When are you ever going back to work?

“When are you ever going back to work?” she said with a laugh. I don’t think it was said in a mean way but, still, the words stung and have stuck with me for hours.

Odd place to be, once again in the middle of the night with sleep interrupted by that stupid right leg and its nerve problems. Stuck in between indignant thoughts of how I will, of course, be returning to work one day and the knowledge it may well never happen.

I get it. Five years is a long time. After five years most people accept their situation and just deal with it. After five years you often are exactly where you’ve landed. But I haven’t landed yet nor do I intend to have my landing zone be anywhere near today’s physical limitations. I work every day to get better, to get stronger, to regain abilities and I’ve made real strides, finally, this year.

I fully intend to get back to work. I like working. I love being a nurse practitioner. I enjoy days spent in healthcare and I have always, always worked. This not working business has been a hard reality to live for so long.

So the optimist in me wants to stomp and yell and declare, “Hey, watch this!” as I saunter back into the world of the working like a boss.

Of course, the realist in me knows she is right.

When am I ever going back to work? Who the hell knows. I’ve made some fledgling attempts to craft work that, thus far, have been unsuccessful because I have neither the stamina nor the legs to do it. I’ve tried to do a little and had to cancel because of that right leg or because of fatigue or other reasons that, in reality are part of living in a disabled body, but in the lived experience just feel like lame excuses.

It doesn’t change, for one second, that my desire to get better, to get stronger, to get back to the ability to work is driving my daily efforts. I wonder if anyone knows just how deep the tenacity well really goes.

When are you ever going back to work?

Looks like that is this year’s “How are you doing?” It’s a loaded question, full of judgement and pressure. Unanswerable and a stinging reminder of how much this injury has defined my life.

When are you ever going back to work?

I have no idea. But then, it turns out “when” was never the right question.

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