OPINIONS and IDEAS needed Not sure what to do...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by BethM, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. BethM

    BethM New Member

    I started a new part time job in August, and it is going very well. I am an RN, a credentialed school nurse, now working in a community college health center. The nurse practitioner (NP) is my immediate supervisor.

    So far, the NP and the office manager have been wonderful to work with. They seem to like me and appreciate my skills.

    I have told them I have fibro and some osteoarthritis, so that is no secret. The NP seemed surprised when I told her. I don't know how much she knows about fibro. I could almost hear her thinking "but she looks fine...". sigh.

    I have a good article about fibro that I have thought about copying out and giving to the NP and the office manager, so they can learn about it, and maybe understand why I cannot work full time.

    ??Should I give them this article??

    ??Am I asking for trouble by drawing attention to my illness??

    I am not sure what to do.

    On Fridays I work a 6 hour shift. Last Friday, by hour 5, I was tired, by 5 and a half I was really tired, and had to work hard to focus so as not to make mistakes, even with something as simple as drawing up a flu shot dose.

    I hate to admit weakness, but being in the health care field I cannot take chances with other people's well being. (Or my own, for that matter.)

    So. Do I give them the article? Not give it? Educate where I can? The NP is the kind of person who works a 10 hour day then goes to a class or volunteers somewhere for a few more hours most evenings. I don't know if she can understand that I cannot do that, and that this is not a choice.

    I do not know what to do. Any ideas???

    Peace,
    Beth.
  2. spacee

    spacee Member

    When she had CFS, she had to drop to parttime. None of her co workers were interested in the DD.

    So my vote is no, don't give any literature unless they specifically ask.

    Glad you are able to work and PACE yourself.

    Spacee
  3. TAM

    TAM New Member

    HI BETH,

    I'M SO SORRY SWEETIE, IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY REALLY LIKE THE GOOD WORKER YOU ARE, AND HON IT DOESN'T MATTER YOU CAN ONLY WORK PART TIME. MYSELF I CAN'T WORK AT ALL AND AFTER WORKING FOR 22 YEARS AND THEN NOT BEING ABLE TO WAS A REAL SLAP IN THE FACE. I'M PROUD OF YOU SWEETIE!I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO WORK PART TIME OR EVEN 1 HOUR A DAY!!

    I THINK IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL TO GIVE THEM THE INFO YOU HAVE JUST EXPLAIN TO THEM THAT YOU ENJOY YOUR JOB BUT YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO FULLY UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WEAR DOWN AN HOUR OR SO BEFORE YOUR SHIFT IS OVER, KEEP IN MIND THAT IF PEOPLE DON'T REALLY LIVE WITH THIS HORRIBLE PAIN LIKE WE DO 24/7 IT WOULD BE HARD TO UNDERSTAND, SO I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR YOU TO GIVE THEM INFO ABOUT FIBRO!!

    YOU SOUND SO SWEET, THE WORLD NEEDS MORE CARING SWEET PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK, PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES TAKE CARE SWEETIE, TAM.
  4. springlakeorphan

    springlakeorphan New Member

    I agree with Tam. I probably would not give any info untill it is brought up again. Have it in your purse or desk so you can pull it out like a gun!! I don't mean to sound so simple, but as you know;people don't really care and if they do care; they just don't understand.
    Good luck...God bless.Many hugs your way,Mary
    [This Message was Edited on 10/22/2006]
  5. sydneysider

    sydneysider Member

    Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that most people will never understand.

    Reading your post, I wander if you would be better to explain your tiredness as 'TERRIBLE osteo pain'. I think that would get more understanding.

    Although I'm all for awareness about FM, in the case where you are working, I think it is best to avoid the unfortunate attitudes that seem to accompany FM.

    Congratulations on working.
    I hope things go well for you.
    Robyn.
  6. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Thank you, I appreciate your input. You've highlighted the basic worry, that of lack of understanding even with the facts laid out on the table.

    I like the idea of keeping the article handy just in case I need back up. (I must watch too many police shows on tv!)

    Hmmmm. Maybe I'll get a few brochures on fibro from the Arthritis Foundation, which is a reputable and respected organization. Might have more credibility.

    Do you suppose maybe putting brochures on fibro and CFS out on our brochures rack might be useful? Just thought of that...

    Peace,
    Beth.
  7. jole

    jole Member

    Hi there! I agree with most of the others. Have the info available, but do not give it out until asked for, or if the subject comes up from them.

    Just because they are in the health profession doesn't mean they know or care. Been there, done that, and it still doesn't work. Unless the NP is a very caring, understanding person, of course. But if she is that gung ho to put in that many hours a day, probably she won't understand.

    It also depends on just how badly you feel and how much they can actually see, i.e. limping, grimacing, massaging sore spots, etc. that they see you do during the day. If you aren't exhibiting any symptoms, they aren't going to care. And if you are, they should ask about it first.

    Just my opinion, but things can turn ugly fast if you reveal too much. Did for me!!

    Friends - Jole
  8. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    No. I don't believe you should give them an article on fibromyalgia. I think the act of giving them the article will be taken "in the wrong light". I believe you will be setting yourself up for criticism.

    My question is, did your employers know that you would only be able to work part time when you applied for the job?

    Is there a way that you can permanently cut your hours to a maximum of 5 per day?

    I agree with the member who suggested that you blame it on the osteoarthritis rather than the FM. People are not only more familiar with osteoarthritis, it is accepted that OA is a disease/exists. There are still health care professionals who question the FM diagnosis.

    I personally wouldn't point out how you are "different" than everyone else. If you absolutely need an excuse, I'd stick with the OA. That diagnosis is far more accepted and not so controversial.
  9. Roseblossom

    Roseblossom Member

    Excellent idea, put those brochures out there.

    Hopefully your co-workers will notice them and learn about your illness.

    The brochures will help patients who see them, too.

    Congrats on your new job - I am sure you'll do really well with it!

    Peace,

    Roseblossom
  10. BethM

    BethM New Member

    I appreciate the input.

    Seems like the general idea is not to focus on the fibro at all. I think that is the best course, thank you for that.

    Perhaps just some education, setting out brochures, that sort of thing.

    I was hired to work part time, and my longest shift is 6 hours on Fridays. Otherwise I usually work 3 or 4 hours, and that is ok. This past week my schedule has been unusual, and hopefully I won't have too many occasions of working longer hours.

    Maybe I can educate some folks there, quietly and subtly, about fibro. Guess I am the resident expert at the health center!

    Thanks, you've all helped me think this through.

    Peace,
    Beth.

  11. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Dear Beth,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your experience at work and know how frustrating it is. This is a long response, but I hope it helps! Before I was officially dxed with fibro, I worked many days not feeling well, and it was awful, and I just had to gut it out because there's no way my employers would understand. In the end, my body felt worse over time. I really don't want to see that happen to you. I worked in high tech, and it's pretty unforgiving. In the high tech world, there's sick days, but that's about it. They got a bit annoyed if we went home early, plus there was just too much work to do. It was a lot of pressure.

    At this time, I'm not able to work at all because my symptoms are so much worse. At any rate, I have worked in other fields too. I learned that when it comes to companies, generally speaking, bosses/supervisors can be sympathetic and forgiving of people not feeling well and illnesses on a very short term basis. If you need to go home early a day or two here or there, most supervisors (unless they are really mean or unforgiving) understand that. Same goes for a sick day here or there.

    However, they hired you for a reason. They need you to be able to perform the duties for the job on a reliable, consistent basis. That's why the hired you. There's work to be done and someone needs to do it. It's nothing personal, but in most organizations, whether it be profit or not for profit, there are usually less people than there are things that need to be done. Which is why they really need to know that they can have someone to do that for the hours that are scheduled.

    This is how your supervisor is looking at it. She must have someone do the job or else she starts to look bad too. It's not that she doesn't care about you personally, "it's just business", as they say. Also, since it's healthcare, she needs to be sure that mistakes aren't made. Again, that's how she's most likely going to look at it. That is likely why she sighed when you told her.

    She was likely more frustrated at the situation itself. She may be thinking how great you are and hoping you can work the whole shift every day. She is much more worried about whether or not you are going to be able to work the entire shift each Friday rather than what the specific reason is. As far as giving her info about fibro.....educating I don't think educating her about it going to help unless she has specific curiousity. Again, from her standpoint, she wants to know that the shift is covered and that mistakes aren't going to made. (**From what you're saying, I don't think she is a heartless person, and on a personal level she probably cares about you a lot, but from a biz standpoint, it's what I'm saying above.**)

    If I were you, I would be brutally honest with yourself (which I know is really really hard) about how you are truly feeling. I REALLY hope I don't sound cold or harsh. I'm wanting to help you in the best possible way. My experience with FM is that if you overwork yourself, your body will start to break down and feel worse over time, and I would hate to see that happen to you.

    Also, you may be able to ask them about working a shorter shift, which would help you and them. You wouldn't have to worry about making mistakes, you won't have to worry about feeling exhausted at the end of the day, and you will have clear expectations upfront with your supervisor so she isn't upset with you. I don't know if she will be amenable to shorter shifts, but in the end it will save your body. Even an hour shorter would help a lot.

    Hope this helps! Keep us posted.

    Love, Erika