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Co Workers- Have a Opinion on how long I am out of work

Have any of you gotten any grief from co-workers that think you are out to long? I wonder when they got their degrees?
My surgeon has had me out for 8 wks. I am to return part time on Jan 21. Thru the grape vine,people are complaining about my absence. Maybe they all should get a L4-S1 fusion and then sent back to work. In fact, I am doing my work at home, ( I am an office manager), so no one should really give a damn. Just venting. Thanks


  • Hi Jilro,

    I had a C5-C6 ACDF on December 23rd. I returned to work this Monday, January 6th. Ideally, I would have preferred an additional week off, but my co-worker is out on vacation he planned long ago, and covering for him was the right thing to do.

    I am fortunate in that my boss, and one co-worker, had lumber fusions previously. They could sympathize with what I was experiencing and gave me encouragement to get the operation. My boss strongly suggested that I not use the FMLA, but instead use accrued vacation time.

    Ultimately, your health should be your top priority. You can always find another job (if you are healthy), but you will not get another chance to recover the health of your spinal column. I say filter out any such comments made by co-workers. Focus 100% of your mental energy on healing.
  • I will say my boss has been great and very supportive of my recovery. Like Golsf says, I will have to filter out any of the bad vibes, my friends and family have been super supportive
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    That is something that I always see in the work place. People that are out for spinal surgery/problems never seem to bet the same considerations as other physical problems. And by that I mean, the physical problems people can see (ie Broken Foot/Leg, Arm in sling, etc) It becomes frustrating, because for the most part , those of us dealing with spinal problems dont really show it.... Though, from one chronic pain sufferer to the other, they can always see that just by looking into the eyes.

    So, when co-workers dont [b\see something wrong, they can get jealous or resentful for any time off. Sometimes you can explain it to your co-worker, but there are those that just will not listen
    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
  • When I had my first back surgery...a lumbar lamenectomy at L 4-5 in 1994 I was out of work for 3 months and when I went back to my job which was highly fought over when I was gone the people who were filling in were angry to have to give up this job and go back to another lower paying job. They didn't realize I had trained for that job for many, many months and was put back on it because I was trained and good at my job. They spent days trying to overwhelm me by pushing through so much work I could not keep up. Until someone goes through what you have they will never understand. Just do the best you can and realize if they need help through FMLA it will be there for them. Maybe if everyone had to experience what we go through they would be a little more sympathetic :(

  • PattyNJaxPPattyNJax Posts: 20
    edited 01/13/2014 - 3:10 PM
    I had a 4 level ACDF on 12/23 and my surgeon wanted me out a complete month. Work would have wanted me to do short term disability- but since I can do the work at home, I went back to work, at home, and this is the 2nd week. I should be going back to the office on 1/22, if the surgeon allows. At home, I can control my circumstance, at work, I can't. Yet, I keep getting daily emails asking when I'm coming back. It's not like I put anyone out, I'm still doing my work. I may not be there physically, but I'm doing it virtually, and frankly, I'm a bit scared going back to the office, when it's in an 19 floor building with all sorts of uneven tiles to enter the building and I'm worried someone will bump me or something like that. And mornings I'm at my worst for pain.. I'm stiff and achy, hope that resolves before next week,
    2013-4 Level ACDF C4-C7 herniation with severe spinal stenosis at C4-C5. .Bulging disk at L3-L4, and L4-L5. Herniation at L5-S1. As of 8/29/14 Bulging disc at L2-L5-S1 and disc protrusion at L3-L4.
  • I know exactly what you mean. Hopefully they will understand what you are going thru. Mornings are hard on me too. I have a lot of trouble sleeping at night. Go with your gut feeling. It is very frustrating when your co workers only think of themselves and not others. Shame on them,
  • I had ALIF L5-S1 done on Dec. 23 and I went to work for 5 hours on Jan. 3. I returned to full time status on Jan. 8. So a little over 2 weeks and 1 day post op. I however have an employer that wasn't willing to pay me for time off so my surgeon agreed I could go to work (desk job) but nothing else. I'm exhausted for sure, but it was totally doable for me. I walk several times a day. My co-workers however, totally thought I should have been out of work longer. They were much more compassionate than the man signing my paycheck.
  • kare4youkkare4you Posts: 5
    edited 01/17/2014 - 3:28 AM
    Had L4 and L5 fused years ago and was out a full 8 weeks and only went back with restricted duties. 8 weeks is about the average so no one should be complaining. They just do not understand. Plus as a manager, the stress of running things can affect your recovery. Do not rush it.
  • Monday I am going back to work part time. Will be working from 8am-noon. This week I started doing more errands and can really tell I am tried out in the afternoon. Did to much on Wednesday and p aid the price yesterday!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    There are so many different types of spinal surgeries today, especially for the lumbar disc. I have seen some of these one/two day hospital stays and back to work within a week.

    Years ago, it was more black and white.

    • Cervical surgery - 3-6 week recovery, back to work sometime after the 4th week with doctors approval
      Lumbar surgery - 6-12 weeks recovery, back to work sometime after the 8th week with doctor approval.
      Thoracic surgery - back then it was too barbaric, so I couldn't even state a recovery period.
    But back then, the use of Hard collar neck braces for cervical patients was the norm, just as some form of back brace for lumbar patients.

    Other factors also need to be brought in. After on of my ACDFs, I was ok'd to return to work after week #4. But, because I had to drive about 75 minutes each way, plus work at the computer, I was not approved until week #8

    The only one that can really say when is your doctor. Now on the other end. Working for a big company, after being out for more than 3 weeks, I was allowed to return only part time for about 3 weeks, until I was allowed to return full time.
    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
  • I had my pre-surgery consult with the surgeon yesterday for a ACDF 3-level c4-c7 on Monday. I have a 30 minute commute each way and he said I will be in the collar for a minimum of 6 weeks but most likely 3 months. If I show good signs of fuzing at 6 weeks he would consider clearing me to remove the collar to drive but I would have to put it back on to work.
    I am hoping to be able to work from home after about 3 weeks.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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