Saturday, April 19, 2008

the visit

A wonderful thing happened last night! I was sitting on my chair at home, leg propped up in the air, exhausted after a brutal day (and week) of hostile-environment work. I thought I heard a sound at the front door but had the TV on and the furnace (now working again, it conked out and a repairman has been here 3 times) started blowing so I wasn't sure. Then there was a tap at the side door, right behind my chair. That's the door that goes out to my deck. I don't use it in the wintertime. I got up and hobbled to the door, peeked through the blinds--and it was my son's girlfriend and my grandbaby come to see me!!!!!

It had been two months since I've seen them and I've missed them terribly. Son and girlfriend had invited me to come down to stay with them after I was injured at work. They said they would totally take care of me. But I wasn't able to drive and even riding in a car that far wouldn't have worked unless I could have propped up my leg. So it just didn't work out. But girlfriend had to come up to dogsit for her grandparent's kennel. They have champion dogs and were paying her, otherwise she couldn't have afforded to drive all the way up here. Son is still at home, working but will try to come up next weekend if he can catch a ride.

Grandbaby is much bigger and babbles and plays. What a joy he is! She pretty much had to pry him out of my hands when it was time for them to go. She is planning to come back into town (grandparent's live about an hour's drive north of here) tomorrow and we will go to my Mom's to cook. Mom hasn't met grandbaby yet, her great grandson.

I was pretty low on groceries but girlfriend and I cooked up a good meal together last night. She is such good company, just like my son. They were made for each other! Shhhh, but he had called me about a month or more ago and asked me to have the rings his dad gave me taken apart (wedding band and engagement ring were welded together) so he can propose to girlfriend! I haven't been able to hobble to a jeweler yet but will make a better effort this coming week just in case he's able to come up here. Then I can give him the separated rings, one for their engagement and the other for the wedding ceremony. Isn't that the greatest news?!

Hope you all have good news too. I will, once again, try to read your blogs and leave comments. It hasn't worked too well for the past couple of months. If son does come here, maybe he can fix my computer too!

Later: I have visited a lot of blogs; some I could comment on and many, not. There are a couple of my very favorite blogs that I've not been able to comment on (or even READ other people's comments) for a long time. Sorry...

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Not voted off the island

Again I have only been able to comment on a couple of your blogs. Will try again tomorrow.

OK, bet you knew this was coming: work is hellish. They seem determined to pay me back for all the time I've had off. Don't they realize that being off from work with an injury is not fun? Guess not. I naively thought just because I was kinda happy to be back that things would go well. Not. Not at all. But I've tried to keep up an insanely happy outlook. They probably think I'm overdosed on pain pills (I wish, none of the pain pills have really worked) but I keep smiling. It's had some rewarding moments; like when they look utterly befuddled and confused, but mostly being back to work has been just plain hellish.

Monday was one of the worst days I can ever recall and I really don't want to go into all the nasty details and re-live it all, but let's just say that I was scolded for my emails (BS snooped through all of my stuff, of course) chided and repremanded by my three bosses. Yes, I have three bosses now, not just BZ but two of her cronies are officially my bosses too. And Favorite Co-worker, who is one of my new bosses, isn't speaking to me. She avoids me whenever she can to the point of turning around and darting back to her office when she hears me come hobbling down the hallway to the bathroom or the workroom. It hasn't stopped her from assigning huge chunks of work for me to do in impossibly short amounts of time, and ccing BZ on it all, too so any failure of mine will be noted.

I cannot carry things while hobbling on crutches, yet the little cart that I needed even when able-bodied has disappeared. When I had a large mailing to do, I had to put it into a box and push it all the way from the workroom to my desk using my crutches. It took a long time and I was pretty tired just getting all that stuff over to my desk. Just getting around on that shiny, slippery, polished wood floor is exhausting. The office takes up an entire floor of the building we're in and has a huge amount of floorspace.

Oh, and BZ has taken away my company cell phone. She said it is a budgeting move, but I'm the only one who had it taken away. I was planning to call into work from my car if the parking lot, road and sidewalk were too icy to nagivate in the morning. Now I will have to drive all the way back home, get back up my inside stairs and call from home. That call will be criticized because it will be late by the time I can do that. I'm just hoping it's not slippery in the mornings so that problem doesn't ever come up.

Some of my assignments so far have been to get a count on the books in the publication room. I can't stand for any length of time and certainly can't balance well enough to move boxes around. But BZ took care of that one when I (nicely, politely) pointed that out to her. Then I was assigned to put heavy, bulky files together, which I am still working on. It's tough to do when I don't have good mobility or reach, but sort of possible, I guess, if difficult and tiring.

