My Doctor Would Be So Angry

  • I am not meeting her requirement that I get at least eight hours of sleep, especially on workdays.
  • I am in information technology work, which by nature is stressful.
  • Because I come home late at night tired, I sometimes forget to take my second tablet of Azathioprine after dinner, which she prescribed to be taken twice a day.
  • I'm not drinking that much water also.


I'm A Rare Find

Not so few people, my doctor included, have told me that it's very rare to find men with SLE.  I remember the very first time I saw my doctor in a hospital bed at the Philippine General Hospital 12 years ago.  She patted my thinning crown (due to hair loss) while talking to the resident physician and said, "Espesyal 'tong batang 'to."

True enough, most of her patients with SLE were female.  The only guy with lupus that I know, and so does everybody else, is deposed president Ferdinand Marcos.  It probably strikes men of great minds only.  Wahahaha.

Kidding aside, having SLE when you're a guy poses a problem which I think is peculair for men only.  We cannot afford to slow down, especially if we're breadwinners in the family.  We don't have the luxury of having to afford to take it easy.  We can't, for example, resign from work and look for less-stressful-but-low-pay work when our doctors advises us since we don't have husbands/boyfriends who can support us, not like women in the same situation as us can do.  Even my doctor acknowledges this.  When my doctor told me to slow down 12 years ago by taking leave from school for a semester, and then another semester, I could afford it because we were living with my aunt.  This second time around, my doctor knew I'll have some reservations because unlike the first time, I am already supporting a household.

In the end I guess it's always up to the man concerned if he wants to take his doctor's advice or reach some compromise somehow.  I'm not aware of any study on the life expectancy of guys with SLE, though I cling to my doctor's assurance that the probability ofa car driver dying of an accident in EDSA is higher than the probability of me dying of SLE.  It's not really reassuring but it'll do.  I am reminded of this quote from the HBO miniseries, Angels in America:
"So we live past hope.  If I can find hope anywhere, that's it.  That's the best I can do.  It's so much not enough.  It's so inadequate.  But still . . . bless me anyway.  I want more life."


"Sorry, We Can't Hire You."

There was this one time when I really thought I wasn't going to be employable just because I had SLE.

It was when I was applying for a position in this telecommunications company.  I was in an auditing firm then and, like others who just gave audit a try but didn't like it, I was looking for another job.  The interviews and exams with the company's recruitment office all went well.  It came to a point where all that was left was the pre-employment medical examination.  And it was all it took to negate my chances for the job.  Just because I specified I had SLE in the patient information form.  The doctor was cold and blunt.  He just confirmed if I had SLE and then said, "Sorry, we can't hire you.".  It's not their policyto employ people with a condition such as mine.  It was a pretty hurtful experience for someone who's barely one year-old in the corporate world.

After that, there was always that nagging fear at the back of my mind that I won't be able to get a good job because I had SLE.  I could choose to not disclose it, but I still wrote it down everytime lest I be accused of hiding pertinent information.  Luckily enough, it didn't matter in my second job, or third job.  I'm now about to start on my fourth job where my having SLE somehow mattered.  The recruitment team wanted me to consult with their recommended rheumatologist.  They later changed their minds when they realized I had my own rheumatologist and they just asked for a medical certificate, which I secured immediately.  The doctors at the company clinic raised the hurdle a bit when I submitted the certificate.  They want my doctor to issue a medical certificate saying that I'm fit to work everytimeI go for check-ups.  I've every intention of complying.

I still believe having SLE shouldn't be that big a factor when deciding whether to hire or not hire somebody, as long as they're competent and fits the job well.  But then again it's their company and I'm jut trying to find a decent way to earn a buck.