Rory Gardiner's Webpage

02, Feb, 2010

Tuesday 2nd February 2010


I resigned from my job at Whangarei District Council today.  Although I knew it was coming it is a shock to my system being without work. 

I returned to work on a part-time basis in January 2003, ten months after Rory was born, and approximately seven years ago.  Rory was born in March 2002 on his due date.  I had a huge tummy and to the surprise of the midwife he weighed 8lb 5ozs.  She expected a little baby with a lot of water!  We had been spoilt with our first baby, Sam rarely cried and accepted a routine.  Rory was the complete opposite.  It was always on his terms.  He wanted to feed almost continuously, and would cat nap during the day in odd locations rather than having a decent sleep in his cot.  He was temperamental and clingy.  I remember trying to start getting him settled into Kamo Tots crèche when he was six months old.  He would cry and scream as I left and I would get a call within an hour to come and pick him up again.  Although I didn't know it at the time I was suffering from post-natal depression.  Making it through some days was a struggle.  Attending Playcentre with the boys kept me sane, and the fog began to life when I returned to work for DoC (Department of Conservation). 

I have always been a career woman but I have tried hard to balance this with the important job of being a mother.  It was raining heavily this morning so I opted for an early start in the office over going for a run.  When I walked it was 7am and the offices were quiet.  Everything felt foreign.  When I got to my desk I was shocked to discover another staff member had taken over my space.  This made me feel even more like an intruder.  It was nice to see everyone as they filed in but as I sat amongst the activity and discussion I realised how far they had progressed, and I had fallen behind.  I remember the day I walked out like it was yesterday.  I had taken Monday as sick leave and taken Rory to Whangarei Hospital to be examined.  The Doctor had ordered a CT scan and Rory and I sat there all afternoon waiting but as he was down the priority list we had to return on the Tuesday morning.  I went to work early and Sean and Rory came to collect me to go to the hospital for the CT scan.  When I left Council I had no idea of the news which would follow.  Sean and I were given little time for the diagnosis to register as Rory needed to be transported to Starship immediately and Sean was going to drive him.  He dropped me back at Council .  I had to tell Kerry my boss what had happened, collect my things, and drive back to Dargaville to collect Sam and pack gear.  Sam and I drove south to catch up with Sean and Rory. 

I dropped everything at work and it was weeks before I came back.  When I was able to return Council set me up so I was able to work remotely via a wireless internet connection.  I worked a few hours when I was able.  I returned to work part-time during the break between radiotherapy and chemo.  During chemo I worked little.  Not once did Council pressure me to resign or make a decision as to what I was going to do.  My Managers patiently waited and supported me to continue working in whatever capacity I was able.  At Council I worked as the State of the Environment Co-ordinator.  My work primarily involved reporting on the activities of the Council under the Resource Management Act.  It is a legal requirement for Council and has strict timeframes.  The longer I spent away the longer Council wasn't fulfilling its requirements.  When Rory completed treatment and we returned north I was able to return to work part-time, but I knew I would have to make a final soon.  My Managers waited until Rory's MRI result was through, and Sean had heard from Taranaki Regional Council.  Prior to Rory's diagnosis I worked 30 hours per week.  When I was employed the position was full-time but I had reduced my hours to account for the commute from Dargaville in an effort to balance work and family.  Council needs someone in the position for a minimum of 30 hours, preferably full-time, as there is a back-log of work to complete.  At present I can't deliver this, and I don't know at what point in the future I will be able to.  I couldn't leave Council hanging any longer.  It was with sadness I tendered my resignation.  I have enjoyed working at Council, I have learnt a great deal, and I will miss the Futures team (Kerry, Dianne, David and Anne-jo).  Rory has completed treatment and is in remission but he has a long way to go on the path to recovery.  He cannot do it alone.  He needs me, and my place is with him.  To try and do both tasks well is something I'm not sure I could do.  The Policy and Monitoring team had expected my resignation and put on a farewell morning tea.  They presented me with a card and gift.  My resignation comes into effect next Friday.  I hope to be able to spend one more day in the office next week. 

Sean looked after the boys today.  They towned around this morning doing odd jobs.  Rory picked up his Star Wars gun from the storage unit, and Sean dropped Rory's bike into the bike shop for a service and repairs.  We are still discussing whether to convert Rory's bike into a trike.  After lunch the boys helped Sean put our trampoline up at Grannie and Grandad's.  It was neat to see Rory excited about getting on to it and bouncing up and down awkwardly laughing.  Unfortunately five minutes later there was an almighty scream which had us running.  Rory's left leg had given way at the hip knee and ankle and his foot had twisted under him.  Rory's left foot still displays 'foot drop' as a result of nerve damage due to one of the chemo drugs (Vincristine).  We are hoping it will resolve itself with time and physio.  His left foot tends to flop and drag.  You can see it on his shoes where they are worn and marked.  After some gentle rubbing and a cuddle he picked himself up and was helped down off the tramp. 

Yesterday (Monday) it poured down all day so we were confined indoors.  It was a good opportunity for the boys to recover from the long drive the day before as they were both tired.  They watched tv, played the Playstation and board games, and read their books.