Monday, June 14, 2010

Working with Ulcerative Colitis

I've quit my job.

It's an attempt to minimize the stress in my life.

My husband and I thought taking care of a toddler and a newborn would be enough for me to handle without workplace pressures. We're trying to keep my stress low to avoid a flare-up.

So I quit. Problem is now our finances are a lot tighter...which ironically is stressful. I'm trying not to think about it.

So instead, here are some memories of what it was like working during a period of time (we're talking several years) when I had a flare-up.

It would be nice to think if you were not feeling well that you could just call in sick. But when you don't feel well pretty much every day, sometimes you just have to go to work. My co-workers all knew I was sick, pretty much anyone that ever used the bathroom at my work knew I was sick. But my customers didn't.

In my job, I had my own office where I would meet with my customers. Unfortunately, sometimes I would really, really have to use the bathroom while I was meeting with them. I always gave them some excuse for why I had to leave. I would smile and say, "Oh, I need to go make some copies, please excuse me a moment." And then when I was two feet out the door, my smile would disappear and I would make a dash for the bathroom.

Sometimes when I got back, I would immediately feel that special feeling that tells you you just aren't quite done yet. "Whoops! I think I left one of the pages in the copy machine, I'll be right back!" Another sprint down the hall.

And if, later during our meeting, another urgent feeling would strike then, "My pen seems to be dying. I'm so sorry. Let me just run to our supply room." (This once back-fired on me when one of my clients once whipped out a pen. "Hee, hee...Gee, thanks...Did I say I needed a pen? I meant a...pencil..." If anything my Ulcerative Colitis kept my mental faculties sharp.)

Were my customers on to me? I don't know. How long does it take to make photo copies? (Especially long since not only did I have to use the bathroom but then I also had to make said photo copies). If anyone suspected anything, they kindly didn't say so.

I really don't like lying.

But I wonder how many of my clients would have preferred hearing, "I've got the runs. I know I just barely used the bathroom, but I've got to go again and if I don't go right now, you'll probably see it running down my legs in just a few seconds."

Later, my office was moved to a floor without a bathroom. How convenient. Using the bathroom, which I did probably 20 times a day, then involved running down a flight of stairs. Or should I say jumping down a flight of stairs.

Now that I've quit, I'm going to have to come up with a new exercise regiment.


  1. I am with you. All that stuff you have to do hide the embarrassment / truth.

    I know - I've been there. Imagine standing in front of a seminar of undergraduates and . . . . 40 seconds . . . . 30 seconds . . . . etc.

    That makes you think on your feet.

    Exercise was always good for me, but I worked on the principle that "an empty bottle cannot spill" So I did not eat before the gym.

    Similarly if I was filming there would be NO FOOD until hunger would get the better of me.

    I think your plan sounds good.

    Get off the escalator and have relaxing time.

    Good luck.


  2. Arkayeff-

    I can't imagine being in a seminar in front of a group of people and being sick! That would be awful!

    Good idea with the exercise and not eating...that's the thing with this illness, there are just so many ways to be embarassed!

  3. Hey, once the baby is a bit bigger, you should look into working from home or do you really need to be face to face with your customers?

    Congrats on #2 :D ... I hope life brings you smiles everyday :D

  4. Hi, I like your excuses for leaving the room suddenly :) Quitting one's job would be tough, but it sounds like the right thing for now. Taking care of a toddler and newborn would definitely be enough to handle! I also decided not to apply for work this summer, because I need some time to regroup, relax, and hope for remission.

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  6. Hoping you are OK.
    Are you doing any exercise stuff?