Welcome to the fourteenth day of the National Health Blog Post Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. Every day during the month of November I will be writing a new blog post related to health and living with a chronic illness based on given prompts provided by WEGO Health.
Today’s prompt reads:
First Day on the Job: Working with a chronic illness can be a difficult balance. What should you divulge, what should you hold back, and how do you balance it all? Do you have advice for others?
Well, as most of my readers may know, I am unable to work with the current severity of symptoms. The dizziness, trembling and pain in my legs, visual disturbances and the other plethora of symptoms that make their presence known on any given day is so bad that even keeping up with simple chores around the house is extremely difficult nevermind trying to hold down a job on top of it all. Obviously, the Department of Work and Pensions seem to also think that due to my condition that I am unable to work as I was placed in the Support Group category of the Employment and Support Allowance benefit. At other times, I am stuck in bed, unable to leave it because of the overwhelming dizziness and weakness throughout my entire body, and especially my legs. Also, making it difficult for me being enable to work is the fact that because of my condition I am unable to get out of the house without being unaccompanied by someone else; because of the severity of the dizziness and vertigo, as well as the bouts of vision loss that I have been experiencing.
Although I am not at fault that I am unable to work, it does not stop the guilt or shame that I feel for not being able to work. After all, I went to University in the hopes of gaining a degree enabling me to gain a good job in the area that I wanted to eventually work in. I am constantly wish that my body would fix itself and give me the chance to work. I really feel for other chronically ill patients who have no other choice but to fight through their debilitating symptoms and continue working, and it must be such a dilemma for them whether or not to divulge information regarding their chronic health condition to their employer, especially due to the recession. However, for patients who need to work it is important to note that it is unlawful for anyone to be sacked, made redundant, forced into early retirement or passed over for a job or promotion because of an illness or disability.
According to the NHS Choices website there are a number of benefits of informing employers of a chronic health condition including:
- Making it easier to get time off work for check-ups and treatment during office hours
- Employers has a duty of responsibility to take reasonable steps for you to help you do your job
- Employers and co-workers will know what to do if you have a medical emergency
- You may even be eligible for more sick days than usual
However, how realistic is it for employers to make such allowances for employees with chronic health conditions when the recession is hitting everywhere hard and money is still very tight. Unfortunately, the decision for whether or not to divulge a chronic health condition is not clear-cut and there are a lot of things to consider, but the final decision must be made by the patient themselves.