Thursday, April 30, 2015

Current goals revisited

{In order of what I wanted last time, and how I am achieving that goal.}

 These people crack me up

*Get rid of the cane.  DONE. I'm not even using it for going down the steep driveway anymore.  I think I will put it into the garage with the crutches.
*Get a Wii, use the Wii Fit.  DONE.  I was using it daily until I went back to work.  Now only on days I can't get out to shop or walk.  Chloe and I are challenging each others' scores, which is fun.
*Finish decorating the house for Spring.  DONE.  Plus, I've done a lot of spring cleaning, which feels nice.
*Take the boys to the movies.  DONE.  And we went out to lunch a couple times.
*Get back into following the strict home program I set up for myself and the schedule for getting up early.  Halfway DONE.  It's really hard to not just want to rest and catch up on housework on my days off.  I am so tired from work.  I imagine this will get easier, and I look forward to continuing with walking.  However, sleeping in IS a thing of the past.
*Continue with the EFT and self-hypnosis.  DONE, but I don't find I need it as often.  Every day gets easier and I find I have to self-talk myself into things less and less.

I'm pretty happy with my progress since my first set of goals so here are my new ones:
*Continue with my vitamins, walking, and water.  Try not to slack off on these!
*Visit my mother in Brenham and allow enough time for a nice long visit.
*Get a handle on the household filing which is SIX MONTHS BEHIND.
*Plan a trip in Mabel with Hubby.
*Finish up with outside PT once and for all
*Make a list of things I want to do this summer and get started.  Item #1 - get Grayson started in    Driver's Ed.

Measureable, reasonable, achievable.

 You can do it, Mom!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Managing guilt

I didn't choose for my knee to blow out.  I would have liked for it to keep on working,  
moving me through my days
getting me to and from work
moving me around my house doing chores
decorating and shopping for the holidays
leaving the house by myself

I felt really bad at first for missing so much work.  I never meant for it to be that way.  I had lots of PTO saved up and I thought to myself  "well, if I can't use it now, maybe I will need it some day".  That some day began last Fall.  Bad timing for work, but we can't always have plans go the way we want them to.  I have heard comments form people at work about me being off so long...well, it wasn't a vacay for me.  I suffered physically AND mentally.   I know my co-workers were overworked and short-staffed,  and while I feel sorry about that,  I didn't just chose not to work during the busiest time of the year.  I really thought I would be back to work real quick!  I'm sure it will be awhile before all of them come around.
Because even if they say they understand, I know it's hard for some of them to let go of resentment.  It shows.
And having guilt about this sucks
 It's not even reasonable.  Especially since there was nothing I could do to change the direction of what was happening. So, I would like to say I am sorry, but I don't really know what I should feel sorry for.
It is what it is.
I'm choosing to let it go.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three weeks "in"

Time flies and its three weeks back at work already.  It seems amazing to me, because just a couple of short months ago I was so worried about not being able to get back.  I had fears about my ability to walk, yes.  But I also about how much I would forget, how co-workers would perceive me, how I would manage balancing home and work.  Things seem to be going fairly smoothly.  Which is not to say that there haven't been challenges.  I am still very tired at the end of my workweek - but isn't everyone?  Especially working moms, no matter how old your kids are!  But I can walk on my own two legs, and I trust them to get me where I'm going.  Most of my co-workers welcomed me back with (literally) open arms.  That made me feel more at ease for sure.  And I have made minor changes in the running of the household.  Specifically, I can no longer do the boys' laundry to "help them out" - there's just too much of it.  Every meal does not have to be homemade - we can eat take-out now and again.  Chores cannot be done every day - I need a REAL day off, like every working person.  Wednesday is my new rest and recover day; if I get some things done, great.  Will everything stay the same as it is right now?  Probably not.  I'll wing it as I go.

I'm just relieved that things are moving along in the right direction.  What seemed impossible to me before is HAPPENING right now.  I don't know whether to feel bad I had so much doubt, or thrilled for so much success.  I think I will take the latter!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What you tell yourself matters the most

Another day, another cry fest in PT.
 I expect the sessions to challenge me, and they do.  Learning the last bit of what I need to push past the recovery.  And I do my best not to cry or say I can't.  Somehow, that tends to come out of my mouth more in PT than it does in real life.  I promise I am saying positive things out loud to myself!  I don't even care who is listening!

