Anybody else using FMLA?

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Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  Sara79 on Fri 10 May 2013, 3:57 pm

So I made it a year at the hospital, and was just barely able to not have counseling with HR due to absences. The attendance policy is very strict, but they are very up front about it. I felt lucky that I'd only called in 3 times due to migraines in a year, which is excellent for me, but I could tell I was heading towards a rough spell. I've had enough of them to see it coming. So I got a hold of our benefits people, and had my doc fill out the FMLA forms for intermittent leave. Just in time, I had to call in on Sunday, and I'd be calling in tonight, except it's my night off.

Are any of you who are still working, and US based using FMLA or similar leave? If so, did you have any issues with work afterwards? Nothing's been said yet, but I'm still in my 2 week window, where I can use the leave, but have the time I need to get the forms into the correct people.

My biggest fear is that they can send me to another doctor, at their expense, and I could see them trying to put me back on Topamax, but my doctor has it listed as an allergy, and I won't hesitate to refuse the med due to my last reaction.

My doc was amazing, the only questions he had for me were related to how much time I thought I might need, since they want that spelled out. I asked him to plan for the worst, since I can always not use all the time, but if I hit my limits, I have to start all the paperwork over again, or return to work. He filled it out for up to 5 days per month, which was what I was needing when things were at the worst, before the sleep apnea was diagnosed.

I didn't know if anyone else was using this, or if you knew it's another tool, so I figured I'd ask and see. I don't know all the rules inside and out, but catch me if anybody wants any details.

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  tortoisegirl on Fri 10 May 2013, 7:02 pm

I haven't, but its definitely something I've kept in mind for the future. There are several ways to take it, such as taking a block of time off, a day here and there when you need it, or having a reduced work week. Your employer will likely make you use up all your paid time off before taking FMLA time.

Although I don't have first hand experience, for the relatively small amount of time you are asking for, I can't see that they would look too much into it / want you to see another doctor. It doesn't affect them so much as its not paid time off, but it does in that they aren't getting your full time but having to pay full time benefits still.

In the future I could definitely see myself using it to take a reduced work week, as I've only been getting worse (more conditions developing). My only suggestion would be to have a sit down with someone in HR at your company to learn about their policies on it, so you don't have any surprises.

Yes, they definitely could look down upon you for taking the time off (plus having a disability if they didn't know about it before), but there are legal protections in place along with it. I've delayed doing anything like this because we need the money from me working full time, plus I don't want to be treated differently at work from disclosing my health issues. Best wishes.

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  familydr95 on Sat 11 May 2013, 5:54 am

what is that
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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  tortoisegirl on Sat 11 May 2013, 10:27 pm

In the USA, the Family & Medical Leave Act provides guaranteed unpaid time off (up to 12 weeks a year) while maintaining your job. You can use it for your own health issues (including childbirth), to take care of a sick family member, etc. The employer has to meet certain conditions to offer FMLA though, such as at least 50 employees, and the employee has to have worked there for at least 12 months. Most employers make you use up any paid time off before using it.

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  Sara79 on Sun 12 May 2013, 11:12 am

I didn't go into great amounts of detail about my migraines during the hiring process, but I'd been at my employer as a student, and had to miss some time due to migraines, so they knew I suffered. Plus they hired one of my classmates, and she could have told them all about me at my worst, since she'd watched me get to class, take a handful of various stuff the doc kept trying (one time I remember it being three aleve, three neurotin, frova, benedryl, and zofran), and sit through lecture in my sunglasses.

They will require me to exhaust my paid time off, which they were once again very open about. I'll give them credit, they've been crystal clear with the process, telling me, and then mailing/emailing me the same info in print. Nothing was said during my last two shifts, but I just submitted my doctor's paperwork, so they are now learning about how much time I could be taking. For me, days here and there, intermittent, were what I'll need, which means the days I don't have depth perception, I'll stay home, and take the heavier meds, or only drive to the doctor's office for toradol and phergrenin injections.

For me it means that I won't have to fear losing my job due to unplanable absences, now that the paperwork is in and I've completed a year. I knew when I was hired it'd would be a tough first year, but after all I managed as a student, I knew I could make it through and then their FMLA policy would be there to help.

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  milo on Tue 14 May 2013, 6:19 pm

Hi Sara, we don't have this where I'm at, but there is some options that sound similar. I'm glad you made it through year one, and also glad that the employer is very clear about things. I think it makes it easier when they are.

Keep us up to date.
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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  Sara79 on Fri 17 May 2013, 2:08 am

I went in again on Tuesday, and the doc and I decided to do a steroid taper, so my head should shortly feel better, but I'll eat EVERYTHING, and have a really short temper. If it stops the pattern, it'll be worth it.

