So…this year has been full of twists and turns. I can honestly say it started of with a BANG! For health and wellness, I was really met with all kinds of blows…from day one!
In January of this year, I lost my voice. For those who don’t know me…you know that’s a BIG ISSUE! Though I’m an introvert, I do love to talk…and sing…but on top of that…I work in a call center so using my voice is how I earn my living. I went to work one morning…and thought that the hoarseness I was feeling would disappear…by the middle of the morning, I was in excruciating pain and was barely speaking above a whisper. My callers all gave me well wishes, home remedies and blasted my employer for making me work while I was sick. It was my choice. While I didn’t feel well, I knew that I should go to work anyway. After all, I work from home, so it’s not like I had to travel to be near anyone. If I was contagious, then I would only infect my imaginary friends.
Anyway, I finally had no voice AT ALL left. I let my supervisor know via instant message. He had to get it approved from a manager for me to leave. The manager listened to my calls for thirty minutes before deciding that I sounded “horrible” and needed to rest. The next morning, I called out. I went to urgent care and was told I needed voice rest for the rest of the week and to follow up with my doctor if it got worse or if my voice didn’t return. Well, the pain went away, but I still had no voice. I was pretty miffed. I enjoyed my three days off…but I couldn’t sing either! They called my prescription in to the pharmacy. When I went inside to pick it up, I had post it notes so that I could rest my voice. I had written out my note that I was picking up a prescription for myself…OOPS! The cashier, a Caucasian male, turned the color of beets at first. It did not occur to me that a note handed to a person behind a cash register could be scary! When he read it though, he calmed down. HILARIOUS though…only in hindsight of course. I saw him hold his breath then start breathing again when he realized what I needed. But let’s think here…If I was going to rob the store…why would I walk ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK…instead of hitting the cash registers up front? Oh well..guess there’s no logic when it comes to robbers….
ANYWHO…my voice did not return and I ended up being put on voice rest…which meant for my job, I could not talk on the phone. When I gave my doctor’s recommendation to my supervisor, he thought it would be fine to ask management if I could perform other tasks as our call center does more than just answer the phones…and because I’d been trained to do the other tasks, and they were behind with them, SURELY, I could do something else while I was on voice rest. Unfortunately, the powers that be in my organization said…”Well if she’s sick she needs to take sick leave.” My only problem was that I had no voice. As long as I didn’t try to talk…I was in no pain…my fingers and brain worked fine…so I didn’t understand why the powers that be wanted me to have to use FMLA to be off for that time frame when there was SOMETHING that I could be doing that didn’t require the use of my voice. At first, I was like…”you know what…whatever…this is the time I can use to find new employment or work on my book.” But then…I couldn’t sleep…I was sincerely bothered by the complete disregard for my talents. Yes. I had sick leave but I needed to save it for when I was REALLY sick. They’d been soliciting help for us to work extra time to help out with this other work in the call center, so I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just help out during regular hours because the work was there to be done. Well, I am my mother’s child…and when something is not right in my world or there’s some great injustice that needs to be undone, I write a letter. I write to the party involved and copy to everyone in the line of authority above this person who needs to see that I have a complaint. Maybe that’s not the proper way, but it gets answers. I was up at 3 am writing this letter. Sure enough…my phone was ringing off the hook the next morning…with apologies and explanations as to why the decision was made. Then it was the “I didn’t know you could…blah blah blah”..or the “Sure..we can work that out..” All of this could have been avoided if folks would just be levelheaded and not get so caught up in titles to think that just because they’re in charge, they know what’s best for all involved. I don’t like to be a troublemaker, but what makes sense…makes sense…and I’m glad the powers that be understood that FINALLY…because later in the year…I really did need my sick time…because I started having to visit a trillion doctors to get my diabetes care on track…had I used sick leave all of those days…which ended up being 6 weeks of voice rest, I would have had a problem when it came time to see about a more pressing issue.
I’ve gained and lost weight this year…but I finally managed to get my mind right which is the biggest challenge of any wellness program.
I’m grateful though, because not only am I getting my physical self in order, I think I’ve made grate strides with regards to my emotional and mental health. I’ve learned to accept me…love me…and care about me…I’m learning how to stand up for myself, not hold things in and really really, enjoy this old life of mine. Breaking the Shell is an experience…an on going process…but it is certainly one that has been life changing. Super exciting!
I know I have a looooooooooooong way to go with being healthy, but I’m pushing on…I shall persevere! Here’s to a great year in health!
Until next time,