Saturday, 9 January 2010

Dangerous Peacetime Jobs - by Kate

I always thought fishing was the most dangerous peace-time job you could do, with construction, operation of heavy machinery and work on oil-rigs all in the top ten. Turns out teaching in a small language school in central Madrid is up there too - or at least if you happen to be pregnant.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my boss and I had been quite amazed by just how hazardous my teaching activities are judged to be by Spain's health and safety people. A report he commissioned ran into several pages and basically left us with the impression that danger lurks in every corner, from toxic chemicals (photocopier), radiation (computers), biological contamination (my students) to exhaustion and acute skeletal stress (from standing up for too long). Basically, the place is a death-trap and the sooner I get out of there, the better for me and my bump.

As previously stated, our family Dr, the genial (!) Dr Paniagua had pooh-poohed our request that I be signed off work because of risk and had demanded a second opinion on that. Because we can't see an obstetrician until Jan 19th at the earliest, that second opinion is proving hard to provide. But my boss needs me to stop work now (apart from stepping in to help cover classes because of snow-bound teachers on Thursday - three classes with a total of three students. Not too risky.) so at the very least I need a baja del medico so I can receive some money while we await the outcome of the embarazada del riesgo business.

So off we toddle to see dear Dr P again, this time without Marina, but with the health and safety report and its recommendations that I give the school a wide berth and presumably be wrapped in cotton wool somewhere out of harm's way until my contractions start. Seeing all this in black and white had the desired effect on Dr P, where no amount of impassioned pleading by Marina had produced results. She read the result of the assessment, asked us if therefore we needed a baja por embarazada del riesgo and at our assent, marched off to get the correct forms, signed, dated and stamped them, before giving us three copies with the instructions to take them to a special social security office to complete the process.

We were slightly thrown by how easily our goal had been achieved. I am now officially at risk and considering the dangerous nature of my employment, I reckon I've had a narrow escape. Phew.

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