Today I Read 350 Emails and Smiled A Lot

Last night my two-almost-three year old boy snuggled himself on my side of the bed. By the time I get to bed, he is stretched across the bed, but every now and then rolls over to the edge. I spend several hours tossing and turning only half asleep waiting for the ‘thud’ of him falling off the bed that is a million times bigger than him. By the time R returns from his late night out, Roo has been gently carried back to his own bed, eyes shut, head in my neck and as I tuck him under his duvet he makes a feeble effort to show his disapproval ‘i don’t wan go to my bed, I wan…zzzzzzzz’. 5:00am and he has climbed back between us. Next thing I know is Bella cuddled next to me hanging off the bed on the other side of me, talking non-stop. I figure it must be almost 7am due to her incessant questions and chatter. I glance at the clock after 10 minutes or so and find it is 5.45am. I am So Not Impressed.

3 hours and 15 minutes, two cups of coffee and a long shower later I am on the wrong bus going around the houses to take 25 minutes to drive what should be a 10 minute journey to work, for my first day after 5 weeks off sick due to sciatic nerve pain. It is a good job really as the other bus drops me outside The Hut where I would find it difficult to walk past without buying a Skinny Latte Extra Shot. That would be 4 caffeine shots before work and I am going to be wired enough anyway with the variety of painkillers I have taken with the first two, along with the lasting effects of amitriptyline from my nightly dose.

Wow! My office is bright! and noisy! By 10am my head is pounding with the lights, noise, and the 350 emails I have to read. I am not sure if this is the medication or just shock at being back at work after the relatively sedate time off sick. My boss comments that I am looking better than she has seen me for ages. Repeats this several times and says that the time off has done me good. She is trying to work out what is different. Make Up, I tell her. I am wearing make-up. I actually spent 30 minutes plastering it on in a way to make it look like I was wearing not a jot of make up apart from lipgloss and mascara, disguising the heavily medicated eyelids that even my thick framed glasses cannot hide and the dark circles and red blotchy skin. Well, it has worked I find out as several colleagues comment on how well I look. I am not sure whether that means I always looked rough before, or only when I was looking so ill with pain, but either way, they really do seem genuinely surprised that I look well. I decide on the latter and plaster on a beaming smile for every comment I get.

I sit on my old, alleged back pain specialist chair. This is not the one that was recommended by the back specialist assessment, the one that I later find out is going to cost £800+. This is the chair they have decided will do after all despite being recommended otherwise (I can’t figure out why they think this…). Except, when I sit in it and the pins and needles shoot from my left foot straight up my leg and into my buttock, my boss quickly changes her mind and 20 minutes later the approval for the new chair has been signed and sent off. But, they still won’t let me have red leather or an iPod charger. However it does recline. Bonus.

By the time I leave the office I am limping slightly and my head is pounding from the excessively fast-paced office, from struggling to focus on the computer screens, having to engage with people and on the whole being unused to Life On the Outside on my pain meds.

I am now watching Black Beauty with my children, tired but relieved that I got through my first day back with relatively little trouble and without falling asleep  or slurring my words in front of my colleagues. But I really must get myself some of those noise blocking ear protectors.

Shall I have a glass of wine to celebrate?

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