Wednesday, September 16, 2009
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD EM...
I know I stated that my next blog post would be about nerve blocks and in fact the one following this will be rather than vice versa. There are a couple of reasons why I have changed the order a little. 1) For me, my blog at times is a method to purge things that are bothering me, similar to why a person may write a journal. 2) I have had many people asking me how I am coping with my return to work and this post will certainly answer that question.
Several weeks ago, I received a visit from a very pleasant lady at WSIB and her job is to assist the injured worker in returning to work. She is to formulate a plan and remove the real or potential obstacles to a successful return to work. I liked her, truly I did, still do in fact. She seemed to be a very caring individual and I was pleased to finally be treated well by someone at WSIB. I will admit, I was rather unnerved and pretty much scared to death at returning after an almost 2 year absence. However, never afraid of a challenge, I agreed to return and try my best.I always give everything I attempt my very best. Bottom line, I have tried with everything I had in me. But, I am failing...miserably.
As soon as I return from work each day, I immediately go to bed. I remain there until around dinner time and stay up until it is time for my son to go to bed. At which point, I too return to bed. The increase in pain subsequent to the increased activity has again lead to a lack of restful sleep. Then of course the fatigue sets in and ensures that my pain feels worse than ever. It is a horribly vicious circle that I have found myself entangled in many times since the injury occurred.
As the months have flown by, I found myself feeling more and more useless. I did want to return, simply to perhaps feel like a functioning human being again. The saddest part is that, despite stating so, my employer does not really have any “light duty” work. They are a nursing agency and all of the work takes place in the community. This unfortunately, left me sitting in a chair, reading the same literature repeatedly day after day. Without a source of distraction, my pain was absolutely horrible. I need to be distracted on some level, otherwise I feel every pain elevated to an intolerable level and I watch the clock.
It was then decided that I would go out to the community with the other nurses. I was thrilled at that prospect if for no other reason than to get out of the office. My reaction to these “outings” shocked me more than I could ever explain. Due to my injury and limited ability, basically I was just watching and doing paper work. I actually did a couple of blood pressures and respiratory assessments, however beyond that, I felt like the fifth wheel. As I mentioned many times before, I loved my job. From the bottom of my heart and soul that is the God’s honest truth. Nursing never felt like work to me and my entire identity was and is wrapped around being a nurse.
I thought I had resigned myself to the fact that I would no longer be able to carry out the nursing activities that in the past were simply second nature to me. I sobbed each time I arrived home after being out in the community. I choked it back while out but let loose at home. It was the type of sobbing that seems to come up from the feet. A deep painful cry of an injured animal is how I sounded. There it was, in my face, black and white: I can no longer do these basic nursing tasks. I will never be able to return to regular nursing duties and the job I so loved. Clearly, I had not accepted this reality. I don’t want to accept it. Yet, outside of a miracle occurring, it is that very reality that slapped me in the face.
I want my old life back. I am tired of suffering with pain 24/7. I want to be like healthy people that get up each morning and go to work and lead productive lives. It breaks my heart that I found the career that made me feel as though I was not “working.” (Find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.) I had that and I recognized just how fortunate I was to have found it. All that I ever wanted was to make a difference in the lives of others with my time here on earth. I was. I did. I made a difference to my patients. I cared and they knew it. I truly could not imagine a more fulfilling and important career on the planet. I had it all in front of me and now, I simply can not do it. God help me, I just can’t.
Now, you can be sure that WSIB will not take the same view as I. They think that pain or no pain I must return. Pain is subjective and therefore non-measurable and this means that my pain is not a factor in any decision-making. Unfortunately, subjective or not-it is my reality. So much so that when I push myself as I have been doing recently, I vomit. Violently. My body is screaming-“I hurt and STOP what you are doing.” But instead of heeding, I kept pushing. I have done my best to put my head down and trudge through the pain and do what I have been instructed to do but now I am waving the white flag. I know this will mean going back to struggling to feed my son due to no money, however, I haven't a choice now. I am not much of a gambler, I prefer sure things, however, I’ve given it my all regardless of what any adjudicator or board believes and now I must stop pushing myself. It is time to “fold em and walk away.” Walk away...Walk and not run, simply because I can no longer run. :0(
Kenny Rogers: The Gambler
You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealins done.
Take care and stay well,