Heartless Heathens

When Adriel passed the test to become a certified therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International, Matt and I were thrilled. We could not wait to share our little treasure with those who are really in need of a smile.

In the past three years, we have gone to so many different places and have met many wonderful people. My personal favorites are the local Kids’ Club and a center for Autistic boys. Their faces lit up when Adriel pranced into the room.

Unfortunately, while visiting a care center, I contracted C. Diff. This is probably the nastiest bug that I have EVER contracted. The C. Diff virus messes up the natural balance of bacteria in your colon. For me, this meant many frequent trips to the restroom coupled with extreme gas. Not the kind that you can smell, but the kind that you can hear rumbling around in your belly from across the room.

The first week that I was on medication to clear up the C. Diff was great. I was finally starting to feel like myself again. But the second week, I just wanted to die. Literally. I had to miss an entire week of work because not only was I running to the restroom, I also felt like I was going to throw up 24/7.

I spent the entire week sleeping and trying to eat. I would definitely say that this was the worst week of my entire life. Once the medication was done and over with, things seemed to go back to normal.

However, as my life became more stressful, the issue cropped back up. I was terrified that the C. Diff had returned. I deposited several stool samples at my doctor’s office to be tested. Each one came back negative. Whew!

So, if I didn’t have C. Diff again, what was the problem? My doctor did his best to cure me. He prescribed this disgusting orange powder to drink. It didn’t help. Finally, after dealing with this issue for 6 months, I was sent to a G.I. specialist.

A colonoscopy was soon scheduled. I must say, the prep work was the worst part. The actual procedure itself was a piece of cake. The doctor and his staff were fantastic. I waited patiently for the results. Then I got the call: normal!

To be completely sure, I had to have a second procedure done. This one involved swallowing a camera and being hooked up to a monitor that recorded the pictures that the camera took. Not painful at all. A bit weird, but no pain.

Yesterday, I received the call: normal again! While I am relieved to know that there is nothing serious going on, I am still having colon issues. So, the nurse scheduled me for another consultation next Friday, August 29th.

This is the busiest time of year at my job. So busy that we are not allowed to take time off during the entire month of August. I never thought of this as a big deal since I hardly ever take time off to do something fun. It is almost always a doctor’s appointment or a car repair.

I have always prided myself on making my appointments for the absolute latest time during the day. This way, I can save what little sick/vacation/personal time that I have. I also feel that this is the most respectful thing to do in regards to my employer.

The time off request slip was placed in my inbox. While the time was approved, the following note was written on the bottom of the slip:

“Lauren, please try not to schedule appointments for the month of August as we are not to approve any time off requests.”

I was shocked. Stunned. Livid! I was not asking to take the whole day off. I was asking for one measly hour. My appointment is at 3:30 p.m. I wanted to leave at 3:00 p.m. (and I work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). I could not believe that I was being chastised for trying to take care of my health.

Not to mention that next Friday is August 29th, the LAST DAY of August. Our crazy-busy time has already come and gone, and they know that. What was I supposed to tell the doctor and nurses who are trying to make me feel better? “I’m sorry. While I am still having horrible colon issues, I regret to inform you that my bosses do not care about my health and I will have to reschedule my appointment for some time in September.”

Needless to say, my work moral is officially shot. While I will continue to work with the same professional attitude and efficiency I always have, in my mind, I will simply be coming for the paycheck. I have lost all respect for my bosses. Knowing that they simply do not care about my health and well-being is crippling and I will never view them the same way again.

I do not understand why many jobs are treating their employees this way. My husband’s job expects the employees to be superhuman and to never get sick. While they accrue sick time, they are often penalized by their supervisor for using it. How can you perform at your best when you are not in good health? Not to mention that I have personally experienced getting sick from fellow co-workers who knew that they were too sick to come to work, but literally had no choice. Do the bosses not understand that allowing one sick employee to come to work has the potential to make ALL of their employees sick?

Additionally, more and more jobs seem to seek total control of their employee’s lives They do not care that their employees have lives outside of work. These people have families, pets, and hobbies. How can there be a balance between work and home when jobs are becoming so demanding?

Case in point, we were all required to work two 12 hour shifts and one weekend shift for the past two weeks. I worked my weekend shift and turned right around and worked my second 12 hour shift that following Monday. I did not really get a weekend. I had no time to catch up on sleep or relax. And I have felt exhausted for the remainder of the week.

Why does it have to be this way? Instead of being rewarded for our hard work and dedication, we are punished for being human and getting sick or for wanting to spend time with our spouses/family/friends. I truly wish that there was something that could be done, however, at this point, we all feel stuck. While we are somewhat lucky to have the jobs that we do, it is hard to work for an employer that you know does not care about you and does not view you as a fellow human being.

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