I have a confession to make. Part of why I love my job is the 9-10 weeks, give or take a few trainings, I get off in the summer. Well, off as in I don’t have to go in to the office or a school, not necessarily off as in no job related work to do. Yes friends, this year I went and did it again, offered to do presentations on starting back to school and then not having time to get them ready at the end of the year because of everything else that needs done at the end of the year. I also submitted to present at my regional center before returning to work. Both things which, ever time I do them, I swear I will not do again because they eat my summer vacation time. Apparently a couple years off from doing this to myself, and I forget. Because I love to help others learn more about what I love to do with our students. So you may be thinking, if you love to do them, and you have the time in the summer, why lament the doing? So, here is another confession. I already have a summer job that does not involve working on professional learning (aka continuing education). My summer job involves providing medical care, if you will, for myself.
To start, there are all these medical appointments. Starting allergy shots, and trying to get in two a week so I can get to my maintenance dose faster does not help. There are two office visits a week right there. Luckily, I think I only have 8 shots to go to get to the start of maintenance.
Then there is the already standard monthly PT (pelvic floor therapy) appointment, and the monthly (now bi-monthly, I couldn’t take ALL the appointments with the shots) medical massage therapy. The monthly (now every 6 weeks) chiropractor visit. These visits to me are like an oil change, they keep the body in motion. Every once in awhile I try to stop one of my body work appointments and invariably lose days of work and productivity to pain, usually back pain.
Moving on to the other regularly scheduled body maintenance, the quarterly regular Dr. visit (thank goodness that changed from once a month) for some of my meds, the annual mammogram (yes, I need one a year due to fibrocysticness), the annual pelvic ultrasound (because of previous ovarian cyst and fibroid), the annual eye exam (required for my contacts), my annual dental cleaning (yes, I should go twice a year but it is hard getting all these appointments in), and my personal favorite, the annual urologist visit. I won’t count my perm since it isn’t medical! Or the well puppy visits since that is for, well, the puppy.
So, I got them all scheduled, and, of the days I am not out of town or with a guest in town, I have appointments on 23 of the 35 days I am not engaged per above. 3 of the days are double dip days. An appointment and also the allergy shot. Just looking at those numbers is daunting. In a year or two I get to add a colonoscopy to the summer mix, which will be an event in and of itself since I can’t not eat for 24 hours (reactive hypoglycemia), and I can’t take the liquid cause it will rip my bladder to shreds. I am hopeful one of my good Dr.’s will refer me to a good (aka understanding and compassionate) gastro who will work with me there, and with the fact that I am only about to turn 40. Too strong a family history of colon cancer to put that baby off until I am 50.
So, looking at that number, I am reminded once again of not only how much I love having a job that lets me have this other summer job, but that also doesn’t get me fired (or looked down upon since I think the Family Medical Leave Act would keep them from firing me). There is no way I could work a 12 month job and get all those appointments in and stay sane. Going to the regulars during the year after work is hard enough, and kills enough time.
So, some of the summer job involves these appointments. It also involves getting sleep. See, I don’t get enough sleep for the entire time I am working in the schools. Because, frankly, no matter how many “good sleep hygiene” rules I follow, nor pills to sleep I take (yes, I only take 2 Benadryl) I still don’t fall asleep on time to get the 9 hours I need. Getting up at 6 just doesn’t work for my body. In summer, even by sleeping till about 8, I can get my 9 hours a night, and, of all things, start to feel more like a human being. This helps build my energy reserves back up.
And some of the summer job involves getting back to routine exercise, which fell off terribly this year due to repeated sinus/ear/bronchial stuff and then those allergy shots. This exercise helps rebuild my core strength, thereby decreasing my back pain. I don’t just get to feel better, exercise allows me to do things around the house that involve having a back that doesn’t hurt.
Then, there is the social aspect to the summer job. I can spend quality time with my family, my husband, and friends. That part of my life takes a serious hit during the year. I often can’t be social, or see people, because when I am not working, I am running to appointments, or trying to sleep (or trying to stay awake if it is a crash period). The truth is, we all need people, even introverted old me. Without them, our souls erode a little at a time. So my summer job keeps me from eroding.
I often wonder how people work 12 month jobs with 1-3 weeks paid leave, if that. And I wonder that knowing I have a job I love to do. How can people just keep going, day after day like that, without this 9-10 weeks off? And then I remember, most people don’t have the summer job I have. The summer job nobody wants. So bad no one will interview for it, and it just gets given to people without their control. You know, the one where a chronically ill person tries to just keep it together. And where the payment is the chance to do just that.