To return to work???

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by opala, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. opala

    opala New Member

    I'm in a bit of a bind here, and I know through reading posts others are in a similar boat, so I was hoping for some advice.

    I have been out of work since mid-October in short-term disability. Did not get diagnosed until the day before Thanksgiving (I was getting a lot of "There's nothing wrong with you", etc. before that) My doctor at the time I went out on dis. actually told my husband she didn't want to fill out my paperwork because "it would cut into her sleep time"!!!! Finally I harangued her into filling it out. I then got a phone call from the third-part company handling my disability saying they never got that paperwork. So they re-sent it to me to have the doc fill it out. I called the doctor's office and she said she would no longer approve disability because my blood tests and MRI's were all normal and showed nothing wrong with me, so I "had better go back to work or I was going to get fired." (her words). I changed doctors that day. The new doc saw me and said he doesn't do disability approvals. Just won't do 'em. You could be brain-damaged. Won't do them. Have the rheumatologist fill it out when you see him.

    So I see the rheumatologist (for the first time). He diagnoses me (finally). Says he doesn't feel comfortable filling out disability paperwork for several reasons. 1) He will not be seeing me again for another 2 months...anything could happen between now and then. 2) I am a new patient...he doesn't know my medical history, how bad my FM is, etc. So I should have my PCP fill them out.

    I get a call from the third-part folks in charge of my case, and she says she'll give me two more weeks, since neither of my docs will fill out the disability forms. After the two weeks is up, I have to return to work, or I no longer get paid, and I may lose my job if I don't return. Keep in mind that I drive 1.5 hours to work and another 1.5 hours back home. Rheumy has told me that this isn't good for me until we get this under control....and I haven't been able to even drive to the convenience store a block away without paying for it for a couple of days.

    Now that you've heard the long long long story, my question is this: what should I do if, at the end of these 2 weeks (which is next week), I don't feel like I can DRIVE to work, let alone spend 9 hours there? My paycheck is the only "reliable" income we have...my husband is a freelance writer for the newspaper, which means we get paid at some point after the stories have run and the invoices have been processed...possibly up to a month later. We have a mortgage, car payments, bills, insurance, and a son getting ready to start college....

    Should I just grit my teeth and work through the pain? I really really really don't want to go on SSDI...I would like to avoid it if at all possible. I'm just afraid of losing my income. Any advice?
    [This Message was Edited on 12/12/2002]
  2. opala

    opala New Member

    I'm in a bit of a bind here, and I know through reading posts others are in a similar boat, so I was hoping for some advice.

    I have been out of work since mid-October in short-term disability. Did not get diagnosed until the day before Thanksgiving (I was getting a lot of "There's nothing wrong with you", etc. before that) My doctor at the time I went out on dis. actually told my husband she didn't want to fill out my paperwork because "it would cut into her sleep time"!!!! Finally I harangued her into filling it out. I then got a phone call from the third-part company handling my disability saying they never got that paperwork. So they re-sent it to me to have the doc fill it out. I called the doctor's office and she said she would no longer approve disability because my blood tests and MRI's were all normal and showed nothing wrong with me, so I "had better go back to work or I was going to get fired." (her words). I changed doctors that day. The new doc saw me and said he doesn't do disability approvals. Just won't do 'em. You could be brain-damaged. Won't do them. Have the rheumatologist fill it out when you see him.

    So I see the rheumatologist (for the first time). He diagnoses me (finally). Says he doesn't feel comfortable filling out disability paperwork for several reasons. 1) He will not be seeing me again for another 2 months...anything could happen between now and then. 2) I am a new patient...he doesn't know my medical history, how bad my FM is, etc. So I should have my PCP fill them out.

    I get a call from the third-part folks in charge of my case, and she says she'll give me two more weeks, since neither of my docs will fill out the disability forms. After the two weeks is up, I have to return to work, or I no longer get paid, and I may lose my job if I don't return. Keep in mind that I drive 1.5 hours to work and another 1.5 hours back home. Rheumy has told me that this isn't good for me until we get this under control....and I haven't been able to even drive to the convenience store a block away without paying for it for a couple of days.

    Now that you've heard the long long long story, my question is this: what should I do if, at the end of these 2 weeks (which is next week), I don't feel like I can DRIVE to work, let alone spend 9 hours there? My paycheck is the only "reliable" income we have...my husband is a freelance writer for the newspaper, which means we get paid at some point after the stories have run and the invoices have been processed...possibly up to a month later. We have a mortgage, car payments, bills, insurance, and a son getting ready to start college....

