Could I possibly catch a break now?

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. And I give absolutely no fucks.

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January 23, 2021

Oof. The last three months.

A few days after my last post, I ended up back in the hospital with E. coli again. I was inpatient for a week and a half and was sent home with IV antibiotics.

Thanksgiving week, I went to Jefferson for an ERCP for a pancreatic stent placement. It went well.

Finished up the course of IV antibiotics, and a week later, back in the hospital with E. coli for a week. Discharged with IV antibiotics until January 26. Also came home with a bit of a cough and sore throat (this is important).

Last half of December, was on vacation from work and it was great. Super chill and relaxing, took lots of naps.

First week of January: had my performance review and it was again a less than positive one–I was placed into the “needs improvement” category (the lowest) despite being told all year that I was on track to be “successful”–my manager said it “felt right” to put me there, despite the fact that I either accomplished or made tremendous progress on all my goals, because she decided I was inconsistent (giving no specific examples). So no merit increase and the bare minimum bonus again, this time after busting my ass and documenting it all year. The printout of my review is eight pages long and it’s because of everything I put in the system–and it’s not even everything, I summarized a lot. Before I became ill, I was ranked as high as it was possible to get–for me to suddenly become a poor performer after becoming disabled, despite not only doing the same work but taking on a lot of extra work, is certainly something.

Second week of January: I had a scheduled ERCP at Jefferson for a second pancreatic stent placement. Two days prior, I went for my pre-procedure Covid-19 test. It came back positive and my procedure was rescheduled for February. (See, I told you the cough and sore throat was important–I probably caught it in the hospital ER, I had those symptoms about a week after I spent 6 hours down there waiting for a treatment room.)

Third week of January: I get laid off. A lot of people got laid off and it was the sort of layoff that felt like a mandated cut of a certain percent of headcount. And since I had a track record of poor performance according to my manager… My last day of work–at a job I’ve had in one way or another for 18 years–is January 29. I’ll get full pay and benefits for two months after that, and then a severance package equal to 2 week of pay for every year of service. Which, for me, is 6 years since I was a contractor for the first 12/13 years. I haven’t actually seen the paperwork yet, because apparently they’re snail mailing it to me instead of emailing it.

Two days after the super-awkward meeting with my manager and HR, I’m back in the hospital with absolutely horrifying abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting. Which is where I am now, in fact. I have a horrible, loud roommate who has the TV on 24/7 and is constantly on the phone, sometimes both the room phone and her cell phone at once.

Infectious Disease is extending my IV antibiotics for an additional week, to cover me for the ERCP at Jefferson. There are possible plans to discharge me tomorrow. I have to “transition” my work to the one remaining analyst next week, which is going to be a joke because the remaining analyst is less that savvy when it comes to tech.

And here I am, trying to figure out how I’m going to find work in a pandemic while having a disability. I have a couple of leads that I just need to get my resume polished up for, but other than that, I think I’m going to take a bit of time to decompress and really work through what I want to do.

I also still don’t have my insulin pump because the DME hasn’t been doing the appropriate follow up and I’m having to chase every bit of paperwork through the system. They’ve had the paperwork since December 3. The American healthcare system is fucking ridiculous.

I would like to reboot 2021, please. I desperately need a break and I am struggling to see how I can make one happen.

But I will be available for freelance writing and spreadsheet wrangling starting February 1.

Or you could throw a in a few bucks at Ko-Fi and I’ll put it into savings for a rainy day. Because I’m sure there’ll be more than a few of those in the future.

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