It’s been three weeks and one day now since I had my operation and I’m starting to move more, manage more and feel better. The physio yesterday told me to continue with the exercises I’ve been given and to come back when it had been six or seven weeks for progression exercises. I’m even being allowed by my mum to bend down! These are all excellent signs and coupled with the fact that the wound has healed well, with no infection, supple skin with the regular application of E45 and little pain, overall it seems to have been a rip-roaring success.
Except for me.
I seem to be in some kind of withdrawal spiral whereby I feel guilty for recovering and yet pleased to be doing so well therefore striving to keep up my recovery which only embellishes the guilt I feel about my recovery. Daft, you must cry; why on earth would I feel guilty about recovering? But I do and the only way I have worked out to deal with feelings such as this is separate them into their basest format and deal with things one problem at a time.
I am doing little at the moment but eating, walking and sitting using my computer. The nurse in the hospital told us that some people go back to work after as little as three weeks just as the physio said it would be two to three months. To which of these comments does my subconscious cling to; obviously the milestone I have just passed. This is compounded by the fact that I hate my work. Not just dislike it as I thought I did but having time away and the opportunity to take a good, hard look at my life has brought to the forefront how much I loathe my job and everything surrounding it.
This has been exacerbated by the announcement from my boss the week before I was off over Christmas for my operation that HR in all their wisdom has finally decided to allocate full time positions to the two temps who have been working with us for a time for little reward. However having opened up the jobs as brand new roles they have evaluated the work roles, found them to be unique and demanding and therefore on an identical pay level as me. I am in charge of their work; I instruct them both in their job roles, take the blame for their failures and get none of the praise when they perform well. The only consolation in the whole thing I could tell myself was that at least I was getting paid for my work and now I find out that in fact I have been getting the salary of someone who could have been doing my job without any of the extra responsibility, without the extra stress and without the additional weight of my boss leaning on me because I was only an assistant. Instead I have spent the last three years at possibly the wrong salary and as I have been notified with a week to go before I am off for an extended period the only thing I could do about it was write a list of additional activities I do over and above the boys’ job description, hand them to Maya (the boss) and hope she passes them onto HR for consideration of a pay rise. If I return to work to discover nothing has been done, not only will I be totally unsurprised, I will also be leaving as I will not be staying to work somewhere at the same level as those two.
I suppose I could contest it and go to my union and shout and scream and everyone available but in the end, I want to leave anyway and all the screaming in the world at HR will only result in a hoarse voice and a supercilious smile as they slime under the blame and palm it off on another section of the working machine. If I’m truly unlucky, as I seem to be, then it may even be me!
Technically this also comes under work and was touched on briefly in the first of the paragraphs above but because of the amount this weights on my mind I decided it deserves an anxiety section all of its own.
The amount of time I have had off so far is three weeks and my surgeon felt it would fine for me to return to work with 3-6 weeks as well. Now as I have blogged previously, I believe pain is very subjective and as such my next statement has no significance beyond my own meandering experience through twenty nine years of being, well… me!
I am not a wimp and I do not shy away from work through a little tiredness, stress, pain or any other reason and mostly if they do cause a problem I keep this very much to myself. I know people who are louder than me about every aspect of their distress, whether a bout of man flu or the splitting of their longest fingernail, as well as taking days off for lesser things than I have such as a hangover, cleverly disguised a migraine. I also know those who would not take off even if they’d lost an arm in a car accident that morning. Instead declaring ‘I can type as fast with one’, they would continue their work at twice the pace and only when the blood loss began to cause an issue would they submit to medical intervention were it left up to them. However due to the medical information telling me such different information I start to worry that at some point I may be well enough for work and yet not feel able to go back, not because of my physical health, but instead because I don’t want to. When I asked the doctor for my fitness to work certificate he asked me how long I wanted to be off for. I stammered a little and said ‘February?’ as a suggestion. He wrote 29/02/2012 on the certificate, handed it to me and told me to come back if I needed anything.
I effectively just decided my own recovery time. Oh, yes it’s been signed by a health professional who is well aware of my operation and the fact that he signed it when I had been recovering for just under two weeks, but still… And it is this point that worries me and leaves me with a stone of guilt lying flat and cold inside my stomach, shifting with every swallow, every motion, every twinge. The feeling that I’m doing the very thing that disgusts me in other people; trading off my illness against the desire to be pitied.
I will not become that person.
Oh yes, it’s another related worry but again one that I think deserves its own title and paragraph. Even before I know I was going to need a fair amount of time off work due to the issues with my back, I was already thinking about the fact I hated my job and it was about time I did something about that. Now if I have up to three months off work, it means I will not be going back until after March which is then in the downswing to summer, the end of the school year, the start of the next and the busiest single time of the year for my office. I have done this, pretty much single handed for the last three years and have dealt with all the negative fallout coming from it, which is consistently considerable.
I have the perfect opportunity now to sort out the CV or as I’m coming to gather, write one, as my CV of university days is a little obsolete now and pretty useless in trying to take a step up when it names one of the tried and tested skills as being ‘lacking in practical skills but extremely enthusiastic about learning’. I wouldn’t hire me! I also have the time and motivation to look and see what is out there and find out exactly what sort of area I want to get into. Opportunities like this do not come around every year let alone every day and I do not intend to let this one pass me by, however the cold press of guilt in my gut is stifling and uncomfortable with every inhalation because I am using the very time my job has kindly given me off work and paid me full pay for, to look for alternative employment.
I wouldn’t obviously start applying for jobs before I can go back to work as that would be a betrayal, but I won’t be looking to stay in my job for more than a couple of months on my return and this will leave them just at the beginning of the busy season as I am looking for alternative employment, possibly not even in the same company.
This would be the other half.
He has not been mentioned before because to be honest, it has not been on my mind much what with everything else that has been happening, but now I am contemplating my life worries and guilty feelings, this is one that springs to the forefront.
Having been together for the last four and a half years – bar a messy month last December that is a whole other kettle of sharks – we have both gotten used to having the other around and being a source of constant support to each other as equals among other things. Or so I thought. It seems to me that the more time I spend away, the more I relax and am able to consider what is best for me and the less I think about our relationship which causes no end of unidentifiably complex feelings. I am not going to air laundry of any sort, dirty or freshly pressed on this site however the fact of my recent selfish indulgence in considering little outside of my sphere of immediate influence is weighing heavy on my mind and I know I should focus more on things outside of myself. But I can’t seem to muster the inclination to. This is where the feelings of guilt are stemming from.
I think that encapsulates the lot actually. I can’t think of any more that may be lurking around in the back of my mind or even the bottom of my subconscious waiting to spring forward the moment a memory or incident triggers the trap, but then that is always the case with these sorts of feeling. I think the best thing to do will be to sign off, extinguish the light and perhaps re-read this again tomorrow, with a less jaundiced eye, with a view to solutions.
With a well rested conscience.