Any chronic disease itself is a big problem to tackle and when it comes topped with workplace pressure it becomes almost a tragedy in one’s life. Attack of a disease like Asthma which can strike the patient at any moment, when this happens at workplace he must be ready to deal with it. I have encountered many incidents personally where I ran out of breaths while in office and had to take some time off to become normal again. These incidents were my lessons which taught me that I must be fully prepared to combat an attack even at the workplace.
John Bradley, who pioneers chronic disease management and is a patient himself, throws light about the not so much talked about chronic disease management at any workplace and gives in some very useful tricks and tips to strategize and manage the disease smartly at your workplace.
Let experiences be your teacher
Each patient suffering from the disease is different from others and their experiences with the disease are different because of each body functions and respond differently. I suffered through a time frame whereby I in my mind let the diseases’ negativity control and influence my thoughts and actions. Sometimes dealing with the illness along with all the work pressure took the very life out of my body and leaving me so exhausted that I had to take a good dose of sleep for quite some time to be able to function again. This is an important thing to learn, depending upon the requirements of your body and work schedule, the breaks and your daily work should be planned in a manner that the body receives adequate rest and the maximum efficiency can be obtained from the day.
Planning the unplanned
The most challenging part is that planning and preparing for the attack of an illness which may happen suddenly anytime. There are times when I live completely normal even forgetting about the disease I suffer from. Then again there are some days where the attack is so severe that in those moments it feels somewhat like death. While dealing with a disease like Asthma, it is important to be well prepared and equipped on all days. I took my time to figure out what works best for me on days when I have those attacks, sometimes I prefer on taking a day off whereas sometimes I choose to sit back at home and work, depending upon the severity of the attack as well as the work responsibilities.
The most important thing in this entire process is to know that Asthma is a disease which is not going to completely go away from my life. The work-life balance with this disease is like multi-tasking, deciding what to prioritize when and most of the times trying to figure out a midway to balance. An important aspect is again considering those career options in which you see growth keeping in mind your health situations. The only certain aspect of the disease is its uncertain and unknown attacks and every decision is to be made keeping this in mind.
Implementing the plans
Once all the mental calculations have been done giving due importance to both health and career, it is the time to find ways to make those plans be a success for you. It must be made sure only the essential information about your disease must be given to the employer or any colleague. Once anyone at workplace knows more than he should about your Asthma, there are high chances that he may stop seeing you as an employee or a peer and start looking at you with pity as a mere patient. It is very important to draw a line where to stop giving out information about your disease so that your disease does not become your identity and does not over-shadow your capabilities and professional competency.
You should persuade and convince your employer to provide you with an accommodation which is not very far and does not bring you troubles to commute. This conversation with the employer must be initiated and carried out in a way that he must realize that this accommodation would help you be more efficient.
Your outlook and perspective towards your disease would decide how others look at you. If you believe that your disease is your weakness which cannot be overcome at if you pity yourself, all you get in return from others is sympathy and pity. The respect at any work-place as a peer cannot be expected if you do not work at developing tactics to be a successful employee at the workplace and not just an Asthma patient.
Thus conclusively, it is you who must set your goals-whether it is giving both your career and health due attention and manage both or giving complete attention to your health and work only on a part-time basis and accordingly, take steps to achieve that goal.
For more information contact our Severe Asthma Clinic.