Hi there fellow nurses with disabilities!!! Wow, I am SO happy to have our own forum for us to get together and chat about how we are adjusting in our own ways. So thanks Brian for adding this forum for us!!!
I was wondering if there are any nurses out there with serious back injuries/chronic pain? I have herniations in my lumbar spine at L2-3; L3-4; L4-5; and L5-S1. I have all 4 with annular tears (or however you spell it). My pain is mostly caused by the severe dessication and the chemical irritation constantly by the nucleus bathing those nerves. I feel like there's a knife in my back, and someone's twisting it, and that its on fire. (And that's just the normal feeling). If I stand, it gets worse. If I sit, it gets worse. If I bend, twist, pick up my children (I HAVE to sometimes). It is hard for me to walk (I'm now with a walker most of the time), it is hard for me to do laundry, and other household chores. I also have osteoporosis in my lumbar spine and hips, which causes pain. I am filled with arthritis. So, my dx list also includes: DDD, DJD, OA, OP, SLE, Severe Asthma, Metabolic Syndrome, PCOS, Endometrial Ca (under chemo now),severe migraines, intractable back pain. And other things I don't remember right now. I also have anxiety, depression and PTSD due to some bad things in my past.
I am unable to work due to the cancer, but before that, I was only working one day a week due to the severe pain. I was just about on my way out of work when I had cancer, and that was the deciding factor. I have two kids, and I am a single mom.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to be a nurse again, and that saddens me. I've been encouraged to apply for SSDI, but that is a long waiting game, and I am so young I know I will have to fight long and hard. I am just 30. I get no child support, but that's a whole other thread. I get no assistance, I was denied. I have used up what I had in savings and 401k. So I don't know what I'm going to do. I almost wish I could quit chemo and get a job, but who am I kidding? I know I will be a bad employee, because I have such pain when I work and I can barely walk. Who will hire me?? Plus, I take morphine every 6 hours for pain, and that also makes me ineligible to work. I even tried looking for some telephone triage and/or desk jobs, but what little is out there all require a BSN, which I don't have. I am between a rock and a hard place.
Anyway, I just wanted to reach out to see if there are any other nurses who suffer from serious back injuries and how you cope if you do work. I really need to have benefits, my children have multiple medical needs and my health also is not the greatest. I really feel like a rotten mother for not being able to support them like they deserve.
I hate that our profession just thinks those of us with disabilities are disposable. My mind is still there, and that decade plus of knowledge is still there. I wish I could find someway to use it so I could support my kiddos. Our economy is HORRIBLE right now. Why does the "healing profession" not help us to "heal"? Are we not worthy once we are injured???
Anyways, I will stop griping now. It's late and I can't sleep due to the pain. It's been a particularly rough day and my pain is hovering at a 8. No way can I sleep with this. I usually get no more than 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night. I would love to hear from some other nurses who either have back injuries or any other injuries/disabilities that restrict them from working and how you cope. I am at the end of my rope here.