So lot’s has been happening as we’ve settled into our new north coast home. I haven’t blogged for AGES…. But let me explain why.
I got a job!
I already had one, sort of, but working casually as a primary school teacher is probably one of the worst jobs around.
I applied for and got a job working in an office. I know what you might be thinking… Ricky Gervais ‘The Office’…. Am I right? Well that pretty much sums it up actually. A basic officey job answering phones, talking to clients, and generally fucking around while you get paid.
My main point here is that I was able to prove to myself I could work. Not just work, but full-time work. It might not sound like much but let’s put this in perspective. In early 2016, I had to leave my job due to my pain. I was then out of any work for over 5 months before I had surgery. The surgery worked but there was the 12-week recovery time, stitches out, detoxing from some pretty strong meds, and getting used to managing pain with a computer. I prepared myself enough to try working again in a similar field. I did 3 days. I hated it. I was stressed, my pain increased, I couldn’t work all day then back it up again the following day. But I tried again anyway, did another day of work, but paid for it badly the next day – too much standing, walking, squatting. Too much brain power required. My meds were still a bit intense then and were obviously having an impact on my cognitive ability – this I would work out months later. Despite these failures at working I had my life back. So we through in the towel and took off around the country. The trip was hard, a long 12 months, but I could rest when I wanted and needed, and we only travelled when I was physically capable. That entire year from Dec 2016 to the following Christmas I gradually increased my stamina and we were able to travel more regularly with less breaks and I was having less bad days. I was also getting used to managing the neuromodulator (Richard is his name), working out when to turn down or up, off or on, and what physical activity I needed and when I required rest.
We returned to NSW and started a new life on the mid north coast in January 2018. I didn’t get a full-time job until June of 2018 (totalling over 2 and half years without full-time work). I wasn’t sure I could work. To be honest, despite my efforts – which certainly were not my best – I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, what I could do. I’d reverted to 4 months post-op in my head. The pressure, the stress, the pain. I started going backwards. Not just backwards in the way of increasing pain again, but mainly decreasing confidence and borderline depression. My thought processes started becoming ‘I can’t…’ instead of ‘I’m not sure I can…’. It seems only minor, but that frame of mind is vastly different.
With the help of the best little wife in the world (she’s a tiny 5 foot and quarter of an inch), as well as some extremely well-timed phone calls from local schools asking me to teach casually, I started to get back on track. Over the course of about 10 weeks earlier in 2018, my confidence in my abilities was returning, my confidence in my physical ability to do a job for more than 1 day at a time was increasing, and my recovery time from working all day lessened. I walked to work. Yes, WALKED. All the way there, the 2.5km there. Walked back home at the end of the day too. Then stayed awake. Then cooked dinner! WTF! I then crashed and slept until 10am the next day. But that’s not the point, the point is, I did something physical I hadn’t been able to do properly in years (in crappy work shoes), then worked all day, walked home again, and still had the spoons to stay awake and cook dinner! This is AMAZING!
It’s now September 2018 a bit over 24 months since I had Richard implanted, and about 5 months since I walked to work one day… and things are still changing. I’m still adapting to what settings to put Richard on, what activity to do, when to rest, how to manage stress from work, how to be a good husband, and how to contribute to my relationships with my wife and friends. But I’m working full time. FULL TIME! 8:30am until 5pm, 5 days a week. I still cook dinner some nights. Some nights I’m almost asleep in the passenger seat as my wife drives us home. But hey, everybody has long days and gets tired.
And another thing, Richard can’t be turned down any lower regarding modulation. This means the next setting is off. But more on that later.
Side note: be listening in to Alan Jones on the radio and stay on the news feeds about the changes to private health coverage in Australia. The changes, due in April 2019, could mean that the life changing and saving surgery I was approved for on my ‘budget hospital’ health insurance product may NOT be covered in the future unless you hold top level or GOLD hospital health insurance. What does this mean for other people in my situation? For you? Your family, friends, and loved ones? This could happen to anyone!
If I wasn’t covered at the time, I don’t know whether I could have afforded the top coverage, and whether I could wait the 12 month waiting period… In all honesty, I probably would have found a tall bridge…
Photo By Ben Tesch