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can you help me to explain?

Posted by tammie on 6/30/01 at 09:47 (051937)

I was wondering to anyone here who would know , how do you go about explaining this to people like people that you have to , like I have to go talk with my bosses mon. And you know I have been in and out there and they see that i walk better and can not see a PROBLEM or pain, so it might be hard for them to understand ,some people I do not care anymore what they think about me but , I admire and respect my employers at this time. They just keep refering to the spur removed, I try to tell about the pf being done and I get confused and tounge tied to as to is it a tendon ligament or what lol I remember this disgussion before but wondered if it ever got decided what it was lol! I did a search on it and there was much question to the answer. I want to sound knowledgable when I tell them and try to explain but like you know me I get flustered and nervous and then cannot think let alone speak, I was thinking of printing some of this to give them maybe scotts heel book but then they might come here and I would not want to be known as then it would be hard for me to be open and honest as it is a bit now as I know some who come here . Well thanks to anyone if you have suggestions! I have been having trouble with a couple co workers who give me grief over this and seem to have said they cared but now have labeled me as a lazy not want to work summer slacker, I assure you all that that is far from my case, But it does not matter anyways, I just want to be able to tell my bosses the right way! Thanks again!

Re: can you help me to explain?

BrianG on 6/30/01 at 10:27 (051939)

Hi Tammy,

I wouldn't get to technical with the bosses or co-workers. They don't want to hear it anyways. Unless someone is really interested, I just tell them I have a heel injury, in my case it's 7 years. I tell them that over 95% of the people who get PF are cured within a short amount of time, unfortunatly I'm in that 5% that are not cured with conventional techniques. You could also mention that everyone heals at different time levels, and unfortunatly you'r taking longer than you would like. Tell them you are slowly getting better and can't wait to get back to work. You just don't want to have a relapse.

Thats it, nice and simple. Whatever you do, don't quit! Be honest with your doc, if your not ready to go back to work, make sure he knows it. At this point it is his (doc) word that is keeping you out of work. Try not to worry about what these work folks say, or think. Healing is your main priority, right.

Forget the technical stuff!
BCG

Re: can you help me to explain?

Paula G. on 6/30/01 at 13:51 (051946)

I guess the best way is talk to your doctor and possibly get a doctor's note on what you can and cannot do. Maybe it sounds silly, but that was what I did. Then my boss kept saying 'when are you going to get those tootsies fixed?' Ya, okay, wave the magic wand of course!
Whatever my limitations were my employer had to abide by them. I was a cashier and could not work on my feet for more than 4 hours standing. They could not even go 4.01.. I could sit and use a stool, but never felt comfortable because I would end up standing.

Re: can you help me to explain?

wendyn on 6/30/01 at 14:22 (051947)

Seriously Tammie - Brian is right...the less said the better. Most (not all) people really aren't all that interested in exactly what is wrong or what you've had done. They ask because they're curious - but most aren't really up to the details anyway.

For the masses, you may want to stick to a very standard list of explanations. You could say 'I've had foot surgery. Feet are the slowest healing part of the body. This is taking a lot longer to heal than I had hoped.'

For a more detailed explanation, you may want to say 'I've had a plantar fascia release (I hope that's what you had I don't remember!).' If someone pushes you further for details you could explain that it's a long story. Really....you don't have to bear the burden of helping them to understand. You could offer to spell it for them and let them look it up (with a smile of course).

For a supervisor or someone who really needs to know - get the doctors note. Have the doctor write an explanation of the procuedure and that you need time to heal (by law I don't know that this is even required...I believe they only have a right to be told that you're off for medical reasons but I'm assuming that you're telling them because you want them to understand). You could explain to the boss that you have this note of explanation since you're frustrated and it's hard for you to talk about. I hope this helps Tammie - please let us know how it goes.

(You may also want to make the comment that the doctor is worried that if your foot doesn't have time to heal properly - you could have to go through this whole surgery again. The spur is caused by tension on the fascia - if you get too much tension again, I suppose theoretically you could have another spur. I don't know if that's oficially correct but it may work as an explanation as to why you can't overdo it.)

