nurses with multiple sclerosis

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    I am interested to know if there are any nurses out there that are dealing with multiple sclerosis. I was recently diagnosed, and have had to make some life style changes to deal with it.

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me some helpful suggestions on exercise, how to deal with fatigue, and if you have any problems with your nursing management understanding your ailment.
    Last edit by rkpgb on Jun 12, '02
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    I had 2 former nurse coworkers with MS who I have lost touch with...they were awesome nurses. One thing they both did was become agency nurses. They worked less frequently, could choose their facilities/assignments based on how they felt, and plan their life better. They could cancel a shift if they were too fatigued. They also got 'more bang for their buck'...made much more money in less work hours...which was important to them.

    I will keep you in my prayers, rkpgb! Good luck to you as you adjust to this diagnoses. My brother in law was just diagnosed with MS also...he has had to adjust to numbness in his feet and tendency to trip...he gave up his on the side roofing/carpentry business because of fear of falling off roofs, etc.

    I hope your symptoms are and will continue to be mild! God Bless!
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    My Patient Care Manager has MS. She only disclosed it about 6 months ago to our unit. She has the relapse-remitting type (or whatever the term is). She was diagnosed in 1998. She says that the biggest thing she has learned is to listen to her body. She was off sick for a little while in the fall, but she is confident that this is a disease that she can live with and continue to work.

    Hope this helps.
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    I had a wonderul, very caring nurse who was dx with MS many years ago...that was on my team in home health. She worked PRN and would tell me how many visits she felt she was able to make when she worked. Paperwork was always on time, and flawless! She also said...if she listen to her body...she did just fine.... I'm sorry to hear about your Dx...but I also have a cousin....who was DX a few years back...and she still travels to her hearts content... I hope you are able to continue to work as nurse....and hopefully there will be a much needed cure soon... Take care...
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    rkpgb, I will remember you in prayer, and hope the disease treats you kindly. Listen to your body, rest when you must, and laugh a lot, stay funny, keep it light, enjoy life to the fullest, think peacefilled thoughts, avoid that which is negative, and make work fun by working shorter hours...go agency or prn on staff where you currently work. Be good to yourself. :kiss and ((((hugs))))
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    rkpgb

    You have been in my thoughts since I read your post last evening. Welcome to the MS sisterhood. A diagnosis of MS is frightening but not the end of everything. The scariest part is not knowing. It often takes years for that definative diagnosis and it's almost a relief to know what the problem is. You can handle anything once you know what you are dealing with.

    I was diagnosed with MS about 4 years ago.
    You're right when you said that you've needed to make a lot of life adjustments. Adjustment is the name of the game. You can still do things, just oftentimes they will be done differently. Energy conservation is very important. Things like having all the supplies for a project (cooking, writing, sewing, painting or whatever) in easy reach to decrease the need to walk across the room to get whatever you need. Most tasks can be done in a sitting position. Rest and bathroom breaks are very important. I know that these things can be very difficult while doing bedside nursing. PRN or agency nursing is a great idea to decrease the hours you'd need to make as much money as you would doing staff nursing. Are your symptoms "invisible"? If so, now would be the best time to get into something that wouldn't require all the extreme physical exertion that bedside nursing does. It's a good idea to keep your diagnosis quiet until you find something or until /if your symptoms become visible. Because I was diagnosed and treated by my own department I found that I had no patient confidentiality. I worked in Neurology. Broke my own rules there. Never get a disease in your own specialty and never go into a teaching hospital in July. :chuckle

    I know how hard it is. People who should be the most compassionate and understanding (administrators and others in the health "care?" industry) will give the least amount of support.

    When I was first diagnosed one of the residents decided that since I wasn't crying that I was really depressed and just blocking and ordered Zoloft. Then the next morning when she came in I had the TV on and there was a commercial on for a Pontiac Grand AM SE. I just bought one about 2 months before. I was so excited because I had waited until the kids were out of school and on their own. You know, one of those mom things. So much for delayed gratification :chuckle I was a little teary eyed at that time so she felt that she was right and put in my chart that I had "significant depression" over the diagnosis. I tried explaining that I wasn't depressed, I was p'd off because I wanted to be out of the hospital driving my new car. When you c/o fatigue you will also be put on antidepressants because, "you have MS, the fatigue must be from depression". Funny thing was at that time I was working 60 hours a week (salaried) and that doctor didn't believe that that had anything to do with the fatigue. I changed MDs after that and a few more of her antics.

    Have you seen a physical therapist? They can give you strength building exercises as well as some for balance and flexibiity. Those help a lot. Occupational therapy can help with more ideas for energy conservation. Little things like a shower chair and cool water instead of hot, staying inside in an air conditioned environment during hot weather.

    Support of family and friends is important. I want to start a support group for nurses with MS. We have different needs and views of the world than the general public. But I guess that's another thread. You can PM me anytime, there's a whole lot more I could tell you. I'm not sure where you are with your MS. Let me know. We can help/support each other. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.
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    I do not have MS, but my hubby has been diagnosed with it for 14 years and thanks to his stubborn Swedish constitution, the "ABC" MS drugs, continuous vigilence on my part, and a caring internal med. doc, and a stubborn neurologist, he is still working at this point.
    The most important thing you can do for yourself is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! Stay cool; there are the kerchiefs that you dunk in H2O that stay cool for a couple hours or so-- use several of those /day alternating them around your neck to keep your body temp down.
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    What "Discarded APN" described about a MD prescribing psych meds under an ASSumption of depression made me laugh. Sorry, but it brought back memories. I was recovering from back surgery and had to go into a rehab hospital. Of course all of the side effects from the meds I was on was nausea and vomiting. I didn't help that the food there was disgusting. I started crying at 8:00, 12:00, and 5:00 because I knew I wasn't up to facing that food tray. The smell made my stomach wretch. One of the nurses just didn't get it and was sure that I had a psych problem and that I "needed to snap out of it." She made arrangements for Ativan and a psych evaluation :-) The psychologist soon became aware that I really didn't need his services, although it was nice chatting with him. I hope that all of you that suffer with MS will be able to manage it well. Take care and God Bless.
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    I work with a fellow case manager, who also has ms. She's doing very well, and she tells me it's because she's learned to "compensate". I really admire her.
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    I've seen a neurologist to R/O M.S. So far all MRI's came back negative.

    I had symptoms of total fatigue, tripping (it felt like my legs were heavy), visual disturbances and numbness.

    In the few weeks R/O M.S. I visited a lot of great M.S. sites. One thing I found was a lot of the people bio stated occupation...and it seemed interesting how many nurses were diagnosed with M.S. Has anyone noticed that?


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