DH was trying to help the other day, but he opened up the house while all the trees were shedding pollen, which really bothers my allergies and then my head. He's now been asked to wake me up early to deal with the cat box before opening the house. I rather have an interrupted day's sleep than miss more work and have to take a LOT more of the rescue meds Suspect

As always, the doc's been an angel. I took in a fruit and veggie tray for the office, just to make sure they know they're appreciated. You'd think I'd given them each a winning lotto ticket. I know they sneak me into time slots that are already booked when I've got a bad migraine, and they've caught the doctor to call in refills (against the doctor's office group policy) when I've come in with a bad one and forgotten to ask about refills. They're also sweeties about letting me nab the 8:30 AM appointment (on my way home from work), so I can get in, get the shots and sleep them off. drunken

I told them the truth, I could be paying less out of pocket by moving to a doctor that practices at my work, but then I wouldn't have the years of trust and people who are truly trying everything to help me. If needed they can look up all the records of my care since I left my pediatrician, and I think my mom transferred his records, so they probably have all of them somewhere in storage. This is worth an extra $5 USD per visit, just for my peace of mind.

Anyways, as you can see, the steroids are working, since I'm writing a novel. But the lingering trace of the rough one I've been fighting for at least a week , so I'll manage. Now I need to go find a snack. santa I expect I'll look something like him by the end of the week.

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  Sara79 on Sat 18 May 2013, 11:04 pm

Well, thank goodness I got the FMLA set up when I did. I've called in my third night this month, and will only have two more until June 1st. Helping this, I hope, will be the steroid taper. I've got the jitters and the munchies. My doc tries to avoid steroid tapers, because I'm very sensitive to the hungry hungry hippo side effect, but this bad stretch needs the help more than my waist needs narrowing.

I know that I've been 'flipping' my schedule, trying to do things in the daytime on my days off, which I'm going to have to stop, the switching isn't helping, but my brother got married, and I needed to be available for the family.

Right now, I'm eating my rescue meds like candy, and they're having almost as much effect. The biggest side effect, either from my head or the meds is that I'm really really dizzy, which is why I didn't go to work tonight, I don't feel safe driving. I'll try to go to work with a headache, or a maybe migraine, but I don't drive with the dizziness or the Alice in Wonderland stuff, it's just not safe.

Anyways, I'm on here a LOT right now, mostly because I'm sleeping really weirdly, I know that's the steroids too, and I wanted to send thanks and hugs to all who have been reading/writing/replying/thinking about me. I know not everyone's posting as much, but the knowledge that there are others here fighting the battle too really helps. Take care everyone!

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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  30yrsofheadache on Sun 19 May 2013, 5:51 am

Sara, Sorry you are still having a hard time. It sounds like you at least have a great Dr., though. I hope once you are done with the taper, you feel better (without too much weight gain). Very Happy
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Re: Anybody else using FMLA?

Post  Sara79 on Wed 22 May 2013, 1:57 am

Cindy, thanks for thinking of me, but I think I'm just going to hide under my bed until June.

So I went to work on Sunday, just a bit jittery from the taper, and hungry and nauseous at the same time. I make it through my first couple of hours and start getting dizzy...and cold clammy sweaty...<cursing self deleted>...not good. So I sit down and ask a co worker if I look OK, which he tried to candy coat, seeing as I'm female and he's been married many years, finally I get the honest answer I needed, and I check my pulse.


145!!!


I call my shift manager, and she sends me to the ER, thank goodness I work in a hospital. I make it down the elevator and around the corner to get through security and figure out where triage is (I've never entered through the pt door), and my most excellent boss has sent the two people from my department who are working the ER with a wheelchair. They get me exactly where I need to be, and stay with me until I get to the point where I have to remove clothing to put on a pt gown.

Basically, between the nausea from the migraines, and my metabolism being in high gear from the taper I'd became dangerously dehydrated. The cure was easy, the ER nurses quickly got me an IV, sent off labs, and put 2 liters of IV fluid in me. Labs came back 'normal' for someone dehydrated, and after the fluid and a bit of rest my heart rate was much closer to where it should be, once again considering the steroids.

So, now steroid tapers are even further up my list of 'really don't want/don't handle well' treatments. Nowhere as high up the list as Topamax, but much higher than just cranky about the weight gain.

I'm fine now, my personal doc saw and cleared me, so long as I keep pushing the fluids. I'm mostly crabby that I didn't notice the symptoms earlier and make myself hydrate, but I've been so dizzy this month I figured it was the start of another migraine, not dehydration.

So in closing, stay hydrated everybody! I'm off to pee again for the third time since midnight (it's 3 AM here right now), so I'm very well hydrated.

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