Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tis but a scratch! I've had worse! Have at you! I'M INVINCIBLE!

I got to work from home for the first time today, which was awesome. Previously, my office had a policy that either you were IN the office - and 'working' - or you were absent, regardless of whether you worked while out of the office or not. When I returned from the US, I brought a note from my neurologist there requesting that I be given flexible hours to work around my symptoms, and also reduce the strain on my health from driving to my distant office. At the time, my company didn't have a policy previously to allow it, so I had to wait a month. But now they've given me the go ahead, so here I am, in jeans and a hoodie, working out of the recliner in my living room.

I guess this is me taking things a bit more seriously. I'll probably get beaten for admitting this, but two days after I was told I had a brain aneurysm, I participated in a crazy massive scavenger hunt. At time time, I didn't realize I was signing on for something that involved two hours of running up and down escalators, sprinting through malls, and fighting to get the last spot on the metro, but that's what it entailed. When we finished the race, I remember turning to my husband and panting "I probably should NOT have done that." And we laughed and forgot about it.

In my defense, the doctors have been a bit confusing with their recommendations/limitations. The doc who diagnosed the aneurysm said I was basically a ticking time bomb that could go off at any minute, which would kill me if I didn't get to the hospital right away. Yeah, that was a bit of a downer. Then the next other doc I saw said I should be fine to wait a month or two to arrange my treatment abroad and not to worry too much about the risk of rupture. Then the doc in the US said I could be active, as long as I didn't do any heavy lifting or take any blows to the head.

So, me, being me, I kind of tried living life as I would normally. I've not taken time off work - except on days when my head was really hurting. I still do my usual chores and cooking. I'd kept going to the gym and playing squash, pain levels permitting. But after last week, when a brief jog a the gym resulting in an intense eye twitch, to the beat of my pulse no less, I realized that maybe I was being an idiot. If my aneurysm has even just got bigger, that will be a bad enough thing and could mean I have a far more serious surgery. Plus, I've had lots of poking and reminding from my medical student niece that I should be more careful. So I decided to stop playing fast and loose and be a bit more cautious with my health.

It's weird. When I was a kid, I was such an attention-starved little urchin that I used to wish I had some terrible illness that would get me special treatment and all the love and care of everyone around me. But now that I have that, I want nothing more than to just live as I did before and be left alone. There's something deeply uncomfortable about that strained, compassionate verging on pitying look that coworkers and acquaintances give you when you're unwell. And I'd rather family and friends didn't worry about me - it doesn't accomplish anything and just makes me feel guilty for upsetting them. And then, I guess, part of me hasn't really come to terms with all of this either. I don't like having limitations. I was one of those 'anything you can do I can do better' kids, and have always pushed myself to do as much as I can. Now, I find myself aching for days if I just make a batch of cookies and can't walk in the mall for more than half an hour before my hip, back, feet and head hurt. Hence why I guess I'd been in denial about my health and its risks.

But hey, I've stopped pushing myself in the gym, playing squash and am even reducing my driving hours by working from home. So maybe I'm finally evolving beyond being the Black Knight. Though he still is pretty cool.

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