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Fibro and work
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scotianova posted:
Hi there!

I'm newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia and CFS (after years of testing and, of course, not being taken seriously as a 24 year old woman). I have a couple of different questions but I'll post separately.


I am a Registered Nurse and work in a hospital setting. I graduated jsut a year ago and was put on sick leave after one month of work due to pain and exhaustion (plus the fun array of other symptoms like daily nausea and dizziness). I had always been unwell but during my schooling we didn't work in the hospital often, let alone 12 hour shifts, so when I actually started I realized the impact.


Luckily for me, my manager is a saint and asked me to come back after several months on leave to work as her sort of "assistant". In my organization we have a thing called "duty to accommodate" where as long as certain conditions are met medically, employees are supposed to be kept in their jobs on a modified basis. this was nine months ago now and I've since been doing a lot of quality and research projects for her, spicing up the unit, etc. Mostly all desk work which has helped a great deal. Again I can't express enough how lucky I am, especially being a nurse.


I'm a very dedicated hard worker, I wanted to get back from the first day I was off, I hate missing time and I work my butt off in the ways I can. I'm still looking for other work and my employer is trying to place me too. I even applied to grad school and will be starting my public health masters this fall! (ee!) HOWEVER as I'm sure you all can understand, even with working a desk job the days can creep up that are full of immobilizing pain and fatigue.


I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on taking sick time. I've heard people say that within my health organization other managers will judge you by your sick time, and you can possibly miss getting a new position because of it. I honestly totally get that from the employer's perspective, but it's scary. I've barely taken maybe 4 days off since January, I've had a lot of work I can do laying on my back from home so I don't actually miss time. but some days I know I shouldn't be here and want to take care of myself. I don't want to spend my youth putting my limited energy into work and not feeling well enough to do anything outside, but I'm also worried about how I look at work.


I'm only on gabapentin right now which isn't helping much, and my GP wants to start me on another so hopefully that will help decrease the bad days! I just hate taking multiple meds...


Thanks for your time!!
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hillbillieswife responded:
Hi There!
Sorry to hear you're so young fighting this battle but you seem like a very strong person that has all her ducks in a row. Have you looked into FMLA? I would think that you would be approved and you could use this time on the occasional day here and there instead of sick time. I don't believe FMLA days can be held against you by your employer. Just a thought. Hope this helps some.


Take care
Michele
 
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franr responded:
Hi Scotinova
So sorry to hear you facing so man health issues so early in your Nursing career.I am also a RN with 45 years of nursing experience.The last 16 years I had to give up most of my hospital nursing and became a school nurse .But did stay per diem and worked from time to time .Unfortunely many nurses are inflicted with fibromyalgia. I believe all the stress and lifting has increased our chances of developing this syndrome .Please give up on your nursing career. Going to school and working at as a nurse can all lead up to full blown symptoms .Maybe you can choose to work partime and attend a few classes. GP are wonderful doctors but you need to see a doctor that specializing with fibro .If you work at the hospital inquire around to find the best possible MD. Nurses are great references. There are many drugs that help deal with management of symptoms. Continue to check in here there are so many members that have been afflicted with fibro and know how to manage and have great advice.Hopefully this helps a little and keep us updated...Fran
 
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franr replied to franr's response:
Scotinova


Sorry I did mean to say don't give up on your nursing career.You worked too hard to get were you are.Sorry again....Fran
 
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scotianova replied to franr's response:
Hi Fran!

Nono, thank you for your response! You have a valid point, and I'm not so much "giving up" as changing direction I've always leaned towards community and public health anyway, so my next degree should hopefully open some doors. Thankfully my manager is incredible and I don't have to do nursing duties, I'm doing projects that are helpful but I'm not really using my brain (though with the fibro fog and continuing school, maybe it's a good thing ).

Being this young sucks in so much that finding a job that doesn't require much experience is a problem, but a blessing because I have time to look into another career.

I find nursing frustrating as we learn to assume people with chronic pain are pill seekers, so I've avoided telling any of my colleagues and my manager the actual issue for fear of judgement. I have an amazing support group of friends and family though, and my fiance is my rock.

I would keep up floor nursing except that I can't just take a sit-down day if I'm sick, whereas in an office/administrative position I can still come to work.

I've also realized my life is worth more than pushing myself to meet the expectations of other people. I'm going to go towards what works for me.

Another question, how does it work when it's auch a subjective issue? My employee health worker wants me to do a physio test to see what I can do. It makes me mad because it's irrelevant. Sure I CAN lift that person, but what about how I FEEL and the after effects?
 
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franr replied to scotianova's response:
Hi


Unfortunely working in hospital there is always lifting.I remembering going to work many mornings when I could hardly walk in the door I was in so much pain but after taking advil I was albe to manage. But 8 hours running around on those cement floors was never pleasant.Let them give you a test and let them see how painful it is to lift.They cannot fire you. Their are many hospital workers who have bad backs etc and still manage to work. Try to stay at least a year to get experience under your belt .Try to find a MD that will help you.There are meds to help lessen the symptoms believe me there are many members on this board who can attest to that.Otherwise no one here would be working.Keep us updated and good luck with work ...Fran


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