Monday, February 22, 2016

Jury Duty Anxiety

A few weeks back I got a summons for jury duty in the mail. I immediately felt a slight panic rise up in my stomach. The instructions are to show up in mid March and plan to spend 2 full days at the court house waiting to see if I'm needed on a jury.

Obviously nobody would choose me to actually be on a jury because of the brain fog, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion and inability to focus on anything while having a migraine attack. I'm not at all worried about being put on a jury. Sure, the previously healthy me would have been honored to serve, but the chronic pain ravaged me simply could NOT physically or mentally handle the task.

What I'm actually worried about is being required to sit for 8 straight hours, 2 days in a row at the court house waiting to be released from my duty. Everything about that would trigger either a fibro flare, a migraine or both. Not to mention how it would exasperate any existing pain I might arrive with.

-Sitting on a hard chair all day would trigger a fibro flare in my legs, arms and possibly my back too, plus a migraine
-Sitting in a room flooded by fluorescent lights all day would trigger a migraine
-Sitting in a crowded room all day with the din of a public place would trigger a migraine
-Not being able to maintain my routine will trigger a migraine
-What if someone is wearing too much perfume/cologne or they reek of cigarettes? Talk about a migraine trigger.
-Being forced to get up, shower, pull myself together, pack a lunch, commute 20 miles away during rush hour to the court house, park, walk around the construction outside and be checked in by 8:00am in would not only trigger a migraine and a fibro flare but it would also render me useless for the rest of the day. I would be so exhausted and in so much pain I wouldn't be able to do anything. AND worst of all, I wouldn't be able to take any measures to alleviate my pain. 

It is downright cruel to force someone to spend the entire day in a painful hell, surrounded by triggers and deprived any sort of relief or comfort. Even on my best days I can't spend all day out doing anything. When I go out into the world it's for a few hours because even that will exhaust me physically and mentally and often will trigger a migraine or fibro flare. Then I need to be able to retreat back to my home, where I can eliminate light, lay my body on the soft sofa, lay my head on a soft pillow, rest, take pills, eat and drink. 

Now the paperwork I received did include a form that they needed me to fill out and mail to them, which I did that same day. I checked the box that says I'm not qualified because of a physical or mental condition and I filled up the 3 lines they provided for explanation. But that was 3 weeks ago and I still haven't heard back. The form didn't provide a timeline but did say I would hear back if they needed more information or if I was excused. But with less than 3 weeks until the day my duty begins I'm starting to get nervous. I need them to take this seriously but, as we all know, these invisible illnesses are not well understood. And most people don't understand the difference between migraine and chronic migraines.

If I don't hear back from them by Wednesday I think I'll call the clerk and just see what's going on. 

Have any of you ever had to deal with this? How did it turn out?


  1. Years ago they called me for jury duty, so I filled out the paperwork same as you, and never heard back. I figured if they needed more info I could get a doctor's note, but since I never heard anything I forgot all about it. Until just now lol :p

  2. I definitely understand your anxiety about this. A few years ago, I received a jury summons, but there was a process to be exempted from that and future summons... may be more streamlined since I'm currently receiving disability. It seems like exemption from serving varies from state to state, and even county to county. I would definitely follow up, if I were you, though. Good luck, my friend.