So Fortunate

10-25-15

Today I went to work again.  It was only my 4th full day of work since I started my maternity leave in early August of 2014 (i.e. over one year ago).  Amazing.

Today I thought about how very fortunate I am.

Before my baby’s birth, I was hoping that our new family of 3 would be able to live on one income (plus a good bit of savings) so that I could stay home for at least 6 months, if not longer.

At the time, the only deciding factor was money.

But– I obviously had NO way of anticipating just how debilitated I’d feel for sooo many months after my (horrific) childbirth.

It would have been COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE for me to go back to work at 3 months post-partum.  It would have been HORRIBLE to imagine trying to work at 6 months post-partum.  And, even at 9 months post-partum (!), I was not at all physically capable of performing my job…even on a PRN (as needed) basis.

That’s the truth!

Even at 1 year post-partum, I didn’t feel 100% ready.  Yet, I was eager to find out if I could “tolerate” working just a little bit.  I started putting the wheels in motion…

I returned to work in September 2015, just before my baby turned 13 months old.  (I planned to work just ~1 day per week.)  If you recall, I had a decent first day back.  But…I cried the next day.

Now my boy is 14 months old (time is really ticking).  Another month has passed.

Today I was able to perform my job just fine.  Things aren’t perfect.  I’m not feeling “normal.”  But I can work!

I’m so lucky that I had the luxury of being able to stay home for as long as I wanted to.  I was able to take care of my baby AND take care of myself in that year.  Despite my struggles, in many ways it was a peaceful year.  Things could have been so much worse!

Every day I have a lot to be thankful for.  I don’t ever forget it.

I am healed.

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Almost Normal

10-11-15

Hmm, I’m tired!  I worked a 9.5 hour day today.  Unlike 3 weeks ago, today I didn’t want to cry.

Actually, both yesterday and today were among my best days to date since I had my baby.  Something was noticeably and very obviously different.  For a good span of time, I felt…almost normal.

Almost normal means that I felt just the slightest slightest sensation of pressure.  It was “barely there.”  I felt more “lifted up” internally.  I could sense that my pelvic organs were positioned maybe just a couple millimeters (??) into a better position.  But a small excursion makes a big improvement in the feeling!

AND– the “almost normal” feeling lasted for a lot longer than I thought it would.

I felt pretty great DESPITE assisting one of my male patients to stand up from his wheelchair fairly early this morning.  The encouraging feeling lasted, even as I had to bend down to help one of my female patients with her clothing in the bathroom.

As I continued to do my job– reaching down for wheelchair brakes and helping to roll a back surgery patient over in bed to show the nurses aides how to get her TLSO orthotic on– I did start to feel just a wee bit worse…

BUT it took almost the whole day to “feel it” in a still rather mild way.  Do you know how awesome this is?

The next step is for me to maintain this “almost normal” feeling ALL DAY.  Today I was clearly challenged by a lot of movements I had to do at work.  In between times when I was forced to bend and reach (and yes– do some lifting and pulling!) I tried to quickly get back into posture with my chest lifted.

I really wouldn’t mind having “almost normal” be my “new normal.”  But I think I’ll continue to strive for normal normal!  I feel tired yet peaceful tonight as I finish this post immediately before I go to bed.

Sweet dreams!
I am healed.

Sometimes I Just Cry

09-21-15

And that day was yesterday.  I didn’t post because it was a long day and I wasn’t in the mood.  At work I didn’t feel particularly good, but I really couldn’t blame it on anything I did at work. 

However…

I did have patients who really needed more physical help from me than I felt I could safely give them.  For example– one lady recovering from hip surgery.  It should have been NO BIG DEAL for me to assist her going from sitting to standing, then statically supporting her weight with the gait belt as she tried to pivot with her walker.

It was never a big deal before I had this problem.  But since I’m still healing, it’s a different story now!  Being at home, not working, is one thing.  I’ve had months and months to figure out what daily routine works well, and I’ve learned how to modify my daily activities like housework, shopping, baby care, exercise, etc.

Before yesterday, I think it’d been a couple months since my last cry.  But at the end of a long day, I just started to feel very incapable and yes, legitimately partially disabled.  While I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to perform my job if I’m only PRN (as needed), it also seems clear that I’m in no shape to do my job full time.

If I were full time, there would be NO way I could avoid exerting myself physically in ways that would stress my pelvic organs too much and too often.  To be clear–  I don’t want or need to work full time right now, but I would like to be capable of doing so!

