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Hi Wem,

Well done you for getting this far, be proud of yourself!

It took me a long time to settle back into work, the early weeks back were exhausting, I never thought I'd make it. I was just settling into things when I changed clinics and pretty much went back to square one again.

 

I'm working three days a week now and that's the limit for me. Work still floors me but I've learnt to cope with it. Well, kind of!!

 

How it feels to have that bit of 'normal' back still can not be put into words.

I wish you lots of luck dear Wem, your'll get there, just take your time and have patience and understanding with yourself.

Take care,

SarahLou Xx

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Hello everyone!

 

Wem that computer stuff and the concentration required really does take it out of you.

I did 2 days in a row last week (volunteering) and didn't make it to the end before symptoms started creeping back. Tight head, sore arms and legs. I had been in excel the second day and went about 45 minutes before lifting my head. Felt awful that afternoon. They are only 3 hour shifts.

 

Did it again this week but the excel was on the first day and not as long. The second day I worked in a filing cabinet the whole time. Then I went to the dentist afterward. The tight head didn't start until I was done at the dentist. I felt fine after a rest at home and I feel great today!

So hopefully this is progress. One day at a time. Will try again next week.

Sandi K.

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Hi my name is Jane I had a S.A.H. on November 2010 . I am new to this site ,found out about it through Headway Glasgow.

I went back to work after a year ,but back on the sick ended up with pleurisy.

Edited by Karen
added conversation from shoutbox

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Hi Jane, welcome to BTG! Lots of support here from people who know what it feels like.

I went back to work twice only to end up on sick leave both times. I went back too early. All of us have different recovery times so it's hard to know when is the right time to try working again.

How are you doing being at home? I'm not sure what pleurisy is but will google. I hope you are beginning to feel better and getting lots of rest.

Sandi K.

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Hi Guys

First of all may I say thank you to Karen and all you lovely survivors for sharing your stories and experiences. This site is so invaluable and even though I only dip in and out, it provides amazing support and makes you feel not quite so mad :-).

 

My SAH was nearly 2 years ago now, it happened on the 21st Feb 2011 and even though I am still trying to cope with some of the effects of my injury / surgery / vasospasms, financially, I have got to the point where I need to return to work .

 

Similarly to Wem, my role was high pressure, long hours and big targets, working as an account manger looking after corporate customers, managing their Internet and Telecommunications infrastructures. A sales role, with UK based customers nationally located, it is a pretty manic job.

When my SAH happened, I was particularly under pressure and it was also two days before I was due to go on holiday with my then fiancée for his 40th... (poor J.. now my hubby...being in Salford Royal for his birthday while I had a craniotomy, was not really the birthday treat we had in mind!)

 

My company have been really supportive, in that they have agreed to a staged return for me and are going to give me more administrative tasks, supporting my previous boss (who has changed roles within the organisation). I'm starting with two half days a week, one from the office (which is a challenge in itself) and one from home.

I've engaged Access to Work who in turn have put Remploy in touch with me, so I am hoping they can help with adjustments that may need to be made.....

 

It's so daunting and also doubly difficult trying to explain whats happening to you, to people who don't know you, don't have experience of SAH or brain injury (thankfully) or have an expectation that you will be the "same person" coming back, eventually "when you are better". Already people have said things like, "when you are back to normal, we can have you doing XYZ" (frustrating).

 

To stop myself panicking, I'm trying to focus on the now and just take one day at a time. Even getting to work will be a challenge as I have kind of shielded myself, from situations that are too challenging or cause me discomfort, particularly as my divided attention and memory are really a bit screwy, so everyday living is a cacophony of "noise".

 

I took up running in October.. which has been an absolute revelation, I love it. As I'm lucky enough to have the Cheshire countryside on my doorstep, I can avoid roads (to much stimuli) and run in the fields and hills, with a really supporting group (including another person with a brain injury would you believe).

