The occupation I chose before my epilepsy (complex partial petit mals) started was Ultrasound. The job included overtime, carrying a beeper, and knowing you were going to be called back sometime during the night. Anyone who has seizures knows that you don’t drive. Driving was part of the job description.
Living thirty minutes away from your job was hard. Having someone drop you off and pick you up around their schedule and not yours. It got hard watching people leave work before you, when you punched out before them. Your ride was caught in traffic or had to work overtime. Oh, they also had to drive me back to work when I was on call. Finally after fighting with doctors notes and telling them to move me to another department, they said ok to no overnight call. BUT, I had new hours. I had to work a new second shift. That got old. I had no time with my daughter.
Finally I found another job. I was still doing ultrasound. No matter what, I told the supervisor about my epilepsy. I didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot not wanting to take call. “No problem,” he said, “You won’t be taking call for a while if any because you will be learning new protocol, and the other employees like the extra money.”
After six years there I had to work extra hours on Saturdays. This was to make up for no overnight call. Finally, I found a job posted for weekends! There were no nights, no call, just days! The schedule was twelve hours on Friday, twelve hours on Saturday, and twelve hours on Sunday! I even got paid for forty hours. Finally I wouldn’t have to worry about telling the supervisor that I had epilepsy.
Little did I know that I would have to work a night shift and also be on call to come in if someone called in sick! WAIT, this was not on the job description! Now I had to tell the supervisor about my epilepsy. Human Resources and Employee Health knew about it. I didn’t tell her because I didn’t have to work nights.
BOY WAS SHE MAD!! My life at work turned into hell. After she found out, she broke the rules. She told my coworker about my epilepsy! I was next door and heard it all! Did she not understand the EEO and the ADA? She only got wrote up!! After a few weeks of finding anything that they could fire me for, they did. The only bad thing about NC, is it is a right to fire state.
I can thank her now. I used to talk to patients about epilepsy. Now, I talk to as many people that read this or follow me.
We’ve come a long way, but there is still further to go. I didn’t know my supervisor would be ignorant.