My surgery was 2 weeks ago today, and yesterday morning I went for a follow-up with the surgeon. She said that my gallbladder was “gross” and she called me “easy”. Not that the latter was an insult – she meant in terms of not having any complaints. I got a return-to-work slip dated for that day, and putting a 10 lb lifting restriction on me for the next 4 weeks. I complained about the restriction, because I have a 16 lb cat who really misses his snuggles, but she suggested that I don’t want a hernia, and she’s right. So no lifting the cat.
Shiny return-to-work slip in hand, I went to the hospital and turned it in, then attended the monthly department meeting. I officially return to work on Monday morning, 7 am. I’m eager to go. When I went to see my therapist right after the meeting, she asked, “How are you?” I said, “Good” and proceeded to babble excitedly about returning to work. She was shocked, as I apparently have never before said I’m good. My previous best was “okay”.
I truly am excited to go back. Before the surgery, I was dreading every shift, and spending my entire work time plotting how I could kill myself to get out of being there. The surgery changed my perspective. For one thing, I no longer felt the need to harm myself since my body did such a fine job of harming me on its own. Possibly more importantly, the fact that my employer let me take medical leave that I’m not entitled to made me feel good about their confidence in my ability to do the job. They were not in any way obligated to keep me in the position, but they did. That definitely boosted my confidence.
Also, my employment specialist had a phone meeting with my supervisor while I was off work in order to fill out an assessment about my progress. I got an excellent assessment that even included compliments on a topic that was not asked about. This also boosted my confidence.
Then when I went in for the department meeting, I was waiting in my department to walk there with my coworkers, and helped one of them out with some confusion about a catheter we no longer stock (we are to substitute the silicone version that is now filling the same slot on the shelf). The crew lead was so impressed that I helped with this – and while off-the-clock at that! – and bragged about me to the supervisor when we got to the meeting.
I’m still a bit nervous, especially about going back Monday when I’ve had 2 weeks off to forget things, but I trust that I can do it and that I have my coworkers there to back me up when I have questions.