Rambling ranting about work

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desert
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/7/2011 3:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone. So I've been trying to write this post all weekend. I'm finally just going to go for it and see what happens. You see, I need to tell someone about my week, because it's just broiling inside of me. And I need someone who can understand because that's where most of this week's stress has come from (people not understanding). That's one of the reasons I'm so happy to have this great community. This may end up being a bit of a rant though.

I think I generally do a pretty good job of hiding the symptoms of pain while I'm in public and especially at work. Although many of my coworkers know that I have some issue with my spine, this is mostly due to the frequent doctor visits and procedures. Unfortunately, my lack of sleep has had an impact on my ability to hide things from my coworkers. Bashing up my leg probably didn't help either (which is still bleeding two weeks later, I think I'm going to have to end having to find a PCP). So now people that used to just accept that I had to see a doctor a little more often than them, are trying to help. I appreciate that they care, I really do, but my independence is so very important to me. I work to limit the effect my injury has on my life every day, and sorely lament those things it has managed to take from me.

Right now at my work we're preparing to start on a brand new project. The whole office is pretty excited and I'm right there with them. The schedule is being laid down and what do I find? They've put a huge gap right in the middle of my schedule for my health, "just in case". I don't mind that they're taking precautions, but to me, if they're going to schedule my health into the project (including hiring a new programmer to take on some of the workload they believe I may not be able to handle), I think simply asking me about it might be in order. Especially considering I'm in the top one or two in order of programmer seniority at the company. I tried to explain to the producer why making decisions about my health without even talking to me could annoy me, but he just didn't seem able to comprehend. Maybe I was being too sensitive. And then as we finish up the conversation, talk turns to my particular injury and what does the producer say? "I know exactly how you feel, Jeff." I just about blew a gasket. I mean, how does he get off saying he knows how I feel? I wanted to tell him, "When you come to work with pain that makes you nauseous. And when you have a hiding place in the office for when the pain gets too strong to hold back and you need to protect your pride. Then come see me in ten years." I held back though.

That same day we got new parts for our computers. So I sat on the floor and started opening my computer when another programmer and the general manager demanded that I stop because "you'll hurt yourself". I don't mind accepting help when I ask for it. I don't mind when someone offers to help me with a task and I let them if I think it might hurt or say "thanks anyways" if I'm confident in my ability to complete it. But it just irks me when someone with no real knowledge of my medical condition decides to come over and demand that I stop doing something because they think it will hurt me. C'mon guys, I hurt my neck, I'm still quite capable of sitting on a floor for a minute. Once again I'm probably just being too sensitive. But it's just another proverbial straw.

The big one though has not even been told to me yet officially. But several people have accidentally let it slip. The company seems to have an idea that they should give me time off and send me to see my family. I'm dreading that conversation. I know that if it's hard to explain these little matters that this one will be all the harder. In their minds they are being incredibly helpful. Giving me time off and sending me to see family seems to them like an excellent and caring idea. Indeed, I appreciate the thought behind the idea, but dread the idea itself. Work is my big distraction during the day. I don't even want to think about having to spend whole days like my nights. And while I love my family without question, they tend to coddle. And that is so frustrating to me when I'm already resenting my increased dependence on others. Besides all that, all my doctors are in the Denver area and just switching is not nearly as easy or successful as my coworkers seem to think it is.

I really think I'm overreacting to all of this stuff. I haven't slept. I'm annoyed that I cannot seem to get back ahead of my issues. And I'm also not used to having so many people know my business. And I'm sick and tired of trying to explain to people why I sometimes don't see things the way they do. I think it's all just adding up to make me more irritable than usual, I'm usually much better at just taking it all in stride.

Well, enough of all that ranting. I hate doing it because I always feel like I'm dumping my burdens on my friends. Even though I know that ranting is not exactly anathema on this board, I still don't like doing it. But I had to get it out in the open since it's been just boiling inside and I don't want to accidentally raise my voice to one of my bosses tomorrow. It does feel so much better just to get it all out there. I probably shouldn't have posted, something tells me when I'm tired enough to have trouble typing, submitting forum posts isn't a good idea. But I don't think I'm going to get this post any better than I have it currently.

Let's say we end on a happy note. I got a full six hours of sleep last night! Only a week and a half until I see my orthopedist and get a better idea of what I'll be doing next. My PM is back from vacation, so if sleep doesn't kick in soon, I can give him a call. I'm giving a talk to my company about some software I hope we will all be using soon. And the extra slot we have for a programmer because of the gap they put in my schedule may just mean that one of my best friends can come back and work with us again.

