Work Meeting

I began a phased return to work a month ago. It's only 2 hours three days a week. It leaves me exhausted. My stroke left me with cognitive problems, concentration, fatigue & problems with lights ( not good for working in an open plan office).

My work have been very good with me but I have an official meeting on Wednesday & I'm dreading it. They are keeping a spreadsheet on me & observing my every move ( what I processed, how I felt etc); it's horrible being scrutinised. They have switched the light off above my desk but on darker days especially the other office lights really affect me & Im swallowing paracetamol within half an hour (I worry about the winter months where it'll be artificial light all day). I missed two work shifts last week as I had heart palpatations (my stroke was caused by atrial fibrillation) & fainted & had an overnight hospital stay.

I'm sure work will be expecting me to suggest how to up my hours & I just don't know what to say. Financially my half sick pay ends soon & pay for 6 hours a week won't go far. My husband tells me not to worry about it & we'll manage ok but that's added pressure on him.

I know in general I'm doing well (9 months post stroke) but what do I say in the meeting? I gave them a copy of my consultants last letter where he suggested I did longer on site to do the two hours work by building in rest breaks. I'm not sure what their reaction will be & that is making me nervous. I hate not knowing what to expect. Sorry for the long rant, any advise about the meeting will be much appreciated, thank you.

are you a  union member?

perhaps consider joining, you may need help further down the line. would your employer be willing to let you bring someone to support you in the meeting? a colleague or an occupational  therapist if you have one who could support. you might try opening a conversation about a different role, or flexible working that might allow working from home?

my experience of returning to work was a nightmare. union was some help but the onus was always on me to come up with solutions. I didn't handle it well. in the end I lost the job but did get a settlement. I am still recovering from all that. whatever you do keep notes and records of what was discussed and agreed. employers have very little understanding of stroke recovery and how long things can take, especially when the effects are not so visible. I don't know if the stroke association helpline would be worth calling,  worth a try. I haven't used it myself but get all the help you can get. you are in a very vulnerable situation and the financial stress is not to be underestimated. 

SA Helpline might help you think through points you may want to raise. 

good luck with it

best wishes 


Hi Fiona,

First of all well done for getting back to work so soon after the stroke, nine months is not that long really. It sounds like you have had a lot of scrutiny since your return with someone watching your every move and scrutinising what you do, I think I would have found that very intimidating.

I agree with Athony when he says to take someone with you to the meeting, maybe someone from the stroke association may be able to come with you.

I personally would start by thanking them for helping you return to work and for being understanding of your health at present ( I know it will be hard to do) - you may ask why but if you do that they will not be able to be negative about your work unless they are totally uncaring. I would suggest they review your hours in a months time and keep a record for yourself of your progress.

I really hope things go well for you at the meeting and your return to work goes well, do let us know how you get on we’ll be thinking of you.


Thank you, I'm a member of Prospect Union. I'll see if I can get a rep to go with me. It's the not knowing what their expectations & what they expect me to come up with that has me anxious. Thank you for your advice.

Hi Ann, thank you & I'm going to try & get someone to go with me to the meeting. Unfortunately there isn't a local Stroke Association branch (that's why Ive found this on-line forum a god-send). Your suggestion of thanking them & being positive are good (I generally do try & have the positive face on for work - no matter what is going on in my head!). Thanks again & fingers crossed all ok on Wednesday.

Best wishes and good luck with it, I do hope you can have a constructive discussion. I think I mentioned that employers are not very understanding of the less visible aspects of stroke, of which fatigue is one. it is worth being open about how that affects you, and also about the uncertainty creates, hopefully you r union rep will be understanding and help you get your points over. 

I wish you well with it, let us know how it goes 


Hi Fiona, 

Hope the meeting goes ok tomorrow. ?? Do let us know how it goes. 


Update on Work Meeting

The meeting wasn't as bad as I expected. In the end I didn't take anyone with me. There were three others (OHD, HR & my manager). I did plan to contact my Union but my manager assured me that today it wasn't to be a meeting where big decisions were being made.

