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Being released to work next month!!!!! Holy crap

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I went to the surgeon yesterday, and I am just amazed....he has told me that I am fused, and am able to go back to full duty next month. I am still in pain!!! He said that I need to exercise more, and I will be much better. That is fine with me, but I just dont understand. He also told me not to even take eleve, it doesn't help the pain, it covers it up. He does not believe in ANY pain meds..........I have a appt. on monday with my pain management doctor. We need to figure out what to do. I do not feel ready at ALL to go back to lifting people like he said I can do. :T . I know that he is a surgeon, and he feels his work is done. I feel like I am not done!

I am on workmens comp, and this does not help. Does this seem normal to any of you??????????? Help!!!!


  • You will have a problem if your on work comp, as your work comp will send that information to your pm doctor. But hopefully given the short amount of time between appointments they can help you. But also a surgeon trumps anyone else in the pecking order of things. Has your pm doctor also had you off work during this time? Your pm doctor might order a FCE(functional capacity exam), to see what you can and can't do? Keep in mind work comp's goal is to put you back to work but not necessarily in your previous capacity, just back to any type of employment.

    As far as being fused, If I were you I might check that report and see if that is indeed what the radiologist wrote, as I find it a little hard to believe that happened inside of two months in the lumbar spine, but then again I am no medical doctor. What you don't want to do is go back wards in anyway shape or form.
  • Question: Was the surgeon the pick of WC, or did you and your doctors choose him?

    tamtam is right on the money on this one; talk to your pain doc about the FCE, and do get a copy of your report as well as films. (Almost every place offers them on disc now with a self-opening program. Get one for you, and one for your pain doc.)

    I have *never* heard of any fusion taking place within the span of two months. Something does not seem right about the statement; perhaps he saw first signs of fusion, that's possible, but full fusion? Either he misspoke, or perhaps you misunderstood.

    Hope you get this figured out. Keep calm, stay focused. Rehearse in your mind what you need to say, keep fear out of your voice, and make those calls.
  • HeidiLynnM said:
    he has told me that I am fused, and am able to go back to full duty next month. ... Does this seem normal to any of you???????????
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I am sitting here doing exactly what Paul posted Oprah doing. I cannot believe that they would expect you to go back to your normal duties, or even light duties at this point.

    I am also in nursing, and although I will be having a different surgery (adr) my doctor has told me that it will take a year to recover. By my own decision, I also will not be going back to my previous duties when I am able, as I don't want to risk injuring my back any more after spending so much time trying to restore it. I will search for something in administration or similiar. I injured my back to begin with,during a transfer of a patient although I am not on WC (applied too late)

    I know financially it is a tough decision to make as well, please try to get someone to help you so that you can have a complete recovery.

    My best wishes to you!

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Too funny, but the absolute truth.

    My surgeon told me that I may never be able to do my job again, and that was before my L4-5 fusion. I lifted and positioned patients, pushed 1000 lb beds, stretchers, large equipment, etc. I had a residual capacity exam, and also had my employer to define my job description.

    Did your surgeon give you a weight limitation?

    You also have to consider what would happen to the patient if you were unable to lift them. Patients get confused, and need to be restrained all the time. I know that I could not keep a patient from inadvertently hurting themselves. There is liability on that end as well.

    Being in direct patient care, if you are on pain meds, should you really be caring for others??? More liability.

    Your surgeon may not know the particulars of your job in nursing, I know mine did not. He had no clue what I did whne I showed him my job decription. You do need to know what you can and can not do from the liability aspect.

    Good luck with you pm doctor,

  • Here it is, the surgeon had the xray done while I was there in albany. He saw it right away, he showed me that my bone is fusing, and I did see some shade, but it didnt look like the pictures do I see where the spine is fully fused. I picked this doctor, he does do the work on people that have gotten hurt.

    I called my lawyer, and told him all of this, and he told me that this surgeon has done the same thing to another person that had a spinal fusion on their neck. I guess he is cut, and dry, he is the kind of surgeon where when he is done, he is DONE. I told him the pain I have, and he told me my CORE isnt strong enough, and that is why I hurt. :O .

    Okay, I can do the excercise, I have all the stuff to do it...........I hurt!!!!! I do see my PM doctor tomorrow, and I have been seeing him for years now. I am sure he will have a head shaking also..how can I go back to what I was doing, and am I really fully healed?????? I am not trying to soak it up or anything because I want to be doing great!

    I just want to cry/scream, anything. I just cant believe that after 10 weeks I am told that I am fine to work according to the films!!!!!!!!!!! My lawyer even called me back on a sunday of all days. Thank god I have my pm doctor or I would be in the hole :''(. My surgeon didnt even give me meds, he sent me home with some morphine, and I couldnt take it. I have had a lot of problems with meds.....He doesnt believe in them, and the weird thing is that I didnt relize I didnt catch on soon enough?!

    I know that the goal is to get back to work......Comp is the worst thing to ever deal with. I am going to start school again in Janurary. I will go part time, I just dont think I can do it all at one time right now. I have MANY goals, but I didnt think that hurting my back again was a option. (The surgeon said I can never hurt my spine again.....)

