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Back to work after Hardware Removal

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,031
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I did it.

One day down - the rest of my life to go ;)

I didn't actually make it the WHOLE 9 hour shift, but I was up, out of the house and going from 6:30 am until I got home from work at 7:00 pm. That was 3 hours short of my full work shift. I might have been able to tough out the whole thing, but my boss thought I was looking very pale and she convinced me that I should come home.

I have to say - at first I felt REALLY weird. My vision was all wonky and jumpy. It was hard to look and actually see further than my room walls (or the back of my eyelids) which has been my whole view the last week.

After my vision settled (about dark! LOL!) I was still a bit shaky though. I ate some food and started to feel a bit better, but I was hurting. My back was tight and uncomfortable. The waistband of my pants moving back and forth over my scar was a bit irritating. I should have put another bandage layer on to protect it a bit more.

I think I am making it sound worse than it was. I did move very slowly and yes, I felt all weird most of the day. But I think it was also very good for me. It got my body moving and it got me breathing deep and a lot. I didn't sit much, just stood at the computer or walked around quite a bit.

I know that tomorrow will be MUCH easier after today. I timed it so that I'll now have 2 days off, one day of work and then 2 more days off before I go full-swing into my full 40 hour work week.

All in all - I would re-think things and maybe give myself 2 weeks off and then 1 week at part-time and then full into the swing of things. Just didn't have that luxery this time with all the past FMLA leave I've had to take.

Oh- and YES Hardware Removal may have been tough the first few days, but the healing curve is a LOT faster! At 1 week after the hardware removal I feel about the same as I did 3 months after the fusion.


  • Wow! You are wonder woman! I am very impressed. What type of work do you do, if I may ask...?

  • Thanks for the vote of confidence Gwennie!

    I think I've got it easy. I'm a librarian. Granted, its at a super busy library and I work in the Childrens with the storytime and laptime and family programming all week. I'm almost constantly on the run with patrons.

    Luckily our desks are at elbow height and it's easy to stand at them to look up things on the computers. Then it's out to the stacks to get the books. We have the biggest Childrens Library that I know of- two floors are just Childrens books. Unfortunately there are the bottom shelves - we have so many books that we are stuffed to the gills. I did squat down once today where I wondered if it was one time too many, made me glad I was being sent home.

    take a peek - http://lib.orem.org/

    My little soapbox - I LOVE helping kids find books. My favorite thing is turning a reluctant reader into an avid reader. All it takes is finding the right book for the right kid. I was a reluctant and NON reader until junior high. A librarian handed me a book one day - booktalked it, was excited about it and so I read it. Changed my life.

    I want to be that librarian for as many kids as I can.
  • Rock On. I am excited to hear about you getting back to work so quickly and am sending tons of positive thoughts your way that it will all go smoothly from here on.
    I love to hear the excitement in your voice when you speak of your job and the kids.

    Good for you!

  • That's amazing you made it through most of the day. I hope it goes better and better everyday for you. When you have hardware removed will you have to fit PT in also? I hope you do well in your endeavors and especially at a job you love. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It is a great job. I would be devastated if I lost it. What am I saying - I WAS devastated when just over a year ago I was told to consider long term disability! I fought it, obviously. I do worry that eventually this accident will cause me the loss of my job, not something I like to think about.

    Anyway - Charry, I already have been fitting in a regular workout schedule. I don't think I need PT again for this. I've already got the OK from the NS to do as much cardio as I can tolerate and I can do some weights -but go VERY easy on them...don't want to rip open my sutures.
  • way to go saltz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!you go girl! what a trooper! I applaud your love of learning--I am a former teacher,and now I sub which I love---several years ago I went back and got my degree in history,and last spring I began my Masters--but I had to bow out this fall due to the whole back thing----but the cool thing about libraries is you can go to "school" and learn all you want!I am so proud!

  • for completing your first day back at work. The fact that you enjoy your job so much must have made it easier for you to return so quickly. Do be careful that you don't over do it though.

