Going back to work

GraceB
GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
edited 19. Mar 2017, 04:42 in Living with Arthritis archive
Well, I've slowly plodded on with the recovery from my TKR which was 30th January. Still recovering and still have some issue with the knee. Most notably stiffness, swelling and pain.

I've been liaising with work to plan my return to work and agreed for first two weeks I'd do shorter days when I do full days (Mondays and Tuesdays). I agreed to see Occupational Health and this was today. OH are not happy with my proposed hours of work for Mondays and Tuesdays and said for the first 4 weeks I can only do half my usual hours! :shock: They also said I need to have a Risk Assessment done and see Health & Safety adviser as I need to have a stool under my desk to put my leg on so I can elevate it and keep the swelling at bay. (H&S are coming to see me on 21st Mar). OH person today said that as long as the surgeon said I could go back, she'd allow this as long as my phased return to work and other recommendations were firmly in place.

So I then saw the surgeon tonight for my 6 week post-op check. All the issues I'm still having are normal. He thinks as the swelling goes down things will settle a bit more. My knee bend is a little over 80 degrees and he thinks that's about it. He said I could go back to work as long as my work complied with everything suggested by Occupational Health and I wasn't to be climbing or descending stairs for a good while yet. If I experience any further issues at about the 4 month post-op stage I'm to let my GP know and the surgeon will see me again to re-assess things. (I should point out that I have a desk-based job and usually work 19 hours a week - all day Mon & Tues, and Weds morning).

I spoke to my line manager briefly (she was driving on her way home and pulled in to take my call). She's delighted I can go back to work but wasn't too happy when I explained briefly that Occy Health said my suggested hours are far too long. I told her I'd written down their salient points and she'd get the report next couple of working days.

So all being well, Monday I'll be having my return to work interview at 8.30am, we'll go through what Occy Health have said must happen and this will be accepted. If not, they could send me back off sick or put me on garden leave until they can work things out.

I can only do what medical people advise me to do. I'm not going to jeopardise my health and intend to be extremely careful.

Thanks so much for all the encouragement whilst I was off. Couldn't have got to the 6 week post-op stage without you.

GraceB
Turn a negative into a positive!

Comments

  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It sounds like you're making a slow but good recovery, Grace. I hope all goes well with the meeting.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think that sounds pretty good, Grace, but I'm not quite sure about the hours of work ie whether it's you or them who want you to work less. I'd be very much in favour of easing myself in gently. I hope it goes well.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    All sounds good. Only you can know how you feel, but I don't think I could have done a full day's work after 6 weeks, and everyone said I was trying to do too much! The only thing that 'blipped' for me was your surgeon's comment that you might not get any more knee bend than you have now. I hate to argue with the experts, but my knee bend went on improving, albeit very slowly, for months if not years. Don't limit your improvement by thinking it's not possible. And good luck.
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for your support as always.

    Starburst - thanks for the good wishes.

    SW - Occupational Health are the ones saying I can only work 50% of my usual hours. I'd suggested more but the adviser was horrified at the thought! I'm still not sure how well this will go down with my Line Manager but nothing I can do about it. I don't intend to do anything to jeopardise the surgery. I am very conscious that I now have both knees replaced and I need to look after them both.

    Helen - I've heard this before. It was when I had my right knee partially replaced in 2009 and they set the same limit on that one. At my year post-op check my right knee went to 125 degrees bend. However, my left knee is a total replacement and at this point with the right one I wasn't anywhere near as stiff.

    Rather concerning today two or three times my left knee has given way underneath me. I managed to grab onto furniture when this happened and I wasn't using an elbow crutch. I'm seeing the physio on Wednesday night so I'll check this with her but I suspect she'll say it's the muscle loss causing this. My right knee (the one I had partly replaced in 2009) has been protesting lately at the amount of extra work it's had to do, so I'm hoping that'll settle down.

    I've got all my work bits and bobs ready for tomorrow. Have a lot of paperwork to take in, just in case my line manager wants to see it. I'll let you know how I get on but I suspect the word "knackered" will be a feature of my post.

    Thanks again.

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well as I expected tonight I am knackered!

    Good first part-day back to work though. My phased return to work is in place. This and next week I will do half of my usual working hours and back-fill the missing time from my annual leave. I don't have to do this, but am happy to do so as it shows I don't take advantage - and I also need to either use the leave or I'll lose it. After next week my hours will gradually increase with my employer absorbing the missing time but I suspect by the end of week 3 I'll be able to do my complete week - which is only 19 hours.

    Everyone seemed pleased to see me and it was good to get back. I didn't overdo things and paced myself very carefully. Having said that, however, I was pleased to get home just after 1pm and spent the rest of the afternoon on my sofa with the trusty ice-packs working hard periodically on my very swollen knee.

    My knee is still giving way underneath me - but thankfully tonight when it happened I was in the bathroom so was able to grab onto the window sill to get my balance. I'll definitely be talking to the physio Wednesday about this when I see her but still feel it's likely to be put down to muscle loss and just the general recovery from the op.

    I'll update again after physio on Wednesday.

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think you are being very sensible in following all the advice you are given. Hope your return to work goes well.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich