I often feel like an expert in being chronically ill. I know how to look up doctors on my insurance company’s website. I know to ask if they cover me just in case when I make an appointment. I know to ask if the tests are covered as well when they suggest something. I know how many physicals and dental check-ups I get a year and I know what out of network versus in network means. I know how to get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. I know what an FSA is. I know I can ask my pharmacist if the medications I take could have dangerous interactions.
I was talking to a new doctor the other day: explaining my surgical history. You see, I’ve had the same surgery twice. I first had reconstructive surgery when I was thirteen years old. My spine was an S-curve: both curves around 85-90 degrees. My right lung was collapsing and my heart was being squeezed. I had to have surgery to stay alive. I was and still am grateful to my surgeon.
I brought my same bad habits to my new work. I’ve been tutoring online and in person since the summer, because I wanted to have some way to contribute to household expenses as well as have purposeful work to do each day.
I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money trying to buy health and wellness, especially this past year. In some ways I’m an easy sell—as are many people that suffer from a chronic condition—I want to believe that I’m just one purchase or undiscovered treatment away from better health.
In applying to jobs today, I was filling in the information and clicking through the pages until I came upon a page asking if I had a verifiable disability because they worked with the government and as such they were required to try to employ more people with disabilities. They gave about fifteen examples—mainly physical—of conditions that are recognized as a bona fide disability.
One of the examples was OCD.