THR Return to my desk post surgery

Ginamore

new member
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I'm 63 and scheduled for a Right Total Hip on the 12/07. I have a very intense job that involves customer meetings, leading a junior team and lots of thinking on my feet. My manager is convinced that I will be able to start a phased return to work (from home) on 31/07 (2 weeks post op). She's adamant, despite my explanations, that this will be acceptable as I'm not going into the office and is asking me to sign to say that I agree with this plan. Has anyone experienced this situation? What is the reality here-will I be fit at 2 weeks? I'm worried I'm going to be forced back before I'm ready and it will have detrimental effect on my surgical outcomes.
 
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Hello, @Ginamore and welcome to BoneSmart! :welome: Two weeks post op is totally unrealistic expectation for returning to work. I am not sure why your manager is pushing this. The recommended time off work is 8-12 weeks. Yes, there is a broad spectrum on the recovery time continuum. Very few are able to return that quickly and usually for just a few hours. You may be up and walking right after surgery but that doesn't extrapolate to fully functioning at 2 weeks. This is MAJOR surgery with your tissues experiencing controlled trauma. That's just the physical part. There is a real phenomenon known as energy drain that happens when the body's energy is going to heal itself. You are tired and your mental capacity (focus, alertness) is limited. You may require narcotics for a short time to manage your pain. None of this is conducive to returning to a job as you describe.

I am not sure what the labor laws are in the UK but I would not be signing anything until you know what they are in this circumstance. Perhaps our UK colleagues @Jaycey or @Roy Gardiner can weigh in on this and advise. Besides the legal aspect, in my working experience, once you are "back" the phased return seems to abruptly disappear into full functioning with some managers. If you can do a little, then you should be able to do all tomorrow. Be wary of this. I started telling my boss that the OS said 6 weeks. There was no way I was be able to return to my job in that time. It took 14 weeks for me and I was lucky to have an understanding boss for that extra time after my FMLA (max 12 weeks off to guarantee job) was up here in the US. Be the best advocate that you can for yourself and make sure you get the time you need. Going back too soon can really hamper and even set back your recovery. It's always easier to go back sooner if you're up to it than asking for more time.

I'll leave you with some pre-op guidelines. Since you are having these questions, I'll also leave the post-op now since we are so close to your surgery date. That's all a bit to read but worth it but especially about the energy drain under #5. Also, please tell us which hip you are having done and we will add that info along with your surgery date to your signature so everyone can better advise you. Blessings going forward. Keep us updated.

HIP PRE-OP GUIDELINES

If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:

Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic hip?
Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:

Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced hip, take a look at stories of amazing hip recoveries

HIP RECOVERY GUIDELINES

1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary.

If you want to use something to assist with healing and scar management, BoneSmart recommends hypochlorous solution. Members in the US can purchase ACTIVE Antimicrobial Hydrogelthrough BoneSmart at a discount. Similar products should be available in the UK and other countries.

2. Control discomfort:
rest
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
Activity progression for THRs

The recovery articles
Pain management and the pain chart
Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of THR recovery
Dislocation risk and 90 degree rule
Energy drain for THRs
Pain and swelling control: elevation is the key
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

BIG TIP: Hips actually don't need any exercise to get better. They do a pretty good job of it all on their own if given half a chance. Trouble is, people don't give them a chance and end up with all sorts of aches and pains and sore spots. All they need is the best therapy which is walking and even then not to excess.

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery. While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 
No way, my previous job in 2018 when I had my left hip replaced I went back to work at 7 weeks but only part time. I would never have returned at 2 weeks even if working from home. My doctor gave me a sick note this time round for 6 weeks and said if I need longer they will give me another one and I’m having a pretty good recover. Do not sign anything, I’m in the UK. My manager has been really good, I only work 3 days a week now, but when I do go back i won’t be working 3 consecutive days, I will have a day in between to rest. Best of luck for your surgery , not long to go.
 
I'm sorry to hear this about what your manager is expecting from you. I wonder where she came up with her two weeks limit? This isn't a vacation that you are requesting. It's a recovery from Major surgery.
Then to be asked to sign something stating you will hold to that 2 weeks time frame? I wonder, if there's someone "higher up" that you can discuss this with?
Not only will you be actively healing/recovering but you will also have some level of brain fog and exhaustion.
 
