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Worried About Work!!!
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Worried About Work!!!

Hi everyone,

I am having trouble at work and would like to know if anyone can relate or has any suggestions.  I am a nurse and have been working 12-14 hr shifts in the same unit for the last 8 years.  I had severe leg pain, numbness and tingling, burning as well as many other symptoms when I was diagnosed about 1 1/2 yrs ago which all went away except for the burning.  

The burning is always there in my R lower leg and has always gotten worse and moved as high as my lower abd when I am tired, temp goes up,  exercise, etc.  I think I have finally gotten use to that.  The problem now is that the nerve pain gets worse with all of those things and now they feel weak, achey (achy) and often like I have pulled a muscle, esp the hamstring muscle.  It also seems to be in both legs but still worse on the right.

I am worried because I have had to call in a lot in the last 6 mos because I have been told that I should call in if I'm not sure that I can make it through the entire shift.....and quite honestly, not knowing if I will be able to sit for anymore than my 30min lunch has caused me to call in more than I would have liked!

I tried to transfer to a position that had more "down time,' was told I had the job but after revealing (trying to be honest) that I had ms, found out the job was given to someone else.  I was heartbroken...I've never not gotten a job I had applied for.  I did tranfser to nights and that has helped some.
  
So I guess what I'm asking is.... is this progression of the disease?  Something that may resolve?  I feel like my neurologist and the people at work think that I am exaggerating or not trying hard enough because it is not something they can see!!  They seem to have forgotten what a great employee I have been over the years and how much OT I use to pick up.  It hurts my feelings and at times makes me angry at them and myself for feeling like AND knowing that I am no longer able to be as good at my job as I had been!!  

Did many of you have to give up a job you have loved because of not being physically able to do it anymore?

Does this sound like my MS or maybe something else going on?  I did make an appt at an MS clinic.  I don't feel my neuro sees enough ms patients to have all the answers I feel I need.

Thanks for the help!!!
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12 Comments Post a Comment
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Hi, again.  I have a couple things.  One it does appear that your MS is progressing, now that it includes the weakness (motor nerves) in addition to the burning (sensory nerves).  

We have all suffered at the opinions of those that can't "see" our disease.  It truly is heartbreaking.  This is something we talk about a lot, because it is so common and cuts so deep.

If your job performance is suffering and you even think they might be preparing a case to let you go, then get a good disability attorney to work with you and help preserve your rights.  Being in the medical profession is ZERO reassurance that they will be understanding of your disability.  You have a legal right to a job which accomodates your need for more "down time."  The ADA celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  Make your employers adapt your job.

But, sometimes the question becomes whether you can realistically keep working.  I am one who gave up a truly beloved profession of being a pediatrician when I realized that my fatigue and slowed thinking was putting children at risk - I was a solo pediatrician in a small, rural town and there wasn't always someone around when I wasn't up to it.

If you have a disability with your job, don't make the same mistake I made - of downsizing my hours - and thus, my pay - and end up on a disability payment that was much lower than it needed to have been.

But, above all, protect your rights if you intend to keep working.  Make your employer to what they need to do within federal law.  We have some Health Pages written about this.

And, again, sorry for the short memories of all those who act like you "suddenly have become lazy."  I know, it hurts like he ll.

Quix
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Hello, I am also an RN working those 12 hour shifts. When I revealed that they were looking at MS as a possible diagnosis at my previous employment they stated they did not think I was functioning to my previous level when just a few weeks before they gave me more resposiblitity because I was doing such a great job.

I was not allowed to transfer to another position due to "legal reasons". Make sure you watch your rights. When you see your MD get an intermittent FMLA to cover ou for when you have to call in. Try Cymbalta if you have not already for the pain.

I recently started lidoderm patches and they seem to be working. Most of all ask for a broken schedule of maybe 2 days on and 2 off.  and rest rest rest.


I worked 10 years with no call ins except when I had pneumonia one time. I took a vacation for  the times I needed solumedrol so no one knew I was sick. So do not bank on anyone out there being sympathetic.

You are among friends here.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Missy
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Thank you both for your responses. It really does help to know that others understand!!

