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How Do I Ask My Doctor(s) For Disability?


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#1 2Tired4Life

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 01:32 PM

How do I ask for disability, and from which doctor? I have a GP ('physician assistant') who prescribes Levoxyl, Flexeril and Darvocet and is supposed to oversee my treatment but none of these doctors ever talk to each other. I have a neurologist who diagnosed narcolepsy and prescribed Provigil and Seroquel, a rheumatologist who diagnosed fibromyalgia, a pain specialist who prescribes Lyrica and epidurals, and last (but certainly not least) a psychiatrist who prescribes Prozac, Ambien, Xanax.

I'm a walking zombie. I do go to work every day, full time, but I always arrive late, sleep on my lunch hour, and make a lot of stupid mistakes. I am uncoordinated, walk into things, drop things, and sometimes have auditory hallucinations. I've had my ears and eyes checked because they are going bad, and besides the fatigue & the weight gain; I'm most distressed with IBS! For that, the PA has me on magnesium and calcium. Let's just say they aren't helping, and I'm away from my desk more often than not.

I also have the symptoms of carpel tunnel in both hands, but a different neurologist tested me with electrodes and an MRI and said the pain is coming from some stress in my cervical spine. He ordered a series of epidural injections, but I had adverse side effects from the cortisone steroids. (God I hate complaining, but I'm trying to be thorough here. As you can see, it's quite a mess and I'm even bored with my story.)

I'm a secretary (Office Professional II) and my hands are killing me daily at the keyboard. I'm stressed to the breaking point...don't know how long I can keep this up (?!) Any advice? Should I quit now while I still have some professional dignity and try for disability later? I feel so alone and misunderstood. Thank you for any info you can suggest. My decision processes are not reliable and I don't trust myself anymore.
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#2 Kimberly

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 09:10 PM

I was in a similar boat earlier this year. Not as severe as yours, and I feel for you.

Start with your Psychiatrist. They are generally more versed in clinical pharmacology/multiple medications than other physicians.

Bring in a list of everything you're on, who has prescribed it, and what it's for.

Describe how you feel at work. Describe your mistakes and your hallucinations.

Tell your Psychiatrist that you know they have more training in pharmacology than other medical professionals, and you want to treat all of your conditions, but with the fewest medications possible and with the fewest side effects possible.

Tell him/her that you realize since you're on so many different things, making changes might take time and may be a shock to your system.

Because of this, you think the best approach would be to go on a short-term disability leave so you could focus 100% on your treatment regimen and getting into balance.

Ask if he/she agrees, and if he/she would be willing to handle the disability paperwork.

Many doctors will charge for FMLA/Disability paperwork, and this is not reimbursable by your health insurance company. It is well worth the $40 or so they may charge to fill out the forms.

Don't quit. And don't assume full disability right away. Approach it as a short-term disability leave where you are just taking enough time off to develop a cohesive treatment for your multiple medical conditions and get into balance. If your employer has a short-term disability benefit, you will at least get paid a portion of your salary while you're out, and still be able to continue your health benefits. If your leave stretches into a lengthy one, it will roll over into long-term disability in due time.

In order for your physicians to talk to each other, you will have to fill out a release form for each one that expressly allows each one to talk to the other. Try to work with one main physician (again, I'm recommending the Psychiatrist because of their expertise in medication management) and ask if he/she thinks they need to talk to any of your other providers. Sometimes just authorizing a release of your written medical records from one doc to the other is enough -- I find that they don't always have time to conference with each other.

If you take this approach, be sure to let your other physicians know that you have asked your Psychiatrist to confer with them and oversee your medications. Stress that this is in your best interest, in the interest of safety, and that you are relying on them to provide the Psychiatrist with their expert clinical knowledge about your condition. (I told my docs "look, I'm on so many drugs, I don't want to end up like Heath Ledger or in rehab.")

Good luck. The reason I said don't quit is because it can take up to 2 years to get approved for Social Security disability, and what are you going to live on in the meantime? Go short-term first and take baby steps.

#3 Lais02

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 02:41 PM

QUOTE (2Tired4Life @ Aug 13 2008, 11:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I also have the symptoms of carpel tunnel in both hands, but a different neurologist tested me with electrodes and an MRI and said the pain is coming from some stress in my cervical spine. He ordered a series of epidural injections, but I had adverse side effects from the cortisone steroids. (God I hate complaining, but I'm trying to be thorough here. As you can see, it's quite a mess and I'm even bored with my story.)

