Going back to work after trimalleor fracture surgery.

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I broke my ankle on January 23rd, had surgery on February 4th. I broke my ankle in 3 places and also dislocated it-sounds pretty common here.   I had 10 screws and a plate put in.  I have had my 2 week follow up-put me in a cast.  yesterday I had another follow up, surgeon said all looked good, he took out stitches and I was put into another hard cast.  I go back in one month for a possible boot and possibly start putting weight on it.  My question concerns work.  I teach elementar school.  I originally planned to go back 4 weeks post op (little less than 2 weeks from now).  I cannot drive so will be getting rides from a co-worker who lives nearby.  I will not have in class support and normally would never sit down but plan to change this for the rest of the year.  Doctor said it is fine for me to go back in 2 weeks but I am a mess about the thought.  I am really hurting today-probably because of the new cast, manipulation of my ankle, etc.  I want to take an extra 2 weeks off and doctor said I can do whatever I want.  I am having tremendous guilt about taking the other 2 weeks but I do not feel I am mentally or physically ready.  I have to take pain pills to sleep at night (only need tylenol during the day) and I struggle to get up at a fairly decent hour-let alone in time to be dressed, drag myself on my  butt up the stairs, and out the door to work. I have just started thrownig some meals in the crockpot and putting a few dishes away-feel proud of these milestones but pay for it with pain later.  Am i being melodramatic?  It seems that people went back to work so quickly.  Most of my guilt comes from student needs.  I can take the time according to FMLA-possibly will lose pay though which will be hard for my family.  Please advise--similar situations?

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  • Posted

    I understand how you feel. Your first priority is to take care of yourself. A broken ankle takes a toll on you, not only physically but mentally. Don't go back until you feel ready, you won't do anyone any good if you rush it. I am 6 weeks out from my break and 5 weeks out from surgery, I would love to be working but unfortunately I spend 8 to 20 hours a day on my feet so it isn't even up for discussion at this point.
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  • Posted

    Good evening Maureen. 

    Firstly may I say that I am sorry to hear of your injury.

    The timescale from injury to surgery, then to having your stitches out is approximately the same as mine back in September. My opinion is that your role sounds too demanding to return to work in two weeks.

    I was initially given a sick note for two months, then another for a month, another for three weeks and a final one for another month, taking me up to end of January 2016( some New year) I forced myself to return to work two weeks into the New year, mainly for financial reasons and to stay sane.

    It is a massive trauma and reading the other patients experiences in this forum, I think you will agree that you will need to take more time out.

    I am 55 years of age and prior to my injury had an active work and social life

    I have experienced that since my injury, getting prepared for work takes me about 30 minutes, virtually twice as long since injury. I used to drag myself on my butt upstairs to the toilet and bedroom and use one crutch to descend the stairs. I wasn't driving until mid December, had a wheelchair and crutches. I had got that fed up I forced myself to walk with crutches, then one crutch, to none. What you are experiencing is absolutely normal, forget about guilt, if you return to work too soon then recovery will take longer and the possibility of making things worse for yourself. I don't get paid when off sick other than S.S.P @ £88.45 a week so as you can imagine, it's been a tough time especially at Christmas. I was under the impression that teachers got full pay for the first 6 months, in the Uk anyway

    I wish you a speedy recover

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen

    Dont think of going back to work for at least 3 months.You are looking at 1 year to be pain free.This is going to be a long recovery job whatever anyone tells you,so be prepared and make arrangments accordingly.

    Good luck 

    Mr Ankle

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen,

    So sorry to hear of your injuries, the truth is, as hard as thing might be financially and otherwise, if you are not ready, you are not, give yourself time to heal both physically and physiocologically, nothing to feel guilty about, had same fracture as you with plate and nuts in Nov and am still at home. I work as a support worker as bank staff so am not entitled to sick pay or anything , so no financial help anywhere, Your job is also demanding physically, those kids won't understand what or how you feel so you need to be prepared enough.. I wish you quick recovery

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen 

    i am truly sorry to hear of your injury. Mine is same as yours with dislocation as well I'm 3 months not walking and still in pain. I'm 65 and not working so you take as much time as you can, to this as others will agree is a very slow long healing journey. Some quicker, some slower, I'm on the slow train. Be patient with yourself, don't let what others think deter you - it's very hard for most people to understand, except here....your moods will be up and down, it's frustrating for most of us. I wish you well on this journey. Take good care, 👣

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  • Posted

    8 weeks since accident

    7 weeks since surgery

    1 week since Boot

    Maureen I'm one month ahead of you.   I've had broken arms, legs, collar-bones, ribs and a total knee replacement.  ALL of them were bloomin simple next to this thing!   With all of those, I went back to work very very quiickly - office job and I could put my foot up.  With this?  I wouldn't even think of going back right now, even with an office job.   I don't know anyone with this sort of ankle injury who wouldn't say similar - these ankle injuries are in a class of their own.   You stop stressing and try to manage on the money and concentrate on healing yourself. 

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    • Posted

      Hi. I broke my foot 35 years ago and was healed, had physio and back working in a physical job within 6 weeks. As you say, this break is something completely different. I never realised how many different emotions were possible. It gets to the stage where money is not an issue, you learn to manage on minimal amounts, the main focus being on recovery
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  • Posted

    IMHO, take the rest of the school year off and plan to go back to work next September or whenever your next year starts.  You don't need the pressure of returning to work. I'm 19 weeks post op and I am walking unaided, but I couldn't stand for over 2 hours without pain and swelling. It takes times to recover.  If you can afford the time off, I would take it.  You'll need PT and it causes pain. In my mind work would be too much before like May and then schools almost over.  
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  • Posted

    Hello Maureen !

