…It’s Back to Work I Go….
By Donna Lowich
During my stint in rehab, from January through June of 1986, my primary focus was to do my best each and every day in my therapy sessions because that was the way to get out of there and back home to my family. It was my primary motivation and a great incentive for me.
Once I was home, my focus switched: now I started thinking about going back to work and all that would entail. Encouraged by my friends and co-workers during their visits, I began to plan. I was in a difficult situation: I was looking forward to working again but I found out that I needed to be back within a year. That meant my return to work date would have to be November 2, 1986. I was receiving physical and occupational therapy five days a week. I needed to make progress and a lot of it in order to get cleared so that I could go return with a minimum of problems.
My physiatrist (rehab doctor) was wonderful, always encouraging me in each of my visits. In fact, he said I was doing so well that he was going to continue my therapy for five days a week all the way up to, and even past, my return-to-work date.
I needed all the encouragement I could get because despite my progress in therapy, things were very different since I was last at work. I no longer was driving, and I was now in a motorized wheelchair. These were major changes, and although I tried to prepare myself to deal with them, the reality of the situation still stung when confronting them on a daily basis. It was harder than I had ever imagined. But, I enjoyed my job too much to leave. Quitting was just not something I wanted to consider.
I was a corporate reference librarian. I loved looking for the answers. Things were different now, and far more difficult than I anticipated. The fact that everything took me so much longer aggravated me. I had to learn to be patient with myself.
I guess patience worked because I stayed in the library for another fourteen years! In December 2000, I was promoted to a job in a new department. I was happy there. Then my friend, Kathy, called me one evening to tell me about a job opening as an information specialist here at the Reeve Foundation.
It was a whirlwind of events. Before I knew it, I had applied and was interviewed for the position. Now, the only obstacle was finding a way to tell my boss who had gone through a lot of time and trouble to effect a promotion for me.
I was honest with him, and let him know how important this new job was to me. I was happy (and relieved!) to find out that all my fears and trepidations were for naught. When I told my boss he was very supportive and encouraged me to take the job, which I did.
And the rest, as they say, is history…
To read the companion story to this blog, click on the link below:
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