Here it is, 4:30 am on the last Monday of August. And I cannot sleep for anything. I’ve pretty much been on a night shift sleep schedule for the past month, where I go to bed between 3-5 am and get up anywhere between 2-6 pm. I’m a natural night owl; I take after my mother.
Tonight I’m thinking back to my day full of appointments this past Friday at the hospital in preparation for my brain surgery next week. But not the appointments themselves. It’s my brief visit with my coworkers that keeps going through my mind.
It was very weird walking into the pharmacy for the first time in two and a half months. The last time I had worked, on June 10th, I had high tailed it out of there in the middle of the night when a really bad dizzy and nauseous spell came upon me and I had to call in a coworker to finish the shift. I’ll never get over the embarrassment, because if there’s one thing I’m terrible at, it’s asking for help. I’ve been on disability ever since and won’t be returning to work until six weeks after my brain surgery, which is now only ten days away (eep!)
On Friday, I was so happy to see the people who were there and sad I missed the ones who were either off for the day or out and about on the units doing their jobs. I was proud to show my dad where I worked and explained a little bit of our typical workflow to him, since his career field was journalism, not healthcare.
But after a few minutes, I felt a dizzy spell coming on. I did my best to hide it by gripping the back of a chair I had set my bag down on. In retrospect, I probably should have sat down myself. But having that happen to me in that place again brought back the bad memories of my last night of work on the fateful night in June and left me with a question.
Can I go back?
I know I haven’t had the tumor removed yet. I know it’s going to take six weeks of recovery to be able to be ready to go back. But it was like deja vu. I felt sick almost as soon as I walked into the room.
Was it the middle of the day chaos? (Chaos being a mild term; there really is no word strong enough to describe what happens in the pharmacy between about noon and 3 pm). I’ve never been able to handle that kind of chaos well, which is why I always prefer to work evening shifts from 2-10:30 pm.
Was it just apprehension at seeing people I haven’t seen in months, having left them in quite a lurch by having to go on disability? So they had every right to be a little cool with me if they had wanted to be. But the people I did see were happy to see me, so that felt good.
We couldn’t stay too long because I had to get downstairs for my CT scan and MRI, which was a bit relieving because I was very overwhelmed having visited the satellite. My dad, who knows me very well, noticed. As we were walking down the hallway leaving the pediatric units, he asked me, “Was that hard for you?” Maybe he meant it in a different way, but yes, it was hard for me. The last time I had set foot in that pharmacy in June I felt sick. And the next time I set foot in the pharmacy last Friday, some of those same feelings of general unwellness came rushing back.
Which again brings me back to the question: Can I go back?
Am I ever going to be healthy enough to perform my job again?