A Nurse with POTS Disability: A Great Success Story!

  1. 22

    Imagine yourself back in nursing school again, but only this time, you can't answer your instructor's patho questions quickly like you did in A&P, in which you were an expert in. Instead of sleeping the night before clinical, you lie in bed for 7 hours hoping to get a snooze, but you don't get any. You get dizzy spells often, indigestion, breathing issues, unexplained anxiety, and the doctors aren't able to figure out what's wrong with you. I went through nursing school like this for 2 years, with a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system and practically, my whole body. I never expected to undergo this struggle, let alone the hardship of nursing school, but I fought back. This is my brief, personal success story that I would like to inspire all future and current nurses, disabled and non-disabled alike with the theme: Never give up. Ever.

    Today, I want to announce to everyone here that I'm thankful for everyone's tips, advice, suggestions, and so much more on this great website. I don't know how I would have gone through my struggles without AllNurses.com, it's such a great place for everything nursing related. Well, I finally got in the mail my RN License and I went jumping for joy, down my neighborhood. The feeling was surreal, seemed so out of this world.

    But prior to all this, I was struggling with an unknown disability throughout nursing school. I knew I wasn't the best student in theory, but I worked hard and delivered for my patients no matter what in clinical. Several times, I would get primary syncope and orthostatic intolerance, intense flushing, brain fog, headaches, IBS, sleep apnea, felt like I had to manually breathe, and a slew of other problems. It just came out of nowhere. Before taking the NCLEX-RN, in April I went to the physician to ask for Special Accommodations but got shot down, because he was afraid the Accommodations would affect my job eligibility so he refused. A few people on this site agreed as well. I wrote about that in this post here: Dr refuse to sign accommodations for NCLEX.

    At this point, I was thinking "Great, I have health issues, but can't get extended time or help." Flash forward to October and I was diagnosed with POTS, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome - just a little over a week before my NCLEX. POTS is a little known autonomic nervous system dysfunction that primarily causes orthostatic intolerance (Bear in mind OI has been well known for years), where the person's position change from supine to standing would cause either high or low BP and intense tachycardia. There's also decreased cerebral blood flow, which explains brain fog. But it also comes with alot of other symptoms and conditions like IBS. Thinking like a nurse, I wore an abdominal binder, medical grade compression stockings, and put myself on a high Na diet with lab work done periodically - before the doctors even suggested those ideas.

    So there I was, with an NCLEX in a week, sick, having some financial problems, had people doubting that I couldn't pass because of my condition, and the all too familiar creeping anxiety after finding out the diagnosis - a diagnosis that has plagued me all these years.

    But do you know what? I refused to give up or re-schedule my test. I refused to get special accommodations. I refused to give in to this disease. I chose to fight on. 3 days before the exam, I went on a break, went shopping, worked out, had fun with the family. The night before, I prepared my clothing, breakfast, faced the alarm clock the other way, did a little prayer, and somehow, went to sleep. That was surprising that morning I woke up because I normally stay up all night due to anxiety and insomnia. Whether it was the alarm clock technique or the little prayer that did it for me, I truly don't know. But I walked out on the NCLEX at 80-or so questions and a smile on my face.

    Went home, took a nap, and did the Pearson Vue Trick - got the good pop up! I defied my disability without help and turned away my doubters.

    I did it.

    Today, reflecting on my history, my struggles, the license I now hold in my hand, and a job offer already, I just wouldn't want my story to end in any other way. This was my very own personal underdog story and I want to share this with all my fellow pre-nursing students, nursing students, fellow nurses disabled or not, and human beings in general. I don't know what awaits me in this new upcoming chapter in my life, but I hope to count this story as one of the many countless success stories here on allnurses.com.

    Thank you all.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 30, '13
    SoCaliCNA, Ladyt03, jtmarcy12, and 19 others like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. About CrazyCoconut

    From 'Houston, TX'; Joined Dec '12; Posts: 75; Likes: 53.

    Read more articles from CrazyCoconut

    31 Comments so far...

  3. 8
    Well done!!!!!!
    Ladyt03, crynyce, LJohnson11213, and 5 others like this.
  4. 3
    You should be very proud of yourself.
    Last edit by brian on Dec 23, '13 : Reason: removed quote
    poppycat, Esme12, and CrazyCoconut like this.
  5. 3
    Thank you Esme12 and debilpn23!!!

    Special thanks to the people in this thread. Your advice and words of encouragement empowered me!

    Esme12, elkpark, VivaLasViejas, adnrnstudent, Jeanette73, puravidaLV, lmccrn62, Jory, and jadelpn.
    poppycat, VivaLasViejas, and Esme12 like this.
  6. 2
    CrazyCoconut and Esme12 like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from CrazyCoconut
    Thank you Esme12 and debilpn23!!!

    Special thanks to the people in this thread. Your advice and words of encouragement empowered me!

    Esme12, elkpark, VivaLasViejas, adnrnstudent, Jeanette73, puravidaLV, lmccrn62, Jory, and jadelpn.
    poppycat and CrazyCoconut like this.
  8. 1
    Such an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing and good luck in the nursing field !!

    CrazyCoconut likes this.
  9. 2
    CrazyCoconut and J-Swish like this.
  10. 1
    CrazyCoconut likes this.
  11. 2
    You go! Congrats!!!

    I'm going to try the alarm clock trick for work tomorrow, thank you.
    poppycat and CrazyCoconut like this.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors