Saturday, March 28, 2009

To Work or Not to Work

I currently work outside the home. I've had my current job, Office Manager for a Chiropractic Clinic, since late August 2006. To say I love it would be a lie, but I certainly don't hate it. It is part-time (Monday, Wednesday, and half-day Thursday), mentally challenging, and full of surprises, but I'm good at it and I make enough to pay my bills. Though the job is no walk in the park, I have mastered it. Basically, I sit at my desk, I answer the phone, I greet and take care of patients, I manage finances, I do a healthy amount of typing and keeping records, and I smile. That is grossly simplified, and trust me, it's not as easy as it sounds. There are definite days when I come home and want to pull my hair out, but I'm good at my job and can do it with chaotic ease.

Well, I could until the MS hit hard, now I can barely make it to lunch before my brain is done for the day. On a good day, all I have is fatigue and leg pain. But I haven't had a good day since last year. On most days, my head feels like it's being squeezed and my eyes go in and out of focus. My brain vibrates inside my head and my fingers don't hit the right keys unless I watch my right index finger hit each individual key. My memory will disappear and I'll have to look up information that I should know without second thought (like the office phone number). I have a hard time recalling words, forming sentences, and following verbal requests. And that's just what I can think of right now.

Needless to say, working successfully is practically impossible now. Even if I make it through the entire day, there is no guarantee that I completely all the tasks I laid out for myself or that I will be any good the next day. In fact, the symptoms have been so bad that I rarely make it through the whole day and usually head home early and spend the night trying to rest up.

This routine is getting harder on me. I am not bouncing back overnight and have been spending my days off feeling like I'd just worked a full shift. I can't take this for much longer and really just need a few weeks to rest and recuperate. Unfortunately, this isn't possible at my current job. Well, it isn't possible or practical for me to take a few weeks and still be paid, and I have to earn money.

So now what? Well, I'm thinking about going on disability. I didn't think this was in my near future, but I am losing my ability to work and I need to recuperate. If I take this option, I will be able to rest and also have some income to help pay rent and bills. This would kill our plans for getting out of debt, but may mean more possibilities for working in the future. There are programs out there that help people with disabilities find work at home jobs, so that could also be an option for supplementing income. Someone suggested hiring an attorney to help me sort through the mountains of paperwork, but I haven't started researching that yet.

What I do know is that I can't kept going the way I am for much longer. I will never feel better if I kept pushing myself past my limits and trying to work when my brain doesn't want to. We'll see what happens.

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