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,
J X0

14 comments:

Jeanne said...

Jeannette,

I am going to leave an uncharacteristically short comment.

The bottom line is that you must listen to your body, you can't force it to do things without worsening your health in the long-run, and you can't worry about what some board thinks because... in the end... it is YOUR body that will suffer the repercussions of forcing things.

Finally, as I have said before... you may not be employed as a nurse anymore BUT that does not mean your training or years as a nurse were a waste and you CAN and MUST find your life purpose going forward.

The beauty is... I KNOW YOU WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT YOU WILL DO SO!

Don't beat yourself up, do grieve your losses, do focus on what you can do, and DON'T torture yourself dwelling on what you can't. Wishing you could have your old body back isn't going to help you. That doesn't mean to despair. You are stuck. You just need to go forward.

So find the "gas station" and fill up your tank, honey, because you are strong, caring, and passionate. In time, you WILL find your NEW PURPOSE.

Thank you for the kind comments you left on my blog about Melissa. She certainly needs our support at this time.

Take care,

Jeanne

P.S. Haha... I lied. This comment was long like always. I always write more than I think I'm going to. What can I say? When I'm passionate about things, I write/talk a lot about them. So, it's only because I care about you that I'm leaving you this multi-spoon message. :)

Jeannette said...

Oh-I just love yah Jeanne-you are most definitely one of the wisest and kind-hearted souls I have ever had the pleasure of chatting with.

Obviously I am still struggling with not being able to nurse anymore...one minute I think I am ok with it, the next, not so much. I guess it is all a process.

I have given it my all and that is truly all that I can do-all life's challenges, aren't they wonderful?

Thanks again for stopping by-I really appreciate it-and I am praying with all my heart that all goes well for Melissa.

Love,
Jeannette

Jasmine said...

My mom is a retired RN, and I remember her going through the same struggles with health and her career.

Allow yourself a few minutes a day to just yell, cry, write, dance - whatever you need to do to vent. But when you're done, focus on loving yourself, honoring your limitations, and taking the steps you need to in order to move forward.

Jeannette said...

Jasmine,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I truly appreciate it. There is an abundance of wise suggestions in there. I do my best to try and be positive yet, some days, I fail at it miserably. I wish that I did not allow so much of myself to be enveloped in the identity of being a nurse. Yet, I think that is also what made me a good nurse. It is a form of grief I suppose and that is why it hurts so much. I am definitely grieving for the loss of something that was so important to me.

Thanks again for such a great comment.

J

jeisea said...

hi jeannette
I am not sure what has caused your chronic pain. However chronic pain changes the brain. Many treatments for chronic pain fail because of this. There is a grunswell of evidence and research about the part the brain plays in chronic pain. Dr Lorimer Moseley and David Butler give a great explanation i their book "Explain Pain". There are free videos about this on the NOI Group website. I also gather you've had your thyroid removed. Once your thyroiid is in balance with meds the tiredness, slow metabolism etc should settle. When getting tests suggest you also check T3 as well as T4. Hope things get easier for you soon.
jeisea

Jeannette said...

Jeisea,

Thank you so much for your comment-it is so wonderful when we have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals that understand what we go through.

Thank you for recommending the "Explain Pain" book. I will definitely get a copy and check it out. I do try to get my hands on any and everything that could possibly help. I also visited your blog and really enjoyed reading through it-you have been through a lot too! I am now following your blog as well and look forward to getting to know you better and perhaps we will be a great source of support for each other.

Take care & thanks again for taking the time to comment-I really appreciate it!

Jeannette

Stilled Waters said...

Hi, I empathize with you. I was a teacher,professional storyteller, singer and award-winning public speaker.I've been stopped dead in my tracks by permanent nerve damage to my face. I am in constant pain, which is increased by any movement of the right side of my face - smiling, laughing,singing,talking

I am now trying to reinvent myself. Learning sign language & looking into text to speech hand-held applications. I have 2 online identities now. You just started following one on Twitter, but I'll sign as my other.(Guess I'd better open a Twitter for it too! )

Jeannette said...

Stilled Waters:

I am so sorry for what has happened to you. I think it is awesome that we are able to connect with others that truly understand what we go through-however I wish we had something more positive in common...

It is really hard to accept that you are unable to do that job that you did for so long, especially if you really enjoyed it. It is not enough that the pain is there 24/7 but to lose more on top of it just adds insult to injury...and I know you understand exactly what I mean. (I wish you didn't)

Anyhow-thanks again for stopping by-please come visit often-I just started following your blog as well. Hope to chat soon.

Take care,
Jeannette

autoimmunelife said...

Glad to hear you are attempting to go to work again, sorry to hear it sounds like it's kicking your rear. ((hugs)) I'm sorry to hear about how bad it's been!

Jeannette said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Yes, it is kicking my rear alright-and how! I absolutely need to return as I am sick and tired of struggling to pay the bills and buy food.

The only issue is my pain. Trying to work of course increases it.If I could just stay in bed 24/7 it would be alright but then that is not very realistic...

I am awaiting my doc increasing my pain meds and it seems as though she is moving in slow motion. When you are in pain one minute=20 hours or at least it feels like it! I did see a pain specialist and he sent recommendations about what to try so I am hoping and praying that today she will make the changes so that I at least have a bit of hope that I will be successful working.

Thanks again and take care,
JeannetteX0

Shirley said...

I'm sorry to be reading of your trials, Jeannette. I know the good stuff you are made of and I know that nursing has been your calling. Have you considered trying to work through Community Living or a similar organization. You could work with them I'm sure in some capacity. Even as a companion to someone with grave disablities. I know it wouldn't pay the same but it might save your sanity. It can be heart-wrenching to see others with severe impediments, but you have the empathy it takes to succeed. Miss you a lot!!! love Shirley

Jeannette said...

Shirley-Shirley Lane? Is that you?

Thanks so much for such a kind and thoughtful comment. It has been very difficult to not be able to return to the job I loved. Life sure throw some real zingers our way sometimes, and I think it's time for some of the "good stuff" to come along.

If it is you-I have missed you too. I have thought of you more times than I could ever count and would love to be able to chat and catch up. Actually I have a Yahoo email address, one that I don't care if it's public. Please email me and then I will give you my main email address.

I really would love the opportunity to find out how you are doing and what is new after all this time. Too long really. We certainly do have a lot of catching up to do as so much has happened.

jeannetterpn@yahoo.ca

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Love,
JeannetteX0

Jeanne said...

Jeannette,

Heads up.

Your acct is sending spam: "df;l,grg". I just got this.

I have heard some twitter accounts are getting attacked. I wanted to let you know and I'm sending you a message this way because, frankly, I don't want to link to your twitter account if it is under attack.

(I get enough twitter spam)!

Good luck.

Jeanne

Jeannette said...

Thanks Jeanne-I am so annoyed! I am on my way out the door for my 6 hr journey to the pain doc so I am asking a friend to help fix it.

Sorry about that-hoping it will be fixed shortly

JeannetteX0