person trapped inside while there is a fire outside

Should I Go Back To Work With Crohn's During COVID?

To go or not to go. This is what I am having to decide.

For the last eight months or so, I have been working from home. I am a school teacher, and like schools all around the country, we were sent home in the middle of March and we have yet to return to the school buildings.

The positives of working from home with Crohn's disease

From a Crohn’s standpoint, it makes it easier. I don’t have to wait for someone to come and relieve my classroom. 

Another positive about having Crohn’s and working from home is that I can experiment with more foods without much worry. If my stomach acts up, I can literally walk a few steps to the bathroom.

Yes, I will admit that I have been drinking a pot of coffee a day. I know, it's not good for me, I know!

The fears around returning to work during the pandemic

Starting November 9th, all K-2 teachers in my school district have to return. There are a lot of my staff members that are getting written out of work due to an accommodation that has to do with the ADA. I get it. They are scared to return to work, and I don’t blame them. 

Many of my staff know that I have bad Crohn’s. Many of my staff also know that I take Humira and other immune-suppressive medications. They have been asking me if I was going to get written out of work for those reasons, and I really haven’t given anyone an answer.

Crohn’s is listed under the American with Disabilities Act. My GI doctor would have no problem writing me out. I am sure if I went to go see him, he would of course say that I would not be returning to the building. 

I also know that it is the right thing not to return to the building due to my Crohn’s. But there is another side to the coin...

The reasons why I want to go back to work in person

I need to go back to work. This pandemic has affected me psychologically. It is very hard to stay home and basically look at the four walls. 

Sure, you can say: “Paul, you know, you are so lucky to have a job, and benefits, and uninterrupted pension.” I agree with you.

But hear me out. When you spend over a year in the hospital, then another year at home recovering, it really takes a toll. Being home brings back some scared and bad memories of my Crohn’s past.

One of the reasons I go to work is to forget that I have a disease. I try to live a normal life, and being home all day long, every day makes me remember the bad days of the disease.

Am I at an increased risk because of Crohn's disease?

Is it an increased risk? Sure is. Do I know that? I sure do. For my own sanity, I can’t wait to go back to work. I am willing to take the risk and hold myself accountable for anything that happens to me (COVID-related).

Crohn’s has made me a more independent person, able to make tough decisions daily. I know one thing is for sure, the bathrooms at my school will be much cleaner! Stay safe everyone.

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