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Well, my stress test was normal, except that I couldn't walk on the treadmill without a high heart rate and fainting. But I have no blockages or signs of cardiac disease says my doc. My labs were all good too. So it seems plain old POTS.

Where do I go from here? I still cannot function normally and my job is getting less tolerant. We are going on 3 weeks with no paycheck for me, disability isn't playing nicely. FMLA is only going to hold my job so long.

Doctor says I cannot expect a "quick" recovery (which I guess I knew) but he says it could take years to get me better enough, and even then it might not be at the level I was used to. My kids and husband are frustrated.

I am so worried about my job. I carry the insurance on all of us. I don't know what we are going to do.

On the bright side, I did mention my neuro report on Chiari I malformation, and the doctor was intrigued and promised to call the neuro and touch base with him about me. I thought that was very nice. The doctor also took my boss's number and is going to call and talk to them about me and my condition and what they can do to accommodate me.

Does anyone know if this situation qualifies for ADA?

Thanks,

Angela

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IF you have a verifiable disability the ADA should apply- but sometimes the interpretation of the ADA is really grey. "Reasonable accomodations" means different things to different folks- so..... Unfortunately, the Social Security disability system is not set up for folks who are trying to continue working (or those who have no choice). In fact, my understanding is you cannot even apply while still working and even have a shot. I am on SSDI and severed ties with my employer ( I had breiefly attempted to work) before I could apply. Your best thing to do would be to get an attorney familiar with disability laws to distinguish what rights you have and how to pursue this- ideally, if you have short-term disability at work this might be a way to get through the next six months or so. Unfortuantely, there are no easy answers and there are a lot of folks (on this forum, especially) in a very similiar boat. Good luck.

Carmen

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POTS or autonomic dysfunction by name does not get you disability.

It is a DOCTOR who understands your limitations and can explain them...fatigue from tachycardia, fainting issues, cool rooms, feet elevated, comfortable chair...not standing much, brain fog. the ISSUE WITH GRAVITY Basically...not easy to explains in 5o words or less.

Do contact an attorney as mentioned above and try for short term disability from work to keep benefits while you figure out a plan. As long as your doctor calls your boss and explains the seriousness of things, that is a GREAT START.

Good luck to you and I hope your husband understands. Do you have the NDRF (National Dysautonomia Research Foundation)Conference tapes from 2000? You may want to order those as they help folks to understand what this illness is. They are poorly edited (end abruptly at the end of all three tapes but GREAT INFO by docs...Dr. Low, Grubb and the late Streeten, among others)

Several top docs EXPLAINING what autonomic dysfunction is...and check around THIS SITE for all the information you can find. Lots of good info and links.

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Hello,

I think I have made myself misunderstood. I do not mean I want to go off work on disability, I simply mean is there a way, or a law, that will have my employer recognise that I have a disability and work WITH me so we can get a mutually workable solution, so I don't lose my job? I know if some people have asthma, work will bring in air filters for their desks, things like that, etc. They call it "Reasonable Accommodation", I think.

Thanks,

Angela

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You should check out the:

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) entitles a covered employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, or the "serious health condition" of the employee or the employee's child, spouse, or parent. To protect this right, the FMLA prohibits an employer from interfering with an employee's attempt to exercise his leave right or retaliating against an employee for opposing practices made unlawful under the FMLA. If an employer engages in these prohibited acts, the FMLA allows any one or more employees to bring suit for damages.

The Family and Medical Leave Act covers employees who have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period. A covered employer is any person engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce who employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to retain any employer-paid health benefits while using FMLA-protected leave. Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to the employee's original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

In addition, an employee's use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or was entitled to before using FMLA leave, nor be counted against the employee under a no fault attendance policy.

I hope this is useful.

Lois

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Lois,

Thanks for the reply regarding FMLA.

As an HR associate, I am familiar with FMLA, and am currently using it. By doctor's orders, I am not allowed to work 40 hours (as is my job expectation) so my FMLA time is dwindling each week. After the twelve weeks are used, they do NOT have to restore me to my position, or even make my position more accommodating to me under FMLA, they can just replace me.

So, FMLA is what is keeping me employed now, but I am looking for something that will help me retain my job when my FMLA time is exhausted.

Thanks

Angela

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Hi, Angela:

I have been in a Reasonable Accommodation battle with my employer (the federal government) for just about one year now. By this time, I've done a lot of reading and have even consulted with an attorney a few times, so I'll try and share with you what I know about this.

****I AM NOT A LAWYER AND THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.**** ;)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers those employees who work in the private sector (the Rehabilitation Act is for federal employees). Employers are required to grant a Reasonable Accommodation under the following circumstances:

1. An employee has, has a history of, or is regarded as having a permanent disability that substantially affects one or more major life activities. Examples of major life activities are breathing, walking, lifting, standing, even bathing and performing household chores!

