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Ack! I'm nervous!

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Chronic Pain
I had my appt at UPenn yesterday, and we scheduled my surgery. July 6th!!! Um, that's TWO weeks from today! I go for pre-admission testing next week. It just hit me that I'm having spine surgery in TWO weeks! Yup, it's nerve-wracking.

Now for my dilemma. I found out on Monday that I got the job I had interviewed for a couple of weeks ago. It's a desk job as a telephone triage nurse at a local hospital!! The pay is great and it's weekends, so no daycare for the kids. I'm so excited because I can drop my disability claim. I can't wait to get back into the working world. The problem is that I am supposed to have hospital-wide orientation on June 11th and 12th, which is only 5 days after my surgery. The surgeon said he gives patients 6 weeks off, but he said some people feel well enough to return to work after a week or two. He said some people go back to work after a couple of days, and he was completely fine with me going to work soon after the surgery, if I'm feeling up to it and not having to take a lot of Percocet to help with the pain. Do you think I'm being unrealistic by thinking I can start working only 5 days after my surgery? Do you think I should see if I can push orientation back a week or two? I guess I don't want to rock the boat when I haven't even started working yet.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    Every spinal surgery is different. Even though most of them are pretty routine now, each person handles it in different ways.

    In almost every situation I know, its about 3 weeks before you really should be doing anything. And then it all depends on the type of surgery, what was the outcome and what are your doctor's recommendation

    I am not even sure where your surgery is being done?
    Cervical, Thoracic or Lumbar. From reading your signature line, it seems it would be Thoracic.

    If possible, I would try to postpone your hospital orientation. Even if you feel good after surgery, trying to get back to soon could backfire. You could run the risk of having a relapse or other problems. Then you would be faced with having the orientation and then NOT being able to work.

    See if you can get it pushed out. Rocking the boat? Well, lets put it this way, you would only be telling the truth.

    Number 1 Priority: Taking care of yourself
    Everything else will fall into place
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • It sounds like a good job opportunity. Are they aware you are having the surgery?

    I think I would make sure that they are aware of the possibility that you might need to delay orientation, but let them know that you are excited about the oportunity, and that you have discussed the possibility of attempting to proceed with the orientation at the first possible opportunity.

    I am pretty sure they will understand--most people are aware of this being a big surgery, and you aredoing everything you can to try to complete the orientation as fast as you possibly can.

    (I actually had a similar experience several years ago, but it was not a back related surgery. I explained that I had just been thru surgery, but I would ask the doctor to give the OK for early return to work, with restrictions. They agreed to the restrictions, and thus began my lifelong career in Nephrology nursing!!)

    Good luck to you.
  • Thanks guys! No, they are not aware of the surgery yet. I was waiting to tell them until I knew for sure when it would be. I didn't think it would be this soon, though. I was aiming for the last week of July/first week of August, but the doctor doesn't have those dates available. I decided to go with the 6th because I'd rather get it done and overwith, especially being that I've already postponed it twice now. Yes, the surgery is a thoracic discectomy done posteriorly. I'll be spending two days in the hospital, since I live an hour and a half away from the hospital that I'm having the surgery at.

    I'm going in for a drug screen today, and I'm going to be meeting with my manager, so I'm going to talk to her about the surgery today. I'll let you all know what I decide.
  • Happy to hear about the new employment opportunity for you. Good luck with your management meeting today, I hope they will be flexible with your orientation as I can honestly say that 5 days post op T spine surgery is an extremely optimistic goal.
    Let us know how it goes.
  • So, my meeting with my new manager today went great!! I told her about the surgery and she was extremely understanding. I told her that I still plan to proceed with orientation. She made sure to tell me that it wouldn't be a problem if I needed to postpone orientation.

    The surgical procedure I'm having seems to be fairly non-invasive compared to the typical t-spine surgery that is done. This will be done entirely posteriorly, so there will be no deflating of the lungs or chest tube or anything like that. I'll spend 1 to 2 nights in the hospital. While surgery of any kind is never fun, I feel confident that I'll be okay to start orientation as scheduled. I know I may be overly optimistic, but if worst comes to worst I can always call by thursday or friday that week and postpone it. I guess my thinking is that I'll just be sitting anyway. If I'm at home, even though I'll likely have someone there to help me, my kids will be climbing all over me and not allowing me to get much rest anyway. I'll probably do less at work than I would at home. And it's only two days of orientation, and the second day isn't even a full day. I'm going to take it one day at a time and see how I feel after the surgery.
  • That's awesome news about the new job, and getting your date for surgery. I hope that you are overly positive for good reason, that you do have an easy and speedy recovery. Just keep your last thoughts in mind though, take it one day at a time, and don't be discouraged if you do have to postpone, it's great that your new manager is understanding. I hope it all works out the way you want it to!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • So happy your meeting went well. I am glad your new supervisor was understanding.
    Don't push yourself too hard, if you need to postpone, do it. Your supervisor will understand!
    Good luck with everything, I will keep you in my prayers!!
  • Please do follow your last thought of one day at a time. I had a lamenectomy that was supposed to be outpatient and two hours long. The surgery lasted 4 hours and I ended up staying over night. I did go back to work after 10 days and it was tough. The thing to remember is your whole body is involved in the recovery. Realize that some people bounce back very fast but for me surgery zaps my energy for weeks. Best of luck and again Congrats!!! it's hard to find a job you like that you can do with back problems.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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