Dialysis and Disability

October is Disability Employment Month… just in case you wanted to know that minor fact!  LOL

I did a double-take when I read this:

“They may need education on the long-term negative effects of taking disability on patients’ health and well-being.”

It was part of some advice to a dialysis patient who is being forced to work less and less due to their ESRD and dialysis treatment. [For a complete reference to this, see this link toLifeOptions.org“]  One option was to go on disability but the adviser seems to have some bias about the “negative effects” of long-term disability. So, it started me thinking about this issue.  Is being on disability a negative event?  Does it adversely effect one’s health and well-being?

My experience with disability is hardly “negative” and definitely doesn’t adversely effect my health and well-being. Without disability, I’d be on the street.  I’m really never far from that anyway.  Being on Social Security Disability is barely a living allowance but I somehow manage to get by even if it means drawing on my life savings.  So, I was dumbstruck at what could be considered a really callous answer and attitude to being on disability.

I am currently on disability and unemployed. I write about this in my posting “Dialysis and Your Job“.  It’s not that I cannot work and don’t want to work.  It’s that I’m not able to work a 40 hour week, five days a week, and providing “reasonable accommodation” means that my employer has to put up with me working around my dialysis schedule and many health-related issues that arise from time to time.  My previous employer didn’t want to do that and hid behind a “layoff” to rid themselves of me.  I wrote about this in my posting about “Success…

Without disability, I’d be on the street.  I’m really never far from that anyway.  Being on Social Security Disability is barely a living allowance but I somehow manage to get by even if it means drawing on my life savings.  So, I was dumbstruck at what could be considered a really callous answer and attitude to being on disability.

I found in researching this that being employed is positive but I can’t find anything to say that being on disability is negative.  A very comprehensive study in the U.K. in 2006 looked at the issues of unemployment across several areas including the disabled and found:

Work for sick and disabled people: There is a broad consensus across multiple disciplines, disability groups, employers, unions, insurers and all political parties, based on extensive clinical experience and on principles of fairness and social justice. When their health condition permits, sick and disabled people (particularly those with ‘common health problems’) should
be encouraged and supported to remain in or to (re)-enter work as soon as possible because it:
• is therapeutic;
• helps to promote recovery and rehabilitation;
• leads to better health outcomes;
• minimises the harmful physical, mental and social effects of long-term sickness absence;
• reduces the risk of long-term incapacity;
• promotes full participation in society, independence and human rights;
• reduces poverty;
• improves quality of life and well-being

Again, being employed is a positive event since it provides human interaction, income, improves quality of life and well-being.  But, I cannot see that being on disability is negative.  In fact, it’s quite positive for me.  I have a reliable income so I’m not in a really negative situation like homelessness.  I can get food stamps so I’m not hungry and I have a lot of social interaction keeping the food stamps coming in.  Trust me, I’m on the phone every couple weeks with the Texas Health and Human Services arguing about one thing or another.  So, as far as human interaction, I’m never lacking of that while on food stamps.

I don’t know if the person making that statement quoted at the beginning of this post views being on disability as negative or was just pointing to the fact being unemployed is the pits.  She may have just confused the two.  In that case, she’s not too far off the mark.  Being unemployed, out of contact, isolated, and homeless are all negative events.  But, being on disability is not, in itself, negative.

DevonTexas © 2012

Advertisements

About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
This entry was posted in ADA, dialysis, disability, EEOC, personal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s