Epilepsy and Employment

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RanMan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/22/2005 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi board,
 
Did you know that it is a proven fact that epilectics are generally better employees? So employers should be more than willing to hire an epileptic. (unless it's really severe)
They have better attendance because they think they're being watched by their superiors who are expecting them to take lots of sick days.
 
They work harder and have a better production rate for the same reason. Everyone is just waiting for you to screw up.
But they're still outcasts, Everbody thinks the're different but actually they're more compssionate.
 
We have to continue to do more to educate the public about epilepsy or seizure conditions because we're still viewed as outcasts or bad people (possessed by satin).
 
The general public are basically SCARED of us, if we have a seizure in front of them, they will be embarrassed and won't know what to do.
 
Randy (Ontario, Canada)
 
 
 
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Diagnosed with epilepsy and ulcerative colitis in 1979,
Been on meds ever since.
 
275mg-dilantin/day
120mg-pheonobarb/day
3,000mg-Mesasol/day


kayakmom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 2/22/2005 3:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Still working to show them that people with Epilepsy are not demon possessed, mentally ill or anyting else. Fighting that stigma is still so hard....

Keep fighting. I will too!

jezzabelle
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 2/23/2005 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   
It's hard, having epilepsy and being employed. I recently heard a story (well, i think it's true but who knows in the world we live in!) about a nurse that began to work at the same nursing home i work at. While driving home from work one day, she experienced her first ever seizure. After that, the nursing home let her go. Now I don't know if it was because of that one seizure or not, I mean, I know her daughter that's what she said but that's a horrible and discriminating reason to fire someone! I mean, when I first started working at the nursing home last summer, I had a seizure there (that was my last one since being on Keppra, knock on wood). I was never really worried about my epilepsy playing into me getting a job or not until I heard that story and it became real to me, that people can discriminate so badly and think it's okay. I've thought of where I'll have to work because of public transportation and such but I never really thought of having epilepsy as a disibility, that would stop me from working, from living. It's something we must fight for everyday, educate others everyday, i know i try to at school and at work. it's time to change people's ignorance and make them understand, we're just the same, with some quirks! Anyways, i think anyone who has epilepsy or has ever been affected by it should try to educate as many people out there as possible so we can live a normal life! GO TEAM!
~Jessica
"Carry on.  It is not easy.  But it is what we have to do- only we do not have to do it alone."
 
First seizure: 1993
Officially diagnosed: 1999
Type: Simple Partial to Secondary Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures
Cause: Unkown, all tests are negative for abnormalities...
Meds: 750mg Keppra 2xday


RanMan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/23/2005 10:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Re: that employment thing:
 
I've had EP for 25 years and wanted to make this comment;
 
"If a qualified person is not hired or is terminated from employment as a result of a seizure condition, it is considered a form of descrimination and a violation of your Human Rights" resulting in a hefty fine or  jail time to the employer as per the Canadian Human Rights Act.
 
The employer must provide adequate work accommodations and/or special needs required to do the job.
 
My bosses thought that I was putting it on so I wouldn't have to do certain things.
Through my employer (Government of Canada) they finally sent me to a "neuro/psyc" to examine me and DOCUMENT what I can/can't do.
 
I don't know where you're from but I'm from Canada and we have the right to request this type of exam, in MY case it was my employer that requested it.
 
As a result of it being documented, my employer sent the results to "Health Canada" and since the job was being illiminated, the report showed that "as a result of the long term use of the meds, I could not learn new tasks "and requested that I go on DISABILITY and then medical retirement.
 
That proved to my employer that I was telling the truth all along  and NOT FAKING IT.
 
Randy (Ontario, Canada)

Diagnosed with epilepsy and ulcerative colitis in 1979,
Been on meds ever since.
 
275mg-dilantin/day
120mg-pheonobarb/day
3,000mg-Mesasol/day


jezzabelle
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 2/24/2005 6:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Randy,
I actually live in Wisconsin. I know we have laws against that kind of discrimination which is why i was so confused as to why she got let go. I'm not sure if any thing we have in the US that backs us up when the employer attacks you- like you have where they can request an exam. i guess if i ever get in that situation (hopefully not though!) i'll find out what happens though! sometimes i wish i lived in canada... it seems like some things would be so much easier... well, yep, have a great nite!
~Jessica
"Carry on.  It is not easy.  But it is what we have to do- only we do not have to do it alone."
 
