So I'm radioactive and very happy about it! It has been a long week, and it's only Wednesday.
I had thought that I had little to no thyroid function before surgery. I was getting progressively tireder since I was first diagnosed last spring. But I've found since surgery that "little" is a lot different from "no." What was left of my thyroid was removed on 8/29 and since then it's gotten much worse. In the last 10 days or so I've felt noticeably worse each day.
I went back to work after 3 days, although the standard recuperation time is three weeks, because I have very little sick leave. I figured there would likely be days where I truly could not get out of bed, so with that in mind I've worked every day I can drag myself to the office. I knew I'm unable to do five days at this point. Two weeks ago was Labor Day, so that was good. Then last week I figured I'd have to take one sick day. My preference would have been the middle of the week to break it up, but we had our big Panel Review meeting on Thursday, so that wasn't feasible.
Twice a year, we meet with officials from both the city and the state (they fund our agency through contracts) to present info on progress towards adoption. They give us a list of kids in our agency who are freed for adoption but not adopted as of a particular date - in this case July 1 - and we present what's happened with each of the cases: what our plan is for permanency for the child, what barriers we've encountered, what we've done to resolve them, what issues remain, and whether we believe we can file for adoption by 10/31. Generally about 8 or 10 of us come to the meeting, but only one presents - that's me. I can write notes on the list, but I don't have case files or anything and it's considered bad form to shuffle through papers. I can say I don't know when they ask me a question (but obviously I mostly want to know the answers) and someone else there can answer if s/he knows, or call someone to get the answer. But mostly I just speak and have to talk cogently, knowledgeably, and persuasively about each child, making the case that we're doing all we can. If we've already filed, or even finalized, that's great, and I had a bunch I could say that about, so that helps. For a large agency like ours, this goes on for 3-4 hours. As Panel Review got closer I really, really kept expecting someone to say "Dale, we know how sick you are. Soandso will take the lead on Panel Review. We can't expect you to keep the particulars of 114 kids' situations in your head and speak extemporaneously about them." But nobody did. So I did it. Anyway, the state guy told me I did an excellent job, but I think he just felt sorry for me.
My boss did suggest I go home after Panel Review instead of back to the office, which was nice. Except I fell asleep on the subway and missed my stop and it took me forever to get home. So then I took Friday, which was my birthday, off. I did a lot of nothing all weekend. I had planned on a (post) birthday dinner with the kids on Saturday, but I canceled. It would have been hard to get to a restaurant and I wouldn't have enjoyed it if I did.
I did go to shul Friday night and Saturday morning. I'm Adult Ed co-chair and we had educational programs Friday night (a dinner speaker), Saturday morning before services (a teaching on the parasha of the week) and Saturday afternoon after services (a class about Leviticus and choosing which portions to read on Yom Kippur afternoon). The Saturday afternoon one was what I wanted most to go to, but I didn't make it that far and the other two were very good.
Monday was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Here's what I wrote at the time:
"I have my weekly adoption conference call on Fridays. Since I was out and I have a new boss and she's not up to speed yet, she didn't want to cover for me, which is fine. So I asked her to reschedule for Monday afternoon and said I'd update my records Monday morning (today) in order to be ready.
I left home at 7:00 this morning and got to the Bronx at 9:00. I can barely handle the subway steps at this point and it's very slow going. I got to my building and they said the elevators weren't working so everyone has to take the stairs. I can't do it. I can't walk up three flights of stairs. It's a horrible feeling - it's not like it will take a long time, or I'll be very tired. I truly cannot do it. So I sat by the security station waiting for the elevators to be fixed. At 9:30 my new boss said I should give up and go to the Brooklyn office but I wanted to wait it out. I gave in at 10:45.
So I got back on the subway and got here at 12:15. By that point I had, obviously, lost the whole morning. I had spent five hours getting to work and was completely exhausted. What's more, the telephone in my office wasn't working and since my office in Brooklyn is in the basement, my cell phone never works here. But I had email and it was full of urgent messages all telling me what to do as soon as I arrived.
The most urgent was a case where we were in danger of being told we made "no reasonable efforts" for this sibling group's (almost five year old twins) adoption. A bunch of things have gone wrong and there's court tomorrow. The Adoption Summary (15 page document) was one of the first I edited when I started a year ago, and no one had updated it since and it must be final by 3:00 this afternoon. The Social Worker updated it this morning. So I had to review it and give it back with corrections and any questions in time to make it final. The first thing I found out is that the social worker used his old copy from before I edited it a year ago to update, so all the spelling and grammar errors that I'd corrected are back. Nonetheless I correct it all again and find that he has the kids in Early Intervention still. They'll age out of Early Intervention in four weeks. They should be in kindergarten. Are they in kindergarten? If so where and what kind of setting? These are things I have no knowledge of but since he sees them every month he should know. I turn it around in 20 minutes with the outstanding questions and move on to the other urgent emails. At 1:55 my boss emails me to remind me that I was supposed to update my records and lead an adoption call at 2:00. I have no phone and - more to the point - had no morning today. I swear if I could quit I would."
But yesterday was better. I was sicker, but the end was in sight. I got my blood test results and found I can start Radioactive Iodine today. I worked late to finish up some stuff, stopped at the library on the way home and then came home and explained the isolation rules to the kids and cats and ex and segmented the apartment.
I dragged myself to the radiologist this morning. He looked at my blood test results and said "It's kind of amazing you're walking" and also "You must feel like a zombie." I don't know what zombies feel like, really, but if they feel like this I think I'll avoid the Zombie Apocalypse, if I can. But the radiologist also said that bad results/bad symptoms mean good surgery, which makes sense. And I'm just sooooooo happy that I don't have to (even better, can't) go anywhere for days! Hooray for radiation!