Leave of Absence.

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by unabear09, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. unabear09

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    Hi all! I have some issues going on right now with work and home and need some help and advice.

    For those who don't know, I am a live in caregiver for my 92 year old grandmother, who is rapidly falling into the depths of dementia. I also work a full time job in retail for a 'big box store.'

    Over the past month or two, things at home and at work have gotten so bad, that I requested a leave of absence from work due to psychiatric issues (I battle severe depression and anxiety and right now the anxiety is almost paralyzing). I put in for the LOA thru the company that my place of work uses, and was approved. I am still pending in the system until the insurance company talks with my psychiatrist, so until the pending status is cleared, I am just off of work.

    Today, I got a call from the case manager handling my claim. She basically did an 'interview' with me to find out what was going on with me (severe anxiety to the point that its very difficult to leave the house...brought on by the borderline abusive situations that are happening at work...i.e. management). I was 100% honest with her, and went into detail about having a long history of anxiety and depression, that include PTSD (years of physical, mental, and sexual abuse as a child), OCD, etc. and I told her how things had been going well up until the last couple of months, when my anxiety came back with fiery passion and almost incapicitated me. I told her that my psychiatrist (who I've been seeing for close to 3 months now after not having seen one in 2-3+ years) had put me on an anti-anxiety drug (klonopin) but I was still experiencing severe anxiety (the klonopin works to an extent, but due to the fact that I screwed up taking my other psychiatric meds, the chemical balance in my brain is fucked up...hence the secondarily reason for going on LOA, to get my meds straightened out). She asked when my next doctors appointment was, and I told her mid January. She told me that I need to see my Dr. before then (IDK why), so after that phone call, I scheduled an appointment for the first of next week.

    Basically whats going on with me now is this 'interview' has shaken me up greatly and I'm in a panic. I called the helpline to see what would happen if I wasn't approved, and the woman told me that I would fall back under the store's attendence policy (I asked her about that, then she told me that she didn't have an answer, and then she wanted my employee number...I hung up at that point). My store has taken me off the schedule for this week and next, and now I'm scared shitless that I won't be approved, despite the fact that my psych. agreed that I needed to go on LOA. I'm worried that if I don't get approved, that I won't have a job to come back to, which means I loose everything I've worked so hard for (which isn't much, but its all I have). As a side note, I ended up calling my psychiatrist's office back to talk to a nurse because I was in the middle of a panic attack, but I've yet to hear back from them.

    As for dealing with my anxiety... I am still taking my meds. I'm house/cat sitting for a friend of mine while he's out of town for the holidays, and so I'm forcing myself to leave the house at least once a day to feed his cats and get his mail. I'm trying to do all the right things to take care of myself, but I feel like I'm not going to get the support that I need to get my head back on straight.

    Does anyone out there have any experience dealing with issues like this? Any suggestions on what I should/shouldn't do? Please, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    EDIT: Just thought I would add this on... I don't care about getting paid for the LOA. All I care about is restoring sanity and balance in my life
     
  2. helgaleena

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    Una, you are right to put yourself first. I am also wondering whether your grandma is getting any aid from Social Security, Meals on wheels, Alzheimer's support groups, or similar. You need to get her a case manager or social worker of her own.

    Are you her protective payee? Whatever your situation, you need to make yourself part of a team in order to stop feeling overwhelmed. If you have sick leave coming, this is a fine time to devote to finding more care resources for her. The places you need to call are your county social services, the United Way 'first call for help' directory, your local minister if you are part of a church, and the local senior center. Tell them how overwhelmed you feel and get someone to listen.

    You do not have to be the only one looking after grandma, even if you are her only relative. I will be thinking of you and hoping you can stay the course. I know what it is to be legally disabled and caring for other disabled.
     
