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First day returning to work after 8 months

jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
Today is my first day at a new job. Can I do this, I sure hope so. I am not nervous about starting a new job, I am nervous if my pain levels are going to increase again. Being off work for 8 months kept my pain levels low or should I say alot better then when I was working. I felt human again. I pray this is not a mistake returning to work. What if I find out I cant do this? How long should I give it? I do realize at first my pain levels will increase due to just working again but like I said how long do I give it, to say I gave it a honest attempt. It could go either way. I could be fine or find out I just cannot do it which scares the crap out of me. To make things worse I woke up this morning with my back trying to go out. The physical I was given for pre-employment was very hard on me but I was honest about my medical history and medications I am taking. I was very surprised to discover that I passed the physical. I was unable to do some of the things that were requested of me. They even measured with a ruler the flexiblity of my neck. It was unlike any physical I have had previously. Well here I go out the door for my return to the work force. Wish me luck.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Scary situation getting back out there. Hope all goes well for you.
    For me, I remind myself that nothing is written in stone. I try this...that...and if things work out for a while, that doesn't mean I can't change my mind.. anytime...along the way.

    I try to take care of myself as best I can, because I am the only one who can. If I wear out or overdo it.. I may get couple cards in the mail...but soon forgotten as business as usual must go on.

    Take care of yourself...as best you can! And, good luck!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I hope you were able to get through your day at work. Let us know. 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
  • Welll I waiting to hear how it went...

    I'm considering the same thing right now and the idea of going back is scaring me. The physical is bad enough but my vision is what really has me worried. At home I can get up and move around which lets me refocus or not focus as needed.

    So I can't wait to hear how it went. I'm sure today was harder than a normal day will be... eight months is a long time off.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Today went well and to say I have not had a increase in pain would be a lie. The pain is not something that is out of control and I imagine it will take me awhile to get used to working again. I will take it one day at a time. Kris I have to laugh about the vision test. I flunked it big time. Matter of fact I was told I had to get glasses before I reported to work. I have glasses I just forgot to bring them. They wanted me to read the 4th line down and Im like your kidding me, I cant read the second line. Since I told them I had glasses and just forgot to bring them they let me retake the vision portion of the physical when I went back to get my TB test read. After about 7 hrs at work today I felt like the day would never get over with. Lol. I did not take my normal dose of meds at lunch and trust me I will be taking them at lunch tomorrow.
  • One day down. I'm curious did they require a drug test? and are you taking anything that you had to tell them about?

    I'm wondering because I applied for a job that i know would require a drug test. I use oxy occasionally and wonder how that is handled.

    Sounds like a pretty thorough physical testing. Usually they just ask if you can do things.

    Sleep well tonite and don't forget your glasses tomorrow!!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I was very worried about the drug test. I take oxycodone, neurotin, zanaflex and elavil. I brought my bottles to the physical with me. The doctor did discuss with me the amount of meds I was taking. He asked me if I felt they interfered with my thinking or my ability to work. Of course I told him no. He stated that work may request a letter from my doctor but to date they have not. That surprised me. I was sure my employer would request some sort of documentation. My employer called me Friday and stated that my drug screen, back ground check and my TB test all came back ok so I could start Monday. The physical was unlike any I have previously taken but I think it was because of all my spine issues. I was asked to do sit-ups, major test on the flexability of my neck,along with vision,carpal tunnel test on my wrist,lower back flexability and blood pressure. To be honest I thought for sure I flunked the test and would be told that I did not qualify for the job. The physician did request a letter from my surgeon stating that I had no restrictions. This morning upon waking my pain has doubled but like I said I think it will just take time to adjust to returning to work.
  • Susan,
    All the emotion of not working and the hope for the future is embodied in your new role and it is you that will make it work, all these are now new experiences of working and being in pain and the need to pace well or stop before any potential opportunity for the pain to increase. Some specific work activity or just the whole process itself, will increase the pain overall and it is a lot to ask of ourselves to keep this momentum going.

    We are here to support and encouraged all those strong and capable of working to continue, I was hoping to increase my hours once I stated back but that has never happened and I have to be content with the fact that I am doing more than I did. I was many years not working and thought my opportunity had gone, so I applaud my own effort with that strategy.

    Any bad day at work is better than having to stay at home, I as you am in constant pain and question my own desire to want to keep working over the reality, of taking two hours to get ready, not sleeping well and sharing my none pain capability with all those who have legitimate need of it.

    Working for me is still a team event and my wife takes up all the things I am no longer capable of doing, working comes at a price and having not worked, for me it is a risk worth taking. I have an understanding and adaptable employer, I am vocal in my own need and requests, to reduced that risk of doing more than I need developing, most of my work colleagues are supportive and acknowledge that I may need proportionate help where necessary.

    Many here wish to return to some form of work, your experience and example of what can be achieved, that positive attitude is needed to thwart those dally difficulties of working in pain and the joy of achievement.

    Pace well and be kind to yourself.

  • Congrats Susan!! I've been wondering about you, and how everything has been going. Are you still working in the school system?

    For myself, after a month was when I drew the line. It just wasn't worth it, getting home and not feeling able enough to do anything else. I'd have to take the higher dose I'm allowed to take, wait for that to kick in, and if I had something that needed to be done, it would just negate the effects of the meds. And I was only working 2 1/2 hrs.

    I hope that your story ends differently than mine. Good luck, and let us know how you're doing!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I work for a Dr. office so maybe you have me confused with another member. I am on day three of the new job and it is a little more difficult then I thought it would be. I do realize as stated before my pain will be increased in the beginning and I am hoping it will level out and become my normal level of pain. Right now my neck is a mess with muscle spasms and it is not getting any relief with muscle relaxers. Heat does help but I am unable to use it during the day at work. I bought some of the disposable heat pads and will give that a try. I do not feel comfortable at work with everyone knowing of my issues so I just suck up the pain and pretend everything is o.k. Hopefully I can get the heating pads on my neck without anyone being able to see them. I really like my new job and pray that I can do this. I have told myself I would give it or should I say try to give it 6 months before I decide if working is going to be the right thing for me to do or if retirement is the answer. I will just have to wait and see if my body will allow this,
  • I have an idea....see if your doctor will give you a script for a box of lidoderm patches. They work really great on those muscle spasms/surface achy pains. Or you might try Voltaren jell. But the lidoderm is like magic.
  • It is always so good to read success stories and I hope your will be one too.

    Those lidoderm pain patches Kris mentioned are great. I use to use them everyday until my insurance decided not to pay for them any longer. Grrrrrr

    Very best to you now and in the future.
    Please keep us updated.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • It is always so good to read success stories and I hope your will be one too.

    Those lidoderm pain patches Kris mentioned are great. I use to use them everyday until my insurance decided not to pay for them any longer. Grrrrrr

    Very best to you now and in the future.
    Please keep us updated.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I have both the Lidoderm patches and Voltren gel. Neither one have ever done much for me.This morning upon waking I can barely stand up straight because my back wants to go out and my neck feels like it has been thru a meat grinder. After I am awake about a hour this does calm down thank god. I am on my fourth day of work and it is going just as expected. I knew it was going to be rough in the beginning but I am doing it. It feels so good to say I am going to work!
  • Well, it looks like we're in the same boat. I just finished one full week at a new job after not working for two years and having two surgeries, one lumbar, one cervical.

    I felt pretty good the first week but last night was the most difficult. I guess it's because I'm getting more of the responsibility and work than the guy I'm replacing. I'm luck I only had a background check, nothing else.

    Hang in there. I have to say that the emotional part of being back in the work force feels wonderful and it's a big change from staying at home. I even think the additional movement helps the pain to some extent.

    I'm anxious to hear how it goes for you along the way, how you adjust and hope you can keep going. Me too. I'm not questioning whether I can do this job or not, I'm just going to do it and take whatever I need, use my patches, whatever it takes because the alternative is just not acceptable any more.

    I so hope you can keep up with the work and handle the additional pain it brings and learn how to adjust to deal with it.

    Good luck to us newbie jobbers.
  • Susan at this point I wouldn't just try anything ... I would try EVERYTHING!!! If you have it try it. It may not be perfect but if it does even a little it is worth it.

    Hopefully the weekend will recharge your batteries.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Congrats on returning to work, it does feel good doesnt it! I will not lie and say the first week was easy. The weekend seemed to really allow my pain to set in and well I am a mess. I see my pain doc the 1st and we have discussed changing my meds to allow for more comfort so I will definitely allow him to change them this appt. He has discussed changing my oxycodone to Opana ER. I think the ER will work better for me and allow for more pain relief or should I say longer pain relief. I am going to give this new job all that I have to offer and fight the pain that has increased. I refuse to lose this battle. I love my new place of employment and would like to retire from this job. Great benefits, great people and a very stable health network so I do have job security. Good luck Cath and I hope your transition to working is a easy one for you.
  • omg, this memory of mine is something else... I'm so sorry to have confused you with someone else (how embarrassing!!!) I'm so happy that you like your new job, and hope that your pain levels out soon for you! I tried the heating pads too, I just found that they didn't stick very well if I was moving around a lot. Do you have a tens that you can wear at work? I used to wear mine as well, nobody even noticed.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I agree - it seems that after a full week of working, Saturday comes with a little more pain. I also plan on retiring from this job as it's stable like yours and comes with great benefits and I love the work. My coworkers know that I've had lumbar surgery, but nobody except my good friend that works there knows that I've got ongoing cervical problems. Like you, I keep it to myself - I think it's best that nobody knows this unless absolutely necessary, like when I choose to have injections done. But I'm going to wait until I'm very established in my new position.

    We just have to get the right balance of things to keep on going. I'm hoping for each of us that once we get used to the routine (it can take up to a month to get used to this new stuff), things will settle down and we'll both know what to expect come Friday night and the weekend.

    I'm wishing you luck in your transition as well and hope the ER meds will work well for you. Are the disposable heating pads helping? I like my lidoderm patches for my lumbar, but don't want to wear one on my neck for obvious reasons.

    Hang in there and I agree that it's nice to say I've got a job.

    Please keep us posted - obviously I'm interested to hear how you get on as time goes by.

  • Oh, I soo feel for all of you who have to work out in the big world and try to cope with your pain issues in that environment. I am so grateful to be able to work from home. The pain is the same, & working at my desk seems to be the biggest aggravating factor in my life other than sleeping--no matter what I do, I'll end up in a bad position & wake up in bad pain at 3 am.

    But at least I can get up & stretch, even lie down for a few minutes when I need.

    Of course, any business owner will tell you the downsides are the uncertainty & the time demands. Most of us who are self employed don't get to do a 40 hr week.

    So, I guess it's a bunch of trade offs.

    I hope those of you working outside your homes can set your workspace up to be as comfortable as possible. At least more busineses now are aware of ergonomics.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    It has been a month now since I returned to work. All is going well but with some increased pain. I love my job and will do whatever it takes to make this work. My pain doctor is working with me to change my meds to make me more comfortable. I am trying the Opana ER with oxy for break through pain. I think the meds are going to work but I think we will have to adjust the the milligram dosage. I am on a very low dose of 5mg every 12 hours. I am suppose to call him Wed. to let him know if it is working and will adjust as needed until we find the right dose for comfort. He is doing everything possible to help make me comfortable enough to work. So I would say this will be a success story!
  • I'm glad to hear that your feeling like this is going to work out. You know that you and I are in the same boat and I also feel like mine is going to work out too.

    It's a relief to have a month behind you and have made the adjustments (or are still making them) to make working possible.

    I can say that the mental aspect of working is fantastic. Being able to see other people, feel like your doing something that makes a difference and getting out each day like a normal has its psychological benefits.

    I think that, at least for me, working is making me stronger in many positive ways and I'm learning to deal with the aftermath that comes some days when I get home. Luckily, my hubby has been extremely supportive and has picked up a lot of the slack since my going back.

    Hang in there, my friend. I'm always glad to hear good news from you on the working front.

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