This topic contains 12 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Brittany Foster 1 month ago.

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  • #19747
     Brittany Foster 
    Keymaster

    For those that work, whether it is part time or full time, do you work while experiencing symptoms from medications?

    Personally, I haven’t been able to work with symptoms of pain medication for the last few days. After I had my surgery on Tuesday I was really in a lot of discomfort and pain. I had to be on pain medication and I just knew that I couldn’t work and keep up with the demands of what I needed to do in the day. I was exhausted, tired, in pain, and anxious.

    These symptoms I was experiencing really put a damper on me being able to work. Do you choose to not work or stay at home when you are having symptoms? What symptoms prevent you from doing your job? For me, brain fog really stopped me from doing my best as a teacher and I found myself really “spacey” when doing lessons and correcting papers. It was as if my body was there but my mind wasn’t.

  • #19848
     Robin Webster 
    Participant

    I usually work even if I don’t feel well, because I figure I can feel bad at home or here, and at least here I’m “distracted” from focusing on not feeling well. When I am at work, since it’s a museum and I sometimes need to give tours, I’ve found that unfortunately I just have to be honest with folks. I do have some residual brain fog from chemo and likely from some of the other things wrong with me. If I can’t remember something, I just say I haven’t been well and I have a bit of fog. Every guest has always been very understanding. If it is extremely high humidity in the summer or really sub-zero temperatures in the winter, my breathing is way too impaired to leave the house. I have cut-off points for that, and I just announce that I can’t safely come in without compromising my health. But two things have been my saving grace. First, we set up my office computer so I can log into it from home and work for a while. It’s often not that I can’t do my work but that the physical challenge of getting up, showering, dressing, driving and then walking in here is just too much. If I can drag myself from the couch to the desk at home, I can often get a lot done. The other thing is, my employer has been miles and miles above and beyond compassionate about all the illnesses that have befallen me in the past several years. I literally have a letter from him in writing that I am to take whatever time off I need at full pay in order to get better. The sad part, I guess, is that I’m not sure he even understands a few of the things wrongs with me don’t get better … they eventually get worse. I’ve been clear about that, but he and his wife choose to stay positive and say they know I’ll be ok. That is priceless to me.

    • #19858
       Brittany Foster 
      Keymaster

      Robin,
      I think that it’s awesome how honest you are with the people that you work with and that they are just as understanding about everything you’re going through. I struggled being honest about my conditions at first as a special educator, but the more I shared with my colleagues and also my students (they were 8th graders and could handle a lot of what I was telling them) , the more understanding and respect I received from both of them. It felt good to be open about it and have a positive reaction. If I had a bad experience it would most definitely cloud my feelings about sharing with others and being open about my struggles. I’m sure chemo left you with a lot of brain fog too. That’s probably one of the hardest symptoms to manage while working.

    • #19861
       Colleen Steele 
      Keymaster

      Robin, it is so inspirational how you have made working with PH…well, work! I’m a believer in honesty being the best policy. People can surprise you and be more understanding than how we imagine they will be in our minds. You and your employer sound like an amazing team and it sounds like you both value each other very much.

      You might have told us already and I apologize for forgetting, but what type of museum do you work for?

      • #19868
         Robin Webster 
        Participant

        Colleen, I’m the director of the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame. It’s a motivational museum. About a third of our displays represent Lou Holtz’s football coaching career, another third represent the lives of people from the valley who have been inducted here, and the final third is items that are representative of the area’s cultural heritage. In addition to welcoming school field trips and individual walk-in tours, I administer trade school scholarships and teacher grants, and I also plan our annual induction weekend activities. I will have been here 15 years next week.

      • #19874
         Colleen Steele 
        Keymaster

        Robin, wow, that’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders but considering how you have been there for 15 years, you must really enjoy it. The museum sounds wonderful! My son loves museums and always has, to the point it drives his brother crazy. He will take his time and really take in every aspect of a museum where is brother is more of a, quick glance and go kind of guy. When I tell you my son loves museums, I mean it. It’s one of his favorite things to do. If we are ever in Ohio we will check yours out.

      • #19899
         Robin Webster 
        Participant

        Colleen,
        I do hope you mean that. I’d love for your family to visit if you’re ever in Ohio. We’re located right at the point where Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania meet. If you ever head that direction, give me a heads up. Although our hours are just 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, I’m always happy to meet a friend there during off hours or days and open up for them, especially if they are passing through and won’t be in the area while we are open. (And I only live about 5 minutes from it.)

