And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. - Sylvia Plath

Monday, June 24, 2013

30 Days of Photos - dayTWELVE

Sports day at school tomorrow. My 8 year old is on Team Ireland while my 7 year old was placed on Team USA. We decided to paint their nails in their team colours cause we're awesome like that  :)

See you tomorrow for dayTHIRTEEN!

My Battle

A year ago I made the decision to leave a job in the Financial Services Industry to take a job as a Supervisor at a new retail establishment opening up in town.  While most people work up from retail I made the move that many would call down because I felt it would be a positive move for my family. I felt that the move would give me an increased flexibility to care for my kids. What I didn't expect was that nearly a year later I would leave that workplace with a disability that I hadn't started with. This is my story.

November 28th in preparation for the Christmas season our store was on edge. We were under a lot of pressure to get all our excess product out, and were expected to work at an exceptionally fast pace. While moving product on a shelf I didn't expect the shelf above to have installed incorrectly into the unit. Without me knowing it that shelf was simply resting on top of the products that I was moving. Upon moving the products out the shelf above crashed down on my hand and wrist, sandwiching my arm in between the loaded shelf and the products I was pulling out. I immediately called for first aid attention, iced my wrist, took some pain meds and set back to work.

The next morning I woke in excruciating pain. I discovered a swollen, distorted looking wrist that was exceptionally painful. I was scheduled to open the store so I made my way in treating my wrist with the utmost care. Shortly after arriving at work a friend showed up and cautioned me against working and sent me up to the hospital for inspection. The doctor at the hospital diagnosed a soft tissue injury and told me to stay off work for a period of three days, with a follow up at my own Dr's Office prior to returning to work.

And this is where the story gets truly disheartening. My workplace has on their service a company contracted to minimize the cost of Workers Compensation Injuries. Their entire purpose is to get employees back to work quickly, without regard for the person. The Company quickly ascertained that I had an arm injury, and that my arm injury wouldn't prevent me from performing duties at work because "I have another arm." They enticed me back to work with the promise of short shifts, and had me have my doctor sign off on my return that he didn't agree with. So off I went to work, right arm in a sling, instructed to do on hand counts, facing, product returns and customer service.  Yet because my doctor didn't specifically state on my form that I was to work short shifts they put me back on for 7.5 hours a day, so back to the doctor I went for another note for reduced shifts.  The company had me seeing the doctor multiple times a week, one week I saw the doctor 4 times at their request.

It quickly became obvious to my doctor that with the increase in pain, burning sensation and numbness in my fingers and hand that something more serious had transpired. I was in a great deal of pain, and any activity at all was torture. I would go home from work in tears and unable to function in any capacity. Due to new developments my doctor took me back off work, and I was put on the waiting list to see the Orthopedic Surgeon and given the tentative diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Being that this all transpired over Christmas the wait to see the specialist stretched into January. After which a bone scan was ordered, and back to the waiting list I went.

My bone scan appointment finally arrived and off I went hopeful for some answers. All that came back was a tentative diagnosis of a occult fracture. This meant no surgery, but also no estimate on when I would be better. On the plus side this meant I could finally start physiotherapy. Hooray! 

The Physiotherapist started in with a course of acupuncture to help get the pain under control. The acupuncture coupled with the medications to treat CRPS brought my pain down to a reasonable level, and I was finally able to start a true physio program and looked forward to finally getting back to work. But my recovery didn't progress as quickly as I had hoped, and a couple weeks turned into a month and then longer still.  The Physiotherapist ascertained that a diagnosis on a torn tendon in my elbow causes when the shelf hit me was overlooked, which meant a larger treatment span.  The force of the shelf hitting me had caused my wrist to snap down which had caused the tendon in my elbow to tear.  I had had a cortisone shot to my elbow in December prior to returning to work which had covered up the fact that the injury was still nagging.

30 weeks after the onset of my injury I am still in pain. I am working full time (at a new job) and I have good days and bad. I still don't have anywhere close to full strength back in my arm, I can't lift more than a single plate at a time with my right arm. The pain in my elbow is the worst part, and at this point I have doubts it will ever go away. I still take 900mg of Gabapentin daily and it is unclear when (if ever) I will ever be able to discontinue taking it. I couldn't continue working at my job due to my physical restraints, and a reduction of my hours when I returned after my disability (I lost 40 hours a month, the equivalent to my entire food budget, and my hydro bill!).  I even re-injured myself at work shortly after returning to my reduced full hours loading the book rack, a job I had expressed concerns about doing, but was told to do anyway.

The job that was supposed to be a new start ended up completely changing my life. The disregard for my safe return to work shown by "The Company" made the situation worse. To all employers out there, the welfare of your employees is so much more important than saving money on your Workers Comp Premiums. This company used my injury to turn my life into a prison.  They treated me like a criminal, had my coworkers spying on me, told me lies and have continually tried to take away my families security.  They twisted every single thing my Physiotherapist and Doctor said around so that it suited their purposes.  Even making it so that when the Physiotherapist recommended 3 hour shifts, but did not specifically state 5 days a week that my manager could schedule me for 7 days a week.  The scheduling of my shifts was done in such a way that I could no longer attend my physiotherapy sessions, despite repeated requests, and notification of my appointment times.

It is an amazing relief to have moved to a new job, where the work environment is absolutely amazing.  My injury does not impact my ability to do my job in the least, and so I can say beyond a doubt that moving to my new workplace was the right move for me.  I am finally seeing improvement in my arm function with not having to complete activities that cause stress to my arm.  Whether or not my arm will ever return to its full function is unknown, but it is the end goal (obviously).

Battle against short shorts

Perhaps I'm just a fuddy duddy, but during a recent trip to a local retailer I was absolutely mortified at the selection of shorts for young girls.  Aside from 2 pairs of bermuda shorts, and a pair of sports shorts all that was on the shelf were short shorts.  My 7 and 8 year old daughters do not need short shorts, period.  I'm sorry, but what is wrong with allowing our children to be children?  Adult clothes shouldn't be turned into similar styles for young children. Hell, I don't even agree that all clothing for adults should even be on the market in the first place!  There is a time and place to be sexy, but you don't need to let it all hang out on a regular basis.  And we sure as hell don't need to be putting out versions of the sexy adult clothing for young girls!

And so I did what any reasonable parent would do.  I bought the two pairs of bermuda shorts that were on the shelf, as well as a pair of sport shorts and left the short shorts for other parents.  I refuse to allow my children to wear inappropriate clothing, and both of my girls go off to school looking respectable every day.  If they're wearing a shorter dress it gets paired with leggings, no low cut or super tight tops.

My 7 year old makes my modest dress code easy to adhere to, as she lives in her sweat pants, adult size XS graphic t-shirts and her sweatshirts.  When she wears a dress its usually coupled with a pair of her favorite sweatpants!

My 8 year old lives in her yoga pants, tshirts and dresses.  She tends to prefer the brighter colours, glitter and sequined tops, which gives her her own clothing identity apart from her sister. 
While I do ensure that no inappropriate clothing enters the house, the girls for the most part ensure that their clothing choices are appropriate.  Their own personal style preferences make living within the rules very easy, and makes for a great compromise.

We as adults need to remember that our children are still only children.  Their clothes for daily use should reflect that fact.  We don't need to actively encourage our children to grow up faster then they already are.

Any reader thoughts on this topic?  Do you adhere to a dress code at home?  Or does anything go?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

30 Days of Photos - dayELEVEN

My proud gardener! The girls grew their plants from seed, and the first flower finally bloomed!

See you tomorrow for dayTWELVE!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013