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Friday, November 13, 2015

Counseling, New Normal, and Work (oh my)

Not this Oh My.

And it's not really work as such. Work is fine. I love my job, my company, and my union.

It more the lack of work for Laston, because his waking schedule is so wonky while on chemotherapy. (Dear prospective employers, he's on my medical insurance; he's a good employment risk. Take my husband, please).

So here's the thing. He's on unemployment, he wants to work, and he even feels up to it most of the time. But every other Tuesday he has to be out for chemo treatments, the Wednesday and Thursday following he's generally okay (except that he has to have the pump thing removed on the Thursday), and then he passes out from sheer chemo-induced fatigue at unpredictable intervals for the next three days.

If he forces himself to stay awake and interact with people for more than one of those three days, he feels like crap on the Monday following.

As an example, last chemo week he was fine (albeit unable to drive) during and after the chemo, fine Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (with a nap on Friday and much time with the kids). He interacted with all three kids and took Leanna to his makerspace on Saturday (also fine), and had a friend and the friend's toddler over on Sunday (best friends ever; brought him homemade candied ginger and ginger syrup, and provided the gift I spoke of here).

Each of these activities is fine. All these activities in one weekend made Laston feel like he'd been  run over by a truck all day Monday.

So what he really needs is a job where he can interact with people Monday - Monday one week, take a day off for chemo, work part time for two days, then have three days off to rest. Or work from home on his own schedule, with occasional forays into the outside world to have people time, because although he is an introvert in many ways, he also finds himself to be depressed without human interaction, given his illness.

Anyone have a (legitimate only, please) work-from-home or own-schedule job? He's got major skills in ticket triage, high-end troubleshooting, telecommunications NOC, and technical writing. He's also qualified as a K-12 teacher and he can write a decent novella or an excellent short story, but the former is seriously germ-ridden and the latter has proven to be a) less than lucrative and b) difficult to do whilst depressed and lacking inspiration.

All right, that takes care of the Work and New Normal topics; let's tackle the counseling.

I was in counseling as a teen, due to family issues that manifested themselves in school issues, and I had forgotten how nice it is to just talk out the day to day crap with someone who a) is in your corner, b) has no skin in your game, and c) has the education to make suggestions that might help you. My counselor is not a psychiatrist and so can't prescribe, but he is free to mention things like half a benadryl to turn off the what-ifs long enough for me to sleep at night without making me so drowsy as to be non-functional the next day.

That worked really well, and I'm happy to report that it does not affect larger doses of benadryl and their effect on me; dammit, those quesadillas and that ice cream? They were worth the allergic response. And the sleepiness this morning because of the full dose of benadryl.

And let's face it, my day-to-day stress/worry/fretting needs hashing out with someone sympathetic but not necessarily a friend or family member. At least at the moment. I mean, I overeat as it is, and I don't sleep (or didn't before the half-benadryl) and that was before the New Normal. Some of this has its roots in issues experienced long before I even met Laston. Like decades before. And no, Dr Freud, it's not my mother (at least not primarily, right, Mom?).

In any case, there's a lot of relief to be had in talking to someone who understands but can remain objective-yet-caring.