    Keep on the smooth path to full healing.
  • Bet you felt like a toddler just learning to walk -- kinda like a little drunk! Just kidding you!

    Very happy for you to be back at work -- slow and easy for a while -- your job sounds great and I know you must be overjoyed to be back. I know I would!

    It's an awesome thing that you plunged back into work -- you go girl!

    Take care of you,

  • Thanks for all the support! Judy - you put it just right - felt like I was drunk or something the whole day - just off kilter, slow and not quite there ;)

    I've been focusing so much on getting back to work that I wasn't prepared for what happened today. It's a day off and I'm just getting up and getting ready for a day of recuperating when WHAM!!

    Depression! I was suddenly so mad and so upset and so TIRED of not being who I used to be. It's hazy and crappy here in the valleys and up at the ski resorts it's clear blue skies - I'd have been up skiing in a heartbeat today if it wasn't for all this crap I've been put through. Where is my body that used to love to move, love to get out and do??!!

    I did the only thing I could - I went in the shower and cried my eyes out.

    I'm not through this yet. I KNOW it's all post-surgical crap and it's totally normal. But wow, what a blow! I suddenly felt a whole new appreciation for every single person on here who is still HERE. I am not a suicidal person, but this horrible feeling is so deep and so strong - how does anyone fight it?

    My poor dad, I don't know if he knows quite what to think. He's been calling me every day to check on me (he's had 3 back surgeries himself) and today he happened to call right when all this hit me. He sure was in a hurry to get off the phone - we are not an emotional family - I did hold it in, my voice was just cracking a little, but I know he knows. Just knowing that he cares enough to call every day is enough to give me a lift.

    I am going to be SO embarrassed tomorrow about this. I hate it when I lose control. I need something to pick myself up fast. This is so overwhelming. My life feels so bleak and useless. I'm so tired of treating my body likes it's fine china that'll break if I just breath too hard. Then there is this whole new insurance deductable that's going to be coming in the mail shortly - what did I ever do to deserve this??

    Okay, okay. I'm going to be fine. I promise. I KNOW this is normal. I KNOW I have people that I can call. I can get through this. I'm going to go write up a list of things I can change, things I can't change and what I can and can't do about it. A plan of action, I just need it all laid out. One day at a time.
  • Just wanted to say congrats on toughing out your first day, and may every day get better and easier!
  • oh saltz!!!!why do these emotions hit us?I even see commercials in which people are running,playing,etcc,and I think:crap,I want to do that too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!But you are doing so good,and you know what?don't be a hero--its ok to cry and cry and cry--dont hold it in------we all know how strong you are,and whether it seems like alot or not just the act of going to work is a huge deal when we are recovering.so hang in there,and we love you,

  • on your road to recovery. You had been waiting to have your hardware out - tick that one off your list. Waiting to go back to work - tick that one off your list. So much is behind you - things that you have dealt with on your way to an improved life. There will be things that crop up yet, but you are strong and will deal with them.
    Crying is a good way to vent your emotions, so let the tears flow.
    Spring is on the way and you will get better each day.
    Take care, and know that there are lots of us here who care.
  • Thanks all.

    I didn't get away from those blues after the fusion so I'm not surprised to have them now. It just hit me so hard and so suddenly.

    I did go drag myself to the grocery store, got some apples and some vitamin water, salad and some chicken. I started to feel better knowing I was being good to myself and then I ran into some friends and that helped a lot. Finally I called the DH at work and admitted that I was having a very bad day. He was wonderful - joked a bit and made me feel loved.

    I know its not over yet, but at least today is almost over.
  • I'm really proud of you for being strong enough to push yourself to get back to work when you wanted. I know its got to be touugh on you but kudos to you for doing it. =D

  • Back at work today too- its a mixed blessing.

    I'm on my break, so I've got to go soon...

