Nurses with disabilities - page 8

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   deehaverrn
    the system is messed up, like the rest of healthcare the worker's co mpensation laws seem to be controlled by he insurance companies. while they are making money, injured workers are tormented and not treated fairly. although it is agreed that i was injured at work, AND my mri shows changes like bulging discs, degeneration, and tears which can cause pain, i have been treated like i am faking. although we as nurses are told to treat pts pain, mine is ignored,, i actually have been in so much pain at work that i have cried in pts rooms and find it impossible not to grimace when i need to bend to listen to breath sounds or examine a pt. Yet the docs act like i just work in an office or something. I can't take my meds and work cuz they make me fuzzy. I can't take nsaids cuz of their effect on my bp (skyrockets). I wouldn't mind so much if i was just assigned to help others with their assignments since then i could take a break or even leave when i can'tolerate the pain anymore. instead i have a full assignment and am just supposed to 'call for help" when needed. i feel guilty calling out of work, but its worse when i go in, and have to stay despite pain because i know its so short staffed i have been put in some really unsafe situations (for myself and the pt) and despite what administration stated (in court!!) there is not always help available when i ask
  2. by   jess123
    I am about to become a nursing student and have a hearing problem! Ive managed to lip read since it was diagnosed. i am not totally deaf, but i should think that in a few years i will be! Ive worked in a hospital for about 3 and a half years and people have been great (once they knew).
    I think that whatever disability you have it should never stop you from doing what you want, and nursing is something i definately want!
    Hats off to those who have more serious problems and have acheived such alot.
  3. by   SherBearRN
    Hi, everyone!

    I'm a nurse with multiple sclerosis (MS). I was diagnosed May 2006 when I lost eye sight in my right eye. The ER at my hospital diagnosed me with optic neuritis after the MRI. I was scheduled four days later to see a neurologist. Fortunately I regained my eye sight. I did, however, continue to experience exasperations and they have continued non-stop over the last six months. I'm now out on short-term disability due to the latest flare.

    When I was diagnosed, I was working on the transplant floor as a staff nurse. I had a great manager who - along with the nursing recruiter at my hospital - helped me get into another less physically demanding job. I went to a sit down position where I register patients for surgeries. It has been a good fit for me and has sustained my time working as a nurse. I am grateful to the hospital and the free benefits I receive as an employee. So far I haven't had to pay anything for my medications, which can cost more than $20,000 a year.

    Unfortunately healthcare workers in certain areas of the country do not have the coverage like I have here in California. I moved from the Midwest where it cost me more than $300 a month for health insurance with a base of $17/hr. I couldn't afford to stay there! Also, if a nurse has a disability and tries to obtain coverage on his or her own, chances are that person will not eligible for coverage (like my MS). It is sad and angers me. I believe everyone deserves exceptional healthcare coverage regardless of income.

  4. by   70sCat
    I am currently without medical coverage because I'm having to change jobs YET again due to my problems with Lupus. I can't afford COBRA payments so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be flare-free for awhile. I remember reading earlier in this thread about nurses looking to change to another profession. I have been trying to find something else to do for a living for a long time. I love nursing, but 12+ hour days, mostly standing with few breaks are just killing me.
  5. by   Kowden
    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.
  6. by   jean1038
    Just want to add get a disability lawyer and they can help you get your SSI started... dont apply by yourself... for sure a lawyer will get your benefits started... and they get paid when you get paid...
    go at it this way and you will get what you need...
    Quote from P_RN
    Since you called roll I can honestly answer


    A nurse with an injury or disability is a persona non grata to the human resources department. They do everything they can to APPEAR TO HELP you but in truth you are sunk.

    It took literally years for me to get SSI and it's going to be years more before I can feel like holding my head up. The drop in income is dramatic, the attitudes of the people who you thought you knew is even more dramatic. I still feel like the invivible man in a crowd.

    Good luck, I couln't afford the COBRA either. Mine would have gone from $35 q 2 weeks to $215 q 2 weeks. Fortunately it was Blue Cross and my husbands BC allowed me to join with no waiting.

    Whether or not YOU think you qualify for SSI, make the application anyway. They have a complex formula based on your age, your education, your physical abilities to do your CURRENT job. Make the application.
  7. by   CCL"Babe"
    Originally Posted by P_RN
    A nurse with an injury or disability is a persona non grata to the human resources department. They do everything they can to APPEAR TO HELP you but in truth you are sunk.

    How true. HR told me that I would probably lose my job in the Lobby of the hospital. There I was crying, the day before my back surgery. not a pretty sight. The next time we spoke I demanded to talk in privacy. I did lose my job- The first legal day they could cut my job they did. I had a lot of anger for many years.

    I am considered 28% disabled, but it is more than enough at times.
  8. by   walk6miles
    For those of you (personal experience) with spinal stenosis and/or discs that have collapsed onto each other, may I suggest XSTOP (google it and go to the creator's website).... I was desparate for pain relief and discovered this procedure only to find it was not approved by the FDA when I needed it. I considered going to England and/or Scotland for the placement of this ingenious device...... it has now been approved and there are physicians all over the country (including my town) who can place it.....instant relief.

    I believe the creator is still under the manufacturing company "St Francis Medical Device". Contact me if you need assistance. I would definitely have it placed!
  9. by   Simplepleasures
    I havent been on this BB for a while due to health reasons, I too am a nurse with many years in the long term care field, 27 to be exact. Had to stop working for a couple of reasons, one being health, DDD, DJD of spine,DJD bilat. knees, inflammatory and osteo arthritis bilat hands, starting cataracts bilat. epi-retinal membrane right eye, left eye blind -malignant myopia.Age 55. Couldnt afford Cobra, life savings depleted, going to free clinic, which is great but does not offer comprehensive healthcare due to cost constraints, I need to see a rhuematologist and orthopedic surgeon, but they wont pay for this. I need a cervical MRI and an updated thoracic lumbar MRI, but free clinic also cannot provide due to cost constraints. Ive applied for SSDI, was denied,got SS attorney, am now in process of long wait for ALJ hearing due to backlogs in SSA. Have depleted savings,am greatful for the financial support of my children or I would be on the street.

    I try not to feel sorry for myself, but there are days that it just cannot be helped. People who say that it is too easy to get approved for SSDI are wrong, there are 750,000 nation wide who are waiting for their SSDI cases to be heard in court.The reason for this backlog is due to this Administration cutting the SSA funding and the baby boomers aging not so gracefully.People have actually DIED waiting to be approved for SSDI. SAD. This is a national disgrace.
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Aug 21, '07
  10. by   HM2VikingRN
    I am so sorry that you have been ill. I was wondering about you just the other day. Please know that aq lot of people caqre about you.
  11. by   sharona97
    Hi BB,

    In my situation HR fired 3 persons with dis in one day. 2 had cancer. I collapsed 2 years prior in respo distress. I was working in a clinic that has a union ( I swore I'd never do that before as a very young prof person). they became involved and I did receive compensation in money as they posted my job without telling me! can U beleive that as a human to a human, and working in a field of compassion?

  12. by   Simplepleasures
    Quote from HM2Viking
    I am so sorry that you have been ill. I was wondering about you just the other day. Please know that aq lot of people caqre about you.
    Thankyou Viking, that means so much to me, no health insurance, cant afford Cobra, chronic condition and very rudimentary health care at free clinic makes for a situation in which a condition that could be improved has become worse.Thanks for your concern, am feeling a bit better now and will keep making trouble here on these forums.
  13. by   sharona97
    i too worked with a CMA who was actually working and getting chemo and getting alot of guff at work. She passed..... as a single mother.

    Myprayers are endless.