Lupus and working- the struggle continues
I write this with a heavy heart and frazzled mind. For those of you who have read my posts, you know that I have had a difficult time dealing with my workplace, particularly regarding my decision to raise and train my own service dog.
The irony being that I work for a center for independent living; the one workplace I thought would be understanding. Was I ever wrong! I did not expect, nor want sympathy from my boss and coworkers. I did expect acceptance and respect . What I got was coworkers who flat out told me they didn't understand why I THINK I need a service dog and a boss who said that I don't need a service dog, I need a walker and that a service dog couldn't do what I needed him to do! He is not a doctor, nor is he an expert of any kind except perhaps an expert on ignorance . He also said that he didn't want a dog in the office. He knows that legally he can't deny me having a service dog, however he does have a history of bullying and I am no exception to his wrath.
Karma is now 4 1/2 months old. He is coming along beautifully in his training. He does have a few years of intensive training to go before he can be considered a full fledged service dog, but in the meantime he is considered a "service dog in training" and afforded the same rights and privileges as a full fledged service dog. To talk to my coworkers one would think I was planning on brining in a Tasmanian devil on a leash! I assure you that karma is not a wild animal, he is better behaved than a lot of people I know.
All of this, not surprising, has exacerbated my lupus adding to the frustration. It has gotten so bad that at one point I was starting to question myself. Am I really sick? Do I really need a service dog? So I took some time out and I reflected on my life. I thought about how my life was before lupus and how it has been since. I reflected on the progression of the disease, of the changes it has forced me to make in my life. Yes I thought about what lupus has taken away from me. I thought about how lupus has affected my quality of life. And I thought about the conversations I've had with doctors, friends, service dog trainers and my husband who has been on the front lines of my lupus battle. All stated that yes, a service dog would positively affect my quality of life. My husband in particular appreciates the thought that karma will help me with my mobility and if he can't stop me from falling, at least cushion the fall, help me back up and bark for help of necessary. We've just begun exploring all the ways karma will be an asset for me. Yet, because of my boss's and coworkers comments and attitudes, I almost gave up. That angers me so much! That I allowed them to make me feel that way.
I have a coworker who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. She and I have talked and we agreed that in some ways she has it easier than I in the respect that hers is a visible disease therefore forcing people to accept her Illness. Nobody hassles her or denies her requests when she need special accommodations .
The boss claims he "understands" Lupus since his mother and an aunt had it. If that is so, then why is he giving me such a hard time?
I just don't know how to deal with this.
"I'm going to get healthy or die trying"