The hardest thing about physical therapy now isn't even physical.  It's making the connection between my mind and my body synch up.  Telling myself specifically that my knee is strong and I can trust it.  I'm trying hard to do that.  To move through my day with a sense of confidence, ignoring minor pain and getting stuff done at home and at work.  I had no idea before, how important that connection is.  But I am discovering that more and more.  And that's really the only thing in my way.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Paradoxical gratitude

adjective: paradoxical:
                                                seemingly absurd or self-contradictory.

So, the counseling lady challenged me when I said that I wanted to put this whole knee incident behind me and forget the last five months.  Is that really true, Gina?  Do you really want to forget five months of your life?  No one would argue that having a knee problem was something that I didn't want to have, but isn't it true that there are other things that came about because of it that might have been beneficial?  Yes, it turns out there are!
*My knee got fixed.  I had awesome insurance that paid for it.
*I had Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's with my family in our comfy home with lots of laughter and good food.  I missed most of respiratory season at work so I didn't get so much as a sniffle.
*I got a mental health break and was able to see work in a different light.  I really like what I do, and a lot of the people there, and interacting with other adults enriches me and makes me less introverted.
*A friend from work came to see me at home and made my birthday very special. Another friend brought me a lunch.  My sister came to my house for the first time in months and months.  People texted and called.  That was nice.
*I learned that I don't have to be Super Woman - and my family has had to do more for themselves, and has risen to the challenge beautifully.
*I learned that my hubby really loves me and will stick with me through ugly stuff, not just the happy stuff like childbirth...
*I got to participate in jury duty which although stressful, was informative.  And,  I got to meet people from other walks of life and get to know them in a short period of time.  Plus, I got paid for it!
*Hubby and I went out on at least four Sunday dates - something we don't get to do. On two of them our next door neighbors came - it was such fun!
*I caught up on reading and rest - two things that I had not had the time for when this all went down.  And, I got paid disability which lessened the financial burden of having been home for five months.
*I had the time and energy to to tell my sister and mother how I feel about things.  Turns out, it was a weight off me that felt GREAT.  I feel empowered to continue keeping it 'real' and say what I am feeling and call people out on their crap.

I've been through a lot the past few months. I'm not a fan of on-going pain.  I don't like sitting still for long.  I love to work and get out in the world, and I want to feel that I am in control of my health and my life.  In addition to the the pain, fear, and depression, I was forced to examine all kinds of truths about myself, and life in general. And I survived.
I want to leave this experience in the past, but be able to say that it wasn't all for naught.  If I ever have to do something like it again, I will be better at it.  So, for learning?  I'm grateful.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Therapy at my favorite store

It's been several weeks since I have used the cane and 2 forty hour work weeks back on the job.  It's been a very loooong road for me.  I wish I could say that I behaved myself and was brave and strong and acted like an adult who had a grip the ENTIRE time I was recovering.  But, hey, I deeply and completely accept myself!  I've done better as time wears on, and I'm sure it will just keep heading in the right direction!

One of the best ways I got exercise, and still do, is by walking.  And just because you're pushing a shopping cart doesn't mean it doesn't count.  Yes, I had to remind myself often not to lean on the cart with my forearms, and not to grip the handles so tightly.  {"loosen your grip, Gina!"  I can still hear my mother's voice.  Grrrr}  And I couldn't go too fast, or it would have ended up being more a fall hazard than exercise.  Really, it felt a little like a PT session.  I coached myself silently "No limping!  Walk normally!"

I mean look how long that aisle is!  The best thing about walking in stores as I am recovering is that it is distracting.  I don't focus so much on the mechanics of moving, or how I'm hurting.  I put my body on a bit of an auto-pilot, go down every aisle, and look at everything.  And I mean, everything.  I used to "run over to Target" - in and out, get what I need, get out.  Sure, I would peruse all of the end caps where clearance things were, but I wasn't there to stroll.  This is different.  This is physical therapy disguised as shopping.  And it's brilliant!

The true measure of success?  Having to ice my knee when I return.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Feeling good about the Me in the mirror

It's gotten so that I don't really like to see myself in the mirror.  Or in pictures.  And maybe that's because I've been so lazy the past couple of years with my appearance.  Age, weight gain, thyroid, and menopause have conspired to change the landscape of me.  And I'm not loving it.  My low self esteem shows in photographs.  Unless I am with the people I love, then I feel more genuine.

