Feeling bad about missing work

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Sarita
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/11/2005 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I need some help here.  I am a social worker for mentally ill kids and work a typical 9-5 day during the week.  My job entails working very closely with families, finding good foster homes for kids, going to meetings at their schools, maintaining contact with their psychiatrists and therapists, etc.  It's a great job, and I work with very understanding people.
 
Here's the thing: I have been missing so much work here and there lately.  Today, for instance, I think I'm about to go home because I've been a garden hose for a few hours, plus have fever and stomach cramps.  This happens about two days during the work week, and I can usually chug on through, but sometimes I just can't.  So I leave and use my sick leave bank hours (I have 200 total until the end of the year; so far have used 100, so I should get through the rest of the year perfectly fine). 
 
My co-workers are very supportive, as is my supervisor, but I can't get past the feeling that they may be resenting the fact that I'm missing so much work.  I'm up-to-date with everything, paperwork-wise, but have really neglected the most important and cherished aspect of my job: spending one-on-one time with the kids.  I know I have to take care of myself, but how do I get around the fact that I'm gone a quarter of the time?
 
I don't know how to make myself better yet, and I don't want people to become exasperated with me.  It is impossible for them to fully understand how this feels (I describe it like having a stomach flu a lot of the time).  I feel paranoid that people are not approving of my work life even though I haven't gotten any complaints.  Anyone else feel like this?

bunnybabe
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 10/11/2005 6:50 PM (GMT -7)   
YES!!!!
i have a 9.5 month contract, i have missed SO much work. not only am i sick all the time, but i most recently had a flood, so i had to take more time. (my apartment has flooded a lot but i couldn't afford a new place untill now, we are moving within the month.) so after my bout with numerous tests, sick all the time and losing all of my furniture, wedding dress and many other things to a flood, i went back to work today. and the first thing i saw was that my name plate had been taken off the door and put above the bulletin board at my desk. i work at a university (i am 26) so i know it was a student who did it, and they most likely meant it as a joke, i said nothing about it, but it mysteriously found itself back on the door only after about an hour. through all this time work has been treating me well, but today i felt like a clueless underclassmen instead of a staff member. i know my co-workers don't really understand (i also hold a job in an all male shop and i know they see me as a weak sick girl--which i am not, i maybe smallish but i can hold my own!)
sorry--i just unloaded! but i know how you feel, today was very hard for me i just wanted to hide--but my job does not permit it!!! (i am a theatrical electrician.) no one has outright said that they "resent" me--but i feel it, especially when people talk about how much they need a day off. (theatre production is a job of many many long hour days... 10 to 18 hours sometime) and honestly i need a day off too! being sick and bailing out water are not fun!!! i would give anything to be like a normal person!!!
i am sorry--but i had to vent, and the fact that you had such a farmiliar day i needed to let you know that "i hear ya!!!"
i hope you feel better!
usually i laugh at everything--but today was just not funny... i think my boss sensed that i was having a hard day, but he is not one for "sharing". but tomorrow will be better--for both of us!! darn it!!!
oh, 7lil said i could say fart. so fart. fart fart fart fart. too much huh? wore out my welcome...
i admire your passion for your work, and what you do---it is so important!!!!
--bunny
what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?


m&ms
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/12/2005 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Sarita-
I think I corresponded with you via another website (medhelp).  I feel so bad that you don't have any answers yet.  Did you ever get the Panca and Anca testing to determine if you have UC or Crohn's?  I took those and tested negative, and apparently they're pretty accurate.  Are you sure you don't have C-Diff?  Your symptoms sound sooo much like what mine were, and you had even responded to me on the Med Help that you had taken Flagyl with great results in Bolivia (which is where I am).  I also had 2 clear colonoscopies with normal biopsies, except I kept having leukocytes in my stool.  It is so nice to finally have an explanation for chronic diarrhea.  There are stringent guidelines to testing for C-Diff, and it was named C-Diff because it is Soooo difficult to diagnose.  I bet you have some major bacterial imbalance like me from traveling and getting wierd things in your intestinal track.  I am now on a support group for C-Diff people and it is like the explanation to all my symptoms.  Apparently the best place to send your stools is to the Great Smoky Labs and they'll see what type of imbalances you have.  I totally relate to your obsession with what the heck is wrong!  Do you get severe pains, or gurgly bubbly feelings before the diarrhea?  I also read the book 'Breaking the Vicious Cycle' and the diet that book promotes was sooooo helpful to alleviating my sypmtoms while waiting for a diagnosis.  Something is out of whack at the bacterial level in your body and this book tells you what to eat that will be absorbed so there aren't any bad carbs the bad bacteria can live off of. 
OH - I also have the night sweats like I believe you said you had.  I know there is an answer and you will find it soon - even if you have to resolve it through your own trial and error.
Good luck and keep me posted!
Sincerely,
Julie

7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 10/12/2005 12:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Sarita, I feel guilty when I start to miss work too.  You know your absence is justified, yet you still let it mess with you.  I'm not sure there is any way to get over that.  Like you said, you have to take care of yourself.  Tell yourself, and show others, that you are doing your best.  People understand... now you just have to make yourself believe that. 
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m&ms
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/12/2005 1:04 PM (GMT -7)   
I had to take a month of in September to go back to the states to find out what was wrong with me, and I was already in the hole for my sick time.  Luckily I work with super nice people and we have enough people to cover my work.

Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/12/2005 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
m&ms, yeah, it has been quite the rollercoaster.  I have been tested for C. diff something like 3-4 times and it has always come back negative; also, I very rarely use antibiotics.  I had Giardia and amoebiasis in Africa that supposedly cleared up when I got home.  I was given Flagyl on numerous occasions - twice after my stint in Africa, and twice after my stint in South America.  Sometimes it helped, sometimes not. 
 
This year has been different - since January, I lost 30 pounds (I needed to lose those, but I had no idea why it was happening!), have had watery diarrhea about 75% of the time, fevers that come and go, mouth sores, abdominal pain, developed gallstones...and it's weird because some of the tests I've had (small bowel follow-through, for instance) show abnormalities that some GIs say are consistent with Crohn's disease, but others say are non-specific.  Scopes are normal, but I've been passing blood and leukocytes, which is usually indicative of IBD or infection.  So some docs say I don't have IBD, others say I might...the one thing they all agree on is that it's not IBS, but they don't know what to call it yet!  It's been frustrating, and tough when I'm at work, but I am hopeful of one of two things: a) this will eventually get better on its own or b) this thing will eventually get to a point where a diagnosis is irrefutable and I can start pinpointed treatment.  I haven't had the p-ANCA or ASCA tests yet but should be doing that within the next month.
 
I post on this board because everyone is so freakin' awesome and supportive and helpful (as you can see!).  I think there are a lot of people out there who are misdiagnosed.  I can't blame medicine, because we are constantly learning new things about the body, but it is definitely heart-wrenching to be sick nearly constantly and not have any answers.  Luckily I have a wonderful doc who is leaving no stone unturned for me.  It sounds like you've been through most of this as well, that you're in the same boat.  You're still in Bolivia, I assume?  Where are you there?  I was in La Paz buying instruments...I play traditional Andean music and had a blast down there (despite the diarrhea!).  What do you do for work??
 
 

m&ms
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 10/12/2005 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   

I had the Panca Anca (whatever they're called!) tests done and had the results within days.  It would definitely be something a doctor should check before making any decisions without seeing ulcers in a colonoscopy or small bowel follow through.  I am surprised the Mayo clinic didn't check those right away. 

What has your typical diet been throughout this ordeal?  Also - how are your nutrient levels (i.e. iron, B12, etc).  People with IBD are often lacking in those.  My only low item was iron, but I was severly anemic two years ago when I was pregnant and never took supplements to restore those levels.  Also - do you have any relatives with IBD?  I found out I had two so I totally freaked out and just told myself I had it too.  I bet in the long run you will end up getting better, and hopefully I will, too.  It is just a depressing thing to not know what the final answer will be.

I am in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  My husband and I are in US gov't jobs here.  I really love it here - except for the lack of shopping malls and Target!  You all don't know how spoiled you are!


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/13/2005 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm sure it's not fun to think about the fact that you might have some rare condition that's almost unheard of, Sarita, but it's starting to sound like that. Maybe you should try and look up rare bowel disorders? I've read in magazines about people who make it their mission in life to find out what's wrong with them or a family member, and they will sit in libraries for hours culling through old medical journals and science reviews and the like until they find the info they're looking for and then present it to their doctor. After all, doctors don't have the time to do that, and if it's obscure, rare or old information, they probably don't know about it. You may want to read up on other people with rare illnesses, like Lou Gehrig's Disease, to feel less alone. Maybe you will have the dubious honor of having an illness named after you!

Lord knows it would be expensive as all get out, but maybe some genetic testing? Maybe you've got a missing gene that causes your problems or that causes something else which causes your problems. I have read that the cost of mapping a person's genomes--and, I would assume, all types of genetic testing--is supposed to start falling rapidly over the next few years and they're talking that it may only cost a few hundred dollars to get your DNA mapped.

If it makes you feel any better, I was just looking at an article on MSN last week which said that Americans work more hours than any other people in the world, take less vacation time and give up more vacation days. Yes, we work more than the average Japanese person! In terms of productivity, I'm sure you're still ahead of a lot of countries. If it gets too bad, maybe you should move to France! I've heard adults there take summer vacations... like for a month. A co-worker's husband is from Australia and he was amazed at how little time off people get here; he said they get a government-mandated 4 weeks off a year--that doesn't include holidays. And I know from being in Ireland, when banks have holidays, just about everyone else does too. None of this "only government workers and banks get Columbus Day off." about the only people working on bank holidays were shops, and even then a lot of the small, locally-owned ones, were closed. Those same shops even close for an hour or an hour and a half for lunch! And the work-ethic there... very relaxed. I had bad culture shock coming back to the U.S. Talk about feeling like you were in a rat race. Didn't help things that I only worked part-time while I was over there, and came back here to work 40 hours a week and commute an hour every day. In fact, I think a full-time work-week over there is more like 36-38 hours instead of 40 hours. So, while you may feel like you're failing compared to other Americans, just remember we're the only ones crazy enough to work this much. If you didn't have to work so much, you'd probably miss less hours because you'd be less stressed, would have time to take care of yourself and, at the very least, spend more time being sick at home without being out from work.

