Then office-mate has a bad back ... takes a day off Monday 12/19. Tuesday it's a stomach problem ... he's is pain ... goes to the doctor ... turns out his small intestine is blocked ... Thursday 12/15 they take out an 8" section and put everything back together and send him home Friday ... he's doing well, does not cancel a business trip scheduled for Wednesday ... Tuesday 12/20 talking to him on speakerphone from supervisor's office ... he mentions he has fallen down ... ha ha ... finishes call and hangs up ... supervisor and I later get email saying he couldn't get back up ... legs have failed ... he got a trip to the hospital in an ambulance ... he is in too much pain to sit still for an MRI so diagnosing is difficult ... many phone calls ... Thursday he conferences in to staff meeting ... tells everyone that diagnosis is aggressive lymphoma with a tumor pressing against his spine causing a loss of lower motor control, will start chemo that afternoon ... more phone calls ... Friday is department holiday breakfast ... supervisor (recently divorced) brings teenage daughter in ... I bring DH ... call co-worker but get voicemail... go to breakfast ... the four of us hide out from everyone else and have breakfast in quiet conference room, discussing holiday plans etc., ... DH and I go off to spend day as tourists in San Francisco ... co-worker calls ... things progressing ... will spend Christmas in hospital and start chemo on Tuesday ... by the way, did supervisor let you know he is in hospital ... turns out supervisor fainted while out with daughter on Friday ... taken in ambulance to hospital ... apparently released ....
Every time I think of calling co-worker on Saturday, I think "let me just finish this one thing, and I then I'll call" but by the time I think of him while I'm not actively engaged in something it's 12:30 am on Christmas, so I don't call.
I finally call on Christmas (today) when my family is gone and we're winding down ... he has had a good a Christmas as is possible in a hospital, including many visitors and presents ... the hospital actually lets his husband bring his dog to visit (the dog has been a daily visitor from the beginning). He is incredibly upbeat, considering the prospect of chemotherapy for the next few months.
But on a personal level, there are only the three of us in our group, and we've been looking for a fourth person for over 6 months because of the workload ... with one out and one marginal, I'm on the hook ... I can handle my normal workload, but I can't do the work of four people ... if my supervisor has just a temporary problem we might be able to hold things together ... why do things happen all at once? I want co-worker to focus on recovery and not workload ... ARRGGGHHHH.
The news about Tanya's husband reminded me about other curveballs that life has thrown recently, so I thought I'd give a quick update on my co-worker.
He's been able to go home between the hospital stays for his chemotherapy sessions ... he's home about two weeks of every three. Once the tumor on his spine began to shrink he regained full use of his legs. He's been telecommuting when he feels up to it (under strict orders to do only what he feels like doing ... no pressure to do anything that interferes with his recovery) ... there's a lot of work he can do with his computer and internet connection. He has a few more months of chemo, but is making excellent progress, with relatively few side effects.
My supervisor is fine ... the fainting spell was just a fluke related to his low blood pressure and the off-kilter aspects of that day. It didn't happen without warning ... he felt woozy and decided he needed to sit down for a while and hydrate, so he and his daughter were in line at a cafe when he keeled over ... holiday crowds meant all seats were occupied ... he says next time he will just sit on the ground rather than tough it out.
We've hired a new engineer who will start before the end of the month.