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Advice on FMLA
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youngpain81 posted:
Hi Everyone. I'm new to the board as well as newly diagnosed with FM. My doctor put me on Gabapentin 300mg 3 times a day and I soooo cannot even function on it. It does dull the pain and is helping me sleep, but I am like a zombie the rest of the day. I am not going to jump into short-term disability just yet, but does anyone recommend at least getting FMLA? I'm so new to all this medical leave stuff so I just don't know what to do right now. Everything is so overwhelming and I don't even know where to turn for advice. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Socialwrkr responded:
Honestly, it all depends on the type of people you work for. For 8 years, I had a wonderful boss. She trusted me to get the job done, so if I needed an hour and a half for lunch so I could nap, that was fine. If I couldn't make it in until 10 or 11, that was fine. So, we dealt with it just between us. Then she left and the boss from Hades came in. If I was even 5 minutes late, she had a cow. So, I had to "make it official" and get statements from my doctor as to my limitations and why certain times of the day I needed to do certain things for myself. I worked for the state, and we didn't have short term disability. So, I did the process for FMLA, so that I would have it if needed. But, for me, not being paid was an issue. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's a different answer depending on so many factors. Another factor to consider is whether the gabapentin is worth the side effects. If you just can't work because of the med, you might not be able to take this med. There are other options (Lyrica, Cymbalta, Savella, other antidepressants, other antiseizure meds, etc etc. Meme will likely jump on at some point and she has a fantastic thread that includes the most common meds prescribed) Good luck, I'm sure you will get more advice as well. Aimee
 
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BuckeyeNutSarah responded:
Hi! I have done both. FMLA is a MUST! If you qualify fill out the paperwork even if you don' t use it. It's much easier than your employer getting upset with you first then trying to get paperwork. STD (short-term disability) is a whole other ball of wax. It is VERY hard to get it approved, so keep that in mind. The reason is that all our tests for Fibro symptoms show normal. (most of the time). So in their mind if there is nothing objective like a test to "prove" you cannot function and are disabled then they can deny you. So, be aware before you take that leave - that's why I'm saying FMLA should be in place first. That way even if you STD claim is not approved you are still protected. Hope that makes sense! I agree with PP about the medication...
 
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Anjl26 responded:
YES!!!! You may qualify for up to 12 weeks of time off for medical reasons. This does not have to be taken all at once, but can be as short as time off for a doctor's appointment. This does not pay you. You still need to take STD if you want paid. It purely covers time off. If you think you are missing enough work that it may be a problem, definately get FMLA to protect youself. They can't fire you for absences when you are under FMLA. It's simple. There's a form you have to get filled out. Usually your doctor needs to sign or add a note stating why you may need to be off at times.
 
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youngpain81 responded:
Thanks for th advice everyone. It's not just the meds causing my absences from work. I started missng work due to the pain. I am a supervisor at a casino and I do a lot of walking and interacting with guests. And just as with Socialwrkr's experience I have the latter, the strickly by the rules boss. Going without pay is also an issue for me, but losing my job altogether would be much more of a hardship. I am going to get the FMLA papers from work today. Wish me luck...
 
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Socialwrkr responded:
Good luck! Sounds like the right choice!! Take care Aimee
 
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annette030 responded:
You might also ask your doctor if you could take the gabapentin all at once in the evening or at bedtime. I was afraid of the sedation as a side effect, and refused to even take it when my doctor first suggested it. A couple of years later she suggested I try it in a single dose at bedtime. She said it worked fine for her other pain management patients that way. I have been taking it that way for nearly 10 years now. It took awhile to adjust the dose and a couple of weeks for the side effects to go away, but they did. I started at 300 mg. once a day, and gradually went up to 1800 mg. a day. After awhile I tapered back down to 800 mg. a day, and that seems to be the best dose for me. I felt kind of hung over for awhile, so I pushed my dose back to about 4-5 hours prior to bedtime. No hangover, no sedation anymore. Talk to your doctor, do not change your meds, dose, or timing based on anything you read here. Take care, Annette


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