It's the school holidays. Not that I need them as many others really do, but it's a chance to do more school work for me without being in the kura. Part of writing this blog is a reflection on what has been happening for me, and for work as well. This blog being even more important as I find myself back at work for short periods of time. It is a time of putting things together - making my life whole again with a mix of home and work, without pushing too hard and going backwards.
It looks like this in my return to work plan:
Week 1 and 2 - 1 hour a day for 3 days a week
Week 3 - up to 3 hours a day (1 contact with students and 2 marking/planning) for 3 days a week
Week 4 - up to 3 hours a day (1 contact with students and 2 marking/planning) for 4 days a week
Each week after that goes up in hours, then in days - hopefully getting back to full time later this year, but also being realistic and not going backwards by pushing too much.
I got to week 4 - and even then, week three became a 2 day week as I hit a curved ball. It is amazing how the little things throw you, but on the last day of Week 3, I got a puncture. I sat in the car and cried for ages before working out what I had to do, with the help of my son and daughter, which in reality was very simple (call the AA!!!) but just shows how difficult simple tasks can be when you have a brain injury. Anything out of the ordinary reduces me to tears. Suffice to say, I did not go to work that afternoon as I was shattered and slept instead. Each week I managed to do a bit more and although it is a slow recovery, it is a recovery. I have to remind myself I am getting better each week. I know that 2 months ago I couldn't have gone to work for 4 mornings, so that is progress. Little steps.
Over the last few weeks I have had a lot of appointments at Southern Rehab, with Occupational Therapists, Doctors and Psychologists. They have been amazing and although a little overwhelming at first, it is nice to have a team of people looking after me and all wanting the best outcomes. I had an interesting session with the Psychologist around what I felt where two sides of my recovery. The emotional side that keeps telling me that it's all a bit hard and it seems like I am always bursting into tears versus the analytical side that keeps telling myself that I am getting better and every week I can do something else. Getting these two to intertwine and work together will mean better acceptance of where I am at. He asked me a really good question about what I am aiming for each week - I can't be 100% at the moment, so I need to accept that.
The Doctor is sending me for an MRI scan - I keep joking to say it's to see if I have a brain, but it's really to check there is nothing else going on and that this will just get better with time. Not too fond of MRIs, noisy things, but worth it to just rule out anything else that could be stopping my brain from recovery. I am also looking forward (sort of) to a neurological assessment in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see what I can and can't do.
So now it's the school holidays. I have a week where I am going to do some work every morning, to keep up the improvement plan and keep moving forward. I also am heading off to Ulearn next week. I was to be presenting, but am now just going to go and enjoy the learning. It will take quite a bit of self management as I know I won't last a whole day with people unless I take my brain breaks and rest whenever I can. It will probably feel a bit like I am being antisocial, but my introverted self won't mind too much! I am looking forward to being in a different environment with different people. Not cooking meals, looking after children or driving will be a bonus.
So there it is. Slow progress towards being back to normal, but at least it's progress. Frustration at times, tears at times but also some great moments. Putting it together. And the one thing to remember, as my mother kindly reminded me, is the serenity prayer. So applicable in so many situations. Thanks Mum.