I am currently at my company’s annual meeting which they have scheduled in Estonia. It is the dead of the winter (at least in my mind) and they had us get up this morning at 8 am to sit in meetings all day, back to back until 6 pm. Now we have dinner at 7 and at 8.30 pm they have this nifty little “team building” session that is supposed to run for 2 1/2 hours outside in the streets where it is snowing and -3c.
Not only is this a long and tiring day, but I have really bad Raynauds and know that if I go outside even for 20 minutes this would be pushing it.
This is where the fun comes in. I had explained all of this to HR a week ago and told them that I may not be able to participate in outside snow events due to my Raynauds. They were fine with this and seemed to understand.
I am still assigned to a team of people who are all pumped up to do this event. And then I tell them that I don’t think I can make it because I can’t go outside for that long in the snow. They look at me and say something along the lines of “stop being a wimp”! At which time I try to briefly explain my disease and medication that I have to take to try to prevent Raynauds. They all look at me like I am a giant whiner and, honestly, I don’t even feel the need to tell half of these people my condition because it is none of their business and I’m not seeking sympathy from them. Nor do I feel that anyone can understand a 30 second breakdown of my health situation that is pretty complex.
So now I am sitting in my hotel room crying because I would love to be able to participate. I would love to be able to go outside when it is cold for longer than 10 minutes. I would love to jump into a swimming pool in the summer and not have my hands and feet turn white. And I would especially love for people not to tell me to just get over it.
But I know the consequences if I do go outside and have to deal with the physical pain. So I guess I will just end up looking like an asshole and being reminded that I am sick and I will always be sick. Great… I’m feeling like part of the team already.
(I guess that was a little bit whiney – but makes me feel better to vent it somewhere than sit here and be sad)