  3. BoxersguyNJ

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    My friend I am going through exactly the same thing right now with anxiety and panic attacks, I lose my breath and have to take deep breaths and this happens mostly around 4 in the morning, my med doctor gave me a psycologist to call and make appoint but they don't answer back right away and still waiting and just today I put in for loa from my job from my med doctor, I just can't cope with it people keep telling me its ok its not an illness that your going to die just relax...its easy to say just relax but when you get an attack always the worst thoughts go through your head and that makes me panic all the more. and I star crying for no reason, my med doctor told me that a lot of STRESS will trigger an attack, well I know what you are going through I wish I had answers for both you and myself
     
  4. helgaleena

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    Deep breaths is the very best. Also roll your eyes all the way around like Betty Boop. Do it in both directions. This actually has neurological effects of releasing fixations!

    I hereby give you unqualified permission to cry for no discernible reason. Just reassure yourself that it will not last, but will blow over like a summer shower.
     
  5. nudeyorker

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    First of all I'm so sorry all this is going on and you are feeling the way you do right now; which is certainly justified with everything thats going on.
    I feel fairly certain that you are going to be approved for your LOA if it's not I would ask for a mediator to review it again with you and your doctor.
    Don't start with what might happen, deal with each thing as it happens.
     
  6. unabear09

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    thanks for the advice guys. Quick update: The nurse at my psychiatrist's office called me back. I told her what had happened (I was crying at that point in time), and she told me that everything should be ok. My Dr. had filled out the paper work, and all they needed was $25 for processing paperwork, and they would fax that back to the LOA people. She said the doctor had recommended a 2 month LOA (and I finally figured out why 2 months instead of the originally agreed upon 1 month...he wants to get me off one of my antidepressants and replace it with something else b/c this particular SSRI has a long history of causing fatal damage to the liver), and she concurred with me that the reason why the case manager treated me the way she did was because I was essentually filing an insurance claim...and the insurance industry treats all claims as if they are fraudulant until proven otherwise.

    I'm feeling better now, with the exception that I am totally exhausted due to the 3 hour anxiety attack and panic attack (I haven't taken the klonopin yet. I want to get thru all of this without having to rely on pills to 'make things better'). I'm just so greatful that the Dr. is backing me up on this. I guess I am just going to have to play the waiting game for now. If I don't get approved, then I guess my next option is to seek out an attorny.
     
  7. onewatcher

    onewatcher Active Member

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    You wonderful guy.... You certainly are going through a lot right now..... I am sorry for you having all of this right now. Anxiety is no fun...
    Regarding your LOA.. Remember, there is always the Federal Family Leave Act.. It is without pay, however, your employer has to grant it, especially since your are the caregiver for your grandmother. Hang in there! Things will improve.. We are all praying your you.
     
  8. mexdude

    mexdude New Member

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    i was like that a few years ago, felt really bad, despite the meds of the psyquiatrist, wha i did, i tried to stay as busy as possible, while doing things in the pc, or watching tv, or things like that, until the meds worked and i had balance again
     
  9. CuriousFem

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    I feel for you, Mr Bear. I wish you the best.
     
  10. D_Percival Plunger

    D_Percival Plunger Account Disabled

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    "I want to get thru all of this without having to rely on pills to 'make things better."

    That's exactly what the pills are there to do. Now, if you know they are draining you to the point where you can't function, i.e. exhausted, drowsy, 'out-of-it', dizzy, then yeah, look at objectively what you are taking and make an informed decision of what to do. I also take Klonopin (Clonazepam) for panic anxiety attacks, but the drug itself takes a while to start working and in times of extreme stress, you can't wait.

    It sounds like you should try some cognitive therapy,or by seeing a therapist or pyschologist- if you can't afford one, there are plenty of ways and payment plans. If that doesn't sound like you, try some techniques like keeping a journal, calming and breathing techniques, exercise, getting some 'me' time in each day.

    One thing I know helps me with my panic attacks and it may sound like it doesn't work, but for me it does. When you get that feeling, like it's coming on, will it to come on, say "hit me with all that you've got" and then that feeling goes away. I hope that everything works out, it's a very tough situation to be in. But like others have said, this is a time to put you first; you sound like a very empathetic person and it's time to turn that off for a while and focus on yourself.
     
