School’s Coming and so is my Sickness Allowance!

…..It’s the 1st of September, and from today I will be counting my days off again, religiously!…..

OMG: That’s it, the summer is done with and school restarts on Monday.

In planning the new timetable for September 2011, I pleaded with the Management to decrease my working hours. 3 days has once again proved too much for me-but they said they needed  me to work  3 days next year too, so I am stuck with it. 2 days would be my optimum. Enough to keep my foot in the door and to not think my illness had won and my lungs had failed me, but hey ho-they need me there teaching, 3 days a week once again next academic year.

And of course it was inevitable I would exceed my ‘allowed’ quota of sick days (9 per 6 month period) again in 2010-11, as I’d  totalled up 17 in the 1st 6 months and 9 in the 2nd-therefore 26 in all. (By the way, there have been several members of staff off sick more than me this year, I keep a kind of mental track record, and even with my lungs I am not the worst!)

I had a meeting with the Head in June:  he said they would increase my allowed sick days but this is so silly as with an illness like mine there is absolutely no knowing  when I’ll be really sick, and for how long-I’ve done so well to dodge the hospital-especially back in November ’10- but if I’d given in and gone in, then I’d no doubt have had even more days off due to incarcerations.

I just said the usual to him-that I’d continue doing my utmost to be there if it was physically possible and safe for me to be at school teaching.

I’ve never taken the micky with sickies-I am very often at school when I’m too sick to do a good job. It drives me mad how many people can feign illness when I do my utmost to feign health!

I have regular appointments with the School Board’s Occupational Health Dr who determines whether I am well enough to be at work-and she has more control over this than my own GP. Time and time again she tells me I need to signed off and at home resting, she does not consider my level of lung disease something to be at work with, but I am particularly good at smiling and pleading I’ll cope. I am also protected by the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), and in 2009 won an award from the Access to Work scheme who now support me in the workplace and bought me my Scootie to enable me to get around at school and cope with my breathlessness better.

However, like all of us who live with constant chronic illness, I do wonder how long I can keep this working thing going. I love it so much, which is why I wont give it up easily, I have pleaded with them to decrease my hours from September 2011, and I am  hoping that I will be able to get them to agree that I can now come in later on a Thursday, as my timetable shows a double free p1 and 2. This would give me 2 early starts on Wednesday and Friday , and not 3 in a row. We’ll see.

But in the light of day, a School Sickness “Allowance”?

And considering these places are veritable germ factories,

….Can there really be such a thing?….


4 Responses to School’s Coming and so is my Sickness Allowance!

  1. Asthmagirl says:

    Interesting. I struggle with this myself. Since I work for a disability agency, they are quite understanding but there is always a discussion point at which their understanding meets my lungs lack of function. While I function better than you, I do wonder how long I will be able to work long hours/full time. I ran out of sick hours this spring and my boss allowed me to collect pay, but I know that’s not something I can count on. Be well!

    • Do you find like I do that you perhaps end up sicker in an exacerbation than you otherwise would be because you kept on working when you should have given in and been on sofa rest earlier than you gave in?
      I know I give in too late and opt out of going to the ER many many times because I’m so scared about missing so much school.
      Hugs and wow-wah cuddles xx

  2. James says:

    Hi @Cosky! Wish I could give you some of my lung function. I hate seeing you struggle to do what you love, which is to teach.

    I don’t like to miss a day of work. Usually they call me anyway and I have to fix whatever it is, regardless of it being my day off. There were many times I took cruises to get away from them, hehe. Plus, there is this office politics thing going on that keeps me on my toes. I have not missed a day of work due to my asthma. Yeah, there were times in January and June that I should have taken some time off. Like the times I couldn’t stay on my feet for more than 10 minutes without getting winded. Or the commute to work that is more physically demanding than one thinks, which there have been times I thought I wouldn’t make it. To be frank, I just hate giving in to this disease!

    I have also thought about my future with asthma. I keep hoping that I stay away from the dreaded air-remodeling event that has struck so many of my friends. I would have to give up my passion of being an athlete and my ability to be active with my growing boys. I don’t dwell on it to much though.

    I wish you the best of health during the school year. You never know, it could be an easier year for you. That is what I am praying for! xx

    • It’s so hard to make plans with lungs like these. I too pray you will always stay well enough to run and race and play with the little guys.
      But as you have found out yourself, this illness also develops a stubbornness in you that makes you keep going.

      And then you get to the stage where you know you are endangering your life and then you ring in sick, or if you can’t breathe, your spouse does!!

      I pray you have a better winter this year and a better summer next, and keep on treading the concrete roads mile after mile, breath after breath!

      I was a runner once and I too loved it.

      Hugs xx

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