I had made some fudge to bring to work on Monday, hoping for a good re-start. Normally any sort of sweets, especially chocolately types disappear before noon. Only one piece was taken and that was by a visitor from our main office. I am being boycotted by the rest of the staff. They think I'm a lazy slacker, I guess, despite the obvious struggles I have to get into work, the crutches and the cast up to my knee. That, plus total exhaustion hit me pretty hard on Monday. I was nearly in tears so many times that day but wouldn't give in to it, wouldn't give them the pleasure of knowing how much their cruelty and just plain meanness hurt me, both emotionally and physically. Barely anyone even spoke to me unless it was unavoidable. BZ told me that she and the HR Dept wanted to meet with me on Tuesday.

By Tuesday I had toughened up a bit so went into the scary HR meeting joking and smiling. In reality, I was scared stiff. They could do some pretty mean and awful things to me. Financially I'm on my very last pegs, having received only 2/3 of my salary the entire time I was out on disability, plus the first three days off from work were totally unpaid. I was prepared to hear the worse: which wouldn't be to be laid off, because then they would have to pay unemployment compensation and also pay out all my remaining vacation time. The meeting turned out to be fairly decent despite the scary beginnings of rejecting body language, closing the door and all of that. I don't know if my upbeat attitute helped any but it couldn't have hurt. I did get assigned a whole bunch of brand new duties, despite the fact I have been gone for five weeks and am very behind in my regular duties.

During the day on Tuesday someone put my fudge so close to the hot coffee pot that it melted. It was a hassle to bring it all the way back to the car and then from the car back home, but I did it with pleasure. It was really good fudge and their loss! I brought it home on Tuesday night and today brought my Mom a few pieces and had one for dessert myself.

So I am surviving. But aren't we all in one way or another? I want to THRIVE again and get back some joy and happiness. That's my primary goal right now, after surviving the brutal times at work, of course. Hope your life is going much better!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Blessing or a Curse?

Went to several of my favorite blogs today and could not leave a comment at any of them, grrrrrrrr.

It has been raining, snowing or hailing all day. I'm a bit worried about my first day back at work tomorrow. Well not really worried about the first day back at work but how I am to get myself there safely after finding out I cannot park near the building even with the Handicapped Tag. Apparently I still must park in the regular lot and hobble across the parking lot, across a wide street and then across a wide, bricked walkway. We are supposed to get a foot of heavy, wet snow overnight and into the morning.

It's scary and intimidating to think about and I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to do it if it's slippery out. Today it was too slippery for me to venture outside at all. I had to use a crutch to poke at and slide the Sunday paper close enough to grab it. The building managers do not take good care of the parking lot or the walkway. There has been a snowbank piled up there for days several times this winter. Crawling over it wasn't a problem when I was able-bodied but I won't to able to do that now. Later in the day the weather will get warm enough for it to melt off, I think, just not in time for my required 7:30 AM arrival at work. Even the handicapped ramp is left slippery and lacking shoveling or sand/salt. It may end up that I will have to call in to work from the parking lot, if I can't get any further. Hopefully I will be able to get from my house out to the jeep, which is parked as close as I can get it and the only stairs to navigate are the 15 inside stairs. Oh the things I have taken for granted, but no more!

And you wouldn't want to loan me any of your good books. The author has not gotten back to me yet and I'm totally dreading having to confess to infrequent-friend that I have ruined her prized book. She may become even more infrequent-friend or perhaps not a friend at all. That would be sad but my own fault, I knew I should have asked her before I loaned her book to my Mom. But who would have thought! My Mom is very careful with books.

Lorna mentioned "karma" in one of her comments. Friends and others have mentioned, over the years, that I am a "noble" person because I'm (usually) such a stickler for doing the right thing. Yeah, but it's only because I always get caught when I don't, I tell them! And it's true, I can't get away with even the most minor infraction. (remember the recent parking ticket, too?) It's a fear of the upcoming consequences that keeps me (normally) doing the right thing, not that I'm such a wonderful upright person! It's been that way for my entire life. It could be considered either a blessing or a curse, perhaps a bit of both. Are YOU lucky or unlucky in that way? And would you consider it a blessing or a curse?

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fruitful Reading

Is anyone else having trouble leaving comments on blogs? I visited several of my favorite blogs yesterday and was only able to leave a comment on one of them. And I'm not sure that comment really "took" either. My computer has been freezing so I've been having to re-boot it 6-7 times every time I use it for the past two months. That has a dampening effect on blogging, since I need to sign on to the provider and then back on to Blogger each time. So I'm not sure if yesterday's comment-leaving problem is universal or just another annoying glitch in my computer and system. Oh well, I'm on now! After this note, I'll visit some blogs (until I get tired of re-booting) and try to leave a comment at each of them.

