Because I work full-time does not mean my chronic conditions are any less or more severe than others. It doesn’t mean I am physically more able to do things than someone else with chronic conditions.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told I must not be that “sick” because “you’re able to work full-time and if it were serious, you wouldn’t be able to do that,”. Let me tell you what I’ve had to experience being a full-time employee with multiple chronic conditions as if every day isn’t a battle with my body on whether or not it feels like functioning that day.
For starters, the quality of life I experience on a day to day basis is minimal. There are times (more often than I would like) when the literal act of waking up is exhausting and there are times when I’m physically unable to wake up, stay up and/or get up.
And depending on whether or not your place of employment is flexible with you makes all the difference. For me, rules are rules and there is no excuse (even literally being unable to wake up) to call in sick any earlier or later than the designated times laid out in a policy manual.
Because of these policies, I have been disciplined for not abiding by them despite medical documentation indicating I was unable to follow them for reasons related to my medical conditions. Has anyone reading this ever experienced discrimination due to a disabling condition? How do you know if it’s just a manager following the rules or if a manager is being discriminatory on the basis of your disability? How do you prove that?
Is my manager going to have yet another meeting with me regarding my absences despite the thousands of notes and documentation from medical professionals and specialists? Does anyone in management even believe I have these conditions and the severity of each one? How can I explain the symptoms of my conditions in a way my manager will understand? Am I going to be disciplined because some of my work is late due to my frequent absences? Am I going to get in trouble for having to leave early tomorrow for a doctor appointment?
This is what goes through my head upon waking up every single day. And those questions just scratch the surface of the shit I have to ask myself and worry about when it comes to my employer and my job. All of this goes on in my head when my feet haven’t even touched the ground.
Besides giving a doctors note for every absence I have, My doctors provide medical updates to my manager every 6 months unless a new diagnosis has been added to my already too long list of diagnoses. My doctors have gone as far as calling my manager to explain the complex nature of my conditions, symptoms associated with my conditions and side effects of the medications I am taking.
Has anyone reading even realized I have yet to mention anything about my job functions or ability to complete essential functions of my position? Well, here’s why.
I have to ask myself a million questions to prepare myself for what might happen due to past experiences and being disciplined due to the severity of my conditions. I have to get dressed and all that before leaving the house. On top of that, I have to commute to work on a train so I have to know the weather, how to dress, the low and high for the day just so that I could make it to work.
I attempted to request a reasonable accommodation to work from home once per week because my place of employment offers to work from home 1-2 days per week. The request was denied.
Why? Because I had the objective medical evidence to prove I have a disabling condition but I didn’t give enough subjectively. My manager said I didn’t come to the office and report I was in pain or that I didn’t feel well. Silly me, I was under the impression the documentation from my doctors would be a little more reliable and hold greater credibility than my subjective complaints.
It’s truly astounding how little say medical professionals get when it comes to health needs and accommodations patients need whether it be employers or insurance companies. So really, my subjective complaints or lack of them hold more weight than the experts who treat my conditions and results of objective medical testing I’ve undergone.
For me, the actual job isn’t the problem. For over a year now, I’ve been punished for my medical conditions and flare-ups I have no control over, discriminated against for my disabling conditions as evidenced by the denial of my request for a reasonable accommodation that would help the organization and my productivity as well as management going against FMLA regulations, and dealing with a hostile work environment that causes me anxiety every day I leave for work until my work day is over.
So, for those of you who think those of us who work full or part-time have conditions that aren’t severe or that we don’t have functional limitations, you’re wrong.
Personally, the battle for me is from the time I wake up until the moment I sit down at my desk that is most debilitating and not the essential functions of my job.
The other part of this never-ending battle is having to prove your conditions exist and produce severe symptoms because they aren’t visible to the naked eye. And even when you do everything in your power to prove that and give hundreds of pages of medical evidence, you’re still not believed and still face the very real fear of being discriminated against because of your conditions.
Don’t be so quick to judge someone else just because they have a different life than you. It’s a struggle every day to get up and go to work and I’m lucky if I make it a whole 5-day work week and I’m sure others can relate. Think before you speak to someone’s health. I’m sure many of you didn’t appreciate or like when people didn’t believe you that something was wrong. So don’t do that to someone else.
— The Good Men Project (@GoodMenProject) March 10, 2019
It’s never too early to start talking about Father’s Day on The Good Men Project. We’re looking for sponsors and contributors for our #ModernDayDad campaign. https://t.co/WJvKqq2kTe pic.twitter.com/j66LNCY0VG
— The Good Men Project (@GoodMenProject) March 11, 2019
We celebrate Gay Pride all year long. But this year, we’re doing some special programing for a large-scale campaign #LoveEqually. We’re looking for both sponsors and contributors. Check it out! https://t.co/tkraXFPxLL pic.twitter.com/X2FlBEZb8Y
— The Good Men Project (@GoodMenProject) March 11, 2019
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