Working With Chronic Illness

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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