Reconfiguring life and site


I mentioned in the last post that life circumstances were leading me to make changes. I worried a few people, so I wanted to put up a few more details.

Here’s the TL;DR: ongoing challenges with my daughter’s nursing needs are forcing me to cut down on other activities. That means it’s going to be really hard to hire me for speaking engagements as I’m going to have to be very selective, and my writing (though it will continue) will change direction. However, I may focus more on audio content.

The longer version

I’ve mentioned my daughter’s medical challenges before. The Princess (as we call her) has a very rare chromosomal disorder (only 15 to 20 like her known in the world at any given time) that has had a profound neurological impact on her. The shortest way to express this longer version is that she has no volitional control at all, and even some autonomic control (like closing her epiglottis when she swallows) doesn’t work. She requires 24-hour nursing, which until recent months was provided regularly by an agency.

But there is a nursing shortage affecting all such agencies. It is mostly, in my view, bureaucratically caused, or at least exacerbated—but that’s for another post. In any case, we have gone from having full coverage of 14 twelve-hour shifts each week, to occasionally missed shifts, to 12 shifts, etc., until we have reached the current situation, which is this:

Out of 14 shifts, we currently have five covered. We (that is, my son (The Prince) and I) have to cover the other nine. If you’re not great with math (I have to figure it out myself), that means 108 hours every week. If we split it evenly, that’s 54 hours for each of us on top of trying to take care of jobs and run a household. (My wife, The Queen, is also disabled, and although she contributes all she can through working on the computer and the telephone, she is unable to do anything to help with The Princess or the housework.)

It only got this bad a month or so ago. Before that, for about three months, the agency managed to cover eight shifts, leaving us to manage six. It has been headed this way for several months.

All I have been able to do for weeks is to take care of my day job, get a few hours sleep, and take care of The Princess. I have no idea when or if this situation will get any better.

Practical changes

Obviously, hard for me to take on speaking engagements under such circumstances. For the time being, I can’t travel far from home base, because I need to be home every night. I’m simply turning down most speaking opportunities.

I have changed the web site layout a bit to focus on the blog instead of having a landing page. When things have been further revamped, I’ll reconsider the web site. I am developing some video and audio material that I think you will like, though, so stay tuned.

Conventional wisdom says that to be successful with a blog, especially if you are using it to try to drum up business, you must publish on a consistent basis. Followers of this blog know that has not been happening, and now you know why.

I’m going to try a combined approach. I aim to publish something useful at least twice a month, on the first and third Tuesday. As I am able, I will move that up to once a week. But I also know there is a strong likelihood that I will publish haphazardly. After all, I started this post on July 21, and today (as I wrap up) it is August 5. The Princess just got out of the hospital again, and taking care of her was simply the priority. I hope you will still find the material here useful, even if it doesn’t come out regularly. (Would you please consider joining my email list to make sure you don’t miss content?) I am grateful for those who remain part of this community, and thank you for your support!

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with individuals and organizations who want to forge top-notch communication skills to increase their influence and impact. He is associate professor of speech and journalism at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.