Re: Ok But

Tammie on 6/30/01 at 21:58 (051959)

Ok this sounds good and I printed this out to study lol lol, I am a worrier I think or at least I have become one thru this! My problem is tho, I will need to speak with my D. O. N. which is a rn nurse and she always has many questions for me I get a bit nervous as she acts like she doesnt know what i am speaking of, get this in beging before surgery I told her what they were planning to ask her advice, she did not even know what pf was or where it was, she knew a bit about spurs but she is from the old school about you have to remove spurs as they will continue to give pain and they are the total cause of pain hehehe You should have heard me trying to explain that my dr. said the spurs are not the cause generally of the pain She is not that elderly she is maybe in late 50s but She is a hard one as she never heard of tarsal tunnel or anthing like that either! As I had wrote down words the dr. had told me in the very start to try and get advice before I found this site, she was not knowledgable at all,she always asks me is it a tendon or a ligament or what is this pf thing you say they did surgery on, I dont know if she is for real or if she is just checking to see if I am for real lol! MY boss is a very nice man with a dry sense of humor he is about my age , and he keeps refering to my surgery as the achillis lol and I quit trying to explain to him. The dr. will have to fill out a paper for my disability ins. and my employer will see that it always includes the reason to being off , he always writes like some calca? spur removal and pf release recovery and possible nerve something or nother I will have to write it down the next time I see a paper.I had another co worker call me tonight a lovely woman who assured me to do what is best for me and to not take any chance with interupting the healing process, she said dont come back till I am healed or once I am back they will abuse me and wont give a darn how I heal, to not think that they will help me once I come back . If they urge me to return with no release with promisis of no standing or minimal to be ware as will not be covered if more damage is done the disability will not ahve to pay and my ins can refuse if return without dr. release. I suppose that sounds true I am not really sure on it, but I am not going to return without my dr. saying I am ready, I wont take that risk I have gone thru much to much! She was supportive ! Said to hang in there and she was going to stop for a visit . The dr. said if my work needs any information they could call his office they will provide them with what they need! He has no problem with it hmm but he has a office manager who does she gets nasty! But will take advice and keep it simple as i can ! Does anyone know if my empoyer can refuse me to continue my disability leave? My insurance covers up to 26 weeks of short term disability, which I have paid myself for 4 years never a claim before. I wondered if my empoyer could refuse my leave?
Brian temp help in my field is VERY hard to find as we have to be state tested and certified and there is a shortage, of this! Really hard to find help and big turnover girls make the rounds to all the nursing homes and come back sometimes, in our area very much a shortage of tested aides and even nurses, see paper ads for the whole area every week! It is a high burn out rate,and allot of hard work on backs and feet and nerves, shoulders etc.
I said if they let me go I could have a job anywhere I wanted as all hiring and I do have a good trac record. Well thanks to all and I will listen to you advice, Mon will be difficult for me as i must face the big guys. Take care!

Re: Ok But

Julie on 7/01/01 at 03:41 (051968)

Tammie regarding explanations, I agree with the others that it's best to keep what you say as simple as possible. Your problem with the DON is that she will probably stick to her out-dated views whatever you say.

But you could try telling her that the plantar fascia encapsulates the muscles that connect the heel and the ball of the foot, and that it can tear at the point where it inserts at the heel bone, causing pain. I've used this simple explanation even with people who speak very little English, and by using my foot as an illustration, pointing to the ball and the heel, and emphasizing and miming the word 'tear', I get the idea across.

Then you can say that the fascia tears because of tension on it, and that your surgery has been done to release the tension. If she persists in declaring that it's the spur that causes the pain, say that the spur is not the cause of the injury to the fascia, but its effect: the body lays down deposits of bone in an attempt to heal the injury.

I'm glad you had a call from a supportive co-worker, and it sounds as though she gave you good advice. Yes: hang in there. At the moment, if I recall correctly, you're just 10 or 11 weeks post-surgery, so you have a long way to go before you hit 26, and I'll bet you'll be healed and back to work before then.

Re: Ok But

Beverly on 7/01/01 at 12:19 (051994)

Tammi,

I agree with the others about less said the better. For many months, I tried to explain to my friends and family why I couldn't do this or that, giving detailed explainations. One helpful (although a little annoying family member) told me that everyone was 'sick and tired of hearing the details about my feet.' You see, I thought if I explained it well enough, they would understand why I can't do something such as stand in a long line at the movies... why I was asking someone twice my age to stand in the line. (Granted, I realize this is different from talking to employers.)
None of them minded standing in the line for me, but they didn't want a health report. I had to learn this the hard way and sometimes I'm still learning.

I've reached the point that when I have to explain that I have foot and ankle problems in regards to not being able to do something, I say, 'I have a nasty foot and ankle sports injury that has not healed properly. So, thank you so much for inviting me but I don't think I can join you for the State Fair. Could we take a raincheck and do dinner?'

Occassionally, someone is sincerely interested in what caused it and how am I treating it. These people almost always have some other kind of chronic pain problem.

