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Fractured spine

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by BelleDuJour, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Well I managed to fall off my horse on Saturday (completely freak accident) and ended up with a fractured coccyx andT12v thoracic vertebra. Bloody painful andspent most of Saturday in hospital. Since then lots of pain, very little sleep, vomiting with painkillers and back to fracture clinic this morning.
    I was left sitting in a hard chair for over 2 hours before I was finally seen by a doctor. His first question was 'how are you feeling?'. By then there were tears of pain rolling down my cheek and I did explain I was rather worse than when I arrived, due to being left in that horrid chair for a couple of hours. He then went on to tell me to avoid sitting at all costs (!!!) as it could further dammage the spine, and that I cannot drive for 6 weeks, cannot ride for 12 weeks and will be signed off for 6 to 8 weeks! No way can I do that.....that's the rest of term gone and I'm the only teacher of my subject in school. I have GCSE and A level classes only and cannot/ will not take the time out. I refused a medical certificate.
    So, what would you do?
    I'm thinking if I can manage the pain and get somewhere at school where I can lie down at lunchtime (boarding school so shouldn't be a problem) then I can go back sooner rather than later.
    Any ideas? I really cannot take that amount of time off but realise I will be struggling. OH can take me to work and pick me up so that's not a problem either. I am so upset about this :(
     
  2. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Well I managed to fall off my horse on Saturday (completely freak accident) and ended up with a fractured coccyx andT12v thoracic vertebra. Bloody painful andspent most of Saturday in hospital. Since then lots of pain, very little sleep, vomiting with painkillers and back to fracture clinic this morning.
    I was left sitting in a hard chair for over 2 hours before I was finally seen by a doctor. His first question was 'how are you feeling?'. By then there were tears of pain rolling down my cheek and I did explain I was rather worse than when I arrived, due to being left in that horrid chair for a couple of hours. He then went on to tell me to avoid sitting at all costs (!!!) as it could further dammage the spine, and that I cannot drive for 6 weeks, cannot ride for 12 weeks and will be signed off for 6 to 8 weeks! No way can I do that.....that's the rest of term gone and I'm the only teacher of my subject in school. I have GCSE and A level classes only and cannot/ will not take the time out. I refused a medical certificate.
    So, what would you do?
    I'm thinking if I can manage the pain and get somewhere at school where I can lie down at lunchtime (boarding school so shouldn't be a problem) then I can go back sooner rather than later.
    Any ideas? I really cannot take that amount of time off but realise I will be struggling. OH can take me to work and pick me up so that's not a problem either. I am so upset about this :(
     
  3. Honestly? S*d school and take it week by week.
    I can understand the frustration of being off (I've got broken ankle, only teacher of my subject, got leavers doing scholarships whilst I'm likely to be off) - but at the end of the day, guilty as I feel, I'd feel even worse when I've damaged my ankle further or permanently by doing too much. I'm hoping to go back after week 3 of being off, but if doctors advise against it, I'm going to take however long it takes before they say I can go back (and my school don't 'do' supply, so I know I'm putting my collegues out by being off - but I like to think they can understand I didn't choose to break my ankle).
    Can i be frank - and I don't mean to offend - but I'd think you rather silly if you went back and completely ignored the advice of the doctors. You just don't know how much further damage you may do and especially with something as fragile as your spine.
    I would recommend taking it week by week - you never know, after 2 weeks rest, you might feel like things are starting to settle down and you can begin to take things slowly - and then go in. Would your school do a phased return, starting off by you doing the A-Level & GCSE classes?
    Sorry I've not been much help but don't let heart rule your health.
     
  4. gemmamarie08

    gemmamarie08 New commenter

    Oh Belle poor you![​IMG]
    Part of me thinks you should stay off work but as a teacher of GCSE/A-Level myself I know where you're coming from (I was the same went back straight after my accident and did what I could). Could you just take this week to get yourself together and then go back?
    How supportive are your management? Mine have been great letting me sit down and make adjustments etc. Can you explain to your students what has happened and that you may not be your usual self? I did and mine were brilliant!
    Maybe make a list of anything that would help you at school and either send to your manager and get them to ring you or pop in and see him/her to talk it through. Otherwise do you have a personnel department or someone in charge of H&S who can offer some help?
    I hope you manage to sort something but keep us posted!
     
  5. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    Belle, you have broken your back. Do yourself a favour (and look after your long term health) and stay off as advised. School will find someone,and/or you could arrange to do tutoring and feedback by e-mail with students?
     
  6. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Belle, I'm with Joli on this one and please take your Dr's advice. School will find someone to cover your classes and it will do your students good to have to adapt to other teaching methods, and to work more on their own if they want the good results I'm sure they (and you) deserve.
    I understand your wanting to plod on, but your long term health will defin. suffer if you ignore professional advice. On top of that you will be bad tempered, grumpy, not teaching to your best - do your students deserve that kind of teaching? No - they deserve a fit, healthy, happy teacher and at the moment you are not one such teacher - but will be if you do what you are told by your Dr!. (just my humble opinion!) [​IMG]
    Please take care.
     
