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Ugh! My Back is so Sore!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been doing part of my back to work program helping out with a research project at one of our hospitals. My job is to sit in medical records and enter data from the patient's chart into a laptop computer.

The computers are kept in a different area so before going to medical records, I have to trek to the Neurology office to pick it up, carry it back to medical records and do it all over again at the end of the shift. It's a huge hospital and the offices are in another building. It works out to 12 city blocks for one round trip.

My back was killing me the first 2 shifts I did because of all that carrying. The laptop with the case, the adapter and keyboard weighs about 30 pounds. I can lift it and carry it across a normal size room, but it's way too heavy for me to carry that distance.

I told them that I cannot carry that laptop back and forth because of my back and the restrictions that I have. They were to get me a pull cart for the laptop.

They didn't. I found my own solution using a small box cart that I found outside engineering on the way to the offices. Once I started to use that, I had zero back problems and no problem toting the laptop around.

Last Thursday I went to get the box cart and saw that they were tied together. An obvious hint that engineering didn't want me to use their carts. So I ended up carrying the laptop back and forth that day. My back was killing me at the end of the day. I could hardly sit, and standing, never mind walking nearly had me crying.

I told Neurology about that cart being tied up and that I can't carry that laptop, and to have them get those carts untied.

Just in case, I took a pair of scissors with me the next day. Of course the carts were still tied up. I cut them apart myself and used it anyway. It's a good thing too because my back was so sore that I took 2 Tylenol #3 and Ibuprophen before even going, and repeated it again twice during the shift and I still couldn't finish the 8 hours and had to pack it up at 3:15pm because I was in so much pain.

I told the guy (Serge) in the Neurology area supervising this project, that I need a pull cart for the laptop and told him about Engineering having tied the carts together. He said he would get a cart for me over the weekend and it would be available for Monday morning.

Engineering caught up with me at the end of the shift and told me in no uncertain terms that I couldn't use the cart anymore. They claim they are going back to the manufacturer. Which I doubt very much.

My back was so sore over the weekend. I was taking 8 Tylenol #3's and 12 Ibruprophen each day and it hasn't been helping much. I need to get into my chiropractor so he can refix everything again

Yesterday I went back and again, no cart for me to use!!! I literally had to drag the laptop on the floor to records which only added to my back pain. Serge came to see me in the morning and said that he was on his way to the UofM book store to get a pull cart for me.

I popped pain pills all day and had my TENS machine on my back all day too but it didn't help all that much.

The end of shift came and went and there was still no pull cart!! So I had to drag the laptop on the floor all the way back to Neurology again. By the time I got there I could barely stand up

I saw the doctor in charge of the study in her office and stopped in to tell her that I need a pull cart. I also told her that I wasn't going to come in tomorrow (today, Tuesday) because of my back pain and there was no way I could drag that laptop around again without a pull cart. I also added that unless a pull cart is made available, I won't be able to continue to do the work.

I need the hours, but if my back is messed up and I can't walk, there is no way I can participate in ward aspect of my back to work program and that is the important part; it's the part that will get me back to my job and being paid. As it is, my back is so sore today that I don't know how I'm going to do 4 hours on the hospital ward tomorrow for my first 1/2 shift

I'm calling tomorrow and if they don't have a pull cart available for me, then I am not going there on Thursday either.

They were made aware of my restrictions before I started into the project, and they were supposed to accommodate me, which they haven't done.
post #2 of 21
Wow, as somone who also has a messed up back and lives some days on pain pills, I absolutely feel for you! If they knew they needed to make accomodations for you it should have been done before your first day. I do hope you get to the chiropractor soon and get a little relief.
Sending loads of soothing vibes your way.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by libby74 View Post
Wow, as somone who also has a messed up back and lives some days on pain pills, I absolutely feel for you! If they knew they needed to make accomodations for you it should have been done before your first day. I do hope you get to the chiropractor soon and get a little relief.
Sending loads of soothing vibes your way.
Thanks

I go to the chiropractor every Wednesday. I should be going twice a week, but because I have been doing full shifts at the research place, I haven't been able to. And when I had that box cart to tote the laptop around with, I didn't need to go twice a week. My back was feeling great.

