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How To Tell Co-workers Of Dysautonomia?


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Hi all,

I started a part time job, most i work in a day is 6 hrs, like three or four times a week. I haven't told anyone of the POTS/NCS/OI issues, just that i get migraines and daily headaches. How do you approach a topic like what may happen and what to do? I don't pass out, thank goodness but i do get dizzy a lot. I'm testing the waters to see if i can work, ect. The owner isn't back from TX, i have never met her. I work with four to five different people. Somedays i will be alone in the back while the other gal is up at the desk, which I move at my own pace and of course there is plenty of places to sit down.

I don't want them to freak out when i tell them but i don't want them to freak out if something happened (heaven forbid).

Tips?

thanks

susie

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Be careful about how you share information. The less you say, the better.

If you are worried that people won't know what to do in an emergency, get a Medic-Alert bracelet. The ambulance people will find it. http://www.medicalert.com/home/Homegradient.aspx

There are only really two reasons for telling anyong anything. One is to prevent people from jumping to the conclusion that you have a substance abuse disorder. (I look hung over on a bad day, and it is worse in the morning.) The other is if you need some special accommodation, as in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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I agree one hundred percent Thomas...Most people look at you and only see someone who looks normal. Try to tell them different and you get all kinds of looks and remarks behind your back....Only those who need to know...and then sometimes you need to be forceful....do not take no for an answer to some special need...I have asked for one thing and had to be very determined to get that. Its a wonderful life....

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How well do you trust your co-workers? Information about medical conditions can be easily used to manipulate situations and wreck the patient's work life. That is why medical information is heavily regulated and protected. I guard mine until I know people quite well. Even then I've found regret for my disclosure.

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Do you actually go to the hospital often or have attacks when you need assistance? Do you have a friend or family member that you could call if this happens? I'm not sure I feel as strongly as some of the others about not telling, but you should tell only if you have a good reason and you really think they need to know in order for your safety. From your post I couldn't tell whether that was the case. The migraines would explain your not feeling well from time to time. If they don't actually need to know any more than this, maybe it makes sense to wait for a few months, so that you can see how things go and get to know your co-workers.

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I would keep to yourself and stay away from sharing info with coworkers. You don't know how they will react, some may have no sympathy and use that information to their advantage which could be trouble for you. I've never told anyone of my condition and I've been working at the same company 18 years.

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Wow, you guys must work in a much tougher work environment than me. That wouldn't be hard to do since I work in such a small place. I am being open with people because I can't work right now and they needed a reason. I also am quite open with people in town. One day I was walking unsteady and an aquaintance yelled out of her car "did you have too many already?" I don't even drink! I look wierd when I am potsy and it I need people to not think I am ignoring them or on drugs or drinking after my kids get dropped off at school. Follow you instincts and if they tell you to keep things quiet than maye you should. Good luck!

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I have not told anyone yet, just that i was home tutored thru HS, for a chronic illness, to which i said "I'm recovering". I did NOT go into details and probably won't. The one co-worker trys to blame others for her mistakes and the owner won't fire her, altho her son tired to when she was in TX. :( I just keep busy, do what i'm told, and don't agrue.

I wear a medicalert bracelet.

thanks

susie

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I generally tell anyone if I'm going to be around them for any specific period of time...but I pass out constantly, so people tend to call ambulances WAAAY too much. I would probably only tell them if you thought they needed to know what to do if something worse than normal happened.

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I have never passed out, I get dizzy and fall down sometimes, but that hasn't happened since July 06, so im not too worried. Maybe in time once i get to know them more, and i have been there more than a week, i will start to open up more.

I just don't want to screw this job up, it's not the best job in the world but i love it already. :(

thanks guys

susie

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Not all the works are the same, not all the co-workers are of the same kind... Even though, I would be careful with who you are going to share such an important information.

Doctors, ambulances, etc. know how to act if they were called.

Co-workers do not need to talk about your "disease". It will probably become more negative than positive to share it. They will try to take advantage of it for their own benefit.

I know, it is sad. But that?s how most part of them will behave if you tell them.

Maybe you could tell them part of the true, but not all. Maybe if you mention having a low blood pressure sometimes... Just to explain being dizzy, etc...

But the less, the better.

Take care,

Love,

Tessa

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If you do decide to share your medical information, I would minimize it by keeping the explanation very simple like saying that you get dizzy if you stand up too long. I would emphasize that it is not a degenerative disease (does not get worse with time), and that it is not anything life threatening.

The biggest thing is to show that the illness does not stop you from doing your job. That is really the only thing that most bosses care about.

If you do complain too much, and give your health as a reason for not being able to complete tasks, be aware that a lot of bosses will just want to get rid of us.

I speak from learning the hard way.

Karyn

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Congrats on returning to work!

I've always taken the path of telling people on a need to know basis. For example, at one of my previous jobs there were a lot of stairs, as we worked in an old building. My boss loved to take the stairs and I had to tell her something to explain why I would rather walk all the way to the other end of the building to take the elevator. When I did share, I simply said, I have a heart issue and don't do well with the stairs. No one has ever asked me to elaborate.

I agree with Karyn that bosses just want to know that you can do the job. I also don't want to be identified as a "sick" person at my job. I like to show that I can do the job, and then later if they do find out I have health issues, I'm still seen as a capable person who just has extra hurdles in life.

Hope everything works out for you :-)

Pam

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I'm in my 7th week of a new job and I've kept my POTS quiet like for the most part. That was until recently we had a fire alert and we were all sent to the assembly point to line up. After about standing for about 10-15mins max or so I started to get the uncomfortable feeling and there was a chair in the hallway I grabbed that and sat down. Few people including my boss gads looked at me strangely. I quietly explained I have low blood pressure and standing in one spot for a period of time makes me feel uneasy so I was just taking preventative measures. They all went into feinting stories and forgot about me soon enough and my boss was happy that I was happy having a sit down job which is perfect for me.

Mind you at the time of interview for the job I did not mention POTS at all. I needed every chance possible to get that job and I did not want to risk it.

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Guest tearose

I have found that once you say something...most people only hear the "worst" and figure we are a risk/potential problem. Liability.

I am interviewing now for jobs and I clearly see the reaction when I mention something vs. not mentioning. I have decided to take a sitting mat with me to interviews and not to take my seat cane. I plan on doing like mattsmum and not saying anything unless I become symptomatic and need to sit.

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Thanks, I do agree if i can handle the job, and plus there is NO stairs anywhere in the building. YAY! I won't say a thing, migraines is enough information for now. I don't want them to think I'm making excuses.

Oh one more thing, if they ask if i want to work more on the one day but i don't feel well enough, how you do handle it? I want to say, "I would love to but I need to get home for something" would that be okay to say.

Currently I work from 2 days a week to four, which isn't bad, mornings are rough tho....i love afternoons. ;)

Susie

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Plenty of options:

You have to take care of your Oma... You are studying...

The most important thing is to know your excuse in advance. This way you will always have the perfect answer ready, but do not forget, to answer the same excuse to your co-workers...

Love,

Tessa

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I told one person- when I first got the job- so he could avert a panic when I collasped. Which I did. It scares some people. Now everybody knows and we laugh, the boss tells me to clock out before I collaspe and clock in when I get up. We have a good laugh.

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Thanks guys, I think tommorow i will tell one of the co-workers, unless i chicken out. :rolleyes: They know i have headaches and am on medication, but honestly my POTS symptoms haven't affected my work. I know my limits and try NOT to push past them. It's just im scared on how they will react, yes i look normal, but my body isn't. :blink:

Susie

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