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Phased return to work

Discussion in 'Post Surgery Information' started by Josephine, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator
    Thread Starter

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2007
    The North
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    For return to work at 10-12 weeks as patient feels able, the following schedules are suggested

    week 1: Tues, Thurs 5hrs
    week 2: Mon, Wed, Fri 5hrs
    week 3: Tues, Thurs 8-9hrs
    week 4: Mon, Wed, Fri 8-9hrs
    week 5: normal duties

    ~ for a full time office/teacher/light worker as shown
    ~ for a part time office/light worker could possibly manage this over 2-3 weeks depending upon hours normally worked
    ~ for a manual/heavy worker longer, 8 weeks perhaps

    ~ for a full time office/teacher/light worker as shown
    ~ for a part time office/light worker could possibly manage this over 3-4 weeks depending upon hours normally worked
    ~ for a manual/heavy worker longer, 12 weeks perhaps
    ~ Bilateral knees, minimum of 12 weeks for all.
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    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  2. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator
    Thread Starter

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2007
    The North
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    The thing to remember really is that so often when people think of going back to work they just think of the work.

    They forget

    ~ having to get up earlier in the morning
    ~ getting washed/showered, putting on the 'face',
    ~ getting dressed
    ~ getting a fast breakfast and eating it in about 5 mins instead of casually
    ~ getting out the car
    ~ driving to work
    ~ walking from car to office
    ~ actually being up and about and unable to take intermittent proper rests during the day
    ~ walking from office back to car
    ~ driving home
    ~ putting car away
    ~ making an evening meal
    ~ probably feeding pets and/or others
    ~ washing up and then finding it's almost time for bed!

    All of that is pretty much equivalent to a day's work on it's own but then you've got to do the day's work as well!

    In preparation for your return, whatever your job, you might find it helpful to stock yourself with some coach's instant ice packs. You just crush the capsule inside the pack and a chemical reaction makes the pack go nice and cold - and it lasts for a couple of hours! No mess, you can keep them in your handbag or pocket. Very convenient and invaluable for a sneaky 5 minute ice during work! And they're fairly cheap.

    Also remember that there is no such thing as "just" a desk job, like it's simpler/easier than a manual job. Well, physically it might be but it has it's own set of problems the principle one of which is called "the movie sign".

    Read this for more information Knee pain after sitting for a while
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  3. Poppet

    Poppet Nutritional Advisor

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Australia Australia
    Gidday all my wonderful BS friends.. I survived the first week, well three days graduated return and am still standing tall.

    Today is my day off, so after attending to bills, ordering groceries online, doing 6 loads of washing, I thought I would take time out to share my thoughts about returning to work and coping mechanisms....

    1. My office chair is Soooo special. I have to write and explain a little about it. The padding is about four inches thick and towards the back of the seat here is a seat wide bean shaped raised section with memory foam in it (all on top of the original padding). The OT consultant informed me it is to provide comfort for the butt (good for my posterior lateral incision) and to keep the hip joint open... Have no idea how that works, but all I care about is that it is comfortable. Only issue to still be resolved is with the castors which keep getting caught on the carpet pile and I can't pull the chair into the desk easily without using my operated leg - not good.. but that should be resolved next week.

    So lesson for anyone returning to office work - please make sure your chair is very, very supportive.

    2. Make sure you take lots of breaks, even if it just means standing behind your chair practicing the 'tippy toe' exercise, the standing side leg abductors and the standing squats. I tend to stand up every 30 mins, just before I know I am going to get too stiff to want to do them. Take short walks around the office (if your job permits). You don't have to take many steps to loosen up.

    So second lesson - take regular breaks, go out for coffee, lunch, stand and stretch at your desk, go and speak to people face to face rather than via phone... Just move as much as possible.

    3. Take ice packs (and if preferred hot packs) to work. I found my ice packs absolutely invaluable.. Everyone knows how much I like ice and heat... They are such a good adjunct to the healing and comfort aspect of returning to work.

    Lesson three - remember to take your ice/heat packs on your first day back - your muscles will thank you.

    4. I took my walker and both sticks, even though I am walking unaided most of the time. But by the end of the day, when everything is tightening up from sitting (maybe feet/legs swelling a little) don't be bashful or consider that it is a backward step to use your aid of preference, because our incisions may look wonderful, but we still have so much deep healing to do and this will take months, not days or weeks, but months.

    Lesson four - slow and steady wins the race!

    5. I organized to go back graduated at 7 weeks, working just three days a week for three weeks.. This is a blessing and if you can possibly organize it - do it. I found three days was my upper limit and by the start of the third day I was ready for a four day break. Don't rush back to work though if your circumstances permit, although make sure that by the time you are mobile you have enough to keep your mind active and don't spend too much time getting "befuddled"

    Lesson five - organize a graduated return or work from home if your job permits. You will find it very difficult to sustain a full time return.

    6. Get your mind ready to return to work. I know I spent so many "befuddled" moments for days, boring my friends (and hubby) trying to be creative in finding excuses not to go back to work. Then my husband said - 'no one wants to go back to work after holidays or weekends, everyone has Monday itis, and they haven't had major surgery with bones surgically amputated'.

    Lesson six - I made up a table with two columns. First, 'What I don't like about going back to work' second, 'But I am grateful because.....' ( in my case you all know my countdown to retirement, and top of the grateful column was. - one day closer!!)

    7. Days off - make sure you treat them as a day off and get some extra rest.. I know we all have the normal activities of just purely living, cleaning, washing, cooking, etc etc... But your complete recovery is more important. We have a saying in our house if we have some thing that should be done but doesn't. We say - will it matter in 50 years time... well the answer for a lot of us is obvious.

    Lesson seven - have some fun, exercise, do a hobby, listen to music, don't feel guilty if you spend a day off in your jammies and watch DVD's - you are with it and you so deserve it.

    In closing - yes sorry, it is so long!

    We have been given a very precious gift. Unless you have had a joint replacement others will not understand what this means to us. I went for a coffee break yesterday (from work) and spotted myself in a window and thought 'is that really me! am I that tall?' Then I found myself walking enjoying the moment and completely forgot that I had major surgery just a bit over seven weeks ago and had a prosthetic hip... I FELT NORMAL..

    lots of love to all of you, take heart, life will and does return to normal in a very short time. But do remember, we are not completely healed yet, you have a gift inside, treat it as the special gift it is and be kind to it and yourself.

    p.s. Forgot to say. - don't forget to take your pain Meds with you to work...

    Interesting, the OT asked me what medication I was on.. we have new Work Safety Legislation here in OZ, so I guess they have every right to ask..
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