Back in November, after seeing my boys dig through the dirty laundry for the umpteenth time for something to wear to school, I had an epiphany, or a breakdown, whatever you want to call it. I collapsed on the couch in utter defeat, scanned my living room, which looked like a bomb went off in there, and I finally decided that something’s got to give. I have got to start taking better care of myself and my boys and the only way that is going to happen is if I use my Family Medical Leave to reduce my hours to part time.
I was exhausted, sleep deprived, brain dead, in pain and depressed. I was no good to anybody, not myself, not my boys and not my employer. I saw my rheumatologist and she agreed that I needed to slow down, take it easy, and get more rest. I had weaned off prednisone and my muscle pain and inflammation had come back with a vengeance. I needed help getting out of bed, and out of my recliner. Those automatic lift recliners were starting to look pretty good to me. I was actually using a cane at home and wishing I had it at work some days but I would not dare take it out of the house! I couldn’t even stand to hear myself ask my sons to “bring me my cane” so I named it Ilean. Sounded better to say, “Could you bring me Ilean?” or “I need Ilean’s help…”. I even found myself eyeing those fancy walkers…but NO! I would not go there! I am only 44 years old and I will not even consider leaving the house with a cane or any other kind of mobility device. Not yet.
Working part time was helpful but after about a month I ended up taking my FMLA as a total leave of absence. It kind of feels like free falling. I like the ‘free’ part best. I am free to take a nap when I need to, free to make my doctor appointments whenever I want to, free to take a long, hot, uninterrupted bath in the middle of the day or free to stay in my jammies and unshowered all day if I want to.
Also free to feel vertigo half the day and spend the other half the day on the toilet (MY toilet!). Free to be nauseous and unable to get out of my chair, Free to go sleepless at night and be irritable and brain dead all day. Yipee! But I am FREE to do this! I don’t have to go to work feeling like all that.
Yes, free is great! Falling is…..not so much. I’m sure I will wake up from this honeymoon stage and go splat here any day now and I’m sure it won’t be pretty either. Stay tuned for the *splat*!