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Opinions on returning to work

I think I'm making a great recovery from my L4-S1 fusion and laminectomy that was on Oct 18th. Having the surgery has been amazing and I'm so glad I did it.

Thinking to the future and going back to my occupation. I'm a flight attendant. I wondered if you could look at my official job description and think it's realistic. I'm really at the stage where I don't know if I want to go back as I don't want to risk getting hurt or messing up my fusion. I've edited out bits that don't pertain to physical activity required and I should note that I can do 4 flights a day so it's a lot of flying!

Required to operate fire extinguishing equipment, open
emergency exits (doors and over-wing hatches weighing up to 58 pounds),
deploy and inflate emergency slides, direct and lead passengers to climb
over the top of seats or debris in the aisles, and assist passengers out of
exits, some of whom may be injured or disabled. In addition, flight
attendants must assist ill or injured passengers, utilizing basic first aid
techniques, CPR, AED, etc. From time to time, flight attendants are also
required to deal with unruly passengers.

• Must be able to lift and transport items weighing up to 40 pounds, as
well as close aircraft doors weighing 40 to 60 pounds.

•Provide a beverage service. This is done by setting up and serving
drinks from the galley area and from a cart weighing from 170 pounds
to 250 pounds, which is pushed through the cabin, usually with a flight
attendant at both ends of the cart.

•Provide in-flight meal service by setting up, in the buffet area, trays
weighing approximately two pounds and serving them two at a time
from the cart described above.

•Assist disabled passengers as needed during the flight.

• Perform tasks that require frequent walking, bending below ankle level
and reaching above shoulder level.

• Perform tasks that require intermittent twisting, kneeling, climbing,
squatting, sitting, and standing for long periods of time.

• Ensure catering items and luggage are secured for landing.

•Open aircraft doors weighing 40 to 60 pounds.

•Assist passengers with retrieval of carry-on luggage.

•Help disabled passengers with exiting aircraft.

•May be required to quickly walk to next departing flight, which could be
located some distance from the arriving flight.

•Work days may range from four hours to 15 hours or more in length. In
the event of irregular operations, flight attendants may be required to
work longer than originally scheduled.

•The work day can begin early or late and end early or late; scheduled
days off may vary, travel may be across multiple time zones; and
standing/walking is in a pressurized low humidity cabin.

•Must be capable of performing duties in an aircraft environment at an
altitude of 8,000 feet and hemoglobin O2 saturation of ninety percent.



  • And please realize I haven't had my fusion yet (12/30), but if you don't have to go back to work yet, don't. There's no need to rush it. Long hours, lots of walking, bending, lifting.....I just don't think you need to take any chances with something going wrong. You're not fused yet and I say it's just too risky. Listen to your gut. It's usually right.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • My surgeon wanted me out a minimum of 6-8 weeks and I sit in front of a computer all day long. If I had a physical job, I would have been out at least 3 months.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • StitchGnomercySStitchGnomercy Posts: 64
    edited 12/22/2013 - 11:29 AM
    A lot of that just depends on how well the fusion works for you honestly. You'd probably be out of work at least 3-6 months for recovery (maybe light duty after 3 months based on that job description). I know some people have done really well after surgery and would be able to handle that. My fusion didn't work that well, so just the walking and balancing would keep me out of it (but I waited too long and had too much nerve damage by the time I had my fusion).

    Listening to your body is going to be huge for you, along with physical therapy and whatnot.
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
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