    Should I just grit my teeth and work through the pain? I really really really don't want to go on SSDI...I would like to avoid it if at all possible. I'm just afraid of losing my income. Any advice?
    [This Message was Edited on 12/12/2002]
  3. HOUSEOFBLUES

    HOUSEOFBLUES New Member

    All I know is that after short term dis. you then have to apply for Long term. As far as how to go about it you'll have to talk to someone in human resources.
    It's pretty hard to apply for these disabilities if you don't have a good doctor to back you up. I know, because I've got the same problem with my docs. I had to quit work two years ago after my short term dis......
    I wish I knew how to help you, all I can do is sympathize
    with you on this.
    Hope it gets straightened out for you.
    Let us know what's going on.....
    Love,
    HOB
  4. twjen

    twjen New Member

    Dear Opala, If you read in my posts, I am in the same boat, except that I dont recieve any dis. pay at all.
    I understand the heartache and worry about money and losing your home, etc. At my Dr. appt. yesterday, she pretended she didnt know I had been off work, even though she reported to the second party std dept. and charged them fifteen dollars for it, and said that I can work with medication. I have 3 kids to support and provide security for. I also cant work right now. My decision is because I would severly neglecting my children if I chose to push myself as I did before with this. I felt and looked like H.ll and felt I needed to be comitted to the hospital or phyc. ward. There are trade off's in life, even though we dont like it, there comes times like this that we must make choices that are best for us. Both will have negative effects and positive effects. If you work, you will feel and look like H..L on earth, run yourself ragged, risk getting into a car accident because of pain and fog, but you will have money to keep your belongings in order. If you quit and dont have the money, you may lose your home and have to live more inexpensivley on a budget, but your health may feel somewhat better (not cured), but not aggrivated to the extreme, which in turn may give you the time to find something else you can do to earn money. Work from home opportunities etc. I know just how you feel and I am very worried also, but have to choose what is best for me. I would rather feel best possible with this, and also reserve where I spend my energy and pain on what is most important to me. My kids need a mother and I plan to be that first. Choices like these are not easy. Dont panic.
    Would it be so bad if you lived on less money and didnt feel like dropping dead from pushing yourself into extreme pain? Would it be better to push yourself into pain and exhausten for the money, would that help you feel better?
    I apologize this is so long and rambling. I really want to help you realize what I am now realizing for myself. Life has tradeoffs of all kinds, making a decision, instead of being in limbo actually helps. Best Wishes, Jen
  5. Dara

    Dara New Member

    I was pretty much in the same situation as you. However, I was lucky enough to belong to a union that allowed me to take an unpaid leave of absence, and then allowed me to extend it for an additional six months. However, there is no money coming in on my part but my husband does work, thank goodness. Anyway, I have applied for SSD and my lawyer told me that SSD would look at it as favorable on my part if I did try to go back to work, and then was unable to continue. I know there are a lot of doctors out there who do not want to get involved in disability paperwork. So unfair to their patients, isn't it? I would just keep searching for a new doctor who will back you up. I will agree that a new patient would have problems trying to get the doctor to agree to disability right at first though. Could you go back to work for a period of time and then re-apply for STD?

    Dara
  6. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    I'm sorry you're in such a bind. I'm sure being stressed about this doesn't help your pain either. I had a thought - what about finding a job closer to home and/or working part-time? That way you could show you want to work but don't have that horrible commute. I am working part-time - 4 hours a day - and I don't drive in rush-hour traffic. That also leaves me time to go to my many doctor appointments! I don't know if it's possible for you to do this, but I thought I would give the suggestion. Please let us know what happens! GOOD LUCK!!!!

    Annette2
  7. Shelle16

    Shelle16 New Member

    Opala

    I understand where you are coming from.fortunately for me I did work for a great company that really supported me. through all this.I was allowed to draw short term and long term disability for 19 months while they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
    I did have to change physicians also, but anyway I tried to go back to my high paying factory job(3rd) shift several times I finally had to give it up. I'm now working fulltime with half the pay and not the best insurance. i do home health so I kinda work when I want and how fast I want. breaking and taking lunch when needed. I still have some really bad days but it is some income. I'm a single mother of two girls and we have had to adjust to the lower income but all and all it was the right choose I spend more quality time with my girls and I'm not so cranky all the time.Also we are now living with my mother because we had to sale are 4 month old home.(heartbreaking)

    Well I hope this helps you out. It can be rough but don't give up. Were all here to support you.
  8. JaneG

    JaneG New Member

    and not happy about it. I was on short term disability following knee replacement surgery last July and fully intended to return to work when I recuperated. However, while I did just fine with the knee surgery, it caused (I'm concinved) the fibro to really flare up and I have been miserable ever since.

