I am currently recovering from a shoulder operation which I had in September. I knew it was going to be quite a lot of recovery, but not really prepared for the fact that seven weeks from the operation, I am still having to work hard on my rehabilitation. I have been having showering assistance for most of the seven weeks and today was the first time I showered by myself. A big step!
There are things I still can’t/shouldn’t do, so I am restricted in what I can do around the house. This can be frustrating at times and I do feel guilty that my poor husband is the one who has to pick up on so many things round the house.
During this time, I have had exercises to do several times a day, plus my Parkinson’s exercises from the programme I described in previous blogs. It hardly leaves any time for anything else anyway! I had one of my regular Physio sessions this morning and asked why I have to remain off work to the beginning of December. She emphasised that to get the best out of my rehabilitation, I need to focus on it as a priority and if I return to work too soon, my recovery is not likely to be as good or as effective.
The conversation has set me thinking. Normally, I work four days a week, Monday to Friday. My job is stressful and tiring and there have been some challenges with a senior team member that I am in the process of addressing. I know if I had not taken time off for my operation I would have had to take stress leave and that is not a good feeling to have. I know that stress is not good for Parkies people and so – as I have said before in my blog – I need to minimise or remove as much stress as I can.
So, I am looking at reviewing my priorities and perhaps look at reducing my workload for the sake of my health and well-being. I have always had several health ‘niggles’ but these have just been absorbed into my life and I don’t think they have interfered too much with my work life. However, since my diagnosis I am more aware of the way it affects my life and could affect my life in the future. My priorities are changing and money is becoming less important to me. If I have less to spend on birthdays and Christmas, I’m sure my family will forgive me, if in reducing my work commitments I am able to give myself more quality of life with less stress and more time for my husband and family.
There is nothing like a major diagnosis to focus the mind and to make you re-evaluate your priorities I find. My thoughts about work life balance are just that at the moment. I am not sure how or when I will be able to adjust my working and personal life, but more and more I am thinking how I want/need to spend my precious time.
My professional identity has always been an important part of who I am, but I find this is starting to be less important than nurturing my personal relationships. Previously, I said that I would work well past 65 years. Now, I am thinking more and more that those five years between now and 65 could be better spent, if I balance out the equation more in favour of my personal rather than professional identity.
Hopefully, I will have years to spend with my family in the future and I think the time is coming soon when I will need to make a choice to focus on my personal life and reduce or reorganise my professional commitments.