People’s invisible illnesses are not a joke




 My mother suffers from migraines that are often triggered by scent. This can range anywhere from cleaning products, scented garbage bags, cologne/perfume and so on. As such, she’s had to ask for accommodations in the facility she works. This has included wearing surgical masks, industrial respirators, and having a perfume/cologne free work environment.

Here’s the thing, since receiving the accommodations, my mother has gone to the hospital more than six times for perfume exposure. Why? Because her co-workers deliberately wear excess amounts of perfume or cologne to trigger her migraines because they believe their right to wear perfume outweighs her right to live. This is not an exaggeration, my mother’s doctors have repeatedly stated that any one of these incidents could actually kill her.

Oh, and let me be clear, these are deliberate incidents. These are documented grievances with witnesses. Witnesses who saw co-workers put on perfume before interacting with my mother or workers deliberately crossing in my mother’s work area despite not even working in the area. Workers who have admitted to exposing her on purpose.  Even worse, some of those who’ve exposed her are supervisors.

People don’t believe my mother when she says her migraines are triggered by scent. Because they can’t see it, they don’t think it can possibly be that bad. It has taken her literally being hauled off in ambulance for some people to understand the severity of her condition.

Illnesses or disabilities, whether visible or not, are not jokes. Don’t play with someone else’s health or well being. It’s fucked up.

Really, if someone tells you that they have a health issue, listen to them. They’re telling you for a reason

My Mom straight up had one of the worst cases of asthma and small airway disease in the country. Like. She went to the top U.S. asthma specialists and none of them could help her – hell, during the week she was seeing one of them, her lung collapsed while they were working on her.

Before she was diagnosed with osteoperosis in her spine, a lot of people probably wouldn’t have been able to tell my Mom wasn’t healthy. She could move around stuff and do all her decorations. But she had to do so many doctors visits, there were so many trips to the ER bc she would just quit breathing, there were so many medications (with more added after her spine started deteriorating and she had rib problems). Hell, some of her medication rendered her immune system to be shit, but she had to take them to keep living.

She used to work in the car industry as a clerk. For one of the jobs, they understood, thankfully, about her doctor visits or if she had an attack she had to leave. Especially if smells were triggering it. The last job, there was one girl that kept wearing like an obnoxious amount of perfume and my Mom could not handle it. And like, even if it wasnt an insane amount, it could have sent my Mom into a full on asthma attack – perfume, flowers, smoke, different things (it didn’t help my Mom had the nose of a blood hound so it made it like so much worse). They constantly said shit and made her life hell over needing to go to the doctor.

Finally, she quit and applied for disability. She got DENIED the first time – even though there were numerous stacks of evidence, from top specialists and her asthma doctor, of why she needed to be on it. Thankfully, she ended up getting it after the second try (the judge that time around said it never should have taken that long, it should have been granted the first time, like, no shit fam) but my Moms disability, for a long time, was one not many could see or understand.

I still don’t think some people realized how bad a condition my Mom was in until she started breaking ribs just by turning in bed or when she shrunk down from 5’10 to 5’1 and had to use walkers and everything. Bc when that happened, her breathing problems also amplified even more and everything became so much more serious.

There were so many times she was just dismissed – hell, at one point, an ER doctor said she wasn’t having an asthma attack simply because she “wasn’t wheezing” and walked out of the room, even though my mother’s oxygen levels were really fucking low (her asthma doctor chewed his ass out for it too). And I can’t even imagine how much that had to hurt her, how much that had to fuck with my Mom and seeing how she began to act after incidents like this plus all the medication she had to be on to stay alive because her asthma was THAT BAD? It gets you pissed.

My Mom spent the last decade of her life before she died battling an illness people would dismiss or write off as not that bad because it was invisible. But those can be some of the diseases that cause the most amount of hell. Peoples illnesses and disabilities are no fucking joke.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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