RLS and the workplace

Share how living with this disease can and does impact your relationships. How do you cope? What questions to you have?
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RLS and the workplace

Postby jpo » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:04 pm

I have suffered from RLS for more than 15 years and have been on almost all of the meds available. Whichever regimen that I am currently on, I have difficulty sleeping and subsequently, waking "on time". My employer and co-workers have no idea how hard it is to wake after a long hard night, take a shower, dress up , put on make up(work in an office) and get to work on time. I have mentioned my rls to them before and they say things like "yea, I have that too, sometimes I bounce my legs up and down at my desk" My god, they have no idea of the terror that this disease truely causes. My tardiness (5 to 10 minutes) has reached a point where I am in fear of losing my job. Does anyone have any links or ideas on how to handle this? I really don't want them to go over my medical records because they will not understand. They think that the only people who take opiods are druggies, criminals, etc. Help! Single mom, can't lose my job

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Postby jan3213 » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:12 pm

I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time with your co-workers and employer. I completely understand. I've been through the same thing, but not to the extent you are.

It might be time to have a heart to heart with your employer. There's a lot of good information in the "New to RLS" section of this forum. I would start with the first thread, which has a lot of great links and some things you might want to copy to show to your employer so he will understand how severe this is. I wouldn't tell him what medicatin you're on---it's none of his business! But, maybe your doctor could write a letter to him explaining that what you're going through isn't just some "little" problem a lot of people "seem" to have.

Good luck to you! Please let us know how this turns out. Someone else may very well come along with more or better suggestions than I've given you. I'll bet thinking of you.

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Postby Neco » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:17 pm

I agree, the best thing to do is to tell your employer and give them information on RLS, as for being late, you don't need to tell them what you are taking, only that it's a side effect of your treatment. Even if they pressure you it's -none- of their business what you take, unless it is a contract stipulation or if it may affect your ability to do your job.

When I got my job I had to take a drug test, so I just told them outright I was on painkillers for a medical condition, and they said as long as it doesn't affect your ability to drive, that's fine.

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Postby brandy » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:18 pm

I am so sorry that you are suffering so. In addition to the advice already mentioned, you might look around the site a little bit and pull out a couple of posts from people who are in the midst of a really terrible episode. Sometimes hearing what it's like first-hand can help people empathize and your employer will see that you're not the only one. Also, you might want to bring in some suggestions as to how you can work around your disorder within your job. Can you move your hours back by half an hour and stay half an hour later? Can your work be done off-site at all? Invite your employer to brainstorm with you ideas that might work for both you and your company. In my worst periods, I would come into the office for a couple of hours, go home and rest and work into the night when my RLS made sleeping impossible (would often work standing up and bouncing back and forth at the counter). I was eventually able to get things to a place where I can work more regular hours, but I did require about 2 months of a less structured schedule. The key was (besides the fact that I have the world's greatest boss) that I actually did more work than I had previously so there was no question that I was using RLS as an excuse not to work. I can only imagine how frightening the prospect of losing your job must be. We are certainly here to support you. Please keep us updated.
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

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Postby ViewsAskew » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:16 pm

There is a small section in Dr B's new book, but it's not all that helpful.

I would consider two things:

Get an accomodation. Doctors should be able to help you do this. When presented to the HR office, they must take into account your disability and help you work around it, such as changing your start time.


Ask your doctor to provide documentation explaining how difficult this can be and take it to your employer. This would not be as formal as getting an accommodation and you'd need to have a good idea of how your employer might react before you decide which to do.

It seems to me that talking to the employer in more medical terms is a must, though. They really need to see written documentation - not of your medical files - but of what this disease can do to a person. They also may need to be gently reminded that the ADA protects people with disabilities. Your accomodation should be quite easy - a flexible start time. You can either come in, say, 1/2 hour later than you do now and stay 1/2 hour later, or you can just "make-up" the time that you are late each day, whatever they feel comfortable with.

One other option is to ask them to go to mediation with you if you feel they will either not understand or not take you seriously. A mediator (not an arbitrator) would be able to help everyone come to an agreement that works for everyone.

Hope you find some solution that works for you. It's a really tough spot to be in.
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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

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rls and the workplace

Postby ctravel12 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:49 pm

Hi jpo and welcome. I just read your post and so sorry what you are going through with your rls let alone with the your co-workers. You do not need that extra stress in your life. Until you walk in someone shoes they do not have any idea what you are going through. Have then try it for a day, week, month, etc and am sure they will change their tunes.

Anytime you want to vent, talk or whatever remember we are here for you always.

Hang in there as we are here for you anytime.
Taking one day at a time

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