Since my little turn at work the other day everything has been up in the air. They don't know whether they want me back. They don't know whether they think I'm SAFE to go back, and they want my GP to help them make up their collective mind. I know this because I had to give them my permission to talk to her.
Fine, I said. I've got nothing to hide. No undeclared illnesses (that I'm aware of) or secret drug addictions that I'm being treated for. That's my reputation, mostly because of my long hair and my beard. But I'm clean. Deep down I'm really an ageing choirboy. Just an intellectual hippie, like a lot of people from a comfortable middle class background. Hell, my mother was simultaneously a bourgeois housewife and a practising Wiccan.
I don't think I'd miss the job that much, if I couldn't go back. I've been doing care work for a long time. Fifteen years, more or less. And I'm fairly good at it, I think, (I ought to be by now,eh?) although I don't have much of a sense of mission about it anymore. I do the best I can, then I go home. Most people I know who've been in it for a similar length of time say they feel the same.
It sounds mercenary, but what I'd miss most if they won't let me back is the wage. Not being independently wealthy, alas, I do need to make a living. I have bills to pay. I have rent to pay. And the day before I had my turn I handed in my notice on my flat, having arranged to move into a place in Northampton near to work. I can probably keep that on for about three months if they don't let me back to the job, but after that I'll have to move on again; and where I don't know. It's been a while since I navigated the netherworld of the unemployed (though since I was unemployed for nine years once I ought to be able to pick it up again fairly quickly).
None of this is necessarily going to happen, of course, but Karma can be a bitch when she gets her juices flowing. And I have picked up that sort of dour mindset from somewhere that likes to be prepared for the worst so that my emotional flanks aren't exposed when it comes.
Now I can only wait for the call from my superiors. And in the meantime sit on the meditation cushion, returning my mind to the emptiness that underpins everything. It may or may not be an arbitrarily-created human crutch, but it's a bloody useful one if it is. And the last thing I want is for the stress of this uncertainty to leave me thrashing around on the floor like a beached fish again.