Monday of last week, I got a call TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE I HAD TO BE AT WORK from the radiologist overseeing my radiation therapy, telling me he was denying my request for extended sick leave for fatigue. He said that, in all the time he'd been doing this therapy, he'd never seen anyone with fatigue as a side effect. I must be having "sleep issues" and, if I wanted the leave, I'd have to see my regular physician. I had to drive like mad to make it to work that day. Before the day was out, I arranged an appointment to see my doctor the next day.
I saw my regular doctor, told him the situation, and he agreed to give me medical leave until the end of May. I have over 500 hours of accrued sick leave, so this was no problem.
They did labs on me that day, and I was told to come in on Saturday for the results. I did so, and, after the residents took my vitals, my doctor came in and told me I was "going back to work" this coming Saturday. He had talked to my radiologist and decided I didn't need all that medical leave after all. He gave me a look like he was the school principal catching a 10-year-old kid playing hooky.
Well, now my "sleep issues" include an inability to sleep at night because I'm so damned mad. My doctors have basically called me delusional and a liar. Part of me says to see another doctor, but I can't say I won't get the same treatment. Does anyone else have any idea what it's like to be told you're going to have plenty of sick leave, and then get it all taken away?
And I KNOW radiation therapy causes fatigue. Before I made the request, I went on cancer.gov and looked up the side effects, and there was fatigue near the top of the list.
I looked into this because, on a day off, I decided to do some housework. And sweeping and mopping my tile floor, a job that only takes about 10 - 15 minutes, left me exhausted. I had to lie down and took a two-hour nap.
My job involves taking calls from customers for the USPS, trying to help them find packages, make changes of address, arrange redeliveries, etc. If I'm tired, I make mistakes, and a lot of our customers are NOT in a forgiving mood. The day I had to go to work, it took me four tries to get the email of one customer correct.
I've got five more weeks of the radiation therapy to go. I can't very well cancel it all and look for another radiologist. I will drop my current general physician. But the radiologist wants me to meet with him every Wednesday, coming in with his hand out to shake it. Damned if I'm going to do that ever again.
Right now, it is 4:10 in the morning, I've been up for an hour, and I don't feel tired. I've taken Motrin PM and I don't feel tired.
But, come time to get up, I'm going to feel exhausted.
All thanks to the SOBs who are my "health providers."