Returning to work after a medical emergency like surgery all depends on how you heal and how you respond to surgery. The type of surgery you have is also a major factor. Less invasive procedures allow you to begin to work after one or two weeks. More serious surgery like fusions may require you to be out for a month or longer. Returning to work also depends on the type of job you do. If you have a job that causes you stand around a lot, operate heavy machinery or do heavy lifting, then you will need more time off to recover. Those with less physically demanding work like office jobs can expect to return to work sooner.
It’s been said that returning to work as soon as possible will actually help you in the recovery process. Staying home too long may make you feel isolated and depressed. Returning to your old routine will boost your morale and make you feel more like your old self. Surgery and other medical emergencies break us from our normal routine, and this major break makes us not feel like ourselves. The longer you stay at home, the less like yourself you start to feel.
The decision to return to work after a medical emergency may also be in the hands of your employer. They may request an OK from your doctor so they aren’t liable if you re-injure yourself. If your doctor gives you the thumbs up and you feel confident in your abilities, then you can return to work. Remember, everyone recovers at a different pace. If your doctor says it’s OK for you to return to work, but you don’t feel ready then you should take a couple of days off. Chances are your employer wants you returning eager and ready to start working again. If you don’t feel ready to deliver good results, then you should stay at home and recover. While you’re at home, maintain good communication with your boss and coworkers. Their support will help you in the recovery process and you’ll feel involved in what’s happening back at work.
Make a return plan to work. Figure out if you need to cut down on hours or take more breaks due to fatigue caused by medication. Mark your calendar with your post-op checkup dates and let your employer know of when you’ll be out of the office. Again, it’s important to have good communication with your boss as it will help facilitate your return to work into a smooth transition. It’s your job to create a return to work plan that will best accommodate your recovery and make you comfortable at work. Don’t overestimate your abilities. As eager as you are to return back to your old routine at work, you need to recognize your current state in the recovery process. Realize that overworking yourself at this time won’t do favors to your health or your recovery. It’s hard to feel a bit weaker than you normally are, but by taking things slow you’ll be back to your old self in no time!
SOURCE: Human Rights Commission
IMAGE: Courtesy of Heff Home Health Care