The one thing I never do is let someone's uneducated or biased opinion dictate how I take care of myself. If I do something that is too much for me, I'm the one who pays for it. I lost some friends along the way, but they probably were not really friends to begin with.

I realize all this is very different from dealing with co-workers and employers but I couldn't help but want to share this.

Take care of yourself,
Beverly

Re: Ok But

Andrea R. on 7/02/01 at 07:24 (052036)

Tammie,

I had trouble getting some understanding when I returned to work. The nurse's solution for the long walk to my office was that she would leave a wheelchair near the door for me. I had just started weight bearing with my crutches. She didn't seem to understand that opening doors was hard enough with crutches but when the doors are metal and have those auto closing arms on them it's worse. She though the wheelchair was a cure-all. She kept telling me about another employee who is wheelchair bound and can get around without help. I reminded her that he probably had months of specialized training. She also told me that since the cafeteria is on the second floor and access to the elevator is hindered by construction, I would just have to bring my own lunch.

My next problem was my boss who wanted to know what no prolonged walking or standing meant. He's an engineer.

I finally called my doctor's office and explained what was going on to one of the medical secretaries. I got a note from the doctor that I was not allowed to walk more than 150 feet. He also cut me back to half days for two weeks and then 3/4 days for two weeks.

Regarding your disability leave, your job should be protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (Federal Law). Ask your employer for a copy of it's Family and Medical Leave Policy.

Best of luck,

Andrea

Re: Thanks to all

Tammie on 7/02/01 at 09:19 (052054)

Hello to all,
Ok just a note to let all that had help and suggestions to me a big thank you! I try very hard not to tell people to much also as for one I do not want for them to think I am a baby or a whiner, when asked I say well I believe it was wendyn who along time ago said ( I have had good and bad days)And try to leave it there or with a pause say well it has felt better or today is a good day, trying to keep it to a minimum. Sometimes it is hard tho as some think it is a invasive answer which makes me seem like a faker lol, if only they had this problem oh how the replys would change!!!! I dont care how most percieve me,as I do have a reputation for (not being a big baby) but I do care how my empoyers see me as I do love my job and hope to return top notch and able to do my job for many more years! The most part they have been wonderful to me but unfortuantly we have a few who like to stir the pot with nastiness, and when you are not there to remind them you are worthy, and good at what you do , and the longer you are away from there the more they tend to forget and see you as a burden not a asset, I am sure you understand what I am saying! This is not MY choice to be here at home!! I know that you people here proably here see me differently as i know I whine allot more here but it is a safe area and people know exactly what and how I feel as many are going thru it also and if not they shape me up and put me back on right road! Give a bit to feel sorry for self and then you give me a wake up call and I am back to being good heheheh(for a bit anyways) Mary had a good way of putting it , she told me you feel positive about things and feel as you are doing good then the little (devil ) pops in with the worries and doubts and well you all know the rest!Well All I again thank you all for the support I know what i must do but it does not make it any easier!Have a great day and will maybe write later!

Re: can you help me to explain?

BrianG on 6/30/01 at 10:27 (051939)

Hi Tammy,

I wouldn't get to technical with the bosses or co-workers. They don't want to hear it anyways. Unless someone is really interested, I just tell them I have a heel injury, in my case it's 7 years. I tell them that over 95% of the people who get PF are cured within a short amount of time, unfortunatly I'm in that 5% that are not cured with conventional techniques. You could also mention that everyone heals at different time levels, and unfortunatly you'r taking longer than you would like. Tell them you are slowly getting better and can't wait to get back to work. You just don't want to have a relapse.

Thats it, nice and simple. Whatever you do, don't quit! Be honest with your doc, if your not ready to go back to work, make sure he knows it. At this point it is his (doc) word that is keeping you out of work. Try not to worry about what these work folks say, or think. Healing is your main priority, right.

Forget the technical stuff!
BCG

Re: can you help me to explain?

Paula G. on 6/30/01 at 13:51 (051946)

I guess the best way is talk to your doctor and possibly get a doctor's note on what you can and cannot do. Maybe it sounds silly, but that was what I did. Then my boss kept saying 'when are you going to get those tootsies fixed?' Ya, okay, wave the magic wand of course!
Whatever my limitations were my employer had to abide by them. I was a cashier and could not work on my feet for more than 4 hours standing. They could not even go 4.01.. I could sit and use a stool, but never felt comfortable because I would end up standing.

Re: can you help me to explain?

wendyn on 6/30/01 at 14:22 (051947)

Seriously Tammie - Brian is right...the less said the better. Most (not all) people really aren't all that interested in exactly what is wrong or what you've had done. They ask because they're curious - but most aren't really up to the details anyway.

