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When to Call it Quits (At Work)

I'm struggling right now working.  Luckily I'm working only part time and plan to retire at the end of 2020 but I don't know if I can hold out that long.  I sit at a desk using dual screen monitors.  My desk includes a stand up work station.  I can't find any position comfortable.  By the time I get home I'm worn out both mentally and physically.  I'm still in recovery mode from my c2-c6 fusion and keep being told it can take up to a year to see significant improvement.  The numbness and tingling in my hands is intermittent but the pain in my neck is still awful.  My husband thinks I should look into disability.  I don't know if its pride or vanity but there are so many others who are worse off than me and they're not on disability.  I don't even think I would qualify.  I don't like admitting to defeat but that is how I'm seeing myself--defeated.




  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,718


    I remember when you had surgery and I hate to hear you are still in pain. You are definitely not defeated, look at what you've been through. You are close to retirement and you're tired. I can so relate to that.
    But I agree with your husband. Disability is not a free hand out. You have paid into for a lot of years. Besides, you will probably be retired before you get on disability. I was in the same mind frame when I applied but I did apply and got it. When I turned 65 it rolled over to retirement and paid out more.

    You are not defeated, just at a point of not knowing what to do. We are here if you need us.

  • FionaFaye,
    I went to work doing physical labor for eight years with my myelopathy before I stopped working. I did not have a diagnosis, and knew that if I went on the other side the fence that I would have to fight the state, my employer and the insurance company. With the Americans With Disabilities Act I knew that as long as I showed up every day and put forth effort, they could not get rid of me. The reason that I am telling you all this is that you have a identifiable source of intervention, a diagnosis, a medical history. It cost nothing to apply for Social Security Disability. If you are awarded S.S.D. you will receive your full Social Security, as if you were at full retirement age. Then, when you get to full retirement age you will continue to get that amount. We have a social safety net in this country, we all pay into it, it is for sufferers like you. It is admirable that you think like you do, that there are those worse. off than you. When I am down in the depths of depression, swimming in misery, trying to stay here, I always say to myself "you can always find someone worse off than you". It always works, always. Let  Social Security make the decision for you, fill out the application on line, it is not that difficult to do. Be kind to yourself. 

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  • Thank you Joe43.  I truly appreciate your kind words and encouragement.


  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 271


    Computer work can be one of the hardest activities when it comes to dealing with your spine.  I started working for IBM in 1974, and by the year 2000, I had 4 lumbar and 2 cervical surgeries. 

    Starting in 2000, I was working 1 day a week at home.  I had a 70 minute commute each way and from 8-10 hours of computer work a day.  Each year that went by, I was increasing the time working at home.  By 2005, I was working 5 days a week at home.
    During that period, I had about 4 different times on short time disability.  

    Finally in 2009, I had to make a decision.  Since computer work, even working from home was impacting my spine, costing more money on medications, doctor appointments, treatments, etc,  I decided to retire.  I was already of retirement age (59) plus I had the years of service required (30+)

    I had also toyed with the idea about full time disability.  But for whatever reasons, pride may have been one, I wanted to continue in the work force, just not at the same capacity.

    I have also stated, that there really isnt any perfect workstation environment that is going to be easier on your spine.   The best measure was to always take time breaks to get away from the computer, stretch, walk about, etc before returning to your desk.

  • Please give an update to your status.  I'm 52 and facing a C2-C7 fusion that will no doubt end my career and I am debating even doing the surgery based on all the issues I see that it can cause.  I also wonder about trying to get state or federal disability.  Please tell us more about your situation.  Thanks, RJ

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  • I'm sorry I am just responding to this thread now.  First-- if I didn't have to have this surgery I wouldn't but the way it was presented to me--one false move and I could be paralyzed.  I'm still in pain, still have the numbness but I no longer have symptoms of Lhermitt's ( shock/jolts from head to toe).  I can't say my balance is better, either.  The only thing positive I guess is I'm out of danger.  That being said--everyone heals differently and I'm still only 7 months from surgery.  They say it takes up to a year.  We'll see.  I'm set to retire at the end of 2020.  I'm going to try to stick it out and until then I need to be more mindful of my limits and be better to myself.  I wish you good luck!  If you have any impingement on your cord it really should be fixed!!  

