If I had been nervous telling H about the operation, then telling the boss when I returned on Monday was a whole different ball game.
The reality of what I could lose had set in. I am one of the lucky ones who actually loves what I do. I love my job and I would miss it just being away for four months let alone if I had to give it up entirely. I worry my career will be set back and what if it takes me ages to build up to where I was.
I can barely concentrate during the morning. I sit at my computer and try to focus on emails but my mind is a monkey refusing to be still. It swings from thought to thought.
With a few deep breaths I grab the brochure that outlines my operation and knock on the door of the boss’s office.
“Hi I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time to talk to you about sometime,” I squeak from the doorway.
I can tell he is hesitant and wary of what I am about to say as he invites me to take a seat.
“I have some exciting news,” I began as I fumble with the brochure.
“I’m having this operation done,” I say as I hand it him.
He’s nervously thumbing through the brochure, barely glancing at what is in his hands as I continue.
I briefly explain the operation and try not to laugh at the dumbfounded look on his face.
“And so I’m going to need four months off,” I trail off.
Moment of truth time.
“Wow, I didn’t see this coming at all,” he says with a small nervous laugh.
“I thought you were coming in to resign!”
He asks me how the operation will make my life better and adds that he didn’t even realize I had any problems. I’m not sure how to take the last comment. It’s not possible he didn’t even know about my leg is it? I had never discussed it with him so he could have just thought I had a limp or something wrong with my leg and thought it too much of an intrusion to ask anything further about it.
“I do and I don’t,” I tell him.
“I don’t let it stop me or affect my life, I just get on with it but at the same time I’m always in pain, there’s always a level of discomfort. Even just walking from the car park to the office is a walk I often have to psych myself up for.”
To my relief he is very understanding and accommodating to my plight. He says of course they will give me the time off, but he will need to work out the logistics with HR as they have never had a situation like this but it should be fine. We work out between my annual leave and sick leave I have about 13 weeks of leave accrued and then I can take the last three as unpaid. It will be treated as almost like maternity leave except instead of coming back with a baby I will return with a new leg.
In a way it’s almost like a new life.