Okay, so I know this is my third blog in a row related to my medical leave, but that’s pretty much all that’s been happening in my life this summer. It has been all consuming, but now, six weeks in, normal everyday things are becoming easier and it feels… better. And I suppose that was the objective. When I would lament that I was doing nothing, my caretakers would repeat (like a broken record) “You’re not supposed to be doing anything. You’re getting better.” That turned out to be true.
I can easily bend over and pick up something I have dropped… a pen, a book, my phone. My daily walks around the neighborhood aren’t power walks, but I think I’ve got pretty good distance and speed. And believe it or not, it feels good to be able to do things like empty the dishwasher, feed the dogs, and prepare a meal. I could probably even push the vacuum cleaner around, although I’m going to keep that piece of information to myself for now.
Although the prospect of having six weeks away from work during the summer months sounds great, it’s really only ‘great’ if you can do what you want with the time. I spent a lot of time sleeping, pacing, feeling like a turtle on its back, and worrying (always a favorite past-time when I have nothing else to do). That’s not to say there weren’t perks.
Afternoon naps on the deck under an umbrella are great medicine. As I told a colleague, I miss having three o’clock coffee with you, but three o’clock naps are pretty fabulous too. I’ve loved extra visits and communication from my siblings. My in-home caretakers have been patient and spending extra time with them has mostly been great – although I’ve been tempted at times to return to work early.
This past week, with my doctor’s permission, I’ve been working half days from home. Thanks to today’s technology, I can do about 90% of my regular job from home. It has been great for my brain (and my pocketbook) to be able to ease back into it. A big shout-out to my boss who was concerned and considerate about my health, and willing to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement with me to ease back into my role. I have one more week of half-time from home, and then I return to the office.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s been pretty sweet to roll out of bed at 7:45am and be sitting in front of my computer working by 8:00am. And although I miss my coworkers, I could definitely get used to attending a management meeting (via conference call) from my favorite comfy chair with a couple doxies in my lap. I think I have a few ideas for the suggestion box when I get back to the office. 😉
The time has both dragged on and flown by. With only one week left in my hiatus, I have an updated to do list.
- Read a book. I would have thought I’d be a reading fool with the time I’ve had, but I just haven’t had the focused attention span for a novel. I did start one last week and I hope to finish it and participate in a book discussion with my sisters (also reading it) this week.
- Drive. I think it’s time to get back behind the wheel. I imagine I’m okay to drive, but I didn’t get the go-ahead yet. I’m a rule follower, so I’ll have to check in with my doctor’s office, but going back to work is going to pose a bit of a problem if I can’t drive.
- Practice wearing pants. This hurdle also could pose a return to the office problem. I haven’t worn a dress since my son’s high school graduation (2011) and the only pants I’ve been able to wear for more than an hour are MOH’s sweat pants that I have been wearing Steve Urkel style. A ten inch vertical incision is a little hard to accommodate regardless of how well the healing process is going.
I know that many, MANY people have had similar surgeries, have had worse experiences, and have ongoing medical conditions and needs. I never for a second thought of myself as anything but lucky that I haven’t had any previous surgeries or serious health problems. But my experience as ‘the patient’ in the emergency room, the hospital bed, and at home has opened up my perspective. Hats off to the brave folks that go about their everyday lives dealing with chronic conditions, medical battles and/or caring for others. Respect.