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,718


    We all seem to have a problem of being "better to our selves". I will always tell myself one more minute or when I finish this I will stop. I have to keep my mindful thinking in check. I'm the only one that pays for it if I don't.

    Keep telling yourself I can do this until next year. It will be so worth it.
    Good luck!!

  • My advice to you is to apply for SSDI now as if and when it is awarded your 1st check is backdated to the original application date. So even if your denied and be prepared for that as it is almost a given, when you are awarded the benefit after your 2nd or 3rd application you will receive a pretty nice benefit check (mine was over 25k). Also, hire a lawyer who specializes in SSDI benefits. It will cost you nothing up front, they will cut thru all the BS for you and when you receive your award they get paid by SS. The amount is limited by law regardless of how long you retain them. I believe mine was paid approx. $3k by SS. It was worth every penny trust me, this is an absolute must if you want any type of disability payment. It will save you a HUGE amount of stress!!!!

  • I don't have any personal experience to share.  But sometimes, you have to listen to your body and change what you are doing in the here and now.  It doesn't hurt to go ahead with the application.  SSDI benefits are designed to help people bridge the gap when they have a disability.

  • I agree with Joe. SSDI is for people like us. You have paid into it your whole working life. It is not Welfare, it is YOUR benefit, your money.

    That having been said, I will say that life doesn't end with surgery, sometimes it is an unexpected new beginning. I was let go from an office job in 2013. I was once a top performer in sales, and had won many contests, I trained new hires and earned a nice income. Gradually, over many years, my condition deteriorated. I denied it, then tried to hide it, in the end in desperation. The short of it is that I eventually got a proper diagnosis and then needed a discectomy, 2 actually. The recovery was slow. It took almost a year and a half. Three months into recovery I started looking for a small business that I may be suited for once recovered enough. I found the exercise in studying and planning did a lot to propel me forward and gave me a purpose to take on each new day. After 9 months I was conducting loan signings at banks and real estate offices.

    After about 2 years The pain returned; the vertebrae above and below were deteriorating. Again, I found it difficult to work. But this time I recognized it. And I planned for the inevitability of more discectomys. Through my new contacts, I learned about field inspection. It was much less stressful and demanding than conducting signings. So, I have been earning an ok living doing this for about 3 years.

    I was determined disabled even before my first surgery, even before we knew why. But I finally got to the point where I had to reckon with this. So, after scans and a consult with a couple of neurosurgeons, we determined that it is time once again. I have surgery in 3 weeks that will relieve an impinged cord that causes severe pain and a severely staggering gait. I fully expect to return back to field inspection within 2 months.

    What has helped me most through this was simply educating myself and setting real expectations. It sounds hokey, but just making plans based around my ability instead of concerning myself with what I used to do made all the difference. I found that I was newly enabled and found opportunities that I didn't know existed. I won't say that I felt this way every day, I am a chronic pain patient, so those that relate know.. But overall, it is important to keep challenging myself. I have carried on further since my "disability" than I would have imagined. Knowing this will carry me through the next challenges. I wish you well and trust you will be determined to fill your lifefull of good things to come.

  • be kind to yourself and do what you want which will result in your hapiness.  I am a few years in and pain comes and goes.....mood up and down.... keep sharing and staying positive.

  • I know this is an old thread but I had to respond. Definitely apply for SSDI, It's a pain in the butt but can be well worth it. It's not a hand-out, you've been paying into it for years. I had lung surgery in 2016 and applied for it then. I couldn't walk more than half a block at the time. I didn't hear anything for months. Then all of a sudden in 2017 they started sending me to doctors, a psychiatrist, a GP, a pulmonologist, and a cardiologist. Again, I didn't hear anything for a long long time. In 2019 I got a retroactive check for over 30k. I went to Cabo San Lucas for two weeks, lol.  I now get monthly payments from SSI, which are just enough for me to live on and have a little cash left over. They also put me on Medicare at 63, to my surprise. I'll be having ACDF surgery on June 19th, and Medicare/Medi-Cal is paying for all of it. 

    So, apply for disability, you have nothing to lose and you could get a trip to Mexico, lol.


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