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Chronic illness often means deciding when you’re too sick to work

Posted Apr 28 2009 10:14pm

Do chronic illness symptoms - -multiple sclerosis, colitis, fibromylagia or cancer, fill in the blank  — crop up when you least expect them? Doesn’t it always seem to happen when there’s that big presentation at work or a major meeting requiring a plane flight and overnight stay? Or maybe it’s a regular day at work but you’ve already been out a few days this month?

I came back from a trip to San Francisco late last night.  Before we left, my back was very painful, allergies were acting up  and I had a stye in my eye.  And the 6 hour plane flight with the  3 hour time difference always leaves me exhausted.

Good news is that the flying went smoothly and no delays either way.  Although I have intensive work week, I”m pacing myself today. Didn’t schedule early client calls and could sleep later.  So  far, I feel fine.  Whew

Even though I work for myself, there are meetings and events and client coaching calls that I’m scheduled to “show up” for.  And just like an “employed” person, I can get sick. But just like any employed person,  I think carefully about canceling or not meeting deadlines.  Not only do I lose money for lost  “billable” hours.  More importantly, people who hire me  need to know that I’m reliable.

Which leads me to wonder:  How do I make decisions about when to work or not when my health is concerned? Although self employment was discussed  in my book, Women Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend!,  I didn’t  address this issue.

But reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s  blog post,  How Do You Know When You’re Too Sick To Work:  The Freelancer’s Guide To Illness, I realized that I treat  myself asmy toughest and fairest supervisor would have - had I been fortunate to have such a being!


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