Signed off...again! :-(

Hello one and all!

I had an appointment at the GPs surgery today as my sick note had run out. My usual GP who is up to speed with everything was away so I had to see a different doctor whom I had never seen before. He hadn't looked at my notes, so it was a case of 'what can I do for you today?' I gave him a brief outline and he decided then to look at my history on his computer screen. 'Oh yes right well I don't see you getting better anytime soon, so we'll sign you off for another 8 weeks'

Whilst I realise I can't work very well like this I just wish they would get on with a diagnosis and start treatment so I can get back to work. In 8 weeks time I will have been off work for 6 months which means my salary will be cut by 40%. I NEED to get back. I have a mortgage and bills to pay. This is all very stressful and I know stress doesn't help the condition!

Sorry, rant over ( for now anyway)

Jo xx

29 Replies

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  • When is your own GP back? I think you need to go and see him/her with a list of questions and things you have found out, and discuss the situation you are in re job and mortgage. These things matter: whilst they aren't strictly medical they do make a difference to our wellbeing, and it's all very well for doctors to bob along in their own time, but you need some urgent help here.

    Good luck

    Dotty xx

  • My GP is back in a couple of weeks. So yes I will make an appointment to see her then. Everything takes so long over here on the Isle of Man it really is a case of who you know not what you know sadly.

  • That is terrible, but you need to work, when I go back to work my steroid injection will be starting to wear off and no rheumatologist appoint to sort other medication in place, I Have had some relief via steroid injection about 10 days ago and was going back on feb13th it is now feb15TH ad have minor day case camera procedure re side effects of medication

    .

    I have a phased return via fit note and occupational heath starting with three days and three hours first week then going up slowly realisitically no fit enough much beyond 1 or 2pm at moment.

    When first ill and I had been in my job only 9 months I had letters asking/ reminding me to return to work. had to to go back too soon in agony. have one months sick pay per year of service. now having started in nov 2008 have four years service so things are better in that score!, other after receiving letter from occupational (wed) my health boss rang me up the following friday about two weeks ago asking if was going back to work,

    Advice ask about phased return, try not to be enployed by unsympathetic boss/ employer and chose a hospital with out long rhematology waiting times .

  • I was in a similar situation and have just returned to work on a phased basis via a fit note, so three days a week with the middle day working from home. The first week I was shattered by the end of first day. This is my second week so fingers crossed but the up side is I will be using up my outstanding annual leave to get me through the latter end of February and march which covers my next rheumy appointment which is handy. have to say it is a bit overwhelming getting back but my colleagues have been supportive. Just a point, if you are in a union they may have a welfare fund that might be able to assist financially or with some other support? You may also want to check the situation with any annual leave you have left, would you be able to use it, carry it over or get paid in lieu?

  • Sadly not in a union no and have no annual leave left. I'm intrigued by the phased return that several people on here have mentioned. I will certainly look into this as it's not something that has been offered or suggested to me as yet. Thanks.

  • I've just returned to work on phased hour,today's only my second day back, was very tired Monday afternoon when I got home and the pain increased by evening.Will have to see how it goes. Think I must be lucky my boss has been great, sorry to hear that yours isn't Summer. Hope you all have a good pain free day xx

  • Hope this week isn't too trying for you. I am terrified of the fatigue side of things as I suffered with that anyway before this all flared up. I would sit in meetings stifling yawns, willing my eyes to stay open whilst all the while thinking of my duvet and if I could just snooze for 10 minutes... I am beginning to think that maybe that severe fatigue I had for so many months beforehand was just the RA pawing at the ground ready to pounce!

  • It definitely can be one of the early symptoms.

  • A phased fit note seems to me to be a good solution. It will enable you to see how much or little you can achieve in a week. I have learnt to only make appointments with my own gp about RA as explaining everything is very frustrating which doesn't help the stress levels. Generally doctors are guided by you to determine how well you feel emotionally and physically to return to work, so unless you are clued up about all the variables, it's probably impossible to find a gp that is familiar with HR and mortgage issues. Legalities - yes but they are trained in anatomy and only recently considerate to mental issues so expecting anything else may cause disappointment. Turn your frustration into investigation......find out all the variables yourself. Speak to your HR about your concerns. Get on the forums regarding these financial issues and find similar cases or ask advice. We place too much responsibility on our GPs, they have a broad spectrum of expertise and get 10 minutes to help you, the more information and grond work or questions you have prepared before hand, the better. It's yr specialist job to work out treatment - so give them a shove, ring their secretary and express yr concerns - don't bother with rheumy nurse - she's doing 100 hundred other things :o) If you take more control, the more you'll stop spinning and feeling you're going down the pan :o)

  • Yes I am definitely going to look into the possibility of a phased fit note as I agree it does sound like a good idea but it is not something I have heard of over here. I usually do only see my GP but my sick note was running out this week and you cannot make appointments more than two weeks in advance with our practice, so as soon as the end date was a fortnight away I rang for the appointment and that's when I found out she was away. My GP is very good and she understands my frustrations having written to Rheumatology herself on my behalf to complain that I keep being fobbed off with locums who each have their own idea of what type of inflammatory arthritis I have and there is currently no continuity with my hospital appointments. We don't have a rheumy nurse at our hospital and the consultants secretary is very steely and stern! We don't have an HR department at my place of work either. Think of the UK about 25 years ago and that's pretty much where the Isle of Man is now. Which is great in some ways but frustrating beyond belief in others!

