I’ve had a cold since around the 16th of the month. I started with a bit of a sniffle on the previous Wednesday and I did a few Lateral Flow Tests (LFT’s) on the basis that the new Omicron variation had cold-like symptoms. All showed negative thankfully, but by the afternoon of the 17th (Monday), my cold was in full flow. So bad that I decided to ring in sick on Tuesday, which was probably the best idea. I spent the whole day in bed, sleeping which was very unusual for me.
By Saturday, I was beginning to feel much better and was almost looking forward to returning to work on the following Monday. I duly went back, but by Tuesday afternoon, I was beginning to feel bad again. More LFT’s followed, but again all were negative and I had to give in to the fact that either my initial cold had not gone, or that I had a new version. It’s just coming to the end now, ready for work tomorrow. Oh, joy!
Wednesday is not going to be a good day. The trust that funds R***’s placement has decided that they don’t it to be fully funded by them. It has been for the past 10 years, but they now think that the funding should be shared between them and the Local Authority. I find it very wrong, that people make decisions about people, without even really knowing them. But apart from him getting older and becoming more tolerant, he still has the same diagnosis. He has not been ‘cured’ of Autism or ADHD. His medication has been reduced, but that is down to the team he works with.
So on Wednesday, we are having a Zoom meeting with the Social Worker that has been allocated to him. It’s going to be very stressful, especially as he’s been in lock-down since he went back to his residential place at the end of December. Hopefully, he can get home for the weekend, but much depends on how the virus spreads over this next week.
The 2nd day back at work was really busy. One of my colleagues, who lives just around the corner had gone sick. Not the virus, but I think it may have been stress related. So the effect of that meant that the boss was working. It can be quite difficult when she is in, as she will not say no to a customer. For example, the chef was due to finish at 15:00 (he’d been there since 07:00). Five minutes before he took off his apron, she asked if he could do an ‘afternoon tea’ for 2 people. She explained that they had been in since 12:30 and had bought many drinks. The lady of the party was Canadian and had never had a proper English afternoon tea. The chef looked a little annoyed, but he agreed. So it was 15:30 when he finished eventually. Now the deputy manager would have said no! She would have explained it takes a bit of time to prepare and that they had some customers waiting to come in. Which was true. We seem to be getting the same or more numbers in with only half the tables.
They have a young lad, still at school who does the washing up on Saturdays and he is covering my Monday shift. Because I can be furloughed, it seems that they can give him a couple of extra shifts, until he goes back to school in September. Seems a bit cheeky to me, but I’m not losing out and he gets a bit extra pocket money. How legal or even moral it is I don’t know, but it’s not an issue I feel I need to raise.
Youngest was home on Friday. He now comes home every 2nd weekend as opposed to every weekend. He seemed very content. It has taken a long time to get to this stage and he coped really well with being in lock-down, and not coming home for 4 months. We wouldn’t have thought it possible a year ago. His medication helps. It seems to relax him. The only downside is that he put on a lot of weight. We were asked to monitor his weight back in October last year as there were concerns that his weight was dropping. But some of the medication he was on, is not appropriate for his age and this is being reduced and replaced with a better solution. This where the problem lay. The old medication had a side effect that suppressed hunger a little. With this gone he began to increase his weight going from 9 stone in October to nearly 12 stone today. It seems to have stabilised now, but it means that most of his clothes no longer fit.
I’m going to have to go sick tomorrow. I’ve somehow got an infection on my left leg which I need some antibiotics for and I’m having a problem with my right knee. It started on Friday night, with my knee feeling just a little tender. By this morning, it’s got to the stage where I need a stick to get around. There is an art to correctly using a stick to help with walking, and I’m finding how difficult that art can be, but I think I’m getting there. Just texted the boss to explain that I will not be in tomorrow. Not sure how well that will go down, but I can’t be bending up and down with a walking stick. We shall see what happens.
