Chronic illnesses are unpredictable. That is actually one of the more difficult aspects of CIs. If I knew when I’d feel good and when I’d feel lousy, life would be a whole lot simpler, but it just doesn’t work that way. I know that. I’m guessing you know that. Somehow, other people seem to miss it.
I’m good at my job. I get the work done well and ahead of schedule. I also try to limit my sick time to when I really truly need it, since it would be easy to use it up too quickly. Until recently, I had taken off a handful of days, but only one day here and there, usually 1-2 months apart. No one cared. Then I got a cold. Of course, my immune system is naturally messed up, and I was on a med that made it worse, so I wasn’t recovering. I missed 5 days of work and my boss was unhappy. People had to cover for me and some work didn’t get done. I don’t see how this is any different than when a coworker broke a leg and was out for 2 weeks, and others had to do her work. I guess her boss was more understanding than mine. And a broken leg could happen to anyone. Apparently, I was asking for special treatment by using my sick days for being… what’s that word? Oh yeah: SICK!
Things escalated and I ended up having a formal meeting with my boss and someone from HR. Basically, my boss wanted my illness to be more predictable. I was out sick at a very inconvenient time and this bothered her. Um, excuse me, it bothered you? You think I was actually happy about it? What are people thinking? She wants my absences to be more predictable. Well guess what? So do I! I also want to know if I’ll have to cancel my date on Tuesday because I’m suddenly in pain, or if I’ll have to skip next week’s bbq because the heat is bothering me. I would love to predict to how I’ll feel on any given day. But chronic illnesses don’t work that way. Hell, LIFE doesn’t work that way! Deal with it. Get over yourself. Life is unpredictable. And by the way, when I came back to work I worked hard and got everything done, so really, what’s your problem lady?
What makes me really sad is that I thought this was a case of an unusually unrealistic boss. Then I read this:
I would really love to educate these people. For now, I’ll work on getting my own boss to understand how CIs, and life, really work.
[…] 1) I’d be my own boss! I wouldn’t have to explain my sick days to anyone, or worry about their expectations of my health. […]