A Glimpse of an Employed Epileptic
November 28, 2010 6 Comments
When I started my new job back in August, I was excited—I was getting health insurance! Yay! The insurance company couldn’t deny me based on my epilepsy! Yay! Then I started to fill out the paperwork, and read all the information packets. And guess what I saw? That any pre-existing condition-related doctor’s visits, medication, etc wouldn’t be covered for a year. A year.
When I informed my manager about my epilepsy, and told them that if I had a seizure, I’d have to sleep it off, therefore possibly missing a day of work, and asked what I needed to do—they told me I needed to bring a doctor’s note (with that doctor I can’t see about my epilepsy with my insurance for a year), or call in and take a point. A point is supposed to be a penalty for not coming to work just for funsies. No mention of making up that work once I recovered.
When I told my supervisor that if I had a seizure at work, I do not want an ambulance called unless I was bleeding from somewhere I shouldn’t be, and to instead call my emergency contact to take me home, I was told they’d call one anyway because “if you have a seizure I’ll probably freak out.”
Oh, the equality is overbearing. The sensitivity to the neurologically atypical is gut-wrenching.
Welcome to America.
Now, before I get any lectures on How The Real (American) World Works, let me say: I know. I’m saying it’s wrong. I’m saying that the hoops one has to jump through, if neurologically atypical as I am, just to ensure you’re not fired because of being neurologically atypical, is ridiculous. That I should first have to reveal my medical history (which is private) to my managers, then explain to them what epilepsy is, THEN explain how it affects me, to finally say that it might prevent me from coming into work someday in the future, maybe, is ridiculous. That my supervisor grills me on what it’s like, out of curiosity, with several co-workers in earshot, is insensitive and, well, ridiculous. That I’m grilled on what medications I’m taking, and gosh, why don’t I have a medical bracelet? Is ridiculous.
In short, I’m saying the insensitivity, the ignorance, and the spectacle made out of my disease is appalling, and that it should not be so.
 An office job
 An epileptic doesn’t need to see a doctor every time zie has a seizure.