  11. MH07

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    1. I have taken Klonopin for years for anxiety. It works. TAKE THE PILLS. That's what they're for. They have a cumulative effect, too, so you can't be on-again/off-again with them. Take them AS SCHEDULED. Do not deviate. What will happen is that, in a few days, you'll notice everything smoothing out a bit---not that the concerns won't be there (they will), but they'll be closer to "concerns" than "panic attacks". Trust me, I have had panic attacks, and they are not pretty and not fun and are very real.

    2. Do what I'm having to do now with certain situations: let it go. Think: is there anything you can do to fix the situation? Then do that thing. If there's nothing you can do to fix the situation---let it go. They can't kill you. Yes, it's scary (it is). Yes, my stomach still twists at times. When that happens, I think, "Can I fix it?" and the answer is, "No, not right now. Maybe in 6 months, but not now." That helps, believe it or not. Say it to yourself, repeatedly.

    3. You're not the only one having problems. The world is full of people with problems, dreadful problems, worse problems than yours. You've got a lot of company in that boat (I'm in there with you). I will frequently feel I'm isolated, that it's only me that's affected. Bullshit. There are tons of people out there whose problems make mine look tame. There are many people carrying heavy loads. You are one of many. You are not alone.

    4. Speaking as someone in the insurance industry, we actually look for ways to pay the claim. It's only when someone gives us a reason that we deny a claim. Yours sounds like it's on the right track.

    5. You MUST breathe deeply and see what happens next. Don't let the phantasms of your imagination run wild (which is what you're doing). I can imagine all sorts of horrid things that can happen to me. You know what? No matter what I think of, it won't happen, while something totally unanticipated will. You can't think of everything--so don't try.

    6. You are on the right track about one thing: force yourself to do the necessary things. Act normal. Get up in the morning, take a shower, and go through your day. It's easy to sit at home and mull over your sad situation and make things worse. Don't do it.

    PLEASE TAKE THE KLONOPIN. It saved me, it will help you as well.

    PM me if you want.
     
  12. unabear09

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    Ok...what you are saying finally clicked on something in my brain. I was on Xanax several years ago, and I took it only during a panic attack, and it worked. I've been taking the Klonopin the same way. Maybe if I start taking it like its been prescribed to me (0.5mg 3x daily), things will start to settle down within my brain.

    I just feel like I've let myself down by being back on benzodiazepines again...almost like I've failed. However, things in the last 6 months to a year have gotten so out of hand and I am under extremely high stress during the waking hours of the day. Hell, my dentist has started to bitch at me for clenching my teeth when I sleep...he's seeing evidence that my teeth are starting to crack and break (I've got one tooth that keeps loosing little chunks at a time, but I can't afford the crown at this point).

    I'm just ready for my life to be simple again. I'm ready for the days where my only concern is myself.
     
  13. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

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    I'm so sorry you're going through this, Bear. I also have depression/anxiety diagnoses so I completely understand how you feel right now. For many years I refused medication because taking them would have been proof in my mind that I had no control and I was a failure. I changed my tune when I became a mom because I couldn't be an effective mother and allow my anxiety and depression to go unchecked. I've been on Zoloft for 10 years and I'm a lot better than I was before. So please don't feel like a failure, Bear. You're not, it's the anxiety talking. Helping yourself is the best thing you could possibly do, if anything that sounds like a win to me.

    You can also add me to the list of people who took clonazepam (I use lorazepam now) and I was on the same exact dose. Taking the regular doses will manage the anxiety, and it sounds like you need that very much right now.

    I hope you see your way clear soon, Bear. Put yourself first and treat yourself well...you deserve it!
     
  14. mexdude

    mexdude New Member

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    Agree, i tried to do that, but there is point for them, i did manage to stop using them, but that takes time, around a year took me to get good enough to stop using them
     
  15. silvertriumph2

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    Bear...
    I'm so sorry that you are going through these things...and at so young an age. I'm sorry that you have to be..as it seems...the sole caretaker of your grandmother, but I SALUTE you for
    being there for her at her time of need. Hang in there, Bear and
    take ALL medicine as prescribed...for there is a reason why they
    are prescribed that way. By not taking medicine correctly, it can
    cause you more problems than good.

