Follow what your heart says

May 30, 2008 at 12:07 am

I cannot answer whether to tell or not tell, but like many decisions in life, you are the one going to have to live with it and who knows the situation best, so follow what your heart says….
That being said, attitude in life and in presentation makes a lot of difference, whether you tell or not. When I told my bosses, I kept saying that Guillain Barre is a temporary condition and that it might take two years to recover enough to function close to normal. It might take longer (as many others experience), but the written literature is mostly about two years. That set the stage for the fact that it might take a little while and that there would be evolving abilities as I improved, but that improvement was expected to occur. I then jumped into the ways I could help using my own strengths to make the department better when I was recovering. So trucking across campus is hard, rather than emphasizing that, come up with ways that you could be a really great asset in the office and let someone else take the pilgramages (hopefully someone that likes getting out into the sunshine or meeting with other people or something positive).
The other thing I tried to do was to find ways to help do what I really needed to do. For me this meant getting an electric shooter for the “pilgramages”, but other things were a rolling backpack (so I do not have to carry heavy things I cannot do right now) or a walker with a seat (that works great for carrying heavy charts and books, etc). I used to go to the cafeteria for lunch, but found that taking my lunch saved a lot of energy and time as did having water at my desk. I got better at grouping tasks (to go to the room down the hall that is the xerox/printer/mail room/supply room combination less often.
Finally, I decided to not let pride overcome smarts–that if it helped to use a cane or walker or scooter, to do it and to think about the priorities as doing the best job that I can even if I look like an limping old lady. Really and truly in the list of priorities isn’t this the more important and maybe it is a really good example to be working hard at a job with aids to help–that it might help others with limitations to find jobs that are willing to work with them if people see this “little old limping lady” happily working.
I cannot in any way say that this is the right thing to do, but I do feel good about the fact that I am trying hard to do my job, to keep a positive attitude about all aspects of life (even this stupid illness and restrictions it imposes), to believe in people, and to try to emphasize abilities, not disabilities. Since we are family, it may also be worth stating that I myself only believe this about 80% of the time and there are days of terrible fatigue and discouragement when all seems impossibly hard. But I would rather be the go-getter than than someone who focuses on limitations and this is more possible if I try to be smart about what I can do as well as what I cannot do.
WithHope for cure of these diseases