Kowden 664 Views
Joined: Sep 22, '05;
Posts: 3 (33% Liked)
; Likes: 3
Let me tell you about my experience: I was an RN working on a Cardiac step-down 30-bed unit. I was one of the 4 RN's staffed for the floor. We had no aides and had to do everything ourselves, only helping eachother. We had pre/post CABG pts., pre/post Caths, Stents, etc, etc, besides the usual MI's. We did our own IV's, pulled sheaths, assisted MD's with all procedures on the floor, numerous codes, cardioversions, etc. Anything cardic, we did.
I initially herniated my first disc in 1997 while lifting a male patient out of a chair with the assistance of another much taller nurse than I, mistake #1. That put me out of commision for 6 weeks. The proceded to do it 3 more times in the coarse of 4 years, each time the damage progressed. But I was a trooper, I loved my job, I loved the nurses I worked with, we were a team, worked well together in every way, which is hard to find in a job. So that made is every more difficult for me.
One day in 2001, after report, I walked into the med room to obtain my patient's meds, I stood there and felt an undescrible pain in my back and legs, I just stood there, couldn't move, and cried. Fortunately another nurse came in and saw my distress....I was immediately taked to the ER, again, and that ended my nursing career for good.
After numerous tests, doctors, and surgeons seen, it was decided that I needed sugery. My first back surgery was with an anterior approach with a 15" incision. There were rods, plates, pins and screws placed, along with my own bone graft along with a donar graft. I was fused from L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1. Six months after that I "felt" something just wasn't right, but had to listen to the surgeon which they told me it takes "1 year for the grafts to heal". Well, I knew better and trusted my instincts. I told them something just wasn't right, but they wouldn't listen.
Finally, after 1 year of physical therapy, mutiple pain management approaches tried, multiple pain meds, (all of which I became addicted to by-th-way), they finally agreed that the donar graft did not take. So there I was again, back in the OR for a 2nd fusion, this time done posteriorly.
The added more titanium screws and plates with additional bone grafts. This was in 2003.
I always thought I would return to work! I never thought in my wildest dreams that I was disabled in any way. I did everything they told me to do, every physical therapy treatment there was out there, every med you could think of, aqua therapy, massage therapy, New Age therapies, I mean everything. Nothing worked. The pain never goes away. I am limited in my range of motion, my tasks of daily living are nonexistant without help. I am now that "disabled person".
Then the depression sets in. I was put on antidepressants, which only made things worse in my case, so they were discontinued. They didn't help with the pain at all anyway. I won't bore you with all the other meds, you know them all I'm sure.
This is the point I want to make now. Nobody told me that you only had 5 years to apply for SSDisability benefits. There is a time limit in which you can file, and I'm sure it is all the same for any state you live in since its Federal. Anyway, you always see all those commercials on TV telling you that you need a "lawyer" to do this for you....nonsense....I did it all myself and was granted SSDbenefits with my first try.
Here's the thing....I kept meticulous records of everything since that first day. I always got copies of all my records from any MD, hospital stay, XR, etc. etc. So I had already in my posession all the information I needed.
If there is anything that could help you in your process, is you must keep meticulous records of everything YOURSELF. Don't rely on anyone to keep accurate records for you, you know people make mistakes, especially where they are not concerned.
Only you know the true story, and only with your records are you able to back up anything they might dispute. Thats what saved me in my case.
The application is a multipage document asking you so many repeated questions in other ways, I think they try to trick you up or something. But they weren't going to do that to me, and they couldn't since I had the facts. And after so long, you do forget some of the things that happened, so it was a good thing I had all the paperwork to fall back on.
This is where your "documnetations skills" come in handy nurses!
In my case, I was never able to go back to work in any capacity. I do receive SSD benefits and also Workman's Compensation. Oh, thats another thing. Don't let anyone tell you that you MUST settle you case ! Thats a farse. You do not have to EVER settle (in my case, I will never settle with the hospital I worked for, would not benefit me anymore).
I'm not saying every case is the same, you of course have to figure out your own situation as far as that goes. But be careful! Get as many facts from your State's Workman's Compensation office. There should be a 800 number in your phone bood. They will tell you all you need to know for nothing! Amazing how much you can do on your own without a so called "lawyer" there for you help. They get 20% of every dollar amount you might get if you use a lawyer. I thought they're not getting that from me since I could do this all myself. And I did.
So watch your backs, it never gets better out there. I miss my job so much. I found it so hard to adapt from going to nonstop working (sometimes I worked per diem in 2 other hospitals along with my regular job) to a complete invalid at first. What a hard pill to swallow. But that we'll leave for another blog, about depression from you accident!
Hope this helps someone.
:spin: I worked on a Tele floor which was considered to be our "step down unit" cardiac ICU. We had 30 monitored patients with 4 RN's. The RN in charge had to take 2 patients plus charge duties. We didn't have a monitor tech, so the charge RN had to do that too. There were patients not even a day out of their CABG along with all the cath's, angio's, stents, MI's, etc. We didn't have aides to help us either. I worked the 3-11 shift which never ended until after 1 am with all the paperwork as you all know. We always felt patient's were at risk with this nurse/patient ratio, but no one would listen to us. There were so many "cut-backs" they kept telling us, so it was their way or the highway! So as many of you know, where would an older nurse go to get the same rate of pay to start with as you had with where you were, you know that story....years of experience/rate of pay/benefits vs. starting all over again at the bottom of the ladder!
Needless to say, things were pretty terrible for us. The thing that most amazed me was the way patient's family treated us....like it was my fault that I didn't have the ability to have "bilocation" and answer 3 call bells at once! We constantly got yelled at by patients and families all the time. It was so deflating personally, not to mention professionally......it seemed we were not nurses but maids, cooks, housekeepers, dishwasher, etc....we didn't really have time to do our actual nursing duties and provide the actual nursing care we were suppose to give....no matter how we tried! I left work feeling really bad most of the time because there were things I could have done and should have done but were unable to do because there wasn't enough timme to do it!
We were constantly getting called into the "office" because families complained about us in one way or the other, our supervisors knew the situation, but were unable to take our sides of course, they knew the situation, but weren't able to stick up for us. It was a very sad situation in out hospital, and it sounds like it is the same way everywhere really. its all a business, not a caring profession anymore! When are people going to wake up and realize that its not the nurses fault, its the money-making business owners that make the rules!
We would have new grads come to our floor, we'd do the buddy system with them for a month, and then after about 2 months with us they would tell us they're not putting up with this crap working here and they would leave. So it would put such a strain on us training them and having to do all our work, but they were the smart ones really, they were young and wouldn't put up with it and look for a better place to work! so they thought!
Oh well, next time I'll tell you of my work injury that ended my nursing career as a cardiac nurse! Watch your backs!
Hi to everyone, this is my first time ever doing something like this, so I hope I have it right. Anyway, glad to know there is so much support out there for us, can't write much now, but will at later date. Love and support to ALL nurses everywhere.
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