Nurses with disabilities - page 2

I am curious as to how many of the members of this bb are nurses or nursing students with disabilities. By disabilities, I am including congenital problems, injury-related problems, or work-related... Read More

  1. by   bestblondRN
    Originally posted by mattsmom81
    Good luck to those of you who are trying for SSD. I did and they told me also there had to be 'something' I could do. I can relate about the whole humiliation of the process.

    Currently I am trying minimal work in ICU, a few shifts a week...enough to pay off a few bills and get us into a position where I won't have to work. I have spinal arthritis and chronic pain and it's hard to keep going. Eventually I will not be able to I know. There are lots of us here in the same boat. Aleve and Tylenol only help so much but I'm afraid to take any more now I'm back at work. I'm running on stubbornness now and trying to conserve my strength and be verrrry careful.

    TJjam, my acute care job description calls for lifting 75 lbs frequently and 100 lbs occasionally. And I had to prove I could do this prior to being rehired following a car accident and surgery.
    And what happens to you if your back goes out again and you're unable to work? Be careful about what all you do--I haven't had surgery yet, but got worse after returning to work after 6 weeks of Core Stabilization in PT--it set me WAY back and now am finding myself in search of work again. Good luck to you mattsmom!
  2. by   bestblondRN
    Originally posted by Disablednurse
    I am glad that you started this thread. I am glad that I am not here by myself. I have disabilities r/t failed back syndrome r/t 2 unsuccessful back surgeries. After each surgery, I got worse. At this point I spend 20 of 24 hours in bed. I cannot walk further than 10 ft, sit longer than 20 min, or stand longer than 3 minutes without severe pain. I am on strong narcotics around the clock and all of this prevents me from being able to work. I have applied for my disability, but am fighting for it with a lawyer. My husband is also disabled r/t diabetes, amputation and breathing problems. I get so discouraged with them telling me that they understand that I am disabled but with my young age (46) and my educaation, I should be able to find something. Yes I would love to be able to work, I would love to be able to sit, stand and walk further than I can, but I cannot. I get so depressed about this.

    I am so sorry that this has happened to you. You are way too young to have to spend your life in bed! Have you looked into having a second opinion regarding your back surgeries? There aren't a lot of docs who will be glad to work on someone else's failed surgery, but I know of some who do it regularly with some good outcomes. There are also the alternatives such as dorsal column stimulators and injections--in fact I had great relief from a caudal injection--couldn't handle the epidural injection because the space was too tight and it actually made things worse again. The caudal gave me total relief for about 3 weeks and some relief for several weeks after that. Just some things to think about.....let me know if I can be of any help to you.

    In thinking about why I started this galls me to think that we have given so much to society as a group, only to be tossed away when we are in need of help ourselves. It speaks volumes about how "throwaway" our society has become.
  3. by   TJjam
    I,m really sorry Disablednurse about your disability and your husband's!Hope you are able to draw your disability soon!You
    both are in my prayers!
  4. by   IrishElf
    Originally posted by karenG
    one of my nursing heroes- Cherry, is deaf. yet she manages brilliantly lipreading! my hat goes off to you all.

    Hi Karen,

    I'm hard of hearing and I'm an RN. Please tell me more about Cherry. Sometimes I really get down about my hearing. I just switched from the hospital to home health. This has been great because I don't have all the background noise to deal with!

  5. by   Disablednurse
    I am unable to use any steroids that they use because of my diabetes. I am reluctant to have any more surgery at this point.
  6. by   kids
    I got my RN in 1990.

    In 1994 I blew disks in my back. I was tired, I was 3 hours from the end of my 3rd 12 hour shift in a row, my knees hurt and I just didn't feel like squatting so I bent over to get a med out of the narc drawer. My DNS was standing next to me when it happened, she and an RRT picked me up off the floor.

    9 years and 5 failed surgeries (including 2 fusions) later I have a catagory 6 perminent disability rating for severe stenosis from T10 to S2 (I had a functional disk at S1-S2).
    I spend about 1/3 of my time in a wheelchair, it used to be because the pain was to much to stand or walk but now it is because I fall down a lot, I don't have enough LE strength to pick up my own feet.
    I am not a candidate for artificial disks. My neurosurgeon says I probably would have benefited from Herrington rods and pedicle screws but it is to late, the serial EMG studies and myelograms show the nerve damage is permament. I am enrolled in a pain mgmt clinic. I take a lot of MS. I have failed 2 trials with the Medtronic spinal cord stimulator-it causes painfully intense burning sensations in my legs. I am currently weighing the pros & cons of sciatic abblation.

