new grad with chronic headache and migraine

  1. 0
    Hi everyone!

    I am a new grad and proud to say I was hired right out of school for a critical care fellowship that will lead to a full time position. At the age of 5 I was diagnosed with migraines and in my teens I was diagnosed with chronic headache with migraine. I have been on disability acts throughout my primary and secondary schooling (allow an extra day for tests if I had a migraine, no penalty for absences due to migraines, etc). I hardly ever utilized the disabilty accomadations but it was nice to know they were there. My migraines come at different levels: some I am able to funtion through if my medications can take off the edge, others I wind up in the ER because I get no relief for 48 hours, and every severity in between. I am very anxious/scared about how this is going to affect my employment.

    Does anyone know if there are disability acts that can protect me from losing my job due to this disability?

    I know I have a certain number of sick/personal days to use but I am afraid of what will happen if I have to use more than the provided number of days. Also, I feel horrible about the extra work I would put on my co-workers if I had to call off or go home early. I don't want them thinking I don't like being at work or that I'm not dedicated to my job. I love what I do and would never use my disability for personal gain. I think my own chronic pain has helped me become a very compassionate nurse, because I understand what living with pain is like. I just don't want my condition to affect how my co-workers see me or the status of my employment.

    Does anyone have suggestions? Thank you in advance.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    You should talk to your empolyer about FMLA. Family Medical Leave Act. This will protect your job if you are out sick frequently with any medical issues.
    Human Resources usually has the forms, you will then have to take to your doctor and have the papers filled out and then return to Human Resources.
    Human Resources will also tell you what the qualifications are for you to be eligible for FMLA. Best of Luck.
  5. 1
    Assuming you are in the US. First, know that FMLA requires 1250 hours of employment over 12 months before you are covered (even if you worked 1250 hours by 9 months, you must have worked for that employer for a minimum of 12 months. In addition your employer must have at least 50 employees residing within a 75 mile radius of the site for FMLA to be applicable. Therefore a newly hired employee would not be covered under FMLA.

    Accommodations for primary & secondary school (elementary & HS) are very different because education through age 16 (21 if disabled) is legally required and a right.

    The ADA may apply, however you must alert your employer to your "disability" and the accommodations must be reasonable and necessary.

    Facts from the EEOC on the ADA as it applies to healthcare workers:
    http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/health_care_workers.html


    Q&A on the ADA: http://www.ada.gov/q&aeng02.htm

    You have no right to accommodation if you fail to request accommodation and reveal your disability to the employer. (i.e. if you are fired for excessive absenteeism, you cannot go back and say but I have a disability you need to accommodate me. )

    You might want to discuss your concerns with your PCP and/or neurologist to work together to develop a plan of action/treatment.
    brandy1017 likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from mom-n-student
    Assuming you are in the US. First, know that FMLA requires 1250 hours of employment over 12 months before you are covered (even if you worked 1250 hours by 9 months, you must have worked for that employer for a minimum of 12 months. In addition your employer must have at least 50 employees residing within a 75 mile radius of the site for FMLA to be applicable. Therefore a newly hired employee would not be covered under FMLA.

    Accommodations for primary & secondary school (elementary & HS) are very different because education through age 16 (21 if disabled) is legally required and a right.

    The ADA may apply, however you must alert your employer to your "disability" and the accommodations must be reasonable and necessary.

    Facts from the EEOC on the ADA as it applies to healthcare workers:
    http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/health_care_workers.html


    Q&A on the ADA: http://www.ada.gov/q&aeng02.htm

    You have no right to accommodation if you fail to request accommodation and reveal your disability to the employer. (i.e. if you are fired for excessive absenteeism, you cannot go back and say but I have a disability you need to accommodate me. )

    You might want to discuss your concerns with your PCP and/or neurologist to work together to develop a plan of action/treatment.

    This is where there will be a snag- attendance issues are huge. It sounds like you got through nursing school which will help. I know with my disabilities, there was only so much that could be done - especially in a hospital because of staffing and acuity. But like the above says, your employer has to know before they can decide if the accommodations are reasonable for that particular setting.

    I'm so sorry you've had to deal with these for so long. I'm a chronic h/a person (no actual migraines for years- knock on wood).
    I hope you get some good support. They might suggest a trial prn period .... hard to know until you talk to them
  7. 0
    I don't have an answer for you question, but I have experienced migraine h/a's for most of my adult life, they suck! I found relief after having a total hysterectomy, and also using Maxalt (a troche that dissolves on your tongue). Anyway Good Luck to you !!!
  8. 1
    I have had migraines for over 10 years now. I have them mild sometimes or as long as lasting 3 weeks. Waking up and going to bed w a headache sucks! It has been times where I cant sleep because my head hurts so bad. I lay there in tears until I cant feel it anymore. I had a job that although i qualified for FMLA was one of many many companies that do not consider migraines a disability. After being off about 5 weeks battling on and off headaches i had to quit. I had a constant headache for 19 days. I tried to go back to work but it started all over again. I figured it beats being fired. I have tried diff meds from imitrex to topamax and alot in between. i rarely can catch it since i have a hard time deciding if it is a sleepy/hungry headache or the beginning of a migraine. the imitrex pills are $150/9 so i try to use them as needed. I hope it does not affect my nursing career!

    I do not know all of my triggers but i realize garlic and salt is a trigger, as far as foods. My eyes can become blurry, whichever side the headache is on. I sort of lose vision in that eye. My hearing and sensitivity to light is highly increased. I swear i can hear cotton fall. I also have vomiting spells. Phenergan puts me to sleep. I couldnt afford the neurologist new meds, $276/9 pills w insurance ($650/9 w/o). I will just continue to watch out for triggers and manage my headaches

    Goodluck to other sufferers, i feel your pain
    Last edit by Faith2012 on Dec 7, '11 : Reason: errors
    virgo,student nurse likes this.


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