I NEED HELP AS PAINS AND STAGE MEETING CAUSING ANXIETIES

Dear All,

Please try to excuse my grammatical errors and my lengthy write up here. I joined this forum some months back and have been trying to asked for help regarding my MRI diagnosis and suggestions on what type of treatment to have or not to have, but I never got round it. Event of recent relating to the threats to my work prompt me to write you all. Please read my story below and please send me your suggestions and advice however short it might be. I appreciates you all.

I am 48 years going to 49 married with children. I worked in NHS for 10 years plus now, not as an health worker. My job involved helping patient and staff escalating aggression, securing life and properties and helping nursing staff to control agitated patient in the wards and all other areas including the A&E. I received various training including manual handling.

During my 10 years, I have suffered injuries like head butting, swollen ankles and all sorts of small pains and discomforts from patients and visitors alike but did not take time off as I am proud of my clean attendance records.

Recently, I picked up a back pain while helping nursing staff to put a patient back to bed. I felt a sharp pain at my lower back that immediately caused me to withdraw from the helping the patient. Initially, I tried to ignore it thinking it will go, but hours later, I have been feeling numbness to my right feet through my right buttock and on my way home, I noticed that I have started limping on the right foot. I managed to get home with reduced mobility thinking that a dose of paracetamol and hot bath will help but thie pains continue that I have to call for an emergency leave for the rest of my shift. Today, it is now 10 months since I have been away from work. I am on minimum wages. My wages have gone down before the half pay gone in last June. I am not particular about wages, but my health. I have been sent for MRI when the pain refused to go away. Part of the result indicated:

Clinical indication: Lumbar Spine Pain with...

There is desiccation of the lumbar discs.

L4-L5 disc reveals posterior protrusion and a generalised bulge with annular fissuring indenting the traversing L5 nerve roots minimally indenting neural foramina with facetal changes e.t.c.

My life have been changed since this pain set in. I can't sleep at night and some days I can't sleep too. Sometimes, I don't even remember when did I sleep last, though I occasional dose off, but not long enough to count as sleep. My blood pressure have gone very high 165/110 and have been on HBP medicine. I can't stand or walk for long, but find it a bit relieving lying down. I find that exercising a little caused me so much discomfort. My memory had gone as I hardly remember things. I used to have good memory but now, my brain is all over the place. I have not experienced this before.

Medication:

My doctor started with cocodamol 8/500mg and Ibuprofen 400mg three times a day and have graduated to being given oral morphine at A&E. Amithypline from 10mg now on 50mg. Cocodamol increased from 8/500 now to 30/500 three times daily, I have also been put on Gapapentine 300 mg three times daily increased now to 600mg three times daily, Tramadol and Diazapam have been added.

Side effects- I am suffering many side effect to much to write, but I think I masked the pains minimally while the effect last in my blood. The one that is most difficult for me is when it feels that my head is turning or I am falling into a deep hole even though I am lying on the bed.

I tried in January to go back to work on two occasions, but ended up in my workplace A&E and was discharged home from work after administering oral morphine. The MRI report last February, recommended that I must see a specialist. I was refers to the occupational therapist at work by my manager in March. The occupational therapist wrote to inform my manager that I am not fit for work. I was told not to go back to work anymore until I have been seen at the specialist surgeon. This was in a different hospital. The referral was made last April where I was told that I have a minimum of 6 months waiting time. At a point in July, I have to write to that hospital Patient Advisory Liaison office PALS after numerous calls chasing the appointment and pressure from work. I eventually got a date in October to look forward to. Unfortunately, I did have serious pain overnight that I have to increased one of my medication as directed. I could not be woken up in time by my family the next day that I was late for the appointment and was discharged according to the hospital policy despite the fact that I was on the phone explaining my problem and the reason for the lateness throughout my journey to the hospital as I still attended on that day. I started having panic attacks on my way home that I was driven straight to my GP surgery. I was seen and a letter was faxed to the hospital to arrange to see me. Now I got another date through the post to be 20 November, 2015.

My manager already put me on stage 1 sickness review at work in a meeting that I struggled to attend last June. He had written to me to attend stage 2 sickness review meeting this week. After stage 2, the NHS Trust that I worked for can decided to sack me. I have requested that my manager wait till after my 20th November appointment, but said that he had a meeting with our Human Resources and that they concluded that the date is too far ahead and that he will have to continue to have the meeting on phone with me at home with my Union Representative (Unite) present with them at work while the Human Resources officer in attendance. My Union Representative replied to the email that he is not available for the date and time my manager picked but he (my manager) did not reply to his message.