    I have been denied SSD twice, most recently in January. The reason they give is that I am 39 years old, I can be drugged to a tolerable pain level and still function AND I keep finding jobs I can do. My newest job is doing advice. I love it, wish I had tried it years ago. I did not tell my employer about my limitations, I didn't have to. I read the job description before I applied and there is not one thing in it that I can not do. I told them at the interview that I have a doctors appointment every 2 weeks and it can not be rescheduled. When I went for the UA after the 1st interview I took in a copy of my MS prescription and a note from the Doc stating I am a pain mgmt patient. 2 weeks later they called me for a second interview and and made me an offer.
  7. by   VickyRN
    As the nursing population ages (average age of a floor nurse is 44-46), we are going to see more and more of this. Doing this kind of work for 10, 15, 20+ years can take a horrible toll. Unfortunately, facilities are not adapting or trying to accomodate the needs of the aging RNs. Even in the face of the worse nursing shortage since WWII. An article on the nursing shortage appeared in JAMA about 2 years ago, and even the doctors were urging facilities to accomodate the aging RN workforce.
  8. by   tris
    Hi all,
    My heart reaches out to those of you that are still so young and suffering. I was in an MVA at the age of 17 and have some compression fx's (L4*5). Thank God I do not have any more problems than I do. I have to be careful what I do especially with getting older, but I can still function and work, and I am so fortunate to do that from what I am hearing from yall.
    My prayers are with all of you. I will be thinking of you, and wish you all the best. :kiss
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by BernieO
    Any nurse at my LTC is not required to lift, can find opporturnitie to sit or stretch. LTC is a much better avenue for nurses with disabilities.

    As a LTC nurse, I was required to lift 100s of pounds every shift. I got several back injuries in various LTC settings because of which I am now in chronic pain.

    I don't know where you work, BernieO, but your facility is a very rare exception to the LTC rule.
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I also have a visual disability. I have the degenerative corneal disease keratoconus. Corrective RGP lenses do not work for me. I have limited vision, but make up for it by really LOOKING at things. Many people tell me I notice things that others do not. Pretty good for having only 20/80 vision, corrected.

    I have been descriminated against by instructors at nursing school, and by a couple of employers.

    Where I work now, though, no one has said a thing.
  11. by   Disablednurse
    Where I live there are not any jobs available for nurses that cannot lift or do all jobs involved with nursing. I was MDS coordinator, but doing that I had to be able to work on the floor, double shifts if necessary. No jobs for someone who cannot lift more than 3 pounds, stand for longer than 3 minutes, sit longer than 20 minutes or walk further than 10 feet. It makes it impossible also since our nurse practice act states that a nurse cannot work while taking narcotics or mind altering drugs.
  12. by   imenid37
    this i an interesting thread. my daughter is 15 years old and expresses a strong desire to go into nursing. she has jra which is pretty much in remission at this time. between this illness, genetics, and the meds she took, she is only 4 feet 9 inches tall. the joint damage from the disease has been minimal thanks to the mega doses of meds including steroids. most of her function has been preserved and she now has very occasional stiffness. i try to encourage her to do something else w/ patients like ot or resp. therapy which wouldn't involve so much lifting. she wants to do nicu or another maternal-child area. anyone else who is very short. what obstacles do you face? i am only 5'1". my sister is 4'10" (she's an attorney and i'm a nurse in an ldrp setting).
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Originally posted by bestblondRN
    And what happens to you if your back goes out again and you're unable to work? Be careful about what all you do--I haven't had surgery yet, but got worse after returning to work after 6 weeks of Core Stabilization in PT--it set me WAY back and now am finding myself in search of work again. Good luck to you mattsmom!
    Well, thank you, but I look at it this way: back injury could happen to any nurse, not just me. For me its a calculated risk, working a few short shifts here and there... taking into consideration my experience, my tolerances and my needs.

    I cannot in good faith recommend nursing to ANYONE with a preexisting bone or joint disease...this career is just too hard on bones and joints IMHO. But I'm nearing retirement and winding I have to make the best choice all things considered. Got a kid in college who still needs Mom to work a a few credit card bills to pay off...don't want to work a 40 hr shift at Walmart...LOL...

    Time will tell how I handle worklife and I appreciate the good wishes!

    It is truly shocking to me how little compassion healthcare has for its injured and disabled nurses. We are discarded like a disposable supply item

    Good thoughts going out to all here. :kiss