I wanted to explain what happened to me...

  1. Hey everyone...

    I want to thank everyone for the prayers. I'm sorry I haven't been able to explain why I needed them and what I meant by saying I was in trouble, but I have recovered enough mentally to explain my last eight days of pure hell...

    I work 11p-7a as the supervisor of a nursing home. Last Sunday night I worked. Monday morning after work I went to visit my grandmother in Georgia, not intending to be gone all day. She has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and has decided to refuse any treatment- she wants to let it take her course and rejoin my grandfather who died three years ago. This is devastating to me because I am very close with her. I ended up being with her all day and getting home around 9pm. I had to be at work at 11, so I decided not to sleep since it would make me more groggy to get less than an hour of sleep than it would if I just stayed up. Despite my best efforts, I fell asleep around 9:30 and when my alarm went off at 10 I was in bad shape- disoriented and nauseous. I decided to take an ephedrine tablet and set the alarm ahead 20 minutes so that when it went off the ephedrine would be in my system. I hardly ever take it but when I do I take an Atenolol with it because it makes my BP go up and my heart race. The Atenolol was prescribed to me a year ago, but since losing almost 100 pounds my BP has been normal and I haven't had to take it regularly. Anyhow, when the alarm went off again I was still really nauseous and tired but I got ready and went to work. I felt weird- sort of detached and sluggish but I figured it was because of lack of sleep. I'd gone without sleep before so I thought I'd be fine.

    At about 3am, however, my DON showed up. I was surprised to see her, but she told me she just had paperwork to do. It seemed like she was observing me though, and soon the truth came out- someone had called her at home, woken her up and stated that I seemed impaired. After watching me, she declared probable cause and accused me of being on drugs. I was shocked and scared and denied it- I have prescription narcotics for my back ( i broke it 7 years ago and am trying to avoid surgery for as long and possible) but I never take them within 12 hours of work- never. I was made to feel like a criminal. I was brought to the local hospital and had to pee in a cup, crying all the while. I knew I felt odd and detached but all I could think was that maybe someone slipped me something. After the UA, she refused to believe me, took my keys from me and I was sent home in disgrace.

    Three days later I found the bottle of Atenolol in a totally different location than i thought. Apparently I took an Ambien instead.

    Once I figured this out, I tried to explain it to her, but since the drug test had already been sent out I still couldn't work until the results came in. It took eight days instead of three because of the positive for opiates resulting in a differentiating test. The only thing that showed up (of course) is one of my prescription narcotics (Lortab). The lady from the drug testing center called me this morning and I had to bring over my prescription bottle to confirm it. Then I had to get a letter from my doc stating that I had been his patient for four years and was still on the same strength meds and had been very responsible with my pain meds. I expect a call in the morning to go in for a meeting with my DON when she gets the report.

    Here's the kicker- everyone at work apaprently thinks I was caught stealing drugs, high at work, or drunk on the job. The worst part is that I think I am going to be fired anyway, regardless of the negative drug screen for anything except what was prescribed to me.

    I love my job, and i love being a nurse. I've worked at my job for over a year, with exemplary performance evaluations and reviews. I don't understand why I am being treated this way. I'm still scared about possibly losing my job, but at least I know that I will not lose my nursing license. Before I realized about the Ambien, I honestly was scared that someone had slipped me something and then called my DON so I would be tested. As a supervisor you always end up with certain enemies, people you have had to write up because of legitimate concerns who hold it against you. I was terrified because I did feel odd and if someone had slipped me something and I tested positive, I would have lost my license.

    I really don't want to lose my job, I love it so much. I hate that my coworkers all are assuming the worst of me. I didn't intentionally do anything wrong. I've lost seven pounds since this happened and have not been sleeping. I've cried constantly. I'm a wreck.

    I'm sorry this is so long... I just wanted to thank everyone for the support as well as warn you of what could happen... please keep me in your prayers and I will let you know if I am fired tomorrow or not...

    I love you guys...

    Lori
    Last edit by LoriAlabamaRN on Sep 20, '06
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    About LoriAlabamaRN

    Joined: Sep '05; Posts: 1,252; Likes: 119

    260 Comments

  3. by   NurseyBaby'05
    :icon_hug: :icon_hug: :icon_hug:

    Lori-
    I don't know what else to say. Keep your eyes and ears open and see what else is out there in terms of employment. ((((Lori))))
  4. by   CaseManager1947
    Oh Lori... this is such a devastating set of circumstances for you. To have spent that time with your family member, then had to go back to work so upset. add fatigue onto an Ambien, lots of anxiety and grief.Wow!. I can understand that you would have responded strangely. Stick to your guns. Work with your employer, if they will, to get things clarified. I will pray for you, and think about you as you deal with this. BTW, I have always loved your closing poem. Thanks for posting, and keep us in the loop

    Morghan in kansas
  5. by   Princess74
    Lori I'm sorry for what you have been going through. You hang in there, you didn't do anything wrong.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    (((((((LORI)))))))

    I will keep you in my prayers, honey.:icon_hug:
  7. by   slinkeecat
    Lori...
    I am just hoping that you will be okay.... My thoughts and prayers are w/ you
  8. by   rehab nurse
    Oh Lori, I figured something like this going on, hence why you didn't first say anything.

