Chronic illness friendly job? Is there such a thing?!

Hey everyone! I’ve been totally absent from the blogosphere for the past year, and decided it was time to check in and read everybody’s posts.

Life has been (mostly) awesome. My hubby and I are happy, just working and looking forward to getting our first place together. Also, I got a new job a few months ago that I love and I feel compliments my health issues well. It might sound strange, but I got certified as a lifeguard early in the spring, and how I’m both guarding and swim instructing!

Lemme explain… so lifeguarding (for an indoor pool) is probably the most physically easy job on earth. I spend 25-50% of my shifts just resting on break depending on how busy it is and whether we are short or fully staffed. For example, I often work 15 mins on, and 15 mins off. Or 30 mins on and 15 mins off. Or 40 mins on and 20 mins off. I think the most I’ve ever been on deck guarding between breaks is maybe an hour, and even then, getting a break every hour is still way more down time than most jobs allow. Plus, even when I’m on deck guarding, I’m either sitting or standing still, or slowly walking around the pool, not expending much energy. In the rare event that I have to make a save, (I’ve had to make a few), worse case scenario is I have to pull the person up from the bottom of the pool, and swim with them a few yards to the closest side, where other guards are able to help me backboard them out and administer care until EMS arrive. Even when I’m feeling miserable I can manage that, as I’m a strong swimmer and swimming is the only form of exercise that I tolerate even when my POTS and other conditions flare.

Swim lessons are a bit different. They are exhausting, and sometimes trigger migraines depending on how much I end up exerting myself, and how much talking I have to do. (Some kids are happy to do all the talking so I can sort of rest my head, other kids who are shy or fearful need me to do all the talking to keep things upbeat and fun, which uses up a surprising amount of spoons). However, swim lessons pay very well, privates especially, and are scheduled in short shifts from 1 1/2- 2 1/2 hours. For example, This means I can work 1 1/2 hours of lessons in the morning, go home and nap all afternoon if necessary, then come back in the evening for 2 1/2 more hours. Even though I only worked 4 hours total, I get paid 6-10 depending on how many are privates. Also, they are super fun, and I love doing them. While my health may not allow me to always teach lessons on a daily basis, I’m going to enjoy them when I can.

Other positives I’ve found are less artificial light. Both pools where I work are primarily lit by natural light with large glass walls. I’ve found that overall my migraines have been much better since I left my retail job, and I think the primary reasons are less artificial light, and less stress.

Also, I have control over my schedule and how much or how little I work unlike my previous job. Both pools allow staff to set their own availability, and use a trade board to drop or swap shifts we don’t want, and pick up shifts that we do want. It gives me so much peace of mind to know that if I’m not feeling good I can put my shifts up on the board and someone else will usually take them. If I have a doctor appointment short notice, I can trade with someone, or if I’m feeling good, I can take other people’s shifts and make some extra money. I also get to have Sunday mornings off to potentially go to church when I’m feeling up to it, which my last job never allowed, and is an answer to part of my prayers! If only my hubby’s job would give him the same option so we could go together.

Negatives I’ve noticed are that although swim lessons are always at the same time, my guard shifts can be completely random within the availability I set. Especially if I pick up extra shifts off the trade board (which I often have to do in order to get enough hours). Shifts are also sometimes annoyingly short, which means I do much more driving around. For example, I might guard 6am to 9am, then go home and come back in the evening for swim lessons 4pm-6pm, then drive to a different pool and guard 7pm-9pm. Sometimes its nice having long breaks throughout the day to go home and rest or do other activities, and sometimes I just want to have an organized 7-8 hour day where I do it all at once. Also when hours are scarce, I might work only 2 hours day during the middle of the week, and then a long 12 or 14 hour day on Saturday, because those were the only hours available on the trade board and I needed them.

Something that could also be considered a negative is needing to take a swim test every month to prove I’m physically fit. I normally swim several times a week anyway though, even before I started this job, because it helps me manage my POTS and reduce my need for medications. So I guess from my perspective its not like I’m doing anything out of the ordinary. If anything I swim laps less now since teaching swim lessons is usually a workout all on its own.

Overall I would say the positives outweigh negatives, and I’m much happier and healthier working this job than retail!

Has anyone else found a job that works with them, rather than against them?

life-gaurd

 

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“We Will” (Being sick doesn’t have to be lonely.)

Hi guys,  I know I’ve been awol lately, the past 6 months have been so stressful as Andrew and I prepared for our wedding! The planning, shopping, decorating, paperwork, counseling, and of course $$$$$. AHHH! I didn’t have the time or the energy to even sit down and make a blog post.

We got married on June 2nd, right on lake Ontario in NY. It was a gorgeous day out, which was somewhat of a miracle considering that it rained pretty much every day of weeks leading up to it. We barely even remember the ceremony to be honest, everything was such a blur and the whole wedding went by so fast.

We used a variation of this ceremony and vows – https://hodgepodgepilotswife.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/short-and-sweet-the-perfect-wedding-ceremony-script/

Among other things we changed it from “I do” to “I will” as we both loved the meaning of it, that we aren’t just promising these things in the present, but in the future too.

I was so worried ahead of time about how I would even make it through the day, getting up early to decorate, hair and makeup (I got extensions to go from a pixie to a long updo), and of course the 6 hour wedding itself. Thankfully I was so pumped full of adrenaline it kept me running like caffeine, and I didn’t fully crash till a couple of days later.  I won’t post a ton of pictures, I promise, but just a few.

 

We took our honeymoon down in Myrtle Beach SC.

(For those with POTS considering flying, I will warn you on that on the flight down I felt quite sick and was blacking out during takeoff. It wasn’t nearly so bad on the way back when I made sure to load up on salt and fluids. The descent didn’t bother me much at all either way.)

The trip was wonderful, despite a little rain and us both being exhausted. We can’t wait to go back as soon as we can.

 

I know being chronically ill can be incredibly lonely. Especially if you are home bound like I once was, and someday might be again. Only a year ago I was miserable, I thought no one would ever want to be with someone who is sick like me. I can’t believe how quick my life changed. Andrew and I met in the most random way at a friend’s sister’s grad party, and a year later here we are. God kept His promise and brought me someone who loves me regardless of my changing health.

So for all my sick and lonely girls out there, don’t give up hope! There are still godly guys out there willing to take “in sickness and in health” seriously! It can and does happen, even though i didn’t believe it could.