I'm a secretary (Office Professional II) and my hands are killing me daily at the keyboard. I'm stressed to the breaking point...don't know how long I can keep this up (?!) Any advice? Should I quit now while I still have some professional dignity and try for disability later? I feel so alone and misunderstood. Thank you for any info you can suggest. My decision processes are not reliable and I don't trust myself anymore.
wink.gif



Carpel tunnel is something I was tested for about 9 years prior to my N diagnosis. I had every symptom, but I don't have carpel tunnel. I found out recently that its from my partial paralysis from my N. I don't really have a solution, but you might want to suggest that to your sleep doctor. Good luck getting off the meds. I am a college student, and I took the summer off of work and school to work out my meds. It wasn't a very exciting summer, but it had to happen! I also have a million doctors and they all like to prescribe meds to me... I ended up letting my 2nd sleep doctor figure out what meds I should be on, but I'm not saying to chose the sleep doctor over any others. I think one of the most important part is knowing which of your doctors understands all of your conditions and really LISTENS to you. I also had to sign lots of forms so my doctors could talk to each other. I know my sleep doctor is keeping the others posted about whatever is going on with me, but the others aren't doing the same for him. I just got lucky and have an amazing sleep doctor. Again good luck! Keep us posted too!

#4 caroline

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  • Interests:I just found this site today, and am very thankful that I did. Today, I have been feeling overwhelmed by this disease; so, it is good to know that I am not alone. All my life, I have been easily tired and needed more sleep than most people, but I just thought it was my metabolism or that I was just lazy. I am 59 years old, and only got my diagnosis of narcolepsy less than a year ago. I can remember complaining of feeling tired all the time, but the doctors usually recomended a healthier life style ie lose weight. I did, then found it was the eating all the time that had kept me awake to drive, to work,even to read a book.

Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:35 PM

Well, no wonder you feel like a zombie those are some powerful medications you are taking. The weird thing is your medications are such opposites. The provigil to wake you up, but the seroquel, the xanax, flexeril, ambien will all slow you down. I took ambien for awhile, and it wrecked havoc with my memory; I am so thankful to be off that stuff. Any time we take more than one medication there is a risk of an interaction but with more than five there is a 95% chance that there will be an interaction. Take care and talk to your doctors someone needs to help you!

#5 2Tired4Life

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:50 PM

Thank you, Kimberly! That was quite a lot of great information. I will absolutely take the approach you suggested. I was afraid to use my Psychiatrist because I didn't want it on my record that I left work (long or short term) because of a mental disability. Years down the road I figured a stigma like that could come back to bite. But the psychiatrist is the only one who really listens. Probably because of that 50-minute hour I get once a week. It's his job, right? HA! rolleyes.gif

#6 2Tired4Life

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:58 PM

QUOTE (Lais02 @ Aug 17 2008, 12:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Carpel tunnel is something I was tested for about 9 years prior to my N diagnosis. I had every symptom, but I don't have carpel tunnel. I found out recently that its from my partial paralysis from my N.



That's interesting, Lais02. Thank you for your reply and for your insight. I think the only doctor who really listens is my psych, God bless him! But even he has trouble remembering what I'm on this week and what I've tried in the past. He's kind of low-tech, but takes much better notes than I do. That must have been some summer for you! What did you find works for your 'carpel tunnel' symptoms?

#7 2Tired4Life

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 07:05 PM

Caroline, thank you for your encouragement! I do feel addicted to Ambien because it's the only thing I'm afraid to give up. But I think it is the cause of some nighttime eating as well. I am all about interactions now, I can't seperate the diseases from the side effects anymore. It would be so nice if I could pare down and get rid of some of the redundancey (or is that being redundant?)

#8 Lais02

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:49 PM

QUOTE (2Tired4Life @ Aug 25 2008, 04:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's interesting, Lais02. Thank you for your reply and for your insight. I think the only doctor who really listens is my psych, God bless him! But even he has trouble remembering what I'm on this week and what I've tried in the past. He's kind of low-tech, but takes much better notes than I do. That must have been some summer for you! What did you find works for your 'carpel tunnel' symptoms?


I'm not sure how to get rid of those symptoms. I don't get them that often anymore, but when I do, I still have no solution. I try to use my computer less, or write less... but that's just not too practical while I'm in school.

#9 91GT347

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:28 PM

QUOTE (2Tired4Life @ Aug 13 2008, 11:32 AM) I think one of the most important part is knowing which of your doctors understands all of your conditions and really LISTENS to you.



I believe that is a major thing right there. I told my family doctor that I thought I had narcolepsy. Being completely serious, and he kind of just chuckled at me. Saying he didnt think so. That I may have sleep apnea or something possibly. I honestly think I have both. I have almost every symptom of both atleast. Anyway, make sure you have a doctor that listens, understands, and acts like they care.

#10 Linna

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:21 PM

How do I ask for disability, and from which doctor? I have a GP ('physician assistant') who prescribes Levoxyl, Flexeril and Darvocet and is supposed to oversee my treatment but none of these doctors ever talk to each other. I have a neurologist who diagnosed narcolepsy and prescribed Provigil and Seroquel, a rheumatologist who diagnosed fibromyalgia, a pain specialist who prescribes Lyrica and epidurals, and last (but certainly not least) a psychiatrist who prescribes Prozac, Ambien, Xanax.

I'm a walking zombie. I do go to work every day, full time, but I always arrive late, sleep on my lunch hour, and make a lot of stupid mistakes. I am uncoordinated, walk into things, drop things, and sometimes have auditory hallucinations. I've had my ears and eyes checked because they are going bad, and besides the fatigue & the weight gain; I'm most distressed with IBS! For that, the PA has me on magnesium and calcium. Let's just say they aren't helping, and I'm away from my desk more often than not.

I also have the symptoms of carpel tunnel in both hands, but a different neurologist tested me with electrodes and an MRI and said the pain is coming from some stress in my cervical spine. He ordered a series of epidural injections, but I had adverse side effects from the cortisone steroids. (God I hate complaining, but I'm trying to be thorough here. As you can see, it's quite a mess and I'm even bored with my story.)

I'm a secretary (Office Professional II) and my hands are killing me daily at the keyboard. I'm stressed to the breaking point...don't know how long I can keep this up (?!) Any advice? Should I quit now while I still have some professional dignity and try for disability later? I feel so alone and misunderstood. Thank you for any info you can suggest. My decision processes are not reliable and I don't trust myself anymore. Posted Image




Gosh I feel so much like you described. I hate to complain but I am so miserable with my body. I was dx with carpral tunnel about 10 years before N but I attributed to the fact that I was Pregnant, liked to write, and had poor circulation due to low thyroid. Also have had a bad whiplash 10 years prior.
Lately my sleep is so inturrupted because of the pain in my arms. They constantly fall asleep waking me up. I sleep with 8 pillows on the bed in an effort to support my aching body.
I feel like a zombie too ready to quit work and live under a bridge. I guess just start now applying for the disability. I want to and am putting it off as long as possible ....good luck and let us know how it goes. Posted Image
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#11 Linna

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:22 PM

How do I ask for disability, and from which doctor? I have a GP ('physician assistant') who prescribes Levoxyl, Flexeril and Darvocet and is supposed to oversee my treatment but none of these doctors ever talk to each other. I have a neurologist who diagnosed narcolepsy and prescribed Provigil and Seroquel, a rheumatologist who diagnosed fibromyalgia, a pain specialist who prescribes Lyrica and epidurals, and last (but certainly not least) a psychiatrist who prescribes Prozac, Ambien, Xanax.

I'm a walking zombie. I do go to work every day, full time, but I always arrive late, sleep on my lunch hour, and make a lot of stupid mistakes. I am uncoordinated, walk into things, drop things, and sometimes have auditory hallucinations. I've had my ears and eyes checked because they are going bad, and besides the fatigue & the weight gain; I'm most distressed with IBS! For that, the PA has me on magnesium and calcium. Let's just say they aren't helping, and I'm away from my desk more often than not.

I also have the symptoms of carpel tunnel in both hands, but a different neurologist tested me with electrodes and an MRI and said the pain is coming from some stress in my cervical spine. He ordered a series of epidural injections, but I had adverse side effects from the cortisone steroids. (God I hate complaining, but I'm trying to be thorough here. As you can see, it's quite a mess and I'm even bored with my story.)

I'm a secretary (Office Professional II) and my hands are killing me daily at the keyboard. I'm stressed to the breaking point...don't know how long I can keep this up (?!) Any advice? Should I quit now while I still have some professional dignity and try for disability later? I feel so alone and misunderstood. Thank you for any info you can suggest. My decision processes are not reliable and I don't trust myself anymore. Posted Image