I have been thinking about going back to school and possibly in the health field. However, I am starting to let the thought of chronic pain hold me back. I was thinking about maybe a medical assistant or physician assistant. However, you have to be on your feet for a majority of the day which I can not do. I could probably stand to be on my feet maybe 3 hours per day max. So what should I do? I get so mad that this pain keeps me from doing things. I even thought about going into the field of pain management but not sure exactly what I can do? Any suggestions?
How about a counselor? Or something to do with substance abuse? Counselors meet with people and doesn't require much standing. Also, you could probably work half days, that kind of thing. Given your back ground, you would do well as some type of patient advocate.
Brian, this is a very interesting question. As I have mentioned before, I am relatively new to CP, but I have already been considering my long-term job situation. For me, the worst pain comes when I am sitting, so moving around throughout the day is better for me, as long as I am not lifting and such. While I have been off work for about 8 weeks, I am returning next week to a desk job. The thought of sitting at my desk for 8 hours is very scary for me. I have had HR order me a special chair and headset for my phone, so hopefully that will help. I am actually applying for a different job right now mainly because it will allow me to be moving around during the work day. I never, ever thought that a chronic pain situation would affect my job prospects, but I am realizing now that it is a reality. I don't know what your specific pain situation is, but could you talk to your doc about what your limits would be? Another option would be to talk with someone in those fields to see what their actual day is like. It's possible that accomodations could be made for you so you could be successful in one of those careers.
I can totally understand your wanting to go into the health care field. I think I became a social worker because I had social workers in my life when I was younger and I was deeply affected by them. Are you on disability right now? Are there any programs that would help you with job training or school?
I never, ever thought that a chronic pain situation would affect my job prospects, but I am realizing now that it is a reality.
I don't want to scare anyone, but just about all employers today do a pre-employment drug screen and physical. Granted, since a PM patient's meds are perfectly legal and permitted, most employers probably aren't going to hire someone who is on powerful narcotics. Maybe Vicoden, T3, Norco, Ultram, and a few others....But certainly not the patch, OC, Percs, & etc. They have a right to hire who they want, and I dare say they would have serious reservations (for a variety of reasons) about hiring some of us....Regardless of whether or not we could do the job.
Conversely, if you were already gainfully employed and start taking these meds, the employer probably won't find out unless you tell them. Additionally, you are protected by federal laws to a certain extent....."A certain extent" is the key phrase.
Are you on disability right now? Are there any programs that would help you with job training or school?
No I am not on disability. For the last five years that I have had chronic pain I have continued to work a full time job. I am sure that I could have qualified for disability at some point but I refused to do that. I have chronic nerve pain in my feet so any pressure, even having shoes on, causes pain. The worst is standing in one spot that kills me. I hate being limited due to the pain. Of course things are much much better (considering I used to be able to go in the grocery store 15-20 minutes and now it is up to 90 minutes). I do have an administrative job and sit mostly all day but I want to do something with my life and have a career. I'm just brainstorming right now.
P.S. gee Ex thanks for the news concerning pre-employment screening that justed raised my hopes (NOT)
Last edited by brianpain33; 03-19-2008 at 05:51 PM.
When I was in school for social work, there were students with ALL KINDS of disabilities in school with me. As I said, I have a desk job, so I think it is possible for you to do many things. I think the idea of working in counseling or some such thing is a good idea for you to ponder. I myself am considering working with people with CP or other chronic illnesses. There is a big demand out there right now for drug and alcohol counselors. I'm not sure what the requirements in your state are, but in my state you can get certified for AODA counselor with a very reasonable amount of schooling and training. I, of course, would recommend you look into social work, but that's my bias. You could definitely get a job in social work where you could get appropriate accommodations.
P.S. gee Ex thanks for the news concerning pre-employment screening that justed raised my hopes (NOT)
I'm sorry for being the bearer of bad news....Just wanted to give you a heads up. Quite frankly, this is why many with chronic pain end up on disability, because the employment prospects for those on narcotics are few and far between. Not to mention, many with CP have a hard time working 40 hour weeks for the many reasons we discussed. It's what happened to me.
What a great question!! I have been thinking about something with the computer that I can do from home. I homeschool the children and have been thinking about working maybe for an online school or start up a online course from home.
I know whatever I do, I will need to be able to lay down, stand up, and lay in my recliner as needed. Not many places will allow this.
hi everyone, i'm fairly new here mostly have been back and forth between here and addiction recovery board. one is related so...let me explain in a nutshell, i'm a recovering alcoholic 9 yrs sober..the last 2 yrs i have battled female problems, bad enough that we started low dose and are now at norco 10/325 to manage the pain. plus just tried lyrica for nerve damage but thats out because i made my crazy depressed and decided to work on the pain and remain half sane.now i however worry about addiction to norco...so far things are fine. i saw the career conversation and wondered if you would mind me asking a few questions..i had always wanted to get into addictons counseling but when i looked into going to college for that it looked like i would need at least a masters. so someone mentioned nursing and how they can do counseling and i got accepted to nursing school..long story short...here i am graduated from Nursing School last July and still want to help with addictions. what to do?? so i saw someone posted about aoda?? can you explain that and how i can find out what is offered in my state Indiana..because from what i can tell...i'm looking at 4 more yrs of college. As far as the drug screening for new jobs that i'm applying for, it will show norco..and if they need a script i have one of those to. can't function without it...thanks for any help..i hope i didn't interrupt...k
Kelli, I'll do a little research and see if I can interpret Indiana's laws and regs regarding AODA counselors. I do this all the time at work, so it's no big deal. I'm in Wisconsin and you can become an AODA counselor without a bachelor's degree, but you have to rack up quite a few hours (4000) of experience before you can get your actual credential. You can't actually do psychotherapy in any state without a master's and a license. Again, it depends on your state statutes and rules for drug treatment credentials. In my experience overseeing hundreds of referrals for drug treatment, persons with personal addiction experience bring something unique to treatment.
I really can't speak to whether you could get a job or pass a pre-employment screening and physical while on a narcotic. I have been worried about that myself as I am applying for a new job. I think if I can get my Lyrica increased enough, I can go without the vicodin for long enough to have a clean drug screen, and only use it occasionally for BT pain. I know once you get a job, that's different. I had a co-worker who was an opiate addict, and she got drug tested a couple times, and each time she produced a prescription, and there was nothing they could do to her.
Sorry Brian, I don't mean to hijack your posting, but maybe you will find this useful.
Hi Kelly- You're question is a "depends" type of answer....Depends on what kind of counseling you want to do & etc. Being a nurse graduate, you'd have a great background for any type of medical counseling. Many counseling jobs require a masters degree, which doesn't take too long to get. I think I would look into what type of counselor you'd like to be, and then research from there. Certainly, the ones who actually see patients (appointments) and help them with a variety of issues, are the highest paid.
As far as a general counselor, or a substance abuse specialist, I think you just need a college degree and then some type of certification, which is a special course or seminar(s).
Hey Brian: I don't know what level of the education system you left off at, but why not start with some basic 101 type courses that would be condusive to the fields you were thinking about. Maybe some on-line courses, if getting to a classroom every day is difficult.
Do you have a state or community college nearby? Maybe you could get a meeting with one of their counselors/advisors to discuss what kind of options might be available to you. They might have some ideas that you never even thought of or knew about.
I think it's great that you want to do something more or different with your life. Just be careful not to get into something that will push you over your pain limitations.
Very best of luck in your pursuits and I'll be sending good thoughts, cmpgirl
Brain, I think that would be great. Although I would suggest speaking with a counsler & getting alittle guidance in choosing. I had done an extern for Medical assisitng several years back, & let me tell you I was on my feet running like crazy, it can get pretty busy & you need a really clear head. Every spare minute & I mean every was dedicated to studying.
I have said in the past you have a way with people so working with people in a capacity where you can be of some assistance would be an excellant choice for you. The thing is if you really want to do it, talk to someone & set a goal. We all need something to look forward to so why not? You would make a great counsler just like Chrissy would make a great nurse. you have have had experiances that some people will never have & that allows you to be a more understanding & compassionate person, something very much needed when dealing with others. So I say go for it! Remember just make sure you do it at a pace that is comfortable for you. Sammy
Sorry so late in my reply. I have not been having such a great last few days.
The person who suggested going to the local Community College and speaking to the Counselors there were spot on. I teach at a CC, and the counselors do a great job. They give an interest inventory, as well as a placement test to see what you are interested in doing, along with what you are intellectually capable of doing. Then they can match you up with a program that they teach at THAT CC. Perhaps one of the ways to start is looking at some online classes, until you can (hopefully) get your pain under control.
Another option would be Vocational Rehabilitation. I used to work for them as well as a Counselor for the Deaf. At our VRS, our goal was to look at a persons "disabling condition" and see how it hindered them from obtaining and maintaining employment. Our eligibilty screening included medical testing, along with vocational testing to see what vocation one could be sucessful at, given their disabling condition. We provided services such as re-training, job placement, etc. I'm thinking however, in our state, you might not be elegible, because your disabling condition has not hindered you from "maintaining" your present employment. Just because one seeks to improve their quality of life doesn't automatically make one eligible, but you never know, and in your state you might qualify for services. The worst that could happen is they declare you inelegible. You won't know unless you apply.
You definitely have a "disabling condition". That can be documented. It's the part as to whether or not that condition prevents you from obtaining or maintaining a job. As I said, just because you are interested in changing employment to a different field, is the key question. A good rehab counselor may be able to justify re-training, but with the economy the way it is, funding is so limited, and these agencies are pretty tight with making sure someone is in dire need for whatever services they receive. It all goes back to finacial accountibility.
Anyhoo, just a couple of things for you to think about.
In terms of the medical profession, and most specifically the PM field, with your history of addiction, I don't know if a PM clinic would "risk" taking someone with a prior "history" into a clinic, unless it was specifically as an addiction or psychological/therapeutic counselor. I know that's not right, but IMHO, I just don't see it happening, and want to be realistic with you. I don't know if "legally" they could get away with turning someone down under the ADA (Americans with Disabities Act) based on a history of addiction, but believe me, I have work with the disabled population for the last 28 years, and I've seen this type of discrimination day in and day out. People get around it, and though they don't specifially state this as a reason for not hiring the person (because it's illegal to do so), believe me, I've seen it happen over and over again, and have seen very few cases yet to be challenged. It's one of the things I hate so much, oppression and discrimination!!! GRRRRRRRR!!!
Good luck to you. You have big decisions ahead of you.
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Last edited by SpinalMalady; 03-20-2008 at 08:32 AM.