Time for a rant and a sort of stream of consciousness spilling of my guts. Not all thoughts may have been fully fleshed out. You have been warned...

Illustration for article titled What a year...

I knew something was afoot this afternoon when my supervisor actually left his office and logged into one of the dispatch workstations...

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Dealing with cancer and chemo has put a huge strain on me, mentally and physically, and perhaps my body still hasn’t fully recovered. Maybe it has, and this is just old age, but some days my head was pounding or I had a nasty cold (they seem to be getting worse as I age) and just couldn’t go into the office and be a productive member of the team. I didn’t want to call off, but it seemed the best for all parties in order to minimize the risk of additional infections. Yeah, I knew I was low on PTO time, but it seemed like the prudent thing to do, hoping that those in charge would be understanding. Hospital stays due to pulmonary embolisms didn’t help. Nor did my oncologist not helping me to get temporary disability when I was sick and in pain from the chemo - him telling me that I was healthy enough to work, not realizing what a stress factory I worked in. Perhaps I should have gone in on those days and let them haul me out in an ambulance, like they did to me back in 2016.

I thought I was getting enough PTO every month to cover the occasional needed reluctant day off, but I guess I wasn’t watching closely enough. The company has been trying to help get this covered under FMLA or a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, but apparently all avenues were closed. As a result they had to terminate me, effective today. Not for complaints (I get lots of compliments from customers and get along well with my [now former] co-workers), not for performance (my reviews are just fine and I was told that they were happy to have me as an employee) and not for attitude problems (despite my various challenges I maintain a positive attitude, loved going into work each day and was proud of the work I did and the organization I worked for).

I thought that this would be the job I’d retire from. I thought that this would be the one that had the stability to let me finally buy a house. Now everything is up in the air, yet again. There are upsides and downsides to working for a large bureaucracy, and rigid adherence to these types of attendance policies seems to be a serious downside. My bosses were quite apologetic at having to do this to me, and promised letters of recommendation and the like should I need them.

What surprised me was that I was not warned about this situation by my direct supervisors. I had been dealing with the EEO office downtown at corporate regarding my reasonable accommodation, but I guess things like migraines and colds didn’t directly relate to my cancer and the time off via FMLA. My managers said that I had a deficit of 48 hours when it came to PTO, but that surprised me since I thought that I saw a PTO balance of 13 hours and change on my last pay stub. I’ll have to ask them for an accounting of all of the various hours and where I was running deficits to make sure those numbers are accurate.

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In the meantime I am sitting here in excruciating pain. I have several broken molars, and I was hoping to get them examined during the week of the 6th - I had five days off coming up and was going to take care of a number of personal issues at that time. I put off the dental work until after the cancer treatment had finished and I had started to pay off all of the debt incurred during that ordeal. Now I have no insurance and have to resort to dollar store remedies in order to get by. Now I might just try vodka, if not for the pain then for the pain.

Maybe now I pack up and move back to California. I’m sure my parents would let me stay at their place until I got back on my feet; they made me that offer when I was laid off several years ago. They know I’m a packrat, and at that time said that I could move back with whatever fit in my car; I was glad that I had a van instead of a Miata. But as I look around I wonder what I would take and what I would leave behind. Yeah, I’ve got too much stuff, and yeah, it’s a mental problem I’ve been dealing with, much of which dates back to my mother’s actions during her psycho years. I purged a lot when I moved across the country and it was a bit painful, and I’d hate to go through that again.

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My birthday is less than two weeks away. Exactly ten years ago I was quite depressed at my old job and made some remark about dropping dead of a heart attack at age 52, then one decade away, in that office. The last few weeks I’ve been thinking about that prediction, just hoping to live until the second week of the new year, making that sad prediction a thing of the past. Now I sit here wondering if I’ll make it to 53, even though it’s just around the corner. Will anybody want me, or am I too old? Why is it so hard to hang on to a job? Why does the medical system gouge like they do? Why didn’t I marry into money?

Maybe, despite my advanced years, I’m still a little too naive and optimistic. I thought that things were under control regarding my time off, but it appears that this was not the case. Like trying to figure out what your medical insurance will cover and what it won’t or how to do your taxes, it strikes me that some things in life are intentionally made difficult to understand in the hope that you won’t question them. I’m sure that there’s plenty of blame that can be assigned to me for not following through to make sure every hour absent and every PTO hour matched up., amongst other issues, as well as assuming that others had my best interests at heart.

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On the bright side, now I don’t have to go in for the 0400 shift on Monday that I just volunteered to do...

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