One line from 50/50 resonated with me best: I just want this to be over; I’m so tired of being sick.
I’m certain I am not the only person that feel this way. Besides thousands of other sick people struggling daily, I know my husband, family and friends would love it if I could just be healthy again. I’m sure Milo misses having some semblance of a sex life –sorry Moms and Dads– but between lack of desire and energy, it’s just not really there. I totally understand why some people are driven to cheat on sick spouses. I offered Milo a hall pass, even tried to talk him into it to assuage my own guilt in the matter. No go. I’ve got a good one.
Still, life in general is a moment by moment experience lately. Will I have enough energy enough to make dinner tonight? Will my digestive tract cooperate and keep dinner down? Will there be heartburn (which I find is best treated with chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy)? Can I plan the trip to the summit or will there be chemo? Heck, will chemo work?
Besides those closest to me, I also know that work is starting to get a bit antsy about my return. The Performance Improvement (henceforth PI) department has made it abundantly clear that the best they can do for me is twenty-four hours a week right now (and probably for the foreseeable future.) As much as they have started to count me in as “one of their own,” I am really just a lender employee. Almost a temp. Lanita loves having me around to help her out, but my position is not permanent or sanctioned by the powers that be. She’s been called by administration to inquire about my working with her and I imagine it’s just a matter of time before they tell me I have to go back to floor nursing.
Understand, I love being a nurse. I trained for it and it is what I want to do. I want to go back. However, I am cognizant of my limitations. I do fatigue more quickly and there are days that I have some pain. I often need to sit more frequently when doing activities. It’s apparent that I will not go back to the soccer team playing the way I did or working out at the gym with the trainer at the level I was. I will also not be able to do three twelve-hour shifts in a row. I will have limited days I can work while doing chemo. Doing a thirty-six hour work week as six six-hour shifts is also out of the question. Too many days of work.
I don’t want to be forced back on the floor before Dr. Brooks and I agree that it is best for me to do so. I know my manager wants me back. My friends on the unit want me back. Heck, I want to be back. The decision to go back, though, shouldn’t be forced on me and my oncologist. What if this chemo causes my white count to drop worse than cisplatin did? What if it saps my energy more? How am I going to be a beneficial employee then?
It’s not just the call from administration that worries me either. The PI manager commented that she is “doing (her) best to keep (me) at twenty-four hours.” She asked that I take on stealth hand-washing observations (making sure nurses use hand sanitizer or wash their hands) and only do sixteen-hours of chart audits a week. I’m fine with that. Eight hours of being up and around might help me get back into moving more. It would be a good way to test my stamina (sort of.) I’m all for it.
No sooner did I hear that from PI than I received a call from Jo, the woman who found me the position in PI. She works in employee health and said she was calling to check up on me. Then, she asked how chemo was going, when I would see the doctor again and how things were looking. She asked me to call her Friday after I spoke to Dr. Brooks…and said that as soon as I had the release to go back to the unit I should see her so we could get me back on the floor.
Yes, that is why I am worried now. If employee health is calling to find out when I am going back to the floor, something has to be in the works. Clearly, I’m wanted back on the unit as soon as humanly possible. Like, last week if it could be done. Wonderful.