For the past few weeks I have been a mess, emotionally and spiritually. Partly because for the past 18 months and 4 days I’ve been struggling to maintain my full time job and a life away from that job. It hasn’t been easy.
It wasn’t easy to return to the office full time after the amputation to begin with. But I wanted it bad enough, had to prove that minus one leg I could still do the same things I did before. I even believed that with less pain, less health scares and the tools such as a wheelchair coupled with some accommodations it would be easier! I was SO WRONG!!!
First I thought “reasonable accommodations” could include being able to ask for help. Not helping me go to the ladies room, or physically helping me stand or sit of course, I would never expect that. But I did think it reasonable if I am trying to carry something and steer a wheelchair at the same time I could ask someone to please open and hold the door. No, that was not reasonable.
Seemed reasonable to me I could arrive at work and someone WHO VOLUNTEERED could ride my powerchair to me so I could transfer BY MYSELF, UNAIDED from my car to chair. No, it wasn’t a reasonable accommodation.
Neither were any of the other things that would have made my returning and maintaining my job easier. Being warned that falling repeatedly would mean I could be considered a “liability” I knew I had to be even more careful. Even accommodations I offered to pay for were turned down.
My employer turned down a small shed to house my power chair in that I could access easily from my car. They turned down my placing an awning over the handicap ramp and first parking spot so when it was raining I would not get soaked.They did agree to assign me a specific parking spot because people would illegally park but it never happened.
The only way I made it as long as I did was because my fellow employees, learning of my inability to ask for help, made it their business to, out of common courtesy, help me.
My employer never made it easier. “Reasonable accommodations” were narrowly defined by a conservative attorney cautious of my being a liability or a lawsuit waiting to happen. Sadly, the law was on their side. Nonetheless I maintained my employment but I did it at a high cost.
From November of 2011 to October 2012 I basically ran the office with only minimum assistance. I put in 10-12 hour days, four to five days a week and extra “uncompensated” hours from home or by coming in on Saturday’s. My reward?
In October of this year I went back to the hospital with life threatening blood clots in my amputation, liver and lungs. My recovery has been unusually slow. Going on disability seemed to be the solution whether I wanted it or not. My employer certainly boxed me into a corner where I feel there is no other option.
I’ve tried to be reasonable. I’ve tried to be logical. I’ve tried to look at the situation from multiple viewpoints. But as the end nears, as the time grows closer that I have to resign or let them fire me it is not what my heart wants.
I am afraid to face this amputation far more than I did my left leg going. My heart rejects my weakness. My mind refuses to be logical, to accept I can’t work full time, commuting an hour each way, sometimes having to work ten or twelve hour days. I could with just the limited accommodations already in place but those have been cut.
While previously allowed to work from home a day a week or to help me stay caught up after 40 hours in the office, which added no additional cost to the agency, not anymore. Stripped of these accommodations I have little choice for my body cannot do the hours.
Emotionally, mentally, spiritualy I am a mess. So I search for peace. I beg God to get me through this change. I pray for a productive purpose for my days. I seek the Lord to help me reject the bitterness growing in my heart.
I do not go this way willingly and admit I am drawing out the amputation of this part of my life. I am unable to NOT wonder how we will manage financially.
Truth is, I find my faith whimpering on the cliff from which I must jump and I am ashamed. Ashamed of my disability. Ashamed of my limitations. Ashamed I have actually begged for my employer to be reasonable about reasonable accommodations. Ashamed I have stayed so long when it was first clear that dedication, loyalty, going beyond expectations, none of it is considered when looking at my abilities. Ashamed I can’t just get up and go do.
My shame makes me disagreeable and angry. It makes me hard-hearted for I am not going quietly, I am making it as difficult as possible for my employer.
I know I am sinning in my anger. I know I am a mess.
This is reality. It isn’t pretty and I won’t whitewash it to cover up the ugly. God and I speak throughout the day and night and I read His Word daily. I know eventually I will accept this turn of events. We will come through on the other side and rejoice for this trail.
I am not there yet.