Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Long breaks

It occurred to me earlier that I don't believe I've had an extended break off work for ... many years !

Christmas time doesn't count, although I've managed to wangle a fortnight off every year at that time. Nah - most of the time I've had off has just been single weeks. That's usually enough for me, I start climbing the walls if I'm off for longer.

Thinking a little more, the last time I had a fortnight off in the middle of the year was 2005 and the visit to the States with Ravenwolf and family, which had an ... emotional ... aftermath. Less said about that the better. Ok - I was out there for a fortnight with them in Orlando, they had another fortnight after in Miami and then when they returned, Ravenwolf announced she was leaving. Heart - in tatters.

:-) Enough of that :-).
Some of the old pics are still worth bringing out again.

A couple of things made me think though - I think I had this aura of invincibility at work. Or indestructibility. I'm always there, I'm rarely away with sick days. Even with various stuff, I've not taken more than a day or two at a time to recover. Let's see :

Nose Job 1 - happened on a Thursday, I was off work on the Friday although I had one of the colleagues (Diablo) pick me up to retrieve my car from the cricket ground. I was back in work on the Monday. I had occasional other days off work too for getting the snozzle checked out by doctors. And then there were 2 days having the operation to have it straightened. Nose Job 2 was on the NHS so it's still a little bent, although that's how I see it, other people can't tell.

I was back playing cricket by the end of the season, which was good because it let me face down any potential psychological demons before they had a chance to grow over the off season. Not saying I got any runs (maybe 8) but it saw me facing up to quick bowling.

One important thing here - you may not have many days off sick but, especially with head injuries, there can be long term effects that you don't realise are there. With Nose Job 1, it deeply affected my memory and I think I still feel those effects 12 years later. A once nigh on perfect memory has gaps, where I cannot form a memory. Weird. For 18 months after, I had a mix of amnesia and false memories, where I'd form an actual memory of Doing Stuff that I hadn't actually done. I'd just mentally rehearsed how I'd do it and that would become actual memory.

The really strange thing is that I can remember some details of that day very clearly. Like the layout of the A and E, the depressing feeling of wicket keeper captaining a side that was being run ragged in the field and the shot that caused Nose Job 1. I think I dropped an easy catch behind the stumps too. Memory is a strange thing.

I've actually been hit on the head three times with the cricket. The second time, I was in a helmet and carried on playing during the game, helping our side to a comfortable win. And then I nearly threw up in the changing room after the game.

Three times ? This was really stupid. I was practicing the wicket keeping in the nets and because I was going into batting practice next, I left the helmet off. Cue a freak event ...

Legside delivery (where a keeper standing up is unsighted)
Top edge from the batsman
No time to get the hands to where the ball is now going
Lots of blood. Happily no lost teeth but that's where it hit.

That one probably concussed me for the third time as well, I couldn't feel hunger or lack of it for the next fortnight. Yet I still came in to work the next day, although this was because I didn't want to miss out on an End Of Project meal out in town which I knew Snow Queen was going to. Definitely didn't want to miss that, she was one of the fun things about my last project. I did take the next day off, which I spent in a mental fog. (Wednesday - practice, Thursday - work + meal, Friday - I dunno)

Even with my current and recovering condition with my outsides, I've barely been off work for the maybe 4 years it has been affecting me. I've been lucky there. If it had been serious Psoriasis, this can develop into Psoriatic Arthritis where the condition attacks the insides as well as the outsides. PA is a serious life changing condition with heavy consequences, especially as the treatment involves immuno-suppressants which have their own serious side effects. My joints have been seriously affected to the point where cricket is a distant possibility but I can still run quick if I need to.

Yep. I've been very lucky. Others haven't.

And I'm thinking of 3 people in particular who are fantastic friends :

The one who broke her back, you wouldn't know it. I've been really lucky to be able to count her as a friend and valued colleague over the past year. She's been keeping an eye on me and giving me someone to talk to and lots of encouragement. She's been the knowledgeable ear I've needed to keep me sane.
The one who is suffering from very heavy depression at the moment. Your friends are here for you little lady. I hope you can beat those demons and remember that old strength that made you the Heart of my last team. The one everyone else always looked to for a chat, a chuckle and a little bit of kick ass attitude. You can remember !
And the bubbly chuckly one who is recovering from a broken ankle. Get well soon dear one :-). I have something waiting for you when you're recovered enough to accept visitors who will love to come over to be reassured that you're ok and on the mend.

All three of those lovely ladies have helped me out no end over the past year. My confidence has improved with them showing me bits of my personality that they seem to like, which I wouldn't see in myself. Bits of me that they think are special which I discount as being just ordinary.

That's something very important - even a quiet word, a smile or a happy chat can do wonders for people who are a little lonely.
Do me a favour. If you have a friend that's struggling, keep an eye on them. Don't be too intrusive, that can drive them further into their shell. But keep an eye on them. Reassure them that they don't have to fight those demons alone. That they are loved. I'd have really appreciated this when I got hit in the mouth, I was on my own with that.

Showing that you care for how someone else is doing is the greatest gift you can give. Be generous with it, it costs nothing but gives reward beyond measure.

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