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Dr.'s Orders: Change Shifts


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#1 munky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:37 PM

So, I had my recheck with the neurologist/sleep doc today. We talked about the fact that I was doing really well on the Nuvigil (250mg once daily) and a scheduled nap halfway through my 8-hour shift, back when I first got diagnosed. And we talked about the fact that, after work changed me to a 12-hour shift, everything went to hell. The naps were no longer helping; they were, in fact, making things worse! The 12-hour shift means 2 naps, and when I did manage to fall asleep, I'd wake up feeling worse, and I'd have more sleep attacks later in the shift, instead of fewer.

 

Doctor says, "Easy way to fix that. Stop taking the naps!"

 

I told him I'd done just that a couple weeks ago, but I was still having 2-3 sleep attacks a night--usually only a few minutes each time. We talked about the fact that, when I first got diagnosed and started taking the Nuvigil, I was on an 8-hour shift and I wasn't having sleep attacks once I started the medication. So, I came away with a letter from the doctor declaring it medically necessary for me to return to 8-hour shifts. Now, I just have to get it through at work. Of coruse, until then I'll still be on the 12-hour shifts. I'm sending an email to my HR rep to arrange a meeting, but it might not be until Thursday morning, since my next scheduled work night is Wednesday night. I am, however, offering to come in just to met with her earlier in the week.

 

I also got a bit of a surprise. My diagnosis was narcolepsy "without significant cataplexy," so I read that as narcolepsy w/o cataplexy. However, in the letter the doctor wrote today, he said he's treating me for narcolepsy with cataplexy! So, I guess "without significant cataplexy" just means I have very, very mild cataplexy.

 

Of course, that may be just because I have a tendency to ... not react emotionally to situations. I've been thinking about this alot, lately. Because of other issues, I have always preferred to spend time alone--usually reading a book--or with only a few other people around. I'll enjoy myself, certainly, but I just don't experience strong emotions of any kind--happy, sad, angry, whatever. Instead, I just ... shut down. I think perhaps it's a defense mechanism I developed at a young enough age that I just didn't notice it anymore until I really sat down to think about it. I mean, there are only two experiences I've ever had that I can positively attribute to cataplexy, and the first of those was way back in 5th grade!

 

Anyway, now I get to push the required shift change through work. I dropped off the FMLA paperwork (Thank you, ZombiePrincess!!) at the doctor's office, and I'm not sure if he'll but the schedule requirements on that paperwork. There is a space for it, though, so I'm hoping he does. And I do have the letter from his office. I hope it's going to be relatively easy and painless, but I'm ready to fight if I have to.

 

Wish me luck!



#2 sweetest_shone

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:58 PM

Since you have the Dr letter. And I am assuming you already have the FMLA in place prior to this. You are covered by that. Plus, Narcolepsy is a serious disability that is recognized by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) So! Your HR Dept needs to choose wisely how they handle your request.
If they do start to even act like they are going to give you a hard time, Let it be known that you are aware that N is a recognized by the ADA. Do some research on that before your meeting. So you can be prepared and know what your rights are and not be caught off guard.
Good luck! Keep us updated if you can.

#3 Megssosleepy

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:46 AM

When I was first DXed I didnt think I had Cataplexy either.  Now that I know exactly what it is and all its forms I would say I definitely have it.  I think my Doc said Narcolepsy with slight Cataplexy.  

 

When I read that you worked 12 hours shifts I always wondered how you did it!  I am glad you will get to go back to 8 hours (hopefully).  



#4 munky

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:22 PM

When I read that you worked 12 hours shifts I always wondered how you did it!  I am glad you will get to go back to 8 hours (hopefully).  

 

Oh, believe me, I wonder that all the time. When I was first diagnosed, I was still on 8-hour shifts. They'd switched most everyone else to 12-hour shifts already, but left me on 8s because I was in school and told them that, in order to accomodate school, I'd take 4 hours off every Monday until I found a new job.

