I have, thus far, met with some success in my career as a disabled person.
Since my MS is progressing, I seem to have successfully completed another level of INability. I must assume I have been promoted. To qualify for this position one must adequately acquire new or worsening symptoms, adapt to changes and be effective in grieving. I am obviously doing this well enough to be given more responsibility, right? I didn’t apply for a new title or an increased EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Score), but here I am. I must have met the qualifications because I was given the position. I do admit I somehow missed the formal offer of promotion. I don’t recall a chance to decline but, no matter, what’s done is done. I secured the job. Let’s skip the congratulatory remarks though.
I have, in a way, become a supervisor. I explain to others (family members) how to do the tasks I once completed on my own in my former job. I hope I do it kindly, clearly and effectively (although in moments of haste and distraction, I suspect my message delivery may seem abrupt). We’ll say my title is “Supervisor of Training and Quality Control”. Yes, that has a ring to it. Especially since I have no choice in the matter, I accept this new position and it’s responsibilities.
And now, one metaphoric step at a time, I’m carefully climbing the downhill corporate ladder of disability. I’m not yet an expert in my field, but not a novice either. At this level in my profession, small changes in my physical condition require big changes in how tasks are accomplished. To effectively survive in this field, one must be resourceful, persistent and resilient. But to really excel, one cannot take oneself too seriously. So, the qualifications for this job would be, in order of importance:
1. Sense of humor
We recently had the pleasant chance to host visitors – friends from college that we have seen only briefly a few times through the years. Having an opportunity to really visit with them and hear about their lives, we discovered how accomplished they both are in their professional fields. They both have impressive titles and/or letters after their names.
In an obvious stretch of importance, I have qualifications/certifications as well. I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS). I am an accomplished Medicine Taker (MT). I am a Professional Napper (PN). I am a Listener of Stories (LS), good bad or indifferent. I am an Executive of Manners (EM), saying please and thank you in a most sincere and repetitive way. Since my promotions and extra duties have been generously given to me, I will claim them as achievements and use their labels wisely.
Kerri, SPMS, MT, PN, LS, EM
Supervisor of Training and Quality Control
University of Multiple Sclerosis