    I worked as a Home Health Aide - my office has no "light duty" and since most of my cases involved really intense physical work - most of my clients were bed ridden so alot of lifting, turning, etc. was involved - I did not feel physical competent to do this anymore so I quit!

    My intention was to find a less physically stressing job and I have had no luck at all with that. Plus, the fibro is continuing to consume my daily activities - if I have 2 good days a week(that means I don't have pain at a 9 or 10 level, and can function somewhat) I'm thankful!!!

    So, here we are at Christmas with no money to spare and over due bills. We have cut up all the credit cards, and just applied for a home equity loan that will be coming thru in the next week. So, I will pay off the bills so the phone doesn't ring constantly ( caller id says "unknown caller" which translates to bill collector) re visit my primary dr. and the rheumo dr. and work on trying to find some course of treatment that helps and will go from there.

    Sorry - guess I've babbled on long enough. Just know that there are alot of us who understand what you're going through.
    Warm thoughts -JaneG
  9. amorgan

    amorgan New Member

    Hi. I have been on medical leave for over a year now. I suggest you contact your local representatives or a lawyer to weigh your options. This is a disability and your employer cannot discriminate against you or fire you. If you have to, find another job. I know it is easier said than done but your health is not worth the misery that your place of employment is giving you. I have been through almost the same thing however I cannot/will not go back to my previous job because it is a hostile working environment that does not understand my problems. I am not saying they discriminate, but they have not been the best people to deal with. I wish you luck.
  10. Boysmom1

    Boysmom1 New Member

    you are having to make these unpleasant decisions. I quit work over 2 yrs ago, but my husband has retirement income. I did not realize at the time why my job performance had suffered and why I had lost the desire to do a good job. I now know I was getting sick(er). I filed for SSDI at my Doctor's urging and alot of soul-searching. I had enjoyed the heck out of being unemployed, but worried excessively that the longer I stayed out I would lose my nursing skills. I had tried working for a nursing agency, just taking shifts when and where I chose. I couldn't even do that! This was a real blow to the 'ole self esteem! my anxiety was completely overwhelming. I had to fight back tears the whole time. And remembering anything? Forget it! This is not a good thing when starting a new job! Anyway, when I applied for SSDI, the worker on the phone put down the date of disability when I quit my regular job 2 yrs ago. I had documented proof that I had tried to work, but could not. I had kept in phone contact with the Nursing supervisor, at first I told her I was real depressed, which I was, then she gave me 6 weeks to get better, she was real nice about it. In the mean time, I was diagnosed with CFIDS. So, in a relativley short period of time, I have came to terms (thru my therapist) with my illness. And I will pursue the disability. Worse case scenario- I will be turned down at all appeals-and have to return to work when /if I get better. I am attempting a BS in Nursing course to start in January. It is one night a week for 18-22 months. I figure if I improve enough to return to work, my chances of getting a desk job will be better with a BSN, if I can do it with this memory problem. Let us know what you decide. It may help you to sit down and write out all the pros and all the cons and compare the list when you are done. Sometimes putting things down on paper can help you to see things more clearly.
    Good Luck
    Michelle
    [This Message was Edited on 12/17/2002]
  11. lin21

    lin21 New Member

    Hi Opala,

    I'm new to the boards and have just been diagnosed but I now know that I have been suffering with this for the past 3 years, the Dr.'s thought it was torn cartilidge in my knee.
    I too, went to many Dr.'s since my knee surgery (9/11) but my rheumotologist was the one that told me to apply for SSDI on 12/5.
    I have LTD insurance through my employer but the jerky secretary in the orthopedic office purposely sent in bad information the first time so now I have to appeal.
    I cannot believe those creeps are giving you such a hard time. Having this illness is enough on you never mind having to deal with financial worries.

    If you lost your job though because of this you would be elible for unemployment, right? I don't think you should try to return to work if it's going to make you suffer.
    I wish you good luck!!!
    Lin