Sunday, 14 February 2016

Returning to Work: 3 Week Review

Back to Work

So I have had some time off work due to sickness. I wrote about my return here. Well that was my first day. I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts now that it has been 3 weeks.

A picture of an arm wrestle representing the challenges of getting back to work
Challenges Of Work

Back to Work Plan

I have only returned part time. This is part of my Back To Work Plan that was set up by myself, my doctor, my works HR department and a representative from my insurance company.

The Back To Work Plan is quite simple. It states that I will return on a 3 day a week basis for 4 weeks and then be reviewed to see if we can up the time to 4 or maybe 5 days a week. The plan can also include any ergonomic requirements I have.

Fortunately the company I work for are very helpful. I hope this is because they appreciate that, although I have been sick, my main purpose for being at work is the same as the companies, which is to ensure the customers get the best product they could wish for whilst making a tidy profit at the same time.

Long Lunch Breaks At The Gym

I asked work if I could take a longer lunch break so I could go to the gym every day. Absolutely was the answer, providing I still work my hours and do not impact a client. Working my hours and not impacting a client is not going to be a problem, so 120 minute lunch time gym sessions are on the agenda!

120 minutes the Gym! How long do you need! Ok, here is the breakdown, as advised and agreed upon by my Physio Therapist, my Exercise Therapist and my Psychologist

Daily Gym Routine

  • 20 Minute Meditation
  • 5 Minute Warm Up on Cyclic Trainer
  • Alternate daily between:
    • 30 to 45 minute Interval Training (Cardio)
    • 40 Minute Weights (Following the personalised and regularly updated plan)
  • 40 minute Stretching
With 15 minutes to get there and back and get changed the 2 hours is quickly all gone.

So this fits in perfectly with my new life managing my arthritis, but how doe it affect the company I work for?

If I have a meeting or any work commitment in the 2 hour lunch time, I either move my gym time or I do not go. Not going simply means I have to make time in the evening.

When I get back from the Gym I am excited, keen, happy and raring to go. I'm on a high. I am ready to face the world and win.

Gym Results

I have managed to go to the gym 3 times so far (having worked 8 days). On these 3 days I achieved more after lunch on the days I didn't go. Do I have evidence to back this up? Of course not! I am too busy working. Do my colleagues and bosses agree that a 2 hour gym session is in their interest? I think they do. I think they realise that I still work my hours and that I am far less tired during those hours.

Returning To Work Issues

Returning to work wasn't totally a breeze though. On my first day, when I got home I fell asleep in the hallway. I was mentally exhausted. The nerves of the first day, the anticipation of colleagues reactions and a desire to impress all took its toll on me. 

The days that followed were no different. I was exhausted. Really exhausted. Some days I was asleep by 7 pm having not eaten dinner and leaving my kids to fend for themselves.

It wasn't helped that I caught a cold within days of returning too. Fortunately I managed not to take any time off sick as I was at my worst on a very long weekend. Panadol, Lemsips and Strepsols to the rescue.

I am very wary of this exhaustion. It may sound feeble to those that work hard without hitting these walls, however, to me I am not imagining them, and because I am pushing myself so hard I am bound to hit them. What is important is how I respond and pace myself so that I maintain the strength to keep climbing them rather than collapsing at the bottom and never moving again.


My pain was also initially worse and it seems to go in fortnightly cycles these days. The first week was terrible, but I have been ok since. Cross fingers it will remain ok for a lot longer. I am hoping pain is a past problem.

Returning to Work Summary

So all in all a success. I am enjoying work immensely. I am tired, very tired and I feel stretched to my limits emotionally, however with the help of the doctors and specialist and a company that is willing fit around me to a large extent, I think the future looks good. 

I am actually glad to be back at work!

1 comment:

  1. Well done! Impressive courage! So pleased for you!