Jump forward to the 1st September and I am summoned, by works phone, to appear in front of my line manager. It seems, that although it was pre-determined how long I would be away work for recovery, I had to have an interview to discuss my “return to work strategy“. It was not a disciplinary interview, more of “fact finding interview” Fortunately I had already formulated my phased return, so I was able to show her my plan of action. There was a slight moment of finger wagging during the twenty minutes I was there, but I got over it.
Two weeks later, and another phone call. This time it was HR, who wanted to have a little chat with regard to my phased return. They said they could come to me at home, or if I wanted I could see them, at my nearest office. I opted to see them and made an appointment for the next day. This turned out to be a real discussion. I explained my plan, which was to phase my return over four weeks. One day, then two days, then three days followed by the last week of four days. The lady that interviewed me said the plan was a good one, but was worried that it might be too quick and they would monitor my progress. I did mention that I had had the same interview with my line manager and was told that it should not have happened. It seemed that because it was a pre-elective procedure with a set recovery time, I was technically not on sick leave.
The phased return worked well for me, and I managed to get back to working full time with very little problem. However, people were very understanding and I think they made special efforts to get me back to normal. In all truth, during those four weeks I had very little to do. In fact apart from reading work newsletters, catching up on emails and trying to read software manuals, I did very little at all. It became very boring and quite stressful.
Now, this is an interesting word. Are we looking at a milk churn or something else?
I am actually thinking ‘milk-churn’. I am usually transported to those imaginary childhood days when I like to think of milk being delivered in churns. Those days when the milkman had either a horse and cart or one of those new-fangled ‘electric’ milk floats. The horse was often a black and white shire horse, and quite often had blinkers. Those long gone days when everything seemed to happen a lot slower. Type of day that you would read about in one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. The type of day that I never really knew, but thought I did.
Churn also make me think of job interviews. Especially those interviews where I thought I may have a chance, but it was down to me. That horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, when you know you can do the job, but do not know the competition. That strange ‘I want to be sick, but I don’t feeling‘. That feeling you get when you see the smart-arse going in before you and you start to question why you even applied for the job. That is a stomach churn. Horrible.
Well, I think it all went according to somebodies plan yesterday. It was one of those days when you just cannot get your head around what is happening. My appointment was at 12:30, and we got there about 12:15. The Staff Nurse (I think she was the Staff Nurse) went over a few points before realising that there were more men than women for the procedure. So they had to swap beds around, which looked fun. K*** was told she would have to go and I was shown to my bed/trolley. Paper knickers, I ask you. As if it was bad enough, they gave me paper knickers to wear.
I sat around for about an hour whilst they ‘did’ the ones before me. I have to say, some of the people that were there were a couple of years younger than me, but without being too smug…..they did not look it. One guy was 6 months younger than K*** and he looked about 10 – 15 years older. Laid there with a bit of a smile on my face, which kind of lasted until they told me it was my turn.
F**k, it’s happening!
I was wheeled in to what they called ‘the lab’, which was basically a room with lots of high-tech equipment. Bless them, they did their best to put me at ease, but I knew from the gibberish that I was coming out with, that ‘ease’ was the last thing I was feeling. Then my consultant came in. It was unusual to see him in his ‘scrubs’ (see how I got the technical talk off to a tee) as I have only seen him in a suit. He explained what was going to happen, and it was all quite painless really. I think there might have been a little panic at one point when someone called something out and the consultant shouted back ‘I’m on it!!’ I looked at one of the many screen and saw that the heartbeat monitor was off the scale. So that was a bit scary, but it all settled down and I was out of there in less than 20 minutes, after being told that my arteries were good.
After a couple of hours recovery, I was told I could go and K*** was waiting for me. They explained that I was to take it steady for the next 48 hours and to keep checking for problems.
So today, I was classed as being ‘on the sick’. I was going to work from home on Friday, but was told to just rest. So rest I will. I’ll need all my strength for when R*** gest bak from respite.