For the masses, you may want to stick to a very standard list of explanations. You could say 'I've had foot surgery. Feet are the slowest healing part of the body. This is taking a lot longer to heal than I had hoped.'

For a more detailed explanation, you may want to say 'I've had a plantar fascia release (I hope that's what you had I don't remember!).' If someone pushes you further for details you could explain that it's a long story. Really....you don't have to bear the burden of helping them to understand. You could offer to spell it for them and let them look it up (with a smile of course).

For a supervisor or someone who really needs to know - get the doctors note. Have the doctor write an explanation of the procuedure and that you need time to heal (by law I don't know that this is even required...I believe they only have a right to be told that you're off for medical reasons but I'm assuming that you're telling them because you want them to understand). You could explain to the boss that you have this note of explanation since you're frustrated and it's hard for you to talk about. I hope this helps Tammie - please let us know how it goes.

(You may also want to make the comment that the doctor is worried that if your foot doesn't have time to heal properly - you could have to go through this whole surgery again. The spur is caused by tension on the fascia - if you get too much tension again, I suppose theoretically you could have another spur. I don't know if that's oficially correct but it may work as an explanation as to why you can't overdo it.)

Re: Ok But

Tammie on 6/30/01 at 21:58 (051959)

Ok this sounds good and I printed this out to study lol lol, I am a worrier I think or at least I have become one thru this! My problem is tho, I will need to speak with my D. O. N. which is a rn nurse and she always has many questions for me I get a bit nervous as she acts like she doesnt know what i am speaking of, get this in beging before surgery I told her what they were planning to ask her advice, she did not even know what pf was or where it was, she knew a bit about spurs but she is from the old school about you have to remove spurs as they will continue to give pain and they are the total cause of pain hehehe You should have heard me trying to explain that my dr. said the spurs are not the cause generally of the pain She is not that elderly she is maybe in late 50s but She is a hard one as she never heard of tarsal tunnel or anthing like that either! As I had wrote down words the dr. had told me in the very start to try and get advice before I found this site, she was not knowledgable at all,she always asks me is it a tendon or a ligament or what is this pf thing you say they did surgery on, I dont know if she is for real or if she is just checking to see if I am for real lol! MY boss is a very nice man with a dry sense of humor he is about my age , and he keeps refering to my surgery as the achillis lol and I quit trying to explain to him. The dr. will have to fill out a paper for my disability ins. and my employer will see that it always includes the reason to being off , he always writes like some calca? spur removal and pf release recovery and possible nerve something or nother I will have to write it down the next time I see a paper.I had another co worker call me tonight a lovely woman who assured me to do what is best for me and to not take any chance with interupting the healing process, she said dont come back till I am healed or once I am back they will abuse me and wont give a darn how I heal, to not think that they will help me once I come back . If they urge me to return with no release with promisis of no standing or minimal to be ware as will not be covered if more damage is done the disability will not ahve to pay and my ins can refuse if return without dr. release. I suppose that sounds true I am not really sure on it, but I am not going to return without my dr. saying I am ready, I wont take that risk I have gone thru much to much! She was supportive ! Said to hang in there and she was going to stop for a visit . The dr. said if my work needs any information they could call his office they will provide them with what they need! He has no problem with it hmm but he has a office manager who does she gets nasty! But will take advice and keep it simple as i can ! Does anyone know if my empoyer can refuse me to continue my disability leave? My insurance covers up to 26 weeks of short term disability, which I have paid myself for 4 years never a claim before. I wondered if my empoyer could refuse my leave?
Brian temp help in my field is VERY hard to find as we have to be state tested and certified and there is a shortage, of this! Really hard to find help and big turnover girls make the rounds to all the nursing homes and come back sometimes, in our area very much a shortage of tested aides and even nurses, see paper ads for the whole area every week! It is a high burn out rate,and allot of hard work on backs and feet and nerves, shoulders etc.
I said if they let me go I could have a job anywhere I wanted as all hiring and I do have a good trac record. Well thanks to all and I will listen to you advice, Mon will be difficult for me as i must face the big guys. Take care!

Re: Ok But

Julie on 7/01/01 at 03:41 (051968)

Tammie regarding explanations, I agree with the others that it's best to keep what you say as simple as possible. Your problem with the DON is that she will probably stick to her out-dated views whatever you say.

But you could try telling her that the plantar fascia encapsulates the muscles that connect the heel and the ball of the foot, and that it can tear at the point where it inserts at the heel bone, causing pain. I've used this simple explanation even with people who speak very little English, and by using my foot as an illustration, pointing to the ball and the heel, and emphasizing and miming the word 'tear', I get the idea across.