Selfie, of course

I see other 50 somethings and I think to myself that I look older than they do.  It distresses me that my hair fell out so much after the surgery, that my weight didn't change drastically even though I lost my appetite so often (I lost two pounds) and that people view me as being so much older because of the darned limp.  I don't want to feel old, I'm not ready for that!  There is much I can't change about my appearance, but I can enhance it and learn to love the face of the woman I see.  It's high time I start wearing a little makeup, caring a little more about the look of my hair and clothes, and OK, yes, I can start exercising again and feel better inside and out.
My knee is all fixed.  I've been taking my vitamins religiously.  I'm not drinking soda and I'm eating far less fast food than I was before the surgery.  I am starting to be able to do more. I don't want to feel bad about the way I look. 
I want to feel good about me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ready and able


Today's post will be a little more positive and upbeat!  Today the word for the day is:

I don't know if I can even adequately describe what it has felt like lately. To have the sun shining on me, not out there beyond me.  To see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize that it is Spring, and I made it through a dark Fall and Winter.  I feel relief, joy, hope, and thankfulness.

And also accomplished and proud that I made it through something that at one point engulfed me in so much anxiety and sadness I thought I would drown.  If that sounds overly dramatic, felt that way for me.  I couldn't see it from any other perspective than my own.  And I was so unprepared for it that it threw me for a loop!

There was a lesson in all of it for me, and I am still figuring it out.  At the very least, I have a better realization of what it must be like for people who have injuries that put them out of commission.  We really take our day-to-day health for granted.  We assume it will be as it is today, not drastically different tomorrow,  and we go on about our daily lives with very little thought of it. 

We move through the week complaining about the day to day blessings we have because we don't even see them as blessings - work is too stressful, the kids are driving us nuts, there's too much housework, etc.  Just weeks before my knee surgery I was saying I needed a break. I felt overwhelmed.  I did way more than my fair share of complaining, when what I should have been doing was thanking God every day for all of the blessings I enjoy.  I'm sure I needed  an attitude adjustment. I still have some things to work on...


When our lives change and things are taken away, no matter how small, we realize they were OURS and WE WANT THEM BACK.  
Taking it all back, with a thankful heart, is what I'm going to do!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Step aside, You

I'll try not to sink to the level of the nurse who assisted me with my return to work paperwork in the telling of this experience.  But I can't make promises. I'd heard stories about Occupational Health before, but I figured if I were polite and friendly and had all of my paperwork filled out correctly, it would all go fine.  I feel great!  I am ready to get on with life! Winner right here!


To begin with, she quizzed about what kind of surgery I had and when did it take place.  I politely answered her, even though all of that information was directly in front of her via the RTW paperwork and the computer file with notes from the nurse who previously assisted me twice in the past - exhaustive notes, believe me.  It was like an inquisition every time I called.  Her tone of voice was accusatory, for no reason I could imagine.  Then she asked if I still had stitches?  {Whaaa?  Five months later?}  I answered nicely, no.  Even showed her my knee.

Her next comment was a zinger: "You've been gone five months?  I'm surprised they didn't fill your job".  Calmly I informed her that I was considered a valuable employee and my boss had assured me that they did, in fact, want me back.  WTF do you say to such rudeness?  I have worked for this hospital system for 20 years.  I work hard, don't clock in late, don't ride the clock for overtime, remember to clock in and out for lunches, don't call out, follow policy, dress professionally, get along with my co-workers, and serve on committees.  Not to mention, my licenses are all current and I do a DAMN FINE JOB.

She asked me what my work schedule is - I told her Saturday through Tuesday.  In the next breath she questioned my start date as it was four days after the end of my leave - well, that's because my next scheduled shift is four days after the last day of my LOA which is on the 31st, a Tuesday.  At this point I felt like I was dealing with someone who was not just impolite, but not bright.  But it was when she called the doctor's office and left a rude message for the nurse to call her about "frequently" vs. "occasionally" lifting 50 pounds that I thought, oh, she's not a professional person who has good communication skills.  Then she asked me about the start date.  Again.

Her lack of tact was confirmed when she blurted "where's your cane" and commented on my limp.  I HAD KNEE SURGERY.  I AM HEALED.  I AM GETTING STRONGER AND WORKING ON THE VERY TEMPORARY LIMP.

I wish I were in a position to evaluate this person for her job.  Her head would roll.  At the very least she'd undergo sensitivity training.  We work for the same hospital system.  I am not the enemy, trying to get a job under false pretenses; I already have one, and I am ready to return to it.  I got a problem fixed and am going to go on living my life.  
So get out of my damn way.