It’s cold outside – and in.

I’ve been awake an hour and I don’t want to get up. I’m warm (ISH) in bed: getting up would mean braving my unheated house until I get the fire going. How I’d love to hear the sounds of my Dad opening his bedroom door, walking down the stairs…. the sound of the fire grate as he starts the fire.

Not that I’m lazy or dislike making the fire: it’s just a daily reminder that he’s not here, from the moment I wake up.

No, I’m in bed because I can. My children are with their Dad until this afternoon. I’ve got plenty of housework to do. This post is my last procrastination before I get up. ☺

I started the week relatively positive. Once the dark clouds of Dad’s birthday and Christmas etc passed, I felt better. I’m trying hard at work, putting the hours in at home, and I’m having some success.

Yesterday was not a good day however: I had my absence meeting at work.

It’s been overdue. I knew it was coming. I knew it wouldn’t be pleasant but as it was with two members of my team, I expected understanding.

And there was, in words, but not in actions.

My absence record stretches back a year. I knew this. But I didn’t expect them to include my time off after Dad died. (I had three weeks off, or thereabouts.) That stung. I felt like I was being reprimanded for something that I couldn’t help. Like the world was punishing me twice. It’s bad enough to be grieving but to then worry that the grief is affecting my work in other ways was hard to take.

My other absences are a bout of flu, vomiting and diarrhoea and then two flareups of a longstanding medical condition which I’m under the hospital for and was given a sick note by my consultant.

I completely understand the importance of good attendance and the impact that my absence has. I don’t like being off. My health is usually such that I have long periods of no illness or absence and then I seem to get one thing after another.

In the case of the flu, I came in to work in the morning and left by lunch with a bad headache. I was in work the next day. I felt dreadful but knew that I had to show that I was trying. I ached and coughed and was told by many to go home. I didn’t. By the Sunday, my chest was tight and I called an out of hours doctor who said I had a chest infection. I took Monday off and then went back to work the next day. I’m repeatedly questioning myself now – could I have gone in those two days?

Regardless of any of this, the actions of my colleagues has hurt. I have a follow up hospital appointment next week for the serious flare-up of my medical condition I had a few weeks ago. During the meeting, I was handed my absence request sheet and was told to make the appointment for half term which is in another two weeks. I get it: you’ve had enough time off, make the appointment in your own time. But surely it’s best that I attend my appointment to help avoid future flareups? And why wait til this meeting to tell me I couldn’t go? I felt by this action I had done something wrong in requesting the time: a quiet word when I handed the request in weeks ago would have sufficed. Instead I feel like a point was being made.

And then, I was given a target of no absence until Christmas.

I knew I’d get a target. I assumed it would be until the end of the school year. That I understand. But until Christmas? Can I avoid a flare-up or any illness for eleven months?

I’m not saying I want time off or even expect it when I’m ill. I do go into work ill, when I’m able. I’m often told I shouldn’t be in and I should “look after myself.” The colleague who has given me this target is the same one who told me not to come into work until I’m better and that my health is more important. No, the point is, with my health condition, I feel like they’re setting me up to fail.

It’s not a question of “could I have made myself go in for those two days?” I will be in: I will drag myself in.

I did ask the question of what I do if I get a flare-up and I was told that I shouldn’t come in if I’m really ill. I get a flare up at least every six months but sometimes, when I’m run down, a lot more frequently. I don’t want permission to stay off but don’t the words and the target contradict themselves a little? The target length has been set because of my total days absence but that includes bereavement. I’m at a loss.

I know my colleagues are just doing their job. I know that on paper, my absence isn’t good. But all that meeting did was to make me feel even more isolated at work.

To be continued.

2 thoughts on “It’s cold outside – and in.

  1. Do you have any kind of medical leave that protects your job when you have a medical condition that may prevent you from working from time to time? I understand you grieving as well but it’s seems a little harsh to me. I’m sorry this may cause added stress to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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