Three Weeks

I’ve been sick since January.

I’ve been off my Rheumatoid Arthritis meds for three weeks.

And it sucks.

My RA meds, which help me so much, suppress my immune system. That’s why the work so well. They help calm down my haywire body and stop it from attacking itself.

But when you’re on a medication like that and get sick, you have to stop your meds. You’ll get sicker. Or stay sick forever. I did everything right. Got on antibiotics right away. Stayed home from work. Stayed off my meds. Until it triggered an RA flare. I took my meds for the first time just a couple of days ago. It’ll take a few doses to get things under control again.

I’ve just accepted that I’m not going to shake the ghost of strep throat that is haunting me.

I’m not telling y’all this to complain about this nagging sick. I’m telling y’all because I’m still sick because of a big issue.

My employer doesn’t offer paid sick leave.

So there is no incentive for my coworkers, especially the hourly, paycheck-to-paycheck folks, to stay home when they’re sick. And this is pretty much standard practice in Texas. There is no state law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. So many, like mine, don’t offer it.

That fact makes me furious.

I’ve got a degree in business and I’ve always had a business brain. It has always made sense to me to offer paid sick leave. It shows that you value your employees’ health as well as their work. I get that it costs a company money. But, what if I’d stayed on my immunosuppressant medication? What if I’d gotten the flu instead of strep? What if I’d gone to work and gotten the whole office sick? What if I’d gotten so sick I’d spent a few days in the hospital?

To me, the cost of paid sick time outweighs the cost of all those what ifs.

Unfortunately, Texas is pretty slow to change so I don’t expect to see any laws put in place requiring paid sick time. I also don’t expect employers like mine to make that change themselves.

It’s frustrating and makes being immune compromised pretty scary. I have to balance treating my RA with treating a sudden illness gifted to me by a coworker. I try to do the right thing and stay home sick and not share my germs but I’ve got to pay my bills.

It’s not just Texas either. Most states don’t have paid sick leave laws. Some even have laws the prohibit it.

It’s crazy. I don’t understand it all.

I just hope that one day things will be better. Employers will take better care of their employees. States will put laws in place to protect employees. And folks like me won’t have to pick between paying their bills and managing their health.

I hope y’all are staying well this winter. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram, I post on social media more often than here.

Blessings to you all,

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