Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

work restictions

factoryratffactoryrat Posts: 106
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I had a 360 fusion L4-S1 with hardware on 1-20-2010.

At my last appointment with my surgeon (6-10-2010) I told him I was still having lower back pain. He wrote me a script for volteran at that time and set me up with an appointment for 7-15-2010.

At the 7-15-2010 appointment I did not see the surgeon. His assistant came in and said my x-rays looked good. He told me it was time for me to go back to work. I told him I still had lower back pain. He asked if I had done PT and if I was doing exercises at home. He suggested that I continue to do them daily. I know that PT sent reports to the surgeon, so I suspected he had not reviewed the reports in my chart. He ask me to pull my toe end of my feet back and also flex my leg forward from a seated position as he pressed on them. He told me that he was sending me back to work with no restrictions. I asked him if I could lift anything, to which he said I had to use my head and to be careful. I wanted to tell him that if I go back to my job with no restrictions I would have to do heavy repetitive lifting, but I did not say anything because quite frankly I felt that he did not care and I did not feel like arguing with him. In fact just the way he spoke to me made me feel bad. I am having trouble expressing the way he made me feel. It was almost as if he thought there was no way I could be in pain and expected me to be a problem that had to be expedited with firm condescending language and attitude.

I returned to work on Wednesday 7-21-2010. I have to cover 7 operators and stock their work stations. The first hour of my shift is spent opening and delivering stock (nuts, bolts, hoses, brackets, etc)to the workstations. My initial thoughts were "this is not too bad", but that was wrong. My supervisor and utility man (friend/co-worker) saw my distress and asked if I needed to go home early. I told them yes, I would try for 3 hours. After the first hour my back was aching. I split @2 hours into the shift. I could not handle it. I came home and did pain meds, ice packs, and TENS.

My wife wants me to call the surgeon tomorrow. After the way my appointment went last week I am not so sure they care. I also don't care to ask them for anything at this point either. I also had trouble with getting calls returned from the surgeons office post-op. I had to make numerous calls to get my paperwork done correctly and my getting my STD/LTD paid because of the office not returning calls to my insurance case worker.

I do not see my PM till 8-30-2010.

I need to do something. I would hope there is something in the factory I work at that I can do. I know the lifting was bad, but just standing seemed to hurt. I had to go in early so I guess I was on my feet for about 3 hours today.

Any suggestions on what to do, or who I should call for help? I know I cannot handle my job at this time, or if I will be able do it in the future, but without restrictions I am stuck. I don't know what I would have done if I had to work the entire shift. I do not want to ever have another back surgery. Tomorrow will be here soon, and I do not have a plan.



  • Howdy Factoryrat,

    The first thing I would do Monday (I am assuming here your job presently is M-F)? Get with your Supervisor (who is also your friend, is that correct?) and see if they can work something out 'inhouse' until you are back to speed, and or until *you* know for sure your status.

    I understand the assistant was a jerk, but what is your relationship with your surgeon? If you feel there is still hope there, I would contact the office again, and strongly request to either talk with your surgeon (not the assistant), or see him asap, and in the interim, he could fax you a letter of modification due to your present job. If you get the cold shoulder, (if your PM and you get along), call your PM and ask for him to write a note for you.

    The only other option I can see if none of this works is get with your GP, explain where you are at now as far as your health, your job (duties non light duty that is), and its affects. I hope you get some understanding at work that works for you, and too doesn't damage you! Take care, and please keep us posted on how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I understand your concerns. Brenda has some nice suggestions for you to try. I'm curious, do you have a back brace? Maybe a brace, like the kind you can get at Home Depot, might help relieve some of the stress your experiencing. I'm sure that being 7 months out from surgery, you're probably not 100% in your core muscles. I still have difficulty with standing for extended periods and my last back surgery was 2 years ago.

    I wish I had more ideas.

  • I don't think I am going to make it to Monday. Actually I meant the utility man was my friend. It was nice of my supervisor to help me out last night, but I can't say he is a friend. My fellow workers will not be happy if I go home early again. It is suppose to be rotated. Where I work is dog eat dog as far as privileges go. Not to mention if I cannot work the entire shift I am better off getting STD/LTD so that I am making some money.

