First Week Back at Work: Day 1
Diary Transcripts - 24th July 2017
My first day back at work! I kissed Ruth goodbye in the front bedroom, where she'd gone to sleep to be sure I had an uninterrupted kip - I was nervous, but she was way more so! I'm pretty sure she was tearful, but she did a fab job of holding it back. I left home at 06:32 convinced there was enough time for the 06:48 train. I knew it might be close, but after running under the subway at the station I reached the platform just as the train pulled in. I know that in my five years or so on the Met Police that I'd never cut it so fine. New EverNote entry is to leave at 06:20!
Work in London was fantastic, they really have a massive shortfall in the skills I bring to the table. Andy Neilson is gonna be my main contact regardless of what any organisation chart says, I've warmed to him already and I have much respect for him.
I reviewed a bunch of documents and made useful comments that will help them. They are going straight into production with no development or pre-production, they don't even have a design - just installation guides. It's got my name all over fixing this stuff. I enjoyed my library IT buddy jaunt, but this is real world professional stuff and I am more than capable.
I had to stay until 16:00 as there was an HSM dry run going on, I saw many ways in which I could improve things, but am keeping quiet until I'm properly under the table and fully understand the political landscape. Tons of PKI stuff came back to me: "cardpp --check" came from nowhere! I explained how the registration of capicom.dll wasn't necessary given that they aren't using the SMTP exit module for autoenrollment stuff. Such matters haven't been on my radar for over two years - they just came right back.
At about 16:00 I could tell my mental strength was waning a bit and was glad to be heading back on the train to Victoria. Ruth's earlier email about adrenaline was very apt, I'm so lucky to have someone who ‘gets it’ to support me. I'm convinced already that not engaging via DXC was a lucky break - it would have been a sausage factory and I'd have probably struggled to assert my influence. The extra rate doesn't hurt either, I guess it was a risk, but somehow I just know my worth.
I can't help but think that Ruth's contribution to my recovery is so much more than her fantastic love and support. She's such a smart person and made all the right choices along the way that I know have helped me enormously. It sounds easy now, but it was by no means obvious at the time that these were the right choices - every decision she made carried a risk that only she and I understand. I'm also aware that there were probably tons of decisions she had to make that I didn't know about, and never will. Knowing I had someone there who had more than just love for me but who respected me, and knew that I likewise, meant that I could just focus on myself, which was exactly what I needed as that was all I was capable of. Ruth having November off when I was discharged was in hindsight absolutely essential, I would have really struggled without her love and support. I think of Dublin, Stratford, York, etc. And then the lovely holidays we had in Sani (Halkidiki), Corfu and then Kefalonia. The first was a completely new experience for us where we just did the beach / pool thing - it was exactly what was needed. Then there was Ruth's terrifying driving experience in Corfu thanks to TomTom. Letting me drive on right in Kefalonia was wonderful, Ruth must have been petrified! I'm only recollecting 'trivial' holiday matters here, but she also had to make a lot of really tough 'life' decisions for me. There's no hero in this story, but certainly a heroine - Ruth!
I'm also hugely grateful that mum was strong enough to get through an outrageously difficult time for her. If mum had gone over the edge I know it would have made things immensely harder. And mum always being there as a destination for me to go to on an almost daily basis gave me a huge purpose and reason to get out of the house. I love mum to bits and have really enjoyed all the company we have shared - with irony, it wouldn't have happened without my TBI. Clouds and silver linings!
I appreciate fully just how massive this day has been for me. I recall how Ruth bought me age 7 Lego sets to Haywood Hospital and I was genuinely grateful to have something to actually make, I'd had enough of watching TV. It sounds rather self-appreciative, but I'm realising I am made of bloody strong stuff - Joe W thank you. I know it's bad form to get ahead of myself, but the bottom line is that as of today I'm officially (in my mind) recovered - today being 24th July 2017. It doesn't mean I am now able to go mad and pretend the TBI didn't happen. My driving licence re-instatement was also a huge turning point in November 2016, I'm proud of how I coped with not being able to drive, not just in practical terms but far more in dealing with how incapable (useless) it made me feel. Ruth had to do almost everything for me - I was never aware of what a daily challenge it must have been for her. Deb was great over dropping Olivia off and collecting her, things like that meant an awful lot to me. If there ever is a full stop to my recovery, then I shall always see it as today.
Chatted to Andy about other things, such as hernia - he'd had two operations. While he didn't describe the symptoms as pain, he did say strong discomfort - I don't have the slightest tinge. I've done pain tests on myself and while it doesn't feel right to use pliers on my fingers, I can feel something, but I can't truthfully describe it as pain. I also have impairment of smell, taste and touch. It's not that I don't have these senses at all, it's more that I can't judge anything by them. I struggle to notice good or bad smells, wet or dry towels and I'm sure I couldn't tell in a blindfold test, between cheesecake and dog muck.
Charlie has metamorphosed these two years. He was a boy in 2015, but now I see him very much as a man. It's not because of age, or working, or driving, etc. I think it's his attitude and values. He has an absolutely fantastic relationship with Ruth - it's just perfection. I know that Ruth's brilliant parenting contributes to this, but it takes two to tango. Charlie has been fantastic with me, through potentially awkward periods where we were at home together an awful lot. He showed me real respect, which he will never understand just how much it meant to me. Of course there has to be a twist in the tail... Charlie was working at McDs and Ruth and I dropped the Golf off for him. Ruth had assumed he'd have his keys with him, but doh!, he didn't. He also leaves his wallet behind on most days, how can anyone function without a wallet? Hee. While I am thinking about Charlie, I must confess that I'd rather put needles into my eyes than play a game of Monopoly with him.
I slept from 15:00 to 19:15, I was simply knackered, but I recognised it and dealt with it properly. This week could very easily have gone wrong, with me feeling that the working chapter of my life being over, Ruth would be the one left picking up the pieces. But it didn't! In some ways I feel normal, but also born again. Closure
First Week Back at Work: Day 2
Diary Transcripts - 25th July 2017
Mum had a lot of drama today over her follow up appointment with her GP over her "water infection and vertigo". The F2F was cancelled and mum had to do some kind of phone interview. This had mum really agitated as I'm sure she was struggling to imagine who she was speaking to, and what it was about.
I penned an email to Paul Stevenson (DXC) and Andy Neilson (i15) in response to a Paul question about how I envisaged the KSC going - I wrote it at about 22:00 and it took me about ninety mins before sending. I put an awful lot of useful technical content in there, but also some jokey criticism of DXC. More about this on the next day's entry.
Follow this link for the diary of my third day back at work.