Back at work today for the first time in over a week. I hadn't really made a clear plan of how to explain to people what had happened. I had made blueberry-banana bread, thinking that would somehow be explanation enough; but I overmixed it, so it didn't taste like I thought it should. I decided not to bring it. In the end I just told various versions of "I was in the hospital. Very sorry for the trouble. It's not MS." 'Not MS' is about the clearest explanation of ADEM I think people have the patience for. Though of course, as they didn't know that I was even diagnosed with MS to begin with, I doubt it has much meaning for them either way.
I'm sure at some point I'm going to react to a small annoyance with a steroid-induced rage, causing me to 'Hulk out' on everyone. Faced with today's first bad rejection, I had expected to push my bloodied and bruised inner elbows against the visa window and scream, "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT! YOU CAN DAMN WELL TRANSIT THROUGH EUROPE!" In this scenario, I also had one of those mad, cave-dwelling hermit beards, which would become flecked with frothy spittle as I was yelling and gesticulating wildly. Ah, steroids... Instead, my rejection speech rolled out flawlessly. Good to know that particular cognitive path was uneffected. Though I might try and add some frothy spittle in the future, just for fun.
I only broke down once, and that was trying to explain to the FSNs what had happened. I know that they were worried, and likely curious, and I wanted to reassure them (but also warn them about fun steroid side-effects like possible seizures and the afore-mentioned irritability). I never even cried about things in front of my parents, but for some reason attempting an explanation for the japanese staff made me weep. Go figure. It sort of undermined the 'I'm fine, no need to worry, I can carry on with work just like before' message I was hoping to send. Maybe I can chalk that outburst up to steroids, too.