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

My first week back at work..........

SueDSSueD Posts: 545
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Chronic Pain
Thanks for your PM Jim - as you suggested, I'll let peeps know how things went at work this week.

As part of my phased return, I worked Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Now we are on Easter break for 2 weeks, so it's all good.

Monday was fine as I worked in the secondary school. I was doing computer work for a couple of hours (using my special chair) and nearly fell asleep!!! It was hot in the staff room, very quiet and actually quite boring!

On Wednesday afternoon I was uncomfortable - not totally surprising though because I did an errand for my hubby first thing. Then I met my ex-boss at 10am for a couple of hours. Then I drove straight to work and, after that, had to attend a Podiatrist appointment and, when I got home, had to dogsit my daughter's dog. THEN I WENT TO BED TO LAY DOWN and rest my aching back!!!

I suppose I tried to do too much. On the days I do not work, I am still trying to maintain the same timetable, i.e. get up early and keep busy until I would normally finish work. But the environment on Wednesday afternoon was at the primary school and, I'm afraid, bending comes as part of the territory.

It was the toddler group Easter party and, although I did not work on the floor (thank goodness), there was obviously bending involved.

I had to take my morphine solution twice during the day and whilst it helps to take the edge off of the pain, it makes me extremely tired. The weather was lovely, but inside it was very warm, so I asked to be excused for 5 minutes while I went outside the school gates to walk a little and get some fresh air - to help clear my head.

All in all though, I think it went fine. I imagine it will take a little time to build up to working a full day without having to collapse into bed! I hope this process doesn't take long because in 2 weeks, when I return, I will be working Monday and Wednesday all day, so fingers crossed.

I'm optimistic so far and I cannot complain about the way my employer is accommodating my return to work. They have made many adjustments to support me and I'm very grateful. The successful outcome is all in the hands of my BACK now.
2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!


  • I love the positive attitude! We have to take baby steps to get back into it. Sounds like you have the right idea though. I was terrified when I went back to work because I worked in the cold and lifted several pounds on a daily basis. But I did it for 20 yrs and knew nothing else. I just wish my back wouldn't have given out on me.
    Sounds like your bosses are very understanding. That is so important. We have enough to worry about without our employers giving us added stress.
    Good luck and I hope things get better for you.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    It sounds like you did fine. I hope this works out for you!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    difficult task.

    First, you are excited about getting back into the work force and being financial productive again. So, for most folks, the tendency is to do a bit more than you really should be doing.

    Computer work! Aghhh. That can be the most difficult type of work to return to. Forget about all the workstation ergonomics, monitor height, keyboard and mouse position, type of chair, etc.... They all can help, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING is as effective as just getting up, move away from your workstation (about every 50 minutes), move around , stretch some, walk a bit, but make sure you take about 10 minutes of break time before returning to the computer.

    Beyond that, just the excitement about returning to work, the drive, then some of the things at home you did before without much effort become major tasks.

    This is all normal, and in a short period of time, you will be back to as normal as you can be.

    Sue, you already have a great ally fighting for you!
    And that is your attitude. Positive actions and thoughts will only bring on my positive tasks and results.

    Sue, just be careful to NOT overdue things. I now you want to do so much more, you dont want anyone to view you as a burden, you want to do your share of the work.

    Remember, you can do that all, but if you try too much, too soon, you will only set yourself back abit and then all the things you were hoping to reach and accomplish will take so much longer.

    Trust in your instincts, I have a good feeling you know what you need to do.
    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
  • Sue:

    I was hoping for a good outcome for your return to work. It will take time and a gradual re-introduction into the work process.

    Your idea of replicating the work schedule during the holidays is an excellent idea. I know that my biorhythms are telling me to sleep longer and later. If this doesn't match the work schedule then we have a "conflict of interest." Our bodies tell us one thing and our employers tell us something else.

    Guard yourself from over exertion. The social factor will cause you to try to keep pace with everyone else. You can't do that. Think long term. What do you/I want to be able to do when I am 50 / 60 / 70 /80 years old. Sadly, no one from your place of employment will care for you 20 years from now.

    It's all about quality of life, both physical and mental. Keep it in balance. My suspicion is that your mental domain is over-riding your physical domain right now and is motivating you to WORK. That is good as long as you don't over exert yourself.

    I am moving closer to the situation when I can't work fulltime anymore. My pain level has increased and remained steady to such a point that my body language is detrimental to my work. The public is "taken back" and cautious about my physical state. Obviously, that is a serious impediment to me being able to do what I do for a living.

    And this is why I have communicated with you about your situation. Keep it all in perspective. Life is worth more than a paycheck.

  • I take them all on board. Yes, I am guilty of trying to run before I can walk (and Wednesday afternoon proved I MUST slow down).

    It's difficult. I expect my work colleagues think that, because I'm now back at work, I'm 100 per cent fit. I know I'm not, and it's going to be hard to try and 'keep up'.

    I'll just go with the flow and see what happens. I still have the normal restrictions in place so there's not much else I can do until I start to take on ALL of my normal duties - after 12 weeks. That will be the real test.

    Thanks again for your much appreciated feedback and I'll try and be more protective of myself this time round (because I know nobody else will).
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Sue,
    Well done you, it is never easy committing to a return when you said with confidence that you are able to do what you expect of yourself and your employer. No need to bend or pick anything up, sit on a chair that is safe for your back and the children will come to you.

