Sunday, January 31, 2010

Isn't any Migraine Press better than none?

I am having a hard time understanding some comments I read recently when the whole ordeal was in the press about Percy Harvin and his Migraine attacks. Yes, I agree that he was getting an extraordinary amount of press because he was missing some football practices and might miss a big play-off game.

I admit that there was a lot of press about his Migraines, but I don't understand how we could get upset with the coverage of Migraines or even him. I know I am in a unique situation where I may use Percy or even Terrell Davis by name if I need to explain to my son's football coaches about his Migraines, but I think all of this coverage is something they have read about and would understand. At least I hope so.

Although my son plays division I football, he will never be at the same level as Percy or Terrell. He is going to be a very ordinary man (although extraordinary to me!) with Migraines who will never get this type of press. Football is a means to my son's education. I don't know if his coaches would understand Migraines without this press around Percy. I don't know that they would ever read about Migraines under any other circumstances. I am just glad that the publicity is out there around Migraines and hitting a different demographic of people.

I also try to turn this around. What if I lost my job because of Migraines? How would I feel then? Of course I would want this injustice to be broadcast for the world to see and read about. I would be very upset that I wasn't valuable enough to my employer to want to keep me while I try my hardest to work through this disease that I have little to no control over.

Some have said that Percy should become a spokesperson for Migraines because of his special treatments. Percy is a 21 year old rookie. My own opinion is that he is far from understanding or even accepting his Migraines. I also believe that this 21 year old football player would lose his job in a heartbeat if he could not hold up his end of the deal and play a good game of football for his team. I don't think he would understand that right now either. The average life of a professional football player is only about three years.

If a Migraine can bring a professional athlete down like this, they must be bad. I have read a lot of the articles around Percy. I have found some good information and even one article with a link to even better information about Migraines. The publicity has opened up some communications between some Migraineurs and their loved ones who have struggled to get them to understand and the barrage of Percy articles have helped them to better understand what they are going through.

I am scared every time I have a Migraine and it interferes with work even if I don't call out and even if my boss doesn't know about it. Migraines do affect my work no matter how much I don't want them to. I still believe that one of my co-workers was laid off a few months ago because of her Migraines and all of this upsets me greatly, but I don't see getting mad at all of Percy's coverage. I am lucky in that my immediate boss understands Migraines, but I also know I need to watch myself, that it wouldn't take much to cross a line. My Director of HR does not understand Migraines and has made so many stupid comments.

All of the fighting among us only makes me more nervous about my own Migraines and educating my son's coaches about his newly discovered Migraines. If we can't agree this or any press is good, how is the average person/boss going to feel about it? Am I better off hiding my son's and my Migraines from coaches and bosses? Hiding Migraines comes too easy for me and something I struggle with all of the time - to not hide them.

Isn't any Migraine press better than none at all? Isn't this our chance to use the overvalued sports figures to educate others about Migraines? To use this to help us get the word out too?


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Education in our society takes fame it seems, so it is a good thing. Just knowing the public they will think the common migraine sufferer is a strapping healthy looking young man who plays football!

HR directors as a rule protect the company not the employee, so that's why we in the US have FMLA. Companies protect the bottom line, not the individual as a rule. I work for a small company now that is an exception.

When I worked for Big Corporate America I encouraged every employee I had with a chronic condition to file intermittent FMLA LOA for time off related to their illness whether it be doctor's appointments or actual illness.

That way HR could not pressure me into counseling them for these absences, and lack of performance I could link to the condition could be semi-protected also.

I think dealing with illness - your own or a close family member is a lot of stress, and worse when you could lose your job and your insurance over something you have no control over.

I'm hopping down off my soap box now, sorry....

MigrainePuppet said...

I always enjoy when you get on your soapbox - no need to apologize. I never thought about encouraging those around me to file for FMLA and I just love your reasoning - so HR could not pressure you into counseling them.

I hate that I have passed this on to my son and it would devastate the family to have no income or insurance because of losing my job to these.

Diana Lee said...

I completely agree! Very well put.