Returning to Work…?

Today I attended a work coach appointment at our local Job Centre.
NB: I currently receive ESA because I’m unemployed and recovering from surgery.  I’m still yet to my surgeon for my post op check, but so far things have been going well with my stoma and my Crohn’s; I haven’t been left without any help or care!
So today was about seeing what will happen next. Usually, a person on ESA gets assessed but due to the situation at the DWP and my own circumstances due to surgeries, this has been halted for the foreseeable future. But it does not mean that I can’t look for work, if I feel up to it. More like, when I am discharge, comfortable with day-to-day care and management of my ileostomy, I will look into work NOT before then.
I have an appointment to return to the Job Centre once I have seen my surgeon – I will have also seen my Gastroentrologist in that time too; for an IBD check up, an update and some sort of plan going into 2017 – to discuss my work options. These include:
  1. work experience
  2. apprenticeships
  3. returning to part-time work or volunteering
  4. finding a full-time job

In the meantime, I need to get myself to a place where I feel comfortable with wanting to return to work.

 NB: I’ve been out of work since February this year; when the agency I worked for were told my current placement didn’t want me any longer. Even though I had been off sick days beforehand – I was experiencing the first wave of my Crohn’s flaring up – I was still shocked. I will not be going back to agency work; it does not fit with my new lifestyle or ethic.
I admit I am getting frustrated with being at home so much. With little money, I don’t have the freedom to go out and visit places like I would like to. Also having a temperamental stoma to manage who is still in its post operative recovery period, is tough. I am weary about going out of the house but I know  I need to, to start managing my ileostomy in a more normal daily pattern of activities. So I’m sort of stuck and caught in the same position until I am healed.
Am I healed though?
It would be sensible to wait until my surgeon has checked me out, my scar, my stoma, my butt too; making sure that I would be okay to go back to some sort of paid work without any major problem. I feel so well since my surgery, I want to get this part over and done with! I felt the exact same way when I finally found Humira and it gave me back my life after three months of hell following my Crohn’s diagnosis in 2011. I went a long time into being back at work before I had problems again. I feel fearful; I know that problems can just happen, without much warning or without consideration of when and where too. So, I know I need to take all the time I need to get well. Finding out what “well” is, this time around, has been challenging and continues to be an adventure of sorts.
People must see me and wonder why I don’t work. Even those who know I’m on ESA.
When I’m sat in the coffee shops in Lichfield, writing on my laptop or my iPad, there must be an assumption I am a student – thank goodness for youthful looking skin, I’m 28, well past being a student! – working on assignments. Alas, I am blogging. About my health. About my changing health – I’ve been a frequenter of our numerous coffee shops since I started this blog, over 5 years ago . About my secret, of what has gotten me out of the house in the recent months; my ileostomy. I am consumed by writing about it. Sharing my story, making it more normal, removing the stigma associated with it.
I need to remember I am still healing. My stoma recovery isn’t as short as my other surgical recovery. It’s at least 4 additional weeks of initial recovery, let alone being able to mentally cope with it. That can take months or even years. I think this is what I am specifically ‘rushing’; getting use to it. And I feel this need to be okay with this, right now, accept it really quickly, get on with my life. Get on with my life? What was I doing before this surgery exactly that I need to get back to? This is a new chance at life.
But I am still recovering. I’m trying to take all the time I need to make sure I’m okay. Everyone is so concerned about me; making sure that I don’t rush and ‘it’s okay if it’s not until next year’ and ‘we can cope with you being unwell for a while longer’ which is meant well enough but I feel my own pressure to get back out there and be a full functioning person in this house, this family, this relationship. I am tired of being the ‘sick one’. I desperately need to be doing something, seen to be doing some work of a description, to be useful, helpful, wanted and needed; instead of being useless.
Today; a step in the right direction with food for thought.
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