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Thread: Going back to work

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Going back to work

    Ok, I'm full of questions today. Sorry guys!
    Today an OT did a jobsite evaluation at my place of employment. I will be returning to the job I had before my injury. I work in the Building Department of a local city office. (Ironically, the building was not up to code as far as the ADA. lol) Everyone in the building was excited about me coming back to work...except my department. I had only been working there for 4 months before my injury and there were problems among some of the people who had been there longer that others weren't doing enough, making mistakes, etc. I'm worried about what will happen when there are certain things I am unable to do. I know some of them will not be happy and maybe will feel like I'm just using my disability to get out of doing the work. How do I handle this? I know by law accomodations must be made, but that doesn't mean my coworkers will be happy about it. And knowing my coworkers, they will give me a hard time about it. Going back to work will be stressful enough without trying to deal with their pettiness!! I'm not sure how to handle it or if there is anything I can do to stop it before it starts.

    Another question...Even though I am able to use crutches, the OT today suggested that I get an electric chair to use at work. I'm really not sure if I need to go that far. Does anyone here using crutches also use an electric chair?

    C5-C7 Walking Quad

  2. #2
    Senior Member MikeC's Avatar
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    Tinamarie, sorry to hear that your co-workers may not be happy with you returning to work. My experience was the opposite - I had worked at the same place for 2 years and got along good with my co-workers. I'm sure things will work out. My employer had an OT do an eval and they changed my cubicle around and even moved the office printer right beside my desk. I had the same decision as you - except mine was whether to use my walker or a manual chair. I've stuck with using my walker and so far am glad I did. First, I get exercise when I go to the copying machine, fax, etc. I'm working half days and I try to get up and walk a hundred feet or so every hour. Also, there are some places that I can get to with my walker that I wouldn't be able to get to in a chair (our computer room, etc). I'm using crutches at rehab and I can't wait until I can use them at work - but that's probably months away. Last, it sure is easier to load my walker in the car then my chair. It rains here every afternoon in FL and I can make a "dash " for it in my walker and I'd get drenched in a chair. Hope this helps. Mike

    T12 Incomplete - Walking with Walker, Oct 2003

  3. #3
    I would suggest you use the power chair as it will assist you in carrying things and getting from Point A to Point B much more efficiently. Of course, your work area needs to have the space to accommodate it. It sounds as if you have the ability to stand and ambulate for short distances, so it shouldn't be a problem in the restroom. Don't be so quick to judge your co-workers. Do your job to the best of your ability. Ask for help when you truly need it. See yourself as a competent worker and others will, too. Minimize the disability and ADA stuff unless it is a necessity. People are people. They are much more concerned with their own lives and problems than yours. As long as you fulfill your responsibilities, you will soon return to being a valued staffperson. However, do familiarize yourself with the ADA in employment in case a co-worker or supervisor mistreats you.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies Mike and Samuel. I think, if Mich Rehab Services will pay for it, that I will go with the power chair. I spoke to my PT about it and she reminded me that after putting in a full 8 hours at work, I will still have to take care of a house and 2 rambunctious little boys once I get home. Plus, like Samuel said, it would be easier to carry things around the office. I will take my crutches with me and probably won't use the chair all day, but enough of the day that I don't get too worn out. I will leave the power chair at work instead of hauling it back and forth. This would also be easier than transporting my manual chair to and from if I have a UTI or something and am too weak to be on my feet all day. There is plenty of room in our office to maneuver the chair, so that won't be a problem at all.

    Samuel, thanks for the advice on my coworkers. I needed to hear something like that. I will familiarize myself with employment ADA, although hopefully I won't need it. I am going to try to relax and just not worry about it. Even if my coworkers are concerned, I should be able to show them that there is no need. I believe with the power chair I should be able to do all aspects of my position and not require any help.

    C5-C7 Walking Quad

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