I'm a public high school teacher in my 16th year in the classroom. If you could get a Neurologist opinion off the record, I'd bet he/she would say Neurologists in general do not have a good handle/answers for side affects of TIA's. After my series of TIA in Jan. '09. I took the whole school year off. Since I'm not wealthy, I had to return to work for mainly health insurance. The year off, B.P. finally was stable, still felt lethargic due to the 9 meds, I'm on. Back to the pressure cooker of the classroom, I had another TIA in Sept. 2010. Along with my Spinal Stenosis and heavy pain meds (which doesn't entirely stop back pain) Norco10-325. My cognitive skills haven't been the same since the first TIA, add pain meds, I'm walking around Zonked out and sleepy. My Orthopedist won't perform epidurals until I see another Neurologist. I'm so frustrated and depressed, I've considered suicide, afraid I'll screw that up. I'm not ready to go yet but sometimes the depression is very strong. I just want a disabilty retirement(Teacher Retirement System Texas) and I'm going through the steps with the specialist, still nothing guaranteed. Everyone going through these problems know the frustration and depression, that we are when we are told our test come up negative. Here's my story;
I'm a 57 year old divorced male and a high school teacher. In Jan. 2009 I had a series of TIAs that landed me in the hospital for 3 days. I received an all clear no damage after a barage of MRI's, Sonograms on major organs. I was at a new high school which was a pressure cooker, stress wise. I missed almost 30 days out. Since I was a new teacher with this school district my contract was not renewed, since it was probationary(did not surprise me), I could not find a teaching position in my certification area, so I was unemployed for the '09-'10 school year. I've taught for the previous 15 years.
I have a bad back with Spinal Stenosis in the C7 and L2-S1 vertebra. I found another teaching position(I honestly didn't want to return to the classroom but I accepted it for the health insurance. In mid Sept., I had another TIA. Realtively short term in duration about 20-25 minutes. Since I was in a new town I saw a local neurologist, I expected to be hospitalized but he just referred me to a general practitioner. I was schedule for an EEG but I was concerned that a year w/o health insurance, it would be considered a pre existing condition.To make this as short as possible. I have never felt as mentally sharp since the first TIA, returning to the high school classroom at any high school especially bigger high schools is a pressure cooker jobs, stress wise. I have started seeing an Orthopedist, I suffered a whole year w/o insurance and I could not find an Orthopedist that would even see me. So I endured the pain with some help from tramadol. As active and mentally sharp as a teacher needs to be, I find myself knowing that, I'm no longer doing my job well. I'm considering applying for a disabilty retirement, through Texas Teacher Retirement system. The two Orthopedist I have seen, the last being a pain mgmt. specialist, stated my Spinal Stenosis is treatable with epidurals, so that by itself would not qualify me for a disabilty retirement but with several TIA's in '09 and another just last September, would likely hold up, once I saw another neurologist for testing.
I'm just very stressed with my health situation. Is it possible that the TIA's have had some neurological effects that have effected my mental sharpness, especially my memory/cognitive skills. I'm not a basket case but I just don't feel well(lethargic) with all the meds I'm on for the TIA's and I'm taking Hydrocodone for my back pain or I could not last a full day in the classroom. I honestly have come to hate teaching and it's just compounded with my health issues. I'm depressed and feel like I'm trapped and it's just not worth the extreme pain(but that will be treated soon but this a degenerative disease with my spine) but it's sure not worth having a major stroke or heart attack over. I won't have to deal with Social Security and I've paid 16 years into my TRS plan and it's not like I'd get a huge amount to live on about $18,000 a year, I would like to possibly work part time, if possible, mainly for health insurance, if I can't qualify for Medicaid. Think I have a chance for a Disabilty retirement before something really bad happens and I'm an invalid or dead. Thanks,
One stressed out old teacher!!