Working A Warehouse Job With HS (Part 1)
Last updated: September 2022
I remember the first time my supervisor asked me why I always walked funny. It wasn’t in a disrespectful way or anything, but I definitely remember feeling a little self-conscious about it. The thing was this: I had a pretty painful boil under my left arm, so I didn’t leave my arms completely down at my sides; it was slightly raised to keep pressure off my arm.
If you’re reading this article, then you or someone you know probably already know how it is.
Working with HS can be excruciating
I was maybe a couple of months into my new job at a food processing factory. It definitely wasn’t my ideal place of work, but when you’re a relatively new college-drop out with little experience and rent due soon, you have to take what you can get sometimes. And that’s how I ended up here.
Working with HS, even at a sit-down job, can be excruciating. Depending on what part of your body may be affected, finding a comfortable seating position can be a chore. Let alone figure out a comfortable way to walk or lift your arms, even for the simplest of tasks. And here I was at a manual labor job with no idea what was in store for me. But luckily, I was in one of the phases in my life where the boils I was getting weren’t too bad and didn’t restrict my movement too much.
Essentially, this job consisted of cutting open 50-pound bags of various powdered ingredients to dump into a large sifting bowl that would later be blended and dumped into a large tote. Then, the product in the tote would be emptied into smaller bags (around 50 pounds each), sealed off, and sent to be stacked onto a pallet. On any given day, I would either be cutting open bags, bagging out the bags from the tote, or stacking bags onto a pallet.
Basic warehouse stuff. But if none of this makes sense to you, that’s okay.
Work became a struggle
Work became a struggle sometimes. When the boils got really bad under my arms, I found myself using one hand to literally push my other arm up to be able to grab bags or empty out a tote. When the boils on my thighs started flaring up, I either penguin-walked my way around the warehouse or dealt with the pain to avoid being looked at funny. Not to mention that there was no fan or AC running during the summers, so the sweat was real.
I started working at this job about a year or two before ever seeking real treatment for my HS. And if I’m going to be honest, I’m still not sure how I worked there that long with the boils. I knew that pain pills helped, but there were some days when I just had to make up an excuse to go home because of the pain. But for the most part, I made do with the physicality of the job and I wore oversized T-shirts under my uniform to hide my gauze pads. But that could only go on for so long. Eventually, I had to talk to someone about my HS.
Check back for Part 2 of this series!
When you need to vent about HS, who do you turn to first?