While I maintained a composed exterior in public, today brought a few moments when I found myself unexpectedly overwhelmed by the emotions accompanying my return to work.
It’s been a span of over four months since I fell seriously ill, narrowly escaping death, enduring the amputation of my lower right leg, and being diagnosed with diabetes. Following several months spent in the hospital and rehabilitation, and more recently, recovering at home, I decided it was time to rejoin the workforce on a part-time basis, with the agreement of my doctors and colleagues.
Since my last stint at the office, a few changes have occurred. We are currently in the midst of a management restructuring process that will continue to influence my role into the next year. Additionally, my workplace has undergone some reconstruction, and I now occupy a completely new office space. Interestingly, this new office is located in a section of the building that I had contributed to rebuilding back in the mid-2000s, and it’s scheduled for refurbishment halfway through the coming year. It never ends :)
As I returned to the office today, I encountered a slew of unfamiliar faces. Some were individuals I had only previously met via computer screens, while others had taken on new roles. Of course, there were also those whom I had known for several years. There were warm embraces and heartfelt gratitude for the support they had offered me during the past few months, particularly the cards, messages, and visits.
Inevitably, there were also colleagues who had departed from the company, either voluntarily or due to the ongoing restructuring.
Despite the seemingly brief four-month hiatus, it felt like an eternity. I discussed the range of emotions I might experience with a colleague, who shared her own experiences of taking time off to have children. Fluctuations in one’s work life are a common occurrence, and various emotions are par for the course. However, my history with the ABC, having worked in different locations and positions since November 1989, has made it an integral part of my life. Returning today, after the tumultuous experiences and emotions of the past few months, was never going to be a straightforward endeavor.
As expected, I needed a couple of breaks today. I took five minutes to close my eyes and relax in my office in the morning, and another twenty minutes later in the afternoon. There were also a couple of occasions where I needed to take my prosthetic leg off, and at the after-work drinks I needed to sit down while my colleagues stood. Besides the physical toll that this year has taken on my body, I believe there were moments of emotional exhaustion as well.
When I arrived home, I found solace in a few hours of much-needed rest.
I’m slated to return to work again tomorrow, gradually easing back into a three-day working week until my body is prepared for full-time employment.