So today is March 8th, 2017 and the day that I officially start my transition plan to return to work. It’s very limited at this point and I’ll be working from home to accommodate my hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis. But it’s a start.
It’s been almost exactly 10 months since the anaphylaxis reaction that triggered my Reactive Airways Dysfunction (RADS) and all the complications that then ensued. 9 months since I was officially signed off work and 3 months since I was placed on Long Term Disability insurance.
For much of the first 6 months I would never have believed that this day would ever come. I was literally fighting to breathe each and every day. We were discussing second opinions and complex surgery out-of-town. Thankfully, a last straw grasped at turned out to make all the difference and seeing a speech language pathologist and getting off oral steroids helped me turn a corner.
I also finally start the lung rehabilitation program tomorrow. So over the next 10 weeks I will gradually increase my work hours as I complete this program. The hope is that by the end of the rehab program that I’ll have enough stamina to return to full-time hours, most likely still working from home for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately anaphylaxis reactions don’t tend to get better with time, but rather worse. There’s no way to test it though without exposure which seems a pretty drastic way of finding out if the reaction is still deadly or not so I think I’ll miss out on that option. Especially as minimal exposure even to just citrus scents are triggering extremely severe asthma attacks and hive reactions.
As I mentioned recently, my employer is doing a fantastic job of working with me to work out disability accommodations. Already this week, with the help of the Information Technology (IT) department, we’ve been able to work out how to facilitate my virtually attending some meetings on campus later this week mediated through WebEx.
There remain a number of other issues to resolve but it seems like everybody is committed to working it out. Coincidentally almost all involved in this process are women. From the President of the University to my doctor and many others in between.
So today as a member of the workforce once more I’m delighted to wish you a Happy International Women’s Day.
Further I hope that today, that more boundaries are broken down and that women from all walks of life are celebrated. #she celebrates the spirit of women and their logo is racially and age inclusive however it doesn’t obviously include the disabled woman. Which of course, could be like other aspects of womanhood and invisible on the outside. However, experience suggests that the disabled remain an ignored minority so I ask you to think about all women today, young and old, tall or short, able-bodied of disabled in whatever way and celebrate them all.
For history has shown that it is women that need to empower women, and not to rely on men to do so. Let’s not forget the suffragette movement which worked so hard to give women the right to vote.
Exercise that right. Vote wherever and whenever you can. Your voice counts!
Happy Women’s Day!