Thursday, September 3, 2015

Different Kinds of Waiting

     I've found that even though I already played the most epic Waiting Game of my life, waiting for other things post-transplant aren't necessarily easier.  I am currently waiting to find out if I will be teaching 7th graders this fall, or if I will be able to move back to my "professional home" at the high school where I've spent my entire career.  And, as silly as it sounds, this Waiting Game is in some ways tougher than waiting for "the call" about my new lungs.

     While my wife and my mom balked at this suggestion when I said it, there's truth to it.  There were segments of time that would go by-- a few days, maybe a  whole week-- when I really wouldn't think about getting the call.  After waiting for several months, there was no "jump" at every phone call (and no way to set a ringtone for the number from which the call would come-- many of U of M's calls come up as "unknown").  There wasn't any guarantee that I would get the call in any certain time frame, and ultimately, there was a chance that I wouldn't get the call at all.  So it was possible-- not easy, but possible-- to push the notion of finding out about a donor match to the back of my mind.  This became increasingly true after we got used to waiting, around Christmas when it had been six months and the swirl of the holidays took over.  Plus, at that time of year, the Waiting Game shifted focus to eagerly waiting to see the joyful exclamations from our son as he opened gifts.

     In some ways, the differences between the thirteen month transplant wait and the Waiting Game I am playing right now make my present situation more stressful.  This might seem impossible, I know.  But when I was called yesterday and told that there are open spots at the high school, the next words were that there is not an elegant way to allow me to teach one English class at the time of day I need to teach it.  My doctor's and I agree that I need to teach a class that doesn't interfere with my medicine schedule, morning blood draws, or afternoon doctor visits.  So, as the district looks at the possibilities, the Waiting Game which previously centered on the question "Where will Evin teach this fall?," (which was created on the heels of the Waiting Game "Can Evin teach this fall?") has ramped up.  There are so many moving parts, impactful decisions, and potential outcomes, and, just like the pre-transplant wait, I have control over none of it.  But because I know the answer is coming soon, and more so because I know the people who are in control of the situation, there's a proximity to the outcome that makes it stressful.  When I was waiting for new lungs, the people who had the most significant roles to play were complete strangers working within an unknowable time frame.  And somehow there was comfort in that-- being able to let go.  

     With this, I can (and have) texted back and forth with the person in charge of our department. And I'm in communication with the principal.  Perhaps above all else, there's no such thing as a rumor mill when it comes to transplants.  This hands-on, elbow deep type of Waiting Game has me visibly stressed-- and it's not as though finding out I'm not moving to the high school would be a crushing blow!  I've had an absolutely phenomenal experience during professional development at the middle school.  The welcome has been warm, the curriculum planning has been painless, and everyone I speak to tells me they are excited for me to be there and certain I will love teaching 7th graders.  But not knowing if any of it is leading up to me actually teaching at that school skews it; puts me in a place of doubt that has, if I'm being honest, prevented me from diving in as deeply as I should to the standard start-of-the-year preparations.  

     No matter when I find out the answer or what that answer is, I remind myself that I'm already where I wanted to be.  The entire purpose of the transplant was to allow me to live a full life again, and that life includes being a teacher.  In a few short days, 30 plus students will walk in my door and sit in their desks, and I will officially have come full circle.  The truly important stuff has already been settled-- the rest is just details.

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