>One year ago…

>I was tired and weak from anemia (summer health troubles), but looking forward to the new school year. I did not walk to our opening meeting; I knew there was no possibility of keeping up with my quick-striding coworkers.

Then I was walking with crutches, attempting to identify and heal the ankle pain that turned out to be gout. Every try teaching science on crutches? It doesn’t go well.
I was dealing with a student who would become the focal point of my blood, sweat, and tears. Let’s not go into details. Somewhere in the back of my mind I expect to hear he’s hurt someone, student or teacher, but I keep that part of my mind tightly closed. Well, I try.
Eventually, the stresses added up and multiplied, grew exponentially, expanded into infinity. My health took a major dive, and I finally, finally applied for a medical leave of absence.
And now? What a difference a year makes!
I’m still not full strength, but I can walk to work – less than a mile, but slightly more than half. The walk feels good.
Multi-vitamins and many, many iron-rich meals made a difference. No more anemia!
I’m starting a new job with the support of coworkers, an assigned mentor, and a principal who stops in frequently and supports me whenever there is a tough question. We had a field trip this week that (thanks to my talent in persuasive writing) brought in a sizable group of people.
Coworkers know about my hearing loss and do not consider it a problem. It’s simply a fact.
I’m tired, but a good tired.
I’m still tired. Every night.
Bad dreams still wake me — often.
I have a bottle of Ambien, but I really, really don’t want to get into taking that nightly. Not again.
My workplace is full of cooperative and supportive people. We all want the best for each other. Still, I keep an awful lot of information under wraps. Only my principal knows about last year’s leave of absence. Once burned, twice cautious; it’s hard to trust again.
Deep breath. Much of this is out of my control. That’s okay. Repeat. That’s okay.
A year makes a big difference. Let go of the rest. I can do this.

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