Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Monday, January 25, 2010

Disability versus Disability

I'm having a hard time with something. Obviously I've been working with a disability for years. I made a lot of decisions about work early on; there are things I take as immediate triggers that I need a day off, I let others heavily weigh in on what I am allowed to do, and I weigh heavily the consequences of what I do because of my disability on others.
For the most part I think it's been minimal, except when I've been on leave. I've had one summer I had to see fewer patients in outbuildings, although nobody really listened to that restriction. I've been moody of course, and tired and haven't handled every situation well. But I've also made sure that the major things were ok.

I have an assistant who has MS. I've not been told this, but she left a doctor's note about it sitting around on her desk and I have to get things off her desk frequently. She has only been there a few months. And she misses a LOT of work, often a few days at a clip. Last week she missed every day. I worked 55 hours last week. Which is good because I need the money, but at the same time I'm now dangerously tired.

I'm very confused by this. I'm all for people with disabilities working. I'm also for being realistic. If I had to miss that much work I wouldn't be doing it. First and foremost it is totally unfair to the patients who don't get seen, and the treatments they get are not the best. Second, it's unfair to me because it means I have to work far too much. Third it is unfair to other staff who have to absorb things she's not done/can't do.

I was told by my state's vocational rehabilitation services people that I should quit working. My doctors disagreed and I ignored them and it turned out to be right for me. But I am left thinking now about when you need to stop. I can't feel supportive of her working when she is gone at least every other week for at least a day. My suspicion is that they'll replace her when they find someone. Which is too bad. But accomodations don't mean only working 75% of the time.

So I find myself very torn. I know what it is to want to work when you can't. I've done it time and time again. And yet I've always removed myself from the situation when need be and done so in a way that the patients and co-workers weren't stranded.

It's weird.

1 comment:

Michal Ann said...

Since I have MS myself, although my symptoms are not debilitating, I find myself wondering if your co-worker is having a difficult spell that will abate. If she knowingly took the job understanding that she'd only have 75% capabilities, I'd have the same concerns that you do. However, if she's only been there a couple months, perhaps she didn't know she was going to experience this degree of disability which may be "caused" (exacerbated) by the physical and emotional stress of the job. Just a couple thoughts.

I so admire your willingness and ability to work incredibly hard and to be aware of the times when your disability would negatively impact your job performance. Yeah for JustMe! You'll do even better now that you're in remission. You've been amazingly strong throughout recent months so when things let up and spring comes, you'll be amazed at the balance I believe you'll feel.

"I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns."

I Thessalonians 5:23
Contemporary English Version (CEV)