I'm sorry to hear that I'm not the only one with this problem. I am a 26 year old RN recently diagnosed with MS. I only have three years of nursing experience, which has made my search for a case management or agency job nearly impossible. I have my BSN and would like to go back and complete a master's program, but simply cannot afford it. I left my wonderful job in a level I trauma center after being a nurse for only a year because I was physically assaulted by a patient and being a state-owned hospital, they were not subject to worker's compensation laws. So, as soon as my MLA ran out, I had to quit my job because even though their MD signed off for me to go back to work, he told me "off the record" not to lift more than 5 pounds. On a trauma unit? Yeah, right! Needless to say, I was physically unable to meet the demands of our busy unit. I was heart broken, and felt as though I was throwing my career away. Pain persisted after the injury, and I assumed it was due to the assault. About a year ago, I began having alarming neurological symptoms. A battery of tests revealed that my injuries were not the cause of all my troubles...it was MS. So, now I am working as a dispensing nurse at a methadone clinic. The early morning hours are rough, and the pay is even worse...we're talking less than $15/hour. Every morning when I get up to get ready for work I look in the mirror and think, "this is NOT why I went to nursing school". I live in a very rural area where nursing jobs
are extremely scarce and our state has been hard hit by the economic turmoil. I devote time every day to looking for a better job because I know that it is only a matter of time before the owners of the clinic where I work will find out about my MS and I'll be fired. I know this because they have done it to other employees with health problems. I live in an "at-will" state where employers do not have to give the employee a reason for their termination. They can fire you because they don't like the color of your shirt or because you have cancer...just as long as they don't TELL you that's why they did it. So, I have to try very hard at work to hide my symptoms and control my temperature. It's like walking on egg shells! I feel for anyone with MS. It is a terrible disease and a lot of work goes into trying to appear "normal".