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Returning to work - any advice?


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Well GP finally agreed I can return to work and whilst I think this is a huge milestone, I am a bit nervous and anxious on how I am going to manage. Since SAH in January I have went from working long hours in a pretty stressful job as social work manager for a large charity, having home caring responsibilities and a full social calendar to a person who has struggled to do be motivated to do anything other than the caring for mother with Alzheimer's which I have no real choice about.

 

If you had told me I would just sit and day dream before my SAH I would have laughed. Admittedly the first month or two after SAH I felt so ill, I never believedI would ever return to my job so I am relieved I can work.
I am doing a phased return but wonder if any one has any tips as meeting with employer on Monday and any advice would be welcome.

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I have retired but all I can say Sharlua,

Take water with you and take it easy ie regular breaks (more than the rest), don't forget lunch !!!

I always forgot it when working (lunch) I'd look up and go "Is that the time"

Take it easy at first and Good Luck Sharlua xx

Let us know how you get on xx

Love

Win xxxxxxx

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Hi

 

I had my NASAH a month after you, no coiling or clipping but I had an EVD as I had hydrocephalus.

 

I started my phased return to work last week. Did a 3 hour shift last week and just finished my 2nd 3 hour shift this week. The first two shifts absolutely floored me but today has not been so bad. Probably because I deliberately did next to nothing yesterday in preparation for work today.

 

My job is very pressured and we are always busy, however I am lucky in that my boss is my best friend and was with me when I had my bleed. Consequently she is very protective over me and makes sure I do not feel pressured.

 

My advice would be to sit down with your employers and make sure they understand what has actually happened to you. You may look fine but we all know that looks can't be trusted with someone who has had a SAH. Then make sure that the phased hours are not too much. Split the days so you have a break in between, i.e work tues and thurs so plenty of time for rest.

 

You have done well to keep looking after your mother, I did that a few years ago when I was well so know how hard that is!

 

Make sure you rest in between work and when you are there drink plenty of water!

 

Good luck, keep us posted

 

Clare xx

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Thanks Claire and will have to try and remember the water as I am terrible for not drinking enough. I have excellent relationship with my boss but unfortunately she is on sick leave hence a bit of my anxiety. My mum lives with us and in all fairness she has good and bad days but I'd be a liar if I didn't say it is hard especially when your not feeling well.

 

My GP is saying two hours a day the first week, I have my scan to see if coiling was successful next Saturday so that will be a weight off my shoulder.
Will keep you posted and hope your journey back at work goes well .

Win wise words as I did often miss lunch (not that you'd guess that from my ever expanding waist line) or eat rubbish due to time restrictions.
Regards
Sharon x

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Hi Sharalu,

 

Well done on getting the go ahead to return to work, hope it all goes well for you 

 

As Clare said just make sure they completely understand what you`ve been through,

and make sure you rest and as Win said plenty of water it does help a lot.

 

Anyway good luck and I wish you well

Michelle xx

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Sharon

 

I am terrible for not drinking enough too! Funny thing, went to work yesterday, in staff room thought to myself must get water, Popped into the loo and when I came out I thought what was it I was going to get? Could not remember for the life of me. Gave up and went in to work. Two hours later suddenly remembered! Water that's what I was going to get, I must drink more! My short term memory is so so bad! I get fed up with people saying to me -'I do that all the time.' Yes so do I but I never used to before my bleed so it's very frustrating.

 

Good luck Monday, don't be pressured in to more than you feel you can cope with.

 

Clare x

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Hi,

I went back to work 4 months after mine and it was part-time. It was hard and exhausting. I had terrible dizziness and headaches. Take your time going back to work. Once you're back you're back. People will feel for you but the job must get done and others will see you as well enough to do it. Be kind to you because no one eles feels your brain like you do.

Iola

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Two months after having the SAH, which was coiled, I had surgery to clip a second aneurysm that was discovered during all the scans for the bleed.  I then went back to work full time one month after the surgery - with an hour and a half commute each way.  It was as though I was obsessed about losing the job or something.  As Iola said, people don't see the damage on the inside of your head.

 

I was quickly exhausted and had frequent anxiety attacks.  I was never able to do that job the same way as I had previously; I just didn't have the attention span and stamina.  It took me a very long time to work up my confidence to try for something else that I am better suited for, but even now - 6 1/2 years post SAH - I still have days where I'm struggling with the fatigue. I find I cannot work and keep house like I used to and while I enjoy extra social activities, it can be difficult to work it all in. 

 

Just take care of yourself and don't push too hard if you don't have to. And don't get down on yourself if you find you are not the "machine" that you were before the SAH.  It takes a long time to rest and recover and work ourselves back to whatever our full potential is going to be.

 

Best wishes and God bless, Colleen

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Thanks Coleen nice of you to share your experiences, I know when I attended my first meeting last week I did have a strange sense of can I do this and do I want to! Sadly I do need to work and giving up work is not an option but whether I remain in my current post only time will tell.

I think my perspective on life has changed since SAH have stopped having terrible dreams which doctor felt were post traumatic stress, but I be a liar if I said I am not anxious particularly about my ability to handle the level of decisions I have to make and that these are about people's lives. I guess I will just have to take it slowly.

Take care

Regards

Sharon

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Sharalu, I did not have a bleed but was fortunate enough for my GP to have found my aneurysms on an MRA. I did have one coiled and they are watching the other one, which is stress wondering and hoping it stays the same size. Angiogram will tell in October. So my experience going back may not be the same.

I went back to work after a week and it was also stressful, I got tied easily and experienced aniety, It did get better each day, drink lots of water and take those breaks! It is true when they say people don't see what is wrong inside so may not understand the anxiety and tiredness. "You look fine" is what they think. I wish you luck in your recovery be well!

Debbie

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I've come to this topic a little late to be of any real use, but you may still have meetings going on for some time. Here's what I learned from my return - take notes during any meetings. If your employer sends out a letter outlining the main points of the meeting, compare this with your own notes carefully.

 

The letters I received from HR confirming the points of our meetings missed out very important things, like the fact that due to having very sensitive hearing I would either need somewhere quiet to work or at least be allowed to wear earplugs which had been agreed upon verbally. My cognitive functioning hadn't healed enough for me to realise this point was missing from the letters. On my return, my manager refused to allow earplugs, my fatigue levels soared and I had nothing in writing to fight with.

Try to negotiate as many breaks as possible. My first shifts were only 4 hours twice a week and it was a couple of weeks before I was able to take an unpaid break as no-one believed it would be needed in 4 hours. It is needed. The first few shifts back at work are a big learning curve. Make sure you can have some undisturbed quiet time when you get home.

I hope things are going well for you? Work is very different after sah and it is very easy to dwell on the negatives. Feel proud of yourself, realise that every completed task and shift is an achievement. Good luck xx

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On your phased return keep a diary.  Note what you have done and not done, what you are capable of and not capable of.  You will need this when you have a review with your boss.  You may need to find other solutions to do things.  Having a diary makes this much easier, not only to work things out but to record your achievements.

 

Also record what is said to you and other people's reactions to what you do/don't do.  Note any prejudice.  I know that might sound negative, but it does happen, and by being pro-active about it you will be in a much better position to combat it - forewarned is fore-armed!

 

You will also be aware of what it is that makes you most tired or causes you most irritation, conversely what gives you most satisfaction.  Take it in stages, don't do too much too soon and stay in control of your own destiny.  And above all, don't let others pressure you into doing more than you can handle before you yourself are ready to take it on.

 

Sad, but there are others who will want to see you fail in favour of their own advancement.  When people ask you to do more, ask yourself what is their motive?  If it doesn't fit with your wishes - don't do it.

 

Take great care - your health isn't something to be trifled with just for someone else's targets or a couple of extra pounds in your pocket.  

 

Keep your feet on the ground and make your own luck!

 

I wish you well.

 

Macca

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Thanks Debbie, Dawn and Macca some good advice, I think this week will be a bit of a test as doing more hours and getting more involved my deputy who has been acting up is passing more things my way now. I am so conscious that life has gone on as normal at work and it is hard to reconcile that with leaving work one Friday and not returning for six months.

 

My perspective is different since SAH , I just don't have the energy to work at the pace I did but I am my own worst enemy and I do need to realise this and not think I can go back to working up to 40+ hours per week like I used to.

 

Wise words about others seeing your illness as a way to aid their advancement and will be watching this as just some instinctive feelings about this with one colleague, but hopefully my radar is wrong!
Well better prepare myself for tomorrow with an early night, will keep you all posted.

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Good luck this week Sharon how many hours/ days are you doing now? I agree that it is hard to reconcile that one day you were there 100%, then out for so long with everything carrying on without you.
My perspective has changed too and I am already planning reducing my hours eventually if only by 4 hours per week. You will find that after our 'events' work is not the number one thing in life, living is and enjoying what could so easily have been curtailed.

 

Keep an eye on that colleague and keep drinking plenty - I still keep forgetting!
Clare xx

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Sharon,

 

Ignore others as there is always one person in every company.

 

Hope all goes well at work and prove the 1 colleague wrong and as my Brother in law would have said.   Laugh all the way to the bank. xx

 

Keep strong and don't let no one put you down xx

 

Love

 

Win xx xx Head up shoulders back. Go get em xx

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Four hours this week Clare and still forgetting my water and to take my Gabapentin which helps with my headaches and leg pain. My GP said 4 week phased but think I may negotiate using some holidays as I just cannot see me doing 9.15 hours in another week, still waiting for my referral to occupational health not sure what is happening with this. Win will heed your advice head will be held high and ready to get em ha x

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Sharon
That seems like a very fast phased return. Is that 4 hours for 5 days? I am only up to 5 hours 3 days a week. Having a holiday part of next week then going to try 4 days of 4 hours alternating morning and afternoon and not working weds.
Must admit while at work I am mostly fine it's when I get home I realise how tired I am.
Take it slow and take your holiday!
Clare xx

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Hi Clare yes doing 4 hours over four days (I usually work 37 hours over 4 days) had real bad headache today so struggled with my hours and had lots of meetings which did not help! Hopefully meeting tomorrow with manager and going to see if I can take my holidays in hours so I just work 30 hours over the four days for a few weeks next month.

 

I am dreading my long days and then returning home to help care for my mum. I am beginning to think whatever the financial impact I may never do these hours again and might have to give some serious thought.
I hope your return goes well x

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Put your hours to them what you think is feasible, and see what they say. 

They can only say no then go higher (a little)

 

I wish you well Sharon and don't be afraid too say how you feel.

 

Keep well xx

 

Win xx

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