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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Gabrielle reflects how when taking sick leave she considers a number of implications beyond how ill she is, including the consequences for her team as well her possible future needs.

It's confusing, because my colleagues are really nice. Like if I said "I feel really terrible", I don't think anyone would blame me. It's just - I mean, the other issue is of course having - knowing I'm going to need surgery soon. What I don't want to do is use up my sick time in advance. So it's that balance of how, how bad do I feel? [Laughing] Like do I feel bad enough to maybe take a day off my sick leave, when I'm going to need a month of soon? So I tend - with the MS, like usually I'm struggling myself through that, because I know that I have to take a month off. And that's why I think it might be useful for people with chronic illnesses, if there's just an extra small bank of sick leave that they know they can take. So if they just need a day, it's available. Whereas I just don't really feel like I should take any time. And I just don't want to make anyone else's life harder, as well.

Which - I think it must be extremely challenging for colleges. And I know it's challenging for me, to deal with the constantly changing health conditions. Like I can't even - Someone who has to deal with it physically, I can barely explain it. So, trying to explain that to my supervisor in such a way that it would make sense is very, very difficult. So usually I don't, I just come to work, [laugh] no matter how bad I'm feeling.

It was nice to articulate something I've been feeling for a while, is always feeling like you have to work, when you have a chronic illness. Or it's really feeling that you have to work twice as hard as everyone else, because you're eventually going to have to take sick leave. So to make yourself an important employee, and sort of a vital employee. Often feel like you have to work so much harder to make up for the stuff that's inevitably going to come up in the future. And it's something I need to reassess [laugh], in terms of - is that really the right attitude to have? I'm not sure. But it's, it's certainly one I've felt since the diagnosis.