Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, Knee

Was reading all the posts from this year. Amazing how everything changes in 6 months. I have officially flunked Simponi. Back on Enbrel since the end of November, and it's not working either.
Stress is the defining factor in my end of year flare. I tend to hold a lot of it in, because nobody wants to hear about my RA. I am thankful to my RA groups and a few close friends who also have RA and PA, they can relate to flares.
I have had several major stresses in the past few months.My brother had all his utilities cut off and was evicted from his rental house a week ago. He knew it was coming and wanted me to bail him out with $ and let him live in my house. I had to stand firm and say no, except for a few $ for food. Suffice it to say he won't help himself.He is now with a friend and is planning to move to Alabama to be near our other brother.
My other stress is work. I work as an RN in the nursery of a small hospital. OB is not a money maker for any hospital, and rumors have been flying around all year about our unit closing. No one will say what's going on, but we have given one 14 bed wing to surgical patients and are expected to cross train to care for them. There are mostly joint replacement surgeries and other "clean" surgeries (no infections) Most OB nurses have never worked anything But OB. The rest of us left other types of hospital units because we hated it. So the introduction of male patients, elderly and slightly confused patients, plastic surgeries (total overhauls), and the ever embarassing penile implants has gone over like a lead balloon. We have lost over 20 of our best nurses, and the rest of us are job hunting.
If they close the OB unit, most of us would leave. Hopefully they will let us transfer to the big hospital downtown, as they are going to have to absorb our OB patients. The threat of the unknown is a huge stress.
My FMLA for chronic illness was another hassle. Should have been approved in July. But I had to work so many hours (hidden federal law) before they's approve it again. Finally got it approved in late November; along with a verbal warning because I called off twice this quarter for my RA before the FMLA got approved. I literally faxed Human resources my FMLA forms every work day for a month so if I had the magic number they had the paperwork.
SO, I have spent the last 2 weeks spiralling downward with my RA..joints sore, exhausted from lack of sleep, my eyes and mouth drier than the Sahara desert. My left knee has ballooned. Was finally able to get in to the rheumey yesterday. Got a cortisone injection in my left knee, and we are going to persue the IV Actemra.
I asked her "when is it enough to stop working?" I have trouble holding the heavier kids, opening baby bottles or maintaing a grip on a tiny wiggling hand or foot. Computer charting 6 hours out of twelve is wreaking havoc with my hands and wrists. The doc mentioned I might consider having a functionality exam to see what limitations Ihave... would probably have that done privately, don't want it under my work insurance.
My best bet would to be going out on disability while I am still employed full time. Once I go to part time I am no longer eligible for my STD or long term disability.
Will have to see how it goes with the function exam.
Anyway, I am now off until Decmber 30th....yay! And I have to organize Christmas in the next 3 days. Hoping my knee injection kicks in soon so I can at least grocery shop.
All for now. Have a wonderful Holiday, and a Happy, healthy new year! I am blessed to have you all as my comrades in the RA Army!