Working through neck/arm pain - guilt and coworkers understanding

I'm a Mom of a 14 year old boy, and I work full time (sometimes more than full time) as an IT Manager.  Everyday, I work through a very long day in a LOT of pain,  I feel guilty when I don't work a full 8 hour day.  I feel bad that I can't always do my best.  I still cook dinner every night, do laundry, but I did recently hire someone to help me our house because I just couldn't do it anymore.  I'm not sure if the people I work with understand how difficult the pain can be.  I recently started taking norco occasionally during work time because I just  couldn't stand the pain and concentrate on my work.   I will be having surgery soon to replace C6 and C7 discs (hopefully ADR, if I'm not a good candidate for that I will get ACDF).   Does anyone else feel guilty for not being able to put in a full days work, and that your coworkers don't understand how difficult it is?


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM
    hello darcy bee !

    Welcome to Veritas Health Forumplease click on link for helpful information!
  • I know lots of people who feel that the end of the day when you retire, your family will be there and your coworkers will not....Take time for what's, your health, and your famly.  Good luck....a lot of it is in your own head....bad thoughts out, good thoughts in.
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  • Darcy, I had to rely on a coworker to drive me to work last week due to neck pain and arm pain that made driving painful. I felt guilty about asking and felt inadequate for not being able to drive. My coworker took me with no problems and as Mark said you need to what is necessary for you.  My family was equally concerned about me driving as well so I made the call for the ride. Once done I felt better as I need to lookout of myself. 
  • Darcy
    I fully admire your commitment and loyalty and do or die work ethic.

    But from my heart to yours, your long term health should come first.

    Your playing a long term health roulette.
    You may be able to keep pulling"one more rabbit" out of your hat..but one day those rabnits supply dries up and hopefully you have reached all your goals.
    I am here because i never knew when to say,
    enough..only great pain and the maturity that came from failure to be able to push anymore stopped me.

    Working smarter than harder came to late,to my plate.
    Stubborn pride and that killer work ethic has ensured that ime cooked.

    100 plus hour weeks were my norm
    Family and financial obligations were a driving factor.

    Your doing the right thing providing for your 14 yr old..but
    If you,want to keep giving?
    You have to save some of your self..FOR yourself...

    Your selflessness is appearant
    But sacrificing yourself for now..against later is a detrimental cycle.

    Your co workers be left by the "way"
    They...are not going to lose out a whit of sleep over you falling into less health as the years go by.
    Your health is better

    When all is said...and done.
    All you have is your own self
    Well being
    Suffering..or not

    Hang in there
  • You have my complete sympathy.  Before my first Surgery for C3-5 I was teaching 1st grade.  I'd drive to school and try to make it until noon before pain meds.  If my class was at specials or recess I'd be icing to numb the pain. I'd drop the markers while writing on the board and assigned a room job to be the marker retriever-bending over was too painful.  I bribed faculty kids to take my book bags to the car each afternoon.  Once I got home I collasped with the ice packs and pain meds for a few hours. Did that for until for from Feb until June.  Next time, for C5-6 or what ever I took the 1st surgery date and only waited 6 weeks. Left class March 1st.  Looking back I don't know how I did it.  A room full of moving bodies that needed my constant attention, after school faculty meetings, and I was in charge of the lower level school too. I do know the doctors were prescribing pain medication more often back then.  Thankfully my children were grown and DH can cook a bit.
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  • Thank you so much for your comments.   I recently took a whole day off, because I didn't sleep the night before, and I was hurting really bad.   I didn't do anything but sleep and rest.  This weekend, I rested and spent time with my extended family, and didn't go to work the entire weekend, even though there were things that needed to be done.  I think I am making some positive steps to putting my health and family first.   

    I got the OK to get 2 level cervical ADR.  I have at least a couple months to wait.   I have good days and bad days, but my good days are not that great.  

    You are right, my family should always come first, and they do. And, no most people at work don't really care about my health.  I need to worry about it.    My right arm/hand is starting to have trouble functioning in both coordination and strength, which is a BIG DEAL.  I just need to keep the workaholic in me (probably  what caused this in the first place ! )  to understand this too.


  • I can truly appreciate your thoughts.  I also work in IT and it can be extremely demanding from a deadline and project standpoint.  It truly amazes me how many people with desk jobs encounter spinal issues.  I do not believe we are doing our bodies any favors by sitting at a desk all day.  

    I am 5 weeks post surgery and while recovering I have come to several conclusions.  The biggest thing I have come to realize is that I was a very stressed out and uptight individual!  Granted, the morphine hits, pain pills and muscle relaxers have possibly contributed to my new personality!  But, I am going to do my best to not get so caught up in work once I return.  The other thing that I realized is those that you assume will email or call to check on your progress do not always follow through.  In fact, it is those that I least expected or did not consider that contacted me first.  I know your co-workers will miss you as a person initially, however, they eventually miss your presence simply because you are not there to contribute as an employee.

    There are some days that I do feel guilty for not being present, but overall I know that I needed this surgery and I needed this time to recover.  By not having the outside stress of work, I am able to focus on my husband, my kids, and myself!  Use it as time to reboot! 
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340

    As you can see you are not alone in feeling guilty because you have slowed down from spine issues. Like mhugs, I look back now and can't figure out how I survived until surgery, but I did.  Luckily my coworkers were very supportive before, and after, surgery.

    What you didn't ask about is fear - fear that taking time off to get better will reflect poorly at work, fear that our family won't pick up the pieces while we recover...
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