Thursday, March 10

Why I Want My Husband to Quit His Job

So my husband has been suspended from work.

Even though in my gut I could feel that it was coming, I was still unpleasantly surprised when he told me.

It wasn't a complete surprise, thankfully. See, my husband has a major issue with getting to work on time. In fact, he's been warned several times that his chronic tardiness is an issue. Although I don't believe that my husband's boss has been at all empathetic toward his illness, I do think that the patience exhibited toward him always being late has been relatively fair.

I'm really disappointed.

I did my part, I think. I try to always make sure he has clean clothes, a packed lunch bag, and whatever other little things that are necessary to get ready and out the door to start your work day. After his 8th or 9th tardy, I also bought him a new watch with a timer, stopwatch, and several alarm options. The truth is, none of that really mattered.

See, my husband's biggest problem isn't preparation. It's the suddenness, the unexpected, the Sleep Attack. Most of his lateness can be blamed on the times that he got to work half an hour early, but fell asleep in the parking lot. By the time he picks up his head from the steering wheel or someone taps on his window - he's late. Other times he felt so tired he'd take a break - falling asleep in the bathroom stall or with his head down on the table in the break room... it doesn't matter if he's on the premises. If he isn't clocked in, he's late.

Things were different when he had a salaried position with another company. But he gave that up a few years ago to move to the state we're currently living in - to be closer to our families at the birth of our child.

As a work-from-home mom who really loves working from home, I've been suggesting that my husband try my arrangement. Work from home, set your own hours, nap when you need to nap... but it didn't appeal to him in the least. I understood. Frankly, working from home isn't for everyone, but I was making any suggestion that seemed feasible for a person who could fall asleep at any given moment.

I'm not really sure what to do now. If he's late twice more - he's a goner - at work, anyway. He's been at his current job for almost 4 years, and really enjoys the work. He stays busy, is relatively well-paid, the benefits are just great for us, and it's a good company to work for.

Unless you're a narcoleptic.

So I'm now helping my husband job hunt - just in case. This isn't to say that losing his job is inevitable, but it's definitely possible. The good news is that in April - just a little over a month from now - his tardies will be wiped from his slate and he can start over. So if we can make it a month without him being late, he'll be okay.

For now, I'm going to keep doing what I can to help him get to work on time, and I've decided to increase my work hours, but I wish that he could just quit. I wish that he could live on disability or that I could support our family on my own. Of course, more than anything, I wish that he didn't have narcolepsy.

At least someday, he won't.


  1. This is why I like your blog. Real, honest, day to ay issues narcoleptics and those of us who love them face.

    Along with objective thoughts on these matters.

    The narcoleptic in my life is looking for a job. The company he had been working for had to close it's doors. putting 25 people out of work. That was a real shame all around, but as the owner was very understanding about narcolepsy, and willing to be flexible about the symptoms, it was especially unfortunate.

    Now my narcoleptic is looking for another job, and although he is brilliant, talented and motivated, he must also be honest about the Sleep Attacks and frequent cataplexy. In these times when most jobs have numerous applicants, I can understand employers being a little hesitant to hire a person with these symptoms.

    And so I just must say again that I like your blog because you tackle the real challenges this disease brings. Thank You.

  2. Does your husband take medications for his narcolepsy? I used to have frequent sleep attacks and fall asleep at work. Once I started taking xyrem at night and Vyvanse during the day, those sleep attacks pretty much stopped happening. I rarely have sleep attacks, and if I do, it's usually in the evenings, once the Vyvanse has worn off. Maybe they can up your husbands daytime meds, or get him to sleep better at night. My doc added Lunesta at night because I started showing some tolerance to xyrem. It did the trick and helped me get deeper sleep. Good luck to you and your husband!

  3. Has he spoken to his boss and human resources? He should be requesting this accommodation, and if it is not granted, he may have grounds to sue, assuming the boss is aware of his condition. Perhaps a doctor's note explaining what happens?

    My office wasn't very good about that. They wanted me to start a half hour later, but didn't understand that it wouldn't matter. It's not about getting up earlier, or taking meds at a different time, or getting an extra fifteen minutes in bed in the morning.

    I was eventually let go, and I suspect that was a huge reason, but I didn't have a family to support and preferred not to go through the stress of filing, especially seeing as these were lawyers!

    Best of luck!

  4. I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through, though it was not my husband but my younger brother who I had to nurse for a long numbers of years. Narcolepsy, without any doubt is one of the rare illnesses that not only disables the victim but can impact the lives of everyone around him or her.

    Things soon changed for the better when I listened to a friends’ advice to try some simple home remedies. Steps I took included: fixing regular sleep schedules for my brother; made him quit smoking and every other stimulants including coffee, aerated drinks, chocolates, etc; programmed frequent daytime naps (two slots of 15 minutes each).

    Please see my research work here:

  5. Narcolepsy is protected under some act that I can't recall, lol. They can't fire him because of his narcolepsy. They have to make accomodations for him.

  6. Thanks for your input guys - as an update, the job situation is much improved, especially now that Adderall is out of the picture. I'll keep you posted...