A few years back, I got pretty sick—sick enough where I was in the hospital getting tests and treatments and I wasn't in any position to work. A couple days of missing work soon turned into a couple of weeks.

After talking to both my doctor and an HR rep, filing papers for FMLA was quickly on the agenda.

It was a good thing, too: What was originally thought to be a bad infection eventually was diagnosed as a chronic disease. It could happen all over again.

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