There is clearly a distinction to be made between the general fatigue which life blows upon us all; like the child left to play outside in days of yore, and comes back with the grime of healthy dirtiness, the imperceptible layers of life’s hardships cover everyone, like the light dusting of snow overnight revealed in the morning dawn of a winter’s day. But the profound fatigue which overtakes one from the daily battle against an incapacitating medical condition, is a difference which cannot always be adequately described, if ever.
The medical condition itself creates a circumstance of unique debilitation; the fight against it, whether without one’s conscious involvement — as in the soundless battle of healthy cells against the invasion of marauding maladies, as opposed to the exertion of willpower to continue on in engaging the daily living of life’s challenges — is of somewhat irrelevance, inasmuch as the combination and totality of one’s entire being is always and every day in the midst of the fight.
It is that subtle distinction which the healthy person is unable to understand; it is not life’s fatigue which prevails upon the sick person; it is the sickness itself, in addition to the fatigue of life.
For Federal and Postal workers who must contend not only with the daily grind of life’s routine, facing the bureaucracy and administrative headaches of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency (if still with the agency or otherwise not separated for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a challenge beyond that foray of the day’s entanglement with the world.
Federal and Postal employees must do the everyday things that all of us do: attention to personal needs; work, if possible; interaction with family, neighbors, coworkers; and beyond, the fight against the medical condition itself.
Filing for Medical Retirement through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to face another of life’s challenges, beyond the daily routine and call of one’s duty and commitment to everyday life. And since defeat is never an option, and giving up is not in the American character of perceived self-image; whether one is faced with the fatigue of life, or of life’s challenges beyond the general malaise of daily living, it is how we face the cup of gruel we are served, which will determine the future path as yet unknown, as yet unsettled.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire