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Nikki

Just Deny Everything

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I'm about to graduate and will be meeting with an instructor about an internship. Many instructors know I've had health problems. It never came up in his class. If none of the others mentioned it - I don't see why they would - he won't know. I have a meeting with him Monday about the internship.

I don't know what I should and should not say about my health. I am currently in denial about Parkinson's most of the time, even when my hand has a tremor so bad it shakes the cloths off their hangers.

However, my mind is greatly impacted by everything. (Migraines too) and so I often have moments of slow thought/speech or trouble with understanding words. My concentration right now is bad - every two seconds I'm doing something else.  I can't seem to get the work done that I have and that's not like me.

 

So, what is appropriate to tell employers? And what should I tell my instructor?  

I should note, only one instructor knows about the PD diagnosis, and that is because of how much trouble I am currently having in his class. The rest just know I have health issues.

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You are not obligated to tell them anything about your health status, and generally it's illegal for them to ask.  

 

Choosing to disclose a PD diagnosis is a tricky decision.  It is very situationally dependant.  For some, especially those working for small employers, or the government (whether local, state, or federal) it can be advantageous to disclose.  Often there are quotas (whether admitted to or not) in government work for having a certain percentage of people with disabilities on the payroll.  And many small employers are more like a family than a corporation so they will bend over backwards to help you cope.

 

But some, like me, work for a large corporation, and as good as they are (for most things) I don't trust HR, or senior management, and farther than I can throw them.  So I keep my mouth shut about PD at work.  Granted, meds keep me well controlled for now.  If that wasn't the case I might feel compelled to disclose rather than risk being accused of being drunk or on illegal drugs.

 

But, exceptions to the above abound, so take careful stock of your particular situation before you make a decision either way on disclosure.

Edited by stump
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Good advice from Stump  

Also depends on the field you’re in and whether there is a worker shortage and how much experience you have. Usually smaller companies are more helpful. Larger companies almost require you to file ADA paperwork to protect themselves and you. 

If your health is lowering your productivity then you will eventually have to leave the island of denial. 

-S

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I worked for the "world's largest retailer" last year in their HQ, and my advice is, if you work for a large employer, to just keep it to yourself until someone figures it out for themselves, and even then deny until you have to do otherwise. Eventually this will get to the point where you will have to tell them, but until then, do your thing.

My experience was once they figured out something was wrong (33 year old in shape male + barely able to get out of chair stiffness was fishy to them), they did everything they could to get me to quit without firing me. Eventually I said screw it and found another job in a small town (and I am much happier because of it). 

Sinemet is my great equalizer. 

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I think Stump, Superdecoop, and Nosoup.. have all given excellent advice.

I disclosed to my immediate boss and to my department. Since I work in a nursing home everyone understands what I have. I have not said anything to HR and will not say anything to them till the time comes I may need to make adjustment to my work life.

So far my meds have kept me feeling really good and PD has had little affect on my performance. The good thing in my case, my boss has been really good about adjusting my schedule around doctors appointments and such thing because I am part of a study.

Again, look at the situation you are entering. I would say, offer nothing until you feel you should.

Good luck

Adam

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I left the island of denial over a year ago.Couldn't cope with the demands of the job,my job was physically demanding.Still searching for a less physically demanding job.Listen to your body,it will let you know if you have to continue to deny or disclose.Remember PD affects everybody differently.

Edited by otolorin

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