Morning Routines and FMLA

Over the many years of struggling with IBS, I’ve dealt with so many iterations of the illness that it becomes a series of adjusting and re-adjusting to whatever ‘mode’ IBS chooses to take. Sometimes it's something that is not overly intrusive but happens intermittently throughout the day. Other times, it's completely debilitating, making it hard t to live. Then, out of nowhere, I get reprieves, nothing for months, even a year or more.

Now, I know that has a lot to do with a variety of factors. Stress, diet, relationships, lifestyle choices and on and on. Lately, I’m dealing with this rather short term, but nonetheless horrible version of IBS. I call it the Twenty Minute Rule, just to add a bit of humor to a humorless situation. Let me explain.

The twenty-minute rule

We all know that the morning tends to be the worst part of the day for those of us who struggle with IBS. I always work up early to allow the worst of it to pass before I get ready for work.

Sometimes I have to shower twice. Sometimes, I have to remake my lunch to deal with the particular intensity I’m dealing with that day. Lately, I go first thing in the morning, sit there for twenty minutes and feel pretty good. Get showered, get dressed and I’m on my way to work.

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Multiple visits to the bathroom

Here’s where the problem comes in. About halfway to work, I need to go again, badly. I’ve re-arranged my route to work so I know I can get to a bathroom before I make it to work. Unfortunately, once I get to work I have to go again, so straight to the bathroom again. And thats it. The pain, anxiety and stress this causes is horrible.

Late to work because of IBS

I’m often late because of the bathroom stop. I’m more late because I’m not ready to start working when I’m supposed to. My boss knows and has made comments that I should be at my desk at 8:30 am. I can’t usually get there until 8:40-8:50 am.

In the scheme of things this might not seem so bad, but for those of you who work a corporate type job, know this is not acceptable and my job is definitely on the line. I have been through this before, but it doesn’t make it any less easy. I’ve made some changes to try to help. I’m hoping they might be able to save my job.

This or That

Have you ever taken FMLA from work due to your IBS?

Requesting an FMLA form from my doctor

First thing I generally do is get my doctor to sign off on a Family Medical Leave Act form (FMLA). This can provide some flexibility and also make it a little harder when you have formal allowance of extra time to provide self-care for any illness. The best part is that no one but Human Resources knows exactly why you have this. They just have to honor it to a point.

Please research this before committing to it. Thats why I don’t just get the paperwork when I start a new job. I never know if I will be stigmatized or let go for unforseen reasons. This has happened.

Otherwise, I’m waking up earlier, being more diligent about my diet and have been walking a lot. I’ve also increased my water intake and become more active with my probiotics regime. Hopefully, this all will work itself. I’ve made it through this illness so far. I will continue to push through. Thanks for listening.

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