I had gone last Wednesday and my back was feeling in tip top shape. But Thursday after carrying that laptop, my back was messed up again and hasn't recovered.

I go to the chiropractor tomorrow afternoon, so that means I am going to be in a great deal of pain tomorrow morning at work, but I have to hide that fact.

If I don't have to lift and carrying anything heavy for a prolonged period of time or distance, I do fine. But my back doesn't have the endurance for long distances, and I consider carrying 30 pounds, 6 city blocks, twice a day to be a long distance.
post #4 of 21
That's terrible engineering won't let you use their cart! What s!! I would understand if you hurt it or didn't return it, but that's just rude. The doctor I can understand it's difficult to buy something new or transfer something, but those are right there!

Now, what I would do? And I don't recommend this, but I'm bad like that. I would put the laptop in its case, and just drag it across the floor! Maybe that would still hurt your back, but it might make a point with them...

Either way, I hope your back feels better soon, hope the chiropractor helps!
post #5 of 21
What about using a small luggage case or bag with wheels on it?
post #6 of 21
I'm sorry you're having that problem. Backs are touchy things.

Is there a chair on wheels you can use as a cart? I've done that when I needed and couldn't find a cart. Also there are inexpensive ($20 - $30) hand carts you can get at office supply places and hardware stores. I know you shouldn't have to buy your own but if you need the job it might be a worth while investment. You might even find it handy around the house. I bought one for use at home and I use it all the time. It's a real back saver.

I hope you find a solution!
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelongsToEvie View Post
Now, what I would do? And I don't recommend this, but I'm bad like that. I would put the laptop in its case, and just drag it across the floor! Maybe that would still hurt your back, but it might make a point with them...
I did that yesterday and on Thursday while taking it back. But the strap isn't that long and between having to bend and the friction of it on the floor, not only is my lower back sore, but also my upper back too.
post #8 of 21
Sending healing Vibes to you! They should provide you with a cart to help you. I understand the pain you are going through.
post #9 of 21
That sucks having so much back pain that you can barely walk

They really should have provided you with a pull cart on your first day, and for saying that they knew about your back condition before you started it just makes matters seem worse for you. By rights, if you have written out a pre-assessment medical form before starting and they know about your back, they should give you the correct equipment to carry out your tasks without unbearable pain or suffering.

I hope you can get something sorted out real soon!
post #10 of 21
how big a laptop did they give you? i know my old dell would kill my back,when i had to carry that thing aournd airports, i hated that thing. the new gateway that work give me is super thin, and i dont even notice that one.

I know that feeling of after walking for awhile your back and legs start to fill like they want to give out its not a good feeling.(and yea it hurts)

well stay home and pet a kitty or 2, and i hope they will get you a cart by the next time you go in.
post #11 of 21
Oh hon, that is terrible! And it inexcusable for them not to provide a cart for you when they knew you had restrictions. The chair idea might be the best short term solution. In fact, take the supervisor's chair...bet you'll get a cart REAL fast!

Or, how about borrowing a shopping cart from a local store. I bet they would just LOVE an employee walking up and down the halls pushing a shopping cart!
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Wow, as somone who also has a messed up back and lives some days on pain pills, I absolutely feel for you!

I know that feeling all too well.

I think they have to accomonate you, Linda - especially if they already knew about your limitations beforehand. Can you go to your supervisor and file a complaint or something? When I worked at Wal-Mart and my docs put me on limited restrictions due to my back condition, Wal-Mart had to comply. When they didn't and tried making me perform duties that I wasn't supposed to, I went to the TOP supervisor and lodged a complaint. It took awhile to get the situation resolved, and I still had managers trying to force me into doing things I wasn't supposed to, but after being persistant, they finally got the point. You may have to keep pushing to get them to co-operate...

I wouldn't give up. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of perserverence to pay off. Some workplaces will push you just to see how much they can get away with.

