Sunday, July 10, 2011

Return to Work

As much as my "recovery" has to do with my health, I'm suddenly realizing how fitting the alternate definition is for me: this journey has basically been a salvage operation for the life that sank to the bottom of Davy Jones' Locker, tambourine and all.

That's certainly not to say my recovery is complete. I still have quite a ways to go. But next week I am set to embark on the next leg to normalcy (or something like it) -- getting back to work. Now, in large part because I work for a disability insurance company, I was privy to estimated disability leave tables before my original operation. For an aneurysmectomy, I was told I'd be out for six to eight weeks. Of course, there were extenuating circumstances which have pushed that to nine months (no, I have not yet checked the estimated leave for a stroke; but there are so many different kinds of strokes, I don't know how any estimate could be particularly accurate.

For some, under different circumstances, I'm sure a nine-month sabbatical from work would be a welcome opportunity. In part because my job suits me so well but in much larger part because of the people I work with and because it represents the achievement of a key goal in my recovery, I'm eager to get back to it. Although I've only been at my current job for about four years, these people have helped see me through two of the worst experiences of my life: Gus’ premature birth and my most current dilemma. I'm confident that if I happen to experience a second puberty, they will get me through that as well. I have been met with nothing but support at every level. After Gus’ birth, I joined my department Sunshine Fund committee. I'm not what I would consider a “sunshiny” person, but I wanted to give something back. At this point, I don't think there are any number of Photoshopped cards that can repay the kindness I’ve received. But I do pledge this -- if I hear anyone, including he, refer to my boss as "Scary Dave," I will leap to his defense, for he has been nothing but Considerate and Generous Dave to me (and I’m not just saying that because he's my boss and a little bit scary).

My only regret in returning to work is that I can't do so yet in person. I miss seeing these people on a day-to-day basis. But, for the sake of my healthy recovery and in order to continue with some formal therapy (along with a rigorous exercise regime), I need to start slowly and pace myself and am very fortunate to have the flexibility to work from home for a time. I'll just be working a few days a week, a couple of hours a day to start and then slowly increasing that each week. For the most part, my cognitive skills have returned fairly quickly and back to previous levels. I base that statement on my own perspective and some testing and therapy. There are certainly possibilities that I will be a little slower processing some kinds of information, but I'm hopeful and fairly confident that this will be one of the most positive experiences of my recovery, just like Raise The Titanic.


  1. KEN! This is so fantastic. What a great accomplishment to add the everyday small and precious acts of work back to your regime. And you're so lucky to have such a wonderful experience there. EFS

  2. Really looking forward to having you back at work Ken, and not just because I keep telling people 'Ken would know the answer to that' :-)

  3. I love the part about "Ken would know the answer to that," because although I've never worked with you, I know that to be an utterly true statement! I hope that the hours you get to spend doing some work give you the sense of accomplishment you so richly deserve--there is nothing quite like knowing "I can do this and do it well." I expect the hours of work will add a layer of complexity and maybe even frustration to your day and that is good. Having something else to focus on, work challenges, will be a good thing, I expect.

    It was great to see you the other day, Ken! Thanks for making the effort to get out to our place!

  4. I blame facebook for no longer alerting me to new blog posts, otherwise I would've been first here to congratulate you. And the thought of you on a sunshine committee makes me smile even more. Now look busy, boss is coming.


  5. Welcome back, Ken! I'm sorry I'm not there for your official return - know that I'm cheering you on and can't wait to work with you when I return! Valerie