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“I really need you to come back to work because I’ve been here every single day since you have been gone and I NEED my vacation.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told that I was more than likely going to be demoted and  replaced by someone who was physically able to work the 40 hours and be able to perform the strenuous job description. I was still on medical leave and when I heard the news, my heart hit the floor. My hard work and love I had put in to the store for the past 6 months before my stroke had been overlooked, it didn’t matter if I was going to come back strong or weak, there was a chance that I would be demoted and demotion meant me losing position and my insurance. I didn’t know what to think. I hung up the phone.. and tried to not let any of my determination fly out of the open passenger window. Ricardo was furious when I told him that I was going to ask the doctor to go back in earlier than he recommended. Ricardo was against it all, his focus was still on my recovery, and my focus had now shifted to me keeping my job and the guilt set in that the store manager had to work everyday without time off because of my health. He looked at me with a hurt expression while I wondered how I was going to help customers in the store with a walker.

I’m 23 years old. I should have known better. I should have never jumped head first into work again just because of guilt and fear. I started feeling all the weight of running a store when I was told “I took a job offer and I’m leaving.” I knew things were going to move fast for me as far as recovery, but I did not expect to be filling in as the Store Manager as soon as 6 weeks after Brain Surgery. The stress caused headaches but like I said, sympathy cards don’t exist in the real world that I live in. I didn’t know if I could physically handle it but I had no more options and my time was up. I got the work release’s to return to work a pitiful 4 hours a day, then called the HR department to let them know I would be returning to work.. 5 weeks before I was meant to.

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