Overcoming setbacks, Robinson returns to job after two surgeries

February 10, 2017 — by Michael Zhang

Following two back surgeries and seven weeks of unexpected recovery time, principal Paul Robinson has returned to the school for the start of second semester.

After his initial surgery, two masses developed and another surgery had to be performed in order to drain fluid from areas affected by an infection. At the time, Robinson expected to return sometime around Thanksgiving, but with the setback, doctors ordered him to take more time off.

The recovery process changed Robinson’s lifestyle drastically. After his second surgery, he had to stay in the hospital for a week and worked to regain strength and flexibility by slowly increasing the amount of physical activity he did each day. Three weeks after surgery, he also began physical therapy, which greatly increased his rate of recovery.

The recovery period allowed Robinson to spend more time with his grandchildren and even catch up on Netflix shows he had never seen. During his absence, the rest of the office staff was able to take care of his duties, but other administrators said no one could replace the work and the leadership he has brought to the school in his time as the principal

“His encouragement and leadership was definitely something we missed,” assistant principal Brian Safine said.

Since returning, Robinson said he has thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff and students and firmly believes that the staff’s constant encouragement has made a big difference in his return.

“It’s been exciting to get back into classrooms, talk to students and see our staff once again,” Robinson said.

While Robinson is now able to perform his duties, he faces some physical challenges. He said he is still much stiffer and slower than before the surgeries, and he now stands at his desk rather than sitting. One of his major disappointments is that he is not able to play basketball. Several staff members have a regular Friday lunch game they play in the gym.

“Playing basketball is one of those things you only appreciate when you can’t do it anymore,” he said. “But I hope the doctor allows me to get back on the court later this spring.”

Despite all this, Robinson was eager to jump into the second semester.

“There’s an energy that each school has, and ours is so positive and special,” Robinson said. “It’s what keeps me going when others would quit.”

 

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