I do understand where management is coming from...I don't think it should be but it is a business and right now I am more of a disablilty than an asset :-).  I do love my job and the people I work with and would like to continue doing it for as long as possible..... not to mention the money is great....but it would be nice not to feel like management would love to find a reason to let me go.
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Missy, I have tried cymbalta and neurontin and both help the burning some but do nothing for the aching and weak feeling.  The only thing that helps...and not all the time, is to just rest a little bit and as you would know, that is frequently not an option.  I have told them that I can not work more that 2 days in a row but embarassingly enough .... some days that can be too much!!!

This just stinks!!!  A couple of years ago I was working 12hr shifts and coming home and jogging 3 miles.  I would average 12mile rollerblading with an occasional 20mile trip.  Now I can't make it through a 12hr day.  When I really think about how much less I am able to do I am shocked.

Quix, Can a disability attorney help me protect my rights while I am still working or is that a different specialist??  It might be a good idea to let them know that I have spoken with an attorney just in case they have any any intentions of forcing me out.  I have heard that anyone in the hospital with an fmla for a chronic condition is a target.

Thanks, Robin  
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Im a certified nursing assistant and as you know, that requires alot of physical work, even lifting when they say you shouldnt. I loved my job, i was going to school to be an LPN. But my job suffered immensely. I called in multiple times because id be up all night in serious pain, and go to a job that i could do for an hour and then barely function. I was fine when i first started, i was having a decent couple weeks..and then it hit me again. They didnt realize i was sick, i never told them. Then I did tell them, they werent happy.

I eventually ended up leaving when i realized they were trying to get me to quit. They refused me breaks for lunch and my 15 minutes and would work 8 hours straight through. They would give me the heaviest patients and the ones who needed most attention. I would come home crying because i was in so much pain. My husband and I decided it was time to give them what they wanted and i left.

I did stop school because i knew if i couldnt handle being a CNA i wouldnt be able to do LPN..id go to school and completely forget everything i learned in class, forget homework even when i wrote it down, id forget where it went. Id spend hours at a dictionary trying to find the right words because i couldnt remember what i wanted to say or how to say it.

Im devestated to loose something that I really loved. At 22, i was counting on that to be the bread winner of my family. Now im pretty much disabled and unavailable for alot of jobs.

They do have government job agencies that meet the needs of a disabled person. In fact, a job cannot turn you down if you meet the requirements with some help to do the things you cant do. Perhaps you could look into them and see if they have any anything you could do in the medical field that would fit your needs?

Im sorry your dealing with this. You have my support,
Inny
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btw, yes a disability attorney can help you with that! No need for a different specialist! There are laws protecting you and your rights with a disability. You need to make money as much as the next person. It just ***** your body wasnt like it used to be and that you find yourself unable to carry a 12 hour day but that in no way shape or form is your fault.

The attorney would be able to tell you what to do and where to take it from there. Even if it just a free consultation, youd be at least able to get some good ideas!
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First, I like to say I'm sorry you are having worsening symptoms affecting your job performance. I know first hand how disheartening this can be.

Secondly, I thought  I would add what  knowledge and experience I have to this discussion. I was employed as a nurse paralegal by a small law firm. I was also candid about my health issues, more out of necessity than desire to share, and suffered the consequences.

Of course, the firm handled my case with the utmost care to avoid an EEOC claim and a lawsuit. I was forced to take a 30 day medical leave without pay or essentially lose my job. It wasn't as clear cut as that but that is the bottom line. I started my long term disability paperwork at their urgent suggestion and am now on it.

I sought the advice of an lawyer in employment law as discrimination is the bulk of their practice. I wasn't able to file a claim or sue due to the the internal memo they wrote and I verbally agreed with. They naturally covered their butts legally. The attorney I contacted said the ONE sentence in the memo got them off, was the fact that I had asked for the memo to be altered in a very small way which implied I agreed to their actions.

The consultation was free as are most first time consultations. I would seek the advice of an employment law attorney for two reasons, your employer has not made accommodations to allow you to continue work, and it appears you have lost the new job due to your candor regarding your illness. This certainly is job discrimination as defined by the EEOC. You can google EEOC and read up on your rights and responsibilities to act in a timely fashion.

You  only have 180 days to file a complaint with EEOC regarding the discrimination and failure to follow the ADA act. An employment lawyer can help you file the EEOC. This was recommended to me by the employment attorney , not simply to receive payment but to assure that it was written in such a way that  produced the desired results. Also, know that if you file an EEOC claim, your employer will receive notification of this as soon as it is filed.

