Monday, 22 December 2008

Return to Work

So it’s now official. I will be returning to work at the beginning of January, nearly six months after I was last at work. But even now I've had to deal with NHS bureaucracy.

At the beginning of December I had my outpatient’s appointment where I saw a Consultant Cardiologist who told me that it was fine for me to return to work. So I let work know and they let the Occupational Health Department know. The idea behind this, as far as I was aware, was that OH would see that I'd been cleared by a Consultant and rubber stamp my return to work.

But no! That would be far too simple. OH have insisted that I have to be seen by their Registrar before I can return to work, and knowing that my intention was to return to work at the beginning of January, they gave me an appointment for 23rd January!

Now this presented a bit of a problem. If you work for the NHS and are sick for a long period of time, then you will still get paid your full wage for the first six months that you are ill. After that, it drops to half pay for six months and then stops. My first six months is up on 10th January, which wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that the OH Dept have given me such a late appointment, so I telephoned them and explained this to them.

Although I wasn't able to get an earlier appointment, there was a compromise solution. I could return to work at the beginning of January provided that my own GP approved (in addition to the Cardiologist who'd already said that it was fine!)

So I am returning to work at the beginning of January in a 'phased return', which means two mornings during the first week, three mornings during the second and five mornings during the third, the OH appointment being at the end of the third week.

But that wasn't the best bit. When I spoke to the OH advisor, she seemed to be under the impression that I had lost the use of my legs and was very concerned that I shouldn't walk anywhere! I had to remind her that although I had a CABG, I'm not the 'normal' age of people that do. So much for holistic and individual care!

However, between now and then, there is the start of quite an expensive time for family. Expensive not because of everyone get thousands of huge Xmas presents, because of the number of 'events'.

Tomorrow is Hannah's (m'Julie's daughter) birthday, then Christmas, then four weeks later is Maggie's (My daughter) birthday, followed two days later by mine, then two weeks later by m'Julie's.

So, in the meantime

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Exertion and Murder

As part of my recovery following the surgery, 8 weeks post-op I began cardiac rehab sessions at one of the local sports centres. This consists of an 8 week programme of lectures and exercises to assist people who have had either a heart attack or cardiac surgery.

The lecture part is fairly superfluous for me but the exercise is OK. However, it is done at a far gentler pace than I'm used to, and there's no-one screaming abuse, PTI style, at me. The first week that I attended I was paired up with one of the helpers, who unfortunately was about 30 years older than me. Not only did he keep telling me to slow down, but he also had to keep stopping to get his breath. Even explaining the age difference to him didn't seem to work, and he wouldn't have it. However, since then I've been allowed to get on with the exercises at my own pace. And once I've finished the 'programme', I'll be allowed to go to the gym proper.

This should be at about the time that I'll be going back to work. Although I do have to be cleared by my Occupational Health Department, I can't see it being a problem, although I do apparently have to take all of the annual leave that's accrued, as I've been off since early July, which may mean that although I am notionally at work in January, I may not physically be there until next July!

But first of all I've got to get Xmas and New Year out of the way. Unfortunately, I'm not the most festive of people, so I'll be glad when it’s all over. And the one thing that I won't be saying is that at least next year can't be worse, because I know that it can.

Having said that, at least next year is an odd-numbered year. The last few years, the even-numbered ones have been bad, whereas the odd-numbered ones have been good. For example, I discovered that I was separated, I had a girlfriend die, my mother died and my ex-wife abducted two of my children and vanished and I had my MIs and surgery, all during even-numbered years, but I met m'Julie and my divorce was finally settled during odd-numbered years. Watch now as it all goes pear-shaped next year just to prove my theory wrong!

Lastly, the murder. No, I didn't slot my ex, but what I did do was revisit the site of an old murder, are rather five. These five murders are probably the most famous murders, even though they occurred more than a century ago, mainly because the culprit was never found, although there have been many theories and many suggested perpetrators. They are, of course, the Jack the Ripper Murders, which were carried out in the East End of London during 1888.

I have read many of the books on the subject and, although I would never claim to be an expert, I do know a fair bit about it. As a treat, to make me feel better after everything that's happened, m'Julie arranged a while ago for us to attend one of the various guided tours of the area. The company that she went with are all Yeoman Warders, so are used to giving talks.

I have to say, I found the tour and the talk very interesting, and it was interesting to visit some of the places that I had only previously read about, but I did disagree at the end with the conclusion that the guide made as to who the culprit was. I also found that he was historically inaccurate in a couple of the things that he said, but a very enjoyable evening.

So now it’s that slow grind to Xmas, although I have got a couple of m'Julie's presents already, but as she reads this, I'm saying nothing!