How much is too much when you're on medical leave?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by goofgirl, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. goofgirl

    goofgirl New Member

    I have been on temporary disability from work for several weeks now, because of CFS/FM. I have my good days and bad days, but the doctor agreed I was getting so many infections and not really healing properly having to worry about getting back to work, so it would be best I take some time off. I finally got over the sinus infection I had for over two weeks, and now I'm just dealing with fatigue and flu-like aches and pains. I'm sleeping in when I can, taking my supplements, and trying to "lay low" as much as possible. Of course I still have to take care of normal things like small grocery shopping, picking up my prescriptions, doing laundry, etc. These are things I pick and choose to do to try to increase my stamina and feel like I'm being somewhat productive.

    I'm posting because my mom said something that made me feel: 1. guilty and 2. that I might have jeopardized my job. I want your opinions and how you would have handled this. I have been co-captain of my department's Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society fundraiser. We've been raising money and planning to participate for the past several months. I raised about $600 myself, and my whole team raised about $3000, which is great. The relay was this past weekend. The team captain called me last week and asked if I was still "with them". I was in charge of getting the canopies donated for our campsite, so I told her I would go ahead and pick them up and drop them off, and probably hang out for a little bit, but that I wasn't going to walk the relay. I'm friends with several people on the team, so I was looking forward to spending a little time with them and catching up with what's been going on. I spent about two and a half hours sitting in the campsite chatting on Saturday, and then on Sunday morning I went to pick up the canopies.

    When I told my mom yesterday about the Relay, she got really quiet and then said something to the effect of, "I hope you didn't jeopardize your job being seen doing something like that when you're off on medical leave." I clarified to her that I didn't actually participate in the relay, I just wanted to show my support for me team. She was like, "Oh, ok. Well, I've got to go chop carrots for dinner." And that ws the end of the conversation. I got off the phone in tears thinking maybe I did something terrible?? I only did as much as I felt comfortable, and when I came home from being there, I was exhausted and napped all afternoon. I just thought it was important that I made an effort to be present for my team. FMLA states there are no limitations to what people can do while on medical leave. I don't think my co-workers got the wrong impression, but now I'm not so sure because of what my mom said...

    Was I wrong?

    Thanks for your imput!
  2. Atlanta8

    Atlanta8 New Member

    I've been in a similar position myself. I receive disabilty allowance from the govn't cos I can't work, but once I was able to do a gig (stand up comedy) when I was well enough, and felt bad because on the surface it "looked" like I was well. I think the other comics were a bit puzzled by how I could gig but couldn't work, but didn't really question it.

    The thing people don't see is the resting, and preparation, and then the dreaded after effects of us doing activities. For it, I was in bed for a week then a week after that to recover. I've only done it once since i've been really ill though - I no longer have the brain power to remember my material, let alone deal with hecklers :p

    Like you, it was a one off thing and something I really wanted to do. I wouldn't worry too much though - you've got to have a life, even if it is for a couple of hours every month or so!

    If you are really worried, I suppose you could talk to your boss at work, and just explain your situation, and that you were worried how it could have looked so just wanted to clarify. Or inform your doc so they can make a note, just in case there is any trouble in the future.

    You shouldn't feel guilty, you probably have enough stress in your life already - don't add to it! :p

  3. goofgirl

    goofgirl New Member

    Thank you for your responses, jeerie and Steph. I think journaling is a good idea in general, because it's hard to remember one day to the next how we feel and how we react to different supplememnts and activities. I will resume my journalling to start keeping track of it all.

    Steph, wow, that's so cool you do standup comedy! I've often been told I should as well, but I don't know how quick witted I'd be in front of an audience, with the stage fright and all. Plus, the brain fog has gotten worse so I'm not so quick, period.

    It is true that we need to get out periodically and that staying in the house alone all day has got to make us worse over the long run. I think I did ok by getting out to the relay but not participating. Hopefully everyone understood what I was trying to accomplish. It is exactly right that what people don't see is the mental and physical preparation we go through to do any activity, as well as the toll it takes on us. A few hours sitting at our campsite was literally all I was able to do all weekend, with pain and fatigue the rest of the time. I guess as long as my concience can live with what I do, I shouldn't have to worry.