    Just wanted to add that my dad did call back again today. Had to laugh, he asked if today was looking a bit better.

    He talked about just growing older and it doesn't matter if you have health issues or not, we've all got our stuff to deal with and the true measure of our individual character is how we handle it all and what we still manage to do - despite the challenges we are given.

    What can you do? You get what you get and there's not much we can do to change what we're given. The only thing we can change is HOW we deal with it.

    Here's to dealing.
  • Amy, you are totally amazing! But please, don't overdo it. Hopefully you are going to take it easy and be sensible about it. It is so good to hear though that after all your troubles and complications you are back on your feet.


  • I survived yesterday's 9 hour work day. It was getting pretty tough there at the end.

    Today I had to make sure my husband looked over the incision to make sure it was not bright red and inflamed. It feels inflamed and the right side feels so sore, it's the muscles on that side, they hate walking right now.

    The right side is the one that was the worst for being able to feel the screws and zinging me down the leg. The left side was worse for catching. Don't know if that is anything that makes a difference. I tend to think that maybe the dr. had to do more work on the right and that's why the muscles hurt more there.

    Just glad that today and tomorrow are days off again. Got to rest up so that I can work Tues-Sat straight through next week.

    p.s. after all is said and done - Hardware Removal is a MUCH easier surgery than fusions!!!
  • Amy, thanks for your posts about going back to work. It sounds like it's been a bit of a trial and triumph at the same time. Good for you! It's good to read your posts on this subject; I'm kinda going down that road too.

    Tomorrow, I go to talk to my NS about maybe going back to my job in a 'light duty' capacity. I'm 2 months PO on my fusion and I'm not really sure the doc likes the idea, but I'm going to see what he thinks. I don't really know what outcome I wish for. I want to work and I have a lucrative, if hard, job and I'm not sure I want to be on disability at 46. I'm running up against a time window at my job where if I can't come back light duty, then I can't come back at all till I'm released 100% no restrictions. Well, I'm not sure I'll ever be a hundred percent again.

    Not sure what is going to happen. Not going to worry all that much either though. I just have to take things as they come and make the best of it. I'll get the Doc's input tomorrow though. Maybe that'll be one bit of uncertainty out of the way.

    Again, good on you going back. I bet that is a strange feeling.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    You may have already said....but what kind of work do you do? I worked in insurance and though I could picture returning I never had the same feelings about my job (how you said you loved your job and wanted to get back to it after surgery, etc).

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I think we all need to feel needed. My job is not nearly as personally fulfilling as yours but I do get satisfaction from doing it well. My husband doesnt understand this. When I try to tell him about something special that I accomplished he has something negative to say. Yesterday I spent hours working on the books for his sportsmens club (who is the treasurer??)and although I was sore it felt good to accomplish something.

    I have always loved books. Only one of my kids share this love. Not everyone can understand the peace and adventure that comes in a book. There is a famous quote about touching the life of a child. Know that you do very important work and your boss must feel that you do it well since she is working with you to get through this.
  • Aaron - I remember the shock I got at 3 mo. post fusion... the dr. didn't release me to work! He just said no way. I'm a librarian for goodness sake. Yes I had a weight restriction and my job requires me to lift 45 lbs. but holy cow, not be allowed to go back?? It was a true shock to my psyche.

    I guess that answers your question on my job too SpineAz- librarian :)

    Then at 5 1/2 months to be counseled by my Personnel department to consider long term disability?? I fought it. Luckily my direct bosses were kind of shocked on the LTD as well and we were able to work it out.

    Although - if there were some reason at all that my bosses wanted me out - they could have forced me out.

    I am wearing my brace now - it's just super strong velcro stretch thing. It helps. My back on the right side just really hates moving the right leg, it pulls like a pulled muscle (I wonder why ;)LOL!) whenever I try to move my leg forward for a step.

    p.s. Kris - I know your feelings, of my three, only one has really decided to love reading. Luckily my boys both married BIG readers :)
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