    Remember you are NOT ALONE.
    You have many friends here at LPSG willing to chat if need be, for sometimes just a good shoulder to lean on and a good chat helps. Try to get someone to come in and give you a bit of time off to be away from home....go to a movie or do something fun and that will take your mind off of your problems...and if you are ok with it..pray for guidance.

    Do take
    Helgaleena's advice...check with the county social services, senior centers, your church or place of worship (yours or your grandmother's minister), the United Way, Salvation Army, etc.

    Things sometimes can seem to be overpowering, but nothing is impossible, for all things can be turned into something better,
    ...like bitter lemons into lemonade. Just believe and have faith.
    Remember you are not alone.....call on us if you want to chat.

    Good luck...
     
    #15 silvertriumph2, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  16. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    I have been where you are right now and did the entire care thing for three parents in succession until their respective passings. I had an advantage in that I was at that time relatively secure financially.

    My Mother who passed in 2001 was by far the most difficult as she developed a form of dementia towards the end of her life. By the time she left this world she was no longer ambulatory, had incontinence problems and had to have round the clock care. This was without doubt one of the most difficult things I have ever done. In fact I did not realize how difficult it had been until after her passing. It took me five years to finally get over the whole thing. Because I had been getting up every 4 hours to check for cleanliness issues sleep adjusted to that pattern. It was during the final year of her life that I met my life-partner. He came into my life and he did give me some relief from the problems and I was fortunate in that my Mom adored him.

    The major caution is that any individual can come in at any time and turn your life into a living hell. Legally, you need to have a great deal of paperwork in place to be doing what you are doing. It can be a neighbor who had a fight with you, it can be a relative trying to grab your Grandmothers assets, it can be nearly anyone.

    There are degrees of competency, and you need to make certain that you are covered legally in this area designating you on paper as a care giver over others in the family. You need to have legal control over finances and not verbal because if you are ever investigated, the DSS will simply come in with a van and haul your Grandmother off to some facility of THEIR choice run up the bill against the estate and they will make up whatever they have to in order to justify their actions if you are not in possession of the proper paperwork. There are good people with DSS and there are absolute authoritarian bastards too. Never, ever discuss your medical conditions with DSS or Medicare because it can bring your competency as a "care giver" into question. That is between yourself and your own care providers. It is NOT their business and the fewer people outside of those with a need to know who do the better off you are.

    The good side is that you have opportunities under Medicare to get major assistance. Be careful of DSS but approach Medicare and look for help. Medicare will pay for assistance for you should you need it. Your Grandmother's care "in-home" is a monumental savings for Medicare and it's representatives. The other thing you may want to look for is what I call a "Mom and Pop" assisted res care facility that will on occasion take care of your Grandmother for a few days at a time to give you a breather and some air space. This can sometimes be at very reasonable prices.

    Also remember that you absolutely must document everything regarding her care. If she falls and bruises herself you MUST document this simply because if she were to go to the Hospital for something totally unrelated it could look like abuse. If your Grandmother is on drugs such that are blood thinners you should document that as well other than with her MD's. If she requires daily medication YOU keep a log book with times she received her medication and what it was that she was given. Again this is easy and it covers your rear end if a problem were to happen.

    Another thing that you can do that will help you a great deal is to get ahold of the rules under which senior residential care facilities operate in your state. This will give you some guidelines that have the potential to save your rear end should you encounter a problem. You will not need the whole thing, but, you can profit greatly from portions of their rules of operation. As a family member not everything applies, but, a great deal of it still will.

    Make certain that her living area is clean and free of clutter which could pose a hazard. Make certain that she has some form of entertainment.
    Make certain that she is bathed constantly and that her hair is clean. There is a condition called "skull cap" that the elderly get which looks like nuclear dandruff. Make certain that she takes care of her teeth as best you can. With dementia this is very difficult at times.

    The guidelines under which facilities operate also offer some other things which DSS can check. Make certain that water heaters are not set high enough that she could under any circumstances scald herself. This is a major problem with dementia.

    My friend, I did what you are doing three times. I admire you for your courage and your desire to help your Grandmother. She is very lucky to have you. Your contribution to her care in the end will provide you with many benefits in that when she is gone you will accept her passing knowing that you personally did everything that you could to make her last days as happy as you could.

