Sunday, July 31, 2005

I got mad today

Here's why:

I showed up at work in a happy, upbeat mood, ready to charge right into doing the dishes and to bread lots of chicken, as usual. But then...

My coworker comes into the back room (where the sinks are and I was). She has tears running down her cheeks and is sobbing. I haven't seen her this way before. Upset, yes. Emotional, almost always. Crying like her heart is broken, no.

OK folks, I'm an aspie. Things like this aren't supposed to bother me. After all, "autistics lack empathy". (Bullshit!! we just feel and show it differently!)

But it did. I'm not even close to her. She's a co-worker. That's all.

Now----> She was crying because: She is at least 8 months pregnant, and she was having very painful cramps in her lower pelvic area, causing shooting pain to go down her legs. I have felt this. I know what that feels like; it hurts like bloody hell. It happens during labor. The fact that she was cramping concerned me...she shouldn't be cramping up at all until closer to her due September..not early August...

The manager wouldn't let her go home, despite the fact that she was visibly in tears and too much in pain to be productive or good for anything at all in the deli. The girl sat down for a blessed moment on the cans of dry goods in the back room and stole some measure of relief...even if only for a moment or two..

I was incensed!!!!! Yes, we usually have a third person there so she can cover for us while we take our lunches. Screw the lunches! Send her home and let her rest before she suffers a minute longer or worse yet, goes into full fledged labor! I wondered whether the store would be at all liable if overworking her and refusing to allow her to go home sick had such an effect....I suspect not. I wondered whether anyone would get in trouble if the baby wound up premature in an incubator...or would it just get shrugged off as 'one of those things'.

The biggest manager in the store happened to come by, and I immediately informed her that my co-worker was in serious pain and needed to go home...she abdicated the authority to the deli night manager and basically washed her hands of it. I was seriously tempted to talk to the boss, who was also in the store....but to be honest, I like the boss. I don't want to be confronted with the harsh reality that perhaps he wouldn't care. Maybe we aren't people with feelings and needs and aches and pains, to him. Maybe we're just worker drones. I don't want to know, I don't want to find out. So I didn't.....

Part of my fury was self-centered; I see this girl work, and I'm impressed. She is doing a hell of a lot better than I will be at her gestation. I know that, I've already had five of them. I'm five months along now. My last prgenancy was, in a word, hell. I was in a lot of pain in the third trimester. My hips got bad enough that at times, every step felt like liquid fire. I was out of breath, my heart hurt a lot and was irregular and I had lightheaded spells, because my heart was also giving me trouble. All this was in addition to the pelvis soreness and achiness that, frankly, gets worse with every prgenancy. I spent an awful lot of time in bed simply because standing up and doing things was agony and too strenuous. I was picturing myself in the shoes of this girl: in serious pain and unable to leave and go home without getting fired. They've already done that to me before, when my hips were giving me hell.

In short, I pitched a fit and let it be known that I was considering a different job if this is the way pregnant women can expect to be treated. I don't ask for kid-glove treatment...just humane other people get. Like the girl who used to whine about menstrual cramps and headaches used to get. Like the night manager gives herself- one day she went home early simply because she didn't feel like being there that day.

In the end, we found someone to substitute for her, and she did get to go home early. Her tears dried, and she was happier simply knowing that she'd get to go as soon as her replacement arrived. Hope is like that....

But the incident has sown a lot of doubts in my mind about the job......

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