The cat's out of the bag, so it makes no sense to wait any longer... here's what's going on:
1) I'm quitting my job as of January 15.
2) The Wife and I have finished our paperwork to earn Pennsylvania teacher's certificates.
3) We've been actively hunting for new jobs out in Pittsburgh / Allegheny County.
4) In four days (Tuesday afternoon, to be specific), The Wife, The Boy, and Younger Bro will be permanently moving out to Pittsburgh. I'll join them after my contract is complete on January 15.
5) After they leave, I'll be sprucing up the house and putting it on the market.
6) The Boy's care will resume at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
This entire situation has been developing for several months. Basically, what spurred this on is a combination of two things: The Boy's care, and our professional situations.
The past month has been utterly brutal, in terms of The Boy's care. I'm not sure if my words here on the blog have been sufficient in explaining exactly how painful this time has been for us. The week that he spent in intensive care ranks right up there in Crappiest Weeks Ever, and it took a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll from me that I am still paying. We have been unbelievably blessed with helpers here, starting with my father (who lives near St. Barnabas), Alan Rubin, and the Chai Lifeline folks, and lately the folks from St. Peter's have rolled up their sleeves and done more than I can believe. Our friends have really stepped up, as well, and they've shown me how the worst of times can bring out the best in people.
Aside from my wife and myself, The Boy's primary caretaker has been Grandma. Don't get me wrong - he loves my father, and my father is one of the very, very, very few people that he willingly approaches with open arms. The Boy loves Grandpa SO much! But, Grandma has been his constant companion through this amazingly difficult chemotherapy regimen and through many of his worst sicknesses. In addition, The Wife's family has really stepped up to the plate in a major way. The rest of my family is not in a position to be able to help us right now. It's not casting judgement in any way, shape or form; it is an observation. My brothers have families, kids in college, economic troubles of their own, and family issues of their own with which to deal. The Wife's family has fewer issues and no other children, which means they have been able to afford participating actively in The Boy's care.
For instance, I was at the hospital 22 hours per day for the first seven days of The Boy's last hospital stay. That is just brutal. The Boy can't just sleep at the hospital with anybody; he doesn't work like that. In addition, we weren't able to dig up strings of volunteers this time. If we were in Pittsburgh, near my wife's family, then Grandma would have been able to shoulder more of the load WITHOUT a 360 mile drive. In addition, she knows more folks that are able to help in the daytime than we know here. This move is to make The Boy's care easier.
The straw that broke the camel's back and forced the move to happen NEXT WEEK is the hospital's new policy: no children under 18 unless they are patients in any inpatient or outpatient center, including the Valerie Fund. With Grandpa being diagnosed with pneumonia last Wednesday, he's out of the picture for the indefinite future. (His prognosis is good, by the way. He sounded MUCH better on Thursday, when we stopped by for dinner. He's moving very slowly and carefully, and he's coughing like the dickens, but he's recovering. He's just not going to be chasing around a 2 year old by himself for a while.) This means that, in order to have The Boy attend his 2 to 3 times per week checkups, we'd have to pass one of the boys - either The Boy in the Valerie Fund or Younger Bro outside of the hospital - to whichever caretaker we could find.
(Never mind the illogic of that - taking an infant who is kept in a sterile environment with his immune-compromised brother [safe from swine flu] and passing him from caretaker to caretaker [dramatically increasing his chance of getting swine flu]. It's bureaucracy, and it's only a shock that St. Barnabas waited so long to take a stupid, kneejerk, ultimately ineffective move. If Younger Bro is a carrier of the disease, then so is The Boy and so are his parents. So, by letting the parents inside the Valerie Fund, and by letting The Boy inside the Valerie Fund, they are allowing swine flu inside. Way to go, St. Barnabas. Nothing like making a well-reasoned, medically-sound decision.)
To be continued.