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Disability questions

jay911jjay911 Posts: 540
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Health Insurance Issues
This seems like it could be the most appropriate place to post this, if not maybe one of the mods can move it for me.

I really feel lost at the moment. I've been dealing with lower back pain and sciatica for about 4 years now, actively trying to diagnose and treat for 2+ years. I've had zero success and my pain continues to slowly increase.

Two weeks ago I had a discogram, which, surprise surprise, also came back negative. However, when in recovery my pain spiked to about an 8 and has not decreased since. I've made a return visit to the doc that did the discogram and also to my PM doc. My old meds no longer work and subsequently my meds have been changed.

Now, I cannot take my new meds at work. Yesterday I nearly wrecked my car at least a couple times because I was fighting to stay awake driving home from work. Today? I'm not taking anything and cannot even hardly think straight. I cannot stand for more than 10 minutes and I am having difficulty sitting for anything longer than about 30 minutes. I can barely stand up from a sitting position! Bottom line is that I can't work if I take my meds and can't work if I don't. I absolutely dread going to work every day and it takes every fiber of my being to get myself out the door. I normally don't think real straight and have no desire to do anything but lie on the couch because the pain isn't quite as bad -- and I can be doped up.

So what has this little book of mine been leading up to? I am beginning to wonder if I should begin looking into disability. I looked at the SSA website and from what I can tell I wouldn't qualify for anything. I can sign up for FMLA at work but am afraid that as soon as I do that and use up some of my time, then the docs will find something and I'll be out for real for surgery or something. With not enough FMLA left over. All I know is I have pain at about an 8, with meds on board, and can't bear to do anything. Am I just being a whiney azz? Or is there something/anything I can do?

Can anyone give me some direction? I have absolutely no clue what to do or if I even am able to do anything. Things look so damn bleak because I really don't know that I have any alternative than to make my daily trek to work so I can be in miserable pain. And then go home to try and recover a little bit -- while in a drug induced stupor.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I hope it makes some sense (I'm a bit light headed and because it makes sense to me doesn't mean squat), if it doesn't let me know.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    and understand that you are on the edge not knowing which way to go.
    I dont know what kind of job you have, but when I could no longer perform my duties the way I could after driving an hour into work, on pain medications, working for 8-10 hours and then driving home, a change was needed.
    My company , allowed me to work from home. I could do about 90% of my job remotely. That started with 1 day a week and for the past 4 years it was 5 days a week. I hadnt gone into my work place in over 2 years.
    This was the only way I could work.. Still with the medications and problems, I had to go out on Short Term Disability. I dont know if your company has this or not.
    It is good up to 13 weeks in which you do not work at all but collect full salary. At the end of those 13 weeks, either you return to work or file for Long Term Disability. Again all of this is benefits with inside the company, no federal programs. LTD is good for 12 months at 50% of your salary and gets reviewed ever 6 months.
    So far I have been out on STD 4 different times.
    But I realized that I could not drive to work, take my medications and do my job. It just would not happen.
    Today, I feel alot better since I am heading into retirement, so I no longer need to balance my hours on the computer with my pain.
    Jay good luck.
    You posted in the right spot, I hope others will be able to help you out
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Well here's what I have available through work:
    One month paid at 100%, then STD at 60% and then LTD at 60%

    I'm 41 so as much as I'd like to retire, it is not an option yet. :)

    I don't have the option to work from home due to the nature of the business although I've thrown that out there as an option I'd be willing to try. My commute is 45 minutes to an hour each way and I work 12 and 10 hour shifts. Meds while driving? I think not. Unless I can afford the auto-pilot option. Meds at work? I think not unless I want to get paid to nap. Hey, wait a minute, that doesn't sound bad! But that would make it hard to work from home too.

    I'll be posing this same question to HR as well, but they're interested in the company, not me. So I'm definitely interested in everyone's experiences.
    Thanks a bunch for that Ron!
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