My life could be a sit-com. Well, a sit- anyway, maybe not so much com depending on one's viewpoint:
A friend and former co-worker (from a different company, not my present employer) that I hardly ever see anymore really came through when I called her early in my Worker's Comp vacation. She brought some wonderful old movies and a tote bag of good books. The first book I read was a beautiful autographed hard-bound copy from a local writer. A present co-worker had also loaned me some good books and I had asked her if I could loan one of her books to SLA, and received permission. However--and this is key--I thought about but did not ask Friend #1 if I could lend her autographed book to my Mom. Mom takes such good care of books, that even though I knew it was sort of wrong to do it without permission, I loaned the book to Mom last Saturday at the end of our weeking outing.

(Ah yes, and I bet you can guess the tragic direction this situation is heading!) Friend #1 called me Thursday and we had a brief conversation. Turns out she had loaned me that book before she even had a chance to read it herself, such sacrifice and kindness, and totally undeserved!!! I felt a bit guilty at hearing that but not really that concerned for my Mom is a fast reader and I would have the book safely back by Saturday, before seeing Friend #1 again. I did tell her that I had finished the book and really had enjoyed reading it.

Today I picked up Mom for our outing. At the end I came in to sit and talk with her a bit. She had some newspapers and the book in a plastic book all ready for me to take when I left for home. Mom offered to go with me to grocery shop since I had found out the day before that I cannot hop out of the store with a cart. I had to carry the (luckily only two) bags while hopping on the crutches. I declined Mom's nice offer, but then she gave me two plums and two pears. I dragged everything out to the car, drove home, dragged everything up the stairs (15 stairs, but they're carpeted) and was glad to be back home to rest. Until...

(Yeah, maybe I've been overdoing the suspense-ful ... thing)
I opened the bag and the pears had mushed into and RUINED Friend #1's beautiful autographed hard-bound book--that she hadn't even read yet! And I had just told her that I have finished reading it, so she will be stopping by to get it any day now. Yikes! She isn't a close close friend and is quite particular about her things. But then again, anyone would be particular about a brand new autographed hard-bound book!

I called some bookstores and ordered a copy, but it won't be autographed. Then I hit upon the idea to do an internet search. So I've sent an E-mail to the author (a local, remember) that I am in desperate need to purchase an autographed book from her! So we will see what happens first, Friend #1 stopping by to get her pear-sauted book or the local author. I sure do hope that there ARE some more copies of that book available. Wish me well in that race!

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Got a Tag, and Got Tagged

Yesterday's mail was a happy event. The car insurance check from my son (for his car) finally arrived after some stressing on my part. On Monday I came back from the doctor appointment (with SLA, to help me) and my mailbox was open. There was a brisk wind and the mailbox is shallow. In the past I have opened it up and had mail fly right out of it. So I was a little concerned that my son's check might have arrived then and got blown away. SLA did look for it around the yard a bit, but there is only lots of debris (I normally pick it up each week while putting out the garbage, but haven't been able to do that lately). But my fears were relieved and I'll have to call son and girlfriend to let them know that the check finally arrived. And with it, a nice note.

The second important delivery in the mail yesterday was the handicapped note from my doctor's nurse. Right after I got the mail I drove to the DMV and got a Handicapped Tag. The nurse wrote on the form I could have it for two months, but the guy at the DMV counter stamped it until October, Yippee! Parking closer to wherever I'm trying to get to will be much nicer.

After getting the Handicapped Tag, I drove to the car insurance office. I parked in the regular lot, which is a distance away but closer than any other parking available. The agent opened the doors for me and we had a nice chat while he took care of the two payments (son and mine) for car insurance. It all took about 5-8 minutes. I hopped back out to the car, had taken off my purse (bag slung around my neck to carry it), put both crutches in the front seat, and.....

There was a ticket on the windshield! I had to get the crutches back out, hop around to the other side and reach up to get it. Once I was back inside the car I looked at the ticket. It was not for the $16.00 that I expected but for $30!!!!! Apparently I was parking on private property, which after looking hard, there WAS a tiny little sign, facing the wrong way, in the corner of the lot. I had parked in the middle, where there were no signs or indications that one couldn't park there anymore to go to the insurance office. The lot is now owned by the salon and spa that is nearby and apparently they guard the lot most zealously.

So I was furiously angry at first. The time on the ticket showed that I had been parked there for 3 minutes before getting the ticket. I bet I hadn't even hopped all the way to the insurance office in that amount of time. It seemed unreasonably brutal, I even had the Handicapped Tag on the rear view mirror. I looked around afterwards and there was nowhere to park within hopping distance of the insurance office. It would have been cheaper and easier to have taken a cab to the insurance office.

