I was glad to have the weekend without other distractions to think about what I wanted to say in the email to Presenter Lady. I was also able to put it in a more matter of fact manner than the emotions I would have shown if I sent something out immediately.
After much editing from my original draft which was more therapeutic and a chance to get everything on paper, I think I came up with something that pretty much said what I wanted to get across and will hopefully get the results I am looking for. Here is a copy of the email I sent and have already received back a response:
Hi Presenter Lady,
First of all, I want to say that I have enjoyed and learned something from most of the monthly leave webinars. I also want to mention that I have heard Migraines used as different examples in a couple of these webinars in a manner that has made me uneasy and even gasp on occasion to the point that I was glad my phone was on mute.
I know Migraine is an often abused disease both in the workplace and in the emergency rooms which makes it more difficult for those who truly experience debilitating attacks. Migraines can be a chronic serious health condition and is more than just a headache where its symptoms can affect the entire body. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease where some people take medications to try to prevent Migraine attacks.
On these webinars, I have heard many of the questions asked by some of the managers like ‘can we ask them what’s wrong with them’ or ‘can we deny their leave’. I’m glad they have a place to ask these questions and hope they really listen to most of what is said on the calls which is why I feel I must say something about the implications made around Migraine disease.
During the last webinar, I felt the insinuation was made a few times that Migraines are not serious and maybe now that there are only x paid days for FMLA leave, those who are not really sick, will make an effort to come into work. From my experiences, most Migraineurs (a person with Migraine disease) have the intermittent FMLA leave to protect their job and getting paid for those days off is a secondary concern.
One-third of my direct reports are Migraineurs. I understand that twenty-eight percent of workday Migraines in the US resulted in absenteeism – eleven percent full day, five percent came in late and twelve percent left early. Migraines are tough for an employer to manage especially because they are the twelfth most disabling disorder and cause nine percent of all lost labor in the US every year.
Because of the types of questions some of the managers ask, I would not want them to get the wrong idea around Migraine disease which is already a highly misunderstood and abused condition. Using Migraine in these types of examples does not help Migraineurs, who truly need the help they seek whether it is from their employer or in the emergency room, overcome these misconceptions.
I have done extensive research around Migraines. If you would like to talk more about the challenges and/or the experiences of Migraineurs, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you or perhaps we could meet for lunch after our division moves into your building early next year. I think it’s important to enlighten others on the challenges of this chronic serious health condition.
Thank you for your time,
It didn't even take ten minutes before I got a response back from Presenter Lady. She thanked me for my email, said she had also been diagnosed with Migraines and that she meant no disrespect to me or any other associate who has this chronic condition while apologizing if I thought otherwise. She appreciated my feedback and will revise her examples for the remaining sessions.
I let her know I appreciated her response and for revising the examples. I also wanted to make sure she knew if she ever needed more information or support for herself, that I knew of a whole support network which could help her.
I have two different conference calls when the next leave webinar is scheduled. I am already planning on rescheduling both of them so I can attend this webinar for a third time. I don't know why, but I really need to hear the new examples used in the next webinar. Did I or am I over reacting?
Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy Quick Facts
Migraine Presenteeism Creates More Lost Work Time