    Just make certain that you don't lose yourself in the process. After doing it three times in succession I can tell you that it took me about 5 years to totally recover from the stress. I don't regret doing it in any manner. I only offer the thoughts of know what you are doing before you have a problem and prevent it rather than try to react to some kind of criticism later.

    May you and your Grandmother enjoy a very joyous Christmas Holiday and New Years Celebration.
     
    #16 FuzzyKen, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  17. reallyhot

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    re: Helgaleena's kind words...

    "I hereby give you unqualified permission to cry for no discernible reason. Just reassure yourself that it will not last, but will blow over like a summer shower. "

    I would agree.

    And on the same topic, I'll add a few I received today myself with the advice to pass

    on to someone who may be very sad... (and I thought i'd go ahead and share ;-)

    Have you notice that sadness in your life has never, ever, not even once, lasted?

    It's impossible.

    I know they're just words but maybe you can glean some hopefulness from them.

    Best wishes to you. You're not alone, we're all rootin' for ya.

    I think it's time someone gave YOU a BEAR HUGGGG!!! ;-)))

    It's hard enough to deal with your own physical issues, but having a loved one
    succumb to dementia is almost like losing them even while they're still there.
    I know I've gone through it myself.

    I heard someone once say that a person who has dementia has one foot on this side
    and one foot on the other side so to speak, and that they care so much about we who
    remain that they don't want too leave us too quickly but prefer to give us an adjustment
    period to their leaving. (I found this perspective soothing, perhaps it can help you too).
    It's still hard, but it made me think that perhaps there is some order in the universe after all... and wouldn't it be nice if that were so.)

    P.S. I've met "Pam" ( lorazepam, and a few of the other pams...LOL) too!
    So yeah, PM me anytime too! I'm just so Glad you Asked for help.
    That proves to me you're certainly doing something right!!!

    P.P.S. And another thing it's sorta like penicillin meds ...for them to be effective
    you've got to take the entire dose regularly for it to work properly,
    and only taking it for a little while will only make things worse rather than better.
    Of course, if you notice the meds have adverse/severe side effects or are making you feel worse (it's not like one size fits all...)
    rather than better then you should get a second opinion or at least go back and
    talk to someone ...perhaps even the pharmacist to see what advice they might have for
    you, the good news is that you don't have to make an appointment to get their advice.
    That way if you need a professionals advice, it's pretty much instant, certainly a resource not to be overlooked, and you may find it may help lower your stress levels significantly.
    Hope these suggestions are helpful. Take good care.
     
  18. mexdude

    mexdude New Member

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    I was exaclty there a few years ago, it gets difficult, but u can get trough and not feel like that, :) , plse use the meds as the doctor tells u, its not magic, it may take 2 or 3 days until u feel the fullefects of the pills, be patient
     
  19. helgaleena

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    Those of us with SSRI and other psych meds to take have to realize they are not like aspirin to be taken only when something hurts. They are a daily maintenance of a long-term chemical imbalance and we can't just cut them off, any more than a diabetic can just skip their insulin.

    It may be 'all in our heads' but once depression has become chronic, the need for the chemical intervention is very real. There is no shame in leaning on a pill, Unabear. Someday you can ease back on the dosage, but keep taking them until you have found coping level and use them to balance your body and mind.

    FuzzyKen has some very good pointers about care-giving for when you are back in the care-giving saddle. And remember, your grandma is grateful, even if she does not express it very well anymore.
     
  20. Stephenmass

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    Xanax had a quick uptake but an equally quick "wears off" effect. I found I was taking way too many of these to control my anxiety. By the end of almost every day I felt tranquilized to the point of exhaustion.

    Klonopin is a wonder drug for me. I take 1 mg in the morning and that is it. It has a longer uptake yes but once it kicks in it keeps me OK the rest of the day with the need for no more.

    Stop fighting your "pill mentality"! If you had diabetes you wouldn't think twice. Klonopin has controlled my anxiety/panic attacks for 7 years now.
     
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