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Author Topic: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate  (Read 1315 times)

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Offline clumsygirl

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Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« on: October 24, 2011, 04:15:02 AM »
Hi all. I'm a newbie here.  My surgeon is recommending a Fulkerson osteotomy on both knees (one at a time), and I'm having quite a bit of trouble getting my employer to be "on board" with post-op recovery time off and other typical accommodations.  I'm wondering what luck other people who have had invasive open knee surgeries have had in negotiating time off with their employers.

I work a white collar corporate job, much of which can be done remotely at home, but there seems to be a general culture that if you're not tied to your cubicle's desk then you must not be working.  I am also not eligible for FMLA leave because I haven't been an employed by them for a year yet.  My discussions so far with my manager and HR have been very discouraging.  They want specifics on how long I will be stuck at home post-op.  Being that my surgeon is not a fortune teller, there is no carved-in-stone timeline, only estimates.  They also will not promise that if I am out for more than a couple of weeks that I will have a job to come back to.  Without FMLA, they don't have to.

All of this has me so worried. I have had several very bad falls this year that resulted in further injuries, and it is dangerous for me to put off the surgeries.  And I am in horrible pain 24/7.  It's a huge quality of life issue.  But, in this economy, I can't afford to be out of a job either.

I'm grateful for any thoughts about or experiences any of you may have with this.  Thanks!

Offline allyd

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 06:18:54 PM »
It’s a tough place to be in… Some employers a great at working with people, others not so much. How much longer until your one year anniversary, thus protecting your job with FMLA? Any chance you can hold off until then and at least have peace of mind your job is safe?

I was in the same boat, and although my work was great, cooperative and understanding – I was still nervous about the possibility of not being ready to be back at the 2 week mark, and also had no protection via FMLA as I hadn’t been there a year. Luckily, I was able to be back in 2 weeks. I didn’t have the same procedure, and truthfully - everyone reacts differently afterwards. What one person is capable of doing post surgery, another may not be – even if it’s the exact same surgery. I think this part of signing up for a surgery is very much rolling of the dice… As you say, even your OS isn’t a fortune teller.
04/09 RK - Dislocated Patella & Grade III MCL Tear
06/10 RK - Re-Dislocation Patella
09/11 RK - MPFLr + Lateral Lengthening

Offline clumsygirl

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 11:37:00 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, allyd.

Yeah, I'm in quite the pickle.  I just started this job a couple of months ago, so I'd have to wait nearly a year for FMLA to kick in.  The thought of living like this that long is just pure hell.  :'(

I have to do something, because I keep falling when my knee caps give out.  I'm bone on bone...no cartilage left.  The knees are swollen with fluid all the time and hot to the touch.  The throbbing pain gets bad at night (can't figure that out, because I'm not moving it).  Just walking feels like stabbing razor blade pain.

Even if my employer were more accommodating, having this surgery will be a post-op logistics nightmare for me. I'm single, with no family to help and somewhat unreliable friends.  A private nurse, maid and chauffer is not in the budget...at least for now.

All of these complications to getting my knees healthy again leads me back to the same questions I had when I went to the surgeon, which I never really got answered:

Why insist on a highly invasive open-knee surgeries with a history of mixed success rates, when minimally-invasive knee replacement will be less traumatic and have a more predictable outcome?  Is this recommendation purely driven by the insurance company and what they will cover?  Is there no way to get it covered?  Yes, I'm only 38, but my knees are cashed because of my bad Q-angle and osteoarthritis...even the doc caled this a "salvage" procedure.

Either way I've been advised that I will never run again.  Honestly, that's all I really cared about....returning to the physical shape I was in before.  Looks like that is not an option.   From my perspective I can get this osteotomy done on both knees in two seperate and painful recoveries and *maybe* get 10 years out of my knees before replacements.  Or I can get the minimally invasive TKR, walk out of the hospital the same day, save my job, my wallet, my sanity and not have to go under the knife again for at least 15 years, probably longer.

Offline KW

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 12:59:02 AM »
I am going to start this post by saying that I am not directing anything at you personally and there is no disrespect intended.  As someone who works in management at a fortune 500 Company and a horrible knee owner …. I see both sides of this issue.


Unfortunately it is probably more about being a new employee who is now asking for paid time off then anything else.  In todays economy this is seen as a real negative to employers. I understand that you needed insurance to have the surgery and needed a job to have insurance…but…this is not something that your employer is going to take into consideration.  They are only going to see a new employee who suddenly needs time off. 

If a company does not have a regular telecommuting policy then the chance that establishing such policy for a new unproven employee is small.  Not all employers see that productivity can be the same if not increased while one is working from home.  If your employer does offer a work from home policy it would be a good idea to start taking advantage of the policy (slowly) and prove that you can be productive. 