 

The running has helped with confidence and stamina.... think I am going to need it and it gives me some real freeing moments and makes me remember that, despite all the new challenges, I am alive and lucky to be here.

So.. I'll keep you posted and will keep myself grounded by popping in again to "see" you all soon

Mel

X

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That is wonderful Mel!

I went back to work at 5 or 6 months phase back and this Tuesday I start seeing a therapist for me not dealing well at work! I wish I could afford to quit and give up my health insurance plan but that can't happen yet. I cannot expect people to understand that tapping a pen on a desk is more than just annoying to me it is more like I want to and have grabbed it out of there hand. I know these are things i need to work on.

 

Running - I admire anyone that jogs. I think that is just great you have found something that gives you endorphines (SP) and confidence you needed. I swim twice weekly and I feel like a child when I am in the pool. I wish I could do it everday.

Continue good luck! Mary

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Hello BTW BTG'ers,

Hope everyone is doing well. Just finished a rather bruising week. The end of January is tax time and statement time in the corporate world of the US. We were so busy for my little brain. Deadlines of January 31st to meet and year end statements of clients to analyze. I don't know how I work 40 hours a week using my brain to this capacity. Analyzing numbers, trends, results takes a tremdous amount of concentration. If you had a broken ankle, would you dig ditches full time?

 

My new medication has given me a bit more stamina but I sure hope it slows down. Tuesday was having chest tightness (think just stress) and Wednesday shooting pains. But Thursday I strangely felt ok and keeping up and perhaps building stamina. Thursday night I went to serve dinner to homeless. Friday was tired and then our website went down at 2:30pm just to give me a final kick in the ass. Had dinner Friday night and fell asleep at 7pm. Woke up at 11, went to loo and Bk to bed.

 

Saturday I woke up and legs and feet were pain like a 10. Couldnt get out of bed all day. Lovely wife massaged my legs in the evening. Sunday didnt feel great but got up and went to poker room. Played for a couple hours and won a few bucks. On the drive home, found a man trudging thru the snow in a wheelchair. Wow. Asked if he needed help. I gave him 20 dollars he said he would use for a cab ride home. Perspective. He did more good for me than I did for him.

 

While playing poker, I was sitting next to a lovely chatty lass. We talked and we both agreed we hated smoky casinos. The poker ROOM is non smoking but not the rest of the casino. I mentioned to her that I need to stay away from smoke as had SAH. Her jaw dropped and said you had SAH? I said yes. She said. "You are a miracle". I said thank you for understanding. Turns out she is a nurse for stroke patients. Small world eh? We had a nice chat and she said to take care of myself. I do my best.

The running thing lol. I so admire ya'll. I can barely walk. Tried running and felt like my brain was jello smushing around. Just doesnt feel right. dont think its a good idea for me.

 

Mel- Nice to meet you. Hope you are doing well and wish you the best at work

 

Sandi- Whats new Sandi Lou? Sorry about your dear pet honey. Miss my old Buddy too

 

Dawn- Hope you are feeling better and car is OK. Crossing my fingers for you but loks like more trouble. You're doing smashing at work girl

 

Wem- How are ya coming along

 

Sarah Lou- Chat soon dear, work killing me.

 

Mary- Having similar problems at work with annoying co-workers. May have to re-vist my condition with some. Think I may look for a neuro psych at Pain CLinic Friday. Need someone who understands work psychology

 

Sorry to anyone I've missed,

Hope everyone is well,

David

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Hello everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well, recovering nicely and enjoying life as much as possible.

Thought I'd give you all a quick progress report. Had my SAH in August last year, went back to work as a doctor in December. Been on a phased return and am currently up to between 6 and 7 hours a day working. I am pretty tired, but ok.

 

Still have headaches and nausea and I must admit, my short term memory has been rubbish, I didn't know how much it had been affected until I went back to work and I was struggling to remember patients from one day to the next. I found this very difficult to deal with. I have been well supported by colleagues though, I've not had to deal with acutely ill patients, and the memory is getting better slowly.

 

I love being a doctor and I like the hours I am currently working, but unfortunately I need to be working a lot more hours!! it's ridiculous and inhuman! I can envisage doing another couple of hours a day later on, but not more than that. It's a really arduous job physically and mentally. I just don't know if I am going to be able to do "on-call" where you have to sprint around the hospital for 13 hours upwards dealing with some acutely sick patients!!!! Have to have some discussions with occupational health and the hospital trust to decide what happens in the future.

 

Overall, it's been a positive return to work and I am amazed to have gotten this far. I hope I still have a career ahead of me!

Wishing you all well

Vanessa

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That is wonderful at this stage Vanessa. Although I work for a veterinarian for the past 17 years I find recalling patience and clients very hard. I also to save my soul cannot recall the color of the animal. I refer to kidney failure, bladder stones, ate a rug....etc

 

I went to see a therapist yesterday for the first time. I am working about 35 hours a week and it is mind blowing noisy and the sensory over load in beyond belief. A few weeks back I knew I could not go to the convention but many did. I was left with no staff being 3 short a day out of 4 or 5 people. It ended up well as it soooo very much calmer and the noise was next to nothing.

 

So the next week I took the bull by the horns as the old Mary once did. So AGAIN the assistant staying with Dr. and the techs do their own job as we are often doing 1/2 or more while they answer phone questions all day. My frustration is so much better I hope this last, I would come home fuming by the unorganized chaos. In my world now it is working better and for the doctor. It is unfortunate that we do not have an office manager & my boss can be quite passive not wanting to hurt feelings.

I do not think my therapist really gets brain injury but he was helpful with me going back to the Zen and trying to keep it. I need to work on keeping the other stressors. While it is expensive I think a few sessions will point me in the right direction.

 

I worked a 5 hour ½ day today and felt like I was hit by a truck. It was a busy day and the plan stayed in place for me at least I only did maybe 4 tech appointments. But the noise and busyness of it all is still going to be something to tackle. I knew I was not getting my point across yesterday when I had said I had sensory overload and noise seems to be louder than it is. He said in his completely quiet little office it is like when the dump truck comes to empty the dumpster it seems really loud. I said no, that is not it at all. LOL .

 

It is like when my husband puts the dishes away I cannot stand the noise as he may well be smashing them on the floor. But I cannot even speak up as it would crack my head open if I did- Ijust shutter. I work with barking dogs all day, with phones ringing , radio on ( ??), intercoms and 5 or 6 conversations at one time in a 12 x 12 room. It is never ever quite except at night and the weekends. So when I am next to someone tapping a credit card on the counter it is like bullets being shot next to me by the end of the day.

 

But it beats beign dead I guess!! And I do see improvements all the time. I think I would be better if not working but I thnk work has also maybe made me have to think more and that has made me heal that brain in a way? Or "my Brian" as I often say!

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Hi everyone!

I've had two phone calls in the last month with my insurance company explaining I'm feeling ready to venture gently back into work. I need their ok first and for them to fund an occupational therapist to support my return. This will be my third attempt so we all want to make sure it goes well. It will be a different job but same organization. I won't know exactly what until we start having meetings. There is so much planning that just getting things in order will take time.

 

I've been volunteering 2 days a week in admin, only 3 hour shifts. Reluctant to bump it up without talking to an occupational therapist because I feel really good right now. :-D. You all know that when we feel good we don't want to tip the balance in any way!

It helps to read your posts and see what you are doing that works for you and what doesn't work.

Sandi K.

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Hi Sandi,

that sounds very positive, I know what a huge difference the right return to work can make so I wish you all the best!

I know what doesn't work.... 5 weeks of getting up at 5 a.m to run your partner to work so that you can have the car a few hours later having already driven about 36 miles before you even start your 8 hour day. I got my car back this morning thankfully so I am hoping the weird shaky feelings and extreme grumpiness will start to subside now (no doubt Andy is hoping for that too :wink:) My new job is so much better, but no amount of having a nice working environment is going to make up for that kind of a start to the day!

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Hi Sandi,

I know what doesn't work.... 5 weeks of getting up at 5 a.m to run your partner to work so that you can have the car a few hours later having already driven about 36 miles before you even start your 8 hour day.

QUOTE]

Oh Dawnie - that sounds horrendous!!!!!! I can't imagine it!! Hope things are better now.

L xx

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Dawn, I'm really inspired by your success after changing your role at work. I'm hoping that works for me too. I can completely understand how the extra hours and miles in your day would have been a nightmare! Now to recover from that. Thankfully your car is back and your routine is back along with it!

Sandi K.

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Hello all:

Went to doc yesterday re chest pains. EKG ok so guess its not that. He thinks I'm working too much but I've made it this far and not ready to cut back yet. At least I have his support on the work issue.

Have all the symptoms of colon cancer so he wants me to go to hosp for colonoscopy. Not really looking forward to that but guess I'll have to. Could be polyps or could be nothing as always.

 

Van- don't know how you could ever do 13 hour days. I'm sure they don't expect you too. Just did a 14 hour day of work and SAH meeting far away and it was not good.

 

Dawn- Cant imagine driving all that way and then working. A healthy person would have trouble with that

 

mary- No idea how you do it with that noise, dogs etc. Drive me crazy.

Be well all,

David

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Hi All,

One month in and I am still going at a snail's pace compared to the rest of you! Still on 7.5 hours per week but hoping to increase my hours in early March.

I feel luckier than most in that I have a lot of support from my employer (at the moment) and I am able to work remotely at a time of day that suits me. The down side is that I do not have much interaction with fellow colleagues. It can get a bit lonely at times and is all data analysis and PC based, which wears the brain cells out rather quickly!

 

On the positive side, aside from the fatigue, I am enjoying the work. It has given me structure to my days and a sense of achievement.

My advice to anyone considering returning to work would be to decide what your personal goals are in terms of how many hours you ultimately want to achieve and relaistically how you believe you will be able to successfully achieve those. Are you willing to take a pragmatic approach and 'downgrade' your career aspiriations following the SAH?

 

You do not necessarily have to reveal your plan, aspirations to your employer up front, things will evolve as you work through your rehabilitaton plan with them.

If possible take control of your own destiny and negotiate a plan that will help you to achieve your personal aims. Easy to say, somewhat harder to achieve, but we have been through a lot and for me (the reformed workaholic) quality of life is far more important than long hard days in the office.

Good luck to all,

Wem

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Wem, thanks for this. Your experience and others lessons is really helping me shape my return right now. I too am very lucky to have a very open employer...mind you I did help refine their return to work policy, oh the irony! .:lol:

 

I agreed with bosses this week that I will start back beginning of April working two two hour shifts . Like you Wem, it will be home based and quite analytical work but im ok with that. We will then ramp up slowly week by week with a view that I probably wont be back at full capacity for quite some time. We will pause if at any point it gets too much and I probably will go to part time in the long run. I've been very open to changing roles, learning new things , and in return they're being very sensible and accommodating in how they plan on helping this be a success. so we shall see.

 

So, some time for me to continue to build stamina before going back . I'm very fortunate that Im allowed to take this approach and don't have a vocation that means full on , full time work is the only option and that we can cope on one wage. Feeling pretty privileged tonite. And thankful I'm at this point that I now feel ready.

