Go off sick or leave work??

Hi guys

I hope this morning finds you all in good spirits.

I've come to a point in my life where I have to make a big decision. I drive 2.5 hours each way to get to work, and it's having a massive impact on my health, joints, fatigue ect....

Ive never had to have time off work before but last nights drive was too painful, so do I just had in my notice or go on sick leave for a while? I just can't go on like this, I feel that by putting myself through this I'm not allowing my medication chance to really work as I'm always pushing myself. A 5 hour daily commute has got to be contributing to my pain?

As always guys I value your experience and opinions, thank you x

34 Replies

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  • I'd take sick leave- things may well settle down.

  • Give yourself a chance take sick leave.

  • Agree. Id take sick keave and see if your rheumatologist can adjust your medication so you can work. Do you have an occupational health department to consult to see if your job could be adapted too? xx

  • Hi Barb66,

    Thank you for the reply, the issue isn't with the work itself, it's the driving to get there and I don't think there's much they can do about that. Maybe they could helicopter me in πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

  • Ahh that's a shame and you couldn't move nearer to your work? xx

  • No, I love where we live and my hubby works here, rock and hard place come to mind x

  • I've also just had a Methotrexate increase and switched from tablets to injections, so I don't feel I can bother the rheumatologist just yet 😟

  • Of course you can bother them again- that's what they're there for 😊

  • Thanks Moomin8

    I've got an appointment in 2 wks time for a review of my meds with the nurse, so I think I may as well wait until then.

  • Bother the rheumatologist? Why, that's his job...this is your life :) ...which is more important to you? :)

  • I had 6 months off work at the start of RA. Luckily I was paid in full. I had a gradual return to work which was an agreed timetable during which my pay was reduced for a while. My work were great with me and still are.

  • I also had time of at the start of my RA. To be honest I just could not have managed.

  • It might be work contacting Access To Work for advice about it they may be able to support you.

    All the best


  • Suppose it tends to be where we live and what we get used to - but would have thought a 5 hr daily commute and working a full day would be too much for a healthy person ! Hope you can sort something out.

  • Hi Gwynedd, I feel for you it's a tough decision to make but I agree with what another poster has said a 2.5 hour drive each way is a lot! My personal opinion is that it would be wise to take a few days off to think through your options and give the increase in meds a chance to work you might feel completely different then? I know for myself work keeps me sane if I was at home all day it would give me time to dwell on my condition! Good luck, with whatever you decide and hope you feel better soon 😊

  • Mornng gwynedd

    I would suggest a spell of sickleave to give you time to consider your decision properly.

    Also are your employers aware of your condition?

    I was in the same position as you couple of years ago .

    As a reasonable adjustment my employers allowed me to work from home.I had a mobile phone and a computer and printer etc so it allowed m to do pretty much all of my role.In fact there were days if I was in an office I would have phoned in sick but working from home I waddled in front of my computer and worked in my pjs.It was ok because no-one could see me. My employers were getting a days work out of me that wouldn't have otherwise happened so they were more than happy with the arrangement.

    Is your job one that could be done from home or do you need to be in an office or travel out to clients/ customers etc?

    Also would you or your employers consider changing roles within that company to make your job more manageable?

    Theres a lot of things to consider before you reach a final decision on this one.Give yourself more time to weigh up all your options.

    Take care,have a good weekend and hope you feel better soon.



  • Hi Crusee,

    Thank you for the suggestions, unfortunately though I'm an art teacher, which makes working from home a bit difficult. I have Skyped the odd lesson in the past but it wouldn't really be a practical long term solution. Looks like I'll need some time off for a little while πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

  • Ah I see gwynedd it does limit your options somewhat,and yes youre right skyping isnt a long term solution.

    I think you need a bit of time off to consider your long term plans and get yourself better,and maybe give the change in meds a chance to work.

    I have to say I really miss my job,although I am still on the books so to speak not sure if I Will return,It was a very stressful role as a manager of a business portfolio for a bank ,but I really miss the stress.It was doing me no favours though and with other conditions throwing their pennyworth in it was becoming impossible.

    I hope you feel better soon and give your position careful thought .I know. Exactly What you mean.There are days when I Am champing at the bit to just get back in there but I Know it would be the wrong thing,I cannot walk the length of a room unaided and can't stand still without help for more than 30 secs so not sure what I Actually could do.My brain is willing but my body just doesnt want to know.

    Take care.



  • Hi, What about getting the train. I know it may be a little more expensive but I think there are discount passes for regular commute. Kind regards Gaily.

  • Hi Gaily

    Thank you for the suggestion but I live very rurally,25 miles from the station, and the journey would involve leaving home at 6 am, taxi, 3 trains and a bus to my college. I'd eventually get into work about 11 πŸ˜€, as you can see I haven't made things easy for myself πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

  • Aww Gwynedd. I'm so sorry to hear that. I've just been diagnosed myself with RA and OA. I've been off work since mid December. I feel a heck of a lot better since I've had a break from work and I've asked to go back part time, Could you not cut your days,?

