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Work accommodations?

Anyone have thoughts on how to start a conversation with your employer about accommodations for your lung disease? For me, I know these 24 hr shifts and the 5-7 days straight are simply too much early in my recovery. 

Perhaps I should start by visiting my doc, and completing the intermittent fmla paperwork and seeing what work adjustments sound reasonable/feasible? Then take that to HR and let them be my advocate with administration? 

Having an invisible disability is tough, I don’t have a broken leg and crutches, but feel like I do with the poorly controlled lungs. Not excited to go down this route, but I think it’s for the best. Can’t risk letting things get out of hand again, I’ve got 3 little guys who are counting on me. 

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Comments 18

  • Melissa G

    I think starting with your dr is a great idea. Then going to HR with a plan and seeing what is reasonable. 

  • Shea

    I think that is a good plan as well. But, if you are struggling until getting in with pulmo, you could even start with your primary care for a temporary plan. Things you could mention to your doctor to write for your employer is 20 minute nebbing breaks every 4 hours, and wearing your asthma mask when near infectious patients. I dont think either of those things are unreasonable. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I love Shea's idea of starting with the immediate needs you have. Sometimes doctors will allow you back to work after, say, a surgery on something called "light duty" with restrictions on how many hours you can work or how much weight you can lift or what jobs you're cleared to do.

    One good thing about focusing on a "this is what I need now" is that it can help your boss and HR know that you are hoping this is a "for NOW" and not "forEVER" kind of deal. 

    Some years ago, a friend suggested when I was trying to help my daughter at school that I focus on what her needs were, and that I let the school weigh in on how they meet that need. 

    Getting documentation from your boss as to what your needs are should be super helpful. And taking those needs to HR and your bosses to say, "Hey, this is what my doctor says I need. What's your suggestion on a way to meet that need?"

  • Emelina

    Thank you Cynthia. Great ideas. I like the idea of what do I need now, and it’s a temporary thing. The idea of a number of hours per day is also very appealing. Just finished a 16 hour day and am simply wiped out. I’m not sure how well this is going to go over, given that I’ve resigned my job. I’m worried it will make me look like a less desirable candidate given all of the recent illness, hospitalization, etc. good thing all of my references come from colleagues and not administration.

  • Breatheeasy

    I reigned again. It was getting hard for me coz my boss wanted me to work extra whenever I would step out for an appointment for me and DD. I already work extra hours I don’t know how many hours he wants me to work. I suppose everyone’s allowed up to an hour away from the desk twice a week. I was denied that. Anyway I am only taking up a job next if they let me use my PTO and give me time to step out for DDs therapy. I don’t care how much they pay. I only need insurance. But if you’re not concerned about money I guess they try to pay you nothing if that’s possible. 

     

     

  • Breatheeasy

    KEvery other person I meet tell you me they have asthma it’s gotten so common now. But I seem to be the only one that’s affected by the meds. They give me so much mental confusion. It getting hard to work. Everyone I meet looks like they have it together. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    How have you been, Breatheeasy? Your meds are causing you to feel confused? I think you should mention that to the doctors that prescribe the meds. As far as others that suffer from asthma, they could be experiencing some side effects as well. Maybe you could mention to your doctors that it is a bit difficult for you to work. See what they can suggest. Hope you have a good day today!

  • Emelina

    Breatheeasy, that’s awful how your work has treated you. I hope you find that new position that treats you equally like others, doesn’t dump extra work/make up time for pto to care for yourself or dd, and values your contributions. 

    What kind of confusion do you experience? Mental fogginess? Forgetfulness? Are you sleeping ok at night? Sometimes poor sleep like due to sleep apnea can make you feel confused/off. Deborah has a great suggestion above. Maybe your doc can figure out which drug is the culprit. Maybe with a different med combo you wouldn’t have these symptoms?

    I’m holding on by my finger tips. My memory isn’t as sharp, so I organize myself at work by making lists. I actually carry a piece of paper with all of the to dos and check each box as I go. And I refer to it several times/day to make sure I don’t miss anything. Yesterday it was embarrassing, it took me 5 minutes to remember my login password. Sometimes names/faces elude me and I can’t find the right word. 😞 Hang in there breathe easy. Sounds like you’re going through tough times. 

