New with lots of questions

Northumberlandia
Northumberlandia Member Posts: 2
Hello,
I hope you don't mind my extremely long-winded story and that someone may be able to answer my questions.
In January this year I was shocked to be diagnosed with patellofemoral osteoarthritis in both knees, with no cartilage remaining in my left knee. I also am showing signs of cartilage reduction in my knee joint on my left knee. In addition to this I have degenerative disc disease in my lower back and a whole host of pain from top to toe, too many to mention, but includes neck, shoulder & hips. I am about to go for my second ever pain team appointment, having waited almost 2 years. I am currently on high doses of tramadol (400mg) and am in the process of changing from Gabapentin (3600mg) to Pregabalin - these medications are primarily for my back but are obviously helping to some extent with my knees too.
In response to the on-going pain and never ending wait for support through a pain team, being told by my GP that because I have developed OA early (I'm 40) I will no doubt get much more, and also the complete lack of emotional support from my employers and colleagues I also have recently been diagnosed with severe depression (about to start counselling and am on anti-depressants).
I am booked in later this month for arthroscopy of my left knee, debridement and smoothing etc., and for my ligaments to be 'nicked' as they are pulling my knee out of joint. I have absolutely no idea how long I am going to need to take off work, but in the hope that I might have some time to begin to recover some of my mental health during time off I am praying it will be a few weeks (but knowing my luck it'll be a day or two!). Can anyone give me an idea of how long I should tell my employers to expect me to be off work for? (they'll no doubt be googling and if I'm a day over what they expect I'll have to explain myself). I work in a hospital so am walking at least 10 minutes to reach the wards several times a day, sitting at my desk for a couple of hours a day, and sit also in a variety of sitting heights and positions while on the wards. I also need to drive for my job as I do home visits.
When I began to have problems with my back just over 2 years ago I had 7 weeks off work as I could hardly stand without crying. Since returning to work I have struggled on pushing myself to do a full time job which is physically and emotionally draining at the best of times, as I'm frightened that if I don't I'll lose my job as my team manager and strategic manager monitor me and meet with me on a regular basis (meant to be 'welfare checks' but feel to me more like evidence gathering). I am completely exhausted and I know I can't continue like this so in November I asked for an OH assessment and about what I need to do to reduce my hours - neither has happened despite me asking several times.
Sorry, I appear to have unburdened myself upon you, so basically my questions are:
How long off for arthroscopy and ligament surgery?
Am I right to ask for OH and reducing my hours or should I still be aiming for full-time work?
How do you cope with everything your arthritis throws at you? as at the moment I don't feel I am.
Many thanks in advance

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,080
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome to Arthritis Care Forums Northumberlandia from the moderation team

    As mods we are here to help with any problems you may have on the message boards.

    There are lots of lovely people here with a wide range of experiences with arthritis and the problems of living with the condition. Just join in wherever you like you will be made very welcome.

    I look forward to seeing you posting on the boards.

    Best wishes

    Moderator John
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,238
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Northumberlandia and welcome to the forum. Please don't worry about 'unburdening yourself' on here. We can't diagnose or prescribe but we are very good at listening and empathising as we all have to live with the difficulties that arthritis sets before us.

    It's very difficult to see how long recovery takes after any operation as it depends so much on the type of op, the way it's performed, the patient's own levels of fitness etc etc. These are the NHS guidelines for arthroscopy but they are just that - guidelines, not rules http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Arthroscopy/Pages/Recovery.aspx

    As for an OH assessment - I can only suggest that you chase it up and keep on chasing it up. One thing I've learned is that we patients had to do our own admin not rely on others to do what has been asked of them. It might not have been asked. It might have been asked and forgotten. It might have been shelved. There are a host of possibilities. Keep plugging away at it.

    I've never has an arthroscopy but I've had TKRs and THRs. My prescription for recovery is to do the exercises as prescribed - don't underdo them or overdo them.

    As for living with arthritis - I have few back problems. Mine is essentially RA though I have OA too. I do what I can and try not to overdo things. If I do that I pay but sometimes it's worth it. I try to ensure I have plenty of fun and enjoyment in my life. It would be dreary if all I had was arthritis. But, essentially, I think we have to be adaptable - not keep trying to live a life that's no longer possible but, instead, to do things differently and learn to enjoy that.

    I do hope things improve for you. Please keep us updated.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran