Sorry this is so long…I had Posterior Interbody lumbar fusion on L5-S1 with decompression with a titanium cage, rods and screws on 2/27. The surgery went well and so is the recovery for the most part. I don’t do much except walk a lot. I am following the no BLT until I get the OK from the surgeon. I am still wearing a brace until I go back to the surgeon on 5/12. If I don’t have the brace on, it feels like I have a pound of bricks in my back and does hurt if I sit too long. If the x-rays look good I will start physical therapy for about 2 weeks. This means I should be able to go back to work June 1st. My back problems were caused by spondylolisthesis and 2 fractures at L5/S1. I am not sure how it happened. I played a lot of soccer, but the final straw was after I donated 60% of my liver to my husband 2 years ago. It definitely made things worse. I am only 41 years old and I wanted my quality of life back.
My issue is how do you deal with being judged from people at work for thinking I am off work too long (3 months)? I have a desk job and I am also going back to additional responsibilities (taking on an additional job). My job is stressful (Manager at Ford Motor Co), but I do enjoy work. I am very well respected by management, at least up until now. I have also been rated extremely high and have put so many hours in above and beyond on a daily basis….just ask my family. Well, one of the Managers lives in my subdivision and has driven by me walking a couple of times. Today I actually saw him when I was walking and he ran up to me and said, “where is a camera, I need to take a picture of you walking”. He then told me my old boss (who really respected me before this) said to give me a hard time for still being off. I tried to explain the walking and that it is hard to sit all day and that I was told to walk, but he did not seem to care. I so offended by his comment. He didn’t even ask me how I felt. He also doesn’t know that I still do as much work as I can at home and I maintain contact daily with my staff. I should not be doing this on medical leave, but it is the way I am. I feel down and depressed as it is not being at work, but then to have this happen, I can only imagine what others are saying. I know I shouldn’t let it bother me so much, but I have worked 18 years with a great reputation…now to have this happen. Also, it could be that I am being judged for being off so soon after I donated 60% of my liver to my husband…..which is why I also needed back surgery so soon. I would save his life all over again. How do I respond to people like this? Why do I feel like I need to explain myself? I am tempted to send a note to my current boss (who is extremely supportive), old boss (wanted to give me a hard time), Human Resources or all. Any advice would be so appreciated. Thanks.