So, when is the most appropriate time to return to work?
This poses a few challenges. From a neurosurgery standpoint, my tumor has been removed, my incision is largely scarred over, most of the swelling is gone, I can walk and talk, and everything else will take 6-12 months to heal. From that standpoint, I’m ready to tackle life.
From a rehabilitation team standpoint, I’m still pretty easily tired out, my head hurts constantly, and my intellect has gaps and shortcomings in spots. These types of things take a bit of time to mitigate, and I haven’t had the cognitive assessment yet to evaluate my readiness to return to work.
For me, it’s difficult to tell. I know I can hold a reasonable conversation, even if various words are missing. I know I can take a shower and make food and walk around town without help. I know I miss details here and there, and have a tough time focusing (especially when my head feels worse). I know that anyone who looks at me or holds a conversation with me probably wouldn’t immediately notice a difference from before the surgery, provided my hair was cooperating and covering the head scars reasonably well.
There is little information, though, to tell me how things will go when I need to analyze stakeholder attitudes, coordinate team activities, evaluate communications and training efforts, engage leaders and end users’ support, learn and recall innumerable details, track activities, pay focused attention to details in long meetings, collaborate with other teams, understand and interact effectively with the I.T. department, and respond quickly to unexpected issues as they arise – you know, usual change management stuff. Nothing outside of work really offers much information about how higher-level brain-things will go when those activities are back on the table. The stakes feel high, though – doing well is important for the company.
All I know is whatever random bits in my noggin don’t work properly at the moment may fix themselves over the next 6-12 months as my skull base and nearby nerves and brain tissue heal. In the meantime, the trick will be figuring out what’s missing and identifying appropriate workarounds. Also, not overdoing it. I tried to take an online tutorial about data analytics yesterday, and had to stop and take a nap after an hour and a half.
So I’m definitely nervous.