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Thread: Going Back to Work, already?

  1. #1

    Going Back to Work, already?

    Hi All,

    First I would like to say thank you. I have been reading many of your posts for a couple months now without saying too much. My husband is 4 months post injury and I haven't been ready to talk about it, just lots of research. You all have been great for info and inspiration!

    Anyway, my husband had a L1 Burst fracture after a 30ft fall. He is currently in rehab 4xs a week and working hard. He can move his right leg at about 50% and his left leg has nothing but hip flexor movement. He has been walking in rehab w/ a walker and KAFOs. I'm back to work FT so he has had to be very independent in the past month and has done great. He was a police officer prior to his accident and now his dept has offered a dispatching job to him if he's ready to come back in January. While this is a great offer and the new job would be accessible for him, I'm worried its too soon. He could still go to therapy in the morning and then work 2nd shift but is this too much too soon? His dr said he would be ready. My husband feels ready. But I can't help feel that he should give it a few more months.

    I would appreciate any insight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    SW Florida
    Kap, concerned spouses are always welcome here. I say that there is no greater joy for a person with a SCI than to have someone who loves and supports him or her. You can tell him I said he better never stop showing you how much “he” cares about you.

    Going back to work can be very problematic for people with SCI’s. You husband has a very low level injury compared to others here. If he’s ready then support and encourage him. If he has doubts, tell him to consider doing it part time. He could check to see if this is an option.

    As a supportive wife, you are the best!

  3. #3
    Senior Member BeeBee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    There's more to rehab than the physical side. Not to take any chance of recovery away, but it may be very important to him to go back to work. He's lost a lot, and this may be a way to "stop the bleed". He's an adult, it's his decision, and if he feel's he's ready, he is. He has another 6 weeks ( or so?) left to devote to PT and organizing a plan to keep up after.
    My $0.02? Fix his lunch and kiss him good bye.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by BeeBee
    My $0.02? Fix his lunch and kiss him good bye.
    My opinion is somewhere in the middle between ala and BeeBee. He should start part time for a week or two or more. Going back to work is physically hard and very tiring after you haven't been working for a period of time. Going back to work in a new environment with new people and new responsibilities can be difficult mentally. Going back to work where you might have to prove yourself to your new co-workers (who might not want to do half of your work) and prove yourself to your old and new bosses can be also be hard. And all that is without going to PT at the same time.
    He might want to do it all, but he might also need different types of support from you, from his new and old co-workers, from his old buddies, from everyone. BTW, this is not to say he should be babied or feel babied (he is a cop), but you both should take it slowly.
    My opinions,

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    If the doc says he is ready, and he says he is ready, then he should give it a try. That said, the reality of returning to work may be more than he can handle, but he won't know until he tries. What is the worst thing that can happen if he finds it more than he can handle? Working dispatch won't hurt his body. So the worst thing is, frustrating disappointment. We, here, all understand that. He is new, and might not. Discuss it with him.

  6. #6
    Is a vocational rehabilitation counselor involved? They are an excellent mediator between someone who is injured and who may want to, need to return to work and the employer. The voc. counselors can not only create a transitional plan for return to work, but they can also educate the employee on "their rights". A mutually agreed upon return to work plan can be derived that not only meets the "expectations" of the employer, but also meets the"needs" of the employee.
    The voc counselor can educate the employer on the needs of the newly injured employer, can identify barriers to job (ergonomics, architectural barriers). They can assist with identifying expectations vs capacities of the newly injured employee (ie- it may be unrealistic to expect someone to work from 6am-2pm if they need to accomplish a bowel program prior to their workday).
    Please consider seeking out the expertise of the Voc rehab counselor in order to maximixe the success of your loved one to return to work. And also to seek their wisdom in order to return to work when it is the right time for the employee with the new challenges before them.
    I highly recommend you and your loved one do this with the help of the Voc counselor in order to maximize their successful return to work.
    I wish you both the best,
    Pam OTR/L

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    I pretty much agree with the folks who are suggesting that he go back to work gradually, perhaps by starting with reduced hours and then working up to more if he feels like it. When I was first injured it was summer, and I was so scared not to have something to do when I got out of the hospital I started school in September. It was way too much too soon. I did it, but I will always look back on those days as days driven by fear more than by common sense. It was pretty hellish to sit in class all day in my own urine, with nerve pain making it impossible to concentrate, and feeling like I had to prove to everyone (mostly myself probably) that I still "had it," that I could function the same as pre-injury.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BeeBee
    There's more to rehab than the physical side. Not to take any chance of recovery away, but it may be very important to him to go back to work. He's lost a lot, and this may be a way to "stop the bleed". He's an adult, it's his decision, and if he feel's he's ready, he is.
    Excellent advice.


  9. #9
    Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I will check with his rehab nurse to see if they have a vocational rehab counselor. I had no idea there could be someone to help him go back to work.

  10. #10
    I know When I had mentioned it to my Dr. he said NO that I couldn't sit very long,or stand, but he didn't want me sitting for over 30 minutes"at a time" for the whole first yr.

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