Recently, I decided the best thing for me to do at this point of my life was to take some time off from being a Registered Nurse. When I started experiencing more pain after having a couple nerve ablations done, my neck pain became excruciating! It was so difficult to work and experience pain at the same time. Not only is it hard to focus on the details but also tough to chart for hours on the computer. Working full time and dealing with chronic pain might sound easy, but the process is overwhelming. After working 13 hour night shifts, my neck was so exhausted, feeling sharp and burning sensations, I knew I needed to make a change.
It takes courage to walk away from something you know is making your life difficult. Working as a full time night shift nurse was not easy even without the pain. Having pain made everything harder, more challenging, and therefore, I knew I had to prove myself a lot more sitting next to my other pain free coworkers. I would make mistakes on the floor and this was not good for my nursing license. I knew a three to six month break is what I needed. It took awhile to think of the best plan of action. It is not easy making good income and then suddenly losing it. I knew I would be missing financial stability but losing my health was worth way more. I will have to cut back on some expenses and get creative with ways to save money.
I decided to put my two weeks notice. I knew after thinking it over for weeks on end that this was the best thing for my physical and mental health. Suffering from chronic pain has impacted my passions, and now has been affecting my career as a Registered Nurse. I was blown away! How could this car accident take my career too? I tried getting work restrictions in place but my manager would not accept. My doctor was fine with work restrictions but the hospital I worked at just does not accept such scenario. This is not an easy life alternating change to process.
I am pretty much forced into continuing working and dealing with the chronic pain altogether, or resigning and taking some time off to focus on my health. This has definitely added stress of leaving one’s chosen profession prematurely. I had to tell myself, “This is what you will have to do for now.” I just could not believe that I have to deal with a situation like this. I have thought about applying for Social Security disability but I am hesitating on that decision. If I can somehow focus on physical therapy and do my exercises regularly without work being in the way, my body would get stronger in time. Weeks from now, my body will thank me for doing this, and just maybe, I could go back and work full time. Maybe I could be free from pain? Is this possible? I keep telling myself, “YES, it is and God will help heal me.” My pain doctor keeps telling me that I am young and my body will recover and that it will take a couple more years.
As of today, I have only been out of work for twelve days. My last night shift was on 2/21/20. Since then, I have been able to focus on my treatments a lot more. I have no excuse for skipping physical therapy and not doing any of the PT exercises. I can finally do PT exercises without feeling too exhausted and in extreme pain from working all night. I have gone to all my appointments and feel accomplished.
I continue to fight the emotions of these changes and losses. I love being a RN but I had to accept that there was more to who I am. Redefining yourself is not an easy task. I kept pushing for over a year, continued to work with extreme pain. Finally, enough was enough. I just cannot live like this anymore. I have reached a limit. Although I have found new passions in Youtube and blogging, I do not know if this will help provide for my myself and my family. Maybe this will point me in a new direction for career change. I find myself choosing joy and purpose without destroying or physically hurting myself. I hope by taking this stand, I will gain neck strengthening muscles, as well as my arms and back. I hope to get back on the podium and possibly work again as a Registered Nurse without suffering from pain. I worry if this does not happen for me, I will forever be torn.
Making changes is really tough. It is bold and takes courage. I am learning to mourn my career loss and accept things will never be as they were. I am learning to live with my medical condition, address the pain as best as I can and learn how to go back to living. I am exploring options that might fulfill me and things I have never thought about doing. I am learning to be grateful for what good I have in my life despite the losses. I struggle with how to make it financially without compromising my health. I need to focus on the good rather than being stuck on why and poor me. I am not a victim. I am not the only one who is facing this. There are many people out there who must redefine themselves because of tragedies.
I want to be remembered as a fighter and someone who never gave up. It takes a lot of work to do this. Losing my career has broken my heart but somehow in time, I will find a new purpose and apply myself with new opportunities.
Thank you for reading!