Then you can say that the fascia tears because of tension on it, and that your surgery has been done to release the tension. If she persists in declaring that it's the spur that causes the pain, say that the spur is not the cause of the injury to the fascia, but its effect: the body lays down deposits of bone in an attempt to heal the injury.

I'm glad you had a call from a supportive co-worker, and it sounds as though she gave you good advice. Yes: hang in there. At the moment, if I recall correctly, you're just 10 or 11 weeks post-surgery, so you have a long way to go before you hit 26, and I'll bet you'll be healed and back to work before then.

Re: Ok But

Beverly on 7/01/01 at 12:19 (051994)

Tammi,

I agree with the others about less said the better. For many months, I tried to explain to my friends and family why I couldn't do this or that, giving detailed explainations. One helpful (although a little annoying family member) told me that everyone was 'sick and tired of hearing the details about my feet.' You see, I thought if I explained it well enough, they would understand why I can't do something such as stand in a long line at the movies... why I was asking someone twice my age to stand in the line. (Granted, I realize this is different from talking to employers.)
None of them minded standing in the line for me, but they didn't want a health report. I had to learn this the hard way and sometimes I'm still learning.

I've reached the point that when I have to explain that I have foot and ankle problems in regards to not being able to do something, I say, 'I have a nasty foot and ankle sports injury that has not healed properly. So, thank you so much for inviting me but I don't think I can join you for the State Fair. Could we take a raincheck and do dinner?'

Occassionally, someone is sincerely interested in what caused it and how am I treating it. These people almost always have some other kind of chronic pain problem.

The one thing I never do is let someone's uneducated or biased opinion dictate how I take care of myself. If I do something that is too much for me, I'm the one who pays for it. I lost some friends along the way, but they probably were not really friends to begin with.

I realize all this is very different from dealing with co-workers and employers but I couldn't help but want to share this.

Take care of yourself,
Beverly

Re: Ok But

Andrea R. on 7/02/01 at 07:24 (052036)

Tammie,

I had trouble getting some understanding when I returned to work. The nurse's solution for the long walk to my office was that she would leave a wheelchair near the door for me. I had just started weight bearing with my crutches. She didn't seem to understand that opening doors was hard enough with crutches but when the doors are metal and have those auto closing arms on them it's worse. She though the wheelchair was a cure-all. She kept telling me about another employee who is wheelchair bound and can get around without help. I reminded her that he probably had months of specialized training. She also told me that since the cafeteria is on the second floor and access to the elevator is hindered by construction, I would just have to bring my own lunch.

My next problem was my boss who wanted to know what no prolonged walking or standing meant. He's an engineer.

I finally called my doctor's office and explained what was going on to one of the medical secretaries. I got a note from the doctor that I was not allowed to walk more than 150 feet. He also cut me back to half days for two weeks and then 3/4 days for two weeks.

Regarding your disability leave, your job should be protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (Federal Law). Ask your employer for a copy of it's Family and Medical Leave Policy.

Best of luck,

Andrea

Re: Thanks to all

Tammie on 7/02/01 at 09:19 (052054)

Hello to all,
Ok just a note to let all that had help and suggestions to me a big thank you! I try very hard not to tell people to much also as for one I do not want for them to think I am a baby or a whiner, when asked I say well I believe it was wendyn who along time ago said ( I have had good and bad days)And try to leave it there or with a pause say well it has felt better or today is a good day, trying to keep it to a minimum. Sometimes it is hard tho as some think it is a invasive answer which makes me seem like a faker lol, if only they had this problem oh how the replys would change!!!! I dont care how most percieve me,as I do have a reputation for (not being a big baby) but I do care how my empoyers see me as I do love my job and hope to return top notch and able to do my job for many more years! The most part they have been wonderful to me but unfortuantly we have a few who like to stir the pot with nastiness, and when you are not there to remind them you are worthy, and good at what you do , and the longer you are away from there the more they tend to forget and see you as a burden not a asset, I am sure you understand what I am saying! This is not MY choice to be here at home!! I know that you people here proably here see me differently as i know I whine allot more here but it is a safe area and people know exactly what and how I feel as many are going thru it also and if not they shape me up and put me back on right road! Give a bit to feel sorry for self and then you give me a wake up call and I am back to being good heheheh(for a bit anyways) Mary had a good way of putting it , she told me you feel positive about things and feel as you are doing good then the little (devil ) pops in with the worries and doubts and well you all know the rest!Well All I again thank you all for the support I know what i must do but it does not make it any easier!Have a great day and will maybe write later!