Your workplace did not provide you with reasonable accommodations. Mine did so but only enough to follow the letter of the law. Since our firm was under 50 employees, they were not obligated to follow the FMLA act. I would guess that your facility is larger and they would have to follow the FMLA act and give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

A disability attorney may be of help depending on their past experience and their field of expertise. You can call any law office and ask to speak to an attorney regarding your case. People do this all the time. I used to screen the initial calls involving medical issues and ask an attorney if they wanted to interview the client, so don't be put off by being screened by another employee before you make it to the attorney. This is necessary due to the volume of calls.

In my personal opinion, you have a good case, but  that is just my opinion. I would make calls to several employment law attorneys and inquire about the validity of your claim. Also, ask how many times the attorney has represented an individual in this type of claim if the attorney advertises a diverse list of abilities. The narrower their field of law the better they are at getting good results.

I wish you luck in your legal endeavors and hope that your physical issues improve and you feel better.

Regards,
Ren
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I forgot to mention to document EVERYTHING!  As a nurse, I am sure you do anyway but keep a log of any and all interactions with your superiors as time fades so do the exact details. If you do sue, it may take a year or more to try and the details do get lost.

ren
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Ren, Thank you some much for the information.  I did read the information on the EEOC site and it does sound to me like I have a case. Problem is, I like my job and would like to continue working there for as long as possible but I have started looking in to less strenuous areas of nursing ie home health.

In your experience, has anyone that filed a complaint managed to keep their job?  I do have an FMLA and I feel that is why that is why they seem to be out to get me.  I don't want to make it sound horrible, it hasn't been great but it isn't horrible. However, there have been enough actions and comments to make me worry.  

I just want some protection and peace of mind.

BTW, how are you doing?  How long can you stay on LTD?? Are you working on ssdi or planning on going back to work?

Thanks again, Robin







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hi i was just reading your post although i live in a different country i would like to comment.your employer has a duty to help you with some form of accomadation maybe that would mean to work less hours you need to follow up with your dr. and he needs to put in writing what your limitations should be.i am not fully diagnosed as of yet i had to give up my occupation as i was working in home health and there was to many variables with the patients and there equiptment the job was to physical for me to do anymore.
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739070_tn?1338607002
Hi Robin,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. I have been battling C. diff acquired from antibiotics due to UTIs.

You asked about employment after filing the EEOC complaint. In my personal experience, the people who filed did so after they were fired. BTW, you have to make an EEOC complaint before you can proceed with any other legal action. The idea being that your employer will make the appropriate accommodations,etc.

I am on company LTD for two years. My LTD company insisted I file SSDI to continue receiving my payments, however they have a private company handle this for me free of charge.

At this point in time I am not planning on going back to work. I still have vertigo issues and many days I cannot drive. This was the issue at work...too much time off due to vertigo even though I could work from home. They countered that my job description was not a work from home position that I needed to be available for the attorneys to pop in my office for "doorway diagnoses".

Have you considered becoming a nurse paralegal? You read medical records  and compile chronologies of the clients complaints and look for discrepancies in the records. I thoroughly enjoyed my job. They are some employers that will let you work from home and go to the office like once a week. Just a thought.

Keep us updated on your situation!

Ren
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I can only answer one of your questions, that being about LTD. I have been on LTD for over 21 years. I think that they all specify that they will continue ( as long as you are still unable to work) until you reach the age of 65. As Ren stated I also had to apply for SSDI which I have been collecting for those 21 years also.

Dennis
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I hear you, I have a great job that I really like too.

Unfortunately I have been unable to work for over 16 months now. I just can not do my job due to coordination problems, fatigue, cog issues, etc, etc, and my doctors orders not to drive (other than localy on good days only).

I've been on  employee paid LTD benefits, which I qualify for by being unable to do 60% of my normal job.

After 24 months, I'll need to be unable to do any job anywhere that pays at least 75% of my normal wages in order to qualify......so we'll see what the insurance company pulls out of their hat then.

Although I've been told by my employer that I'll have a job here, even if it's in a different capacity, when I'm ready to come back to work, I worry.....

...maybe I'll never be ready to come back
...maybe I'll have to move
...maybe the insurance company will claim I can earn 75% and cut me off

As you can see since I'm not working I have plenty of time to worry.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know you're no alone in your carreer worries.

To answer one of your questions - yes, I've had to give up a great job because of this disease, at least for now.

I sure hope you're able to get the peace of mind regarding your employment and your financial security like we all deserve.

All the best to you

Mike

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