 

I don't anticipate too much of a fight, despite not having the FMLA paperwork in place before this. It should be in place now, since I left it with my doctor on Friday and he promised to have it finished and sent in that day. To begin with, I was originally hired for an 8-hour shift. Then, they left me on an 8-hour shift until the most recent rotation in mid-January to accomodate school, which ended just before Christmas. Plus, there are still people in the department--including one working on the same account as I am--who work 8-hour shfits. So, there's no way they can claim 12-hour shifts are required to perform my job.

 

They were very accomodating when I first got diagnosed and had to make arrangements for scheduled naps, but since those were done using my "lunch" time, it didn't actually affect them at all. This will be different, and I'm a little worried they'll make a big deal out of it, or try to force me onto a day or evening shift, instead of the graveyard shift. Problem with that is graveyards are when I'm most awake! Plus, switching to a day shift means losing my shift differential, which I can't really afford to lose. Well, I could manage, but ... it'd likely mean cutting out school, at least until I get my car paid off, and that won't be for another few years.

 

Anyway, meeting is set up, I think, for just after my shift ends on Friday morning. I'm a bit confused about the time, because they HR lady sent me several emails, and I'm not sure which one was the latest and which time she actually wanted.



#5 munky

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:47 PM

Okay, so meeting with HR was just after my shift ended this morning. Gave her the doctor's note, and she asked if I'd discussed it with my boss. I told her no, because she told me I could only talk about it with her. She said in this case, it's a business decision, not an FMLA issue, and I need to talk to my boss about it--not my supervisor, but his boss. He'll have to decide if they can accomodate the schedule change, based on business needs--and he can decide against it if he thinks he'd have problems accomodating a bunch of other people also bringing in a doctor's note. And, of course, she kept the note to put in my files. (I, of course, still have a copy.)

 

I pointed out that one of the people on the same account as I am still works 8 hour shifts. His title is different--I think he's a level higher than me--but we do the exact same job, with the exact same duties--something I'm sure he'd be more than willing to back me up on. She said because he has a different title, that makes it a different job and not at all equivalent, regardless of the duties. I call BS on that, but ... that wasn't the time to argue it.

 

HR rep said that if my boss decides he can't accomodate the schedule change, or if he can only accomodate it by switching me to another shift or another position that I don't want, I should come back to her, and I'd be given the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company. That's ... vaguely helpful, but only vaguely. I'm not aware of any other positions in the company that I would qualify for. Still, working on updating my resume on the internal job postings site, and keeping an eye on things there, just in case.

 

I'm meeting with my boss on Monday morning. It means driving in an extra day, but I'd rather get this over with than wait. I've been working on some scheduling options, so I have something to actually offer him rather than just dropping a problem in his lap. And I asked my supervisor if we could talk about it at some point tonight so I could get his input on what I take in to his boss.

 

Don't know if the boss knows about the diagnosis or not ... I haven't told him, but I don't know if word got passed to him from anyone else. He comes in after I've left for the day and leaves before I come in, so I can count on one hand the times I've actually seen him and have fingers left over. I have no idea what to expect from him when I go in there. I know--or at least I was told--getting his agreement to me staying on 8-hour shifts to finish out school last semester was not easy. One other person, however, who's back on 8-hour shifts, told me all he did was point out that he couldn't provide good service to the customers if he was on the 12-hour shift.

 

Guess I'll just have to wait and see. I'm trying very hard not to borrow trouble, as my mother would say, but I'm admittedly upset about the whole thing.



#6 munky

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:31 AM

So, met with my supervisor last night and showed him some options I'd come up with for rescheduling myself and still hopefully providing the right amount of coverage ... or close to it, anyway. I have 4 or 5 options listed, and he said he couldn't think of any others, but he'd let me know if he did.

