Monday, November 10, 2008

today is one of those days ...

Today is one of those days when I am so rudely reminded why I can't work full time. It's a bad back day. Can't say as I know why, but it is.

I had several minor back injuries at my first nursing job in a small rural chronically-understaffed hospital, and finally went looking for work where I would not be performing patient custodial work (changing beds, moving people from the bed to a chair, pretty much anything that required lifting or prolonged standing or walking). Unfortunately for me I finally finished off my back one night in an ambulance with an inmate who was faking seizures. (I recommend correctional nursing for any RNs who are sick of civilian hospital work. Very challenging, you are required to use all of your nursing skills and wits because there are no physicians on site 18 hours a day or on weekends). The inmate got another 90 days on his sentence for harming me; I have received a sentence of nearly 20 years with no end in sight. And for me, the end would be "gainful benefitted employment."

Prior to my first back surgery, my doctors told me in no uncertain terms that I'd not be going back to work and was gravely disabled. I ended up having three back surgeries in four years.
I've since managed to pull myself together and earn advanced degrees in the hope I'd be more employable. I've found that to be NOT true. It doesn't matter how much better my education is than other job applicants, if I am lucky enough to make it to an interview, my abnormal gait is no doubt enough to scare off anyone.

This same group of doctors told me that once you've suffered a back injury, for some reason your body "grows" a second brain, and it's in your back and it does what it wants when it wants. So even if you are fit and active, and do nothing extraordinary, it can and will choose to act up.

So what will our new administration do for people like me, not gravely disabled enough to be wheelchair-bound, but disabled enough to scare off a potential employer? And don't tell me there's protection under current laws, 'cause that's bullshit. White, female and disabled. It could be worse I guess. I could be a white disabled male ... 

I am going to lie on the floor now with an ice pack and contemplate calling my doctor. At least my injury is covered by worker's compensation.


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