My name is Parker and I am an RN. I have been one for over 35 years. I worked as a heart and lung nurse.
On March 8 of this year I noticed my feet where swollen and I got very short of breath. I finished my shift and went to the ER. I thought that I was in what is called Congestive Heart Failure, CHF for short. After a quick work up all my test results where negative for any heart problems. I stayed in the hospital for a few days with no resolution of my problems. I went home and after a week the edema (swelling) was now in all the way up to my thighs. So back to my main doctor I went and he had me see a cardiologist (heart doctor) and pulmonologist (lung doctor). After seeing both doctors and having further testing done again nothing was found wrong with my heart. I was found to have sleep apnea by my lung doctor and started on a machine to help my with that (CPAP) for those of you who are curious. I also had leg scans done for the swelling and nothing (except the swelling) was found wrong with them. I have shortness of breath with any activity and other than the sleep apnea nothing has been found to be wrong with my lungs.
After seeing the specialists and after all the tests where done I was told that I have lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition where the lymph glands in your body get congested with fluid. Lymph glands run throughout your body and are used to help fight off infection by acting as filters for your body and killing infections. For example, with a cold you may have a swollen neck. This is due to the lymph glands in your neck fighting off the virus causing your cold.
I told you about lymphedema to help you understand my dilemma. The lymph glands in my lower legs get swollen all the way up to my just above my knees. I have no sign of infection, no circulation problems (so removing the fluids with medications doesn't help) or anything other issue as to why I have all this edema in my legs. In other words there is no reason why I have this edema it is just there.
The only treatment for this is what are called compression wraps. This is where your legs are wrapped up tight in dressings to help push the fluid in your lymph glands out to your circulation. These wraps are changed about every 3-4 days. So far this has helped but if I take them off for a few hours all the swelling comes back. I have tried compression socks that go up your knee with no help in keeping the swelling down. I also have a compression pump that is to help keep the swelling down that i should use daily that doesn't really do much to help.
The issue with the wraps and pump is that they have to be applied by someone other than yourself. My wife has severe arthritis in her hands and has a lot of trouble with wrapping my legs. She can do it but with extreme difficulty. So they are not getting wrapped as they should.
Currently I am still employed by the hospital I work at. I am getting paid through sick time I have accumulated over the past 33 years. This will run out in September. I will also have to officially retire from the hospital. So no further income.
I have applied for disability but it takes quite awhile for it to kick in. I am 62 but don't want to apply for social security as I am still over 5 years to retirement age. If I take early retirement I will drop from about $3,500 a month to $1,100 a month and we cannot live on that. I cannot work due to the continued swelling in my legs and shortness of breath that i have with any type of activity. I have a pension but that takes several months to iron out. I am the bread winner in the family. My wife cannot work and she took early social security in which she gets paid enough to cover her own medical expenses. I pay for everything else.
Which brings me to Go Fund Me. Until my disability and retirement kick in I am going to be without any income. Paychecks with stop in September. I really need some assistance with funds so I can pay the bills. Right now my monthly income is around $4,000 and that covers everything with nothing left over to save. Now I have an additional $2,000 in hospital debit. Beginning next month I will be without insurance until Medicaid kicks in.
I have been a nurse for over 38 years and was really looking forward to finishing up and retiring at normal retirement. Nurses by their very nature are the ones that are the care givers and have a difficult time asking for assistance from others. But as they say you cannot get any help unless you ask for it. So I am asking for help from anyone that can afford it to give what they can to help me in my situation.