First seizure: 1993
Officially diagnosed: 1999
Type: Simple Partial to Secondary Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures
Cause: Unkown, all tests are negative for abnormalities...
Meds: 750mg Keppra 2xday


Axa
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 3/20/2005 10:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I worked at ad agency as art director. Nobody asked about my health condition. The same goes for working in theatre (free-lance). They knew about my E, but that was never "an issue".
 
BTW, I am from Europe, Slovenia, where laws are probably different than in USA ...
 
Axa

Post Edited (Axa) : 3/22/2005 5:29:55 PM (GMT-7)


Graffixx_sk
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 3/22/2005 10:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow this an ironic topic for me, I have had a real bad time with my seizures over the past year (as some of you may know) so recently I was written up for lack of performance and attendance (I have worked at this ad agency for seven years and I do well) and my epilepsy (which they knew of when I was hired) has never been a problem before now, now it is a problem! Managements point of view is that this has been going on for four months and they are concerned that they may have to let me go...OH I DONT THINK SO! I am very let down with these people who have been deemed as "management" so my advice to "management" is to step out of yourself and listen very closely to what the ADA has to say because as far as your ignorance is concerned my epilepsy is in your face. I wrote Human resources and told them that I am doing the best that I can however the side effects of the meds are very strong (sleepy,tired, loopy, and lack of being as sociable as before) I explained that this whole thing is ugly and trust me I am not the type to parade my epilepsy however I expect that this is not going to go away anytime soon.
This is a topic that I have always placed concern towards and now it is happening to me and it is very scary. I have been fired from jobs in the past because I have had seizures but no more! I work hard and the way I look at it is like this if my employer feels that I need to go...so be it...but I am going to let them know that this is wrong and this is not my opinion, this is the LAW...So let it be written So let it be done, so sayeth the Supreme Court of the United States.

-To all of you friendly people that come to this forum I would like to thank you for this time and place for me to make my stand. I am a very calm/compassionate person by nature and I dont want to send out the perception that I am full of hate because that is just wrong, what I am speaking of is discrimination perhaps based on ignorance perhaps not ,but I really just needed to talk to someone that could understand what is going on. There is nothing that ANYONE is going to do to me that epilepsy has not already done but I emphasize with all my being do not jack with me or my family and that is what is happening and I will not stand for it any longer.

goodwitch46
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 3/24/2005 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   

When my seizures became worse a few years ago, my employer made "adjustments" to my job description.   During a staff meeting with my colleagues, I tried to be honest and explain my situation so they would know what was going on with me.  I didn't want them to have to guess or learn thru the grapevine what was going on. 

I thought my supervisor was being sympathic to me when a ride was arranged for me to the office and my schedule was changed so I could have a more consistent work schedule.   But after a few weeks, when my production level fell due to the restrictions I had to have,  The director of the company called me in and "offered" me a "new" position - one with a lot lower pay and less prestige.  

When I looked to my colleagues for an explanation or insight, they shrugged their shoulders - nobody seemed to know why.   The boss said to me she didn't want to jeopardize my job due to my falling production, so she was "offering" me a new position!   She said she wanted to help me and this way I could keep working.   I felt this was the first step to pushing me out the door of the company.  I put two and two together when I saw someone being interviewed at the boss' office shortly after that. 

Of course, I'm sure management would say differently.

I realized then that management's job is to protect the company, not the worker. sad

 Glenda 

 


complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d


goodwitch46
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 3/24/2005 11:56 PM (GMT -7)   

When management was being so outwardly "concerned" about me,  I didn't really expect them to look out for me and take care of me.  I mean, it would have been great if they really did help me to function at my job, restrictions and all.  But I somehow knew deep down inside, it wasn't genuine concern, and I would have been very surprised if they did. 

