So the other day my supervisor asked me why I was at work when I wasn't well. I explained that when you have a chronic illness you have a new baseline of 'well' and 'not well.'
My thought process over 'can I go to work' goes something like this.
1) Am I in pain?
No - I haven't not been in pain for about 16 years, so my first point of call would be to check whether I have a pulse. If I don't and I'm dead, probably don't go to work. If I do, I'm still not in pain, and have established that I'm not paralysed or dreaming - don't go to work. A miracle has occurred - celebrate.
Yes - go to question 2
2) Is the pain so bad that I can't get out of bed/fall over as soon as I get out of bed?
Yes - don't go to work
No - go to question 3
3) Is the pain so bad that I can't walk/get stuck in a chair as soon as I sit down?
Yes - don't go to work
No - go to question 4
4) Am I so depressed about the pain that I am unable to concentrate/am constantly bursting into tears? ie am I going to be a distraction to others at work?
Yes - decide whether I can get this under control i.e. will a nice relaxing couple of hours, perhaps filled with chocolate, a walk and a bath possibly make me feel better? If no, don't go to work, if yes, try these things then reassess.
No - go to question 5
5) Am I any kind of contagious sick?
Yes - don't go to work, my work mates will not appreciate me spreading my bugs.
No - go to question 6
6) Am I some kind of sick that is not pain and not contagious? ie nauseous from medication, ulcers, dizzyness or general out of sorts-ness.
Yes - Is this a long term or short term thing? If short term, it's probably OK to miss a couple of days work, if long term, I'm going to at some point have to go to work with it. Decide whether this will be a distraction to other people/will other people end up having to look after me - if so don't go to work.
No - Go to work
This thought process sometimes changes when things I haven't thought of pop up and I have to factor them in to my decision making process and of course, this is only my physical wellness can I go to work flowchart. I have a whole other one for my mental health.
So basically, it's not as simple as 'am I well/am I sick?' There are so many degrees that sometimes I don't judge it right. Sometimes I will go to work and feel absolutely awful and have to go home. Other times I will stay home and later realise, maybe I would have been OK at work.
I'm really lucky that I have a supportive work who understand this.
The important thing is, only I can make this decision. The best way is to trust myself, and trust my instincts.
Little Miss Autoimmune