There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.

This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

See the Veritas Health sites:,,, for medical articles and videos.
New members: Please read our Code of Conduct before submitting your first post.
Learn how to use the Veritas Health Forum: Take the System Tutorial

Questions on upcoming surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello All, this is my first post. I have a question. I'm scheduled for L-5/S-1 disc fusion on Sept 5th. History: I'm a career firefighter, who fell backwards/headfirst down a flight of stairs while fighting a fire back in January. After undergoing physical therapy, steroid injections, RF treatment and a discography, my neurosurgeon is doing the disc fusion. My question is this: He feels confident that I will be able to return to work in December. This surgeon has a wonderful reputation in this area of the state, and I trust that he knows what he's talking about. And unfortunately, my workers comp company sent me to their doctor last month. He said that I'm able to return to work now. So, workmens comp cut me off. I'm currently using my sick/vacation days to cover my time off. And, I'll be out of this time towards the end of November. My brother firefighters are signing up to work to cover the remaining days that I may require off. Worst case scenario is having them cover me for the month of December, and using more vacation days I'll have accrued to get me through January. But I'm still hoping my doctor is correct in stating that I'll be back after 3 months. Opinions? Comments? I'm starting to get a little nervous about the whole thing, but I can't go on in pain, and I certainly can't go back to firefighting without the surgery.


  • Everybody heals different, I was out from Mar - July (for the fusion surgery) and really felt I went back to work to early. My job is physical, bending, twisting and lifting but not nearly that of a firefighter. Your health must come first. Take into account the Braces worn and Physical Therapy needed after surgery to get your core strength back.

    On another note can you file FMLA for job protection and does your health insurance have a short term disability case worker? Your doctor should have a person in his office to help with paperwork.

    Keep asking questions, a lot of people in this community will probably have more information. What state are you from?

  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. we have another fireman on board as well. please check out the "Back and Neck" surgery section for some input. also read " Good News" at the end of the site. you can read of successful surgeries. there should be people popping in and out and i am sure they will have something to say to you. good luck and i hope you are pain free soon. Jenny :)
  • advertisement
  • you may want to consider an attorney. every w/c case that I have heard of has always required an attorney. it is their docs word against yours as to whether or not you can work or need the surgery. w/c should be paying for the surgery and paying you. you need to look out for yourself and get the w/c issue straightened out. Especially because you really can not be certain of when you will be able to go back to work. i strongly recommend seeking the advice of an attorney to look out for not only your present welfare but also your future welfare. good luck and please keep us posted.
  • Hi. Thanks for your input. I do have an attorney. I've been off work for 6 months now, and have been receiving my workers compensation payments. The city's workers comp. company stopped my temporary total disability as of last Saturday. The sooner I have the surgery, the faster I get back to work. And the only way to do this now is to begin to use my sick time/vacation time and have the surgery. I should have had the surgery at the beginning of July, but jumping through the hoops for the city has now got me having it in September. FMLA is available to me, but I can't afford to go that route, due to the fact that it lasts only 12 weeks, and I wouldn't be getting a paycheck during that time. So, like I've said - I'm really counting on my neurosurgeon's prediction that I can be back at work around 3 months down the road. I'm 49 years old, in good physical shape (except for the back, of course). As for where I'm from - Bloomington Illinois.

    So, as you can see, I'm getting a bit nervous about the 3 month time frame. I'll have 18 years on the fire department in November. I have 2 more years to go to retirement. I guess I just want to know if it IS possible to return to duty in December. Thanks again for the comments.
  • From L4-S1 PLIF and I am feeling pretty darn good. I have no brace and my requirements are not to lift more that 10#.

    I am sure the pain meds are doing a lot, but I can tell you I feel about 90% better than I did before the surgery.

    I wished I would have done this months ago. My only complaint is that I get very tired very quickly. I put a movie into the machine and laydown to watch it and usually get 10-20 minutes of it before I am out.

    Good Luck,

  • advertisement
  • possible you would be able to return to work with restrictions. I would think a job like yours is physically demanding. And remember, just because you start to feel better doesn't nescessarily mean you are, when healing. Follow docs orders.
Sign In or Join Us to comment.