I think because I've been upfront with them ( given copy of Consultants letter) etc & the fact that as an organisation they are wary of discrimination laws they are being relatively helpful. However some of their ideas that at first instance seem OK are I don't think very practical. I've to continue my 2 hours work but to build in rest periods ( so I'll be on site a lot longer). Problem is finding a place to rest that doesn't have the crazy lighting & not already hi-jacked for meetings & organising my transport. Being longer on site I think will impact on the fatigue but I'll give it a go. 

However I've to try & up my working hours. I asked upfront how long they could be patient with me. Basically I've about 6 months & then if productivity & hours not increased sufficiently then they will request a change in my contract which would mean a change of job as my position has to be full-time. Perhaps it's too soon to predict but at my rate of recovery I seriously doubt being back full-time in 6 months. Maybe I'll prove them & myself wrong??

Thank you to everyone who responded to my previous post, your words of encouragement & advice truly helped. I've a follow up meeting in a month & will continue to be scrutinised (joys of being observed in a finance setting with spreadsheets). 

PS - I've ordered new glasses from the Optician which are to cut out blue-light. Seemingly these may help me with my lighting issue. Just wondering if anyone has tried glasses like these? Fingers crossed they work as my 'disguise' of baseball cap & dark over glasses that look like safety specs is not very fetching!

that sounds very positive and encouraging. there's a lot to build on there. well done, congratulate yourself for your courage. 


Thanks Tony, I have a lot of anxiety concerning literally everything (legacy of stroke) but today my mantra is to give things a try. Thanks again for your words of encouragement. F

Well done Fiona the meeting must have been quite daunting for you, I always think it’s bad when they have others there but you are on your own, it’s quite intimidating and must be worse when you add in all the stroke issues so well done for coping with it.

You have about 6 months to find a way to get back to full time work or close to it which is not a long time really. I would try and build up slowly you don’t want to make it difficult for yourself and you should be able to include some annual leave in this time as well which may help if you are finding it too much. I think you should keep a simple diary of your work/ workload so you can refer to it when you meet next, I think it will help.

It sounds like they are at least trying to help you to get back to work I’m just not sure they’ve given you enough time. They may be open to some discussion about this if you feel it’s not enough time. I hope it works out ok for you.



Ann, thank you for your reply. I'll take on your advice; I do jot down notes etc basically as I'm being so observed by management & need to be able to see from my perspective. I tried yesterday to build in the rest breaks but definitely will need to rethink how to work it practically. The suggested 40mins work, 20 min rest, doesn't give enough time to get a flow of work & that leads to frustration. On the other hand I did benefit from the first rest break but then got flustered as I couldn't keep to the schedule due to work/interaction with colleagues etc I worry that my productivity will drop & that's another mark against me. Then again this worry & paranoia might just be part of the lingering symptoms left by the stroke. I need an injection of positivity, energy & Magic to get back to a near semblance of the pre-stroke me - if at all possible within 6 months. I think we all want that magic! Thanks again, F

hi, pls can you help re: this, do you usually email your employers please?, i need to try and set up a meeting to hopefully facilitate a return, i messaged fri, - to say i will phone sat, (was told to speak to them??) did phone sat and spoke to one of the mngers, who asked me to phone in today to spk to the other manaager,, however,,, i would imagine its probably better to message?, than to talk, as its q hard to know,, how one actually feels etc,, until you have at least returned to the environment with a mtg in place,,,  thank you v much for your input,,,So, if i send them mssge today, saying i will message tomorrow - do you reckon that is the best thing,,, (as i believe surely it may be best if a few pple with present/partly on zoom,,,), in case u have difficulties with actually the return,,,, Sorry this sounds long winded, any input would be massively appreciated on a wkend,,,, Thank you v much for reading the waffle,,, 

I think with an employer its best to have smething in writing. By all means phone them but then confirm the conversation in an email. If it were me I'd put: Good to speak to you earlier. Pleased to hear/ good to know, that you wanted/said/agreed blah blah blah. 

Then end it by confirming what was agreed would happen next. So something like.... As we agreed i will contact you on .......

thanks Pam, how are you?

Thanks Fiona,

Getting there. Slowly. But I am making progress. I work hard at it. My stroke was 5 and a half years ago. Keeps me out of mischief!