My second week (of semi-retirement)

With the heavy paperwork of social service application forms, photocopying of medical reports, bank statements, rental property lease & other formal documentation, I was beginning to think of opening a Filling out Forms Consultancy Company.:D

With the is & ts dotted a dozen times in pink, white & blue, perhaps I could also consider a Graphic Design Workshop. But the reality of having my medical history & personal accounts witnessed & shared around, left me feeling rather naked & exposed last week.:Retro redface:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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The initial interview with social services was just the pleasant formality of answering a few brief questions as the officer transferred my records onto his computer. The multitude of plastic cards which tumbled out of my wallet was deemed as insufficient points of ID, & I was requested to present my Passport or Birth Certificate within the next couple of weeks.<o:p></o:p>
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Even the Working with Children (ID card) similar in shape to an Australian drivers licence didnt rate a mention on the forms. I might add that all people working with children in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>Australia</st1:place></st1:country-region> now have to have this identification card by law. It takes an interview, a police check, & more points of ID than a passport application, to obtain this plastic card. <o:p></o:p>
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I remarked at the time, that it was a shame this Passport/Birth Certificate requirement was not printed on the forms, as I had gone through the dozens of pages & couple of hundred questions several times to ensure I had not missed a point. I had also asked my Brother to proof read my answers to ensure I had understood all the questions (remember Im blonde & ICI more that doubles my chances of being dumb).<o:p></o:p>
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Pedantic was my second name (in my job). <o:p></o:p>
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While some staff had found my eye for detail a little hard to take at first meeting, most staff came to rely on this somewhat annoying character trait to save them on numerous occasions over the years of our acquaintance.<o:p></o:p>
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Over recent months, my handling of stress & tight deadlines often resulted in brain processing breakdown, with vague expressions of bewilderment & cognitive meltdown enveloping my normal professional demeanor. Fortunately these meltdowns usually happened about 2 hours after handing over the designated work to my Boss. If my deadline was in the morning, after the lunch break, I would shuffle paper continuously about my desk pretending to work, but was in no fit mental state to do any serious accounts reconciliations. I would be totally exhausted from the mental efforts of the previous couple of days. Then I would float along the footpath on my 15 minute walk home in a daze, collapse into a heap on the couch & sometimes manage to cook & eat some food, then swallow my pills & pray for sleep to take hold.<o:p></o:p>
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Days later I would reflect on my brains amazing ability to sharpen, focus & perform amazing feats of account processing before these deadlines, & then turned to mush straight after the work handover to my Boss.<o:p></o:p>
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Like my memory, renown as being near photographic at work in past years, recently, it would collapse into early Dementia at the most inconvenient times.<o:p></o:p>
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An interview with a job capacity consultant 2 days after the social services appointment had resulted in a stressful bout of overall FM pain which lingered over into Saturday & threatened with deadly intent.<o:p></o:p>
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Three hours of pottering around in the garden on Sunday restored my spirits & refreshed my brain which hovered under the threat of a slight headache & eye pain. On reflection tonight, it was probably a sun burnt scalp that caused the headache I have very fine, thinning hair on top of my head & get sun burnt very quickly. <o:p></o:p>
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I was surprised to discover no aches & pains on Monday morning. I had taken the precaution of doing my gardening chores mindfully & slowly with frequent rests, so perhaps on this occasion I had acted in perfect harmony with my bodys limited energy resources. <o:p></o:p>
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To proceed with any physical exercise that actually stays within your bodys limits, shows how listening to your body & interpreting its signals pays off.<o:p></o:p>
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Its easy to overextend when the sun beckons & the breeze intoxicates with its uplifting fragrance. But it seems I had finally learned body language.<o:p></o:p>
