are either working for a living, have small children, are elderly or are handicapped. Amazingly enough, we don't have people who can just drop what they're doing to live in Vancouver for 3 months to run errands and monitor a kidney transplant patient.

No, this isn't an ideal situation. An ideal situation is where I'm a writer who works from home - or a coffee shop - who can pause, rearrange and schedule my time around Mischa's care for this period. I'm not a writer with that level of privilege.

I resent people telling me that my income level and work restrictions are serious drawbacks to getting proper care for someone in my life who needs help. No, I didn't plan for this when I went to work hundreds of km from VGH. I also didn't foresee the need for me to become a top-ranking doctor, lawyer, or some other high paying professional who can drop everything to care for someone.

Give your collective heads a shake.

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