I just heard that the E.U. is considering not allowing countries to mandate so much time off from work because it's making the E.U. "less competitive." So, what, they work as much as Americans and get what in return? Yes, we're the best off economically, but what do we have to show for it? Houses bigger than we need, mind-corrupting cable and satellite shown on huge televisions, $300 designer blue jeans, junk we have to pay to store in some off-site storage unit, lawns we have to pay someone else to upkeep, huge cars we can't afford to fill-up with gas anymore, billions spent on fast food which just makes us fatter and less healthy... What on earth do European people need with more money?? They're a first world country, aren't they? They have running water, electricity, telephones, automobiles, medical care, food enough to eat... why do they want to be slaves to the time clock like us? What more do they need? Not to mention overworked Americans also enjoy being the fatest people on Earth, suffer more heart attacks, more acid-reflux, more constipation, more gall bladder disease... more of everything that's bad, generally. Japan may still outnumber us with suicides per capita, but I daresay we're a close second.

Hmm... I had a point before I began blogging... Oh, yes: don't feel guilty about missing work. You're still pulling more hours than a frenchman(woman). Who will, by the way, statistically speaking, outlive you--the hard-working American.

Keri

Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/13/2005 11:37 AM (GMT -7)   

Keri,

LOL, NO WAY do I have something that's never been dubbed before.  That is just way too dramatic for me!  I'm sure it's just something stupid and ridiculous like one of my little African parasites coming back to haunt me and hiding away in some deep recess of my soul.  Or something.

I totally, 100% agree with the tone of your post.  Maybe I WILL move to France...or Romania!  Always wanted to go there...


7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 10/13/2005 11:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Sarita, I left work today just an hour after I got there. I feel guilty... But too bad. Even though you're sick, sometimes it's good to take a little time off.
Keri, I read your post in the other thread about bathroom and poo taboos.... That is exactly why I left work today. I have such a problem crapping in public. I wish I had a 1 person bathroom at work. Nope, I had to roam around the building until I found an empty bathroom (it never stays that way for long).
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/13/2005 1:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Here's the silly thing, though: if I REALLY need to go and there are multiple people in the bathroom, then I can go. Because no one will know that it's ME making that noise/smell. I guess I just don't want to be "caught" doing it, lol. Also, multiple people = lots of noise, so what I do isn't really obvious. I have been known to time my bm with a flushing toilet next door!

sick&tired
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 10/17/2005 9:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Sarita, I had an understanding boss & a very demanding job; but when the new boss came in (I had already been there 6 yrs. w/great reviews) he wanted me out & made it real difficult for me; I know he must have looked through my personal medical file because it seemed as though he knew too much, & I hadn't told him anything. Long story short, I got laid off under the guise of "downsizing" which was BS because someone else in the dept. w/less experience & seniority got my job. I'm now on social security disability & don't work.  Luckily my husband's job seems secure-- for the moment at least--& most importantly I'm on his health insurance.  So--the moto of the story is don't feel guilty because that will cause you stress which will likely make your symptoms worst & you may not want to believe this, but you're probably replacable. And I learned that the hard way. I worked for a large music company for 7 yrs & put my heart & soul into my job, & in the end most of management personnel had changed & all my previous efforts meant nothing. They only saw me as a sick employee who would best be eliminated.  I had hoped that some time off would help my condition, but it gradually got worse & when I knew there was no way I could hold down a job & that's when I applied for disability.  It's not much, but it helps pay the bills (we bought a house 6 mos. before I got laid off!)

dbab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 4151
   Posted 10/17/2005 9:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I know exactly how you feel Sarita... I occasionally have to take a day off here or there because I just can't drag myself into work. I always feel really guilty. My boss knows about my illness and she even makes comments that I really am dedicated to my job. And I'm here thinking that I'm letting the whole team down. I still have those feelings that one day she is going to have a change of heart and I'll be gone. It's a very scary feeling.
Hugs, Des
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
 
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Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/18/2005 10:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Yeah...I am definitely replaceable, it just takes people a long time to be trained in this position and, for the pay we get, most people with my background would go for a position as a state social worker (they get paid twice as much for the same job) rather than this non-profit gig.  And, our turnaround is generally so high I have become sort of the "trainer" for new case managers.  My boss has been totally awesome and helpful, too.  So I don't feel like I'm in too much danger of losing my job.  It's more that I just feel like I'm not giving them as much as I could and I've always been such a go-getter that I feel guilty.  I'm trying hard not to, though!
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