February 11, 2011

What a ride it has been lately.  On January 22, 2011, my mother suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.  It affected the right side of her brain and her speech/language center. Very frustrating for her.  The early days were spent worrying about a second stroke and whether she would move her left side. We knew that she would have to go to a rehab center.  We thought that we had found a good one but after hearing about her assessments the staff  decided that she needed more help than they could provide. We heard about a nursing center that was part of a retirement community and only provided a few beds to the public.  We liked the fact that many of the people in the facility were paying a lot of money for independent and assisted living so the expectations for good care were high.  To date it appears to be a good choice.

Just after my mother was settled into rehab I got sick with flu-like and then upper respiratory symptoms so I haven’t been able to visit her and help my siblings out this past week.

I check my office email once daily but the emails have pretty much dropped off to nothing. Occasionally someone will contact me to wish me well.  I know I have been distracted with my mother but still I am amazed that after 30 years I am finding it so easy to move on with my life. Work was always only the thing that financed the important things that comprised my life, not my identity. I also accomplished all I wanted to at work. It was clear that the types of assignments that I always thrived on were not likely to come my way and I was not happy with my last assignment over the course of this past year. Still I ended my career sitting in a windowed office with three windows,  I had a Blackberry, and I’d reached a salary level that put me in the top 4% of all women.  On top of that I had had the opportunity to be substantively involved from the early days, providing IT support, for several contracts that became models for national health behavior surveillance systems and health communications.  In addition I provided IT support for a number of national education studies and evaluations that have informed policy decisions over the last three decades.  I have had other types of assignments throughout my career but these are the ones I treasure the most.   I also think that since I realized that coverage might be a problem once my current assignment ended that I started to process the possibility of termination months ago.

I have begun working on a budget as I am trying to save as much of my severance as possible.  Fortunately one can live cheaply in my city.  My goal for Monday is to start the schedule that I planned to put into place before my mother had her stroke. I plan to walk to the Aquatic Fitness Center and begin my day with a swim and some exercise.  Then I’ll stop by Joe’s for a cup of coffee before heading home. I would like to start buying my food daily so that I am not wasting food.  We all know the trap of buying stuff that we never eat and end up throwing away. Now I have more incentive to just buy what I need. I am being giving tips from a number of folks in town who are pros at living cheaply.

I still need to purchase an all-in-one printer so I can print, copy and fax from home and I need a new mattress set.  My washer needs some repair as well.  These are all things I plan to take care of while I am still receiving my severance.  In the coming weeks I need to do some painting as well.  I have been needing to paint the first floor of my house for a number of years, but now I will have the time to actually get it done.

I am signing off for today as I have used up the time I set aside for blogging!

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