      • #19901
         Brittany Foster 
        Keymaster

        Hi Robin,
        I was actually also planning a trip to Ohio possibly this Fall with my sister to visit one of my friends who lives in Columbus. Is that anywhere near you? We were planning on catching an Ohio State football game and hanging out. If it is near you I would love to pay a visit as well!

      • #19902
         Robin Webster 
        Participant

        Brittany,
        Unfortunately, Columbus is about three hours from here. But if your trip takes you into a broader area, I’d love to meet you.
        I feel the same way about the forums and the people on them. I always have loved hearing people’s stories and sharing my own. The human connection, as you say, is so important.
        It truly is fascinating how the skills we pick up on one field transfer over to another and give us a greater depth of ability there.
        And, like you, I hope to keep learning new things every single day.
        When I finished breast cancer treatment, one of the first things I did was take an online class to get certified in personal nutrition. It just felt like a good idea, given that I wanted to eat for better health, and I couldn’t have imagined how much it would come into play with all the other things that had yet to be diagnosed.
        I really encourage anyone with a chronic illness to consider a course in nutrition — in fact, any online course would be great, because the way they are set up, it’s very easy to “attend” even if not feeling well, and it’s easy to catch up if you miss something, because they usually are designed with that in mind.

      • #19904
         Brittany Foster 
        Keymaster

        Robin,
        I love learning about nutrition too. Any way to possibly help the body recover an heal faster through foods and eating the right things really matters to me a lot. It has been so hard not being able to eat as much as I normally would like to and having to use a tube for a good portion of my actual nutrition. The things that I eat by mouth are more for comfort and not exactly “nutritious” or giving my body the fuel that it needs to heal properly. I miss vegetables and all of that ! If I even attempted to eat veggies I would be running to the bathroom way too often. My GI system has really taken a hit over the last few months. Nobody should take eating healthy and fueling the body for granted!

      • #19879
         Brittany Foster 
        Keymaster

        Robin,
        Just reading about the work you do now and it really is so interesting ! I can tell why you love your job and are passionate about what you do. It really is true what Colleen said that sometimes (more often than not actually ) people surprise us with the amount of sympathy and understanding they have. Did you have a degree in history or was this a job that you happened to stumble upon? Only asking because one of my prior history teachers is a tour guide now at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. I have never been but would really love to go one day.

      • #19898
         Robin Webster 
        Participant

        Brittany,
        Thank you for asking about it. no I did not have a history degree. My path to the museum was a bit winding, but looking back on it, with every career I’ve been in, the path was laid by my previous careers — although it was entirely unplanned. My degree is in English, Communications and Journalism. Straight out of college I became a print journalist and did that for 14 years. From that I segued into a job as tourism director and downtown development director and also was a substitute teacher for two years, grades kindergarten through 12. The tourism position led me into the hospitality field. I was an opening general manager for three local hotels, ground up from construction on through. (In between the second and third hotel, I took another job as a tourism director in a different county.) Following the third hotel I took a couple of years off during which I wrote a young adult novel, had it published and did some promoting of it, and I also ran my own company. Then I went in as museum director, which I presume will be the last job I’ll ever have. It utilizes all the skills I developed in all of those previous fields. I still “teach” students when they visit for tours. I handle public relations, do photography and deal with the media. I talk to area visitors about the history of the area, which I know well from living here for 58 years and covering it as a reporter for so many years. And I handle the budgeting and administer funds, which is similar to the hotel management I did. All the event planning and dealing with celebrities and so on are just really cool bonuses. LOL! In a million years I never could have predicted this is what I’d end up doing, but looking back it all makes total sense. I am a firm believer that where we are and what we are going through are anything but random. There’s definitely a plan, even though we are typically too close to see it. I believe it is Oprah who says that when you’re going through a difficult time, you should ask, “What is this teaching me?” Similarly, in my life changes and struggles, I always wonder, “What is this preparing me to do next?” And the universe continues to surprise and amaze me!

      • #19900
         Brittany Foster 
        Keymaster

        You are quite the accomplished woman, Robin. It is such a pleasure interacting with you on these forums ! I really love getting to know more about people’s pasts and their personal lives through these chats. I always feel like I learn so much. So much of human connection is missing nowadays and I feel like this forum gives us the opportunity to have conversations and make connections with people we wouldn’t know otherwise. So fascinating reading all about the things you have done. It amazes me that one road really does lead to another and no skill is ever wasted. I am doing something COMPLETELY different than what I even went to school for. But, my time in the classroom taught me valuable life skills of time management, managing more than one person at a time, communication skills with different personalities, organization skills, leadership skills etc that I am currently using in my job as a writer, forums moderator and HR department. Like I said, nothing we learn is ever a waste and I love that part of life just constantly being able to learn a little more each day.

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