Let’s face it, nobody enjoys being ill and they most definitely do not enjoy calling into work sick either but from time to time, you just cannot help it. However, I find that I feel worse calling into work sick when its related to my Chronic Illness compared to when I have a cold/flu and here is the reason why.
Before I list my points I just want to say how extremely lucky I am in my current position at work and I’m so thankful for my employers. From the day of my interview I was open and honest about my conditions and gave example scenarios of what could happen with regards to sickness and the potential frequency of this. They took me in with open arms despite all of this and tailor-made me a contract that works around me and my capabilities on a day-to-day basis and for that, I could not be more grateful.
But with that all said I still feel guilty and still hate calling into work sick, so here’s why:
1. Not ‘sounding’ sick.
This is my top peeve when calling into work sick! For example, calling my office all sprightly like “Hi it’s just me, yea just to let you know that my legs have decided not to work today so I won‘t be able to come in, thanks bye!” – I mean I know you don’t have to sound ill to be ill but it’s just something that I’m very conscious of when calling in sick. But depending on what my chronic illnesses have in store for me each time depends on whether I actually sound ill or not.
2. Feeling fine but my body doesn’t work.
This is similar to above but of course there are actually times where my chronic illness does make me ‘sound’ ill when calling in sick. This is more when your body and mind aren’t lined up properly. Like I could wake up, totally refreshed and ready to take the day head on, but my body has just switched off. Like, I’m not necessarily in pain but moving around is borderline impossible which is very frustrating.
3. Trying to explain my conditions/symptoms.
I’ve got mixed emotions towards this point. My employers, as mentioned above are very understanding and I’ve explained to them the main symptoms of my condition but also stated that there are many others due to the complexity of chronic illnesses. So some days I can ring them and say “Yea, my legs are really bad today and I’m really struggling to walk” and they understand that, but other days I could be saying to them “My chronic fatigue is being more of an issue today and my brain fog is rather extreme today” and they’re probably thinking “so she’s tired and cannot concentrate all that well.. really?“
4. Spontaneous sickness.
I mean this is pretty self-explanatory. One minute I’m fine, the next I’m extremely ill, leaving me calling in to work sick last-minute. At least with a cold you can sort of see it coming and they almost expect you to call in sick at some point.
5. Irregularity in frequency.
This is another peeve of mine. I can go 3 months being totally fine to then have the next 3 months of being off sick almost every other week. Or I can have a really bad year so constantly be in and out of work on the sick. I mean I know there isn’t really consistency in sickness at all, but at least again with cold/flu it sort of comes in waves and affect’s everyone so when someone calls in sick with that it’s like “ah yea there’s a bug going around“.
6. Irregularity in the length of sickness period.
Again linking this to the previous point, it’s not only the spontaneity or frequency of it but also the irregularity of the sick period. Sometimes it’s just a day because my body needed to recharge, sometimes a full week or longer because one of the issues that has flared up triggers several others to surface over a long period.
7. When I actually get sick (I.e flu/cold)
Following on from point 6, because I basically have no immune system 9/10 times I end up with cold/flu-like symptoms towards the end of my chronic illness sick period and have to take further time off due to the cold so calling into work them is always difficult: “Hi, yea my legs are much better thank you for asking, it was just to let you know I’m going to be off sick for another few days though because I now have a cold“.
We all feel guilt when going off sick because of people having to pick up after you & do any of your work that cannot wait until you return, feeling like you’ve let the team down etc. I suppose I always just feel like I’m taking advantage of my employers. They have been so understanding and accommodating towards my conditions but I still feel like sometimes I’m taking advantage of their support.
9. Working from home.
I’m so grateful that with my job I have to ability to work from home, it truly does make it so much easier when, like I mentioned previously, I’m feeling fine but my body just wont work properly. However because we don’t have a monitoring system they cannot see when I start & finish work, again making me assume that they think I’m just chilling out.
10. The day I return to work.
This again linking into that whole issue of me occasionally being bad one minute and fine the next. So I’d call into work saying how super unwell I am to then come into the work the following day skipping and all happy. They’re probably thinking “you’re kidding right? She was probably just faking it!”.
So there you have it, my top 10 reasons I hate calling into work sick when it’s linked to my chronic illness. Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of the points I’ve made, additionally let me know if you have any points that you would add to the list!
Thanks for reading & look out for a post this Friday as I have another nomination post coming your way!
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