It’s 8:45pm. My stomach hasn’t settled, but I have to teach at 9:00pm. I take my prescription strength gas pill and pray it kicks in before I start class. And this is how my days go – every day – sometimes several times a day. Sometimes it kicks in and sometimes it doesn’t and I suffer for 40 minutes. Some times it’s a miracle drugs.
A question came up today in a forum. How do you work with chronic illness and it made me think of things I wish that my precious bosses had known. I am sure many can relate.
- I am one of your hardest working and most dedicated employees – Sometimes it may seem I am running in last minute or need to take more breaks. Sometimes I can’t sit through a meeting without having to get up. But every day it takes me everything I have got to even get out of bed and get here. While you were rushing out your door to go to Dunkin’ Donuts before work, I was fighting off symptoms of my illness.
- I don’t get up from the meeting because I’m bored or being rude – I know what you are saying is important and I want to hear it, but I am in a lot of pain. Sitting through the meeting isn’t a possibility, but send me the notes. I will read them and stay up to date on everything.
- I know calling out last minute is an inconvenience – Everyday is a fight to just get out the door and I tell myself that I can do it, but sometimes as I walk out the door I discover that I really can’t do it. There’s just no way. When every step I am taking is agonizing, going to work and standing on my feet most of the day can’t be done.
- I feel worse than you know – I’m not talking about the physical pain. I am talking about how I feel every time that my health makes me disappoint you and my co-workers. I’m talking about the disappointment I feel when I can’t do something at work that I actually enjoy doing because I don’t feel well enough to come in.
- Leaving here is the hardest thing I will ever have to do – Leaving my job because I wasn’t well was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I loved my job. I was meant to do my job, but it was best for my employer, colleagues and students/clients that I leave. I went through a grieving period when I left, but it was best for everyone.