I was assaulted by my patient approximately one year ago and now that it has been the anniversary of my injury, I wanted to share how my life is now and how I am still affected. Summary--original post for further reading
One year ago I was attacked by my patient, suffering a back injury and resulting in debilitating chronic pain. My patient had no organic cause for his agitation. My hospital turned it's back on me and said it was all in my head. I was off work for months. I sunk into a deep depression.
I had to sue the hospital because they denied my worker's comp claim and I had to settle for a much lower sum of money because I was destitute and SDI was taking months. I never received a dime of SDI despite having paid into it each paycheck. One Year Later
Finally I was able to get off all my medications and return to work at a new job because as a condition of my settlement I had to forfeit my job. I have been working there for a few months now.
The unit is much lower acuity. Even though it is bad for my career to go down in acuity, I chose it because I thought I owed it to myself to be less challenged after the year I'd had.
Things were good for a few months. I was in pain every day but it was manageable and I resigned myself to the fact that I would be working through pain. I was happy and able to get active again and enjoy my days off.
The unit appeared like a great fit initially, but I've already suffered a reinjury because they never staff our CNA and we have no lift team. In my interview I was told there would always be a CNA to assist with turning, but they are only staffed three days each week and the other nurses are all so busy that it's difficult to find help.
I had to miss two days of work last week but I didn't want to let anyone know why, because I don't want them to know about my stigmatized back injury. I feel better after resting and swimming, but my ROM in my neck is diminished and I am still in increased pain.
I had to take a couple percocet this week and I'm all out and I'm leaving it this way. I don't want to get back into that cycle of treating my pain because I'm always in pain and the medication is only a temporary fix that comes with the setback of tolerance, dependency, change in personality, etc. And you can't take it at work anyways.
But the problem is that I am miserable and irritable when I am in pain. I am just not myself and not as good of a nurse to my patients either.
I have realized that even though my last unit was hell, every unit is going to have it's problems and nothing is really much of an upgrade. I don't want to switch somewhere else because it could be worse.
At this point, I feel like I have to go back to grad school even though I don't want to because I can't risk being at the bedside any longer to get abused and reinjured. It's only a matter of time before I am rendered debilitated again
and workers comp was already impossible without having a recent injury to cast doubt on my claim.
I really don't want to go back to school yet because my dogs are my life and I can't imagine leaving them home alone for 40hrs/week. I can't afford to switch to a non-bedside position because of the decreased pay and it's very difficult to switch specialties in this economy. I would love to go to NICU because it's still critical care but it would be easier on my back although I think this would greatly reduce my chances of becoming a CRNA one day.
I feel stuck.
Trust me, I am grateful I can get off the couch and work through the pain and I know things are better than they have been, but I am still so affected by this injury. I am so young and I have my whole life ahead of me and here I am with the back of an eighty year old.
When the one-year anniversary of my injury passed it was a surreal moment. I remember how bad it was, how it seemed as if there was no light at the end of the tunnel, how I thought my life was over completely. Now I see how far I have come but there is still so far for me to go and so much potential to fall right back down to where I started.
Thank you for listening. Any advice is welcome and appreciated. I have always found strength in the support I have received here. Random Aside:
In my OP, people worried that I would be anxious when faced with agitated patients. I don't necessarily feel anxious and I am calm when I handle them, but the entire time I am just thinking "Is this it? Am I going to get injured again? One wrong move and it's back to where I began."