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In tears with frustration and pain - physio has set back 5 months of rehabilitation

(24 Posts)
BerylStreep Tue 07-Dec-10 16:55:51

I had shoulder surgery 5 months ago. It was extremely painful, but I have been making slow and steady progress since the operation. This has been through a combination of physio, taking care of myself, and following a (gentle) exercise rehabilitation regime set by my physio to strengthen the shoulder. Until today, I was pretty positive about the long-term outlook, although my consultant had said to expect a year for full recovery.

My work referred me to our Occupational Health for assessment. The appointment was today. The physio who conducted the assessment was really rough, and applied massive amounts of pressure to my shoulder / arms. I said on a number of occasions that what she was doing was painful, but didn't seem interested in the pain that I experienced, only whether I had range of movement.

Now I am sitting at home, in severe pain, and in tears. My entire shoulder is complete agony and has seized up, and my whole right arm and hand has gone numb / pins and needles.

I feel so frustrated that 5 months of work and care seem to have gone down the drain, because of this over-zealous physio.

I don't think I will be fit enough to go into work, but daren't call in sick, as our work has a really strict absence management policy, and this could initiate unsatisfactory attendance procedures.

BerylStreep Tue 07-Dec-10 17:43:32

Bump. Please come and sympathise. Wallowing in solitary misery is rotten.

belgo Tue 07-Dec-10 17:48:06

Soudsn awful. You need to phone up OH and tell them what has happened, and see your own GP for advice.

Bonsoir Tue 07-Dec-10 17:50:49

Gosh. Massive sympathies and hugs.

You must follow this up in writing. Go and see your GP as first port of call for advice, and see whether you cannot see your surgeon/consultant as an emergency, for them to make an assessment of the damage done by the OH physio that saw you today. Ideally your surgeon would write report on what has happened and circulate it to all concerned.

mustdash Tue 07-Dec-10 17:53:58

Agree with Bonsoir. This is dreadful.

BerylStreep Tue 07-Dec-10 19:33:18

I've reported it to work as an injury sustained at work (under Health & Safety), and have advised my line manager. I will need to complete injury at work forms.

I am off tomorrow anyway, so I have got an emergency appointment with my physio to see if he can treat the acute pain.

I had not thought of seeing my GP or consultant - good idea.

lilyliz Tue 07-Dec-10 20:21:48

work op is on the side of the boss,don't be suprised to find out that she deems you quite fit to work.Dont want to put you on a downer but this happenned to a friend and she ended up sacked so watch out just in case.

BerylStreep Tue 07-Dec-10 20:34:34

The thing is, I am back at work, and doing it well. I work pt, and work are trying to get me to increase my hours. I have said I can't because I'm not physically well enough to do so - doubly so now that the physio has banjaxed my shoulder.

I must be the only person in this recession whose boss is trying to get me to increase my hours.

The fact is, even if OH say I am able to work increased hours (which is what they are going to say), it doesn't change the fact that I am not physically able to do it. I'm not suddenly going to get better just because they have said they think I am able to work more hours.

Has anyone any idea how I go about getting a second opinion?

Bonsoir Wed 08-Dec-10 07:46:27

You must go back to your surgeon/consultant.

verytellytubby Wed 08-Dec-10 14:33:00

Go back to your consultant and GP and get it all noted in your medical records.

Good luck. Sounds grim.

BerylStreep Sun 12-Dec-10 00:42:20

Thanks all.
I saw my physio who says that I have an inflamed nerve, and that the joint has been aggravated. I am still in severe pain with numbness and pins and needles down my arm. I am seeing the physio again on Tuesday.

I have completed the injury at work forms.

My line manager has arranged a meeting for Tuesday to discuss the contents of the Occupational Health report (which he has refused to share with me in advance).

I should probably be posting in 'employment', but I am very concerned about this meeting. My employer wants me to increase my hours from 25/wk to 30/wk. I have said I can't, because I am not physically up to increasing my hours as a result of the pain and fatigue I experience - (It will mean increasing my days from 4 per week to 5 per week - at the moment I take Wednesdays off, so that I am only working 2 days in a row at any time, whereas this would mean I am working 5 days in a row.)

During the OH examination, not only did the OH aggravate my condition, she also said that in her opinion I could work 30 hrs/wk and that I am not covered by DDA legislation. I disagree on both counts.

I am pretty certain that at my meeting on Tuesday with my line manager, he will state that if I refuse to increase my hours, I will be transferred to another post.

