New to TN and new to this site!

Wow! This site is going to be a life-saver for me! Thank you for keeping this going. I was just diagnosed 1 month ago with TN. I am on week three of Tegretol 200 mg/ 3x day and Percocet for break through pain. I do notice a difference, it seems like it will help, and of course - the side effects are awful.

Anyway, my STD from work has been denied and they want me to return to work on Monday. How am I supposed to drive?? I can hardly walk straight, can hardly make it from one room to another, sometimes I cant even remember if I ate or not. They told me up to 8 weeks for these side effects to lessen.

Has anyone had any problems with returning to work, STD, etc. I dont know what to do now, except risk the commute and go to work on Monday - but that is so scary. I know that is wrong, but what else am I supposed to do? I need my job, I need my medical insurance. Does the neurologist have any control over this?

This has already been a nightmare, and now this. What am I going to do? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks guys!

Hi Nutmeg,

I have been trying to continue working. Was diagnosed with TN2 on January 9, 2012. My neuro did not take the route of Tegretol and Percocet. I am on Indocin and Neurontin. The Indocin works decently, not sure about the Neurontin though. I know the side-effects of Percocet can be harsh. My mother was on it once after surgery. I am not sure which state or country you are in, but in my region driving on something like Percocet is just like driving drunk as far as the police are concerned.

As for you doctor, I think they could write you a slip to take a sabbatical and keep you employed...though I don't know what your employment type is. My GP wrote me one for the month of December. I was not diagnosed then and had no idea what was going on other than that I was in constant mind-numbing pain. My employer was fine with that, as was the insurance. Ask your neurologist's office, also check with your personnel relations person at work if you have one.

I agree that this is a nightmare, but we have to push through it. Best of luck.

~Fred

Hi Nutmeg,

Are you from the state of CT by any chance, as in The Nutmeg State? If so, CT as you know is a fairly liberal state--That could be a good thing for you and your situation. Liberal states (all in NE for example) usually have fairly generous social safety net programs that include many types of aid, including attorneys that will draw up documentation for your company/boss. You might be surprised at what may be available to you.

If your company doesn't have the "work from home option via laptop, etc., which most don't, but it never hurts to ask, I'd check out the state social services route via phone if you're able to talk (I rarely am-so I know that's an issue) and/or visit their myriad of offices. You could start by locating the offices via the phone book at home, locate the address on the map and be ready to pay them a walk-in visit when you're having a good TN day.

I truly hope that your boss will give you just a few more days away so you can explore this. I lost 3 very good jobs due to TN because I was no longer able to do public speaking. TN can be crippling--And so, please take advantage of any aid available. Best of Luck and Blessings to you, Nutmeg. Rick Bruce

Hi Nutmeg,

Please find someone to safely drive you to work on Monday and can wait or come back and pick you up. As soon as you arrive, advise your supervisor that you have to go on FMLA (American Family Medical Leave Act). Your supervisor or a Human Resources supervisor will give you paperwork for you and your doctor to fill out. Then you can go home and start the paperwork. You can leave work immediately - you don't have to finish the work day. You don't have to have the paperwork finished for a while and of course it will take time for your doctor to finish his or her part. I can't remember what the time period is for returning the completed forms.

The American Family Medical Leave Act is a Federal Law that gives you 12 weeks of unpaid leave (weekends do count in the total days tally) with your job protected. You cannot be fired or laid off. My employer also paid my medical insurance when I was out on FMLA, but I don't know if it's a requirement. You can check with your Human Resources Department. This law was established to give employees protected time off for illness, taking care of a sick family member, pregnancy and even adoption, to give the employee time to bond with the child.

Don't stress out. You'll be fine. I understand what you're going through and I couldn't perform my duties because of the pain and side effects of the medications...and I was a manager. You can look up FMLA on the internet. There's a government webpage that explains everything (even though it's all rather confusing when you're on meds). Your Human Resources Department should be well versed in all the aspects of FMLA since it's part of their duties. You don't need to worry about attorneys or going from one social service office to another.

You are allowed 12 weeks of FMLA for each calendar year. I went on FMLA twice until I finally had to throw in the towel and apply for Social Security Disability, which was approved on the first application without a Disability attorney. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know.

Gloria E, Administrator, livingwithtn.org

I would see if you can try going back to your STD and trying again with a letter from your doctor. (I cannot think of the word.) Have the doctor say you cannot work while trying to work through these meds. Gloria has given you great advice. As soon as you get to work, go to HR or call them. How large is your company? But she is correct, do not drive. I couldn't drive at first, either.

Nutmeg,

I forgot to mention that you are not required to take the full 12 weeks of FMLA. However, whenever you return to work you will not be allowed to take FMLA for another full calendar year, so it's best to make the most of it. If your short term disability has been denied, the only way you can safely be home from work with your job protected is FMLA.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Hi everyone! Thanks for your support and advice! An an update - on Friday I told my employer I wanted to go out on FMLA leave - that worked. Then I talked to my doctor. I seems that the insurance company took his comments of "absolutely can not drive a vehicle" to their advantage, because he did not go into detail about not being able to perform my job duties, the insurance company does not take commute into consideration - commute time is not part of your job. Therefore, they don't care how you get there. So he was going to contact them and change his notes to say I can not perform any of my job duties until further notice.

Also learned on Friday that my Tegretol levels are too high (from bloodwork) but doc is afraid if levels are lowered, the pain will be worse - so we are working on a combination of drugs now - will know which ones on Monday!

Gloria thank you for the FMLA information. It really helped.

Rick - I'm in PA - the Nutmeg comes from my name, Meg. And I'm a bit nutty! In a fun, good, safe way!!

Thanks again for your all your help!