Friday, November 29, 2013

Returning to life as I used to know it

Last week heralded the start of a new phase in the recovery process: returning to the office.

On the Friday before my last week of working from home (as mandated in my sick note), my surgeon decided that he'd rather have me working three days in the office, and two days from home, so as to give my legs the opportunity to build up their strength as opposed to plunging straight back in. He also asked that I work phased hours so as to avoid peak traffic.

I was very worried about how the discussion with my manager and HR would go, so I gave my surgeon permission to include some personal information in the fit note - mainly the part about how phasing my return to the office would minimise the chances of my requiring further major surgery - and hoped for the best.

As it turned out, my manager and HR took it surprisingly well. I'd been doing my best to ensure I wasn't falling behind at work - but, given my team was already short-staffed before my surgery, it was a tough call - and perhaps the fact that I do tend to work hard helped to ease their concerns.

Meanwhile, at work, my facilities manager did an assessment upon my return. Surprisingly, the chair I'd been using, while ergonomic, turned out to be too big for me. As it turns out, all the chairs in the office are too big for me. If I sit in such a way that my back is supported, my feet don't touch the ground, and that's a definite indication that they're too big. I'm almost average height here, so my physiotherapist was surprised to hear that (about the chairs, not my height).

It's been two weeks of office work so far, so how has it been? Well, it hasn't been easy. When I'm in the office, people tend to assume I'm all right, and I find I end up doing a lot of walking (unaided) to go to meetings or break-out rooms where we can discuss things. I also tend to get caught up in work and let time slip by without doing my physio exercises. Still, with two monitors and a better set-up than at home, I do get work done, and I'm able to speak to the people I need to face-to-face, so it's still good. Plus, I'm reasonably assured that the people in the office won't walk straight at me at speed unlike central London pedestrians, so it's a safe training ground for me to build up my strength.

I'm still walking like I'm obviously injured - lumbering from side to side and it's hard to address that right now. Still, the road to recovery was not going to be an easy one, and I've definitely been seeing progress (I've gone out twice for short journeys without crutches now!), so I'm keeping my chin up.

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