What I wasn't prepared for was the lack of support I got from some of the people I had been working for for many years.    People I had gone out to lunch with, worked side by side with, had many discussions with...most treated me differently after  I had my little "talk" with my colleagues concerning my seizures,..... it was like telling them I had leprosy or the black plague.   Suddenly, I discovered that those very same people acted very differently towards me.  I THOUGHT that if I explained things to them they would understand and not be afraid of me and my situation, but I guess it was the wrong thing to say.  I was suddenly very aware of the lack of normal communication I usually had between me and other  people during a normal work day.   Talk about the cold shoulder.

One co-worker I knew well and trusted was able to give me one valuable piece of information that confirmed my suspicion - The other people I worked with were holding meetings without me.  I wasn't told about them or invited for a reason...because I suspected they were having planning meetings -  in order to make arrangements for my workload when I left my position.

I can't say I really fault anyone specifically.  But rather, it's the problem of educating people and making sure they really understand not to be afraid of people with epilepsy. 

Mary- I think I can see why you feel the bitterness from your experience.  Here's a quote that makes me feel there might be some hope for people if they could just get over their fears.  Maybe they would act more civilized.

"There is only one Good, Knowledge.  There is only one Fear, Ignorance."  - Socrates

Glenda :-)


complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d


Daisy9980
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 775
   Posted 3/29/2005 9:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Gee Glenda, that story is horrible. I have to say I am lucky to work with a great group of people who don't even think much of my epilepsy. I work in a very small office and the book-keeper had epilepsy (pettit mal). I am sorry to hear about the meetings behind your back. THat is an awful feeling to feel excluded from people who you thought you were your friends. I hope everything is going well for you know. We will always be here for you :) HUGS Tracy
 


goodwitch46
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 3/30/2005 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   

Tracy-

Thanks for caring :-) .

When I first found out I had epilepsy over 20 years ago, I had a very understanding boss.   My boss pulled me aside and said, "Listen, Glenda, I know you are capable of doing this job, and you take as much time as you need to straighten this thing out. This in no way will have an impact on your job."  So, I went to have my tests and appointments, went on meds, etc and eventually was back to full speed again, thanks to a great boss. 

I'm grateful to have had such a good experience with my first job.  It opened new doors for me.   Imagine if my first boss had turned the other way instead of giving me a chance.  I would be who knows where.   So, even though this last job experience wasn't pleasant, I look forward to going back to work as soon as I am able.  I KNOW I'm bound to find nice people to work with again.  

Glenda :-)


complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d


Daisy9980
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 775
   Posted 3/31/2005 6:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Great!! It is so nice to hear someone with such optomistic thoughts. Just remember you get what you put out to others, I have great faith in you :) Have a great day. Tracy
 


~*AngelEyes*~
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 4/2/2005 4:10 AM (GMT -7)   
I was working for a co for almost a year. I hadn't had a seizure for years and all the sudden the came back full force. I was told they were stress induced. ???? When I told my supervisor I thought I was having seizures and needed to go home she just looked at me. She never said anything. So I had to call my mom to come get me. I sat in my car for her to come. Knowing that anything could have happened in that time frame.
So I end up in the hospital, and with the time off from work I was told that they couldnt hold my position for me. That they had to "please the client". Ok and what about your employee that has been in the hospital?
So needless to say they never fired me. I was forced to quit. They even held my check until I turned in my notice.
I guess some people (companies) just dont want to deal with it.

hauchucamtn1
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/17/2005 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   

People with Epilepsy are Discriminated by not only employers but the government that allows those employers to refuse to give us acceptable work.

Having spent 2/3 thirds of my life diagnosed with physco motor Epilepsy and having spent 2/3 of my life looking for a new job each time i seizured at work I learned that I was never going to be able to support my family.  Wages were always sub poverty and left me with a hand to mouth existance.

In 1981  when one of the 57 neurologist who told me that I would never be a surgical candidate when i questioned him, I had 12 spike areas in my brain, was his reason.  This all changed one day when i went into convultions caused by water retention caused by tegratol. 

The same doctor, then told me that medicaly I could no longer be treated.  Surgicaly I could.  I was refered to Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center in Chicago .

It was here where a much faster eeg machine was used to pinpoint the focal onset in my Right Temporal lobe.  Surgery took place on may 22, 1981 and at 7:00 Am that morning I suffered my last seizure.  I was 39 then.  On June 5th. i went home  and was to be off for 1 year.

