Work Part Deux
Going back to work while recovering from cancer is a shock partly because people take work so seriously, like their lives depend on it – not their livelihoods. Where the hell is everybody going in such hurry?
I’m not suggesting that showing up late for meetings is okay, or doing slipshod work is okay, or not taking your job seriously is okay either. What I’m suggesting is the recovery person is more like a lamb jumping into a tornado and – if may I mix my allusions – a house might land on you.
Chemo brain is a real thing. For me it’s names. I can’t remember anyone’s name. Shit I can barely remember my own. It’s really embarrassing because everyone has been so nice to me and they deserve me to remember their names. It freaks me out. Thanks God people nowadays where ID badges. Although I can’t go around saying, “Hello employee 57,” for too long or they’ll catch on.
If that’s not challenge enough where I work there are lots of laws, rules and regulations to know – a lot of fine points I need at my finger tips. Shoot, like I said earlier chemo brain is alive and well -- I can barely find my way to the office. What the Workforce Investment Act says about any particular topic is a mystery to me; I have to look that stuff up now. I used to know it pretty well.
I am in the middle of preparing the big state plan. It’s quite an undertaking, with multiple parts, different sections, and lots of technical gobbledygook. It has taken about two weeks for me to hit an immersion point where the ideas are starting to flow. If you go into my office the walls are covered in chart paper and green marker scrawls that highlight what I think I’m supposed to be working on. Thank God other people are going to check this thing; for all I know I might be typing my recipe for cabbage rolls over and over again.
Fatigue is still an issue and likely will be for another few months. At about 3 p.m. I get bone weary. If I could sneak a Lazy Boy in my office and a shade over the window in my door I’d be on a “do not disturb conference call” every day at 3 pm ‘till 4 p.m. But I gotta keep driving on. The fatigue is one of two issues that pop up at work – other is pain/neuropathy.
Sometimes pain shoots down my calf and around the top of my foot that is so intense I want to cry like a baby. My sill feet getting numb and/or tingly to the point of having to actually plod through my day. I look like the Mel Brooks Frankenstein Monster lumbering through the office – I’m waiting for someone to dump soup in my lap.
I have discovered that recovery and work are compatible if I take the time to do what I can, as best I can within my limitations and to let someone know if I am overwhelmed. I have discovered I need to take more notes and make better use of a planning calendar so I can at least get to the right building on the right day. I also need to be on guard about making sure I am always keeping my eye on the short-term urgent things in my life while making plans for the long term important things in my life.
Although it sounds like a lot of complaining I am thankful to be at the Delaware DOL and DWIB and tomorrow or Saturday I’ll tell you why.