So, as we all know, there is a pandemic at the moment. As someone with a chronic illness (and as someone whose partner has active asthma), I am concerned. I don’t want to catch coronavirus and I certainly don’t want my partner catching it. If we did, it would be extremely serious for us both.
I work for the NHS and so am classified as a key worker (as is my partner). Where he can work from home, I can not. I am currently at home due to an IBD flare-up (which I’ll get into in a bit), but I will eventually need to go back to work. The thing is, even though my work’s Occupational Health has advised I stay away from patient interaction, my job is patient-facing, so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to do when I do go back. And on top of that, what if I pick up coronavirus on my way home or from an asymptomatic colleague? There’s not a lot I can do other than opt to self-isolate. This will have to be something I discuss with my manager when I return to work.
As for the flare-up, it started about three weeks ago. We had just got back from the Netherlands and I was starting to experience stomach cramps. I put this down to having tensed during the flights as I dislike flying, namely take-off and turbulence. I thought they’d go away after a bit but no, they kept getting worse. Two weeks ago, it got to a point where I was having to sit down because I would get nauseous if I was stood for too long. That’s when the fatigue began to set in, to a point that my colleagues where starting to notice. They would tell me that I didn’t look well and that I should go home. I didn’t want to. The fact is, I haven’t been at this job for a year yet and my probation period had already been extended due to two instances of sickness (both of which I was hospitalised). If I called in sick, that would be three instances within the first nine months of my employment and I didn’t want to risk losing my job (despite all the reassurances from my colleagues to the contrary).
Come Friday of that week, and I am feeling awful. Thankfully, Friday afternoons are quiet for me at work so I didn’t have to do a lot. I decided I would use the weekend to rest and evaluate my condition Monday morning. I think they saw it coming as my manager was not surprised when I called in. I was signed off for two weeks. That two weeks is almost up and, unfortunately, I am not feeling much better. If anything, the pain is worse. I’ll be speaking to my GP again Monday to extend my sick note. It sucks but I have been advised by my GI to stay at home if I am experiencing flare symptoms. Hopefully, things will settle down soon and I’ll feel well enough to return to work.
Anyway, to everyone who reads this, whether you have a chronic illness or not, stay safe.