Thanks for sharing your story… and congrats on doing as well as you are!
I met Annie in late January 2022 when I fell ill at home and was airlifted to a hospital for emergency neurosurgery. It was touch and go during my first week in the ICU and after undergoing a couple of procedures that included coils, brain glue, and a temporary shunt. One Annie burst, with a second one close to bursting and 2 others looking suspect. I was in the ICU for almost a month and received a permanent shunt. I spent another 2 weeks in the hospital, to include 1 week of inpatient PT at a hospital in Northern VA. Long story short, it is a miracle that I am alive with no significant damage to my sight, mobility, speech, or cognitive skills. My PCP told me that one of my clinicians wrote “miracle” in my medical record.
I will share with you the advice given by my neurosurgery team following my release from the hospital: Take things slowly and give yourself time to heal. Whether it’s your exercise program, sports, or work … start off slowly and gradually build up to your previous schedule of working hours. Before Annie, I worked 40 - 60 hours a week as a C-Suite leader overseeing regulatory and policy matters. My neurosurgeon advised me to start off with 3 - 4 hours per day for 2 or 3 days the first week of returning to work after my first medical checkup about 3 weeks after being released from the hospital and getting the OK to resume working. Then, if that pace was tolerable, increase your time to 4 hours per day for 3 - 5 days per week. Try that routine for 2 weeks. The next week, try 5 hours per day. Take breaks and take a nap when you feel tired. If at any point the daily schedule becomes too much, back off and decrease your daily work hours to a lower amount. Don’t push yourself too hard and be kind to yourself.
I was fortunate to have a very supportive boss at the time who told me to focus on my health first, and not push myself too hard. It was about 8 weeks before I returned to a 6 hour/day routine. I worked 40 hours one week (with some hours worked on a Sat). Unfortunately, a new leader arrived, and I was part of the layoff of 80% of the senior team. Was I let go because of my previous illness? Maybe. However, there is no way to prove that, and my attorney advised me to move on with my life.
Over one year later, I am working full-time with a new job. I still feel tired at times and tend to feel wiped by 9 PM at night after working a full day and cooking dinner, though I’m stronger than I was a year ago. A short nap every afternoon while convalescing at home and working remotely helped a lot. I realize I was fortunate to work remotely and thereby have a little flexibility in my schedule. I still work remotely 80 - 90% of the time, thankfully.
Every day is a blessing, no matter what. Again, be kind to yourself and give yourself time to heal.