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Why Do I Keep Getting Sick?


Angelika_23
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I have had about three months of being ill with one thing or another. Today I went to the doctor and they suspect pneumonia. My work is not happy about me missing so much, but I can't help it. People keep coming to work sick thanks to the new attendance policy, and I inevitably get what they have. I have had two or three bouts of stomach flu, this wonderful possible pneumonia, possible salmonella, colds... Probably more but I can't remember.

I don't know why I keep getting sick over and over. I take vitamins. I drink orange juice. I eat reasonably well. I wear my coat.

Does anyone else have this problem???

Frustrated-

Angela

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Hi Angela,

You know before I became sick with pots I never used to get sick at all. I never saw a doctor except to have my babies. I never had even had the flu. When people talked about body aches I didn't even know what that meant. But all my symptoms started after I got my first flu shot. I also got my kids theres at the same time, and they had never gotten the flu either. My husband was the only one that didn't get one. The interesting thing is that year I got the flu REALLY bad, and so did both of my kids. My husband was fine and never got sick even in the same house as us. Every year since, Me and both my kids get the flu. My husband still does not. That is also when all my symptoms started. So I don't know if it is related to pots or not. Also I had a "ear infection" last year that completly closed my ear. But healed without antibiotics. I have it again this year. I don't know the answer to if it is related at all to pots, but I know I never used to get sick with almost anything. I hope this helps you.

Suzy

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Sorry you keep getting sick, and I hope the rest of the year is better for you.

It looks like your in a very frustrating position with your employer. I don't know if you employer is covered by FMLA, but if they are, by law I don't think they can let you go if you need to take medical leave. chech with your doctor, and see if they are willing to fill out an FMLA form. FMLA leave is unpaid unless you have available paid sick days left. My husband can use his sick days on FMLA leave.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/

I have two granddaughters, and I told my son they can't bring them around when their sick. My husband is covered under FMLA to take me to appointments out of town, or to any procedure which I might be sedated, or not able to drive. He's even been able to take a day or two off to care for me on a really bad POTS crash. I'm not able to work at all, but going anywhere in the public your at risk for catching viruses. I wash my hands a lot, and if I can't I never touch my face ntil I can. I wipe grocery carts when my husband and I go to the store, and if they don't have wipes, I use my sanitizer on the carts. I don't touch any bathroom door handles with my hands without using a kleenex, or paper towel.

I had a rough time this year so far with viruses, and had a bout of strep throat.

Take care of yourself, and keep a bottle of sanitizer on you---- ;)

Maxine :0)

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It seems to me that since our bodies have to work extra hard to perfom basic things like standing up, our bodies might not have energy to fight off illness. I also believe that the stress hormones that are released in pots probably compromise our immune systems. I'm not a doctor so don't quote me but.... Get as much rest as you can!

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Maxine,

I am actually an HR Coordinator for our company, so I am up to speed on FMLA. I am just so frustrated because I KNOW I get so sick so easily, and that stupid attendance policy encourages people to come to work sick. Even if FMLA covers me, it doesn't give me back the time spent away from my kids or husband, and it doesn't give me back time to get my increasing load of backed up work done. ;) I feel like the longer I work, the worse off I am healthwise. I am giving all my good energy to this job, and it's not enough.

I was hoping this was just a "phase" my body is going through, but it is sure lasting a long time.

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Maybe working has compromised your immune system further then the POTs already has. I'm glad you are familiar with everything you need to know on FMLA. It is important to know that, as taking the PROPER amount of rest will allow more time with your family.

Have you thought about filing for disablity? It seems like your Job is taking any functional ability you do have, and leaving nothing left for anything else.

Even after trying to proove to SSDI for two years how I wasn't able to handle GAINFUL employment, I was still stunned at what the medical expert said at the hearing----------That I wasn't able to handle ANY type of work, and that my prognosis was poor. I had to deal with two denials, but at the hearing there was no question after the medical expert testified.

It seems that sometimes we don't realize just how seriously our ill health affects our functional capacity.

