It was becoming increasingly difficult to go to work. I was averaging about two hours of sleep a night. I dreaded bedtime, because sleeping meant that I had to straighten my swollen legs. The weight of a blanket or sheet was painful. I couldn't stand the pressure. My skin looked stretched and shiny. I couldn't just sleep without blankets in the winter time, either, because I had developed extreme sensitivity to the cold.
I had to gulp down three cups of coffee just to get going in the morning. I could not get up from a seated position without pushing up with both arms, which wasn't easy, since one was broken and the other was in a cast. This made using the bathroom interesting. I needed help to get dressed and put on my coat. Opening normal door knobs was impossible. My wrists had swollen, too. I had strange knots that would pop up suddenly and then disappear in a day or two, then suddenly reappear. I especially had trouble with the door knob that led into the garage. I made Tom change it to a lever type knob. Unless he was home when I left for work, I was practically trapped in the house.
Driving a car hurt my wrists even with braces on them. My legs hurt sitting in the car for the thirteen mile commute. I had to hobble into work like an eighty-year old lady by the time I got there. I must have looked pathetic and miserable. I was swollen from taking too much prednisone and getting steroid shots.
At this point, I had a class with two difficult students with many problems. One week, both of these kids had acted out. I emailed the assistant principle to document their behavior. Several other teachers had complained that these two students had been disrupting their classes as well.
The next morning, when I opened my computer, I received a reply from the assistant principle that she wanted to talk to me in her office immediately. I went down to her office, and was also met by the principle. They both had clip boards and were taking notes. I thought at first, that they were going to give me some help and suggestions for dealing with the misbehavior of the two kids in question. Instead, the assistant principle was writing me up for emailing her twice in one week. I have actually never emailed her about any students before. I pointed this out to her. I told them both that I thought that I deserved and expected their support. That is what they were supposed to do. Instead I was grilled about my motive for emailing her. I replied that I don't recall ever asking her for help before, and we had worked together for several years. She basically told me that I had a bad attitude and looked unhappy with my job.
I told her that I was very ill and that I was seeing a doctor who was trying to properly diagnose a very painful condition that made it hard to walk. I was told that I may have Lyme disease, cancer, or even rheumatoid arthritis. She continued to repeat her questions about my motive for emailing her. I replied that I just wanted to document behavior. I then burst into tears. The principal was sitting there, not saying much, but nodding and backing up her comments. He was writing down every thing that was said on a legal pad. I stood up and said, "I have done nothing wrong. You are trying to make it sound like I did something sinister. I have done nothing wrong. Thanks for a wonderful start to my day." I turned out and left the office. Thank God, it was a Friday. I would have the weekend to recover. I felt as though I was about to lose my job because of my illness.
That Monday morning, the assistant principal called me into her office again. I was afraid that I was about to be fired. Instead, she apologized.