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Been out of work for three weeks due to vestibular migraines....

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by NMK17 NMK17 (New Member) New Member Nurse

35 Visitors; 2 Posts


Hey everyone! (I apologize for the long post).

Overall, I’m a healthy 31 year old female. I was diagnosed what was thought to be Menieres Disease about 2 1/2 years ago. When the symptoms first started, I was working as a nurse in a hospital on a busy med-surg floor. I initially presented with constant vertigo, tinnitus and pressure to the left year. The symptoms were almost constant for months. I tried a multitude of medications, all of which were unsuccessful. Eventually my specialist moved on to Dexamethasone injections into my ear. I received three rounds with no relief. My doctor was about to send me for another opinion, however, gradually my symptoms began to improve to where I was symptom free for about a year.

I was cleared to start working again. I unfortunately had lost my previous job at the hospital because I was unable to work for months (I left in good standing with them though.) Eventually I started working again as a nurse but this time doing telephone triage all day for a different company. I basically look at a computer screen for 10 hour shifts talking to patients all day. A few months into the new job, my symptoms returned. They weren’t bad a first but have gotten progressively worse over the past 8-9 months. I’m currently in the worse flare I've been to date. The symptoms consist of horrible vertigo, tinnitus, pressure and intense pain to my left ear but now with boughts of intense migraine pains. The symptoms have been on going for three weeks straight with no relief at all. I have been out of work the entire time (three weeks) and have no sick time left. I’m not eligible for FMLA yet. Unfortunately, there is just no way I can try and work and focus on a computer the way I feel with the intense vertigo. 

I saw a specialist today who actually does not believe I have Ménière’s disease as my hearing and balance tests were all normal. He believes I have vestibular migraines. He referred me to a neurologist (which looks like may take months to get into to see). I’m unaware when I’ll be able to return to work as the symptoms have not let up. I did start on Nortriptyline to see if it will help. My concern is (thinking back now) the migraines may be further exacerbated from the continual computer use from my job. The symptoms did start up again soon after I started there. I have adjusted the brightness on the computer screen with no improvement, try to take multiple breaks looking away from the computer. I find I get dizzy (even before this latest flare) if staring at a computer screen for too long. I wonder if I’d be better at a job with less continual computer time. Maybe something with more direct patient care? I’ve been at my current job for 11 months, and since I don’t qualify for FMLA, i technically don’t have job security. I’m in the process of getting approved for a continuous leave under the ADA, but of course work wants to know how long I’m anticipating being out (and rightfully so). I unfortunately tell them I’m seeking treatment now and can’t give them a good answer. I feel terrible the position it puts my coworkers in being short staffed and part of me questions if I should just take a few months off from work entirely while I try and find a successful treatment for me then once better, start looking for a new job. I’m unsure if I do resign now, if I’d be still eligible to apply to this company again when well enough in the future  (as they are a large company that I’d still like to work for in the future, just a different position because of my situation) or would that completely hinder my chances. I also wonder if it would create a problem applying for another position even for a different company as I’m sure they’ll question why I left etc.

Sorry for rambling, just looking for advice and suggestions as I’ve been so upset over the situation! Thank you!

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

6 Followers; 31,740 Visitors; 3,011 Posts

I'm so sorry for what you're dealing with.  Why kind of relationship do you have with your current manager?  Is there any way you could have the above conversation with her?

She must already have some understanding about the dilemma you're in.  Let her know that you don't like leaving her hanging but you don't know when you'll have a handle on your health problem.  She might offer to give you an indefinite leave of absence or she might reassure you that you could resign on good terms and stand a good chance of rehire.  Or she might be completely unreasonable and then at least you'd know what you were dealing with.

I always think a face-to-face conversation is best for clarifying things; then you'll have an idea how to proceed from there.  Wishing you improved health soon.

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