In 10 days I will be having surgery on my right wrist. Right wrist arthroscopy, synovectomy and debridement, open 6th extensor compartment and tenosynovectomy.
I have no idea what any of that means, except that this is the beginning of the end of a very long journey that started over 16 months ago.
I started experiencing some pain in my wrist as well as some numbness and tingling in my hand, ring finger and pinky finger. It caused some concern, but I didn't say anything at first because I was still somewhat of a new employee (just over a year) and I didn't want to cause any problems. I enjoy flying under the radar.
I talked to Patrick about it and decided that I would give it some time to see if it would get better on it's own. If it didn't then I would speak to my manager about it. The next morning, while getting coffee in the break room, I experienced the pain again but this time I had weakness as well, so much so that I couldn't lift the coffee pot.
That was enough for me to know it was time to talk to my manager. I went into her office with no intention of filing a workers' comp claim (the irony of filing a workers' comp claim while working for a workers' comp insurance company is not lost in this). In fact, I only wanted to let her know what was happening in case it continued to get worse. She told me that she had to file it as a claim because I told her about it*.
I was then assigned a case worker and a doctor. I will spare you the boring details. I will tell you everything that I've tried to make this better before we came to the conclusion that surgery was necessary because we did try everything we could think of. In no particular order:
- Anti-inflammatory and pain pills
- Approximately half a dozen wrist braces
- Injections (x3)
- Physical therapy (6 sessions)
- Occupational therapy (two times, 6 sessions each)
- Nerve conduction studies (x2)
To be honest, I'm ready to have this surgery and I've had a long time to think about it and come to terms with the nerves of it. The thing I'm most worried about is being out of work for that extended amount of time.
I just had my pre-op appointment yesterday and found out that I can be released back to modified duty after two weeks. The problem with that is, there is nothing to modify about my job. I'm typing and writing constantly for 8+ hours a day. So, more than likely I will be out of work for 6-8 weeks.
6-8 weeks. Up to two months of not working.
I know that this is necessary in order for my wrist to heal properly so that I don't re injure it, but I can't help but feel guilty. We're already short staffed and I know that my job responsibilities will fall solely on one person. Normally I wouldn't feel this bad about it, I know that I need to take care of me first, but in this case that person is my best friend and it's just not right that our office is so unprepared for something like this.
We recently lost an employee when she took another position with our company in a different department. We're a branch office, so it's not like we have a bunch of employees at our disposal. Before she left we were an office of 9. Replacing her has not been successful. In fact she's been gone for almost two months and our manager had known she would be leaving a month before that. They didn't start interviewing until 2-3 weeks after she was gone.
Then my best friend was promoted to the next position up. Her training has been unorganized and slow and replacing her original position had not even begun until recently when our manager decided we should probably bring in a temp employee to take on some work while I'm out. The issue with this is 1. I told her at least a month ago that I was going to be having surgery and 2. Training for this position lasts longer than a week and a half. In fact when I was hired I was told it was a two year learning curve. There is absolutely no way that a new employee can take on the amount of work that we do on a daily basis. We can barely handle the amount of work we receive on a daily basis (hence our big work meeting where our bosses boss came from home office to discuss issues and workload was the main issue). And we've all been here 2+ years.
So my work ethic has me stressing in order to get as much taken care of before I leave. This will involve me coming into work as early as I possibly can as well as bringing work home. There is a lot that needs to be done and there is a lot of work that I anticipate coming in the next week and a half before I leave. I need to learn how to relax and just do what I can, but at this point in time I know that's not going to happen.
When I leave Thursday I am going to know that I did everything I could before I left and then the rest is up to everyone else. I can't expect myself to come back before I'm ready and I fully intend on using this time off to heal and relax and work on me.
*Since reporting this claim, four other employees have told the same manager about various issues, 3 wrist issues and 1 knee injury. She has not forced anyone else to file a claim even though they have told her what has been happening. I find this frustrating and infuriating, but I pick my battles and am just worried about getting my issue fixed.