    Ask a responsible pupil to do errands and take messages, it helps them develop confidence and EI, or feel part of the process. Working in pain is not about the money, it is feeling inclusive, part of society and useful, a reminder of who we used to be. Managing pain is acting normally, be vocal in your request for help and support, find those who can help and not comment include them in your supportive network strategy. Individuals here are on the way up or down, I am encouraging of others in whatever they need to do to help themselves, I have worked in the same educational environment for 10 years in constant excruciating, debilitating pain, it is not easy.

    Good luck PACE well, rest when the opportunity happens, sit when you can, stand when you need, be proud of your daily achievements we are for you !

  • Thank you John and for your PM.

    I can only try it and see how things go, can't I. Otherwise, I'll never know.

    The true test will come when I am expected to fulfill all my normal duties (after 12 weeks) - but that's a couple of months down the line yet and all I really am concentrating on, for now, is being able to complete a full day at work. After next week, as part of the phased return, I will be working Monday and Wednesday all day.

    I've been spoilt at home - e.g. if I have a bad nights' sleep I could always have a nap in the afternoon. Of course, I cannot do this when I am working a full day and know how exhausted I already get (and I'm not at work this week!).

    When I went back to work, the very first morning, I nearly fell asleep while working at the PC. I had to get up and walk around and could barely keep my eyes open. The medication doesn't help, I know, but how do I cope with the tiredness/fatigue?

    How on earth do you stay awake when your eyes feel like lead weights!!!????

    Please let me know your strategies for keeping awake when all you want to do is sleep?

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Ok Sue I am jealous I would love to return to work.( it just a dream ) I wish you all the best. Take care and go SLOW

  • Sue

    I feel for you! I am exhausted all of the time. I thank god can run home for lunch and can lay down for a half hour. I don't eat because all I want to do is rest my back. It's a bad situation. Coffee??? Good luck and one day at a time.

  • I know it's not easy. At first, in the first few months, it's pretty hard to get into the swing of things and then your body starts to acclimate as does your brain. Then, at least for me, it got better...UNTIL I started having mechanical pain.

    I started work in early Feb. of 2011, and was back at the surgeon in June. I did well for a while then we had our biggest conference of the year and I thought I was dying each night when I got home. When that was over, smooooooth sailing.

    Now, I'm back into the Spring Programs again and once again, I have to call my doc to tell him I'm taking more meds than usual.

    I have no choice but to keep this job and really, I don't want to stay home, but if there was just a way to have a job that doesn't put pressure on our spines. I just can't figure out what that job could be. Sitting 100% is no good, walking/standing 100% is no good, lifting is no good, bending is no good, and even like in my job, a smooth combination of all doesn't seem to work very well.

    I hope you're able to keep up with your job and just know that it may get worse before it gets better, so hang in there for a while when you think you can't take it any more. It might just be a bump in the road, but then again, maybe not. You'll only know with time.

    I'm thinking of you, Sue.
  • for the words of support.

    Todays experience has left me feeling quite low for some reason. I need to 'snap out of it' I suppose - not everyone is as horrible as that woman at the disabled toilets.

    Tomorrow I'm going to try going to the cinema (to see Titanic in 3D). I cannot sit there for the 3 hours, but thankfully a lady at the cinema is reserving 2 seats at the back for me. I really appreciate her help because otherwise I just wouldn't go. I would hate to keep having to get up and disturb everyone else.

    I am hoping that by working a full day - just having something to do with my time and keeping occupied will have a positive effect on my back/leg/buttock pain.

    I won't know till I try!!!!

    All the problems I had last year with my Line Manager will, thankfully, not worry me as she is off work for quite some time - so I'm even more positive about it now.

    I cannot wait to get back to some sort of normality. I know earning some money again will be helpful in making me feel more 'worthwhile' and contributing to the household expenses etc., but it's being kept occupied, and thinking of other people, that is going to be so important for me. I hate my own company and get bored easily.

    I'll update after I've given it a right good go - in about a months' time.

    I hope everyone else who is trying to get back to work has supportive employers, like I have. They've been brilliant and have made loads of adjustments for me, which I cannot fault them for.

    Thanks for all your comments.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Try to take it one day at a time. I had my surgery 7/6/11 and started a new job 8/8/11. I had been out of work for 10 months before starting my job, so between that and recovering from surgery, it was exhausting. And I work 12-hour shifts, which was very difficult to get through, initially. I have a desk job, and the biggest thing for me is making sure I take frequent breaks to get up and stretch or walk around. I have ankylosing spondylitis, so sitting for too long makes me very stiff and cranky.

    I have now been at this job for 8 months, and it is definitely getting easier. I have my tough days where I can hardly keep my eyes open, because I tossed and turned the entire night prior. However, I am the main bread-winner in our house, so we really need me to work. Recently I have thought about asking my boss if it would be possible to work from home (we have the option to work from home after 6 months of employment), however, I believe that would mean a reduction in pay. Either that or I have thought about cutting back on hours a little bit. I love my job and plan to stay there for as long as my body allows me, but I am having a difficult time getting the AS symptoms under control.
  • You do need to take one day at a time and not rush to get back to full activity. For myself, if I have a "good" day and feel even remotely human, I overdo it and pay the price. I keep trying to learn but it is hard when you want to feel normal again.

    With work, sounds like you have a good plan for easing back and you know what you should and should not be doing. Again, the advice by others here is very good.

    Keep up with the good work and I hope your progress continues.
    Lee Ellen
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.