Thursday, May 17, 2012

working while living with a chronic medical condtion

Work has been keeping busy the last couple weeks and had a couple evening and graveyard shifts along with the normal morning shifts.I'm excited about getting more experience in Produce instead of just cut fruit and having little or no experience in everything else.But when I just do cut fruit then I usually always know what day of the week or at least the date because I pull everything in my case that's out of date when I first come in.It's not a big deal but it caused me to forget to start thinking of what to write about until just a couple days,so that's why I'm posting later in the week this week.I was having a hard time thinking of a topic so I didn't think I was going to post at all.This post is going to be more selfish than others,but I wouldn't be posting it if I didn't think it would help at least someone.I'll try to at least make it into something with more information than what I have already planned as well.

I've been thinking some today about how my job history would have been different if I would have decided to mention my hydrocephalus and my shunt in any of my job applications.It's not that I was afraid that I wouldn't get the job,but it I didn't see it as a issue.Up until a few years ago any problems I had with my shunt was few and far between,and not really something to be concerned about.By the time it did become a problem and when I started to think about it more I had been with my current job for a couple years,and I was working a second job.So I had already filled out all the job applications and at least started with all the jobs I've had.The company I work for is one that I know won't get rid of me no matter how many surgeries and recovery time I'll need in the future.I'm not saying that it's how my life will be,but hydrocephalus is very unpredictable and there's always a chance.I didn't realize the reasons why I should have put it on applications and there are several,but one is that it's usually more important to have a job where you won't risk getting fired or have the employer have no idea what's going on than to just get the first job that comes around.

Another thing that's important about working while living with hydrocephalus or any pre-existing condition that requires any kind of surgery is the work that you do.Although it's rare to get a job where you'll be in a good position during surgeries and then the recovery process it helps.The first couple of my jobs were fast food,and other than the risk of losing those jobs I can't really think of any other problems I would have had with them.But if I would have need surgery when I was working in a sit down restaurant that's where there would have been problems.The main one would have been trying to stay there without heavy lifting during recovery,because all restaurants jobs except for one include heavy lifting on a regular and then being a cashier/host can't always be a option.

I currently work a division of Kroger,and in August it will be 5 years.I've been in produce for a little over a year now and before then I was a courtesy clerk.I was stuck in that position for longer than normal because I had problems I had to overcome,because I don't always learn things as fast as everyone else,and because of people trying to keep me down because of disability in general.Produce is probably not the best department to be in with the risk of future surgeries or having a shunt in general but if I need to then I can switch departments.Then I can switch back to Produce when I can because that's where I really want to be and succeed in.But if that doesn't happen then there's several other departments that I can end up in and learn to love,that I can still work in even if I have a speech impediment.I know it might not what comes to mind when you think of produce but the reason why I may not always be able to work in produce is because of all the heavy lifting.The boxes and bags that produce is kept in can get pretty heavy,for example apple boxes and melon boxes are usually 50 pounds or more.I've always felt that health insurance has been good to have in a job,in general but when having a medical condition to be more specific.I don't know how much it will help exactly and I do need to work at least 80 hours a month to have it so when I need to go on leave that means that I will lose it before I'm able to work that many hours a month again,and it won't cover what happens when I don't have it.The other part of my job that I feel is important is the option of leave of absence,and it's not something where you risk losing your job after only a short period of time.There's sick leave,vacation and personal days too but it will only cover so much time and I'll only be able to have income still for about a month after surgery,and that won't save my health insurance.Also I'm a union employee,and I understand that people have mixed opinions about it but most people who don't think I should be involved don't understand the risks without them.Not only does it make it harder for people to mess with my job or even cause me to lose it just because of my disability it will help me when/if I need surgery.Because I'll be able to stress out less about medical bills,rather it means helping getting paid off or just stopping the harassment from bill collectors.Also if my health goes downhill,then they will be able to help me get on disability and have help with the transition.

I hope this helps more than I think,and thanks for reading :)

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