I met with my doctor yesterday and he really wants me to take a leave from work at a minimum of six weeks. Though it sounds good, I'm totally exhausted, have a hard time standing up sometimes, etc, does taking a leave really help in the long run?
Though I have CA State Disability, FMLA (to protect my position and benefits) and a private insurance that my employer pays for disability insurance, do people typically go back to where they started once they go back to work?
I don’t want to take a leave, recover a bit, then feel like **** again the first week I return.
Quite honestly, it's very difficult to recover from a relapse while working 8 hours a day. After my relapse in 07, I was really working less than 30 hours a week. Fortunately I had a lot of vacation and sick time, so I used that until it was all gone, and then kinda slid under the radar as much as possible.
Six weeks ain't too bad when it comes to a leave of absence. They won't have to replace you, but everybody will have to work just a little harder. More than six weeks and they start looking at a part-timer to fill your slot.
Your dilemma sounds all too familiar. As women we are so demanding of ourselves to push on. Why is it so darn hard to be kind to ourselves and our bodies?
Would it help if you understand that the stress from trying to work when your body can't push through is only going to exacerbate the symptoms? You have been through so much in such a short period of time - your dx came fast and now this relapse. You need to catch a break somewhere in your life, and it sounds like at work is a good place to start.
Think through your decision about a short term sick leave until you begin to feel better, or at least this would give you a period of time to adjust to your new "normal," whatever that may be.
This is a decision we all have to face at one point or another. I can tell you that from the relapse I had last May, which was acute and severe, there would have been no way I could go back and be functioning and productive while trying to work though what was going on with my body.
I took a total of 6 weeks off, as you doctor suggested to you, but 3 of those weeks were spent in the hospital and acute rehabilitation unit. The other 3 wees was time spent trying to get my life back tor somewhat normal with PT/OT and learning how to use a wheelchair then a walker. One of the things that I was concerned about though with taking so much time off was how my coworkers would view me after I came back. Would they think I can't do my job? Would they be a little upset that they were burdened with my work while I was gone? Do I want them seeing me come back in a wheelchair? It was a tough time, but I look back now and don't regret needing that entire 6 weeks off. It was absolutely necessary for me both physically and mentally.
I wish you the best in making this decision and please remember your most important priority is to safeguard your health. If you don't, there will be a price to pay down the road.
I went out on FMLA leave 11/08. Yes they do hold your position for 12 weeks per federal law. Unfortunately I am unable to return therefore they have informed me that they were unable to hold my position. I was in management. I will never beable to work due to cognative deficits, I have PPMS, therefore I don't have relapses. I am not sorry I took my physicians advise. I couldn't do it anymore. As far as helping? Tough to say due to the stress' of fighting my ins company for disability benefits. I just won my appeal for short term, now I have to wait to see what long term says. Once that battle ends I'm sure the reduced stress will make a huge difference. Listen to your body and your physician, they both know what's best.
good luck in your decision
~live as if all your dreams came true~
I was actually off work for an entire year when I was first diagnosed. I had multiple severe symptoms, and just as they would start to to improve to the point of somewhat normal function, I had another attack! Three in the first year following my dx.
There was no question of would I be off or not; I just couldn't do my job in the shape I was in; in fact, I rarely left my house except for medical appts.
I am beyond lucky to work for a company that provides short-term disability for a full year (first 4 months at full salary; last 8 months at 2/3). I had been accepted on LTD (also 2/3) indefinitely, ie: as long as I remained 'disabled' according to drs; however I was able to return to work at my same previous position, on a reduced schedule just prior to when LTD would have kicked in. Sunlife is keeping my file open for a year in case I have a setback that puts me off work, then LTD would start immediately. I now work 30 hours per week and hope to be back to FT within the next month or so. My employer is really flexible and I am able to do some of my work from home; my job as a policy analyst affords this opportunity. Right now I am 4 days in the office and 1 day at home; this arrangement may continue indefinitely. Is this a possibliity for you? Some employers are definitely more accommodating than others; the minimum of course is that they follow any disability legislation around job protection, etc.
I understand that being in the U.S. that you must consider the impact on your health insurance should you be forced to leave your position. I can see how that would make this a critical decision for you. If I understand correctly, if you were to need to change employers due to your health, and applied for insurance under a new plan, your eligibility could then be compromised by your "pre-existing condition." Is this accurate?
I hope it works out in the best way possible for you. In the end, if you are too ill to work and need to rest, then you must do what you body is telling you, as ignoring this may lead to more difficulties down the road.
ps: I also meant to add that due to the relapsing-remitting nature of RRMS, I have seen many employees with similar chronic conditions go on and off and on disability as their symptoms dictate. So going on short- or long-term disability is not necessarily the end of one's career.
Right now, I am eligible for short and long term disability at 66% of my base salary. My health insurance benefits is safe for 12 weeks via California's FMLA act. I'm not sure what would happen if I were to remain out for longer than 12 weeks though. Me and my HR manager was trying to figure how taking occasional time off would work, but I would have to take at least two days off a week before I would get paid.
I work for an architecture firm as a project coordinator and part of my job is working with large drawings, which would be impossible from do from home.
In terms of health insurance and pre-existing conditions, that only applies for private insurance, not group insurance from an employer (by law). If I were to stop working without the intention of going back or looking for a new job - I'm screwed. My fiance is self-employed so he doesnt have group insurance.
Sorry to hear about all of these things. Personally, since my day job has been in government for so many years, I'm ineligible for Social Security; I think I might have the requisite number of quarters, but they were far too long ago. A certain portion of them has to be within the prior ten years. It's a long story about how I got in this predicament, but I won't be eligible to apply for disability from Ohio's public employees' system until my next anniversary, which is in April. Wife's been collecting SSD for 3.5 years now. She's one of those rare ones who gets approved on their first application without hiring a lawyer.
Forgot to answer the question! My answer: I'd love to be able to find out. I made it through this week with sick leave donated by my coworkers, but I think I've used that up, at least for now. Whatever I'm sufffering from, it had better hurry up and go into some kind of remission.
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