Monday, February 1, 2016

The complicated life of a Menierian

Life is interesting. More so when you have a chronic illness.

I 'm not one to sit back and feel sorry for myself, so I push the limits every day. I did that for 22 years farming full time while having Meniere's disease. When the time came for me to hang that up, I had no idea what my future would be. On a whim, and with the intention of getting my wife back in college to finish her registered nursing program, we visited the local community college. Somehow I decided to embark on the journey to getting a college degree in accounting. My first step is an associates degree.

*A little disclaimer: I have never been academically challenged in my life, so this is more "jumping through the hoops" than it is a stretch of my learning ability.*

As  I have embarked on his venture, the encouragement from others has been wonderful. It is good to know that people genuinely think this is a good thing for me. Along the way I have had many ask what my ultimate goal of getting the degree is. Several have encouraged me to go all the way to getting my CPA license. While the thought of that is intriguing, I am also a realist. This requires a bachelors degree, 150 total credits, and a 2000 hour apprenticeship under a licensed CPA in order to become licensed. It also means that I would have to sit for a 4 part test and, of course, pass it.

The question was asked of me this morning what I would do with a CPA license and for how long.

That is a very good question.

I'm not the kind of person who cares how many letters I have after my name (trust me, I've run across more than one with a masters degree that left me scratching my head how they got it). I am just the type of guy who can't do nothing for the rest of my life.

Would the CPA be a benefit for me? What would my employment options be? (I have been told by college officials that most students need to look for work after graduation, accounting grads have people looking for them) How do I address the issues of my illness in regard to a new career?

This morning I was reminded why these questions matter.

I woke up with a hangover. While some would claim this to be the sign of a good weekend, I have consumed no alcohol for a month. It was a Meniere's hangover. The kind that, if I were still farming, would likely have put me in bed after doing the 3 hours of morning chores, assuming I didn't vomit in the process.

All the same questions that I dealt with in deciding that I could no longer handle the physical aspect of farming came back into my head. If I am an accountant, how do I do my job lying on the floor? Or not coming in to work at all? Even more basic than that, how do I get to the office? What would my employer think? Clients? Co-workers? Would they trust me enough to hire me? Support me? Work with me on these occasions?

Believe it or not, accounting CAN be stressful. Do I need that in my life?

Everyone with this illness knows what kind of insidious bastard it can be. Months can go by with no issues and then hit you one day and knock you back to the core of your being.

These are the questions that everyone with a chronic illness have to answer for themselves each and every time an opportunity presents itself. What I have learned is that my health MUST take precedence over all else in my life. If I'm not me, how can I be anything to anyone else?

In the meantime, I will be continuing on my journey to my associates degree. We'll see what life has in store once I reach that goal.

'Til next time


Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness

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