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Hi Sandi Jane here pleurisy is a lung infectionif left untreated could turn in to pneumonia. I could have ended up back in hospital but have seen enough of them to last me a lifetime. I suffered it for six weeks ,but have got rid of it now thank goodness the pain was horrendous. Nice to speak to you Jane:-D:-D

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Started back work on Tue 12th of February on a phase return, also work Wed. and Fri. three days for three hours 9 till 12, that is enough to get me back to some normality instead of sitting about watching television all morning. Was starting to vegitate, but feel alot happier now, this is my second week over and its good to get back out there again. Also it is great to see all the gang again. Was at the heart and stroke clinic at the Victoria Infirmary Glasgow last week, surgeon was very pleased with me said I was looking great , very chirpy and happy ,I think the visits to phycologist have also helped. I am begining to see the light at the end of this long tunnel, but I feel I have eventually got there.

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Hi everyone!

I'm reading about the number of hours you are all working and it's really great! The full time hours that David and Dawn do scares me still but it's encouraging to read that they and others are finding what works for them. Although David, I do wish you didn't have to work with all the pain you are in.

 

I was given the green light to add another 3 hour day to my volunteering week. That's the same as you i think Jane? Three days of three hours. Unfortunately I had a spot removed on my forehead for biopsy just as I was given the ok to up my hours. The black eyes and puffy face will put off my new hours for a week or two until I can heal and make arrangements with the society I volunteer at.

 

The insurance company doesn't want to discuss going back to work until I'm doing more hours volunteering. It makes sense, I'm only doing 6 hours a week now and that's not a good representation of what they would hope my work week will look like.

So onward and upward ever so slowly!

Sandi K.

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Sandi, I hope your face settles down soon and you will be able to up your hours as planned. How does it feel to be doing some voluntary work?

 

I have been back to work for 6 months now, although I've only been full time since the beginning of December. On the whole, I cope much better than I ever thought I would. Most of this is due to the level of support I get from my partner. When he is on earlies, he cooks dinner for us every single evening. He hoovers every day and does the dusting. We have settled into a routine where I take care of the washing, ironing and cleaning the bathroom while he does virtually everything else. Sometimes I feel bad about the amount he does - he works full time too, but he just tells me that he is happy to do whatever it takes to help me stay in work.

 

I had a bad day on Friday but it's only the 2nd bad day I've had since going full time so I think that's actually very positive. It was a very strange day, I hope you don't mind me sharing. I'd only been at work about 30 mins when a very strong headache came on. I was speaking to a customer and realised I couldn't understand what she was talking about. I got the call finished and my team leader told me to log out of the phone and take 5 minutes fresh air. I took some painkillers and went back to work when they started to kick in.

 

I am not sure how I got through the rest of the day, but finally home time was in sight. I have this week booked off and I dragged my last call of the day out for a few moments to get to 16:45 so that I could legitimately log the phone off. I eneded the call, logged my phone and PC off, chucked my coat on and wandered off up the call center. As I was walking I thought it was a bit strange that no-one else was leaving. I looked at my watch and thought 'no, it's time for home'.

 

As I got to the door, it finally dawned on me that I finish work at 17:15 and I had shut everything down 30 mins early! The thing that bothers me about that most was that i genuinely thought it was home time :oops: It would seem that booking a week off was a good thing. I don't usually take a week off for no reason but perhaps I'll have to book some time off regularly throughout the year to keep myself rested.

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Hello you lovely lot!

Gosh, it's been a while since I've had a skip around on the BTW thread!

I work 3 days a week and seem to be coping better as time goes on, although I do still have good days and bad.

 

Dawn, I also have times when my mind will just go blank and I can't take in what a patient is saying to me, my brain doesn't hold onto the information. I know then its time for me to take a break. I still have many post-it notes all over the place!

 

Last week Miss C was quite poorly, I had to take unpaid leave from work, I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with work due to the lack of sleep I'd had.

I feel as if I'm turning a corner, I've always walked to work, got a bus or lift home, lately I've managed to walk home too (50 minute walk each way) I'm really chuffed at this because I know that's a proper bit of 'normal' back for me.

I still can't multi task though!

