I was waiting until after things were decided; this subject prompts me to speak out. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's approximately 6 years ago (we suspect this year is actually year ten).
After the initial shock, I decided to let my employer know (through our nurse manager) about my illness; she was gracious and concerned and made the statement that if I got to a point where I needed accomodations about bedside nursing then the hospital would find me (implied creation) a position which would be less demanding physically.
I went to work sick, dizzy, frightened by the changes in my physical being; worried about my future. I wrote an article about PD for the newsletter and received a cash award and many, many compliments. In all that time, I only received one nasty comment by a physician from Russia who was "repulsed" by my physical being (and my use of a scooter to navigate the long distance from parking to the unit)-I never asked for any special treatment and I frequently volunteered for a third patient. Towards what was to be my last six months at work, I began to walk tilted to the right from my waist. All the tests were negative for stroke but the physical changes took over with a vengence.
Schedules changing proved to be the impetus for me to go per diem/prn. My patients were wonderful and I would answer their quetions honestly if they asked. Families were good to me. I loved my job even more - I went to every critical care area imagenable and I felt awake and competent. My neurologist prescribed a combination of two drugs which eliminated the drool and tremors. I would occasionally walk with the tilt but usually it was when I was tired.
Things came to a head when a charge nurse I had no complaints about before suddenly began to treat me very badly - specifically calling me a cow; pushing me out of her way as she tried to move around the bottom of my patient's bed; mouthing criticism of the ER physician while she was helping with an emergency in the room. When I confronted her about her comments (not listed here) she lost it but when I warned her about pushing me in the future (two frightened nurses within earshot) she apologized. The next time I worked with her, she had imposed rules for her shift; specifically the RN must stay in patient's room where computer on wheels remained despite severe and frequent loss of signal resulted in loss of computerized information.
When I gave report in the morning, I advised oncoming staff and new charge that I would be going to the main hospital that afternoon to enter the new 4 hour assessment form which had just been introduced - I also always had someone check my computer input (even the night charge despite her sarcasm and negative attitude) - at one point, this same charge proved that as a "float", my access to computerized entries was different from one critical care area to another -this issue was not followed up by my supervisor as she promised.
Later that afternoon, I was called and invited to come to my boss's office (my comment was "are you terminating me" since I knew something was being done below the radar....) I was terminated for sleeping on duty which I vehemently denied ..... the unit clerk could see me in the room and she assured me she had NOT seen any sleeping on my part...just the patient (who became very slightly disoriented when awakened for necessary care.
Now, to help you. The Americans with disabilities act (a federal act) applies to every state. It has six categories (including one called retaliation) which invite the disabled person to spell out what they felt compelled to report...in my case, the termination was based on the charge's write up in which she stated she went into the room because alarms for pulse ox were not being addressed - she stated she had to shake me vigorously. I can promise you that I was most attentive to this patient - we were enjoying the evening (sounds casual but it isn't...she was doing very well) - and if the charge nurse had touched me, I would have had her up on charges since the last time she put her hands on me twice, her friend, my boss asked me as a favor NOT to write her up (and I stupidly complied).
Just so it is known, the EEOC enforces the rules and they are backed up approximately 12 months (down from 24)...my attorney (and you should hire one even if it means spending time and money to find one) is also a RN; he is wonderful and I am thankful for him. My complaint (among the four not listed here) is that I had never slept nor been written up, never had any conversation about sleeping - there are several nurses who are known for sleeping on duty and one in fact slept (and was observed) for three hours at the nursing station...they woke her and sent her home....can you see the pattern of unfair treatment? My complaint is so uncomplicated compared to yours. I wanted to share with you the fact that you do have something to help you continue to work. I am here as a support too. God bless and good luck.