Working with it…

I work within the hospitality industry, within a small cocktail bar just outside London.

As the director I am lucky enough to be able to work within the constraints of my health, I can rely on my team to organise themselves when needed.

Last night I worked a full shift behind the bar (15 hours) for the first time after long while; I really struggled, I constantly battled with steroids sweats, shakes and breathlessness. Not very presentable when dealing with customers face to face.

Those who are familiar with a cocktail bar environment will be aware of the set up of a busy bar, the mixologist will create your drink in front of your eyes with precision, skill and professionalism. In my case I was unable to pour my drinks accurately due to my shakes, I was constantly wiping my sweat in a weak attempt to remain presentable.

The shift not only reminded me how vital my team is and how great they are, it also demonstrated how difficult it would be for me to work in that capacity as an employee.

Although my health is dictating my next move within the business and career path, I do not feel that my health impacts my work on a daily basis, until last night. I have always had to take precautions; getting help when lifting kegs, or unloading stock and I would also try and stay away from the smoking garden, however last night really highlighted the impact and severity of my eosinophilic asthma.

I met a performer, an amazing young woman who runs her own performance/dance events company, she has asthma yet still performs fire breathing! She showed me her breathing technique and safety precautions. I was stunned at her determination, she appreciated that putting paraffin fuel in her mouth was dangerous and how she over came her fears. I was astonished with her motivation and admiration for her art.

I know a police officer who needs to keep his inhaler with him at all times; whilst on duty wearing body armour and overcoming physical activities. We have spoken about how his colleagues are aware of his health and offer him support when needed.

I suppose as there are so many asthmatics we’re bound to find sufferers in all jobs, industries and workers that are compelled to work with they asthma, in the same token, employers who have to work around their employees asthma.

Is asthma a recognised disease to warrant reasonable changes to the workplace? Or job description? I wonder if I employed an eosinophilic asthmatic, would I be able to make changes?

I have never allowed my asthma to effect my duties, activities or actions, however I have come to realise that I am now at the mercy of my health and have to take extreme steps to ensure my inabilities do not become a hindrance to those around me.

Are you an employer? have to employed an asthmatic? have you had to make changes? are you willing to make changes if needed?

As always, I thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed it and hope you will comment and share this blog with friends, family and even colleagues.

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Take a breathe, Raj

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