  7. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    You may find that you are not covered by insurance if you return to work against doctors advice. What if you had a fall or something that made the condition worse? If you are working in a lab, are you safe if on strong medication? Do a risk assessment and I think you will be able to see that you don't really have an option but to take care of yourself.
    What a blow though - I know how pleased you were to get this job from other posts you have made.
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I would accept that no-one is indispensable and do as I'm told by medical professionals.
    Think of it as doing a favour for an out of work supply teacher.


     
  9. My thoughts too.
     
  10. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    Crikey Belle, I admire your commitment to your students but you have really damaged yourself and may risk more serious harm if you work through it. It is a job whereas a bad back will mess up the rest of your life.
     
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    The problem is that many schools <u>do not</u> have supply cover(and I think I'm correct in thinking Belle teaches at an independant school which probably doesn't) and therefore it will cause problems for colleagues as well as students!
    <u>Belle </u>Firstly you do need to take care of yourself first. 30+ years ago I broke something in my foot and was told to stay off it for 6 weeks. Living in digs up 2 flights of stairs and being unwilling to stay off sick I ignored advice & 'soldiered on'. To this day I have problems and I can be walking normally and my ankle just goes out 'from under me', without any warning and I'm in a heap on the ground. Not funny if one is crossing the road!
    How much more delicate is your spine?
    I would be inclined to stay off for a week and then see how it goes. You can send in revision lessons for a week. Does your school have an intranet? In which case you might be able to communicate with students, set lessons and even possibly mark at a distance? What about a skye option?
    The most important person is YOU. I know you've waited so long for this job and you want to do your best for your students but in the long run it may be you who suffers. Incidentally as you know I'm a long term supply and I had 2 long-term covers last year. Not wanting to let the students down I let the problem with my hand get worse before seeing the doctor and now having had the operation, it hasn't worked because I left it too long. I know have pain which I didn't before and think how stupid I've been. too late for me, but do thin k about yourself. After all you can review the situation in a week, should you feel better.
    Take care!. [​IMG]
     
  12. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    Why on earth not?
    Take medical advice. Your long term health vs a short term issue that the SMT need to deal with..... no contest.
     
  13. Seriously, Belle - this is your lower back we are talking about. It takes much of the stress and strain on an average day, and you must look after it.
    By not looking after it, you risk further damage - osteoarthritis, for example - in the future. It isn't worth it.
    My sister-in-law did this with a fall from a horse, and she required surgery and a brace for months.
    Do as you are told, this will have long-term effects if you don't.
     
  14. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Thank you everyone for your posts.
    School is 100% supportive but my classes will be left without a teacher and that does not sit well with me. Supply is not an option in this school.
    However, I have decided to stay off this week. I've arranged for work set to be emailed to me, or delivered by my (science) technician so I can mark and keep no top of things.
    I'm arranging a meeting with Head and DH for next week, to see how I can phase myself back in, say mornings only, and the school is providing a bed for me if I need to rest.
    I will not do anything silly (apart from falling off horse that is!) but want to do the best for my students. This is my dream job and I won't let them down.
     
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Belle, you say
    . No they won't. What they <u>will</u> be left with is; some work to extend their personal learning skills, no bad thing for youngsters coming up for exams and the <u>physical presence</u> of their regular teacher with her expertise to rely upon in class. You'll still be setting (and marking giving feedback?) their work. So stop beating yourself up about it.
     
  16. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I don't get.... you've either been signed off as unfit for work, or not. Surely it isn't up to you! Blimey, if I were your HT with an employee with a fractured spine, I wouldn't be letting them back on the premises without medical say-so.
     
  17. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    And how long will you keep your 'dream job' if you do more damage to your back?
    Come on, Belle. What advice would you give to someone in your present position?
    Your health is so precious and you should NEVER ignore medical advice. How would you, as a professional, feel about someone deliberately ignoring YOUR professional advice?
    The insurance angle cannot be so lightly brushed aside either.
     
  18. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    The consultant wanted to give me a certificate to cover me forv 6-8 weeks off. I refused. I shall go to my GP and see what he says. To be fair I think 6-8 weeks is far too long but the common sense fairy has appeared and I'm beginning to listen!
    I can self-certify for one week.
     
  19. Belle, get off sick.
    4 years ago I crashed a mountain bike, fractured the vertabrae at L4 and L5, broke two facet joints and prolapsed a disc in a spectacular fashion. I wound up having two operations, trust me, give yourself time to heal, you do not want to risk a couple of spinal operations because you will be off for 8 weeks then, minimum.
    You need to think very carefully about your decision, apart from anything else, if you have to drive to school, one jolt, one bump and you're screwed.
    Your employer will understand this, it's not like you are having every monday off with a 'cold' is it?
     
  20. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I actually think you are being completely irresponsible here. Are you just going to work through HCPs until you find someone who will give you the message that you want? He's an expert.
     

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