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Problems With Work And Life & Meds


SmiggyG
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Hello, this is my first post here. I've been reading the boards here since last year and want to thank all of you for making me feel that I'm not alone.

I'm a 35yr. old male diagnosed with POTS by Dr. Grubb in the late 90's.

With that said I'm still frustrated with the lack of understanding of my condition with family, friends, and especially work. Family and friends claim to understand yet they don't understand the extent or seriousness of what's going on with me.

As for work, oh boy! I'm a hospital employee with an intermittant FMLA. (Family Medical Leave Act) I've been employed there for over 18 years. Up until this last year or so I've missed very little work do to my POTS but this year has been extremely difficult for me. My supervisors have accused me of abusing my time off and have even made me go get a second opinion. What is ridiculous about that is that I'm employed at the same institution as Dr. Grubb himself. Needless to say the 2nd opinion was done by an outside retired cardiologist that sees patients accused of abusing sick time.

That all worked out fine with the so-called 2nd opinion but now anytime I miss work my supervisor requires me to get an excuse from Dr. Grubb's office which should not be needed due to my approved FMLA. Not a big deal but an extra hassle and their way of saying "we don't buy your story".

I've run out of sick time and have been using vacation time for my FMLA. So last week my supervisior informed me that she will not grant me my scheduled 1 week vacation next month. I explained how important it is for me to have that week off because it's something we reserve and pay for almost a year in advance. I also stated the importance of being with my wife and 3 small children for this vacation. The answer was a big fat NO. So now I'm applying for a leave of absence without pay but after reading through the application I see it will be up to the dept. supervisior for approval. She has already said she will NOT ok it.

I'm a very self conscious person that has alot of respect for my co-workers and my job. They don't understand the stess and depression I have when I miss work. I hate feeling like I'm letting people down or that I'm the "problem child" of my dept.

What my employer or supervisor don't seem to get is that all this stess, depression, and anxiety is only making my condition worse.

I've left messages w/Dr. Grubbs's office seeking suggestions and have yet to here back from them.

Right now I'm only taking Paxil CR and Florinef to treat my POTS which has worked the best for me thus far. However it seems to not be as effective as before. Months ago they tried switching me to Cymbalta but I had one heck of a time with that med and stopped it after a week and went back to the Paxil-Florinef treatment. Just like so many others here I'm very sensitive with meds and honestly as desperate as I am right now I'm still closed-minded to trying other meds because of the way the Cymbalta did me in.

Of course all of this has helped turn my home life into a mess as well. I'm supposed to be the strong one, the father, head of the household, etc. Yet I feel like a big whimp that just can't deal with all of this.

Out of the 7 1/2 years I've had POTS I've finally lost control. I wish there was some way to take about 2 months to regroup and get myself back together but finances the way they are, work, and raising a family is not going to allow that to happen.

I'm sure others here have gone though or are going through the same thing. I'd like to hear any suggestions anyone here can give.

Thanks,

Greg

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Hi Greg -

I wish I had some advice to help you out with. Personally, I ended up quitting my job as my supervisor was getting irritated with all the days I was gone from work being sick and rather than being "let go" from my job, I resigned before that could happen. I'm hoping to some how be able to work from home at some point, but right now I'm just feeling too sick constantly to even pursue that. My husband has had to take on extra work to make up for my inability to work, which I feel bad about, but there's nothing I can do about it - I guess acceptance is a huge part of "coping" with a chronic illness :). I don't know if your wife is able/wants to do that, but it's not the worst thing to switch roles from what's typical... I have a few cousins who are guys that due to their health can't work and are stay at home dad's and it's working well for their families. Every family is different and what works for one may not work for another as all situations are different. I'd suggest applying for disability, but from what I've read on this forum, that is a huge struggle and not easy to acquire.

Don't give up - you are not alone. Take each moment of each day as it comes. Your illness is something you can't control. Even though you can't take a month or two off to regroup, try taking a 1/2 hour each day, by yourself, to just relax quietly - meditate or pray or whatever it is that calms you.

I wish you many better days ahead -

Tammy

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Hi Greg,

Sorry you are having such a difficult time with your supervisor.

Do not leave (quit) your job. Especially since you have already filed a FMLA, I don't know how much time you have left under FMLA but have you check into your short term disability if you have that option? I would also contact the ADA regarding your rights & treatment by this supervisor and your human resource dept as well. Their making you get a second opinion is riduculous! It sounds like you are being bullied.

Check out these links for information to see what may help your situation and what your rights may be given your particular situation.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/statutes/whd/fmla.htm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Title_29/Part_825/toc.htm

Good luck

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Hi Greg,

I also had a hard time with my Manager/ Supervisors at the bank I used to work at. I ended up being fired while on Short Term Disability because I had used all my FMLA so they just decided to get rid of me. Financially it really stinks, but my stress has gone down alot since leaving there.

Good Luck,

Jacquie

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Thank you all so much for the support. :) It means so much to me.

As much as I want to just say I quit I can't. As I said I've been there over 18yrs. That leaves me with only 12 more and I could retire. I'd hate to throw that all away but on the flip-side I can't keep this up anymore.

Tomorrow (today now) I'm going to make some calls to try to come up with the best solution. I need some resolution to all this. I can't eat or sleep which is not good for a POTS patient. I've let this get to me so bad lately that it's taking a toll on my family life as well and that's where it's gotta stop. I have 3 young children and my wife that need a strong, healthy, and happy dad. They are the most important thing to me in the world.

Thanks again. I'll let you all know how this works out. It's gotta work out. I'm no angel by any means but I am a good person that spends most of my time trying to help out others.

Greg

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Greg,

I give you alot of credit for keeping up the fight. I was a nurse all my life and at age 48 hit a rock wall and just could not do it anymore. The year before I missed alot of work and I know alot of people thought I was faking. We know how sick we are and that is all that matters. I was able to go on long term disability with my doctors support. I recieved 90% of my salary the past 2 years and am in the disability process. Dr Low said I could only work 4 hours day. My internist whe sees me regularly said "no more." It's time to stop.

My brain and will say "push" but I got to the point it was only making me sicker.

I know as a male you feel a responsibility toward your family, but if working is making you too sick and depressed to enjoy your family it's just not worth it. I was the major breadwinner of the family and know how you feel.

I would check into your long term disabity policy at work. We are financially strapped at the moment as social security takes forever but I decided that is what credit cards are for and I don't care anymore about finances.

Life is too short, take away everything I own, I don't care. I will go on public assistance when I have nothing. I refuse to kill myself by trying to work when I can't.

Dawn

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HI Greg-

Just wondering if your Human Resource department has someone who can assist you with this? Someone who can clarify in writing what your rights are and help deal with the supervisor issues. The positive thing is that you have such availability to Dr. Grubb.

I also worked at a health facility for 22 years, before leave of absence. I was fortunate in that the director came to my home and told me she was going to the Board of Directors to reuqest extended leave of absence be granted due to my years of service. The agency usually will grant up to 6 months for illness. I was blessed with this for sure. However, my year is now up and there must be something legal here, because the Human Resource person has a call in to see what the laws are regarding inactive employee. I am not sure what she is looking into, but something with how long they have to consider someone on disability payments as employee. I am waiting for response. I have been able to collect under employee LTD.

Despite all this, I miss my job terribly and feel guilty about not being there. I had just hired a new coworker, 3 months before I left, so she has been on her own for a year. I am now home with almost similar income, but feel people look at me dift. for sure. I think we can all relate to that. Financially the LTD helps, along with the car insurance I had for disability -thank god, I had that and cars were in my name. They have pd a year of car payments for two cars. SO there has been some financial help to even things out for now. I am appealing SOc. Sec. decision, but would prefer to be at my job that I loved. Trying to come to terms with this and know that if I was able to return at some point, I believe they would hire me again. It may not be the same position,as there are only two of us, but at least I would be back in my work environment. I hold on to that dream.

I understand that you are head of household it seems for income, strength, etc. but you must care for yourself as well - to keep things from getting worse. I would check into leave options and how that will affect your benefits etc.?

Good Luck to you----

I wish more men would post, still new here- but don't see many male postings. Such a great place here for support .

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I feel so bad for you for everything you are going thorugh. I have been there. I quit my job in dec. 2005, after my FMLA was all used up as they also didn't understand. The sad part about is I turly beleive if I had cancer of somthing other know about it would made it much easrier. I wish more people new about POTS, and understood what it is like dealing with. Maybe one day it will be a comon name, we canonly hope!

I hope everything work out for you!

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