3 weeks later, my employer, a fedral contractor, gave me the choice to return to work imediately or be fired.  Three weeks after returning, the harassment became so bad that I had fallen into depression and was fired.

Reinstated after admitting myself to the local physc ward for treatment I was reinstated so that I would be covered on insurance.

May 5, 1982 I was released as able to return to work by my physc.  I was fired the day I delivered the release to human resources for being well.

I filwed a charge of wrongful termination and discrimination with the Illinois Human Rights Commission and the charge was never investigate.

Since then i have had no Insurance, No Follow up and have had to seek physc. help from community mental health services who have no idea what the burden of normalcy is.

Without help , each person who does have this surgery should be told of these problems long before the surgery takes place and families should be advised before the surgery that they need help too.

I say this because as my behavior deterioated, my family did not know what was going on, blamed me and now at 63 years old, I have never seen my grand children, most of my kids are to terrified of me to speak to me and i never did achieve being normal.

The only way i found was to quit trying to make a living and settle for the 800 a month social security.

my ERISA guranteed retirement benefits were stolen on the same day as my medical benefits.  They should have been around 35,000 a year had I ever been paid a regular wage from this company.  I can not blame any one other that the government that allows this kind of thing to happen and hope some day my kids will forgive me.


goodwitch46
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 4/17/2005 8:56 PM (GMT -7)   

hauchucamtn1-

First, Let me say welcome to HW.  I appreciate your candor about your feelings concerning surgery and thereafter.  I am scheduled for epilepsy surgery in June and I know the positives and  really appreciate knowing  how others feel  afterwards, good or bad.

Wow, your story is so emotion-filled and one that I had to read several times.  I'm So sorry for all the pain that you've had.  How are you dealing with it now?  Is there any form of stress reduction that you have?  I've really gotten a lot of help here at this forum and hope you can find some support form the others, as I have.

Hang in there, 

Glenda :-)


complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d


ddbb
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/18/2005 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
i am new to this forum, i thought i was the only one who could not work . i am a barber and had to quit due to having 5 seizures a day fo the past year.i t was the most depressing thing i ever had to do.i dont know what else to do i have been doing this for 26 years.

Graffixx_sk
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 4/19/2005 3:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Glenda

I was very taken by your story of how you were treated by your fellow employees/employer I mean after all of those years of working side by side with these people and then its eat or be eaten can anyone tell me WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? Girl I know where you are coming from for I experience this as well and it tears me down...I found out who my friends are. One thing that helps me get through is that compassion is something that Epileptics generally possess and excell in, mostly because we have been on the other side of the fence so to speak and I have found that as trying as it may be most people do have the desire to help other people when they are down they just need to be made aware of it, as for those who dont give a second thought to you/anyones well being I make it a point to help them when they are down, and in every instance its because they have never been exposed to giving and every time there eyes almost pop out of socket when they realize what has taken place...I get a kick out of it myself.
I very much enjoy reading your post, you are a good person..... your surgery will be fine.

Steve

goodwitch46
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 4/21/2005 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   

ddbb-   yes, it IS a like a slap in the face --no, let me say, it is rather...like a TRUCK HIT YOU when you suddenly find out that something you are not controlling is now controlling your life and the direction of your job.  Now, I'm sure a lot of other people with other diseases have the same problems of the shock and depression that comes with their illness.  I guess it's the stigma thing that goes with epilepsy that really bothers me the most.  I can't help wonder what others think when I have a seizure in front of them or when they learn of my condition.  I totally identify with you.  Do everything you can, ddbb, to support yourself and others around you.  Don't let it paralyze you!  I am slowly trying to coming out of my stupor of shock and depression, as there is noone that will make sure that I truly take care for myself than ME.    WE SUPPORT YOU. Please take care of yourself.  Keep trying.  Don't ever give up.  Come here when you need the support.  You are NOT alone. 

Glenda :-)

 

Steve- YOU SAID IT LIKE IT IS, BROTHER!!!     And Thanks for your kind words, I always enjoy your posts.  -Glenda :-)


complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d

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