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The second week after resigning from my job of 16 years has brought rather different emotions than the first. For in the second week there has been more time for reflection on the past, & some visualization of my prospective future.<o:p></o:p>
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By the time Monday evening arrived I was starting to feel very relaxed & calm & more than a little excited about my second week of semi-retirement. I say semi-retirement because I like to think that one day I will embark on some sort of part-time work. I like to look to the future with more than a hint of optimism. <o:p></o:p>
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(Cant you tell, Im new at this joblessness business).<o:p></o:p>
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But then came Monday night, one of the worst nights of sciatic pain in living memory.<o:p></o:p>
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Nearly, ALL night! :eek:<o:p></o:p>
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Thank goodness I didnt have to go to work the next day. I wouldnt have the brain function of a donkey (let alone the precision & swiftness of a racehorse running the Melbourne Cup, which is what my old job often required).<o:p></o:p>
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For whatever reason, I tossed & turned from one side to the other. Every time I nodded off to sleep, I must have turned over. Every time I turned onto my right hip, the pain woke me up. Most of my right foot was numb, part of my leg was numb, mainly down my shin, & my right hip & lower back were screaming in terror. And just when dawn broke, my left hip started screaming in unison.<o:p></o:p>
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And why didnt I get up & get some prescription strength analgesics?<o:p></o:p>
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I really dont know. Maybe past experience told my sub-conscious that it would be a wasted effort rolling out of bed & shuffling through to the kitchen cupboard where they were stored.<o:p></o:p>
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I have discovered that when I wake during the night, turning the light on awakens my brain completely & its harder to get back to sleep. If I get up during the night, I go to the bathroom (or kitchen to get painkillers & water) in the dark. Without my contact lenses or glasses I am able to see in the dark quite well, surprisingly. (until the day I rearranged the furniture in the line between the hall door & kitchen door. *&%#!* in a dozen different languages came out of my mouth that night, I can tell you).<o:p></o:p>
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Tuesdays snail mail bought another request from Social Services (I use the term Social Services so members from other countries have some idea of what Government agency Im referring to the agency that doles out sickness & disability benefits is called by a different name here). <o:p></o:p>
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I had to obtain a certain Termination Certificate from my previous Employer as well as complete & return a Rental Statement. So after I emailed my ex Boss with the first request, I sat down to fill out a form that asked for exactly the same information, in exactly the same order, as I had filled out & presented the previous Wednesday on my initial interview re my flat rental. Amount & what period that amount covered, date that amount commenced, agents name, address & contact number etc.<o:p></o:p>
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Well.I suppose it gives someone a job (collecting the same information twice). Duh.:innocent1: <o:p></o:p>
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I told you I could open a Filling out Forms Consultancy Company. <o:p></o:p>
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Anyway, my neck is sore from this afternoons acupuncture & my head is humming with the threat of a headache, so Ill finish this weeks diary at the end of the week.<o:p></o:p>
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But now that Ive got the more serious, nerve-wracking interviews out of the way, Im feeling fine, just fine.<o:p></o:p>
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I even detect more than a smidgeon of Happiness creeping in to my day, despite the intermittent episodes of pain. <o:p></o:p>
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After all, whats pain?<o:p></o:p>
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Ive lived with Pain for nearly 30 years and weve become friends now. In fact, Pain & I are on very, very intimate terms. We even sleep together. There now. Ive told you the secret details of who happens to share the space under my bed covers at night. Pain & I have had a rather tumultuous affair for something like 29 years. <o:p></o:p>
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Why stop now (that Ive stopped full-time work)?<o:p></o:p>
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Why spoil all the fun?<o:p></o:p>
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Comments

