Friday, 24 June 2011

Playing it safe

Well, my plan to blog more often clearly failed! I haven't really had anything to write about though, and I didn't want to write rubbish that even I found boring!!

Work is going well. Whilst I was away lots of new people were taken on, and I now sit in a different office with different people. It's good as I don't need to worry about my previous dilemma of feeling bitter towards the people who treated me rather unfairly - I can happily be myself at work :)

Yesterday, my respiratory nurse came up to the department to do some training on asthma. It was basic, general asthma education rather than focusing on brittle/severe asthma like I was expecting, but it sounded like everyone found it useful.

Today I had a review with my respiratory nurse. I keep a peak flow diary but every so often I get bored with it and give up. Since being back at work I've been good and religiously kept it. A pattern has emerged; as my working hours have increased, my peak flows have gone down. Even though it's so blatantly obvious, I hadn't made that connection, it took for the nurse to point it out!
I've been increasing my hours each week, and in all honesty, I felt that I could have easily worked more but I did as I was told as increased my hours slowly. This week I worked 9am-3pm, and the plan was to work 9am-4pm next week, then full time hours thereafter. After my respiratory review, I wasn't sure whether to say something and ask to keep my hours at the same, ask to decrease them, or just wait and see if my lungs settled down. I was off work for 15 months, on one hand I think that most people would have trouble readjusting to working hours, and I have a lung condition on top of that, then on the other hand I think I'm just being pathetic and stupid and need to just get on with it!
Anyway, this week I've been experiencing some chest pains (coronary artery spasms resulting from my heart attack, I just have to take some GTN spray and I'm fine), and headaches. So along with the increase in asthma symptoms, I decided I was going to say something. I went to my line manager and said that I might have to slow down the increase of my hours to full time. As soon as I explained that I've been really tired, finding mornings hard and feeling generally shit, she straight away asked what I was going to do about it. It turns out that the asthma education they received yesterday has really made a difference! They'd heard about peak flows and diaries, and because I had my review today, I had mine with me so I showed it to her. She straight away recommended that I come in later next week and see whether that has any effect on my lungs in the morning. Also, I don't increase my hours, so I'm actually going down an hour and working 10am-3pm next week. I do feel a bit bad for being so 'pathetic', but I hadn't taken time to think about how I've been feeling, and actually, I haven't felt too great this week!

I work on the third floor of a building, I used to use the stairs unless I was feeling really bad, but these days 3 flights of stairs is not a good idea so I always use the lift! The lift is out of action on Tuesday for routine maintenance. I mentioned it to my line manager, I said I was going to come in earlier than normal so I could use the lift before work started on it, but no one else was very happy with that idea! Then, some bright spark mentioned that if my lungs did misbehave, it would be an absolute nightmare to get emergency help. The managers are so incredibly twitchy where I work, they seem convinced that I'm about to die any minute. If anything does happen and the plan I had to agree to to keep me 'safe' doesn't go smoothly, I'm pretty sure I won't be allowed back to work at all. Therefore, I've agreed to take the day as annual leave, I'm still owed loads of annual leave from last year which I probably won't get so I guess it benefits me to take it. I'm not entirely happy; I feel that people I work with are trying to decide what is best for me. But, I can see that if anything bad at all happens then that will be enough to convince management I shouldn't be working in that environment, and that will be the end of working there! Also, I had a battle convincing Occupational Health to let me back, they say there is a very good arguement that I shouldn't be working with unstable asthma. I need to keep these lungs as well behaved as possible whilst in this delicate situation of convincing people that I'm well enough to be at work!

Playing it safe doesn't sit comfortably with me at all, but I plan to do something nice on Tuesday rather than sit at home feeling that I should be at work. I can't say I ever turn down the opportunity to sleep either, so I will make the most of the extra hour sleep a day I'll be getting next week!

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