When I started getting the more serious POTS symptoms while still working, I was sick with one virus after another from August 2000 until March of 2001. IN Dec. 2000 I started having horrible adrenal rushes, and by March I couldn't get out of bed. Having company over was too much for me. No one could visit-------it was too over stimulating. Living with ANS dysfunction is a delicate balance. If we push too far, we can fall over the edge.

Once my other problems started---the spine instability, digestive problems, and the EDS joint instability, I knew working was not going to be an option, and finally broke down and filed for SSDI. I should have accessed short term disability from my employer also, but at the time I had no diagnosis yet. Fortunately my full salary was paid by using sick days not used, and then vacation pay.

Do you work full time? Is working part time an option?

Maxine :0)

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A few years ago I had a horrible virus that I believe kicked off my POTS. The back pain was excrutiating - I've never been in that kind of pain before, I was desperate for a remedy, but Advil/Tylenol/Aleve - nothing touched it.

I dragged myself back to work after it was over. Two months later, I had pneumonia.

I have noticed an increase in how often I get sick. Last year, when I was still trying to work (a middle school teacher - THE #1 place for germs, in my opinion), I got cold after cold after cold. It was mis.er.able.

Anyway, I do think that for some reason people with POTS get sick more often, and sicker when they do get sick, as in we feel it more, worse. But of course I'm not a doctor.

Also, unfortunately, getting sick all the time and feeling, I think, more horrible than the average person with a cold, contributes to the world thinking we're just hypochondriacs and complainers and whiners.

I hope you get/stay well.

I also hope that you can work something out with your job. I do know this - the stress isn't worth the affect on your health.

Amber

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I am working part time, 32.5 hours per week. I have asked to do "job sharing" to cut my hours down even further, to 20 a week, but they don't seem open to that. I'm kind of wondering if they are waiting for my FMLA to run out...

I have heard it is really hard to get disability if you have a POTS diagnosis. I also have fibromyalgia and chiari diagnoses, but I don't know if that would help. Plus, don't you have to be actually unemployed before you can apply for it?

This is a hard place for me to be. I keep getting sick, I don't know how to stop it. My work is piling up, my co-workers are resentful, and I don't have much left over for my family. When I try to do more for the family, I over-extend and get sick. It is a no-win situation.

Angela

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Disability is hard to get. I filed after being out of work for 3 years. I went back to school, and tried to find a job in medical billing---(part time) after completing the medical billing/medical coding program in a little less then a year. This was after cervical spine surgery when I felt some relief of symptoms. I didn't know I had EDS yet, and soon after the surgery the rest of my spine started to become unstable, and then I was diagnosed with cervical/cranial instability, and chiari-0 in 2004. I filed on this and a POTS diagnosis at the time in 2004.

I tried so hard to find a part time job, and was praying for one at the hospital near my home which would have been perfect. Travel time to work would only be two minutes. However, the only offers were full time positions. I did get about 5 offers due to my long standing accts. receivable experience. However, this experience was in commercial collections, but still had an impressive collection record. I WANTED TO WORK. Unfortunately I started to struggle just going to the interviews, and after a thinking long and hard, I decided to file for disability. The maddening thing is that the hospital I wanted to work for called me about a job in financial aid right after my hearing, and my disabaility was awarded. I was heart sick.

There's a five month waiting period for SSDI from the time a person stops working. The medical expert at the hearing deemed me disabled as of July 2005, but I wasn't qualified for benefits until December. Also, my disability was based on the EDS and spine instability more so then the POTS. The medical expert said the medical records on my POTS wasn't enough at the time----and he also felt the EDS caused all my problems----including the POTS. I found this very interesting. My EDS doc was very helpful in my SSDI case, but what was very interesting was that the report from my visit to Milwaukee to have a followup appointment with my neurosurgeon was what most of his decision was based on. This NSG summarized my condition so well in his four page report.

Getting my SSDI was very difficult, and I'm so glad it's over. I had an attorney who specialized in SSDI.

I do know quite a few POTS people who got disability.

Maxine :0)

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I can't work because of my POTS symptoms. I'm an RN and the mental stress alone would put me over the edge. Yesterday I spent an hour helping my mom book airline tickets online and felt crappy for the rest of the night ;) !

