I'm glad the articles were helpful to several. I'm a research ****.. I can't help it.. it's just me.
PALady.. you're determined to get me to a cocktail party one way or the other - even a virtual one!
anice, I can't imagine your doctor would make you sign an AMA form to go back to work because of chronic pain. If he did, I'd think he was a total poo-poo head. I can see it if he was reasonably sure that going back to work was going to cause further physical damage to you, but I also would expect that if he came out and told you that was the reason, you wouldn't
go back to work right now.
I'm in a little different situation, because I got canned when I ran out of FMLA time between 2 major surgeries. I don't have a job waiting for me, so I don't have the pressure of returning "fast enough." When I told my PM that I needed to start looking for work, because I'm really, really struggling financially, he was adamantly opposed to the whole idea -- and that was a year ago! He told me I wasn't ready, that it was a huge mistake, he wanted me totally and completely focused on rehab, and that I should look at where I can cut expenses if it's a financial matter. That was a kind of stupid thing for him to say, since I'd already cut every last non-essential thing in my life by that point! I mean, seriously, I arranged to re-sell my wireless internet connection to my neighbors so that I could keep my cable internet without paying for it! (Great plan if you can manage it, btw.. LOL!)
When my COBRA ended, my health insurance premium jumped to $600/mo. I actually managed to pay that for 4 months but my bank account finally tanked and I lost it. The month before I knew my insurance was cutting off, I finally had to have one of those heart-to-heart conversations with my doctor and explain that I just can't live indefinitely on a long-term disability policy that only pays 60% of my normal salary. When he went back to the whole "cut expenses" thing, I asked him if he
could meet all of his current core financial obligations if his income was cut to the point that his health insurance and mortgage took away 73% of his monthly income right off the top and left him with only 27% of his monthly income to pay for everything else he needed. He admitted that he couldn't do it either, and with that realization, we were able to come to an agreement.
Our agreement has two parts..
The first part is that I come in for an appointment every month and at each visit, he says I'm not ready to return to work. He writes in my chart that I continue to express a desire to return to work, but that I have not yet reached a suitable physical condition. When my LTD caseworker sends him forms to fill out, he goes even further and writes that I'm completely and permanently disabled, that he doesn't expect significant improvement in my condition, and that he doesn't expect I will ever return to any level of employment. I was horrified the first time he gave me a copy of a form that said that, but it seems he hates excessive insurance paperwork and if he says those horrid things to the insurance company, they only send forms once every 6-9 months instead of every month. LOL!
The second part of our agreement is that he knows I'm actively seeking employment, sending out resumes, interviewing for positions, and that when I find the right position, I fully intend to take it. I hadn't counted on that being as hard as it's been, because it seems a lot of people don't want to take a chance on a new hire with physical limitations. They don't say
that in the interview, but it's always clear on their face when they ask you to explain the gap in employment. Of course, it's really funny to me because while I won't lie about
why I've been out of work, I significantly minimize what I've been through. They'd probably drop dead of fright at the thought of hiring me if they knew the WHOLE truth about