    My employer has a fairly rigid system of job assignments. Without a restriction I have no right to bump someone off a job. I guess I should also mention that I have a "preferred job". I don't work on the line per say. I have put some thought into what I can do, but I would have to be medically place to do it, and I am not sure I could handle it for 10 hours. I definitely do not want to bump somebody off a job and then not be able to do it. I am still undecided on what to do.

    I do feel better, after coming home, at least I have learned how to deal with my pain. Unfortunately, it requires icing, pain medication, stretches and use of the tens unit. All of these treatments cannot be done at work.

    I am so worried about this that I cannot sleep. At this point I really don't care about the money. I just do not want to hurt. That was my reason for having the surgery. I wanted to take a swing at solving my problems. I was hoping for a home run, but feel like I struck out last night. Dave, I did not wear a brace, but at this point I Just don't think I can do manual labor.

    The other part to this is my STD/LTD. If you read my last post you have a decent grasp of my situation. My surgeon had trouble returning my providers calls. And that held my money up, not to mention the cut in pay, which I am willing to accept at this point. I also have a form that needs to be corrected if I am going to stay out. This form was sent to see if I would need to file for SSDI.

    So after I take a nap I am going to have to call someone. I am leaning towards my PM. He has supported me and not let me down since I began seeing him. Wow, this really sux. The beast is waiting for me, and I do not want to go toe to toe with him anymore. He has a hell of a bite, and I'm a lover not a fighter.

    Thanks in advance
  • I really have no answers for you but can understand how you're feeling. I'm lucky that I'm not having to work right now, but at 6+ months out from a TLIF at L4/5, standing is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I can only imagine the pain you must have felt standing for three hours...ouchy big time.

    Maybe it's time for a career change. Or maybe there's something in the Americans with Disabilities Act that can help, I really don't know.

    I just wanted to let you know that I understand how difficult it is for you and I'm hoping that you can come up with a solution that works for you and your employer.

    Hang in there and please keep us posted.
  • Norm,

    Thanks for adding more info and clarifying the rest. I understand your not wanting to bump someone to be able to work, but like them (you did say dog eat dog after all), you need to look out for number 1! On that same note, please don't harm yourself working in a labor status!

    I hope your PM can help out, and advise. Some jobs (I think it is based on the # of employees?) are covered under the American's with Disabilities Act. Companies tend to be more agreeable if you are still "fixable" as you and your time with the company is an investment for them as well.

    "Lover not a fighter"... hehee, okay, learn to love and protect yourself! :) Please let us know how your fight goes with the beast - he is an ugly sucker isn't he? Gentle support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi Norm, So sorry to hear that you are being forced back to work before you are ready. The only thing I can think of is to go back to your neurologist. Maybe the surgeon is "dismissing" you because he feels your surgery recovery is complete. This doesn't mean that you are rehabilitated to pre-injury state or even that the surgery fixed everything. Just means he did his job and is saying bye-bye.

    I would go back to your neurologist (I say neurologist because you used a neurosurgeon) and see what they think. I think the surgeons office is neglectful to send you back to work without doing a full eval or referring you back to the neurologist. Especially since your PT has submitted documentation that says you are not ready.

    I hope you find some answers. And I applaude your concern for your fellow workers. Many people would just say me-me no matter what.
  • Well as you have the pain you should not work so much and also do not lift heavy obstacles. The suggestion given here would be beneficial to you. I think you also should consult your PM doctor for getting advice.
  • Have you spoken with your case worker at your disability insurance? Have you had a functional capacity exam done? This would clarify what you are capable of doing at work, if anything at all at this time. If they find you are still too disabled to return to work, then your disability insurance should continue as before while you apply for SSDI. I would contact them ASAP so that your case hopefully won't be closed due to your returning to work.

    Best wishes,

  • Thank you all for the kind words, support, and advice.

