Wow, that sounds terrible! I hope it gets better soon.
Have you changed anything (laundry detergent, soap, shampoo) that might be causing it? It might be good to think about that, too, just in case.
As for the dosing, I'd say it's different b/c you're treating a rash, not your colon. I know that for severe poison ivy they typically do a very short course of treatment. Because of the nasty side effects of pred, I'd try the dose she prescribed first.
I live in the US, so can't help with the pay question, but I know that for my short term disability, I have to cover the first two weeks as well, and I think it's a pretty common thing. I can use vacation or sick days for those two weeks so that I don't loose pay.
Symptoms began in November 2008, ~4 weeks after giving birth to my son.
Eased for ~3 weeks in December, possibly b/c of probiotic use?
Returned in January 2009 (with a vengeance), diagnosed with pancolitis on January 30.
Currently taking Asacol (400mg 4 pills 3x daily), Rowasa nightly,
40mg 30mg 20mg 15mg 10mg 10mg of Prednisone every other day, Culturelle probiotic, and Zoloft (25 mg).