I have a long-term disability policy that keeps paying, for now. I just got back from Mayo so hopefully the abnormal tests and doctors notes will be enough to keep them paying. I've been denied SSDI twice, but it's my LTD company who is applying on my behalf and they never send in all the documentation of my illness! So frustrating! So now my case is going to an attorney. I'm not looking forward to the stress of a hearing. And Oregon is one of the most back-logged states with the highest denial rates.

Either way, I cannot work! So, we're putting away every dollar just in case I lose my SSDI case and the LTD company decides not to pay anymore. Some people with POTS/dysautonomia have had to move in with family because of their financial loss and inability to care for themselves. It's so sad that sick people have to go through all this. I'm so thankful for my husband and his teaching job. We're not rich, but we get by! ;)

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I also seem to be catching bug after bug. I'm now on cold number three since christmas. i just get so easily run down, and then I get sick. I also think my hormones play a role, as I tend to always get sick around my period--like thr drop in hormones reduces my ability to fight infection. it's so frustrating. I'm still working, but on sabbatical this year, so I have more flexibility. which means I'm writing and researchg but not teaching--so if I need to lie down during the day and rest, I have that option, thank goodness.

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Hi Angela,

I know I've had terrible sinus issues since my POTS diagnosis. I got POTS in 2001 following bronchitis, and since then, I have had upwards of I think 35 sinus infections. It seems I get one every 6 weeks.

Have you ever been to an ENT? Maybe you have a deviated septum or something that requires treatment from nasal sprays, etc. I have had 2 surgeries and they seem to have really helped. Of course, the last one was just this past December, so lets cross our fingers that the effects last.

I know how frustrating it can be to keep getting sick. Right when you start getting better, you're sick again - on top of POTS symptoms. It's not a fun place to be. I am finishing college online now because by the time I get ready to go to a class, drive there and walk there, I'm already done for the day. ;) Plus, if it's an infection on top of that - forget it! I have heard of some people with POTS who never get sick, and others all the time, so I don't know the answer.

Have you been tested for allergies (environmental or food?) Have you had your immune system checked? I would definitely do that. I've had mine checked and it's fine, so the doctors still have no idea why I get (or used to- knock on wood!) sinus infections so often. I also seem to catch anything and everything. It's kind of like an elderly person - if I'm around someone with a cold, I'm going to get it. The rest of my family doesn't usually catch a thing.

Hope this helps somewhat...feel free to ask any questions, and hope I can help!

Chrissy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Angelica:

My boyfriend and I both got some sort of stomach bug in October 2008 and we have not been the same since. We've caught every bug that's gone around and have been out for weeks. I am just now recovering from a severe bronchial infection that had me out since New Years Day! 6 weeks! And I'm still not 100%. When my boyfriend finally dragged me into the doctor for a chest xray (no pneumonia) the doctor said it's going around this year. They are seeing more people sick for longer periods of time than any time in his recollection (he's been a doctor for 20+ years!). POTS certainly doesn't help but it has been a particularly brutal flu season this year.

My nutritionist is helping me rebuild my immune system with: vitamin D, probiotics (70% of the immune system is in the gut), rest, fluids and rest again. There's not much more you can do.

Have you approached your employer about the ability to work remote? Many companies are doing it with great success (check out IBM who has more than 25% of it's workforce remote). There are also studies that show that sickness is the #1 reason companies loose man hours and productivity and studies that show that people who work from home are actually more productive to their employer. See if you can compile some evidence and make a case for working from home.

Good luck,

Waterbaby

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Angela,

I am in the same boat, so don't feel like you are alone. So far, my job has been cooperative, but i'm back on leave as of this week, with only 5 weeks of fmla left. It is scary, and tiring, but I've tried to prepare myself by saving money, talking to my doctors openly about my fears of losing my job if I am off too long, etc.

I agree that so many companies encourage people to come in sick then spread it around!! I hate being exposed to the constant germs, so I work really hard at keeping everything I touch clean, avoiding the sick people, and washing my hands constantly. It does help, but we can't avoid it always.

Do you tell people that you need ot avoid germs? It has actually helped me to let people know that I have an immune issue and get sick really easily, so they try to help me out by avoiding contact too, when they are sick. Every little bit can help.

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