About a two and a half years ago I worked as a Project Manager at a Tech Startup, the job involved managing a team of 6 comprising of developers, designers and two interns. It was a role I really enjoyed and hence took more projects on board to manage, at a point my team worked on 4 to 6 projects at the same time, prioritising those that added to our bottom line after all we were in business to make a profit. Due to the nature of my work I sat for long hours, sometimes I skipped lunch, half the time I had a friend ask me if I had lunch and my reply would be no, not yet, then in the next 30 minutes a delivery person with food would call to deliver my lunch. I was a workaholic and I knew, my job was to get the job done, projects completed, team working and of course all stakeholders happy.
After about two months my health started acting up, I call it acting up cause am never one to fall ill on the job, most times I called in sick was because lady red called and of course the pain associated with it couldn’t be endured. My thighs, my legs started to hurt, my back, my head and my waist would hurt when am at work and sometimes I would have to go home early as I could not bear the pain, sometimes I feel dizzy and sometimes I was fine, I went to the clinic for tests, prayed, fasted did all I could but no solution was forthcoming..
Then one day the same doctor I had been seeing weekly asked me what I did for work and of course, I was proud to reel out how am a Project Manager and work really hard and then he asked how many hours do I sit for without getting up? I could not answer because I saw for well over 5 hours developing project documents, plans, making calls, having Skype meetings…
He then referred me to an Orthopaedic Doctor who asked me to carry out an x-ray, I did and then he discovered the whole pain was from my back, really can’t remember what he called the medical name now but he explained as I had been sitting for hours without stretching my backbone was affected and hence that was causing the pains in the other parts of my body.
The next step was six weeks of scans, massages, and a lot of ultraviolent ray pass through my back once a week, apart from the weekly treatment I was advised to take at least 30 mins walks after sitting for an hour or more- my colleagues always kept me accountable to this.
Due to the pain and my backbone, I was advised to sleep on my left side, then support my legs with a pillow.
When I wake up, I was advised not to jump up or fly out of bed, but first, put my legs down gently and then raise my head and the rest of my body carefully.
Lastly, I was strongly advised not to bend down, sweep or do any stressful activity.
This lasted for six weeks going to and fro the clinic for my massage sessions, also for every time I arrived I met nothing less than 10 people waiting to see the Doctor, majority of the other patients were elderly, pregnant or just recovering from a leg or arm accident.
When I wake up, I was advised not to jump up or fly out of bed, but first, put my legs down gently and then raise my head and the rest of my body carefully. Lastly, I was strongly advised not to bend down, sweep or do any stressful activity.
This lasted for six weeks going to and fro the clinic for my physio sessions, also for every time I arrived I met nothing less than 10 people waiting to see the Doctor, majority of the other patients were elderly, pregnant or just recovering from a leg or arm accident.
It dawned on me I had not been taking care of myself and needed to do better.
If you are reading this and feel your job can’t wait, you feel your job is more important than your health, or you feel guilty when you put your health before your job or career- please don’t.
This is a wake-up call to you to take care of yourself not tomorrow, not later, not in the future but NOW.
Put plans in place to rest, take a leave or just lose your phone for a few hours.
Take a walk from your desk, grab a cup of water, go for lunch- your job won’t die, but you could.
PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH.
Good news is that my firm then had HMO and so I did not have to pay over 120k for my physiotherapy sessions.
Work in a company that cares about you.