  • I would ask to be referred to a rheumatologist to get diagnosed, the doctor cannot do this for you. Even if its not your own Dr they still have the power to refer you.

    Good luck with it all

  • Hi Kitty I have been referred but each visit to Rheumatology sees me being seen by a different locum with their own ideas about what I have. Each send me off for tests to confirm their thoughts but when I go back for the results, hey presto! yet another locum who wants to do his diagnosis and not pay attention to previous texts. Well its probably key not that bad but that is certainly how it feels. My GP was frustrated on my behalf and wrote a letter of complaint to to Rheumatology but basically she was told the waiting lists are there for a reason. People can't hop skip and jump the queue otherwise where would we be? I understand that but I do need to get back to work and Ibuprofen and Co.codamol aren't doing the trick :-(

  • Tests not texts!

  • boss even worse just rang here up with expected return date and she was quite nasy.. things have changed in the six to eight weeks you have been off.. not sure if we give ehat you and occupational heath want

  • Oh Summer that is dreadful I do hope you can get something sorted. It is so difficult if your employer isn't understanding or sympathetic.

  • Possibly the GP thought he was being helpful. Some people, though often those with minor issues, want to be placed "on the sick".

    As previous posts have said you have to take control which I do know isn't always easy when all you want to do is roll into a ball under the duvet. That is if you could roll.

  • Ooh yes roll into a ball if only :-) Actually I'd settle for being able to make a proper fist that I could bang on the table!

  • Hi, could you not ask HR what hours you could work and maybe answer some other questions you have? my Consultant put on my last sick note 'Indefinately', I've not had to do one since, that was 3 years ago and no better now than I was then. Good luck in getting it sorted, take care Ann

  • Hi Parkie, We don't have an HR department at my place of work unfortunately so I have to deal directly with my boss which isn't always easy. He's never had a day sick and doesn't come across as very sympathetic to those who do. Also my position at work is currently being covered by someone else and the difficulty is because it is a position that is a regulatory requirement, it can't be done part-time. It's difficult to explain without boring everyone to death but basically it is an all or nothing job which in itself is quite demanding mentally. (I've just re-read that and I sound like I work for MI5 or something..ha ha not that glamorous but I do work in anti-fraud)

  • Hi Lilac, sorry that I wasn't of any help, seems unfair that you've not got anyone at work to help you, take care, Ann

  • Oh no Ann please don't apologise I am very grateful to everyone for their input. I have learned far more from here than I've been told anywhere else and it is very good to talk with people who've been there before me. My employer isn't the greatest but I guess I should just be thankful I still have a job at the moment.

    Jo

  • I also have learnt a lot from this site, they are all lovely, the best thing I've found is that I'm not alone and speaking too people with the same or similar problems. I have 'Adult onset Stills' disease, which is a very rare form of RA, it also attacks my major organs, not good.

  • I have emailed occ health.. my situation is this, no sick leave was taken by me for sixteen months .had sixteen months remission on gold injections.. they have now stopped working, being kept going on oral steroids and steroid injection, awaiting 2nd das score feb27th and funding/ approval/ elgibiltiy for anti tnf.

    I mangaged eight months remission on mtx but my body could no longer tolerate it when dose was raised. sulphsalazine first dmard hospitilised me for a week... back against te wall a liitle drug wise now and the registrar says as much in his letter.

  • Oh Summer my heart goes out to you. Part of me wants DMARDs so I can get back to work but part of me is also very frightened of them and the possible side effects. I really hope they can find something to help you soon. Gentle hugs xx

  • most people do very well on dmards.. my body is probably "drug sensitive" this is proper medical problem. I am recorrded allergic to tramadol., omeprazole, menthol and peppermint. and also sulphasazaline only allergic to one dmard. the other drugs I Have listed are not DMARDS , Drug allergies are individual and realtively rare.

    A lot of people for instance are allergic to peniclin .

    Hope this helps reassure you x

    ps love Isle of man

  • Try not to worry about side effects. Many of us take them with few or no side effects, and they are the first line proper solution to RA. Not that anything is a proper solution, but you know what I mean. It doesn't just treat the symptoms, which is what painkillers do.

  • If you have visible swelling you could ask yr GP for a drug called Arcoxia, this reduces swelling and therefore reduces significant pain. I'm not sure of all the restrictions

    (I think age and heart problems) but maybe this could help, worth an ask ;o)

  • Oh yes I was given Arcoxia for a time but it upset my tum even when taken with something to protect it. I have mild asthma too so apparently that affects the choice of anti-inflammatories too. But thanks for the advice please do tell me of anything that you think of. I'm always grateful for any suggestions :-)

  • It's very hard to advise with you living and working in a different and independent system really. I don't think I could stand it. Orkney is in a time warp in some regards, close community etc and beautiful too but not a separate country with separate laws. I don't really know what to advise but I wish you all the luck in the world and can tell you that by the time you get a diagnosis you probably won't care too much about side effect of DMARDs - you will just want them to reduce the pain and get you back to work! Time is of the essence so please do try and use this time off work to get yourself diagnosed - even if it means going to the rheumatology department and crying your eyes out. Tilda xx

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