    I'm certainly with the fellow ankle breakers. Excuse me but you would be mad to go back yet. At present as you are not weight bearing you have no idea what you are up against. PLEASE take it easy and forget work. YOU COME FIRST AND RESPECT YOUR DEAR ANKLE. Whether sitting or standing at work, it's too early. All those kids trying to keep you on your toes?? You must rest and weigh everything up. I've noticed the doctors try to say a few weeks and you'll be right BUT it's not like that at all. It's an ankle and it carries your whole body around, it has to twist move etc. I broke my ankle in 3 places, in fact it was shattered with a dislocation. My foot went one way and my ankle the other. I'm 6 months post op and because of a heavy, physical job I'm still not back at work. Please I can't stand for long, I'm still in pain and some days can hardly move around. I hope you think things through as this is not some quick fix injury Maureen. Once you go back to work they will think you are well enough and before you know it they will have you running around or should I say TRYING TO MAKE YOU RUN. They don't understand and without sounding rude I don't yet think you do. I'm trying to help here as I know all about it with the other ankle breakers. Please think of your ankle. HUGS.

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    • Posted

      Hello Maureen. I agree with all other ankle breakers comments. I think you won't be ready to return to work so quickly. I returned after almost four months post surgery, and my doctor instructed on sick note, light duties, and part time, guess what I've been doing 40-45 hours per week, incl Saturday, and normal duties. When you return to work they assume you are 100% fit. My work colleagues have recently graduated and don't have any consideration, I assume it's a generation thing? Anyway, what ever route you decide to take, don't over do things and good luck with recovery
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear your dilema Maureen

    I found that after the last cast was put on  it took a week to settle down. All January I was moving around the house in a wheelchair because I had to keep my ankle weight free.  After the cast was removed which is 2 weeks ago now I was told to take it steady and gradually I have dispensed with the wheelchair and gone onto 2 crutches and now can manage with just one.  In the kitchen I don't need support because I can hang onto the units if necessary.  My ankle has screws on the fibula side and screws and a plate on the other side. I also dislocated it when I fell in mud.  When the cast was removed the wounds were soft and I was told to wash with just clean water leave uncovered and moisturise the leg. It has taken 2 weeks to get rid of the flakey dead skin and the wound scabs have healed and dropped off. I did have pressure blisters on the heel from the plaster rubbing.  I have had 2 sessions of physio because initially my foot was unable to move because it was so stiff.  It is now a lot more flexible with walking and exercises. I take 2 paracetomols with my breakfast in order to do housework then the rest of the day I elevate the leg because the ankle swells and is painful. I don't take any more painkillers during the day because I want to be aware of what the ankle is doing so I don't over do the exercise.  So far I haven't been into town since I broke my ankle but I have driven my car out of the garage and back again.

    I have been told I should not drive until 4 to 6 weeks after having the plaster removed and should be able to stand only on the damaged leg in order to prove I am able to do an emergency stop for insurance purposes.

    I am a retired English high school teacher and I remember the guilt if I had to be away from the job. Looking back there were times when I was unfit to go to school and recovery took longer than if I had more time off. These days it is a lot more stressful than 20 years ago.  I retired as soon as possible!!  You do get full pay for 6 months and then half pay for the remaining year so it is my advice not to go back to the job until you are fully fit.  Your health is more important than the job and apart from the children being pleased to see you nobody else will thank you.  They can get a cover teacher so please put your mind at rest, relax and concentrate on doing what your body says - sleep when you feel like it and keep all weight off your injured ankle  until your cast is removed to allow the bones to heal properly.  It is a bit mind blowing but it has paid off for me. I did reading, sewing and knitting and my friends have been so supportive because social contact has been important for me because I am a widow living on my own.

    I had no idea the length of time it would take to get mobile again but when I was in hospital a 45 year old teaching assistant was told she would not be back at school until next September. She did have a badly smashed ankle and had a frame and spokes to adjust so her injury was pobably worse than yours. Count the days until the cast is removed then if healed properly you will make some progress every day.

    Keep smiling!

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  • Posted

    N0, you are not being melodramatic.  Don;t feel guilty.  Who will look after your recovery if you don't?  Get all the support you can at work, colleagues will often help unofficially if nothing is organised by management.  Elementary teaching is very demanding.

     Even getting up, washing, dressing and having breakfast before you go out is exhausting in the early days. If there is no additonal support in work, see if you can get some help at home with essential chores.  Congratulate yourself on everything you accomplish but take it at your own pace. Your students may have to re-assess their own needs and possibly learn techniques for helping each other and you/  If handled appropriately this could be useful personal development for them.  If you do lose pay short term, your family will have to adjust.  Explain but don;t appologise.  I had ny op on 20th December and am not considering going back to work until I can stand for longer.  Keep your spirits up.  Best wishes for your recovery.    

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen , I know this post is old but hope you can tell me how your doing at the moment with your ankle ? My husband is one week past ORIF for 3 fractures to his ankle and your post was so similar to where we are now ? He to has a demanding job very manual , in and out the lorry all day pushing lifting etc! He's hoping to be back at work before the six months is up . He's having the wound checked and stitches removed in two weeks post surgery and another op at 6 weeks to remove the screws , not sure where he goes from there ? Are you back to full fitness now ? Thanks

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