Really well written Victoria. I wish I could say more...too tired. I can totally relate to work or information overload and being done afterwards. I hate big decisions or deadlines. I am dealing with a webguy right now for my site and after talking to him, I become quite ill. I don't understand it and it's taxing and requires you to be on top or your game when I am under the sheets.

Keep writing for us....
 
Its amazing how draining paperwork is and how stressful it is meeting with govt bureacrats. I hope all that goes well and then we'll see what's next; life throws us all kinds of punches - you finally get out of the job and the sciatica flares up. You never know but I love your slow as it goes - don't overtax - be in the moment approach.
 
The Spitfire;bt898 said:
Really well written Victoria. I wish I could say more...too tired. I can totally relate to work or information overload and being done afterwards. I hate big decisions or deadlines. I am dealing with a webguy right now for my site and after talking to him, I become quite ill. I don't understand it and it's taxing and requires you to be on top or your game when I am under the sheets.

Keep writing for us....
I have hated big decisions for years, but it's quite hard to explain to anyone how stressful, complex conversations & thinking is. i also get tired with long personal phone conversations.

I asked my older Brother to doublecheck my answers on the Social Services application forms. He looked at me a bit strangely. Anyway he did find a couple of questions I had missed, as well as my interpreting a question the wrong way.

So, while I have supportive family now, I still don't think they understand that I am no longer the intelligent, quick thinking, wonderwoman. Sometimes I think I've got early dementia or alzheimers. Other times I can think quite clearly & even very quickly.

But I can only remember one or two tasks at once, & occasionally, I am stuck in the middle of the street unable to remember where or why I am there. Like I said, it's like early alzheimers.

Occasionally, I'll come out with something witty & clever, but not often now. Which reminds me, I starting doing internet crosswords a few days ago & have forgotten already that I vowed to do one every day.

I did alot of my job on "autopilot". It was a repetitious job. I typed the same words say 10,000 times in 16 years, that's one of the reasons why I was able to keep working full time for so many years (in case some members are wondering).

When my pain levels were bad & didn't respond to analgesics, I switched my brain to "autopilot" and most of the time, I managed to "land safely" at the end of the work day.

But I did "crash" a few times at work also, necessitating a quick trip to the local hospital ER (one time via ambulance).

Just because I worked full-time doesn't mean it was easy to do this.

But on the whole, I reckon I did a pretty good job in the last 2-3 years, considering ;).
 
Cort;bt905 said:
Its amazing how draining paperwork is and how stressful it is meeting with govt bureacrats. I hope all that goes well and then we'll see what's next; life throws us all kinds of punches - you finally get out of the job and the sciatica flares up. You never know but I love your slow as it goes - don't overtax - be in the moment approach.
Cort, I received a letter this morning making an appointment for discussing ongoing or addititional job seeker requirements. :confused::confused:
Job seeker requirements?

I rang the company. I explained I'd just finished my job 2 weeks ago for health reasons. I would envisage spending some months resting & improving my pain management.

Apparently, my job capacity assessor has misunderstood what I said, when I said that one day I hoped to do some part time work again (as I didn't want to stay home for the rest of my life - here, I was trying to be positive).

I cancelled the appointment for next week.

I rang the job capacity assessor. She wasn't available, so I left my name, number & reason for the call.

I sat by the phone. Waiting.

2 hours later the Job Seeker Agency rang me back. i explained that the Job Capacity Assessor still hadn't returned my call.

And hour later, the Assessor rang & we cleared up the confusion (about my desire for a part time job. One day, I said.).

Then I rang the Job Seeker Agency back to confirm that the confusion was cleared. If i didn't do that I would be "on record" as having refused to attend a Govt appmnt.

And then, .........something else.

This stuff is tiring (& expensive on my mobile phone - I don't have a landline now).

So it's hot, I'm tired & it's only 4.15pm in the afternoon...................And I'm undressed, in a loose robe & ready for bed. That Bl**dy dog next door barked half the night & I only got a few hours sleep.

In fact, I'm feeling downright grumpy today.

Happy one day, grumpy the next...........

:In bed:
 
So sorry you're being tortured by both sciatica and government forms.

So glad you're taking time in your garden.

It's great to hear what's happening with you on this blog, Vicki, even though I know it isn't all great to get through. The mills of bureaucracy grind exceeding slow and exceeding small, maybe your work experience will give you the ability to get through it all...and I do think that, someday, you might be excellent as a Forms Consultant.

But you need a lot more R&R first. I'm glad you're getting acupuncture. What alternative remedies have you tried for the sciatica? (this is preparatory of course to showering you with possible things to try, you've been forewarned.)

I do understand how weird it is to have your brain go, I have been used to relying on my intellect and the hardest thing for me has been getting to the place where I could no longer make it work until deadline and then collapse - it had already collapsed. The good news is that, after 4 months on Freddd's active B12 (and a million other supplements) protocol, my brain, like my energy, is slowly slowly coming back. The minute I think I'm finally all there I do something like start a sentence and forget what I was saying in the middle of it - but still there is slow improvement and I'm grateful.

I hope once you finally get through the labyrinth of govt. forms - or maybe it's more like that other Herculean task, shoveling out the stables - you will find your brain slowly, gently returning in a new and refined form. And if you want a visually beautiful, feel-good film recommend, Wake Up Sid is a wonderful Indian film I just found on Netflix.
 

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