  • That's the best advice possible Crusee ,again,very similar to my situation when I was first diagnosed,and found myself passing out on the 60 mile drive each way to work.... oops😳 It's definitely worth speaking to your HR guys,and make sure it's someone that knows the job inside out,not just a little grad that only ticks boxes,as the right person helping also makes a huge difference to the support you receive too. Give yourself a well deserved break,let the meds kick in,and your body have a complete rest before making such a huge decision - things always seem so much clearer once you've had a decent rest,instead of just going through the motions each day,not actually aware of anything that's going on around you.... it's almost like we carry on on autopilot because it's usually a job that we've done for so long we could normally do with our eyes shut(I know a lot of the time when I was ill it felt like I'd done that most of the time just to get through the day!) but definitely speak to them about working from home,even if it's only on alternate days if they can't do full time (once you've had a proper break first) as that will also give your body time to recover inbetween the travelling days,and that really makes a huge difference too. And OH being involved may sound scary to some,but they really are there to support you in doing your job,so make sure they're involved too,all these things put together will make such a difference that you may find it takes the sting out of your problems,and also reduced the stress you're currently going through,all of which is obv a bonus.

    Wish you all the best in getting help,and coming to the right decision for you,just pls don't rush it,as you may regret it.

    Good luck

    Nicki x

  • Sorry,reply fell into wrong position for some reason?!

    Now I've read the reply above about being an art teacher,I'd just say take a lengthy time out,and make sure you discover what true test is(if you're at the point where you can get any?)

    Best of luck

    Nicki x

  • I think you should go on sick leave. Going on sick leave will allow you the time to make this big decision. A 5 hour commute is crazy, but can you afford to just quit? Give yourself time to plan on retiring, quiting, or look for another job.

    All the best


  • Hi Sue,

    I think your right, I suppose I just needed permission to by asking you guys what you thought. I feel like I'm just not giving my meds a chance to work, always pushing myself and under a lot of stress. We could just about manage without my wage but I'll be happier and healthier, I hope! My hubby is very supportive of whatever I decide, I could bide myself some thinking time by going off sick, until I can be sure. Xx

  • I've been off on sick leave for a year now. I am finally able to go back, albeit part time. I'm glad I was able to go on sick leave as the loss of my wage would of been a finacial strain on my family. My hubby is very supportive, and we would of managed on his wage....but we would of had no extras.

    All the best to you

  • Any chance your company can offer flexible working? I spoke with my employers and work from home some days as the travel was proving too much. Todays world give us that scope, however l appreciate it depends on your job. Hope you find a way for it to work 😊

  • Definitely take sick leave. I was able to retire due to ill health and am paid a reasonable pension from my previous employer. I did try some temp work for a little while, but had to stop when my neck froze and hand blew up like a balloon - finding myself in the car park (in tears with the pain) not knowing how I was going to drive home - I knew I wouldn't be working again.

  • Thanks Kayep,

    That's how I tend to arrive home, usually burst into tears after the drive or I just have to still in stunned silence. Not pleasant for my hubby either!

  • 5 hours a day travelling - gosh that's a huge amount of every day, every week.

    A couple of thoughts come to mind:

    Do you have an automatic car? I switched to an auto and it made a big difference to my pain levels. I also have a Nissan Juke - higher off the ground and easier for getting in and out of.

    Is there any chance of dropping one day a week - this might give you a longer weekend and three days a week to recover. I did this too even though I didn't really think I could afford to. It's fine and I'm still OK financially.

    As you can't move house, maybe you could spend one night a week (or even two) nearer to your workplace? This would give you some extra down time during the week. Somewhere like a Travelodge might not be much more expensive than the cost of petrol. Hardly exciting but they are usually clean, have a bath, to etc. You could just check in and catch up on sleep.

    Don't give up your job until you have explored all the options.

  • Hi Jem95,

    Thanks for replying, I have already dropped a day and I stay over one night, I've been doing this for about 6 months now and it's still not made much of a difference to my fatigue, pain ect... πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

  • Hi,

    Oh, sorry - didn't realise.

    Maybe take a while off as sick then, give your increased meds a chance to kick in, and then review everything again.

    Is there any chance of ill health retirement?

    I can't afford to drop any more days (but Mr RA is pretty under control at the moment) so my next step will be ill health retirement I guess (I work from home sometimes already).

    It's a scary thought, but we have to do what is right for us not only at the time but in the longer term.

    Hope you can find a workable solution x

  • I was where you are - but I have just had one month on sick and my GP has just given me another two months on sick. I am now starting to come to terms with the fact I might not be able to go back to work. I really don't want all that STRESS anymore and working with management that cannot understand my condition. To them I LOOK fine. You will ultimately have to make your own decision but that is a very long commute on top of your working day.

    I wish you luck.

    Patsy 57

  • Thank you so much everyone.

    You've all helped settle my mind on what's important in my life. This is such a big decision to make so I'm going to give myself some time off before I make a final decision.

    You guys never cease to amaze me with your ability to give to this site. A big big thank you xxx

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