Monday, March 18, 2013

Going back to work hits a bump

March 2, 2013
Being back to work is so bitter sweet. I really missed being on airplanes and mixing with pilots and crew, talking to people from all over the world, making a passenger’s day, staying in hotels and seeing the world. But I’d come to really appreciate my freedom- to do as I pleased whenever I chose to do them.
                The 12 month furlough from work was voluntary- a fact I’d wanted at first to keep from my family. I was still struggling with medical issues stemming from an illness in late 2009, which nearly took my life and was tired of my health always being the driving force in conversations. When I first took the furlough, I felt as if I may not be alive at the end of it. I was constantly tired and run down and there was just an odd feeling that loomed over me like a sinister parrot on my shoulder. I felt like if I didn’t take the time off to work on my health, I’d die, which explains why I also wanted to use my time off to visit friends and family and do some leisure traveling.
                One of the more sinister fingerprints of that illness was how my brain was affected from the 106 degree temperature I suffered. I was having a very difficult time thinking in the months right after I got out of the hospital. It was as if my internal thesaurus no longer worked; I couldn’t think of words and in the middle of a sentence I would completely forget the topic. Many people told me they do that all the time and that it comes with age, but for me, it was new…and terrifying!
                I’ve been doing much better in the past 12 months, but apparently I’m still having some issues with how to read a calendar. As part of returning to work, I received my line of flying (a series of dates and trips) for March. I was very happy with the line I was awarded because it made easing back into that routine easy…with late check-ins, long layovers and for the most part, one leg a day. My first day back was a Sunday. Or so I thought.
                To get ready for my return, I spent Saturday afternoon getting things ready. I packed my suitcases and got my uniform ready. I sat down at my computer to send out some last minute letters and received a confused note from my neighbor, who thought my first flight was Saturday. I was about to set her straight when I thought I’d better check my schedule, just to be sure. I felt the blood leave my face as I realized how wrong I was.
                I looked at the clock; 9:00PM. I had to check in for my flight at 10:15PM. I dropped everything, got dressed, realizing I’d not shaved and would have to look like a bum. I grabbed my bags and shot out the door. I got 10 blocks away and realized I had left my airline ID. It was questionable if I could return home and still make it on time. Surely, I’ve never driven so fast to work in my life!

                This was not how I wanted to start things off with my return to work. As I sat on the employee bus, which seemed to move like molasses, I tried to figure out how I could make such a mistake. I looked at the calendar on my phone, which had Sunday as my first flight. Had I simply recorded the date wrong? I was to attend a party on Sunday morning and was happy when I saw my schedule that I could still attend. What made me think this?
                Even with difficulties getting through security, I still arrived with 5 minutes to spare. My flying partners were relieved I had made it on time after telling them what I had done. I left a message thanking my neighbor for sending a note when being confused about my schedule; had she said nothing I would have missed my first flight back, and that would have been bad. I also thanked the gods for me living so close to work and that I had not put off getting things ready. When I showed up, I was winded and disheveled, something I am used to with this job. So, not much has changed, it seems. Yep, I was back. Just a little more confused.

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