  • Breatheeasy
    Deborah Bartlett posted:

    How have you been, Breatheeasy? Your meds are causing you to feel confused? I think you should mention that to the doctors that prescribe the meds. As far as others that suffer from asthma, they could be experiencing some side effects as well. Maybe you could mention to your doctors that it is a bit difficult for you to work. See what they can suggest. Hope you have a good day today!

    Hey Deborah! I was doing great until my doc reduced my antihistamine dosage. I guess I feel mental fogginess from not sleeping well. I do okay on days I sleep enough. All the meds have gone away except for my Advair inhaler and the anti histamines and singulair. The confusion started when I was put on singulair and the antihistamines made it worse. But I am sure Advair could also be doing it. As it gives me vertigo. Breathing wise I have been doing good until I skipped a dose of singulair. My issues seem to get worse when I skip a dose and then get back on it. And then it takes a week or two before singulair starts working again. Don’t know if that’s how it works.

  • Breatheeasy
    Emelina posted:

    Breatheeasy, that’s awful how your work has treated you. I hope you find that new position that treats you equally like others, doesn’t dump extra work/make up time for pto to care for yourself or dd, and values your contributions. 

    What kind of confusion do you experience? Mental fogginess? Forgetfulness? Are you sleeping ok at night? Sometimes poor sleep like due to sleep apnea can make you feel confused/off. Deborah has a great suggestion above. Maybe your doc can figure out which drug is the culprit. Maybe with a different med combo you wouldn’t have these symptoms?

    I’m holding on by my finger tips. My memory isn’t as sharp, so I organize myself at work by making lists. I actually carry a piece of paper with all of the to dos and check each box as I go. And I refer to it several times/day to make sure I don’t miss anything. Yesterday it was embarrassing, it took me 5 minutes to remember my login password. Sometimes names/faces elude me and I can’t find the right word. 😞 Hang in there breathe easy. Sounds like you’re going through tough times. 

    Unfortunately I am a developer. Which needs a lot of focus and mental work. I think I’ll shift my career to do something that doesn’t need as much mental work. Although I might not find that job as challenging. Might not know till I try. I guess because of the mechanism of the anti histamines when I don’t sleep enough they affect me much. There’s no alternates to them though 

  • K8sMom2002
    Breatheeasy posted:
    The confusion started when I was put on singulair and the antihistamines made it worse. But I am sure Advair could also be doing it. As it gives me vertigo. Breathing wise I have been doing good until I skipped a dose of singulair. My issues seem to get worse when I skip a dose and then get back on it. And then it takes a week or two before singulair starts working again. Don’t know if that’s how it works.

    Hi, Breatheeasy, hugs on the tough work situation. I do hope you get a position with an employer that will work with you. You'd mentioned that your confusion started when you began using Singulair. The does carry a warning about Neuropsychiatric Events (things like agitation, aggressive behavior or hostility, anxiousness, depression, disorientation, disturbance in attention, dream abnormalities, hallucinations, insomnia, irritability, memory impairment) with Singulair with some patients, so could you talk to your doctor to see if there are any alternatives? 

    It could also be a matter of when you're taking the medication — your doctor could talk to you about adjusting your dose time so that it works better with the rest of your meds.

  • K8sMom2002
    Emelina posted:

    I’m holding on by my finger tips. My memory isn’t as sharp, so I organize myself at work by making lists. I actually carry a piece of paper with all of the to dos and check each box as I go. And I refer to it several times/day to make sure I don’t miss anything. Yesterday it was embarrassing, it took me 5 minutes to remember my login password. Sometimes names/faces elude me and I can’t find the right word. 😞  

    Hugs, Emelina! Sometimes when we generally feel unwell or are tired for any reason, it can be harder for us to focus. Are your co-workers and supervisors supportive of you overall? 

    It can feel as though we have a spotlight glaring down on us, revealing our every fault and flaw. But most folks aren't watching us like a hawk, gleefully waiting for our next mistake. 

    Do you feel comfortable talking with your closest workmates and letting them know that right now you are still getting your feet under you?

