I had an appendectomy

  1. Hello everyone... I need some advice on a situation. I had a total
    (not laproscopic) appendectomy a week ago today. After the surgery I asked the surgeon when I would be able to return to work and he asked me if I do heavy lifting. I said something like not really but kind of sometimes. Then he said oh yeah... you're a nurse... at least 3 weeks, unless you can be on light duty. So I called my manager to tell her I wouldn't be back for 3 weeks as he said I shouldn't do any heavy lifting for 3 weeks... unless I can be on light duty. She said that since we have heavy lifting equipment that we really dont do heavy lifting and therefore also don't have a such thing as light duty. I told her I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon and that I'd ask him about the heavy lifting equipment and get a clarification. When I saw him he didn't elaborate on anything- just no lifting. He doesn't care when I go back to work but I cant lift anything. We have 3 different lifting devices and typically only use one of them... and that is just to weigh the pt. To get them on that you have to turn them back and forth... isn't turning heavy people similar to lifting? What about turning people to change them... not everyone only weighs 100lbs. What about if I'm walking a pt to the bathroom and they fall and I have to glide them to the floor... might I use an abdominal muscle or two? Couldn't there be some emergency where I can't get to the life-saving lifting equipment in time?
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    About mediatix8

    Joined: Nov '04; Posts: 194; Likes: 103


  3. by   Charity
    I would get a clarification from my surgeon. He knows how the hospital is. We all know that nurses do heavy lifting no matter what type of equipment we have, but it depends on the type of unit in which you work. My job description says I must be able to push, pull and otherwise manipulate 50lbs without assistance. Usual lifting restrictions are 10-20lbs if I am not mistaken.

    I would explain this to the surgeon, and get an appropriate return to work slip, which you are going to need with a specific date anyway won't you?
  4. by   EricJRN
    If you still have concerns, I'd definitely communicate those to your surgeon and/or manager. That's why they make the big bucks.
  5. by   Fuzzy
    Hi Mediatix8,
    Hope that you are feeling better. My surgeon gave me an absolute weight limit of lifting no more than 10 lbs for 2 weeks when I had my gall bladder removed. This helped me alot as in how many lbs can you lift when you're doing light duty work? I followed his recommendations to the letter and I didn't have any problems. It was a little embarassing to ask for help to pick up the 18 lb cat or the 25 lb dog. Within 2 months I was back to picking up 80lb dogs with hardly a grunt.

  6. by   jo272wv
    Will depend on how well fellow workers will help if you do need to roll a heaver pt also. I had a incision from a H. hernia repair before lap was used. I went back to work to early and have had problems with abd hernias ever since. So be careful and if in dought, take the three weeks and be safe.
  7. by   santhony44
    Get a firm answer from the surgeon. I'd tell him that you can't get light duty and have no way to assure you won't have to lift, pull, or tug on patients when you do go back. In fact, it sounds as if your manager's attitude is that you won't get any extra help.

    Take as much time as you need! Getting in too much of a hurry to go back to work will only hurt you in the long run.
  8. by   prmenrs
    Most of the time it's 6 weeks.

    Call him! If you need to be on short-term disability, he needs to do some paper work. You can get the forms from the NM--maybe she can fax them to his office.

    You need time to heal.
  9. by   P_RN
    I'd also find out what the hospital policy on this is. Mine allowed RNs to have light duty. LPNs and techs were not included. (never did quite understand that).

    But what premenurs said is exactly right. If you are entitled to short term disability then they should honor it. Check with employee health or personnel.
  10. by   Tweety
    Yes, turning and pulling people in bed, getting them out of bed is considered lifting and doesn't fall under your MD's recommendations. I wouldn't return to work.

    Our unit doesn't have "light duty" either. Sometimes we help each other out when someone is having an issue, but no "light duty". The floor is too heavy to have a nurse with an assignment that can't fulfill their duties. Sometimes if a nurse needs to be out long term, they help with nursing office projects, reviewing charts, medical records etc.

    Take care of yourself first and foremost. If your boss says there is no "light duty" follow your MD's recommendations and don't work.