Return to work?

Doc cleared me to return to work.

But at a much reduced level.  20 hours per week.  Limited driving.  Limited lifting.  Limited standing.

I informed HR of the preliminary findings of the doc, mainly because HR was breathing down my neck about it.  I understand they have a nonprofit organization to run, and that my territory isn’t easy to cover, but don’t get on me about making demands of my physician.  Don’t say “find a way to get your doctor to finish your paperwork and fax it to us as soon as possible”.

I did ask my doc, she looked at me and said “I do have other patients to see today”.  I felt so stupid.  Of course she has other patients.  She isn’t my personal one-on-one physician.  Then I felt like HR was interfering with my relationship with my doc. And I have a really nice, really understanding but encouraging doc.  She takes the time to listen, to assess, to really do a thorough job.  And because of the pressure exerted on me to “find a way to get the paperwork” I run the risk of damaging that relationship.

So yesterday afternoon at the prompting of HR I called the doc’s office and asked about the status of my paperwork.  The receptionist was nice enough to go back and ask for me.  He said that the doctor had dictated the information on the restrictions, but it has not been transcribed on to the report yet.  Being that it was 4:50 pm. he did not think it would get completed that day.  He did say that it should be completed the next day.

I emailed HR with the new information and did not receive a reply.

So here I sit at 8:15 am.  Waiting.  I was told a few weeks ago that my employer would not create a new position for me.  And I’m not sure where I stand legally.  I am out of FMLA.  If I need more time off I’m basically fucked.  I have an appointment with the cardiologist next week.  Who ever I talk to today, I have to make that clear, that my health comes first.  That was not my  motto earlier this year and I paid for it dearly.

I ignored signs and symptoms that my health was failing since about a year ago.  I thought that it was just my fibromyalgia flaring and I treated it as such.  My grandfather’s health started failing dramatically around a year ago and I thought it was stress from that situation combined with more stress at work taking a toll on MY health.  My grandfather passed away right after Christmas.

I continued to ignore the signs and symptoms throughout the spring.  I was extremely fatigued, I was running low grade fevers.  My joints started to ache.  I brushed it off because I was working massive amounts of overtime to pay for my dream wedding.

Getting closer to the summer, I would just collapse on the weekends.  I would sleep all day.  My migranes increased in frequency.  I was just barely surviving day to day.  My work suffered, my relationships suffered.  Until my eyes exploded (see the post about that here).

And now here I am.

I love my job, when I’m healthy and can physically do it.  I’m a hospice nurse.  Hospice means that people have been diagnosed with a condition that if left to run its course, will likely cause their death in six months or less.

I have been a nurse for 9 years.  I love teaching people about their bodies, I love teaching families how to care for their loved ones.  I know I can use my talents somewhere.  And that is what I think it is, a talent, a calling.  I have no qualms about people, their bodies, bodily functions.  I can talk to anyone at anytime about anything.

I think my dream job in nursing right now would be to stay at home and to health education and advocacy/coaching via the phone.  With a set caseload that doesn’t rotate so I could build a relationship with patients.

I had a telenurse job before, but the calls were random and I couldn’t build a relationship with the patients.  I know I can make an impact, I just might not be able to physically do what I used to do.

This is funny, I described my former workload to my doc and she said “well, I don’t think anyone healthy can do that”  Thanks Doc!!

I think I got off on a tanget there.

Its 8:40 am.  No call yet.

Anxiety building…


**Update 10/13/12**

I’m still in limbo.  My doctor’s office was kind enough to send a letter to HR stating my restrictions and that FMLA paperwork was pending.

Not good enough for HR.  On 10/11/12 at 3p I received an email again telling me to call my doctors office and find out exactly when the FMLA paperwork will be completed.

On 10/12/12 I sent an email to HR lady and I received an “out of office” reply.  I called the main office and spoke with someone else in the office and explained the situation.  She stated that anything relating to my situation would be handled on Monday anyway.  I did have to drive to the main office to drop off a check for my health insurance.  A near $500 dollar check that my parents were kind enough to furnish.

So I went in to work for the first time in nearly 3 months.  I was nervous because of my appearance.  My left eye is droopy for some unknown reason, my face is puffy due to the steroids, and again I look pregnant.  I did see some of my coworkers and one good friend in particular who offered some much needed support.  She seems to think that the powers that be will not accept my limitations and will just terminate me, which is within their rights.

I would just like to know either way.  Either I have a job or I do not.  Either I have to apply for government assistance or I do not.  The waiting sucks.  All of this just sucks.