She's adamant, despite my explanations, that this will be acceptable as I'm not going into the office and is asking me to sign to say that I agree with this plan.
I had the same issue with my employer before my RTHR. My surgeon said I should be off work a minimum of 6 weeks. My employer demanded I return on or before 4 weeks. I hate to fight to get paid during my time off.

Basically you are going to have to push back very hard. Ask your surgeon's office for their recommendation on time off work. Indicate to the surgeon that you are worried about going back too quickly. In most cases they will support the patient. Frankly your boss has no right to demand you do anything - especially if it impacts your health and wellbeing.

Then before you leave hospital, ask for a Fit Note. This document indicates that you were reviewed on your discharge date and you are not fit to return to work immediately. In my case my surgeon filled out the return to work area at 6 weeks.

I did start working from home at 4 weeks. It was tough and I could not do a full day at first. You have to take into consideration the energy drain that comes with this recovery. Concentration can be very difficult in the early days.

My first days in the office at six weeks were also a major challenge. The first day I had to leave early as I felt faint and so exhausted. I highly recommend you push for a Phased return to work!

Ask your boss to watch a video of this surgery. This is not just having your toes nails clipped. It is MAJOR surgery. She needs be realistic and you should not be signing up for anything! Your recovery will be your's alone. There is no dictating how long you will need.

I suggest you ask HR for their return to work policy. The company should have one but it sounds like your boss hasn't a clue.

Does your company have an Occupational Health advisor? Find out and get them involved now.
 
I am not qualified in any way to give proper advice, this is just a quick reaction based on 40 years at work.

I absolutely agree with 'don't sign'.

If it's a big company like a bank get HR involved.

If it's a small company you may have to go over her head to the boss if there's no HR.

If she is the boss, that's a problem.
 
You're in another country so I can't say what your rights or benefits are. 12 weeks is the general time off for a THR and here if your company falls under the ruling you get a 12 week leave of absence under our Family Leave Act legislation. That said 2 weeks to do anything but a limited work from home on a laptop is unreasonable and totally unrealistic.
Or you could do what I did and schedule the surgery and never go back. My company was unrasonable about what they wanted me to do in order to return to work, so I didn't.
 
I'm 63 and scheduled for surgery on the 12/07. I have a very intense job that involves customer meetings, leading a junior team and lots of thinking on my feet. My manager is convinced that I will be able to start a phased return to work (from home) on 31/07 (2 weeks post op). She's adamant, despite my explanations, that this will be acceptable as I'm not going into the office and is asking me to sign to say that I agree with this plan. Has anyone experienced this situation? What is the reality here-will I be fit at 2 weeks? I'm worried I'm going to be forced back before I'm ready and it will have detrimental effect on my surgical outcomes.
Hello.

I’m in the UK. I’ve been thru this twice and 2 weeks is completely unrealistic. You will be sore, have drugs in your system and you need to heal both physically and mentally. Forget work and put yourself first, if you’re able. Somewhere between 8 & 12 weeks is reasonable. Your GP will sign you off. Your employer is being completely unreasonable.

Good luck

Paul
 
Thank you for taking time to reply Paul.you're confirming what I thought. Thank you for the advice G x :) :-) (:
 
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@Eman85 I have to admit that I'm feeling like leaving right now so I can completely understand why you did. Thank you for reaching out G x
 
@Jaycey thank you for the support and your comments. HR are copied in on the emails and seem to be happily aquiesing to this approach. I've made the same comment about 'not getting my toenails cut' but it seems to draw a blank in understanding....have you ever seen a good video of the surgery by any chance-I've had a look and there isn't much that shows the operation in detail.G x
 
@Hip4life what a comprehensive message and thank you for taking the time to send me all the resources. I had no idea about the 'energy drain' so it was helpful reading. I'm going to compose and email response this evening and wait to see if anything hits the fan tomorrow. :what:
 
@CricketHip you hit the nail on the head!!!! I feel as if I'm requesting some sort of extra holiday leave rather than having major surgery. :banghead:
 
have you ever seen a good video of the surgery by any chance-
I'm not keen on watching the actual surgery - a bit like carpentry. Our sister site has pages of information and an animation of the surgery. Here's a link to the Hip Replacement page.
 
