we apologize for the inconvenience…

As I continue to work with a chronic illness, I am developing a real phobia of the term “inconvenience”.  On the subway, “inconvenience” means impassable obstacles such as a steep mountain of stairs between you and the street.  At work, it translates into no food, pain, migraines, fatigue.

I was thinking last week about what I would paint or draw if I could paint or draw.  It would be a series of dyadic scenes, one side is “what you see” and the other is “what I see”.  Keyboard and desk on one side; torture device on the other.  Rambling path through a hilly, sunlit park with people on bicycles, babies in carriages, and children on roller skates on one side; scorched, Escheresque hellscape crawling with demons on the other.

I’m thinking about this today because we have a standing meeting that was rescheduled from its usual standing time of my work start time to a half hour earlier.  It is also on the other side of a steep, cobblestoned hill (the short path involving slippery marble steps…the long path involving hordes of clueless undergrads, perpetual sidewalk construction, and other “inconveniences”).  Our receptionist also scheduled me for a back to back, so I have a meeting at my office (on the other side of the hill) set for exactly when the prior meeting ends.  Not ok, since the prior meeting always goes long and it takes me twice as long as my colleagues to walk back to our building after.  And if I want lunch today, I will have to drag that with me all the way, hoping that it is not getting too warm for the hour and a half or more that it’s not refrigerated (remember, my soft food/liquid diet = soups and puddings).  So I guess it’s to be pain and fasting for me today.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

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  1. Oh, so many big words in there! I like the image in my head of the 2 drawings (the big word). That’s how I see things too. I cannot sit at a desk or worse, use a desktop computer and when I had to do that while still in my career and in grad school, it was absolute torture. I bought so many chairs, would kneel, squat… You name it and all to no avail. It hurts to sit in the ol’ recliner in here with my down pillow, but that was so bad in brought on the barfing. Ugh! If I see an office chair, the anxiety starts up!

    I really think that walk is against the ADA rule of making reasonable accommodations. How would someone in a wheelchair get up there (or down)? Is walking longer distances outdoors in your job description? I hate that you can’t make your job work for you and it’s NOT fair!

    Well, I about died waiting (sitting) 1 hr for the doc today and one more appt to go and SO tired. Full-time job where I never get paid. :/

    • Accessible and equivalently accessible end up being two different things and I haven’t yet seen a good case about the distinction. So, Dyspatient can get to and from the building walking a longer distance (which causes more pain and fatigue) but she CAN get to and from the building, so it’s accessible! Tada! There is a point where you have to ask about how much is leveling the playing field and how much is an unreasonable burden. I think when you get to that point, you have to step back and take a broader view. In this case, that step back could be “why does the meeting have to be in that building by default? why can’t we rotate it? we move it when that room is not available and it’s been held in another building” (my building) when it is more convenient for the upper upper staff. So clearly it can be moved. Maybe we can rotate the meeting location so that we spread the “inconvenience” around a bit. Hm? Just a thought.


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