5 Ways To Be Prepared For Disability-Related Emergencies [AD]

pippa stood on wall outdoors, back to camera and looking at the humber bridge in the distance. pippa is wearing a long burgandy coat with black jeans and boots

[AD – this post is sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors. You can find out more about their organisation on their website, and read more about their Serious Injury Claims services here].

Something you might not know is that the name of my blog, Life Of Pippa, comes from anecdotes from my friends. Ever since I became chronically ill, I’ve found myself in countless bizarre life situations that it often seems only I could end up in… and these became affectionately christened by my nearest and dearest as ‘Life Of Pippa’ moments.

I’m the first one to joke about the tricky situations I frequently find myself navigating as a result of my condition, but the truth of the matter is that when disability is a big part of your life, you’re much more likely to encounter troublesome situations just from going about your day. Whether it’s physical barriers, unsafe environments, or stigma from the people around us, the unfortunate reality is that disabled people run an increased risk of encountering serious or dangerous circumstances.

What these situations might look like will vary between individuals, but today I wanted to share five of my own tips for being prepared for disability-related emergencies… based on my own lived experiences of chronic illness.

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Working with ME/CFS – Examples of Workplace Adjustments

pippa sat on bed, wearing comfy clothes, with laptop propped up on her crossed legs. pippa has long brown hair down and is smiling

Before we jump into this post, it feels really important to emphasise that by no means is everybody with ME/CFS is well enough to pursue employment, nor should they be expected to. I also know first-hand just how difficult it can be to find accessible employment opportunities in the first place.

However, as one of the self-named in-betweeners living with the challenges of a debilitating chronic illness whilst trying to lead an independent and fulfilling life, I think it’s important that we share as much information on this topic as we possibly can. For a bit of background, you can read more about my personal experiences with employment and becoming a chronically ill freelancer here!

If you’re new to the world of employment, or you’re returning to work after a period of ill health, you might find it helpful to know your rights as a chronically ill employee – namely, the workplace adjustments (often referred to as ‘reasonable adjustments’) you’re entitled to. In a nutshell, reasonable adjustments are modifications designed to overcome the challenges that disabled employees face. If you have ME/CFS, your employer is obligated to make reasonable adjustments under the 2010 Equality Act.

Some workplace adjustments are common and well-implemented; people know to ask for them and employers know how to accommodate them. However, with a complex condition like ME/CFS, there may well be additional changes and adaptations that could benefit your wellbeing in the workplace – and many people simply don’t know that they have a right to ask for them. In this post, I’ve listed as many of these reasonable adjustments as I can think of, in the hope that they’ll help you to think about your own unique needs and how to discuss them with your employer.

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Classics And Chronic Illness – How To Tackle Challenging Reads

Pippa stood up holding pile of books. Pippa is wearing long-sleeved navy blue dress with tiny white spots, with brown hair down. Books are all classics from Wordsworth Collector’s Editions in a rainbow spectrum of pastel colours and titles embroidered in gold. Books top to bottom are The Great Gatsby, The Secret Garden, The Wind In The Willows, Pride and prejudice, a Christmas Carol, withering heights, Jane Eyre, and black beauty.

 

[AD. This post is not sponsored, but links marked with * are affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission from any purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you. Books pictured here are some of the gorgeous Collector’s Editions series*, previously gifted from Wordsworth Editions – my collection is one of my most prized possessions. You can also find more of my favourite reads here!*]

Before we get started, let me leave my more general Tips For Reading With A Chronic Illness post here. You can also find my own published books and eBooks here and say hello on Goodreads here, and just before I hit publish I finished listening to my pal Natasha Lipman’s wonderful podcast episode that explores chronic illness, reading and pacing in more depth. Highly, highly recommend!

For anybody dealing with adversity, reading can be a lifeline.

Whether you’re craving pure escapism in narratives far away from your own or you’re seeking solidarity in stories that mirror what you’re going through, there are books out there that can give you exactly what you need, right when you need it. And I can only speak for myself here, but I truly believe my love of reading has shaped the person I’ve become.

The problem, however, is that when you’re dealing with a chronic illness, immersing yourself in the world of reading isn’t always straightforward. Brain fog and cognitive impairment can make it difficult to concentrate, issues with memory can make it trickier to follow plotlines and narratives, and even the simple act of holding a physical book open can be demanding on painful muscles and joints.

As somebody who’s contended with all of the above issues in varying levels of severity over the years, I feel really fortunate that my lifelong love of reading hasn’t been completely jeopardised by my condition. There was only a small period of time where I wasn’t reading at all, but that alone made me realise how much of a privilege this very thing can be.

I usually indulge in books within my comfort zone, mostly contemporary fiction and YA reads. However, as I’ve grown older and wanted to challenge myself more, it’s been necessary to adapt my habits accordingly… and my biggest battle to-date has been with popular classic books*.

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