Yes. Many are unaware that FMLA unpaid leave is only an option after 12 months, and then only for employers over a certain size.
Hopefully you can negotiate some non FMLA unpaid leave if you have to be hospitalized before the 12 months. I assume we are talking USA and not some similar act in another country.
Also, I am not clear exactly what role the doctors note was to play. When I use my sick leave I do not have to supply a doctor's note, although I guess it is in the employee manual somewhere that they could ask. Was the note to help you get some paid leave? or part of a process for some unpaid leave?
Also, returning to work does not necessarily mean unconditionally. If you employer is large enough to be subject to the FMLA, they are likely large enough to be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Your doctor may be much more ready to write a note in support of "accommodations" you might need. These could include a work station in proximity to a restroom, or extra restroom breaks, or modification of how much standing is required ...
Unless you know your HR to use information to work against employees, it does seem better to have the HR and your supervisor briefed on medical issues that might affect your performance and attendance. It can be a tricky decision, some people hunker down and fear that to discuss UC is to invite severance. You will have to judge that risk.
Hopefully your symptoms improve and all of this concern recedes a bit.
Post Edited (DBwithUC) : 5/20/2013 9:41:02 AM (GMT-6)