 

Sandi, it's great to hear that your volunteering is going well, hope your eyes settle soon so you can go ahead with your extra hours.

 

David, Bud, how's things with you? I know that you're in much pain, I like many others wish that things could be easier for you.

 

Right, I'd better get on, a woman's work is never done!

Take care,

SarahLou Xx

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Dawn it's so weird when we are absolutely certain of something (like you thought it was time to go home) and then we realize we are completely out of it. It's like being in the twilight zone. It happens to me a lot and I've come to quickly accept it when someone corrects what I'm saying because I know I misunderstand stuff and I don't remember things. It's not a problem with memory, it's a problem with retention for me but it's just easier to say 'I don't remember'.

Your week off sounds like perfect timing. An opportunity for you to rest and get your feet solid on the ground again.

 

Sarah Lou it sounds like you are doing really well managing all that's on your plate. It's such a juggling act to get the balance right and finding new ways to do things when multitasking is out of our reach.

Volunteering is going well. I'm doing office work, focusing on one task at a time, not too much on the computer yet, a lot of organizing stuff which makes me feel good when I'm finished and what I've done makes sense to other people.

 

As weeks go by I get more added on so it's a nice slow progression and one that would never be as slowly paced as the work place. So it works well for me doing this before going back to work. It's also teaching me the value in doing even the 'smallest' job slowly and well. I used to go 100 miles an hour multitasking and rushing to the next thing. I was thinking 'its good enough, I don't have anymore time to work on this'. That's the reality of the workplace but I'm hoping to build new habits and I'm determined to focus on things more and feel better about the end results. That's the goal anyway!

Sandi K.

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All,

Felt it was time to provide an update on my back to work progress.

Following a review with OH and my GP I have increased my hours to 10 per week starting this week. Everything going ok so far and I am still enjoying the experience.

I make sure I take regular rests and focus on physical exertion on my days off to help give my brain a rest. Must admit the Monday morning feeling that I used to experience when I was fully fit and healthy is still with me post SAH, but perhaps less severe?

 

Multi tasking can be a challenge, not good participating on conference calls and taking notes at the same time. Hoping this will improve in time.

 

I still get reminders of the person I used to be, especially when my successor is mentioned in despatches for the hard work I completed ahead of my collapse. That's life I suppose, and as I have always advised my children, you have to learn to roll with the punches in this life, just wish I could come up for air before the next punch rains down on me. I guess that is the added difficulty of staying with the same employer, but in a different role and at a time when your self confidence has been rocked by the SAH.

So my pep talk to myself is:

 

Focus on the positives and more importantly the quality of life. Keep your end goal in sight, continue to walk and sometimes crawl towards your goal, maintain flexibility in managing your fatigue and any other ongoing problems and I am convinced things will improve.

Let others take credit for previous achievements you have made in your life with good grace, because you are achieving so much more, living with the after effects of a SAH.

Sorry if I appear to be preaching.........not intentional.

Wem

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Hello all Back to Workers,

This week has been pure torture. By the end of today I will have worked 47 hours including three 10 hour days in a row due to a co=workers family illness. Not sure how I do it. Yesterday as I left felt like my brain was going to explode, not to mention sheer utter complete exhaustion. Like running a marathon.

It is amazing what the human body can take. I was just feeling good Tuesday as I felt I had conquered the 40 hour plateau with some reserves. Then this hite me. Can we not get a break?

 

I like my job and feel fortunate to have one in this economy. Not really going anywhere. But this hit me like a truck. I normally go to poker on Sat afternoon but that is a Nooooo. Will need to rest all weekend.

I had inquired last week about any possible reduction in hours and it was met with "This is a full time job". In other words, shut up and get back to work. In the good old USA, we have no legal protection in these circumstances. But I think I will make it anyways.

 

Going home for lunch to rest my head. Hope all others are doing well. Any words of encouragement would be much appreciated.

David

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