I was even planning to go the next day (today) to take photos of where I parked and show that it is not properly signed. I called the phone number on the ticket where it said "how to dispute this ticket" and got cut off the first time. The second time a pleasant woman told me that I had to write a letter and then it would go to court.

At first I was totally planning to do all of it: the photo-taking, the letter writing and the going to court. But then, after seriously thinking it over, it's not worth my time and trouble. Yes, it's a lot of money but I'm just going to let it be and pay the ticket out of my next Workers Comp check due on Monday. Guess I won't be parking there again!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Good Cheer

Oh thanks for the good cheer! I'll be in the aircast for another month with two crutches, and then graduate to one crutch and a walking boot. I can't wait! The accident happened at work when I was moving a heavy box from a tall storage shelf to a cart and the bottom fell out of the box spilling the contents (15 metal plates) onto my left leg and foot. It broke four bones. I was getting boxes ready for shipping, a large part of my job which will be prohibited for awhile when I return to work next week.

Had a fall yesterday. It was my own clumsy fault. I was trying to carry a (covered) cup of coffee--yes, I'm back on that stuff again--and was so concerned with not spilling as I hopped along that one crutch must have caught on something. I lost my balance, couldn't catch myself because of my injured leg, fell and dumped the entire cup of coffee on my pale gray/white living room carpet. Not good. It hurt too. My arm got hung up on the crutch somehow and now I have a sore underarm and left boob. A boob injury. I won't be mentioning that to anyone else, it's privileged info. Don't you feel special?!

Amazing how one injury can generate others, the palms of my hands have blisters too. But any one of you who have been on crutches know all about that stuff. It could have been worse. I could have fallen down the stairs or something. I drove again today and it went much better. Also went to a store and rode around in one of those little mobile cart thingys. Much easier than hopping, although I had to hop all the way from the parking lot into the store and back out again. I've gone shopping before but not alone, had SLA around to help me. It's more of a challenge alone but I'm proud that I could do it!

The nurse will be sending me a handicapped permit (just a temporary one) to bring to the DMV so I will be able to park closer. Hope it arrives before I go back to work on Monday. I hope to get back into reading blogs regularly again, but we'll see. The computer desk and spot aren't really handicapped accessible nor comfortable to put my leg up. Have a very good day!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Discoveries

Hi there! I never meant to become one of those bloggers who is never "home" and never goes "visiting" anymore. The leg in the aircast above is my left leg. February 27th I went to Urgent Care at 9:00 in the morning and haven't been back to work since. I've been out on Worker's Comp all this time. It's only 2/3 of one's normal salary, which I didn't know. There are a whole LOT of things I didn't know. Oh, I thought I knew and understood, but not really. Here are just a few of them:

*The value of friends and family
*How wonderful, kind, and helpful most people are
*How very difficult it is to walk and get around on crutches
*One cannot carry things while on crutches (which seems quite evident, but I had not thought about it before)
*Most places, including grocery stores, are really not handicap accessible
*My house is not handicap accessible
*Having time off from work is not necessarily fun, or a good thing
*Patience really is a virtue

I went to the bone doctor today for a check-up and am OK'd to return to work, with many restrictions, next Monday, April 7th. I'm actually looking forward to it--can you believe that? But a little bit scared about the driving. I've just started driving again, starting with short trips. It hurts to have my leg down like that and since it's the left one, there's no place in the jeep to prop it up. If it had been the right leg I could have thrown it over that middle "hump" in the jeep. But I'm really glad to be able to (sort of) drive again.

SLA and I made a deal. She has no car and I had no mobility. For the use of my jeep the past month, SLA took me to doctor appointments, grocery shopping and even took my Mom and me out out Saturday, which was a huge job for her when my Mom doesn't get around very well either. SLA took me into her home for the first few days to feed, entertain and care for me. When I finally went back home she would take me to places or do errands.

The past month has gone both slowly and quickly. Envious friends thought it would be great to get all that time off from work. Not! Just getting to the bathroom and back was an adventure, which you, if you've ever been on crutches, know all too well. Being in pain is distracting and reading or watching TV or sleeping were not good options for the first couple of weeks, although now I am enjoying those things. Two co-workers have visited me a couple of times, bringing food, books, movies and good cheer. Other friends, some of whom I hadn't seen for a long time, came to see me with books, food and movies. I've been cared for, loved and pampered!

Hope life is going well for all of you, too. Happy April Fool's Day! I really missed being at work today and getting to prank co-workers. And no, this isn't an April Fool's joke. I wish.

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