Once I got home, I started really feeling down about it to the point that I just wanted to cry.  So I cried and I cried.

It could have been “just hormones,” because I checked my menstrual cycle app and I discovered that my period is expected in just under a week.

Whatever.  Sometimes it feels good to just cry.  The only bad thing is that my husband ends up feeling bad, too.  He wants to help me but yet there’s nothing he can do to MAKE IT GO AWAY.

Let’s end this on a positive note, though.  Today was actually one of my best days so far!

I do live with a peace that comes from knowing each new day really IS a new day.  Just because I feel uncomfortable one day, it doesn’t automatically mean that I’ll feel the same way the next.

I feel hope every single night.  When I put my head on my pillow each night, I always think and I always manifest…

I am healed.

I Survived My First Day Back

09-19-15

…at work!

This is a quick follow-up to yesterday’s post.  I need to make this short and sweet because I need to go to bed so I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.  I’m going in EARLY (like 6 AM) because I want to get home early!

Fortunately, OTs can do that!

Anyway…

Today I didn’t feel any worse while working, and a big reason was simply that I got lucky with the patients I had today.  I couldn’t have asked for a better mix.  I didn’t have to do any lifting.  (I know I won’t always be so lucky, though.)

I spent a lot of time documenting and I sat on a swivel stool to do so.  I was able to maintain good seated posture for the most part, but I do fight the urge constantly to cross my legs (both of the ways you can cross them).  I’m assuming that I need to train myself to sit still with thighs parallel and pelvis anteriorly rotated.  I think once my back muscles adapt to sitting that way for longer periods, I won’t be so fidgety.

What was really cool today was that I was able to instruct one patient in at least several components of the Whole Woman posture.  And as I walked down the hall I focused on keeping my own head up, with chin tucked.

Finally, I was using a reacher/grabber with someone today and I mentioned that I just bought one for myself yesterday!  So yeah, I made good on that promise to myself.  I love my reacher!!

Little victories give me peace.

I am healed.

Feeling Anxious

09-18-15

It’s almost time for bed as I type this, and tomorrow I go back to work.  I haven’t worked since my 40th week of pregnancy.  That was in early August of last year.

Fortunately, I’m returning to work on a PRN, or as needed basis.  My plan is to work one day per week, on either Saturdays or Sundays.  That makes it easy for us, since my husband works Monday through Fridays.  No need to coordinate child care.

I’m starting work (I’m an Occupational Therapist) with a new employer, at a skilled nursing facility within 5 minutes from my home.

This weekend– for better or worse– I agreed to work both days.  You see, the manager, who is also an OTR/L, is on vacation.  I don’t plan to make a habit of committing myself to both days on weekends but I did this time.

So enough background info….

I’m really nervous.

Yeah…I’ve got general nervousness because it’ll be my first day at a new job, in a new facility, with new people, with patients I don’t know, and using a computer documentation/billing system that I don’t have experience with.

Yeah…I’ve got general nervousness because I haven’t worked in what seems like so long (although the year has also flown by).  I wonder if I’ll get started and find out that I haven’t really missed a beat.  After all, I have been working as a therapist in nursing homes for over 17 years.

Oh, and yeah…I suppose I’m a little nervous about leaving my boy for our first ~8 hour day being apart (which is closer to 9 hours once you include the short drive plus my 30 minute lunch break).  Hopefully he’ll do well with his dada (I expect him to).

HOWEVER…

The major source of my anxiety centers around going back to work while I still have my prolapse/prolapse symptoms.  I don’t want my work to cause my body to experience any setbacks.

I have real fears about working because an OTR/L’s job includes plenty of risky-for-prolapse maneuvers, like bending over beds, moving patients in/out of bed, transferring patients, and a zillion other physical movements involving loads that can be awkward and unpredictable.

Without knowing my patients yet, I have no idea what kind of demands will be placed on my pelvic organs until I go about my day.  Fortunately, I do have autonomy as a therapist, so I can factor in my own physical limitations when planning and carrying out each treatment session.

I know I’m going to need to ASK FOR HELP from the nurses/nurses aides and other therapists more often, as well.  I must not compromise myself while at work!!  Gosh– am I actually partially disabled??  Note that I didn’t mention to my new manager that I’ve been somewhat physically challenged since my baby’s birth.  I wanted to first see how things go.

To clarify– I know that I’m technically capable of performing all the physical requirements of my job.  The big question is at what cost?  Can I perform my job without making my situation worse?

I shall soon find out.  Wish me luck!  Wish my body peace!

I am healed.