I am thinking of suggesting that someone should be present to record minutes of the meeting. I am also seeing my GP later that day. I wonder if it would be better to ask to postpone the meeting until I have had an opportunity to see my GP?

Does anyone know what support my GP may be able to offer? Can he, for example, provide an opinion on what impact an increase in my hours would have on my health? Can he give an opinion on whether it is a DDA condition? (It is arthritis in my shoulder, which I have had for 10 years. It substantially affects my sleep, and the pain causes fatigue. I don't do lots of day to day things as a result, for example lifting pans is difficult, styling my hair, cleaning, even holding hands with my DC is out of the question). I don't really know if this is something that a GP normally does.

I already have an appt for a review with my consultant in mid-January - I don't know of it is worth trying to get an earlier appointment with him?

Sorry it is so long winded, but I would be grateful for any knowledgeable advice.

iamaLeafontheWind Sun 12-Dec-10 18:31:48

Can you get your physio to write you a letter stating that the OH damaged you? That would go a long way to mitigating anything in the OH report.

And btw, what an incompetent OH! I'd put in a proper complaint about them.

Keziahhopes Sun 12-Dec-10 21:38:57

Gosh - it sounds to me that the OH person has caused you injury. Your physio has examined you - that OH person should be struck off, not you. Do you have a union to represent you, if not I would also put in a complaint about how you were making great recovery which has been put back by this OH's actions.

If the OH person can be found to be at fault, then what they say also should be treated as irrelevant....

what is your permanent contract? Is it 30hrs? If so, could you get your physio to adivse on your return to work, now, based on the DAMAGE CAUSED BY WORK!! By getting gp, physio and consultant to see you asap and record it in your notes, you will have a firm case.

BerylStreep Sun 12-Dec-10 22:06:25

My permanent hours are 25/week. In March, we underwent a restructuring at work, and I had to reapply for my existing job. I was told that the job was 30 hours per week. I said at the time that I didn't feel I could work 30 hours per week, and was told that if I wasn't prepared to increase my hours, I would be transferred.

I submitted my application for my post, clearly stating I was applying on the basis that it was 25hrs per week, but that I hoped to be in a position to increase my hours in April 2011. I was asked if I would increase my hours in Jan 2011, and I said I had no difficulty in principle, however it was dependent on a number of factors, one of which was how I would get on following surgery.

As far as I am concerned, I have made no promises to increase my hours. I am delivering on all my objectives.

My action plan for dealing with this is:
1. Make appt with consultant ASAP
2. See GP on Tuesday, and ask if he can advise as to fitness for work, as a result of the injury. Also ask if he can provide any clarity as to whether DDA applies in my case.
3. Postpone meeting with line manager until after I have seen GP.
4. Ask someone else to be present during meeting to take minutes. (My line manager can be pretty forceful at times).

Keziahhopes Sun 12-Dec-10 23:51:25

Gosh, sounds like you have a strong legal case!! I too had to increase my hours in 2010, not out of choice and I wish I hadn't!

Your action plan sounds great, and having a 2nd person there (a union rep, or someone to advocate for you, or just to take minutes) sounds very sensible. I like point 3 - definitely get Gp's advise. With fit notes now, you could get one for 25hrs?? Just random idea.

What will you do about the damage work has caused to you though, the OH person?

All the best x

ThisIsANiceCage Mon 13-Dec-10 00:08:14

Arthritis can be covered by the DDA, and sounds like you already have substantial records of your condition because you're seeing your physio regularly.

Good luck!

mattellie Mon 13-Dec-10 16:59:25

My understanding is that the DDA doesn’t really do blanket coverage – each case is assessed on its individual merits so you have to make your own case for being covered and provide as much documentary evidence as possible to support your case.

That said, arthritis most definitely can be covered, Beryl so it’s worth looking into further.

Those of you with a black sense of humour might enjoy the following exchange when I phoned to enquire whether my DD was covered by the DDA:
Them: ‘What happens if your DD doesn’t take her medication for 24 hours?’
Me: ‘She dies’
Them: ‘Oh, she’s probably covered then…’ smile

BerylStreep Mon 13-Dec-10 17:07:55

Well I was speaking to the OH today on the phone, and I told her about the injury to my shoulder.

She said that she hadn't done anything which could be construed as a vigorous examination. I told her I was in absolute agony. She said that it was clear that my shoulder was extremely unstable if it had reacted like that.


That's what I was telling her in the first place. That my shoulder was still very fragile. She was very defensive.

I have an appt with the specialist on Friday.
All these appointments are costing me a fortune (about £370 so far), as well as taking up all my precious time off work.

