One year ago this week I made one of the most difficult decisions I will have ever had to make. I turned in my final notice at work. Final as in – I wasn’t just leaving this job, I had made the decision that I wasn’t going to work at all.
I used the remainder of my vacation time and my remaining short-term disability and in December I was officially retired.
I was 34 at the time. In 2011 I started IVIG treatments. I was taking a lot of sick days from work and often my Hubs had to call my supervisor at home to tell her I couldn’t come in because he couldn’t wake me up. I was hospitalized with meningitis in November of that year. It should have taken me weeks to recover but I went to work after I had been home for 3 days. That was just my work ethic.
When I was at work I worked hard. I did more than my part. I believed that the efforts I put into my work was the only thing keeping my disease from progressing. I drank coffee, soda and ate candy just to stay awake and focused. I often had to work with my door shut with the lights off because I just couldn’t handle all the stimulation. I left work early almost weekly and often abruptly.
I thought hard before making the decision. I talked to my doctors, my family, my supervisor and I prayed…. a lot. My disease was progressing and my work environment was exasperating it. Due to the amount of time I needed off for treatments and doctors visits I couldn’t just apply to work somewhere else. I had to make the decision to stay at work and continue to go downhill physically or leave work and spend the rest of my healthy time with my family.
When I called my supervisor to let her know I was going to take disability and retire there were tears on both ends of the call. I had spunk, I was good at what I did. I enjoyed my job, I didn’t complain when things became difficult and I always wanted to do more. I wasn’t just working at a job I was building a career.
I was able to leave work quietly and un-noticed. Everyone was told I was taking sick leave but wasn’t told when I was coming back. No one called to check on me, I received no cards or flowers. Out of sight out of mind. This should give you an idea of what kind of people I was working with. They all knew how sick I was, that I would never recover, yet when I disappeared for nearly 6 weeks it phased no one.
I left at just the right time for 2 reasons. One week after it was announced that I would not be returning they announced that they were closing our local office. Also, within a month of leaving work I lost my ability to walk.
I feel that I made the right decision. Even though we miss my income and we have had to make lots of major changes to our lives my health has improved without the stress of that toxic work environment. I no longer have migraines daily, I have seizures far less often and I am over all way less agitated.
Sometimes I wonder had I worked somewhere else, if I had worked with people who worked as a team, who weren’t catty tattle-tales like 5th graders, people who didn’t constantly complain that the job was too hard.. would I have made the same decision? Probably so.
Leaving work wasn’t the end of the world like I thought. I have more time to spend with my Dude and the Hubs. I can take more time to be sure I eat healthy and excercise as I can. Most of all, I’m happy.