I had a better day today than yesterday at work. Still crazy busy and only got out relatively on time (only finished my shift ten minutes late) because the night staff didn’t go to their education session so were able to help for my last hour there. Really struggling with pain though. I’m not even sure why. I’ve only worked two days in a row so I shouldn’t be in quite this much.
I have an appointment with a occupational therapist at the hospital pain clinic on Tuesday next week. To be honest, I don’t know what she can actually do. The physiotherapist I’ve seen hasn’t been able to make a difference. I think I need to see the specialist pain doctor again and explain to him I really need to go back to having cortisone injections in my back. For years now (since 2006 I think?) I’ve been getting them every 4-6 months to manage an injury I got in 2001 to my lower back. Ever since I started nursing, I’ve also had pain in my middle back which the injections into my lower back also helped.
Unfortunately since I moved to where i live now, I couldn’t find a GP willing to do it into backs. So I had to wait until I got into a specialist. The specialist however decided this year since the damage and arthritis is to my lower back but the worse pain is in my middle back that he didn’t want to do the injections, especially since I’ve been having them in my knees and one shoulder and the orthopaedic specialist wants me to get my carpal tunnels done too. (too many cortisone injections is bad for the body apparently).
The pain specialist did say if things got worse, to come back and see him again and I think I’ve reached that stage. When I saw him, it was a few months after having Rose so I no longer had a baby sitting on my sciatic nerve and I’d lost most of the weight I’d gained during pregnancy. I was off work so wasn’t putting any stress on my back either. But now, working in what I’ve found out is supposedly the busiest ward in the whole hospital (the biggest hospital in the state), I can literally barely walk by the end of my shift. I take tramadol as soon as I get home from work, but it might as well be a sugar pill for all it does. Unfortunately, due to allergies, I can’t take anything stronger either. Then again, tramadol is supposed to be reasonably strong. It’s supposed to be for “moderate to severe pain” according to every doctor I’ve spoken to about it.
I honestly have no idea how I’m going to get through another two days of work in a row but I don’t really have a choice. I especially don’t want to lose being paid for a weekend shift as money is tight for us with both of us only being a few years graduated from university and living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. I just hope and pray I can survive two more days. At least then I have six days before my next (real) shift. I do have to go into work monday for an education session but thankfully that just involves sitting for 90 minutes.
I feel weird sharing about my physical health. I don’t know why. It’s feels so much easier to share about my mental health, despite the stigma that often surrounds mental illness in society. Talking about my physical just feels like grumbling. Or perhaps it’s because with my physical health, I know I’m not as sick as most of the people I currently look after at work and I’m just grateful to not be that sick. Whereas with my mental health, even when working in acute care, I met very, very few people who were even remotely sick as I can get (I met very few people who were sick as I was at the time actually).
I guess though it helps me deal with the physical pain to put into words that it is a struggle right now. I am grateful that I’m not in as much pain as some people are and that even though I have times when I can’t walk, at least I still have my legs and can walk most of the time. Many of my patients aren’t so lucky.
I just hope though I can get another cortisone injection in my back soon and find some relief. I knew returning to clinical nursing would be a struggle physically, but I forgot just how bad my pain gets at times.
I actually was planning to write about the fact that it was international mental health day today (well technically yesterday now as it’s a little after 2am now). 10/10 – tenth of October – each year. I had all these things I wanted to talk about, but all I’ve been thinking about is pain. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog tomorrow night because I have an evening shift tomorrow and then a morning shift on Sunday, which means even if I finish on time and just drive home, shower and go straight to bed, I’ll get 5 hours sleep at best. But maybe if I do have time, I’ll share my thoughts on international mental health day.
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