Okay, I've been an RN for 3 years, before that I was a CNA. In 2005 one month into my first job as a CNA my back got messed up. Not too terribly bad, minor back sprain. We where 2 person transfering a guy who just stopped standing and picked up his feet. We were both brand new and instead of lowering him to the floor we fought to keep him up and move him to the bed. Three months later, I was back at work. Occasionally after a long shift or very heavy patient load, my back would hurt.
Now I'm going to have some trouble. On Saturday, I had 4 patients who where Max assist with 2 people. During one of the transfers, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back that radiated up my shoulder and down my hip and leg. Then the pain was gone except what I thought was my normal back pain, which I normally ignore. That night it hurt too bad to lean over my toddler to buckle her into her car seat and I had to get help. The next morning, it hurt to pull the weight of the car door open. I went to work. I thought if I just worked through it, I would be fine. I can't afford to miss work.
I should have called in sick. Instead, I tried to suck it up and work. I found I couldn't hold a patient chart without sharp pain 8/10, and patient care? No way, hurt to bend, twist, open closets, I couldn't do it. I got chewed out by my supervisor and DON for not making an incident report immediately, then they sent me to the ER.
Now I've been off work for almost a week and I know workman's comp isn't going to pay enough to cover the bills. Besides, my back hurts. When I tried to tell them at the follow up appointment today that I was fine, they started palpating my back/hip/arm/neck and I had to pull away. I'm not a good faker.
I'm afraid my career is over. My right arm is numb, my back has a sharp pain 8/10 without tramadol, 6/10 with. I can't run around doped up on tramadol anyways, so this stinks. I can't exactly look for a different job when I'm on worker's comp, but I'm not sure I will ever feel better. I'm very afraid this is the new normal back pain.
Has anyone had back problems and still been able to find a nursing job? Clinic jobs are hard to get, do clinic nurses lift? I could look for case management job or something equally boring, but I could also use this as an opportunity to change careers. Any career advice? Any workman's comp advice? Any faking no pain advice? I just gotta make some money.