    I have talked to you before about my back issues, and we both had the same fears. I don't work as often as you for that very reason. Most days I can't move. The days I feel good enough to work, I do. But those are very few in between. I am trying to get approved for IDET, a procedure for my back besides a fusion that may help me.

    I know how humiliated you must feel. But you didn't do anything wrong, you can hold your head up because you know that you're a good nurse. If I remember right, didn't your employer know about the pain meds? Even though they know you take them on off time, I have found that when ever in the building there is a narc error, everyone thinks of me first. Why? Because I have a bad back and always hurt. Doesn't matter that I always test negative. They don't know that, they just think what they think. And it used to upset me, but I can't change they way they view me. That's why I don't work the floor anymore, I refused to touch the keys, then I don't have the suspicious eyes looking over at me when I hand out a pain pill. I just hope that those who accused me never have to be in the kind of pain I am in, cause it's horrible and you are treated like a junkie even if you have done nothing wrong.

    Hugs Lori. Let us know how your meeting turns out. Your DON hasn't said anything to you yet? You had to go all those days with no word from her? I just don't know what to say. Just know that you are among friends here, and that WE care about you. I'll keep praying that things turn out good for you. Keep us informed, ok?

    I don't know much about drug screens, but don't they consider it negative if you have a script for what appears on the screen? Or will the DON know you tested positive, but yet had a legit prescription? Can someone enlighten me? I thought if you had a prescription for whatever appears, that it's okay.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    I will keep you in my thoughts and hope that God bestows the strength upon you to make it through this horrible feat.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    (((Lori))) so sorry. Keeping you in my thoughts, surely.
  11. by   proud2banurse
    This is a perfect example of how the nursing profession has to change. Any other occupation, you would have been able to call your supervisor, explain that you were with a sick family member, and have taken the day off of work. This would have avoided all of the crazy things you did with medications to be able to go to your job.
    Hopefully, this will have taught you how important it is to look out for #1 (YOURSELF) first and take care of yourself first.
    Next time, CALL OUT!!! aND THEN, GET THE SLEEP YOU NEED.
    I wish you well and hope that you can get this mess straightened out.
    I'll say a prayer for you.
  12. by   TazziRN
    {{{Lori}}}
  13. by   RNin2007
    Lori! I am so sorry to hear this, what a terrible thing to have happen. I have been checking in every day to see if you had posted back, concerned. (((Lori))) Hang in there.

    ~J
  14. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    Quote from rehab nurse
    Oh Lori, I figured something like this going on, hence why you didn't first say anything.

    I have talked to you before about my back issues, and we both had the same fears. I don't work as often as you for that very reason. Most days I can't move. The days I feel good enough to work, I do. But those are very few in between. I am trying to get approved for IDET, a procedure for my back besides a fusion that may help me.

    I know how humiliated you must feel. But you didn't do anything wrong, you can hold your head up because you know that you're a good nurse. If I remember right, didn't your employer know about the pain meds? Even though they know you take them on off time, I have found that when ever in the building there is a narc error, everyone thinks of me first. Why? Because I have a bad back and always hurt. Doesn't matter that I always test negative. They don't know that, they just think what they think. And it used to upset me, but I can't change they way they view me. That's why I don't work the floor anymore, I refused to touch the keys, then I don't have the suspicious eyes looking over at me when I hand out a pain pill. I just hope that those who accused me never have to be in the kind of pain I am in, cause it's horrible and you are treated like a junkie even if you have done nothing wrong.

    Hugs Lori. Let us know how your meeting turns out. Your DON hasn't said anything to you yet? You had to go all those days with no word from her? I just don't know what to say. Just know that you are among friends here, and that WE care about you. I'll keep praying that things turn out good for you. Keep us informed, ok?

    I don't know much about drug screens, but don't they consider it negative if you have a script for what appears on the screen? Or will the DON know you tested positive, but yet had a legit prescription? Can someone enlighten me? I thought if you had a prescription for whatever appears, that it's okay.
    Thank you so much for your concern...

    Yes, my employers know I have narcs for my back, and that I voluntarily do not take them within 12 hours of work. I typically go through 12 Advil a shift because of the pain (which drives my doc NUTS, he tries to convince me to take the narcs instead because I have been taking them long enough that they do not impair me, but I'm paranoid).

    I won't take keys either. As a supervisor, I can request copies of all med room keys, but I choose not to because of one fear: what if a Lortab discrepancy occured, and all of us who had keys were tested, and I was the only one who was positive... even with a script, I would be under suspicion.

    I've talked to my DON several times, but she has been so cold to me, keeps telling me that we'll just have to see what the drug screen shows and that she knows what she saw. This morning after talking to the lady from the testing facility, I called her to tell her that my results were clear except for the Lortab which I have prescribed and that I hoped I could come back to work soon... she STILL said "Well, we're going to have to meet at work and have a talk there." That's why I think I'm fired. The report they get shows what I tested positive for and the fact that I had a prescription.

    I just feel sick, scared, and humiliated... but at least I know that I will not lose my nursing license over it.

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