 

He did not, however, seem to be very hopeful about the outcome of my upcoming meeting with the boss. He told me one of the reasons the boss had insisted on moving everyone to 12-hour shifts was because he was tired of having so many different shifts in the department. And that's all well and good, but there already are people in the department who are still on 8-hour shifts. I don't know the reason for them to be on those shifts, but I know my reason, and my reason is backed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But who wants to work for a company when you have to force them to accept you? I will, though, if I have to, at least long enough to get through school.

 

So, it looks like I'll be spending some of my time at work on Saturday night printing out information about narcolepsy and the ADA to take with me, just in case.

 

Keep your fingers crossed for me!



#7 munky

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:58 PM

Update: Met with my boss on Monday. Feeling much better. Things aren't optimal, but we're working it out.

 

Neither of us was able to come up with any way for me to go to 8-hour shifts in my current position without totally blowing the contracted coverage schedule for the client. So, instead, I'll have to do something else and they'll have to hire someone to take my place. There are a couple of options, listed in order of likelihood:

 

  1. Move to a new position within the department. That position involves doing work that I don't particularly enjoy, and there isn't much of it to do, meaning a lot of down time in an 8-hour shift. However, my boss made it clear that I would be encourage to continue supporting the current client during that downtime, as well as cross-training to support other clients, and it would be my preferred shift (11PM-7AM). That position does not currently exist, however, so he'll have to get approval for it. Still, this is the most likely option because, as he said, he doesn't want to lose me.
  2. Move to a new position within the company, outside the department. Someone in another department sent a request to my boss asking if there was anyone he could recommend for a position she has open. The position would actually be something of a promotion for me--more responsibility and more challenging--but would mean leaving the department. It's supporting an out-of-state client, which means I'd be working from home, and it would be my preferred hours (11PM-7AM). When describing this one, my boss said, "So, it would be a Win/W--well, I don't see how it's a win for me, but I'll find a way to see it that way if I have to." Also, someone I worked with for 13 years on a previous account currently works on this one, and would put in a good word for me.
  3. Move to a new position within the department, on day shift. It's still within the department, but I rate this one as least likely. We have one person on 8-hour shifts at night (11PM-7AM) on this account. However, he's our senior and serves as a shift lead. My boss has been thinking about creating a similar position for the day shift (7AM-3PM), but I would not be next in line for that position. There's at least 1 person who has seniority both within the company and on this account. There are two others, currently on days, but I believe their current job titles have them ranked lower than myself, so I'm not sure if they're in the mix or not. Either way, I really don't want to work those hours. I'm far more awake and aware late at night than I am during the day, plus I'd lose my shift differential. Still, if I have to do it to keep getting a  paycheck, I will.

Personally, option 2 is my favorite. It'd require learning a whole lot, real fast ... but I have done so before and can do so again. In fact, I love that sort of challenge! Plus, working from home? Talk about saving money on gas! And it's one step closer to fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a recluse ... ;)

 

Still, option 1 seems the most likely, if the boss can get the position approved. And I'll take it, if that's the case. In the meantime, I'm still on 12-hour shifts until we get it worked out, and I told my boss that I didn't expect anything to change quickly. I'd been thinking all along that, whatever happened, my hours wouldn't change until the next shift rotation in mid-May. I even kind of hope it takes that long, because that'll get me through this semester at school. My classes are mostly online, but I have a 2-hour biology lab on campus every Tuesday at noon ... and that'd be downright painful if my work hours change before the semester ends.



#8 munky

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:47 AM

Finally, an update!

 

Just talked with my supervisor. Our boss got the new position he needed for option 1 above approved. This is, thankfully, a short week at work, which means I'm off on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, I start coming in for the 11PM-7AM shift and training to take over some of the things another co-worker is doing. When I'm comfortable with that, he'll move to an earlier shift.

 

Thankfully, this semester is almost over. I only have 2 biology labs left, including the lab final. The next 2 Tuesdays are going to be interesting, though, with the lab from noon-2PM ... Still, I'll manage.