I hope you're feeling better soon! I know how horrible it is to suffer with a messed up back.
post #13 of 21
That certainly isn't a good situation. You would think that since you made it clear right from the beginning what your restrictions were that they would be more then capable of accommodating you.
Hopefully they will have a cart for you within the next couple of days so you can continue on with the job..
Lots of feel better vibes coming your way..
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
how big a laptop did they give you? i know my old dell would kill my back,when i had to carry that thing aournd airports, i hated that thing. the new gateway that work give me is super thin, and i dont even notice that one.

It's an archaic Dell. It's almost 2 inches thick and the casing of it is actually metal! And the case they have it in weighs about the same as the laptop. And then there is the power supply unit! That is actually heavier than the laptop.
post #15 of 21
Maybe this is their not-so-subtle way of forcing you to quit. Some places will do that to get rid of people who have to have restricted work or environments. If that's the case I wouldn't expect them to go out of their way to make anything easy for you so you may just have to live with it or quit.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Maybe this is their not-so-subtle way of forcing you to quit. Some places will do that to get rid of people who have to have restricted work or environments. If that's the case I wouldn't expect them to go out of their way to make anything easy for you so you may just have to live with it or quit.
They aren't paying me. It's completely volunteer. The insurance company is paying me my regular disability and nothing more.

I've had nothing but glowing reviews from everyone involved in the study and have been asked to train anyone new that is starting, as well as to try out and give my feed back on 2 other programs they have been looking at.

So it's not that they wanted me to quit. In fact they have told me that they are distressed that my hours are going to be decreasing as my hours at my actual job increase.

Also, my only restriction is the amount that I can carry for long distances. I have no restrictions regarding the work at all. It's just a matter of getting the computer and taking it back. If the computer were in the same room as where I was working, that wouldn't be a problem, but carrying it the equivalent of 6 city blocks (twice) is just too much. Even the other girl who doesn't have a bad back says her back hurts her after lugging it around. It's really that heavy!
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Maybe this is their not-so-subtle way of forcing you to quit. Some places will do that to get rid of people who have to have restricted work or environments. If that's the case I wouldn't expect them to go out of their way to make anything easy for you so you may just have to live with it or quit.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Even the other girl who doesn't have a bad back says her back hurts her after lugging it around. It's really that heavy!
Most people do have some back problems, even if it's just posture/weak core related. Have you ever noticed how many people slouch when they stand (guilty of that myself)?

Just personal experience here, but trying to get any medical staff to listen and actually do something to help you can be the biggest pain in the butt. Even nurses do this "Hey look - phlebitis, lets ignore it and leave the IV in that vein for a couple more days...".
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I got a call a little while ago saying that they have a case on wheels now for me to use. So I'll go there tomorrow as scheduled.

I also heard that they are interviewing 2 more girls for positions because 2 of the ones who said they were interested haven't bothered to show up despite having wasted everyone's time training them.

The problem is that because we aren't being paid anything other than our disability to do this, some aren't taking it seriously. For me I consider it a job because:

1. I'm getting disability
2. I need the hours
3. I gave my word
4. I'm getting experience in an area of nursing (research) that is very difficult to break into because to get a job you need prior experience.
5. I'm getting one heck of a glowing referral.

One of the girls who actually did show up for 2 shifts, told me on her very first shift, that she wasn't taking this serious at all and that she didn't consider it a job. She showed up for a second shift and hasn't been back. Talk about being unreliable
post #20 of 21
Linda sweetie, how's your back feeling tonight? Better I hope! Try not to overdo it too much! Do you have a heating pad you can lay on for a bit?
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Linda sweetie, how's your back feeling tonight? Better I hope! Try not to overdo it too much! Do you have a heating pad you can lay on for a bit?
It's feeling much better now! I went to the chiropractor yesterday afternoon and he fixed it all back up. What was usually a 1 minute treatment ended up almost 5 minutes. My lower back was really messed up...jammed up is what he said.

They have a wheely case now for the laptop, so it should be better. but if it's not, then I'll just use a chair on wheels to lug it around. I honestly didn't think to do that before.

Anyway, Dr. Dave gave me heck and told me that if that ever happens again to to see him immediately. And he also wants to see me twice weekly for the next couple of weeks to get my back back to where it was again.
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