I will like your help and advice on this issue as I don't want to loose my job, but I cannot go to work now.

1. I will need urgent advice relating to work as described above

2. I need help to deal with my medical appointment coming up 20 November in terms of what to expect and what to discussed with the surgeon, or what questions to ask

3. What best to do in terms of the MRI report as all is pointing towards operation but some are saying too that they wish they did not had their operation in the first place?

Many thanks to you all and sorry to have taken your time.

14 Replies

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  • Long and complicated posting.

    Think the best people to advise you are your Union. Think that meeting must be arranged so Union can attend.

    Has work any thoughts about reasonable adjustments? Part time hours? Change of how you do duties?

    Sorry can't suggest more but Unite are a big Union and should be able to help you. They also should be negotiating meeting date with manager and HR. not your role whilst you off sick.

  • First and foremost your work cannot sack you , they can put you on redeployment pathway and if that doesn't suit then it's dismissal due to health grounds , if your sacked as such you will be struggling to get benefits and PIP.

    You have an imacculate sickness record until the onset of your back problems . Did you do a Datix at the time of the incident ? It's important all incidents are recorded . It's a work related injury has this been brought up at any meeting with HR ?

    Occupational Health are there to assist you and provide advice , use them accordingly that's what they are there for .

    In order to have a capability /management meeting they need to have everyone available and if your boss isn't available it has to be rescheduled and it doesn't matter what the date or month is DO NOT go to any meeting without your Union member occupational health consultant and another person to represent you like a family member or partner etc you can take anyone to your stage / capability / management meetings .

    Your Unison member should be helping you and informing you where you stand!

    Have you been keeping a diary?

    When it comes to the neuro surgeon he will ask the questions you just answer them . The surgeon may suggest surgery or they may not .

    Take one thing at a time you sound over whelmed with all that's going on . Do research on employment law .

    I'm going through similar I understand what your going through !!

  • Firstly I wish you well and hope that in time you are able to resolve your issues.

    Just a couple of thoughts:

    Does your union membership entitle you to access legal advice ?

    Would a full review of your medication, with your GP, be helpful ?

    Not the answer to all your problems, but you may be able to tick a couple of boxes.

    Good Luck.

  • Thank you and sorry for responding this late. I have read this as you posted. My mind wanted to reply, but my body did not allowed.

    Unite will support with legal help if the need arise.

    I had my medications reviewed yesterday, my GP cannot remove or downgrade any of it instead wanted to increase gabapentin from current 600mg 3times a day, if not because of the current side effect that I am experiencing. I have also stopped going to toilet more than 5 days now she did prescribed a liquid called laculose to help opened up my bowel but have not seen the benefit yet.

    I am indeed grateful to read from you.

    Many thanks.

  • No problem, once again good luck & best wishes.

  • Thank you very much for all these very usefull information and previous help.

    They agreed to come to my house. They will be coming tomorrow morning to have the stage meeting with me. My union reps promised to be here too. I am now afraid that I might have been giving the impression that I am too ill and they might concluded that I can no longer do my job and decided to terminate my contract. I might not able to control my pain while they are with me too.

    Can they do as I described?

    Will inability to control my pain give the impression described

    I wanted to be in control as much as I could by letting them into my bedroom where I can lay down or sat as situation demand during the duration of the meeting. Is this a wise decision?

    I need urgent reply if possible.

    Many thanks and God bless

  • Hi, i also worked for the NHS on the wards and have fractured vertabra L5 and S1. Can't sit, stand or walk for long. Like you i was frantic about loosing my job and was so stressed out that i couldnt stop crying and went into a deep depression. It was one year and one month when i finally got my diagnosis. Got offered office based job but couldnt do it due to medication brain fog and not being able to sit for long periods. I lost my job but am claiming ill health pension from NHS. Its not much but better than nothing. I havent worked since and have reduced my meds that didnt work for the pain and no longer feel stressed and deppressed and try to manage my pain through listening to my body eg: if i need to stand etc then do it. Stress makes pain worse and pain meds only take the edge off. Nothing will make you pain free. You are on a lot of meds and getting all the side effects that come with them. Reduce them slowly if you can so that you get your brain back.. Chronic pain is awful and can be hard to manage. Only you can decide to go for an operation or not. You could try talking to occupational health and your union regarding your job but in my case i had no choice but to leave as they couldn't offer me a job that i was able to do. Good luck and try not to stress too much. X

  • Thank you and sorry for responding this late. I have read this as you posted. My mind wanted to reply, but my body did not allowed.

