Do I have a disability?

Have you ever gotten to the bottom of one of those “New Hire” forms and find it asks if you have a disability?

Well, I came across this question in November when I started my current job.

Do I have a disability? Do I reveal that I have a disability?

Let’s think on that and go on to the next question: “Are you able to complete the tasks at your job regardless of this disability?”

SURE. So, do I write that I have a disability? Nope. Phew, my secret’s safe. Or is it?

For some reason this morning, I was hit with a flashback from my first job at Barnes and Noble. This flashback was inspiration for this entry. It’s of course one of those embarrassing situations I found myself in. Sometimes I think I am destined for embarrassing and awkward situations. Actually, I know that I’m destined for them. It’s the nature of HH.

I was a cashier in the Music section of Barnes and Noble and I remember my hands not being so great that day. As I cashed someone out, the customer asked, “Why are these CDs all wet? I want new ones.” She ran off and got another copy of her CDs and when she came back, I’m sure I got them wet again…this time trying to be really careful not to.

I start to think: “Am I really able to work around this condition?”

I remember struggling so much with jobs that I’ve had. When my hands are extremely sweaty, it’s very difficult to do the simplest things.

I can’t hold objects with out them slipping out of my hands. I remember doing a CD inventory where I had to stand on a ladder and lift boxes filled with CDs. This was one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever had to do on a job. It wouldn’t have been difficult for the average person but, with my HH, I was risking my balance on the ladder by not having good grips on the boxes. I remember being so angry and feeling like I shouldn’t have been asked to do this. But no one knew I had such a disability, and I wasn’t about to tell them.

Also, I struggle assembling things when my hands are really sweaty. Something struck me as sad this past summer on the subway. I saw a man taking apart his phone, removing the battery or something of that sort. It made me sad because there is no way I would be able to do that. I can’t move my hands like that when they are so sweaty. Just imagine how I get with flute playing… Currently, I work as an associate manager. I’m lucky that I can ask my staff to help me assemble things and not have it look like I am incapable. “Assemble” is even a too fancy word for what I struggle with. I struggle with the simplest task of ripping masking tape or hanging a bulletin board. My hands just do not cooperate.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very capable with my hands when they are behaving normally. I usually have a fan with me to ease the swelling and excessive sweating. Sometimes my staff will complain about my fan because they are cold. What can I do though? I can’t be completely out of commission all the time. Then I definitely would not be able to complete the tasks of the job at hand.

Thanks for reading,

Caryn Joan

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