Good morning. I had a lumbar fusion (L4-L5, L5-S1) at the end of last year. There were some complications with the surgery, and I was out of work for about 8 months.
On my schedule is a corrective surgery to remove hardware, shave some bone, and try to remove scar tissue. My Dr. gave me the choice if I wanted to go back to work in the meantime. I needed the money VERY badly, so I figured I would choose to go back.
Obviously, as we all know, I walk "different". I walk very slow, and very rigid. I am FULLY aware of the way I walk.
Once I returned to work, here are some comments my co-workers said to me (in their minds, they are making a funny):
- “You got something stuck up your a$$? You’re walking like it”
- “You walk like Frankenstein”
- “You and (another guy that walks slow)should have a race”
- “You walk any slower, and you will go back in time”
- “Looking pretty stiff, got something wrong?”
- “What’s wrong with you, got lead in your pockets?”
- “I’ll race ya”
These are just a handful of them. I sent an email to my direct manager about this on a Friday, and he replied apologizing for the lack of sensitivity on the part of my co-workers. He then said that he wanted to sit down and talk with me on Monday. Monday came around, and he avoided me all day. We made eye contact walking towards each other in the hall, but he ducked out before I could get close to him.
I usually have a pretty thick skin, but I have been in a very dark place due to all of this. I am not happy with myself, and have had very dark thoughts. I just want to come to work, do my job, make a FULL paycheck, and go home.
I am having a tough enough time adjusting to sitting down more than I have in almost a year, but this is eating away at my pride.
I am at the point that I have written it all down, printed my correspondence with my mgr, and am ready to talk to an attorney.