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Friday, August 15, 2014

To Work or Not

Readers, I am almost ready to create a poll as to whether my reading audience thinks I should go back to work in January 2015.  I am really scared.

In November 2013, within the course of three weeks, I had to leave my teaching job, was put on new meds for bipolar 2, went on chemotherapy for lupus (which had turned life-threatening), and then left someone I cherished and loved because of several unacceptable behaviors which I knew would never resolve.  It was not a breakup; it was an amputation for me, a total evisceration of my sense of reality and my sense of worth.  I am still recovering from it.  I feel love still for the person I left; I miss them; I often feel it was the wrong choice and that I should have insisted on counseling before making one of the most painful decisions of my life.  

At any rate, this post is not about him.  It is about returning to work.  Apparently I might have to have a work start time of 9 am, which is impossible for me with my level of disability.  I can ask for workplace accomodations, but I am getting the sense that the department is getting to be a pretty lousy, negative place, if not the entire university.  I have to go clean out my office on Monday as I will be reassigned to another one in January.  It is almost a sign that I can clean out, and get out, while I can.

The truth is, I suspect my good state of health right now is due to not working.  I do have some steady income other than what I get from the university, and I will get an adoption stipend for Thistle which is fairly substantial.   CG has promised us that he will help us when he gets back to work (he is doing contract work) but honestly, the man has no health insurance, no life insurance, no will, nothing.  Not to diss him, but he is 53 and lives like he's 18, and the situation is frightening because he will be Thistle's legal parent, but has done nothing to insure her well-being if something happens to him.  One of my machinations for his co-adoption (other than the fact that he loves her and really helps raise her) is that she will be his sole heir, and at least the house we live in (which is his) can be sold and the money go to her.  I doubt I would get anything, even though I am Thistle's legal mother as of October.

This, by the way, is why marriage to CG is out of the question for me, even though we will have a child together to raise.  This behavior is emblematic of someone who cares a lot, but not enough, despite all the wonderful things he does for us.  Believe me, the image of Thistle and I being literally cast out into the world with nothing is very frightening, and a very real possibility that keeps me up at night.  It is the reason I have kept my little house on the mountain for a long, long time:  we have literally nowhere to go otherwise if something happens to CG.  It is entirely possible that he will come to his senses, but in the 12 years I have known him, those are his biggest blinders.  I hope this does not cast a negative image on a person who has done so much for me:  I often describe him as a prince, someone who should have been the head of a dynasty: he is kind, fair, commanding, highly intelligent, and a very great-hearted person.  He just has a major blind spot which probably should not exist now that he will legally become a father in October.

So, I have a Hobson's choice all round.  Work, and have a bit more money (about three hundred dollars' worth--to me, a low-income person, that is a fortune), but potentially worsen my chronic illness.  Don't work, and try to pay into Obamacare because frankly, MediCal sucks, and I need to make sure I always have excellent healthcare.  I would have time to write my book, concentrate on dance, and be with Thistle.  I will never work a formal job again if I leave my university job, as I will retire at that point. 

I wish I did not get into these situations.  However, I have been disabled with lupus since I was 33 years old, and did not work again until I was in my mid-forties.  It has limited many of my choices in life, in terms of employment and money.

Still, I would rather be poor than dead, and leave Thistle without me, because I am the one person in the world she has ALWAYS had steadily, and abandoning her because I arrogantly think I am not mortal is food for thought.  We give our life up for our children and put them ahead first, always.

Perhaps I just answered my own question.