    I did call my PM's office Friday. One of his nurses called me back within an hour or two. She informed me the the Dr was out of town. I told her of my distress and that I had missed work on Thursday. She advised me to call the surgeon's office and be persistant. She also said she would leave a note on the Pm's desk, but he would not be back until Tuesday. She also got my appt. moved up 2 weeks, which is great considering the size of his practice. His office called back on Monday to say he could not write me a restriction until he saw me. I knew he could not do that. What I wanted was a note to cover me if I did not feel up to work on Friday.

    The surgeon's secretary called me Friday afternoon. She said I could get a restriction for no repetative lifting or bending, no lifting over 20-25 pounds, and no prolonged standing. I did not have enough time to get to their office before work, so I asked her to fax it to my work. She said she would but would not be in the office the next week, so she would mail the note to me after she faxed it. When i got to work, I work night shift, the fax was not there. My boss let me go home, so I dodged a bullet there.

    I am off Mondays, so I got up early and phoned the surgeons nurse. She told me the surgeon was on vacation and had not signed the restriction before he left. She said she would rubber stamp his signiture and fax it. I thanked her and told he I would come to the office to pick up the original. She called me back Tuesday and left a messaage saying my work wanted to speak to the Dr about the length of the restrictions. My work said they would honor the restriction for 2 weeks since he was on vacation. That is good for me except at the end of the 2 weeks I will have to resume my job. I also cannot be medically placed on a less physical job unless the restriction is permanent. I hope the surgeon will ok the restricion when he returns, becaus that will leave a week before I can see my PM.

    Cath111 - I do not see much help in the ADA, unfortunately. I am vested with my company and as things are presently I do not think a career change is in my best intrest. I just may need to change job classificaions at work for a lighter / sitdown job.

    Kris - I do not have a neurologist. I used an orthopedic surgeon.

    sterlinprince - I agree, but if I told that to my work they would laugh in my face.

    marirlpn - The disabilty insurance at my work is known for their callousness. They told me I should have returned 6 weeks after my surgery, and made me get my surgeon to call them a few times to keep my coverage continued insteed of accepting the his original paperwork.

    I did get lucky in that I fill in for the safety rep at my plant and he will be out for a few weeks.

    I am feeling better. Just getting out of the house and being back in the plant has made me feel better mentally. I would like to continue working my job, as it is quite good for a factory job. I just do not believe it is in my best interest simply because of the lifting and standing required

    Once again thank you all.

  • Hey Norm,

    It's possible that your work said they would work with the restrictions for 2 weeks because they need time to talk to your doctor to get specifics or clarification. Many states require they work with your restrictions "within reason" for up to 12 weeks.

    Maybe you could check with your Company and find out what their policy is for allowing work accomocations for employees returning to work from FMLA. (Or check your employee handbook if you have one available.) It could ease your mind a bit.

    I went back after my fusion to an extremely physical job on concrete floors. It included heavy repetitive lifting so I did not return until the 8 month mark and I seriously thought I was going to die. I went back and got restrictions and eased back into it over the course of the next 3 months. (I am not sure how close our medical issues are.) I do know that learning how to reuse all those muscles and restrengthening that core, Wow!

    On a side note, many doctors are totally unaware how the "gate keepers" or staff are handling their business. I had to just come out and ask my surgeon, "I can't get my forms filled out in a timely manner therefore I'm not getting paid by my disability company, your staff is not delivering my messages to you in a timely manner, and your assistant is speaking to me as if I were a child. Am I doing something wrong?" He was genuinely surprised. He said, "I just wants to do surgery and not have to deal with all that stuff but I will if I have to."

    Don't know if it will work for you but...
    All that behavior stopped and I was treated good as gold from there on.
  • Norm,

    I know we do not have the same type of job. But I am in the same boat. I am worried about my status at work, as well. All we can do is present the paperwork we have and hope for the best. Does the union stand behind you at all? Aren't they supposed to offer you some support and a liaison between you and the company?

    I wish you the best. I will have a better understanding what's going to happen with my situation tomorrow. No union help available for me.

    And on the LTD side of things. All I can add, Prudential is lucky I am not a postal type of person. I would have shot them up LOL. Can't see me doing that, but it is has been entertaining thinking about it!! Brenda would have to come bust me then!

    Hugs my friend,
Sign In or Register to comment.