Back to Work

Living with Chronic Illness – Back to Work

Back to Work

So tired. Getting up in the morning is a struggle. Since returning to work on the 6th I have had to do 2 days work. My work usually takes 6 hours in the day, with an extra 2 hours of commuting. I have to do 8 surveys in a day, and Sundays usually are great days. As most people are home. This Sunday was different. I was out for 6 hours, walking from door to door, knocking and asking if they can do a survey for me. It was cold, around 1-2C, and my face had become numb. Talking started to be difficult. I really don’t know what happened, but I could only get 4 surveys, and I had to go back the following day to get another 4 surveys completed.

If I was in good health this may not have happened, as I would have been able to knock on more doors. My walking is slow, and in the cold slower. I estimate that I can only walk a third of the speed of a healthy person. This means that I have to be much more effective at convincing people to do surveys. This isn’t always easy, and it becomes even more difficult if your face has lost all movement. Those non-verbal signals are important.

To make matters worse my headache had escalated from a 5/10 to a 6, with stabbing pain up to an 8. 8 brings tears to my eyes. It is very hard to bear, but usually only lasts for maybe 30 seconds. These are long seconds. Usually these stabbing pains occur about 4 times an hour, but on Sunday, every 10 minutes. Brutal.

It Continues

This continued on Monday. It took me another 6 hours to get 4 surveys. I must be losing my touch, or, as I suspect, the look on my face is not good. The pain is probably evident, even though I try my best to hide it. This is what we do, spoonies, chronic pain people, incurable illness sufferers. We hide our pain, our suffering. It is ours to bear, our cross to carry, and there is no way someone else can shoulder this burden. Honestly, I would not want someone else to have this load on their back.

As a result of returning to work, my headaches in the morning are now a 6/10, instead of the usual 5, and I am chewing ibuprofen as if they are sweets (candy for my North American readers). This has a knock-on effect on my stomach, and my asthma. Once the delicate balance of my life is disturbed, there is a cascade of implications. Work causes more pain, more suffering. If I don’t break the cycle, then the negative symptoms aggregate, building up and becoming worse. Working 2 days in a row is a mistake. No recovery time.

Even though I had 3 weeks of no work, a holiday, returning to my job was too much. I became grouchy, grumbling, and giving out. I turned into Scrooge. That is not me, that isn’t who I am. I’m friendly, considerate, and sometimes I even laugh. For the last 3 days, that was not me.

The Future

Now I will have a few days break, and return to work. I hope it will be better when I start again. Like a child learning to walk, I fall down, make a mistake, and get back up again. This time I will do better, and the smile and laugh will return.

Comments 4

  1. I’m sorry it’s been so hard getting back to work after the Christmas break. I’ve been back working the last week and a half and have found it super tiring. I’m only working 8 hours a week aswell! Look after yourself as thats the most important thing. 🙂 xxx

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  2. So sorry to hear that you have been struggling Robert 🙁 I know how I struggle just working sitting down, so I can’t even imagine just having to walk around for hours. I hope that you start to feel better quickly xx

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