Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Disabilities

Okay, Brice also asked me to write up a quick blog about how I felt this semester while co-oping and dealing with my physical and mental problems.  It was rough, I can easily tell you that much.  I would wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for air and coughing like crazy.  (It was a lucky thing that most of the time, I managed to wake myself before I peed myself.  But when you cough that hard and can't stop it, that's what eventually happens.  Then you have to add changing the sheets to the mix.  Oh joy!)  Anyways, I'd go running for my inhaler.  Well, okay, not running.  Stumbling.  Or crawling if it was too bad.  I'd use the damned thing till I was shaking.  (It's a lovely side effect, shaking.  Eventually, you can't even hold the inhaler right anymore.)  Then you'd be up for several hours trying to get rid of it.  Can't write right, can't type right, can't highlight right… 
Boy, you want to talk about frustrating!!!  I had two attacks at work, both of which I was all over right away.  If you can nip it in the bud, they're not that bad.  But I tend to wake up with them, and that's hard because it's already established by the time you start to treat it.  Luckily, I only had to go into the hospital once and that was early on.  But then I'm running on three hours sleep at work and have trouble focusing.  It makes it really hard to cope with. 
Luckily, Siemens has a lounge chair in the bathroom, so I could clock out and take a nap if I needed one.  Unfortunately, this led to a situation where a co-worker of mine reported to my boss that I was taking a nap every day, which was untrue.  Then I had three of my bosses being all concerned about me (bleh, I hated that, cause there's nothing anyone can do about it) and the fourth (thank God) was practical.  He said, "I don't care if you DO take a nap, as long as you're not on the clock."  God bless him!!  So I combed through my time cards and showed him the dates and times I clocked out to take a nap.  He was satisfied that I wasn't doing it on the clock and that was a relief.  He saw I was taking a nap once a week or less, and I was clocking out for them.  Also, on days I took a nap, he could see I was working later to make my eight hours.  That really helped.
I think the reason I had so many problems is that I was moving more than I did when I had classes, and the stress level was much higher.  As I said in my previous blog, trips to the bathroom and cafeteria were much longer than trips to the bathroom/kitchen are here.  (I have a one bedroom apartment, y'all.  There's not a long walk in the place!!)  Plus the roughly two hundred yard walk to and from my desk in the am.  And I had to leave my desk daily to go to meetings in different parts of the building.
Also, for me anyways, working was much more stressful than school.  With school, I can schedule my classes to fit my convenience.  Work is at someone else's convenience.  I hate getting up in the AM, and I was getting up at six every day so I could leave for work by seven.  Then I was often coming home, getting food (often purchased at McDonald's at the base of the Western Hills Viaduct, as it was on my way home and it takes me a while to cook anything), and getting a bath.  Then homework for a bit (on some days, when I hadn't worked late), and off to bed at eight thirty or nine.  It was horrible for someone like me.  (I'm a natural born night owl.  As a child, and I'm talking three or four, I would go in my closet, close the door, turn on the light, and then I would read till midnight or one.  This semester, I'm taking all online classes because of my asthma, and I rarely go to bed before four or five am.  That's my body's natural circadian rhythm.  Going against it is a very stressful thing.)
Over the course of the semester, I missed twelve days and was late by ten minutes or less five times.  It was ridiculously difficult to become organized.  My workspace was nicely organized, and I busted my ass to make sure I made forty hours per week.  (I missed that twice, once over the Thanksgiving holiday when they gave us several days off (Wed, Thurs, and Fri) and once during the last week of work when my breathing took a sudden and so far unexplained turn for the worse.  Otherwise, I stayed extra to make sure I had my forty.
I have no idea how my next co-op will go, either.  Heck, at this point, I don't know if I'll HAVE a second co-op.  It really depends on how the pulmonary test goes next month, and how the doctor treats whatever is truly wrong with me.  So I'm currently in a holding pattern.  It's very frustrating to not be in control of yourself like I am.  It's intensely frustrating that I can't just go somewhere.  I have to build in extra time, and it's never a sure thing.  Some days I get to my car, hack and wheeze for fifteen minutes, and then go back to the house and cancel my appointment.  It's awful.  Brice and I are playing phone tag to discuss what options I have open to me, and we can best serve the University Community.  Hopefully, we'll get together soon and be able to work out something.  Cause this sitting at home all the time really sucks.  I have terrible cabin fever, too.  I want to go out somewhere (anywhere) so badly…

Anyways, I'm going to go ahead and call this blog done.  It's long enough, God knows!!  I wish y'all a good night.  I hope you all have had a good weekend so far, and I wish you a good Sunday.

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