Well I hope you all are having a great night and will have an even better day tomorrow.

-Jeff

Rhaevin
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/7/2011 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Dearest Jeff,
 
Thank you for sharing, and you know full well you're always welcome to rant here. My email link is up and available, so if you don't want to air your laundry here, by all means feel free to drop me a line and "talk" to your heart's content. We all know how bad bottling this sort of thing up is.
 
You're probably right, they have the best intentions, but they also probably don't understand, certainly not from your perspective. If they could begin to comprehend how your life is at the moment they're still going to overlay their own personal feelings in how they'd approach the whole matter.
 
I know when people have said to me "I know how you feel" I have two reactions. If they're CP people, that's one thing and they probably do know. If they're friends and family, well, I know they mean well, and they're trying to comfort me, but until you've stood in my shoes and walked a mile in them it's gonna be pretty hard to grasp what's happened in my head as a result of my life changes. If they're random people, like store clerk's, etc.... well, yes, especially when you've had little sleep, having a pain spike, it's really easy to want to snap at them. Most of the time they just don't want you to feel alone, they are trying to care and they mean well.
 
Can I say I know how you feel to you though? Several things you wrote echo'd inside my head and heart. A major "oh... I know that one to well". And you have my sympathies for certain. I have tried to hide my pain for similar reasons to you. I'm a strong, independant woman who can do just about anything, or well, I could at one time in my life. I could work as hard as a man, do any job they could do and do it just as well if not better, I didn't need help, but I knew when to ask for advice or input on projects I was doing. I'd been the head of safety and ergonomics when I was building fiberoptic filters. I was a student and a TA teaching craps and blackjack at an acredited school. I used to train horses, specifically problem children... infact I still have one I work with in exchange for board. I worked hard, and played harder.
 
And then I got hurt, and life was never the same. I still try to maintain my independence, try to do it on my own, but in the last three years I've come to accept that's not always the case. I struggle to maintain my independence now, and to be strong, especially for my son. But it's so frustrating to not be able to open something as simple as a jar of peanutbutter, or to watch my cup of tea slip through my fingers because my hand says it's holding it, but in truth it's not.
 
Your coworkers, like my family, are trying to be incredibly supportive and helpful; they want to let you know they're there for you, and that it's okay to ask for help. At least they're not ignoring you or avoiding you, and your attempts to maintain your fierce independance probably makes them admire your strength and tenacity. Maybe you need to talk to a few of them though, or one person you're comfortable with higher up. Let them know as much as you feel comfortable, but also enough so that there's no room for making up their own conclussions. By doing this you can also help remove that health gap, and some of the mother henning. You can also request kindly that while the help offers are comforting to know your coworkers care if they could kindly stop unless you ask for help. Communication is always a good thing. And certainly you don't want to come to resent your coworkers. My exhusband always said my disability was okay by him, that he understood, that he was there for me, that he understood wht he was getting into by getting involved wiht me, and married to me. What a pack of lies that was. He was always on my case to stop being so independant and ask for help, and yet he never stepped up and took matters into his own hand. An example, he'd rant on me about asking for help to take care of our combined three boys in the morning, but he wouldn't get up to take care of them, whining about work and being tired; I never got to sleep in, let's put it that way. I was being stubborn in not asking for help, and yes, I probably was, but he hated when I put myself in pain even though I had tried to explain to him (and give him material to read as well) about my condition, and how I have to put myself in pain, to fight against my condition. All he saw was me being stupid, putting myself in pain, and then he'd pay the price for it later when he couldn't hold me at night. "You need to stop putting yourself in pain, because it's getting in the way of my happiness!" So much for understanding.
 
Now I certainly doubt that's what's going on with your coworkers. I was merely using it as reference point in my life for how I do understand how frustrating it is to feel like others are smothering you with help and taking your independence from you, or at least, that it may feel like that. Just remember, they don't know your situation, but they mean well.... they obviously care about you. But if they knew more then they wouldn't treat you like a chinadoll, and some of the offers to help might ease up a bit.
 
