Question about being sick at work

dposey717

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So I should probably know this, but honestly I do not and do not know where to ask without judgement. I have been in the Air Force for 16 years, and have faced and won many medical evaluations. I was always under the impression that life was over if I was medically retired. However as I near the end of my career, I no longer care as much about money, and more so about my health. The past several years, after a severe concussion at work, I have faced Meneires type vertigo, along with ringing in my ears. The past year I have started feeling dizzy and nausea all of the time, and the past month it has gotten unbearable. I have a visit with a specialist coming up, however that has taken months to get. I have left work early several time the past month (I am in a position with good troops under me who work with me, even though I feel I am letting them down), due to simply not being able to focus at work and feeling so sick that i cannot even sit at my desk. My PCM seems to not want to help me figure it out, and the clinic is booked 2 to 3 weeks in advance, with no sick call appointments unless you are a flyer. My question is, if this does not get better, sitting at work and letting my Airmen down is not a viable option, what do I do in the meantime. This is not a suck it up and keep moving foward situation like before, it is severe enough that I cannot pay attention at work. And no, I am not milking it, which is why I keep coming in and doing everything I can to keep going.
 

heathro1281

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I have used local ER's to document days my Migraines made it unbearable to go to work, also I get wonderful treatment that lessens how bad my migraines are when I report to an ER so that also helps.

I believe this would help curtail your requirement to see your PCM.... are you living off base near an ER? If you are, I would suggest on those bad days, report to the ER - you will be discharged with ER release documentation for your leadership and maybe that will trigger a referral to specialists while skirting around a PCM.

just a suggestion.
 

dposey717

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Thank you for your response! The funny thing is my girlfriend has been telling me to go to the ER several times the past few months but I keep sucking it up and dealing with it. However it has gotten so bad that I can no longer focus or think. So much for rub some dirt in it and you will be fine huh. :p I am wondering if anyone else has had Meniere's types symptoms with no "cause" after getting hit in the head incredibly hard? I have had these symptoms ever since I was hit in the head with a lawnmower deck at a MAF. This may sound super lame as well, but does a lawnmower count as an instrument of war. The definition is An instrumentality of war includes equipment used for military purposes. Qualifying disabilities would include an accident in a military vehicle, an injury caused by a weapon, or an illness caused by chemical materials.
 

heathro1281

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Do not confuse trying to tie what caused your conditions with attempting to place it in special compensation. When you are describing an instrumentality of war, it sounds like you are trying to tie your condition to combat related injury, that is not required for compensation unless you are not active duty and trying to justify a LOD. If you are active duty and your injury was justifiably during normal duties (you weren't in dereliction of duties, AWOL, committing a criminal act) your injury is considered in the line of duty. If you are reserve or guard, then you may need to prepare to justify LOD.

but this is all secondary to getting treatment for injuries... sucking it up is for junior airman that have a stuffy nose or a hang nail.... someone with 16 years towards a honorable career should be seeking all the care necessary to see a good end to that career. Concussions have symptoms of vision, vertigo, nausea, sleep disturbance, mood swings and these can last for time periods different in everyone. I suspect you had a pretty good head injury and may need some real assessment of the injury to include tests and imagery if you haven't already received it. I am a wrestling coach have seen many different severities of head injuries and all of those had varying symptoms in the following days and weeks.

Do not muddle the 2 situations :
1. Seeking care to treat the Airman
2. Setting yourself up for proper compensation for your injuries.
These are 2 separate things you should be pursuing.
 

dposey717

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I appreciate it! And I agree, it seems like it was caused due to the head trauma. I have had tons of test done however with nothing conclusive. At one point they thought it had to do with a bone in my ear and would require brain surgery, however now they are leaning away from that.
 

heathro1281

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I appreciate it! And I agree, it seems like it was caused due to the head trauma. I have had tons of test done however with nothing conclusive. At one point they thought it had to do with a bone in my ear and would require brain surgery, however now they are leaning away from that.
Did you get diagnosis of concussion? Because that obviously only comes from head impact trauma, which I wouldn't understand how the symptoms wouldn't be connected directly to that unless you are seeing different doctors that don't know your injury history?
 