Other things to take into consideration are the type of job you have and the management style of your immediate manager.  Customer Service, Administrative, and anything the handles sensitive information will have a less then likely chance for home opportunities.  The management style of your immediate supervisor/manager is also a major consideration.  If you have a micro manager then chances are less likely to work from home.  If your manager is hands off then the chances are better.

The actually HR policy of the company is a big consideration.  Most large companies will go “By the Book” when it comes to HR policies.  The risk of law suites when you “bend the rules” for one person and not another is just too great.  Read the HR policies carefully and make sure they are following the policies.  You might find something in your favor.  I am going to tell you that from a management point of view I would put this off as long as possible.  You will find the company may be more accommodating once you have some time under your belt and have proven yourself.

I was in a similar position last year.  I needed a partial replacement but decided to take a fantastic job offer and changed companies (after 15 years) before I had it done.  I decided I had to put off the surgery until I was established in the job and had really proven myself.  I waited a very painful year but there have been no questions about my plan for working after the surgery.

On a brighter note…I returned to work 11 days PO after my 1st Fulkerson.  I have had very little pain after any of my Fulkerson’s (I’ve had 3).  You read horror stories on this site but really they are the worst of the worst stories.  I also live alone and did just fine after all of my knee surgeries (11 in all).  I don’t have anyone stay with me…just me and the dog and we get on just fine!
Right Knee
2000 - 2002 - Scope,LR,TTT,Unscrewed
01-10-12 - PFJR

Left Knee
04/07 TTT/LR
08/07 Bone Grth Stim
10/07 Loose/Bent Screw
1/08 Unscrewed/MRI~NON-UNION
02/19/08 Lt  TTT Revision W/Graft
12/09/08 Scope
05/15/09 Scope
09/04/09 PFJR/Unscrewed

Offline KW

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 01:11:05 AM »

All of these complications to getting my knees healthy again leads me back to the same questions I had when I went to the surgeon, which I never really got answered:

Why insist on a highly invasive open-knee surgeries with a history of mixed success rates, when minimally-invasive knee replacement will be less traumatic and have a more predictable outcome?  Is this recommendation purely driven by the insurance company and what they will cover?  Is there no way to get it covered?  Yes, I'm only 38, but my knees are cashed because of my bad Q-angle and osteoarthritis...even the doc caled this a "salvage" procedure.

Sorry...I babbled on about all the business stuff and forgot to answer this question...

You really think a Fulkerson is more invasive the a partial replacement??? You are kidding right??? Minimally invasive on refers to the fact they do not cut into the quads as much as a traditional approach.  It has nothing to do with the fact they they are actually cutting you own bone stock out and replacing it with metal and plastic.  Nothing less invasive about a knee replacement and it is a heck of a lot more painful.  The aim is to always try to salvage your on parts first.  Once you start putting in new parts there is no turning back.  You can take them out if something goes wrong.  at some point you can't put more in...then what do you do.  It has nothing to do with age.  I was 34 when I had my 1st PFJR.  It was done because there were no other options. I am having the other knee done in January at age of 37.  I've had 11 surgeries attempting to keep what I have and there is just no other options.

Best of luck,
KW

I got 10 good pain free years out of my Fulkerson! 
Right Knee
2000 - 2002 - Scope,LR,TTT,Unscrewed
01-10-12 - PFJR

Left Knee
04/07 TTT/LR
08/07 Bone Grth Stim
10/07 Loose/Bent Screw
1/08 Unscrewed/MRI~NON-UNION
02/19/08 Lt  TTT Revision W/Graft
12/09/08 Scope
05/15/09 Scope
09/04/09 PFJR/Unscrewed

Offline gillcullinane

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 07:26:21 AM »
what is FMLA? i work for the nhs and have had a knee injury which required me to take time off but i got a bit of pressure into returning. still on going injury to knee and im finding it very hard to stand for 6 hours a day since my acl tare in aug :( gill from london

Offline KW

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Re: Osteotomy and getting an employer to cooperate
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 01:18:47 PM »
what is FMLA? i work for the nhs and have had a knee injury which required me to take time off but i got a bit of pressure into returning. still on going injury to knee and im finding it very hard to stand for 6 hours a day since my acl tare in aug :( gill from london

FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act. It is a US labor law that gives employees job protection when specific conditions are met. In     the Federal Law there is no wage included in the time off while some specific states have adapted State FMLA laws that have a wage component.
Right Knee
2000 - 2002 - Scope,LR,TTT,Unscrewed
01-10-12 - PFJR

Left Knee
04/07 TTT/LR
08/07 Bone Grth Stim
10/07 Loose/Bent Screw
1/08 Unscrewed/MRI~NON-UNION
02/19/08 Lt  TTT Revision W/Graft
12/09/08 Scope
05/15/09 Scope
09/04/09 PFJR/Unscrewed















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