The Arthritis Newsletter

Fall 2011

The Fall Issue: Back to Work and Back to School

Written by: Gordon Whitehead


“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”—– so wrote poet, John Keats, in his famously beautiful “Ode to Autumn”—-and the Fall season is redolent of ripening and the rich rewards of the harvest.  Autumn is also the time which, for most of us, puts us in mind of our youthful school days.  Remember?  It was that special time of the year when the easy, languid pleasures of summer holidays were over.  As we walked to school in the fresh, cool autumn air, kicking aside recently fallen leaves along the way, we faced that dreaded demand to appear before our new teachers and classmates with a “show and tell” or to compose an essay on the subject of “What I did over the summer holidays”.


Once adulthood is obtained, the strong sense that autumn is a time to “get serious” and “buckle down to things”—-the values first inculcated in the classroom—-lingers on, and it follows us into the world of employment.  In fact, one often now hears the observation that “September is the new January”.  “Duty”, “Work”, “Earning money”, “Coming to grips with the workplace”—these too, are part of the inescapable warp and woof of the autumn season.


So—this fall edition of our newsletter is devoted to a look at the world of work and its many dimensions, with special emphasis on those of us who must combat arthritis while earning our daily bread.  We feature important arthritis-centred workplace research carried out by Dr. Diane Lacaille, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, and a senior researcher here at ARC.  We look at the responsibilities and rights of employees in the workforce and the legal framework around workplace accommodation for persons with disease-induced disabilities.  And as a special treat, we begin a new three-part series featuring a unique election journal written by Ms. Linda Wilhelm of New Brunswick.  Linda is known to many in our disease community as a tireless advocate for persons with arthritis and she recently put her beliefs on the line by running for office in May’s federal election.  Her fascinating journal follows her personal campaign from its outset to its finish.  I think you will find Linda’s experiences immensely riveting and inspiring.  Happy reading!!

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