dposey717

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I am not sure if they ever wrote concussion. It was very obvious at the hospital that I was concussed, I will have to look over that record. However I did tell my first ENT who wrote it down, I told the second ENT who said he didn't think it was due to the head trauma, and I see the third ENT next week. One thing that leads me to believe it is not connected is I felt find for 3 months when I first PCSed, but then it came back full force. Getting my PCM to get me my referral, and then getting the new ENT to get an opening to see me has been a 5 month task. They seem to want to find any reason as to why I am having severe vertigo and dizziness that is not the head trauma. However doing research online shows that you can have many Meniere's symptoms, and even be diagnosed with Meniere's when the initial problem was a head trauma. It is interesting that you ask that though, because I literally started going to my doctor and an ENT within a month of the head trauma complaining about the issues, and stated very clearly I believed it was from the incident.
 

heathro1281

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I am not sure if they ever wrote concussion. It was very obvious at the hospital that I was concussed, I will have to look over that record. However I did tell my first ENT who wrote it down, I told the second ENT who said he didn't think it was due to the head trauma, and I see the third ENT next week. One thing that leads me to believe it is not connected is I felt find for 3 months when I first PCSed, but then it came back full force. Getting my PCM to get me my referral, and then getting the new ENT to get an opening to see me has been a 5 month task. They seem to want to find any reason as to why I am having severe vertigo and dizziness that is not the head trauma. However doing research online shows that you can have many Meniere's symptoms, and even be diagnosed with Meniere's when the initial problem was a head trauma. It is interesting that you ask that though, because I literally started going to my doctor and an ENT within a month of the head trauma complaining about the issues, and stated very clearly I believed it was from the incident.
Just my two cents, is they are looking for the worst just to cover their rears. Just keep those records because either way, when it comes time for claims and compensation - Meniere's and head trauma conditions can have pretty good compensation benefits ... but also can result in quickly entering the MEB process. Which could be good or bad, depending on YOUR point of view.
 

chaplaincharlie

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I would talk to the patient advocate at the MDG. If you don't get results, make an appointment with the SGH in the MDG.
 

dposey717

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Registered Member
So an update, Thursday night I went to the ER for extreme dizziness, but not vertigo. The ER doctor said it was sinusitis, which I often get but have never had this sort of reaction to. She gave me an MRI which came back with only the sinuses. Still does not explain the vertigo 2 times a week and fullness in ear along with falling down. However that aside, I went into sick call the next day with my ER note. The base doctor gave me 90 mecklizine and said he believes its BPPV. I disagree with him however I have a new Ent apt next Friday. I do not know how that will play out, however it is very clear to me that the vertigo I have falls more in line with Meniere's symptoms and not even close to BPPV. Regardless there has been vertigo for three years with increasing regularity. A question I have is just so I know where I stand, is there anyone in the civilian or veteran world that can look through medical records and tell me how I have as many medical problems as I do, and not a single diagnosis? It seems to me that everyone is afraid to diagnose anything.
 

dposey717

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Registered Member
Saw my ENT doctor on the 10th of October, he says he is giving me a working diagnosis of Menieres disease but wants me to get checked for MS. They still do not seem interested in putting down how often ive been stumbling and walking into walls, or that this all seems to have started when I was hit in the head in 2016. I have been struggling to get the orders for my MRI as the doctors offices are fighting over whether or not the order was sent. I have my neurology appointment on the 25th but they will not test for MS until my second visit, I guess they need to milk the government for money. Meanwhile I still feel dizzy, lightheaded, weak, and cannot think, all while struggling to walk straight. Being at work is straight torture. I know that sounds crazy, but it really sucks. I almost want to beg for FMLA or whatever equivalent there is in the air force. My bosses don't seem to understand how bad I feel. I am unsure what to do.
 
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