2. That employee is a qualified employee, which means that he or she can perform the essential functions of his or her job with or without accommodation.

3. An adequate reasonable accommodation does not cause the employer "undue hardship."

If an employee meets the above, then technically, he or she is covered by the ADA. If an employee who is covered by the ADA is denied a reasonable accommodation (not necessarily the one(s) the employee specifically requested but any accommodation that would result in the employee having access to the workplace), that is discrimination, UNLESS the only reasonable accommodations possible would cause undue hardship (this is strictly defined by the EEOC).

They are so many nuances to this law that I cannot begin to describe. Because of certain phrases I did or did not use in my requests and emails, I am now less likely to be eligible to recoup damages from the discrimination that has absolutely occurred over the past year. If I can give you any advice, it is this:

Before pursuing a reasonable accommodation request, talk to an attorney.

Before pursuing a reasonable accommodation request, talk to an attorney.

Before pursuing a reasonable accommodation request, talk to an attorney. ad infinitum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I work in government contracting and am pretty smart when it comes to keeping my liabilities covered, but the caselaw for ADA is so incredibly extensive and the requirements are so detailed, I still blew it in pursuing my request. My attorney first complimented me on my handling of the case, but when we got into some of the documentation, I had used just the wrong phrases in some places that may have negated my ability to recoup lost pay, which for me is now greater than $25,000. Did I mention I am in a really messy case? B)

Also, if you are a federal employee rather than a private sector employee, the game changes and becomes even more convoluted and restricted. Federal Employees are covered by the Rehabilitation Act.

What you can do first is feel out your employer to see how willing they are to help you out. Express your desire to be in the office and working and ask them if there is any way they can help you do that... suggesting things like teleworking, a recliner for you to sit in rather than a regular chair, any ideas you have that might make your working situation "workable."

If and when you do this, please, oh please, oh please do NOT use any of the specific terms on the EEO site (www.eeoc.gov) or terms I used above, which are relative to Reasonable Accommodations such as "EEO," "EEOC," "Major Life Activities," "Reasonable Accommodation,"Qualified Employee with a Disability," and "Undue Hardship." I have learned the very hard way that using these terms can disclose (correctly or incorrectly, the latter for me) some specific knowledge about the process that may waive your rights to recover losses if the situation gets sticky and turns into a lawsuit.

Okay, now that I have said that - here are two links on the EEOC page that are really helpful:

http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html

http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada17.html

Here's a big, important point... there are no magic words that you have to say to request a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. All you have to do as an employee is express that you have a sickness/illness/disability/medical condition/health issue (no specific terminology required) and need help to work. That's it. That is an official Reasonable Accommodation request. So by casually "feeling out" your employer you are starting the process.

If your employer is hesitant or unwilling to help you out, contact a lawyer immediately. They can tell you step by step by step what you need to do, and they can make sure you are following the process correctly to make sure you are covered in the event of a lawsuit. Thinking back about 11 months now, I wish to high heaven I had bitten the bullet and consulted with an attorney. A consultation usually runs about $300 - $400 (although some lawyers may offer free consultations). I'm looking at a loss of $25,000 in salary (I worked some hours but could not work full time) and wondering, while knocking my head against the wall, why I didn't get in touch with an attorney.

MAJOR Lesson Learned for me... I really hope this information helps you. Don't hesitate to ask for help from your employer; it is absolutely your right enforced by law. However, if it starts to look like they might not help you out, get assistance from an attorney who really knows the process.

I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. I know your pain and fears when it comes to wondering where the next paycheck will come from.

Hang in there, though. You will get through this. 11 months back, I didn't know how we'd make it to the next month, but somehow, we still have a roof over our head and food in our mouths. The thought itself of insecurity is scarier at the start than it actually is in the experience over time.

You will be in my thoughts, and if I can help at all, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Take care! (Sorry this turned out so long. I'm a little passionate about keeping you guys out of the mess I'm in. :P)

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Thanks Deucykub,

That was what I was looking for.

So far, I have tried to talk to my boss about the fact that I may not be able again to do the hours my job is currently assigned. I mentioned that we might need to talk about permanantly restricting my hours. She said we'd cross that bridge when we came to it. (???) What does that mean? I mean, I want to know ahead of time if I'm losing my job, not at the very end of my FMLA time.

She knows I have a problem, they have plenty of documentation, and my doctor is supposed to call her as well. Also, I fainted at work today, right in front of her (and half the building too), so unless she thinks I'm faking...

I guess the real problem is I mostly don't look all that sick. I guess it's hard to believe someone could have something wrong when they look so "good".

I am kinda confused on the "qualified employee" thing. I have been there over 5 years, I can do my job. I just can't do it for as many hours a day anymore.

I am not a federal employee. (Sounds like that's a good thing)

Thanks for all the good information. I will peruse it for sure.

Angela

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