I did make my return to work. Going against what my doctor had originally wanted, I decided I was well enough to do a full 8 hours. Around 2pm on Monday, I was yawning, exhausted, but refused to admit defeat. I'd been out a month, I should be healed enough to work a full day, right?
WRONG! As soon as I got home, I passed out. Day 2 was about the same except I didn't pass out once I got home, I was up until almost 11. Both days I didn't have to take any oxy until the evening. I was ok with that. I was in control... or so I thought.
Wednesday I woke up with the hint of the start of a migraine. I shook it off and chalked it up to not really eating anything. I ignored the fact it was on the right side of my head and not in the sinus area where my migraines normal start. Something told me this wasn't going to be good though, I popped 1 oxy and ran out the door.
I got to work, I was drained. Oxy doesn't make me sleepy, it makes me wired and lovey. I was ready to pass out where I sat. The pain was also getting worse. The office manager looked at me and told me to keep her posted but she thought I should go home right then. I pressed on, but was barely about to fake a smile at that point. I went to hide in med recs, but now the pain was behind my eye and in my teeth. MY TEETH!!! I tried to call the front desk and couldn't figured out why the extensions didn't work. I was using patient account numbers as phone numbers. This is when I started contemplating the scary bus to go home.
Thankfully, a coworker printed off a sheet with a different and safer bus route with express buses to get me out of north Seattle. Another coworker took my hand, pinned the instructions to my jacket, grabbed Sakura Bunny and drove me to the transit center across the freeway. She said she didn't trust me to leave unescorted. I quickly jumped on the first bus that said it was going downtown and started to crash. Completely ignore my rule about not sleeping on an unfamiliar bus. I got downtown, getting off at Westlake and got a happy meal. The lady at the counter didn't bat an eye and asked if it would ruin my day if I didn't get a Wizard of Oz toy. I told her my day could not get any worse at this point, just as long as it was pink, I didn't care.
My throat had swelled again though so I really didn't eat. I did down the large coke I got and wished I'd gotten soft serve instead of real food... or semi real food. I'm not a fan of McDonalds, but I was so low and confused at the point that was all the sounded good... and soft serve. I promptly finished what I could and jumped on a bus home. I called the doctors office and asked for a new note setting my hours to 4 - 6 as tolerated until my next follow up in November.
When I got home, I took a bubble bath and barely made it to bed before passing out. I slept for 13 hours, something I've never done. I had a heating pad on my neck and my microwave homemade one over my eyes. After another round of oxy, the pain was still there. I was sick every time I got up for 6 hours. It was horrible.
Thursday I did 6 hours, but just barely. I also talked with the new manager who'd started while I was out. She was super helpful and supportive. She kept reminding me to not push. She'd looked up what I had/have and was surprised I was even back at work. She assured me that with the note covering me, that I needed to focus on healing, to not push it. I was so grateful to hear that from someone that meant it.
Today, I started physical therapy. My trainer is about my age and had had neck surgery over the summer. She knows where I'm coming from and it's actually really helpful. It was really discouraging seeing the numbers for my strength and mobility on paper... to admit that I can't open jars or cut my own food. She asked my goal and I told her it was to have my sketch book as part of my arm again. I want to draw so bad but even she said that it will be a couple weeks before I should try. While she worked with me today, she let me hold on to Hope, the little fox I carry in my purse. She commented on who my body will react to the painful spots long before I say anything and I told her I have a very high tolerance. She said that the scar on my shoulder was not healed enough to really work with but the one on my neck had. It was a good experience... but also frustrating.
When I went back to work, I struggled to do the bare minimum. I finished what I could before admitting defeat. I didn't take the bus home today, I slept in the vanpool van... after ditching my bar and having a good cry.
When I'd talked with the new manager, I told her how frustrated I was because this isn't me. I started early and often stayed late. I'd jump in when we where short. I worked through lunches to make sure other people got their breaks. When this got worse, I started to stop doing that. I'm not this person and I'm scared that people will think I'm taking advantage of things... but I realize now I just can't do it... at least not yet. She told me that while I was gone, everyone talked so highly of me. She kept hearing how Lin would jump in and help. Lin made sure birthdays where extra special. Lin knew all the answers. Lin would brighten any day for anyone, even when she was having a bad one. I've never worked anywhere where I've had so much love or have been so respected.
The guilt is slowly fading for not being super hero girl (gold star if you know who sings that song!) While I try to remind myself that you can't fix 10 + years over night, I still struggle. A coworker put it best. "Now is not the time to be stoic. Don't ignore the pain anymore. Take the meds when you need them. No one likes to take pain meds but right now, you need to. We understand." So, I'm trying my best to take care of myself. I'm asking for help and trying to do what I can at work. I'm trying to not be so down about it, but I know there will be gray days for a little while.