Reply To: How many of us work?
I’m a 52 yr old male executive, in the Financial Services industry, and, at first, I kept going into the office, stumbling and falling on the way to the car.
Then, while still searching for a diagnosis, I began working remotely, overseeing a growing department from home and attending meetings via conference call. With all the changes going on at work and a relatively new management team, I was online 12 hours or more each day. My boss is located 2 time zones away.
Once I had my CIDP diagnosis and began treatment, I made the assumption that I would immediately begin feeling the effects and instantly “get better”, so I went back into the office, using a cane to navigate the treacherous parking lot and my new handicap placard to get closer to the door. Again, I worked tirelessly but struggled to avoid falling in front of my growing staff, limiting face-to-face meetings. I had lost nearly 40 pounds and I watched the shock on the faces of co-workers and staff, when they saw my clothes draped across me as though I were wearing hand-me-downs. Mostly, I was mentally on top of things, but the pain would regularly distract me and have me running at 60-80%. I’d kick my shoes off the minute I got into my office and make people come to me, which is a deviation from my standard of Management by Walking Around (MBWA).
Eventually, during a visit to my location, my boss suggested that I either take a less stressful role, until I healed enough, or take a short term leave of absence, using the company paid short term disability insurance. I was already using FMLA benefits so I signed up for LOA, which I am currently on.
I’m currently on reduced income and it’s not easy turning my department over to another, while I am out. I have no guarantee that my specific job will be available when I return, but ridding myself of the daily stress has been very helpful. Now, all I have to do is keep myself occupied, manage treatment (IVIG and Solumedrol every two weeks), and hope that significant improvement occurs before the end of March 2014. At that point I must deal with the possibility of long term or permanent disability.