During the Pandemic

I relived hell in a hospital

This is a letter I sent to my employer in asking to remain working from home instead of being forced back into the office during an active pandemic. 

As a little background, I used to be a fully trained and Accredited Firefighter and specialized Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  I have been with SolarWinds since May of 2015 working in Technical support for US DoD and premiere customers supporting tools such as Serv-U, Dame Ware, DRE.  As well as Complex Orion, NPM, WPM environments. 


While working remotely I was able to train for WPM and DRE, as well as taking on Smart Start Assisted Orion Upgrades, being promoted to Senior Technical Support.  I have also become mentor for new hires. As well as continue to be an active KCS coach for our Knowledge base.  I feel I have adapted and excelled while working remotely.  My job can actually be done easier from my home than going into the office, such as making early meetings or working off-hours.  This also provides me a life work balance to keep up with the care of my special needs wife.


This December, I will have been with my wife for 23 years now. I was her mediator during her disability hearing for her SSI. A few years ago, She had to have extensive back surgery to keep her spinal column from deteriorating any further preventing her from being a paraplegic and try to correct her bad back. It resulted in 51% of her spine is fuse with 4 rods Titanium Rods, and screws where they could, and Surgical Hooks where the bone density was too thin for the screw. Other doctors have referred to it as resembling an Erector set. (see attached picture for reference).  She was officially declared disabled with Failed Back Syndrome and requires special medical attention because of it.


My wife is also allergic opiates and a few other medications which really limits her medication options. A lot have their own side-effects, which causes a need for other meds with more side-effects as well as some mild confusion and other strong emotional difficulties.   There is also a Neurostimulator device implanted in her back with a battery powered computer and a paddle array sitting on her spinal column. It comes with an iOS App on an iPod that controls and disrupts a portion of the pain signal going to her brain so she can get some of relief therapy. 


Being a real-life Bionic Cyborg has its own issues. She has loss strength in her arms and hands, and is unable to lift anything heavy like a skillet or carton of milk. Doing so will cause accidents, more pain and collapsing from passing out.   She still has to walk with a cane or a walker if a sturdy handrail is not present, because her balance is shot and stumbles constantly. Stairs or standing for long periods of time such as cooking for herself has become no easy task and she spends most of her day in bed the past few years. Falls and accidents have been prevented while I have been able to be at home.  I feel that My medical training has personally paid for itself being able to provide the level of care necessary for my special needs wife.


During the Time I have been able to be working remotely from Home, her condition has diminished further than when I was commuting.  Last Month (August 6th 2021)  my wife’s hardware broke in 3 places where the metal pieces snapped off.   We fought to see a surgeon for a week after we were able to get the x-rays.  During the surgery, the Neurostimulator was damaged and would not connect to the controller.  Recovery in the hospital was a nightmare for someone in her condition.  Any Jarring is extra painful, had to bring her own meds (which conveniently disappeared), nursing staff kept changing instructions for shift change, etc. 


She wasn’t able to start feeling better until she got home where I could take care of her properly with mobility assisting, proper medications, etc.  It will still be weeks of healing before she can get her Neurostimulator replaced and start that healing as well. 


My wife and I both desperately need your help for me to continue to work remotely on a permanent basis.  My Gracious co-worker of mine even made the comment during a team meeting, that he would be willing to give his 2 days a week of WFH to me, so that I could still stay at home with my wife.  I was speechless at the gesture, but the ones that know about my daily challenge all wish her the best, and know my special needs situation.

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