Also Jeff, the thoughest thing you'll learn, well the two toughtest things, are being able to ask for help. It's tough. If you're like me and pride yourself on your independance, you don't want to ask for help, but believe me, there are days when it's easier to ask for help then to suffer in your pain and frustration. The second thing is a lesson I haven't learned yet, but that I have been told is one I need to learn, and that is to cry in public. I have a hard enough time crying infront of my family and close friends, even my boyfriend has not seen me cry, though he's seen me pretty darn close on more then one ocassion. But when my pain gets so bad I don't always have the option to hide in the bathroom or my bedroom and cry, or sit in my car and weep in frustration over yet again something I can no longer do. I need to let it go, and let it out. I guess it's acceptance, and there is still a part of me that doesn't want to accept that this is my new life. Just call me Cleopatra, cause I'm the queen of De-Nial. tongue
 
Just remember your true friends are here for you, and you can rant at us when ever you need to. Nothing good ever comes from bottling up your emotions. And you're always welcome to drop me an email and talk if you want to. *hugs* I've probably forgotten a bunch of stuff I wanted to say, but lately my mind has been pure swiss cheese, so forgive me I'm not trying to be a knuckle dragging neanderthal, or an insensitive cretin. I'm just another person trying to cope with my pain, my life changes, and takeing it one day at a time.
 
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant

desert
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/7/2011 3:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rhaevin. I was just on my way back here this morning to delete this message. I was more than a bit tired when I wrote it last night and didn't have my usual filters on. But then I saw the wonderful reply you wrote. It really is comforting to have a person who does understand. It was so helpful to read your post. Thank you.

-Jeff

Rhaevin
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/8/2011 12:55 AM (GMT -6)   
You're very welcome, Jeff.
 
You know I'm always here if you need someone to talk to. :-)

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 3/8/2011 1:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeff,

There's no way I can offer such a wonderful words of wisdom that Rhaevin has but I do want to offer you a shoulder to lean and cry on whenever you need one. These shoulders are so broad that they reach all the way from Colorado to Washington state! How's that for a set of broad shoulders to lean on?...lol

Seriously, Jeff, I feel that you might be over-stressing on the situation but not over-reacting. I'm sure you know what I mean. It's hard on your body and even harder on your pain. I do know the stresses and burdens that programmers deal with. Hubby has been programming over 35 years and loves it but some days the users make him crazy! shocked smhair I do have concerns about how your manager and others are treating you. There are some things that just aren't allowed and it seems to me they are on the edge, but I don't know which side they are on. I would question that they have the right to block out time in the middle of a project for your 'illnesses, just in case' without talking to you about it. You might think of talking to your HR department but if that is uncomfortable you can always get information from your state department of labor and employment. Inquire about what your company can and can't do in these situations. I know they can help some because my hubby is a programmer for them in our own state. smilewinkgrin Here's a link for your state. I do hope it helps...

Please keep in touch. There are a lot of people out here already who care a great deal about you and that you are doing well. You've poked your head into domain...lol..and we've pulled you on in to the family.

Warm hugs,
Chutzie

www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDLE-Main/CDLE/1240336821467
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." Albert Einstein

desert
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/8/2011 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chutz. Thanks for responding as well. I want to believe that I've been both over-stressing and over-reacting to the situation.

Yesterday things were going great. It looks like a good friend may come back to work at our company specifically because they need someone who could bridge the gap if I had to be out for a while and with the restrictions they put on the job and how quickly they'd want someone to be effective there was no other way it could be done. That took me only a minute or so to prove to them :-). Not a bad silver lining.

Unfortunately I found out more through what I like to call my spy network, which is actually just asking anyone I feel like around the office since I am friends with everyone in general and they know that I am trustworthy. So it turns out that the producer (the owner is officially my only direct supervisor, but the producer is a manager of everyone in the office except the owner) has been asking those programmers around me how they think my health has been effecting my performance. And here's the kicker: He's asking them every day. That is definitely making me feel more uncomfortable again. Especially because of the frequency.

Our two HR reps are good friends of mine so know about the issues I've had with the producer already, but I think I better talk with them about this new information as well. I don't want to make this out to be any bigger than it is, but I also don't want to be caught unawares or unprepared if this producer is doing things he shouldn't be. And really, if he is planning anything more than trying to predict the schedule, he is overstepping his bounds.

I think you are right though, Chutz. It may be time that I ask my HR reps to take a look at exactly what is or isn't allowed. Just in case I end up in a situation where that information is needed. Being friends, I believe I can ask them that question without raising flags or starting a process I don't want to. We shall see. And thank you for the link, I haven't been able to find anything yet, but Internet research is one of my favorite past times :-).

Really, I just wish this producer would be open and honest with me. His cloak and dagger methods are not hiding anything from me really. They're just adding extra stress to my life, which if anything would come of it at all it would only be more scheduling woes for him. I've sat down with him and told him this, but I can only do the telling, I cannot force him to listen.

