This week marks the second anniversary of my friend Henry's accident. Physically, he has recovered amazingly well and I'm grateful. However, he still suffers the after effects of a brain injury, and he may never completely recover. He is doing well, all things considered. He is able to work and he attends poetry guild meetings. But he struggles with anger, with reason and proportion. He gets whipped up over things that he doesn't understand and can't control and then he veers off into Crazy Town. Once he enters Crazy Town, there's no reaching him.
Tonight he called and we were en route to Crazy Town. His employers are insisting he consult a neurologist (YEA!) and the only one in town can't see him until January. So, Henry says, he's going to be fired on Monday.
I suggested he have the neurologist send word to his bosses that she can't see him until January. No. They know this and don't accept it. They're going to fire him on Monday morning.
I suggested he call his shrink and ask her to intercede with this employers on his behalf. (I don't think there's anything she can do, but she's a trained professional who can likely talk him down.) No. She doesn't have time for him. They're going to fire him on Monday morning.
I suggested his GP let his employers know that he's submitted a referral to the neurologist. No. They won't accept that. They're going to fire him on Monday morning.
I'm running out of suggestions here. So I decide to just go with the flow.
OK, they'll fire him Monday morning. Fine. They have to pay severance. Between 9 and 12 weeks. So the worst that can happen is paychecks through Christmas. YEA!
He says I don't understand. Well, we agree on that. I'm tired and I'm running out of suggestions.
I change the subject. "So you went to the poetry guild today?" I ask him about his writing. I ask him for advice with mine. Hallelujah! We're talking about something else!
I think I understand what's happening at work. Henry has been clashing more frequently with his coworkers, and they likely need some verification that he is disabled to justify keeping him on. I don't blame them. I love Henry, but I can't imagine what he's like 40 hours/week. I think every one of his coworkers deserves flowers and a big heart-shaped box of candy for understanding and enduring his situation as well as they have.
Henry has been reluctant to see a neurologist because he thinks it means he's "stupid" or "crazy." But he needs to see one. He needs to have an up-to-date assessment and maybe meds. So I think this is all positive.
And personally, I take this call as proof that I'm improving as a friend. I'm learning to deflect, not argue.