Managing the management

So, being me, and being a lucky lucky super-special snowflake, I have two (2) chronic, intermittent, extremely-painful-and-debilitating-when-they-happen conditions. One is socially acceptable and gets me quite a lot of sympathy, even from Alpha Boss, who thinks sympathy weakens the spine. The other, err, isn’t and doesn’t.

Are you all with me?

Well done. Yes, the first is migraines; the second is painful heavy periods, or, dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia (or, Cinderella’s Meany Sisters).

Hurray for migraines! I infinitely prefer them to my periods (not all migraneurs/menstruators are the same, your mileage may vary). I do get the full-on classic aura, complete with sparkling lights, dizziness, partial loss of field of vision, minor hallucinations, photophobia, phonophobia and slurred speech (makes getting home from work a real fair-ground challenge), but it usually wears off in an hour or so. And the headache, while it lasts, may be ARGH ARGH ARGH MY HEAD I’M DYING, but it only lasts a few hours (like I said, your mileage may vary. I know I’m lucky). I can count the migraines that have lasted longer than 12 hours on the fingers of one finger (and I think that it was really two-in-a-row, as I fell asleep and then had a sort of aura all over again in the middle. Normally, falling asleep is good, because when I wake up it’s over).

The period thing, well, you all know about the period thing now.

Anyway, I missed two-and-a-bit days of work last week, and naturally my colleagues are curious. I left work on that Tuesday afternoon saying I felt ill, in a non-specific sort of way, and as I usually manage an attractive ashes-and-pond-weed coloration at these times, I was bustled out of the building with much solicitude. On my return, Friday, I discovered that everyone was under the impression I had had a killer migraine. I suppose because they are the usual thing that have me going a strange colour and rushing out into the street.

So far, I have been letting them think that.

I am stricken with a sense of law-breaking anxst, though, at the thought that I have therefore lied to HR and to Alpha Boss.

But explaining the lie, especially to Alpha Boss, who I have to sit facing every day, ugh.

Also, Alpha Boss knows bloody well that some of my afflictions are menstrual. The fact that she insists on presuming all afflicted episodes are migraines rather than full-on uterine rebellion means, well, what, exactly? That she doesn’t want to know about anything awful in the Embarrassing Zone? That she’s pretending she thinks it’s migraine to spare me having to explain things that might fluster me? That she’s forgotten about the bad periods thing? That she simply doesn’t believe a period could make a woman that bloody ill?

If Satsuma has got some sort of a grip, bless her (she’s going twingle ping as we speak, stupid little gonad. It’s day eight), then I will be missing a lot more work. Under said circumstances, should I be sending HR and Alpha Boss a note saying: ‘Umm, yes, well, I can give you nearly two weeks’ notice of every time I’m going to be taking two days off. Would that help?’

11 responses to “Managing the management

  • meganlisbeth

    eh — easier said than done but ‘screw ’em.’ you’re not required to tell them anything, right? i know that people still express concern though and it’s hard to put them off. boss lady may well be pretending that she thinks it’s migraines but that’s a good thing. just keep telling yourself that it really isn’t any of their business and if they want to believe it is something other than what it really is, so be it! i just wish you didn’t have so much pain in your life. xoxo

  • Womb For Improvement

    Was “bloody ill” intentional? Cause that just about sums it up.

    I always find men more sympathetic when it comes to periodic illness because they have no idea what it is like, so can happily believe how debilitating it can be. Sprightly women who had a five day bleed every 28 days with an accompanying little tummy ache just don’t get how bad it can be.

    Take care.

  • a

    I don’t really understand why anyone feels the need to be more specific than “I am ill. I will not be working today.” I guess you could get a doctor’s note for your file, so they are aware that you will be taking fairly regular sick days. However, if they don’t make an issue of it, there’s no reason that you should worry.

    My migraines were stress related and would always last about 24 hours. Those sucked. Fortunately, I haven’t had more than one or two since I quit that job!

  • Rachel

    I agree with all of the above comments. If your coworkers are somehow more “pleased” with thinking it’s all migraines, then why disturb the peace? And truly, both debilitating conditions ought to be treated equally by HR.

    When I had months (ok, years) of gastro issues, I often fell back on the old migraine explanation. It seems a little better suited for company and the workplace, seeing as it happens entirely above the waist.

  • geohde

    I’ve always assumed it one of those polite afflictions to not refer to, you know, *women’s business* in public šŸ™‚


  • Secret D

    I’ve not gone in to work on occassions when my periods have been horrendous and, I admit, I don’t tell them the real reason. Can’t face HR or my line manager or the administrator or colleagues thinking that I can’t handle a little period pain. Trust me, people don’t understand how painful periods can be, luckily mine appear to be getting a little better (sorry, don’t mean to brag!) so I wouldn’t waste your time telling them.

  • LouLou

    I have to say though, there is nothing better then dropping the truth and the people you work with drop their jaw in disbelief, trying to comprehend what you just said. When I was in college, working in retail, I did that way too much – TMI sometimes means time off and a little sympathy on the side!

    But, I agree with the other posters…screw’em – no worries! Ill means you’re ill and it’s really none of their business. BTW – I’m sorry you sit facing your boss. I wouldn’t enjoy that at all!

    Take care and good luck!

  • betty m

    Agree with all the others that if they want to think migraine let them. My migraines tended to coincide with my periods anyway oh joy.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    If it were me, next time I had a migraine, I would tell ’em it’s period pain, and that’ll even the books up nicely. I think it’s fundamentally bean-counting when you get right down to it, and all they want to know is whether you’re in work or off-work. Not that you are in any way, shape or form a bean!

    Would be rather lovely if you never had to suffer either again, you poor girl. But I fear: unlikely.

  • Rachel

    May come visit! No, seriously. In response to your comment, I promise you will -never- see a native with a helmet in on these parts. We are about to be the laughingstock of our little neighborhood, and that’s before I run is into a ditch or some other awful crash.

  • twangy

    Sorry about your afflictions. To have both is awful.
    Ug. You poor thing. It’s bad enough to suffer without worrying about how your colleagues are interpreting it, so I’d think a simple “I am unwell” would suffice. That’s all they need to know.

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