Keziahhopes Mon 13-Dec-10 20:26:51

Hi - black humour comment appreciated!

Beryl - your OH was defensive as she ignored you, so I think you have a good cse against her and therefore will not be made to work unreasonably!

BerylStreep Thu 06-Jan-11 15:44:02

Hi all,
Thanks for the replies and support. Just to give a quick update.

I saw my GP who was lovely, and has said he will write a report supporting my current hours. He has also given me stronger pain medication.

My GP wasn't able to advise on the DDA issue, however I have found Government guidance on issues to be considered when deciding applicability of DDA, and having read that, there is no doubt that I am covered. My employer is disputing this though.

I saw my orthopaedic consultant, who sent me for MRI scans to establish whether there has been long term damage. I'm still waiting for the results.

I'm still experiencing bad pain and numbness.

I had the meeting with my manager in mid Dec, and pointed out that he was not following policy. As such, the meeting was postponed until today, and I insisted that the HR manager and union rep be present. It wasn't a great meeting. My manager is insistent that I have to increase my hours, although he was prepared to be flexible and to wait until next week before I had to start. hmm
I am insistent that I am not physically fit to do so.
The threat is that if I don't increase my hours (which they can't force me to do, although they don't seem to be aware of the legislation) that they will transfer me.

It is very stressful.

jeanz Thu 06-Jan-11 16:44:06

Hi Beryl,
Are you in a union at work that could advise you? I had similar problems when i was working unfortunately when the redundancies came round in march 2009 i was top of the list! I dont think a works occ health can over ride a gp let alone a consultant. Have you taken employment advice from citizens advice maybe or would that be covered by acas?confused am not sure as i was actually in the rba union who to give them credit really did in my opinion try their level best but the problem is these days if you are ill employers tend to want you fit now and back to normal or out!sad.
All the increasing hours etc is so whqt i went through would be interested to know who you work for. Take care and i know its hard but try not to let them get you down as stress will only make you more ill xx

BerylStreep Thu 06-Jan-11 16:57:11

Jeanz, I have a staff association. Sorry can't say who employer is.

I am just at my wits end. I keep saying the same thing again and again - I am not physically up to increasing my hours. They are just not listening. My manager has very rigid thinking, and once he has made up his mind, there is no changing it. He and the HR manager had a meeting before the meeting today, so dear know what guff he has given him about an organisational need, but the HR manager seems to have bought it. The HR manager has said he is convinced there is an organisational need. I responded that I remained to be convinced. It seems dreadfully unfair that my manager is making his case to the HR manager without me being present.

Regardless of what OHW say, it is not going to make me any more fit. I think the plan is to go to the wire, and when I don't increase my hours, to say I am in breach of a lawful direction and pursue misconduct.

jeanz Wed 12-Jan-11 12:37:53

Hi, sorry i cant really think of anymore things for you to try you are doing all you can it seems more and more employers seem to be having the attitude of my old ones and your employer s that if you are not well enough to do the job and do exactly the hours they want, drop everything when they want you to do extra then they dont care sad
sorry blush about asking which employer yours was its just they sounded so sooo familiar in how they are treating you.
What always annoyed me working for a "big" company like i did at WH Smiths everyone used to say to me ooo bet you are well paid there bet they look after you there etc and the sad answer was er no!

BerylStreep Wed 12-Jan-11 16:39:22

Jeanz, it's not WH Smith, but tbh I think it is a really widespread problem. PT workers are the path of least resistance, and I think there is a general lack of respect that (mainly) women have a legitimate need to balance work and family demands, but that they are still able to make a positive contribution to the business.

I was so annoyed about the meeting last week, there was so much sanctimonious rubbish spouted, that I e-mailed the HR manager addressing all the factual inaccuracies that my manager had stated in the meeting, and also highlighting a number of initiatives I have introduced to streamline systems and processes, which make the place more efficient, and therefore reduce workloads. My HR manager followed this up by phone, and guess what? My manager had forgotten to mention all those points. hmm

I am going back to OH on Friday. This time I am going armed with a written list of the impact the injury that the OH caused has had on me.

As a humorous aside, this morning my manager asked me if I would attend OH tomorrow, on my day off. I said no. Then he asked if I would go on Friday afternoon (I finish at 2.15pm). WTF? At last week's meeting when I said I was prepared to be flexible in that I often worked additional unpaid hours, they turned this against me and said it illustrated that I needed to increase my hours. I enjoyed reminding him of that, and telling him that as a result, goodwill was rapidly dissipating.

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