Able to Work or Not?

So, with last month’s sudden hospitalizations…

I’m questioning whether I could even hold a job that wasn’t as flexible as the one I have now. While they were Not Happy to have me gone for 3 weeks so suddenly, no one died, the little bit of important work was picked up by very capable board members, and the non-important work was blown out of proportion for having been missed.

That said…

This was the first time I had to take time off for my mental illness. I was off for 3 weeks because of cancer surgery. The office knew weeks in advance that I was heading out, and had 2-3 weeks notice of the surgery date. However, my dr very much under-estimated the amount of time I’d need to be out. I’ve taken off 2 other days because of headaches from hell. One day because of an all-day dr appt downtown. All the little flexibilities or single days here and there, I have made up the hours. It’s not like I’ve left anyone high and dry. I schedule appointments outside my work hours. Most of the time I have to change my work schedule because the office wants me at a meeting or fundraiser that is in the evening.

This was the first time off that was sudden. First time for me to have to wonder very deeply whether I can work a job with a lot of structure, whether part time or full time. Is that an accommodation I can ask for? Do I ask for it up front?

I checked ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) for info. First off, it applies for workplaces with 15 or more employees. So I’m SOL at my current place should that be needed. But in the future, do I ask for reasonable accommodation regarding the need for unpaid or paid medical leave, even with short/no notice? I suppose so. I don’t know that I can ask for that legally at my current place because of the employee number restriction, but also that the “reasonable accommodation” could be considered a hardship to the business. Debatable of course (considering the evidence of the 2 times I was gone for 3 weeks).

I hope one day to work full-time again, likely in non-profits or medical or some kind of justice, compassion, social-awareness field. I’m questioning that again. Maybe this goal will take longer until going into the hospital is an anomaly instead of something that could happen at any time, as the situation currently stands.

Interesting side-note, but relevant none-the-less, I’ve been flirting with the idea of being a CT technician. I learned a bit about the training process quite a while ago. Then this week I checked into the College of DuPage program here. Yeah, um, there is NO Way I can pass the physical exam required of all students. I will not be able to position patients and move heavy machinery into place. To be a CT Tech, you get trained as a radiologist (x-rays) first, then additional work afterwards for CT. Even though CT would be physically easier for me, I can’t get there if I can’t be a radiologist first. Disappointing!! I was looking forward to that kind of schooling and job!

So back to questions and wondering and depressing outlook on my possible work ability. What in the world am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t work??? (Ok, volunteer – less stressful and more flexible for medical crap I deal with) How am I supposed to pay the rent?? Who am I supposed to be if working isn’t even a small part of who I am and what I do?


6 responses to “Able to Work or Not?

  1. You’re a really fine writer. Grant writing?
    If science/med field interests you, what about an ultrasound tech?
    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make big ol’ life decisions while you’re feeling particularly crappy….

    • Thanks. Definitely not making any decisions yet.
      Hate technical writing (which includes grant writing). Blech.
      Maybe ultrasound… I think you still have to go thru the radiologist training. 😦

  2. There seem to be a lot of my friends from sem who are wandering into writing. You do well.
    On the physical requirements for becoming a CT tech. I just had (another) CT. I’ve had a lot of the suckers over the last 5 year. Now, granted I’m reasonably mobile and I can imagine that it could be a problem with a large or elderly patient. OTOH, there have always been two people with me. And there hasn’t been any moving of heavy equipment. I’m wondering if the physical requirements are outdated or if they are there to “scare” people off. In the dark ages, physical requirements were in place to keep women out. I was looking for a job as a computer programmer and the physical requirement was to lift and carry 50 pounds. I’ve never met a computer programmer who had to carry 50 pounds, even in the days of punch cards. These musings may not be worth anything.

    • I think the physical requirements for CT are reasonable for me. The problem is that you have to be a radiologist with x-rays first before you can get CT training. And the physical requirements for X-ray are the machinery and positioning people. 😦

  3. “You do well.” I meant you write well. It’s early here in Memphis.

    • Funny how so many if us went I to writing. Maybe Coote did a good job of perfecting our skills, and then the blogosphere blossomed at the right time for us to practice.

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