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First Day Back at Work - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
First Day Back at Work
I returned to work today, after a total of 2 weeks and 2 days away. It was not easy, that's for sure! Last night, I was restless and awake for much of the night -- not a good start. My alarm went off after probably only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. I dragged my weary body out of bed.

Figuring out what to wear to work was a challenge. I selected a pair of baggy khaki pants, figuring that the extra room would help. They turned out to be a mistake though -- not stretchy enough by the end of the day. I wore my tennis shoes, even though they are technically illegal. (But really...so what? I have a good excuse.) I brought with me a variety of ace bandages, bandaids, and ice packs. I also brought shorts for my PT appointment. I fussed around the house for awhile, putting off the inevitable. Then I went to work.

Arriving at work, I faced my next challenge. I'd been debating in my head about this for awhile: use the elevator, or take the stairs? I work on the 4th floor of my building, and I have not set foot in my building's elevator for over a year. I gave it up for Lent last year, and I never looked back. It has been a matter of personal pride. As I wrote a month ago, "The longer I abstained, the more important it became. Each time I consider using the elevator, I have to ask myself: do I really want to break my almost-year-long streak? Is it really worth that much to me, that I can't take the stairs? And it hasn't been, there's never been a good-enough reason."

I think that an ACL reconstruction is a pretty good reason. But still, there was my pride. And my now-over-a-year-long streak to think about! I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could still do it, surgery or no...that I didn't have to take the elevator. So this morning, I walked up the stairs. I brought only one crutch to work, so I heaved myself up all 66 concrete steps using one crutch and the handrail. It was tedious and awkward, and I was worn out when I reached the top. But I had proved my point, at least. I could still take the stairs, if I wanted to.

My point proven, I said "the heck with it" to myself and took the elevators the rest of the day. I'll resume the stairs when I'm a little more healed and can go more quickly. It was a little weird being in the elevator after my year's absence. I think they replaced the carpeting at some point over the year.

When I hobbled into the office, I got quite a combination of greetings, from "Good to see you back again", "How are you feeling", all the way to "What happened to you?" I answered them all appropriately, then reacquainted myself with my desk.

As anticipated, my desk is not very comfortable for the knee-injured population. It wasn't too bad though: I put a box underneath to prop my knee, and I lowered my chair so my knees wouldn't come anywhere near the desk or keyboard tray.

I got through the day okay, complete with a 2-hour break for PT (I wish it didn't take quite so long, it's kinda inconvenient now that I'm working). I spent a lot of time talking to various people, and some time working. I even attended a meeting!

Around 3pm, my body decided it was naptime. I have needed at least 1 to 2 naps a day, every day since my surgery! My body is too busy healing to stay awake for long periods of time -- especially with how little sleep I'd gotten last night. It was frustrating: I couldn't keep myself awake at all. I'd sit up straight, and my head would start wobbling around all on its own. I leaned on one hand and instantly started dozing off. I even tried putting my head down on my desk for a few minutes, but the little catnaps just made it fuzzier. Finally I stood up, walked around, and made myself come coffee with hot cocoa. I had a few conversations, had a bite to eat, and my head started to clear again.

So I made it through an almost-full day, but I was exhausted. Even so, I made a quick stop a K-Mart on the way home -- I picked up a couple of pairs of cheap stretchy pants that might not look too out of place at work. I'd rather not wear sweats if I don't have to. (One fits okay, but one pair looks ridiculous on me. I swear, it looks like it's maternity-wear or something! How can a size 'small' come with so much room in the waist and belly? What is the elastic band doing up around my ribcage? Stupid K-Mart. Being short can be really aggravating sometimes.) I came home, took off the uncomfortable pants, and unwrapped my knee. It was quite swollen, but I elevated it and iced it, and now it's much better. My ReplayTV had taped Robin Williams on Inside the Actors Studio, and I watched that while eating a Lean Pocket and icing my knee.

You know you're really tired, when you fall asleep in the middle of Robin Williams' stand-up! Eventually I woke up from my unintentional nap, rewound, and watched the rest.

I've fed myself some ice cream, and I wrote this entry. Now it's time to crawl into bed with a book and hope I fall asleep quickly tonight. Tomorrow I have to do it all over again.
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Comments
swerve From: swerve Date: April 12th, 2004 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been thinking of you a lot. Imagining you with crutches, remembering your sad entry before the surgery about the hassles of post-op, wondering if you were getting along okay.

I'm a little fragile these days (I get a little weird in the spring) and not terribly communicative. I'm sorry. It's good to see your smiling windblown face on my friends list again.

I can't believe you took the stairs. You goof.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 13th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for thinking of me!

It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks, that's for sure. Realistically speaking, I am recovering at a very good rate, and I try to remember that and focus on that. Sometimes I get depressed and frustrated instead though. Lots of ups and downs...

It's okay to be frigile and uncommunicative sometimes. But it's nice to hear from you, too. *hugs*
From: davidp5382 Date: April 12th, 2004 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most impressive! I'm certain I would've decided the ACL surgery was a good excuse to take the elevator, and modify my streak description to something on the order of taking the stairs when I didn't need a crutch, or something like that.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 13th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I took the stairs just to prove that I could. I'm stubborn sometimes. Now that's proven, I've been taking the elevator exclusively. (:
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