Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A bittersweet day

Today, Gabrielle Giffords resigned from the House.

Despite an amazing year of recovery, it was time for her to choose. Apparently her cognitive processing and memory are intact, but it's hard to communicate what she's thinking. Her right side is not that functional. So she had a choice: return to work or continue her cognitive and physical rehab.

My injury was far less severe, less dramatic. Somehow it was the same choice though. I could step up to increased demands at work but I'd have to abandon rehab. High achiever or not, there is a limit to the number and length of bike rides that can be worked into my demanding Silicon Valley job. How could it not affect my productivity, heading off in the middle of the day for whiplash care?

After more than 2 years of hanging on tight to my job and letting my health go, in August 2011 it became clear. Continuing like that meant permanent cognitive and physical impairment.

I couldn't. I had to let it go. And so did Gabby Giffords.

If she's like me, she'll miss her colleagues and the sense of meaningful work. She'll miss the structure in her day, and the regular income. She'll miss the tangible contributions she used to make as a legislator.

But what seems like a step back today can ultimately turn into a big step forward.

"Asked about her daughter's future, Gloria Giffords said, I kind of think she's transcended Congress. I don't know where she's going to end up."

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