I became ill at work on May 7, 2008 and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I returned to the job on May 21 and left again on May 23. On May 29 I received a call informing me that I was fired due to attendance. I have not returned to a job since then.

I feel isolated. I am only 42 years old. I never had a "profession", but I worked steadily from the time I graduated from college. At one point, I attended grad school for three semesters. My doctor said do you want to be dead with a masters degree. I could not handle a full-time job and grad school at night.

I have a high level of fetal hemoglobin, which has protected me all my life. However, it has not protected me from chronic pain in my lower back and hip that began in the fall of 2006. My family tells me that I tried hard. I know that I did. I wish that I could have found an employer that cared and would allow me to work on days when I was well enough to work and not fire me because I was suddenly hospitalized.

I used to hide my illness from employers when I was younger. I was not prepared to be punished for something beyond my control.

I have never blogged before. I hope that I did not write anything that I will regret.

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Comment by Rotimi on June 19, 2009 at 6:32am
Hello Ali,

I must confess you are very strong. I also experieced similar fate some years back. Despite being the best staff of the year then, i was asked to either resign voluntarily or get sacked as a result of absence from work due to my illness. It was a harrowing period for me as i suffered isolation, shame, acrimony and rejection from friends and folks, though my Parent and Siblings stood by me and showered me with love, care and understanding. Since then, i made up my mind to live and weather the storms of life. Today, i am doing well in my Accounting Profession. I have a family. My wife, and my son, gives me great joy. I also found love, joy, happiness and fulfilment ministering the Gospel as Assisting Minister in my church. But i must say that i never share my HbSS status to my friends, colleagues and others. Afterall, everybody has their own cross to carry. Sickle Cell is not the worst ailment to afflict mankind. We have people living with Hepatitis, Cancer, Diabetes, Leukaemia etc. Some are lucky to live through while others are not. A Cousin of mine of same age with me died as a result of Sickle Cell crisis when we are 15 years old. But here i am, going 40 and still alive.

Ali, just be strong and be of good courage.Desire and Detrmine to Live and Overcome your Worry.

God Bless.
Comment by Sickle Cell Warrior on April 28, 2009 at 6:45pm
I was limited in hiding my disease as well. I was a personal assistant in college. But one of my employers got upset with me when I was sick in the hospital for 2 weeks. She had no contingency plan and everything pretty much went to shambles while I was gone. She told me that she would never had hired me if she knew that I would have to be out for weeks at a time. Ever since then, at my interviews I always give my bosses full disclosure. "Just so you know, I have sickle cell, a painful condition that flares up occassionally and might have me out of work for sometimes a week. Of course when I'm well, I will perform to my full capacity."

I've found that being open has helped alot in my transition into the working world. Deciding to not hide my sickle cell was the best thing I could have done. I'm not saying that everyone should do this however, remember, I work in the medical/nursing field, so people understand and have more compassion. But sometimes a little honesty can go a long way.

I do agree with the comments about Volunteering. Also, there are many hobbies that you might enjoy now that you have spare time that can get you socially active again. I wish I didn't have to work sometimes, but I appreciate the ability to do so.

Good luck.
Comment by Tiffany J. White on April 21, 2009 at 9:32pm
Hi Ali,

I understand how you feel I have had similiar situations in my life. What about volunteering. This would help with your feeling of isolation and at the same time fulfill your need to "work". Think about it.

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