    I am happy and comforted with this reply knowing that you work in NHS too and in similar situation. What do you think will happen after I am put on stage 2? What to expect and what I can do. I know you don't work in HR but just from your opinion as you been through the whole process. The thought of all these are getting to me and I really wanted to plan ahead.

    I am indeed grateful to read from you.

    Many thanks.

  • Hi Axhol, i know this is a worrying time for you but there is no harm in asking HR if they could give you more time to sort out your health problems or could they find something for you that you can manage within the NHS that you could do. Unfortunately the rules have changed within the NHS regarding sick pay. One year off sick and you either loose your job or apply for another job within the NHS. Occi health can advise you which way to go. You will have several meetings with HR and Occi health as time goes on. If your struggling financialy your union may be able to help with a top up on your wages when you go down to half pay. You can get a 16 week top up from the government but don't worry as HR will talk you through what you can and can't claim. In my case i have a perminent injury and am not allowed to work anywhere near patients incase i get knocked over because of the risk of further damage. I claim ill health pension only which is a pitifull amount per month. Thankfully i have a husband that can afford to keep me. Just remember that the more you stress the worse the pain is so just go with the flow and think about what you can do rather than what you can't. Feel free to look at jobs yourself rather than wait for occi health. If we worked for the fire service or police force they are able to jump hospital waiting lists to get them back to work quicker. The NHS gives you nothing. Keep in touch to let me know how you get on and good luck.

  • Many thanks. All very useful points.

    For my stage 2 meeting my boss and HR offered me a telephone conference for tomorrow but my union reps told me that he can't offer repsAction if the meeting is via phone to me. He is also not able to do this Friday to which the HR reps said that he can't reschedule. I am at crossroad.

    At the moment, I can't stand or seat for long. Walking is also very difficult. I only have less pain while in a laid down position. I have today send a message to my boss with copy sent to my reps and the HR advisor that.i wanted a home visit instead of telephone conference. This is so that I can be physically present and they can see my situation themselves.

    I don't know if they will opt for a home visit giving the short notice, but I am hopeful they will and also postponed the meeting to say next week to accommodate everyone including my reps who is not available this week.

    I do hope they will not be fed up with all this and make a rash decision including having the phone meeting without my reps.

    Please what do you think I should do.

    Many thanks for your time and efforts given freely to respond to me with your prevail health circumstances.

    I wish you and your family well.

    God Bless.

  • Ideally you need your manager, union member and HR at the meeting. They will talk you through everything you need to know. Take a note pad and pen to take notes and write down questions. If they can't come to you, you will have to go to them. If the journey is too hard for you then try and plan it so that you can stop and have a walk if you need too. Ask friends to help you out if they can. I stood up the whole time when i had mine so don't worry if you can't sit for long as they do understand. They are there to help you so try not to stress too much. It doesn't matter if this meeting is a little late as long as the meeting takes place. I live in the oxford area. How about you?

  • Thanks very much for all these very useful information. I live in London.

    They agreed to come to my house. They will be coming tomorrow morning to have the stage meeting with me. My union reps promised to be here too. I am now afraid that I am giving the impression that I am too ill and they might concluded that I can no longer do my job and decided to terminate my contract. I might not able to control my pain while they are with me too.

    Can they do as I described?

    Will inability to control my pain give the impression described

    I wanted to be in control as much as I could by letting them into my bedroom where I can lay down or sat as situation demand during the duration of the meeting. Is this a wise decision?

    I need urgent reply if possible.

    Many thanks and God bless

  • As you got injured at work, you can put it down as an iod injury on duty. Go to your .hr¡admin department and explain to them that the injury occurred during the lifting of a patient, is you have witnesses that can confirm this it will be helpful. When that is confirmed the work has to pay while you are not working. Show them al your admin Dr,rs documentation. The work must open a case for iod and you must claim before 2 Jr,s as ones the case closes it will not open again. Hope this helps. I live in south Africa so I hope the rules for injury on duty applies for a.l purposes.

  • Many thanks for your input. I have been told by my union representative to call the union solicitor for guidance. I have not got to that yet as all my days is preoccupied with how to get well over the pains that I kept putting it forward. I don't know if the rules in UK is similar to the rule in SA but one thing I am sure of is that there is a time limit. It is going to be a year next month. I completed Datrix report into the incident. I will phone the union solicitor to look into it as soon as I can.

    Any further help and information will be welcome.

    Many thanks.

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