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Breatheeasy: I don't know if there is any truth to this, or if it would apply to you…I have read that stopping Singulair suddenly can cause problems. I don't know if that means skipping a day. Your pharmacist may know. I wish you all the luck in the world. You are such a nice person! I hope you find a new career with understanding people!!! 😀

  • Pljohns

    Been there and done that with this-I managed a medical practice and the last thing I completed for them was the build out of a 10,000 sq ft new clinic-I did my job AND was the project manager for the build out.  I BEGGED for help but they kept piling more and more on me.  I ended up in the hospital 4 times in under a year and 3 times in under 6 months.  The last time was a week after our grand opening-that one cost me 3 days in MICU and 30 days of med leave because pulmo said I couldn't go back to work in a newly constructed building with the fumes.  

    I had a letter from my pulmo prior to moving into the new clinic that I was not to be in it for more than 4 hours a day for the first month-did they accommodate that-NOPE-I bought my own air purifier for my office and stayed in there as much as i could to be out of the fumes-what did that get me-in the doghouse for not being "out and about" in the clinic.  I filed a reasonable accommodation request with our employee health, and it was approved, to meet the requirments from pulmo, but in the end, they didn't do anything.  I had open house with no voice at all and coudln't walk more than 3 feet without having to stop.  It was absolutely AWFUL-the 30 days I was on medical leave, I found a new job.  I had to go back for 1 day for my short term disability to pay for me being off, so I did-went back for 1 day and turned in my notice the next day.  Becasue of a complaint I had lodged with HR about my boss and how difficult she was making my life, we mutually agreed that the day I turned in my notice would be my last day.  I am eligible for rehire as I did give them the notice they required but will NEVER go back to work for them again.

    I ended up filing an EEOC complaint against them for discrimination based on ADA-we settled but it felt like a win for me.  THEN I dumped over 700 emails on HR that proved to them what happened-the result-my "boss" got reassigned to a non-management job (she should have been fired) and that was it.  

    I'd start with a letter from pulmo, then check with either employee health or HR and see if they have a reasonable accommodation form/policy-fill it out and at least it's on file at that point.  If you have to, push it with them to get what you need.  I've found that companies will look out for themselves first and run over anyone that needs help-no matter how good of an employee you are.

  • Breatheeasy

    Of course they don’t care about anyone it’s their business and we do all we can and they don’t do anything in return. The last place I worked at had so many layers of management. It was hard to talk to anyone to get my point across that – I need a break to breathe. The HR didn’t care. My boss has an asthmatic son but he didn’t care whenever I could not travel to work because of allergies getting out of control. He promised a lot of stuff but ended up giving all the bonus to his best friends lazy wife that worked for him.They just cared about the work. If someone can do it dump all of it on them. No such thing as a team.

  • Breatheeasy
    Deborah Bartlett posted:

    Breatheeasy: I don't know if there is any truth to this, or if it would apply to you…I have read that stopping Singulair suddenly can cause problems. I don't know if that means skipping a day. Your pharmacist may know. I wish you all the luck in the world. You are such a nice person! I hope you find a new career with understanding people!!! 😀

    Aww thanks Deborah. I will find out from the pharmacist.

    My BA told me to be more assertive at work an not be nice. I guess being nice gets you nothing. I get walked all over.

  • Breatheeasy
    K8sMom2002 posted:
    Breatheeasy posted:
    The confusion started when I was put on singulair and the antihistamines made it worse. But I am sure Advair could also be doing it. As it gives me vertigo. Breathing wise I have been doing good until I skipped a dose of singulair. My issues seem to get worse when I skip a dose and then get back on it. And then it takes a week or two before singulair starts working again. Don’t know if that’s how it works.

    Hi, Breatheeasy, hugs on the tough work situation. I do hope you get a position with an employer that will work with you. You'd mentioned that your confusion started when you began using Singulair. The does carry a warning about Neuropsychiatric Events (things like agitation, aggressive behavior or hostility, anxiousness, depression, disorientation, disturbance in attention, dream abnormalities, hallucinations, insomnia, irritability, memory impairment) with Singulair with some patients, so could you talk to your doctor to see if there are any alternatives? 

    It could also be a matter of when you're taking the medication — your doctor could talk to you about adjusting your dose time so that it works better with the rest of your meds.

    I will find out what the alternatives are thanks