First full day rehab. Breakfast at 6:30. Same procedure as last year. Take the therapy plan and line up to enter the dining room. Waiter checks that you are on the right time slot. Free choice of seats. Difference? All single tables. All facing the front. Small round tables set for one. The larger tables turned off-side for one person to sit at the narrow edge. I go to get my cereal, fruit and yoghurt. I consciously avoid the bread and buns. A waiter comes by with croissants. What a temptation!
The coffee pot is waiting on the table when I get back. Another lady has left her bag hanging over my chair. I left the therapy plan on the table to claim my spot. I check the plan. Yes, it is mine. Shortly afterwards the lady apologises and collects her bag. I have my coffee mug with me and fill it up with coffee to add a sheet of gelatine to it when I get back to my room.
My coffee cup
I believe in my gelatine. I usually take two sheets a day but there was only one packet of 12 at home, which I took with me. We are on Corona pandemic security level 3, red, which means no visitors, two metres distancing, compulsory FF2 masks. So I practice the gratitude which I feel so intensely. My nails have suffered over the past year as I’ve spent weeks at a time institutionalized and not feeling in control of my situation. Each time my nails break I think back to where I was a few months before and determine to get back to regular responsible health care. Of course this goes for weight as well.
I try to focus on the positive and believe that my weight will get under control once my knees are okay. I realise my need to polish my self-image. This is another three-week period when I can work on myself. Not only physically.
I came yesterday by Bolt taxi. The new regulations in Austria require even the private transport providers to use a taximeter. He even had a taxi sign on top of the car. This confused us and Josef did not recognize that it was my driver. He pulled up next door and a tram drove by. Josef took my suitcase and I hobbled along to the back door of the car. Josef had changed his morning shift to the afternoon so that he could see me off.
I just did a short vlog (video-log). I had to stop, full of tears. I reflect on the apparently wise words which say don’t talk about your health. I give thanks to my body for having served me so well and so long. I think of Jenny Cook’s sermon a couple weeks ago about what I learned from my son. She spoke of the miracle of motherhood. I know why I want everyone to have children. I am so grateful for my five sons.
I recognize the thought traps in my own thinking. I don’t deserve to have a nice body because I have five children.
I remember when I started working at the UN. I was so grateful and almost overwhelmed. I had already recognised that many who work at the UN find it hard to maintain a stable family life. I remember asking a contact who then became a colleague about the divorce rate. I determined to be a role model of true family values. I was not alone but certainly far from the norm. One of my earliest contacts said that she sacrificed family life for her career at the UN. She was also “only” admin staff, like me. She worked there over 30 years. She got a wonderful pension. It was easy to compare and feel jealous. Yet ultimately, I knew I had made my choices and I could only be grateful. My choice had been family and ten years at home with my children. So the miracle of a job at the UN after that, at the ripe old age of fifty-five was enough to be grateful for. Of course, many told me that I did not look my age. And of course, I tried to keep it secret. It became another aspect of my identity which I sought to deny, hide or compensate for.
I’m only an admin. Many of my colleagues thought I was a professional staff member. Of course anyone working at the UN is a professional. However within the structure there is a hierarchical divide among the professional and the administrative staff.
I had worked within the Austrian economy and was very experienced. Many of my colleagues thought I’d been there for years simply because I had the competence and expertise. I could tell that some of those who had joined the UN in Austria very early, really lacked the “real-world” experience.
After my ten years at home with my kids, while supporting my husband who was a travelling salesman, I joined the Austrian workforce at the age of forty-five. This was a necessary step for my own self-image. I still remember Frau Wandel from Europa Versand, calling me a “gestandene Frau”. I think back to my colleague there who constantly asked for my help, yet she was the one with the reputation and remuneration for her experience as Frank Stronak’s personal secretary. I was called a Foreign Correspondent.
I was coming as the Stay at home Mum (SAHM) and sorely looking for personal and professional affirmation. I thought my pay was generous. It had to compensate for Josef’s lack of income. I realise again now how all our limitations are in our own minds. Already at that time I was dreaming of working for the UN. In fact, I first had a number of interviews with an international mission to the UN, and even thought I had the job. Then this came up and was for a preliminary one month trial period. So, since the offer came first, I took it. Only much later did I appreciate that it had provided health insurance for my whole family and an Austrian pension, unemployment support, and holiday pay, which the diplomatic mission would not have done.
I just read:
I’m proud of my acumen as a financial manager. Of course, the Republic of Austria made its contribution to our family endowment.
This morning I had a session with the dietitian. We came to an agreement and meet again next week.
I came here yesterday feeling really lousy. I was sore all over and doubted that three weeks could really make any difference at all.
Today I had my physical medical check-up and the doctor was so encouraging. Yesterday there was a medical interview on the phone in the room, while I was still in quarantine after the Corona test.
Today the nurse called for the health care interview. She was pleasantly surprised that I still remembered her from the last time here.
We are living in challenging times. The Corona Pandemic is raging and mutating. My mailbox is full of on-line training offers. I’ve registered for many of the current conferences. I even managed to log-in to a couple of them yesterday from my quarantine after arrival. I missed my “normal” meetings, though I did inform them beforehand.
So, my self-image.
When you think you deserve to be fat, unattractive, poor or unemployed, it helps to have some-one else believe in you. I had people who believed in me when I kept applying for jobs at the UN. I was confirmed in my conviction, only after I got there.
The doctor said I was already doing well. I can touch my toes and bend my knees. I’ve been focusing on the sore swollen knees. Now we’re working on the mobility. I was already on the home trainer practically every day since before the beginning of the year. Why the blind spots and focus on deficit instead of abundance?
Wearing the FF2 mask is really not pleasant. Knowing it protects me is a consolation.
So, just to make it clear. I am officially out of action this month due to rehabilitation. I am working on myself and have very good intentions. I may attend a few of the many on-line meetings when it works out between therapies. I am even better now that I am a mother, a UN retiree and an optimist.
I am a motivator and communication trainer.
And I’ll be back.