Are you kidding me right now!!
I worked full time for a private practice D.O. I had been her nurse for 7 years. In the past 3-4 years while working I would experience symptoms that were out of character for me, and would schedule myself in between patients, or at the end of the day to see the doctor. My symptoms were chronic fatigue, leg swelling and or feeling very heavy, my hands would cramp up at times. I felt as though there were spiders crawling on my face and all over my body, extreme pain, out of no where my right foot would just quit working and drag a bit, normal voices appeared to be yelling and I could smell things from a long distance, like I had some super senses, half way through my 9 hour day my vision would sometimes blur, and days I would extreme tightness and pressure around my mid area. I occasionally had memory fog, and I may be processing blood from a patient and I would completely forget what I was doing and needed to start over and trace my steps. These are some of the symptoms charted through that 3-4 Year time of My as I called it “Menopause Body” to me it was the only thing that made sense. After all I was 51 years old and The doctor Stated that my Blood Work was fine and I should expect that at my age and as active as I was that I would feel this way. We saw 30-40-50 patients a day. And I was the only medical person on staff other than the doctor. I ran nonstop through my day. And I kept up like a champ. With The doctor. Stating that your fine Lori your just getting older–get over it. So I continued to push myself everyday with little regard to additional symptoms presenting themselves because I didn’t have time or the patients to deal with the nonsense. On May 21, 2011, My son called my office to speak to me (he doesn’t call me at work) I was with a patient at the time of his call, so when I was done I returned to my lab and our receptionist had given me the message from his call. It just made me nervous thinking something may be wrong with him my daughter in law or our granddaughter so my mommy alarm & went off. We were one patient away from the end of our day. As the message did not indicate an emergency I moved forward with our ending day patient. Who by the way, was in fact our train wreck patient of the day. With all due respect if your in the medical field you know to anticipate a train wreck at least one a day. This patient presents with multiple symptoms and is usually in an anxious state, requiring almost all of the attention of our entire staff. With symptoms their suggestions of treatment and diagnoses they have concluded to be accurate. To include billing questions scheduling concerns.
Prescription request and dosage questions. And at times suggesting the possibility that they should be admitted to the hospital for additional testing. And almost every time this happens I think the first step on my end while doing a workup on them for doctor is to start with a “hug” to try and relax our patient so that we can talk and get the most accurate information possible, without accurate information and at least 10 minutes resting vitals we wouldn’t be doing our patients justice.
Unfortunately for me this day doctor was more than ready to call this crazy day OVER.
As I was gathering information from our patient and getting vitals, our patient requested their flu shot a Vitamin B injection and wanted their blood sugar level checked. Lol (you understand the scene at this point right) by this time I had completely forgotten about my previous phone call from my son. As I was wrapping up my initial intake with our patient, the doctor busts into the patient room and expressed her feelings about how long this intake had taken. (14 minutes) Which was 7 minutes over the doctor’s acceptance. I expressed to doctor that we were ready for her to see the patient now. After doctor told me to exit the room so she could access the patient I returned to my lab to prepare and log the patients injections, and I generated blood work paperwork and needed supplies so I would be ready for my next interaction with our patient. As doctor Exited the patients room she yelled into me “I need bloodWork” in room #2.
So I entered the room to find our patient in tears, apparently due to a disagreement with doctor over her current care plan. By this time I was just Weak and felt a bit defeated with this situation. I kept my big girl pants on and continued with my task at hand. Upon completion of collecting blood samples from our patient and injections for B-12 and flu, I once again gave our patient a hug and off to my lab to process the blood draw. After completing my Computer work and making my days labs travel ready for our lab service to pick up. I cleared my desk said goodnight to everyone and headed for my car.
I immediately called my son to see what was going on. His first words were have you already left work Mom. I said yes and that I was in my car and driving (hands-free on speaker through my car) with a bit of a crack in his voice he said, Mom I have some bad news. My heart just sank I knew I was glad I was sitting down, because if I felt weak and nauseous before I surly was feeling worse now. Thankfully I had a short 10 minute drive home. By the time I reached home I was crying so hard I couldn’t quite pull myself together. My husband had noticed my car in the driveway and wondered why I hadn’t already exited my car. He came out to me and saw my little disaster meltdown and tried to help me out of my car but my legs were just so angry and didn’t want me to stand on them. My son was pretty upset as he had told me that he was served with divorce papers at work, and yes this was a total surprise, they had just celebrated our granddaughter’s 1st birthday and their 5 year anniversary. I didn’t understand why! After about an hour I couldn’t get my blood pressure to go down and I had never had BP issues in the past. So off to the ER. Where we went through 5 hours of tests and I was admitted. With an anxiety attack and high BP with a side of “a positive MRI” but no one cared to say positive for WHAT.
The next afternoon I was visited by a well known neurology specialist at which time he filled in the blanks. I have MS. And apparently I have had MS for quite a while “years” He showed us the MRIs and the lesions and told us this accounts for the majority of my previous 3-4 years symptoms. You can imagine my surprise.
I was released that day and upon discharge given an appointment to meet with my neurologist the following day. I stopped by my office prior to that appointment to get a copy of my chart for the visit with my neurologist. After reviewing my chart and the notes from the past few years, he felt it was necessary to adjust my full-time hours from approximately 55 hours a week down to 25-30 hours. I knew this would present a problem for my work doctor. After our appointment I went to work, there was still 5.5 hours left in the day, and I felt good enough to be there.
Things seemed to be going well I was tired but I’m sure the last 48 hours had warranted that.
As I was bringing a patient to their room, our receptionist had informed doctor. That my neurologist was on the phone and requested to speak to her. I was sure he wanted to discuss his overall findings and his treatment plan and drug of choice to attempt to slow down the progression of the MS as best he could.
After I returned to my desk, my work doctor Walked over to me and yelled at me, “How am I supposed to run my office around your disability”.
If you can’t work the hours I need you here than I’ll find someone who can.
And that was all my body needed to fire up another anxiety attack. There was Literally shock on the faces of my coworkers. And yes I just busted out crying. It just didn’t seem possible that I would be discounted just like that over this diagnosis. For the next several weeks I pushed myself to get through each day. After all I Loved my career and our patients. And didn’t want to lose that part of my life either. This was truly a life changing month. About a month later I woke up with my alarm and I’m sure I hit the snooze button 4-5 times, finally I pushed through a shower jumped into my scrubs and off I went.
After our morning patients our office manager requested my attendance at a meeting of the two of us. Where she informed me that I needed to pick up my pace and that doctor was not happy about my restricted hours per my neurologist. And that she would be hiring a replacement for me.
I’m sure you can imagine where my head was at in that very moment. Doctor had very little communication with me from that moment on. And that appeared to cause more stress for everyone involved. My Neurologist suggested I end my employment immediately. And I knew he was right and that this a situation was only going to get more stressful. So I gave our office manager my notice. Within 48 hours I ended up back in the hospital with a full on flare-up.
Our lives can most definitely change in the flash of a moment. What we do with our lives after that flash is the difference.
I chose to give myself some “pity party time” and than I pulled my “big girl pants” up and started to learn all I could about my “new lifestyle” after the diagnosis.