Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 54 of 365

I've been having a lot of bad dreams lately. Every single night. Several a night. And almost every one is about the same thing.


Consciously I'm thinking about school every few days or so, but subconsciously I must be really worried. It makes sense.

It was close to a year ago when I asked for a year's leave of absence. I had missed a lot of work during the year because of my back and I was still on sick leave from my knee replacement. I was spending 2 1/2 hours a day at physical therapy with a knee session and then a back session. But such problems with the back. For many months I had been taking several pain pills a day, had multiple injections in my spine, and had eight months of therapy - all with no improvement. "Maximum medical improvement" is what the doctor called it. It'll never get better. And taking that many pills, in that much pain, and still trying to function at work was, well, miserable. Impossible.

Looking back, I should have asked for a leave of absence earlier. At this time last year I was both mentally and physically broken.  I didn't know if I was going to make it through another day, let alone make it through another day of work. So I asked for a leave of absence for a year, and off I went with no paycheck, no unemployment, no employer provided health insurance, hoping that by taking better care of my back - and myself - I would be raring to go when the year was up.

It hasn't quite worked out that way. I spent most of this year off healing from my two shoulder surgeries. And trying to get a better hold on this rheumatoid arthritis. And still trying to heal the back.

I have made progress on the back. I'm still in as much pain as before, but I now know what I can and can't do. What makes it worse (most common everyday things that involve standing or bending) and what makes it better (my good old lift chair). But the biggest change in the back situation is that I am now completely off the pain medicine. Over the past year, I've slowly weaned myself off the 4-7 Vicodin a day I was taking. (What kind of doctor sends a patient out the door with that kind of prescription?)

My year long absence is about up. There might (or might not) be a job for me. No full time position for sure, but possibly a part time position. But maybe not even that. With the continued budget cuts in our school district, my position may (or may not) be eliminated. And I think that's where the bad dreams are coming in.

It's the not knowing that's the worst. I left all my things in my office last year thinking I would be returning. If I'm not going back, my stuff has to come home. I look at everything I have in the office, which is now being used for working with groups of kids. Things have been moved all over the place, but most of the furniture, binders, books, and training materials all belong to me. Bringing it home and storing it isn't a pleasant prospect. Walking away from it isn't an option either.

Although it wasn't a bad dream when I visited school today. After reading my blog about me missing my Peeps this Easter, someone had some for me. (Thanks Jan!) And the gal I gave the Elton John tickets to - she gave me some very nice gifts as a thank you - and Peeps were even included, too. (Thanks, Marcie!)

But what to do about the bad dreams? I guess just wait until I get the word and hope the dreams subside. But to box up all the stuff in this office and bring it home? And move the furniture back home? The furniture that couldn't even fit in the picture? Talk about a bad dream...

And a physical therapy/exercise update: 8 for 8.