In my last post, I spoke about an upcoming schedule change – instead of spending my mornings at the university, I would now be spending my afternoons at the university.
As luck would have it, during the past few weeks my most difficult moments had been sometime during the afternoon. I wasn’t exactly sure how things were going to work out, but I was hopeful that the timing of my flares would work in my favor.
Nicely enough, during my first few days things actually seemed to work. Instead of experiencing the worst moment of my flares sometime around 5 or 6 in the afternoon, I started experiencing them later in the evening – around 8 or 9. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, or maybe it was just the fact that my drop in energy levels shifted correspondingly with my new schedule…either way, I was cool with things. After all, it’s nice to be able to add ‘mastering the art of taking a nap just a few hours before my bedtime’ to my list of skills. (I wonder how this would look on my resume?)
But the day before yesterday, my precarious RA schedule had a head-on collision with my work schedule.
Half an hour before I was supposed to leave my house, a flare started (and continued to get worse by the minute). At least there is one part that seems to be quite consistent – during these flares, the worst of the worst typically lasts about 90 minutes. I could write off 30 minutes, but I still had one hour left. Exactly enough time to cover both my commute and my first half hour of class. Great.
And while, during some of my worst moments, I often use images of myself going to work and teaching as a way to pull through these tough times, during this flare this trick just wasn’t working. The proximity of the different realities in my life were closer than they had ever been before.
As I struggled with the fact that I “had to” go to work, a thought popped into my head that actually took me by surprise.
I didn’t have to do a thing.
And if I needed to, I could call in sick.
Once I allowed myself that possibility, the impossibility of going to work seemed to fade away. From one minute to the next, going to work suddenly seemed like a possibility.
It wasn’t one of my best commutes – and trust me, traffic had nothing to do with it. But I made it. I went to my classroom, and I started to teach. Just as I expected, half an hour into my class, the worst of the pain passed. (Well, not necessarily passed…more like my DEFCON indicator went down a notch.)
Looking back, it was my best “imaginary” sick day ever!
And if one of these days I need to take a “real” sick day, that’s exactly what I am going to do.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!