I finally got some answers from my employer. Apparently, my management is willing to do personal leave, but they were worried that it would run out before I was cleared to return to work. They are fine with me coming back as regular part time. (I think because it allows them to abuse me a little. I have a hunch I will be working close to 40 hours as "part time.") If my personal leave does run out before I am able to return, they may have to "separate" from me for a month or two until I am cleared to return. They would then hire be back as regular part time. It would mean COBRA for a couple of months, but at that point it is not the end of the world for us. They actually seemed fine with re-hiring me back after a separation.
Whew! I can keep my benefits, and I get some income! That should make my holidays more relaxing!