As you know everything is always about me.
I had a wonderful career which I loved. I worked part-time over night, enabling me to be home with the little one. Sure I was tired but my older two would help me catch up on sleep. I was a certified nursing assistant. I chose to work in a nursing home, because I admire and respect the elderly and was honored to be of help and hopefully make a difference in their life.
Ironing my scrubs (uniform), pulling my hair back into a pony tail and pinning my badge in place gave me confidence and pleasure. Clocking in, talking with co-workers and reporting to my head nurse empowered me. Making my rounds and meeting the needs of my patients made me feel helpful and important. Leaving my family was bitter-sweet, I hated saying goodbye, my little one’s sad face cut like a knife, but the pride in making a difference and contributing to my household finances was enough to choke back the tears.
Working over night lent me some advantages. Administration was not looking over my shoulder, the guilty family members were home resting, and most patients slept until I disturbed them to take their needed medication or to **clearing throat** assess their condition. I did enjoy some down time which enabled me to catch up on reading or writing. I loved my career!
A little over a year ago now I was injured on the job. Simply put, I turned a patient and thought I popped my shoulder, but I ended up with torn rotary cuff and ruptured disc that completely pinched my spinal cord. Six months ago I had cervical spine surgery with fusion (actual hardware on my spine in my neck!). I have recovered from surgery but the original problem is worse and as a result of the surgery I have other complication not to mention severe nerve damage. Yes it is as painful as it sounds, but I like to think I have a high tolerance for pain! Honestly the pain has become secondary to my emotions.
Family, friends and co-workers think I should be happy to be home and receiving monetary compensation. Maybe if I was home because I retired I would be thrilled. What no one is understanding is that I AM IN PAIN ALL THE TIME. I am not a complainer, because really where does that get anyone? So I do what I can each day and take pain medication when someone is around to look after the little one. The emotional pain is far more unbearable. I am home with my little one and not able to enjoy it. All day I have to explain that “mommy is in pain”, “mommy can’t do this or that”…the look on his face is worse than when I would leave for work. The older two are so helpful but the guilt is destroying me, at 22 and 18 they have not needed me for some time, not being able to do simple tasks for them is a terrible feeling. Simple things like cooking a big meal to gather the troops. Believe me I am not totally disabled, I can manage a meal or two but not the big spreads their use to. My family does not complain they simply do things to accommodate or without me. I would never say anything to them, I couldn’t ask for more than they give, but as a mother I want to be the one to GIVE.
Being home has made me feel useless. Most importantly this injury stole my independence! I can not work, I can not be a house wife or a stay at home mom. All I can do is what I can and repeatedly state “mommy can’t”. I must rely on others at all times. I can be left alone, I can care for myself but caring for others is who I was.
I must admit, there is a silver lining to all this. I now have more time to write. The writer in me is feeling accomplished, but still the mom / wife , career woman in me is slipping into a depression. ( I think I read somewhere all creative people are depressed…) If every piece I wrote received publication I still would feel emptiness. (**I dare…double dare any agent/publisher to challenge such a statement**)
Anyone out there who know’s or can sympathize with me, I would love to hear from you! Maybe someone can give me a tip or two on what I can do with my 5 yr old that requires no lifting, not sitting or standing too long, no looking up,down or left, no lifting arms passed shoulder…I think you get the point!
Well there you have it, a brief look inside what it feels like to be a writing mom on workers comp.