Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Job Update

After seeing more concerning changes in Thomas over the last few days I went ahead and made the call over to Thomas' job rehab specialist. She wasn't in at the time so I left a message which ended up being a good thing ultimately.

While I waited to hear back from her she went straight to Thomas and called him. I had asked Thomas if he would be willing to her call her himself but he had said that he was too scared to talk to her but with her calling him, he opened up and told her what was going on with his hours. Then she called me back.

We talked for a short time and I let her know that I was very concerned about the change in schedule and its effect on Thomas and she told me she would call over to his job and do what she could. When she called me back later in the afternoon she was mad and explained to me the experience she had just had with Thomas' manager. Bear in mind that I am open enough to understanding all sides of the situation, including the employer's, so I listened to her tell me about what had happened.

She asked for Thomas' hours to be cut back and the employer basically pushed back. He said that Thomas had been hired to work the 8pm-4am shift originally and Thomas had agreed to that. He said that after changing him from the shift he was hired for to the one he was on after that he was making accommodations for that. He's right, Thomas had agreed to the graveyard shift in his innocence and lack of self awareness but his job rehab had fought for the better hours. His employer then became upset that she was asking him to cut back the existing hours. This is where she began to firmly fight for Thomas, pointing out that they had agreed to keep Thomas at the 5-10pm shift and that they had steadily changed it. She's really stuck between a rock and a hard place because she can't reveal his disability but she did the best she could without revealing too much information. Then, while I was on the phone with her, Thomas got a call from his manager and had been asked to come in early and work a 5-10pm shift instead. It had worked and Thomas was thrilled.

It turns out that schedules come down from the corporate office and that his manager really wasn't supposed to change them. Plus, Thomas had been hired to work holiday hours which meant working late--even to midnight which was their plan eventually. Thomas' job rehab specialist told me in our conversation that she felt that Thomas might lose his job as a result of all of the schedule changes. I understand why that is and if Thomas were to lose his job, he and I both would hate that but he can't work the late hours without suffering. I asked the job rehab specialist what she would do in my situation and she told me that if Thomas were her kid she would be fighting for the same thing and she felt I was doing the right thing. She was extremely concerned for Thomas after having talked to him and her backing up my concerns was validation.

I had a long talk with Thomas afterwards about the potential consequences of this schedule change. I explained to him that he might lose his job and he was ok with that. I told him that I had seen a "disturbance in the force" with him and he agreed that there were things happening to him including increased paranoia and hallucinations, not to mention the tiredness that just didn't seem to leave him even after sleeping 12 hours and taking naps during the day. What I had witnessed happening was true and he confirmed it and as a result I feel better about having made the call. I was pleased with him for standing up for himself when she called him and I am pleased that his schedule for this week has changed from the original 6-11pm to 5-10pm.

He and I are braced for him to lose his job but if he does, I plan to help him get back into the program that got him the job in the first place. Most importantly, Thomas admitted to me that he felt changes going on in him and realized that was the effects from the tiredness and missing doses of pills. He understands that he has this illness and that he must strike a delicate balance between sleep and meds and eating and he now understands what can happen when you don't keep that balance in check. We'll have to see what comes to pass with the job but ultimately, in the end, what we (Thomas, me, our family and the job rehab specialist) want is for Thomas to stay healthy.

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