Thursday, August 13, 2009

Golfing? Um....

I've been fretting about how to tell my employers about my arthritis since I started my job 6 months ago. I even struggled through a disastrous 10-pin bowling party to "welcome" the new hires (they couldn't have settled for 5-pin?). Everyone just thought I was an absolutely dreadful bowler; meanwhile, I was in serious pain and couldn't use my hands for days afterwards.

This morning, an email popped up in my inbox labelled "Golf!". My stomach immediately tied itself up in a knot. My fears were confirmed when I opened it up and began to read. Yes, I was being invited to join a golf team for a professional association we belong to. Great.

It appeared my hand was being forced. I sent a panicked email to someone who always gives me good professional advice, and was told just to be completely open about it. After all, they've seen that I always work hard and that I get the work done; arthritis doesn't affect my creativity or my writing ability.

So, I told my boss, and now he knows. It was the quickest, easiest, non-event ever. He asked me about it, then he said, "Oh well, we'll find someone else. But we'll have to get you a fun day off to make up for it!"

6 months of worrying for that. I guess that should probably teach me a lesson. When I think about disclosing illness, I worry about making other people feel awkward or sorry for me. I also worry about being made fun of.

This is pretty obviously a holdover from childhood. Kids can be mean. When I tried to take part in recess games or sports in gym class (I insisted on not being taken out of gym class - I just sat a lot of things out), I'd hear laughter and shouts of "Arthritis!"

Yeah... kids are mean, but not all that inventive.

I guess I haven't left that fear behind, even though logically I know the majority of adults are NOT going to make fun of me for having arthritis. They might feel a little weird, they might not understand it, but they probably won't taunt me as I walk by them in the hallway. I guess I have to give people more credit. Yes, they owe me their respect. But I also owe them my honesty.


Melinda said...

Never be afraid to tell anyone that you have arthritis. You did not ask for this disease but you have it. People may not get what it is but they most always understand. My biggest thing is most do not know it is auto immune and think it only hurts when it rains. Great site my arthritis friend. Please feel free to stop by my web site it is not like most arthritis sites. A lot of great people who have fun. there is a teen room with many games . So stop by.

Helen said...

Thanks for reading, Melinda. Love your site, too!