Editor’s Note: A Moment for Reflection

Regular readers of the Delaware Employment Law Blog may have noticed the lack of postings in the last few weeks. The inactivity was not a result of my being too busy with client work, personal obligations, or vacation (fancy the thought). Instead, I have not being posting because I was recovering from a nasty case of pneumonia. For a little more than a week, I was rendered powerless by the illness, which has given me an opportunity to stop and think.

After I turned the corner towards recovery, I found myself first being overwhelmingly thankful and, second, wanting to know, “how did this happen?” Truth be told, this is my second round in the ring with this illness in the last two years. Both times, it came on so powerfully that my initial diagnosis was made in the emergency room—the first time after being rushed by ambulance after collapsing at home. If we call the first instance a fluke, then how can I define this second instance? After all, don’t you think I should have known better by now?

Yes, probably. In the late winter and early spring, we built a custom home and spent lots of time playing construction manager and general contractor. The annual employment law seminar took place just a few weeks after we settled. So my attention and “free time” was redirected to the event—my favorite of the year—before I caught my breath from the big move. And, of course, I do have a day job and the demands of litigation and the daily needs of clients don’t disappear simply because I have other projects on my agenda. So let’s just say that maybe I took on too much. It’s a habit—a bad one—that I intend to address going forward.

But I’m not off the hook quite yet. On the first of April, I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder pain, which can be indicative of lung inflammation. I’d had cold-like symptoms for a few weeks by that time and the pain was enough to get me to the doctor’s. He instructed me to get a chest x-ray and complete a course of antibiotics. I promptly ignored his advice and went out of town for a three-day trip.

When I returned, the pain was gone and so were the other symptoms, except for a pesky little cough. I blamed the cough on allergies and carried on. My colleagues were not so convinced and pleaded with me to get the chest x-ray my doctor had prescribed. Eventually I did and, a few days later, was in pain so severe that I was left with no choice but to make the dreaded trip to the emergency room.

So what lesson can I learn from this experience? Foremost, that I am a mere mortal and, despite my unyielding optimism, I must recognize my mortal limitations. I can’t, as it turns out, do everything. Although I make a concerted effort to be aware of my expectations from others and try not to demand the impossible, the same should apply to the demands I make on myself. Being the hyperactive overachiever who aims to please, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Right?

I’m looking forward to getting back to work and to blogging like crazy about all things employment law but, if there isn’t a constant and steady stream of posts, you’ll know that I’m probably trying to take some of my own advice. Thanks for being patient in the meantime.

Updated:

2 responses to “Editor’s Note: A Moment for Reflection”

  1. Jay Geary says:

    Just ran across this post. Glad to hear you’ve recovered and are back on track. I was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2004, at age 53, and spent nearly 5 months out of work dealing with the harsh realities of a chemo regimen and 40 radiation treatments. I lost 32 lbs, all of my hair. When I returned to work, I felt like the train had left the station: several large “plum” cases I had turned over to others in my firm were gone and I was not welcomed back on the team. It took me 5 more months to rehab myself. All of this had a negative impact on my “career” (I’ve been doing this now for 30 years). But, frankly, I don’t regret one minute I needed to take off or the income I lost to be treated and then get my health back on track. My priorities are where they should be: health, family, then work. I’m fully cured (according to the docs) am saner, healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been, and I’m enjoying life in a small law firm, living with life-rhythms that make sense. Having “the Reaper” (and I was not expected to survive my cancer)looking over your work product will change your attitudes.

Contact Information