Stretching the Work-Life Balance to the Absolute Max: Why I’ve Been So Quiet Recently
I’ve been really quiet on the blog the past couple of weeks and I wanted to explain the reasons why. Some of you may have seen on my Instagram that my Dad has really not been well. I wrote this last week and it goes some way to explaining what’s been going on.
What do you do when you are stretched to the absolute limit?
Just days ago I was bragging about how I’d managed to find the perfect work-life balance. I sat in work with my manager and talked about all the amazing things I’d achieved over the past six months and how I felt it hadn’t compromised my home life.
I felt happy, like nothing could touch me. I left work for a week’s annual leave and we flew to the Costa Brava for a week’s rest and relaxation.
On our second day my dad contacted me: he was in hospital.
What to do? Fly home? Was it serious enough to warrant that? Did he have people around him who could help? The texts that followed assured me that he was in safe hands. I kept in close contact over the next few days and as our holiday rolled to an end he was discharged and I flew home confident that all was okay.
It was an epic twelve hour journey door to door and as I was unpacking a few bits that we’d need for the next day, my husband urgently shoved his phone in my face. Panic ensued, my Dad was still not well and needed help.
I quickly found out my Uncle was with him and I’d be kept updated with how things progressed. Everything was under control. I went to work Monday morning as usual. I didn’t want to cause a fuss in work and only told one colleague about what had been going on. I left early that day to get some shopping from Morrisons and got home to devastating news: my Dad’s condition had become life threatening and he was about to be rushed into theatre for an emergency operation.
I dropped everything to drive the one hour to Wales to be at intensive care when he was wheeled out of surgery. The next twenty four hours were the scariest of my life. After being sent home by the ICU nurses at 1am and being told to keep my phone on loud in case they needed to get me back in to say my goodbyes, I collapsed into bed and barely slept a wink. The next day I returned to find my Dad sedated and on a ventilator. I sat with him for a few hours before they decided to turn sedation off and see how he coped.
Slowly, my dad came round and struggled as he realised he had a tube in his throat. The nurse gently calmed him down and explained what was going on before ushering me outside while they removed the tube. When I returned he was sat up and able to talk but he had hundreds of tubes and wires coming out of his body, had oxygen to help him breathe and was in a lot of pain.
I needed to make a decision about work and I had a choice. Go back or sign myself off sick. If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m not one to go off sick and internally I debated which path to choose; guilty that I’d be leaving my dad but also anxious that if I did go off I’d be leaving my staff too.
I decided to work Thursday morning, leave early, travel back to Wales to see my dad and see where that left me. It took me over two hours to make the trip and by the time I arrived, it was nearly time to go back again.
So much for a work-life balance. At this point, I’d barely seen Dexter all week and I’d nearly forgotten what he looked like.
It’s now been just over two weeks since my Dad had surgery and he’s still in hospital although recovering as well as can be expected. It’s going to be a long journey for him to get back to full health and I will do my best to be there every step of the way to support him; while working full time and raising a toddler who is going through the 18 month sleep regression of course!
So if I continue to be a little quiet on the blog for the next few weeks, please do forgive me.