    Bad day........ #:S

  • Ok, calm down, sweetie. One thing at a time, that's how you should take it.

    First, as for exercise and hurting: Part of the reason your hurt is because of the needed/enforced inactivity that follows an acute injury and subsequent surgery. Be assured that you *can* exercise safely even if it is painful/uncomfortable at first. You need the guidance of professionals, you need to know how to modify your movements to protect your body, and you need to start at a pace that is doable and proceed from there. I've been a post-rehab personal trainer and exercise instructor, all while having serious issues including a congenitally nasty spine. I was also a massage therapist, and self-massage to me is a crucial part of taking care of myself. It feels good, can release endorphins, is relaxing, and helps me (a person who often has sleep problems) sleep better. If I can help answer any questions for you, feel free to PM me.

    Now, as for fusion: While it is possible that your spine may show signs of starting to fuse -- and that is a wonderful thing! -- it would be more than a mircle if you were fused entirely in two months. Take those films to your pain doctor, ask him to recommend a surgeon who can look them over and give an opinion.

    The back-to-work issue: I don't know you and don't know for sure, but I'm guessing you're a nurse? Well, so am I. Two things come into play: 1) Is your surgeon intending to say you can go back to your previous job with *no* restrictions, or to light duty with limitations? If the former, in my opinion he will be treading very close to malpractice. Do as someone here said, get a copy of your job descriptions from work; send it to your surgeon, with a letter, and include the specification that is pretty much always the standard for nurses in direct patient care -- there is NO such thing as light duty. There must be no restrictions. Detail your continued pain, the use of pain medications, the inability to lift, bend, twist without pain. Copy your family doctor and PM doctor on this.

    The problem here is that WC exists only to protect the employer -- it is not something put in place to help employees. You must realize this. In exchange for a company carrying WC insurance, the company is protected from any lawsuit by the injured employee. They want to get you fit to do "a" job, not necessarily "your" job. Now, a lot of employers try their best to ease the transition for injured employees, but some couldn't be bothered.

    In any case, although for most state nursing boards it is not an infraction to take narcotic pain medications, the employee who works on them, no matter what dose or how well they handle them, opens themself up to all kinds of difficulties should they have a problem at work that can be laid at the door of medication usage. If they know about it, most hospitals will tell you straight out that you can't work on narcotics period. End of discussion. So if you're in so much pain that you take pain meds, your employer is not likely to see you as fully recovered and fit for full duty without restrictions. This is where your PM's opinion and care comes into play.

    Sadly, healthcare workers are bent over a barrel when it comes to taking care of their health. For a population of people that give their all on a daily basis to help others, encourage and support their healing and help them make the decision to treat their pain rather than suffer through it, the simple truth is that we are not allowed to do so for ourselves.

    If you're planning on school, and things are not panning out with you employer, you may need to think about finding a nursing position outside of patient care to protect your health while you go back to school. Unfortunately, those jobs, whether as an office nurse (most doctors use medical assistants who call themselves nurses to the patients, VERY few use real nurses), and administrative jobs require administrative nursing experience and/or an advanced nursing degree unless you know somebody up the ladder. *sigh* Maybe you and your husband should consider having you go to school full time, if you can.

    It's a tough situation, but there are always solutions, and always opportunities even if you don't see them right now. I wish you the best, try not to let this unsettle you too much, and don't let it make you stop moving forward.
  • I went to see my pm doctor today, and of course he thought the surgeon is nuts....I have another work paper, I am able to work as of 1/9/11 with restrictions. I am counted as 75% at that date....I never thought that I would be going through this already.

    My pm doctor has reccomended water therapy, so I am going to make a appt. for that. I was told I didnt need PT by the surgeon. He just told me to walk, walk, walk. I havent been on the treadmill lately as I havent been feeling well. I need to hop back on that baby.

    I was a cna, not a registered nurse. I would LOVE to be a RN, but that isnt going to happen. I went to the local college today to sign up for classes. I am going into a job where there is no lifting, I dont want to take the chance at all. My surgeon said that I will never be able to hurt my back again, but I dont want to go through this again.

    Workmens comp is not a wonderful thing ever to be on, and I will be very happy when it is over, and done. I am not going to just settle my case after having a major surgery only 2 months and few weeks ago! I am just tired of all this mess, and it was a very big shock to me.
  • I'm so, so sorry you're going through this, Heidi, but I'm sure there's a better, brighter future out there for you, I just feel that somehow.

    Nursing, although there are some aspects I love dearly, is a tough career that demands much and given little back in the way of protection for you, the system's biggest asset. With all my skill and education, it was said that if I can't lift 75 lbs., I'm not much use as a nurse. I'm gonna prove them wrong about that, one way or the other, or die trying. :)

    Good luck to you. Make sure to take good, good care of yourself. Be well. :)
  • It's good your PM Dr. is on your side and it isn't necessarily a Surgeon that can put you back to work. I don't think he understands the type of nursing a CNA is.