Just being able to talk about this is very helpful. And you've both been able to put the situation into a better state of mind for me to process and deal with. Thank you.

-Jeff

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 3/8/2011 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Jeff,

    I hope you are doing okay today. You have had a hard time these past few weeks and it seems work is only making matters worse. *hugg*

      I notice you were upset when people are wanting to do things for you. I run into this quite a bit. So I just say, "No, thanks so much though! If I need help can I come and get you?". That way you have politely addressed concerns and fully closed the matter all in 2 sentences. :-)   If you have a group of folks "ganging up" on your, just say, "Thanks so much you guys! It is important that complete tasks that I am able to do. If I find myself between a rock and a hard spot I will let you know right away.". I know they mean well, but for whatever reason you are the "problem at the moment" for all your co-workers and supervisors. That will only change when someone else in the office has something they can all fixate on. Until then you just need to show appreciation for considerations and fully close the conversations as quickly as possible.

     The first thing that bothered me the most was when you talked about your direct supervisors making "adjustment" on a "What if.." scenario, then making your health matters "public". It is a big no, no. It borders on discrimination. I am not being dramatic either. Event though everyone is your friends and you have worked with for years... talk about your general health isn't allowed.

        ....your supervisor... It is not appropriate for him to be asking your co workers daily how you are feeling. Since he is fishing for reasons to shift your tasks to someone else.. my only suggestion would be to get to work a bit early. Stop by his office. Ask how he is doing. Tell him how you are doing. Every morning. Take a small cup of coffee with you. He wont have a reason inquire about your health amongst your friends. In less than 5 minutes time you will have made your work day infinitely easier.

    Speaking of friends. Once you make it a point to "check-in" in the mornings.. let your friends know that there is no reason for them to respond to the supervisor with anything other than, "I think he's OK. Ask him."  :-)   Its important that they understand where the personal and professional line is drawn. If they do not or are not able to keep the line drawn.... Then you may have to put on your best game face and "check-in" with them too each morning or lunch hour too.

    It is going to be a very hard tasks to begin to balance things out again. With a few statements and couple extra minutes here and there you should be able to stamp out the fire that is brewing.

     I am so sorry your sleeping so little. That makes a hard day twice as long and twice as hard. Will you get an opportunity to see your doctor again soon? Without everyone in the office knowing? If you can manage it, get your sleep meds reassessed.

*hugg*
   dani


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Chronic Pain Moderator
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desert
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 3/9/2011 5:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dani. Today has been interesting. I seem to have moved on from essentially no sleep to sleeping well one to two nights at a time. While it is an improvement and I feel better for it, it is still not ideal. It was nice to arrive back at work on Monday with at least some of my energy reserves restored and I think that helped to restore some confidence from my coworkers.

I talked with HR this morning. They instructed me, much like you have said, that my health is a private matter and that I should let my coworkers know that they are not supposed to answer or conjecture about my health to the producer and should instead let them know that they should tell him to ask me. They also suggested that since I am worried about the possibility of a mandatory medical leave of absence (which is what they called it), that I should be keeping records of what is happening. They also are going to look into the specific limits in Colorado on what they can force me to do versus just ask.

I also really like your idea of talking with my producer each morning. Removing his need to ask my coworkers. I think I'm going to run it by HR first though since they advised me that I should be very protective of my own health information and not volunteer information. Because that avoids me accidentally giving them any kind of permission to consider my health.

I wish I had not let things go as far as they have. It would be a much smaller fire to extinguish. Oh well, what's past is done.

Thank you for the concern about my sleep. It's just been another thing in my way recently. I find the confusion to be more annoying than the fatigue really. Typing messages I have to go over them several times because I keep throwing in odd words or replacing words with phonetically similar ones. I'm not one for taking medication without great need. Usually by the time I'll take otc meds I've left their effectiveness far behind. I've been prescribed vicodin and take chamomile as well to try and help, maybe that's why I'm getting more sleep than I was. I was expecting a lot more from the vicodin considering what people who've taken it after surgeries have expressed to me. I've been reluctant to go back to the doctor again. I know that I should, though. I wonder if lack of sleep is what is preventing my leg from healing up. They told me it might take 3-4 weeks to heal, but it's still bleeding slowly but significantly over two weeks later. I've just been focusing on waiting for the 16th to see the surgeon. I really want to have some idea what my time is going to look like in the near future, not just for work. Oh well, things are all going to work out I imagine.

-Jeff
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