Somewhere between 8 & 12 weeks is reasonable. Your GP will sign you off.
HR are copied in on the emails and seem to be happily aquiesing to this approach
I am astonished that HR are being supine. If, as suggested, you get medical backup I suspect they may change their minds - after all, they have to cover their arses too.
 
@Ginamore this is absolutely disgusting how your company are treating you, I absolutely would not sign anything to say that you will be back to work 2 weeks after hip replacement, as long as you have been in your job for more than 2 years then you have employment rights, and if you are being signed off by your GP then your employer should respect that and cannot force you back to work, can I suggest that you contact the Citizen Advise group, they have people who have knowledge of Employee rights and where you stand if your company insist you return before you are ready to go back to a phased work plan, good luck.
 
This is an interesting discussion.

My THR is scheduled for mid-August. My doctor told me if I had a desk job I'd be out for six weeks. Maybe longer if I have to stand or walk a lot, or if needed to be more active.

When I told my boss, she asked if I could start working from home at four weeks and then return to the office at six weeks. Apparently someone else on our group had some sort of surgery recently and this is how he returned. I don't know what procedure he had done, but I pushed back and said - no, my doctor told me six weeks and that's what I'm planning. I know that even working from home would be hard. Just getting to and from my desk and computer, and being on the clock for a full day, would be draining. Even working from home takes some activity and moving around. Plus, that would take time away from my rehabilitation during an important phase.

We are shorthanded right now, and this is the busy part of the year for us, so I understand it's not the most convenient time to be out. The younger version of me would rush back. Now that I'm older, I put myself and my health first.
 
This is an interesting discussion.

My THR is scheduled for mid-August. My doctor told me if I had a desk job I'd be out for six weeks. Maybe longer if I have to stand or walk a lot, or if needed to be more active.

When I told my boss, she asked if I could start working from home at four weeks and then return to the office at six weeks. Apparently someone else on our group had some sort of surgery recently and this is how he returned. I don't know what procedure he had done, but I pushed back and said - no, my doctor told me six weeks and that's what I'm planning. I know that even working from home would be hard. Just getting to and from my desk and computer, and being on the clock for a full day, would be draining. Even working from home takes some activity and moving around. Plus, that would take time away from my rehabilitation during an important phase.

We are shorthanded right now, and this is the busy part of the year for us, so I understand it's not the most convenient time to be out. The younger version of me would rush back. Now that I'm older, I put myself and my health first.
I'm having some people pressuring me to get a full time job before the surgery that are thinking like this too, and I feel like the mentality has to come from "well I saw one miracle story on the internet where someone was waterskiing at 2 weeks!" Like, that's all well and good, but no one should be committing to their trust that they're going to have a miracle recovery.

Not only is there the concern about not recovering correctly, but do you really think I should be working with major fatigue or brain fog for weeks, and potentially making a huge error that costs the business thousands? If my career was just keeping seats warm, sure... but I manage millions and millions of dollars in budget with money you can't just take back if you make a mistake.

Anyways, just venting myself, and haven't had the surgery yet, so I can only imagine.
 
I agree with the others that this is completely unreasonable, but also will put your physical recovery and mental health in jeopardy due to the stress of returning early. I would also mention to your boss that you will be taking narcotic medications (opioids) round the clock every 4 hours and does she wish to expose the co-workers and clients to someone who is not in their right mind? I wish you all the best....keep fighting for yourself!
 
Hi @Ginamore, Good Luck for your RTHR tomorrow! I had a left THR on 6/22, so nearing the 3 week mark. I’m a newbie to this group, but wanted to add my real time perspective. I am in total agreement with the others that working from home at 2 weeks is not possible. Sitting is uncomfortable, my brain is still foggy and I am still experiencing energy drain. That combo would not bring any value to your work, especially given the intensity of your job. Making quick decisions in a snap? I don’t think so. I realize everyone’s recovery is unique, but even in the best case scenario, it would not be a wise decision for both you and your workplace. It seems like your manager thinks that you would still be able to work, and only your body is compromised. Wrong!!!! To recover properly, you need to heal holistically, not just your hip. Wishing you the best! :fingersx:
 

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