    I hope you can take some retraining while on WCB. Rest up and walk daily. Nursing is a tough physical job overall and I couldn't imagine working taking medications either. I was an NA before going for RN but I was physically fit then. Follow your passion and find what will work for you. I hope you continue to heal completely is my prayer for you. 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
  • I was doing very well on the treadmill, and I just havent felt well. I am now sick with strep! Ahhh! I start antibiotics tomorrow.

    I am just curious if anyone has heard of someone fusing this quickly? Is it because I have no hardware in my spine? I had the mesh put in, and it is supposed to let the bone grow around, and over it.

    I am going to have a very long ride ahead of me as far as comp is concerned, but that is ok. I have been through many trials with them. I just want to get better, and say I made it!!! I want to be pain free, but who is ever truely pain free? I will take just a little pain, that will be fine with me :) I will not go back to work where I take the chance of hurting myself again! So odd that the surgeon told me one story before surgey then another after...

    You guys are great, and I am so lucky to be able to come here :)
  • Wow, i would be very carefull when you go back to work,i would not lift very much those fusions do break mine failed i was a mechanic,comp said i was high risk,retired me.iam in terrible pain since 1993.
    Rick in pa
  • Hi; and I just had the same surgery you had.
    And I'm having a tougjh time while goinmg thru it.
    But anyeway do what is best for "you". Y+_ have a lawyerget his advice befgore doing anything and don't talk about your intentions to your friends that is information only you and your lawyer should know.

    Best of luck to ya.
  • I had the same surgery you had but on October 31st. I went back to my surgeon 3 weeks later and he asked me if I was ready to go back to work after Thanksgiving. I told him absolutely not. I too have a very physical job that requires heavy lifting and pushing heavy equipment, lots of bending and stooping. Now he wants me to return to work on Jan 2nd. He had told me right before the surgery that I probably would not be able to return to work. I have made another appointment with him before January to discuss. I am so concerned that I will injure myself again before this surgery is healed.
    This is not a work comp case, because it is wear and tear thru out the years of working this job, so I don't really know where to turn.
  • I am glad your PM doc is keeping you out of work longer. I am an RN and had a thoracic discectomy in July, and there is no way I will return to direct patient contact. Not only due to the risk of re-herniation in that area, but I also have several other herniated discs. One wrong move and I fear I'd end up back under the knife. In addition, I have been dx'd with AS and it is attacking my joints, so I simply cannot return to what I was doing previously. In my case, I found a desk job as a telephone triage nurse. It took a lot of searching, but I am so glad I have found something I can do without having to worry about my physical limitations.

    Do NOT allow your doctor to release you until you are fully satisfied with the results. Just because the surgery has been completed and the doctor thinks you should be doing better by now, that doesn't mean he should be allowed to sign off and deem the surgery a success. You know your body best and if you are still in significant pain, then you cannot consider that successful. And lifting patients is the last thing you should be doing when you just had surgery 2+ months ago.
  • Give your doctor a detailed list of your job description, including how much weight your are required to lift. Have your boss complete the list if you can.

    Take it to your doctor and ask him what are your limitations. How much is acceptable to him? Do you have to lift patients? If so, there are many things to consider: You do not want to do anything that can hurt your back, nor do you want to hurt a patient because your spine is not able to support lifting that person. You should only take on that liability if he is willing to say that you can do so safely. For instance, my boss said that I would have to be able to lift at least 75 lbs for 6-8 hours a day repetitively. That is part of my job and there is no way around it. That was just one of the many tasks that I did on my job that were physically demanding. My list was two pages long, and obviously after having a fusion and reading this job description, my surgeon would not allow me to return to work.

    Sometimes surgeons just simply do not know what your specific job details. Once they see it on paper, they can decide if it is reasonable for you to be doing that work.

  • I feel what your going thru .I got hurt in 2008 as a cna also and while on light duty I got hurt again in 2009 and havent worked since i went thru ,therepy, chirropractor, shots in my back , you name it ,nothing worked i finally had a spinal fusion 1 yr ago with 5 screws and 2 rods ,i am still not fused i finally got approved for a bone stim in august after 7 months waiting im finally starting to fuse but my doc says its more on one side than the other ,and now workers comp wants me to go back to work light duty i have to do a job search every wk or i dont get a check ! 5 jobs per wk .as soon as i apply for a job and they hear i had back surgery they basically laugh at me my restrictions are no lifting over 5-10 lbs no repetative bending or twisting no standing or sitting more than a half hr at a time ,my dr told me to apply for ssi he thinks i'll never work again espieally in any kind of nsging field thats all ive ever done im 56 now and dont know what im going to do at this point ,im still in pain ,still going to therepy and still on pain meds 4 times a day ,at this point im hoping the bone stim works because i dont want surgery again .thanks for letting me vent no one that hasnt gone thru this truely understands what were all going thru . i just got denied ssi because workers comp dr told them i can do somekind of work in my field so now i have to appeal it .the courts have no clue what is takes to be a cna .good luck to all marsha
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